Mardu-in it Right!


I Finished my Mardu Midrange/ Control list and took it to a Standard store event and went 3/0/1 Split in the finals.   I fully expected the format to be crawling with Smuggler’s Copter decks but I only played against one deck running them in this event.  I also played against a G/B Aetherworks Marvel Eldrazi deck and it was a super grindy match up And probably worth looking into as a deck choice that I might brew in the future.  I also played against a Bant Humans list which held its own but in the end I had the upper hand in both games and took the win.  Then my Opponent in the finals was playing Temur Emerge/ Eldrazi which we decided to split but play anyway, which ended up being super grindy or a race to dominate the game before my opponent could cast Emrakul, The Promised end!  Overall I feel that the format was represented pretty well overall and do believe that a rendition of WB control/ Mardu Midrange Control could be a serious contender.

Here is my exact List that I decided to play:

Mardu Midrange Control

Main: 35

4 Filigree Familiar

3 Kalitas, traitor of Ghet

2 Cataclysmic Gearhulk

2 Noxious Gearhulk

3 Liliana, the Last Hope

1 Sorin, Grim Nemesis

4 Harnessed Lightning

3 Grasp of Darkness

3 Transgress the Mind

2 Live Fast

2 Essence Extraction

2 Ruinous Path

2 Radiant Flames

2 Fumigate

Lands: 25

4 Concealed Courtyard

2 Forsaken Sanctuary

4 Inspiring Vantage

4 Shambling Vent

2 Smoldering Marsh

2 Mountain

1 Plains

6 Swamp

The Sideboard is still a work in progress but the Sideboard I will be putting together for the deck will look something like this:

Sideboard: 15

2 Call the Bloodline

2 Anguished Unmaking

2 Fragmentize

2 Declaration in Stone

1 Radiant Flames

1 Fumigate

1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited

1 Transgress the Mind

1 Essence Extraction

2 Lost Legacy


My original list didn’t have any red in it at all, but in my latest rendition I wanted to be able to sweep early aggressive strategies away and Radiant Flames I think does an excellent job of this.  Red also allowed me to run Harnessed Lightning another great card against the aggressive creatures in the current meta game.  Both Radiant flames and Harnessed Lightning earned there keep, especially when paired with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.  I got to cast a radiant flames on turn 5 after casting Kalitas on turn 4 for a complete blow out against the Bant humans deck I do believe in which it game me 2-3 Zombie tokens and I just ran away with the game after that.


Essence Extraction was also really good and was a mono black version of Lightning Helix without being able to dome the opponent.  Not being able to hit players makes Essence Extraction no where near as good as Helix but for standard against aggressive decks you really can’t ask for a better answer…. Well I guess we could have Lightning Helix.  All in all though Essence Extraction is definitely a card to keep in mind if you are building a midrange / control deck using black in the current Metagame.


I also wanted to run more copies of both Cataclysmic Gearhulk and Noxious Gearhulk originally, but after some play testing before my final version of deck I decided not to add the 3rd Noxious Gearhulk and I cut one Cataclysmic Gearhulk for A Sorin, Grim Nemesis.  Both of the Gearhulks were amazing when I cast them the issue was drawing more then one of the Cataclysmic Gearhulks felt redundant, and with such an aggressive format the 3rd copy of Noxious Gearhulk felt too slow.  I do want to run a 3rd copy of Noxious Gearhulk in the Sideboard however, as this Gearhulk alongside Liliana, the Last Hope was the real deal against midrange match ups.  I got to recur a Noxious Gearhulk with Liliana, and it definitely made the game more favorable for me, killing 2 creatures gaining life and giving me a win condition all at the same time.  Sorin, Grim Nemesis felt like be over performed winning multiple games for me, so much so I am debating adding a second copy in the 75 perhaps over Ob, Nixilis Reignited as they both fill a similar role.


Filigree Familiar also did its task very well, which is be a blocker as well as incremental Life gain and card advantage by replacing itself when it dies (as a Note, Kalitas is REALLY good against opposing Filigree Familiars).   I ended up using the Familiars as a body to throw in front of Liliana, the Last Hope a fare number of times which ended up working out pretty good.  As drawing a card off of blocking and preventing damage getting though to Lilly ended up allowing me to dominate over the board state and eventually Ultimate Liliana and win a couple games game.


Fumigate is no slouch either as it allowed me to gain 5 life while wiping the board and allowing Sorin, Grim Nemesis to take the game.  I also had a game where I cast Radiant Flames early, and drew into Fumigate later in the game to wipe the board for a second time gaining life and then using Gearhulks to finish off my opponent.  I have a third copy in the sideboard for the midrange match ups just like I have a third Radiant Flames for the aggressive decks in the format.


Emrakul and Ulamog are very difficult to deal with and if cast are usually game ending as I noticed, and there is no better answer then Transgress the Mind which is also really good against opposing Planeswalkers,  Gearhulks or Boats ( Skysovereign, Consul Flagship).  I ended up losing a game to each of these Eldrazi Monstrosities but I also Transgressed a Nissa, Vital Force out of my oponents hand followed by taking there Ulamog with a second Transgress the Mind the following turn, and after that they didn’t draw into any more serious threats which allowed me to win the game.  I didn’t end up having any Lost Legacy’s in my list at this event but I feel they are a necessary evil for the Eldrazi Titans.


The only card in the 75 I wasn’t super impressed with was Live Fast, I originally wanted to play Painful Truths but thought the extra energy with Harnessed Lightning might come in handy so I opted to go with Live Fast.  Live Fast didn’t feel bad but it wasn’t Awe inspiring, it did allow me to kill a creature with the extra energy it produced with a Harnessed Lightning but other than that I’m not sure these shouldn’t be more threats or answers to other issues.

Call the Bloodline is in the sideboard as a trump card against Fevered Visions.  And Declaration in Stone is another exile Effect to go alongside Anguished Unmaking which both deal with problematic creatures or permanents.

Overall I am really happy with the list and am sure it will need a few tweaks as the Metagame evolves, but also have high hopes that the deck can stay a contender in Standard.  The only issue I found with the deck is it can create long games especially if the opposing deck is full of lifegain.  Moving forward I might have to try and find a way to win faster against the grindy match ups.   I hope this has been helpful to players who were thinking of running something similar to this list or for those who were already on a Black White list.  For anyone who is running something similar let me know how you are doing with the deck, and send me your list as I’m sure I haven’t thought of all the possible awesome interactions that could be done in  decks like this one.

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