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Dimir Discard/Black-Blue Beatdown Destroyer in Standard

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Did fellow CoolStuffInc creator CovertGoBlue quietly create the best deck - or at least the best deck you've never thought about - in Standard?

While CGB made his final Mythic run with that obnoxious Blue-White Rakdos Joins Up combo contraption, it's his Dimir "Crime Spree" that, to this writer, seems like the popular YouTuber's most significant contribution since Blood Money:


The deck does three things that made me excited to try it.

  1. First, it approaches the metagame in extremes. CGB framed Crime Spree's debut video around "farming aggro" ... With tons and tons of Black point removal, Crime Spree could shoot down Warden of the Inner Sky, Slickshot Show-Off, or Jukai Naturalist to buy plenty of time to take over with control elements and grinding card advantage.
  2. Secondly, it looked deceptively effective against the popular and powerful graveyard combo decks. Like the now-buffed Azorius decks in Standard, the addition of Three Steps Ahead simply changes the rules of engagement for combo decks and other control decks... Heavily in favor of any Blue Spree player. But it's Deadly Cover-Up - ostensibly Black's answer to Sunfall - that really caught my eye. In the mid-game, Deadly Cover-Up can snipe a Worldsoul's Rage, The Wandering Emperor, or Slogurk... Effectively ending the game (even if you functionally have to keep playing). This was super exciting to me! It was almost like pre-sideboarding, but in a way that was good against attackers.
  3. Most importantly, it looked to me that this deck would be less likely to produce unintentional draws than beloved Azorius. What I'm really doing grinding all these Standard Events is preparing for the upcoming Regional Championship in Dallas. After my recent [Pioneer] RCQ with Blue-White, I'm hyper-cognizant of going to time.

Additionally, I just like playing off-meta decks, especially when they feature unusual interactions that the opponent might not be prepared for. For instance, Harvester of Misery can unexpectedly crack a Grand Abolisher. I'd have thought its discard ability was the activated ability of a "creature"... But Nope! Works!

Or Harvester + this deck's showcase threat, Hostile Investigator. You think about its investigations as coming as a result of the Ogre's own trigger... But having this 4/3 in play turns every Harvester in hand as a kind of small creature Annihilate.

Finally, both creatures are so synergistic with Three Steps Ahead. If you're mostly used to playing Three Steps Ahead in Azorius, you probably never "Clone". You probably mostly just "Cancel + Catalog" ... Because there isn't anything worth "Clone"-ing. Or, you're just hesitant to put eight mana into the card. The last permanent I copied with Three Steps Ahead in Azorius was... A Map token.

But in Dimir? "Clone"-ing Hostile Investigator creates trigger twins that tear up the opponent's hand and also help you draw DI cards. While "Clone"-ing Harvester of Misery is often just making a Wrath of God that only kills the opponent's stuff. Like the magic carpet riders might tell you: It's a whole new world.

Anyway, I have been super excited to try this deck for weeks, and put all the winnings from Event after Event into Wildcards for this one.

Finally, I got to try this out in a Standard Event of its own:


I swapped a couple of cards from CGB's build. Restless Reef is incredibly good, specifically at decking Domain decks; so I upped it to four. I also added a little more Field of Ruin / Desolation Field action. With only four basics, running out of basics did end up being an issue for me against opposing Desolation Field of Ruin-type decks.

This is how it went, that first Event:

1. Blue-White Combo

Might as well start out with one of the hottest and most dangerous decks in the format!

It took kind of forever to find Deadly Cover-Up (but I did find it). I did manage to stay alive by leaving up mana for my Spree Counterspells, though I did have to discard Hostile Investigator to hand size.

Meanwhile the villain on the other side of the digital divide dug so deeply through their deck that late in the game they milled me with Founding the Third Path!

Okay, Deadly Cover-Up showed up and I was super excited to mess up their horrible combo... Not really thinking about the fact that it isn't - how do I say this - primarily a Haunting Echoes; it's primarily a Damnation variant. Meaning my poor 4/3 and 2/2 Spirit token died for a giant artifact creature's sins.

By that point their library was super thin, so I got the concession kill; but Restless Reef would have put it away anyway.

One thing I really liked about this matchup was how many random benefits I got from playing weird cards. For example: Hostile Investigator + their Chart a Course. Boom! Seven cards all the time. Might as well be seven Counterspells. Great start.

1-0

2. White Weenie

Take a look at this real quick-like:

It's been a while since I played with all the different kinds of dual lands in the same deck, so I just thought it might be a beneficial exercise for you to think about how you would sequence your lands. Obviously which lands (if any) you draw in the first four turns will impact your decisions moving forward, but just think about it. What comes down first? How might your choices change if your Go for the Throat were a Cut Down?

Anyway this match was super easy. I was just getting beaten down by two Hopeful Initiates for most of the game. I killed everything with two or more power (including the least offensive Brutal Cathar // Moonrage Brute in the history of Best-of-One) until I got to Deadly Cover-Up.

One thing that was kind of lame was that a Sungold Sentinel ate two CMC from my graveyard just before I cast the Cover-Up, so I couldn't whiz-bang Cranial Extract with it to remove Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom.

While I did have to deal with the back side of Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom, I also got to hard-cast Harvester of Misery, which was great (but not for them). Then I got to eight-cast Three Steps Ahead with Harvester in play, which felt like winning the lottery.

2-0

3. Five-color-Legends

I can't actually imagine an easier matchup. At this point, three matches in, this deck is feeling spectacular by the by.

They just play guys. All your deck does is kill guys and draw cards. In this one I finally had the pleasure of discarding Harvester of Misery to kill some flashy, spicy, exciting creature (dead is dead though, am I right?) with Hostile Investigator in play. Obviously I was just testing Best-of-One to start, but this match really had me jonesing to side in Duress.

3-0

4. Simic Somethings

I had never seen this deck before, but I assume it's "real" if off-meta because g-d everything was rare or mythic rare; or at least shows up in the Black-Blue version (e.g. Spyglass Siren). I saw Bristly Bill, Spine Sower, Spyglass Siren, Kodama of the West Tree, and two different card-hungry World Champions.

They had Counterspells but never seemed to draw them at a good time; so this was just a redux of the previous round: They made dudes. I made sticky red puddles.

The end game of this one was my casting Virtue of Persistence and them conceding at 20 after three turns of my resurrecting his Nathan Steuers to go with my own Hostile Investigators.

4-0

5. Gruul Ramp

They opened on Glimpse the Core into Big Score so I was kind of terrified. This turned into Terror of the Peaks and Etali, Primal Conqueror // Etali, Primal Sickness.

I managed the first couple of giant monsters with Counterspells and a Go for the Throat that cost me three life. Then I resolved Virtue of Persistence again, which was hilarious. I never got to attack with Etali, due to a concession.

5-0

6. Mono-Red Aggro

Yes! Five rounds in against a ton of different opponents. Finally, I was up against the deck that this Dimir was engineered to exterminate.

So obviously I got browned.

But at least it was classy.

My opponent had Visions of Phyrexia into Urabrask's Forge (main deck and main deck!). Super disappointing because I was already sniffing at 7-0.

5-1

7. Selesnya Enchantments

They got the ideal draw... First-turn Skrelv, Defector Mite; turn two Jukai Naturalist into Audacity and Kami of Transience... All on the play!

I had Memory Deluge and Deadly Cover-Up in hand; so used the former to get my fifth mana for the latter.

Then I drew Harvester of Misery. Wow. That's even better than Deadly Cover-Up! It's like a Deadly Cover-Up that attacks! Unlicensed Hearse kept Kami of Transience from coming back. They drew from Audacity, but the swing on their width was nigh insurmountable.

Actually winning took several more turns, but I didn't come close to taking damage after turn five.

6-1

8. Rakdos Mid-Range

I screwed this one up so badly!

They opened on Bloodtithe Harvester. For some reason I thought casting Unlicensed Hearse would be better than leaving up Phantom Interference.

So, they rolled into Inti and immediately buffed the Vampire.

I ended up taking 16 from that g-d Vampire; whereas the Phantom Interference was still in my hand at the end of the game.

Humiliatingly I needed to Otawara the 4/3 Bloodtithe Harvester to stay alive.

Then we moved to the "all my creatures generate card advantage" phase of the game. Preachers. Geological Appraisers. I kept answering them, but my life was so low and I was just staying even because of all his built-in card advantage. Why did I cast that Hearse?

Eventually - eventually - I cast a Hostile Interrogator that took their last two cards (both Go for the Throats I knew about from seeing their hand earlier).

At that point they chose to topdeck Sheoldred. With me at 4! It took three combined Harvesters of Misery, but I took down Sheoldred with a little life to spare.

Remember that Hearse? Two shots. One would have been classier, but 20 is a lot of life.

7-1

Post Script: Disney World Y2K

Jonny Magic made his triumphant return to competitive Magic at US Nationals 2000, which - rather than its historical home in Columbus, OH - was held at Disney World.

It was the first of multiple breaks Jon took from Magic, where he ostensibly wasn't even qualified for the Pro Tour any more. But the nice people in Organized Play had invented this new super top tier / super high end event called The Masters Series. This inspired Jon - already a Pro Tour Champion at that point - that maybe there was enough money in Magic to keep it interesting. The first Masters-level event was to take place at Nationals that year.

Jon, predictably, ran the Limited tables in order to win the 40-card portion of Nationals AND qualify for the Limited Masters; consequently, he went into Day Two's Standard undefeated.

... He then opened up with a loss to Trinity Green; a deck Jon considered "the best possible matchup" for his Mono-Black Napster deck. Finkel didn't do a lot of losing that weekend. He in fact went on to beat a different Mono-Green in the Top 8, and future WotC boss Aaron Forsythe on "Angry Hermit", a Red-splashing spiritual descendent to Trinity Green.

Jon went on to win US Nationals in dramatic fashion; a 3-0 drubbing of Chris Benares in what was supposed to be his "worst" matchup; then followed that up with the World Championships over fellow future Hall of Famer Bob "Caustic Bronco" Maher in the Tinker mirror.

But yeah, along the way, there was that one loss to Trinity Green.

Stupid Visions of Phyrexia. Stupid main-deck Urabrask's Forge.

LOVE

MIKE


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