By Horatius, 12 May 2020
Gladiator is very new and the best deck is still being debated. In the early days, there is space to improve win rate by analyzing and adapting faster than your opponents to the idiosyncrasies of this singleton format. I went 4-0 and 4-1 in the early tournaments choosing white weenie to exploit what I thought was an unbalance in the format. I’m going to talk through my take on this evaluation, how it led me to play white-weenie in the early tournaments, and then apply the reasoning to talk about green decks moving forward.
My personal evaluation of the format identified 3 key elements that I needed to consider during my deck choice and construction.
- Weak Mana: Almost all dual lands are tapped, and with no fetch lands decks can struggle to get colors coming in untapped and on curve
- Singleton Nature: High variance format means you will see a very different portion of your deck in every game
- Unknown Meta: Brand new format, I don’t know what threats I will have to face/address
We can talk about to what extent these are true assumptions, but for the meantime let’s examine how they influenced my deck choice and build.
White weenie allowed me to address these points in the most direct method possible:
- Weak Mana: I wanted to avoid tapped lands and mana screw as much as humanly possible. Mono white aggro achieved this in two ways.
- Play a deck that avoids tapped lands (duals) as much as possible. So a mono colored deck drew my eye.
- Play a deck that can win with as few lands in play as possible. So aggro was the best archetype.
- Singleton Nature: I wanted to minimize variance in between games and have a consistent plan independent of my draws. White weenie addresses this because all the crappy 2/x with a keyword are nearly interchangeable, and all progress your gameplan. A deep redundancy of cards allows all your opening hands and early turns to be largely similar despite being entirely different cards.
- Unknown Meta: I follow the advice of Jeremy White from North100 and LRR fame when it comes to an unknown meta game: BE PROACTIVE. The thinking is this–if the environment is unknown it is very hard to craft your answer suite to address the threats you will face. Therefore, it is better to be presenting the threats and to win actively. (one more plus from a proactive strategy is you can exploit slow starts by your opponents stemming from weak mana or singleton variance to get free wins) Mono-white-aggro is very much a proactive deck.
These three reasons led me to choose Mono-white-aggro as my early metagame deck, and I believe these are the key reasons to my success with the deck so far. So taking these same points I want to explain why I think the same reasoning can be used to explain why Gx decks are poised to do very well in the format.
Let’s go through the same 3 points from the point of view of proactive creature based of Green decks:
- Weak Mana: You are playing green. If there is one thing in Green’s color pie it is stronger than average mana. Your dorks and mana fixing allows you to play ahead of your opponent’s slow mana.
- Singleton variance: green has a plethora or redundant threats any big creature can do the job: a 4/4 or a 6/6 is a very fast clock and you get to play a lot of good ones. (the quality here is much higher than the 2/x’s that you play in mono white)
- Proactive game plan: GREEN STOMP. Green may start slower than mono white, but catches up with the big creatures and can end the game quickly.
Green decks can fulfill all the points that originally led me towards monowhite, but with higher flexibility, card quality, and resilience. I anticipate it taking a premier spot in the developing meta game.
And if you build a green deck I think you will improve your decks by considering the three points.
- Address your mana
- Make your game plan consistent
- Actively kill your opponent
Please feel free to reach out to @horatius_alger#7069 on Discord if you disagree with any point or if you want to discuss my thinking on the meta.