How Do You Mardu?

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Many people who know me have seen me play Mardu a couple of times. The color combination not only gives you some of the most powerful creatures in standard that don’t have the sub-type “Rhino”, but also some of the best spells in the format. In a world where Monastery Mentor and Goblin Rabblemaster can close out games very quickly, having access to spells like Lightning Strike and Wild Slash can seriously put your opponent back. We can then go bigger than our opponents in the air with Butcher of the Horde, or kill them indirectly using cards like Brutal Hordechief and Outpost Siege choosing “dragons”.

There is a ton of different options that you can delve into with the color scheme, though I saw probably one of the coolest innovations for the deck this past weekend at the Shield Comic’s PPTQ. One of our players was playing what seemed like a pretty stock list, until he tossed out a Humble Defector. Shortly after he played a Butcher of the Horde, tapped his human to draw 2, then sacrificed it to swing in for 5 with his demon. This seems to me like a great source of card advantage for the deck, especially as we don’t have any good options for consistent card draw.

The biggest downfall I found with the deck was it seems very weak to Hornet Queen and Hornet Nest. With the exception of that weakness, I always found Mardu to have solid matchups against Abzan as you can sideboard into a control deck and go bigger than them pretty easily. If I were to sleeve up Mardu for this upcoming FNM, I would probably look to either of the following lists to start my testing, both presented without sideboards.

Mardu Tokens (35)
Brutal Hordechief
Goblin Rabblemaster
Monastery Mentor
Hordeling Outburst
Crackling Doom
Lightning Strike
Raise the Alarm
Stoke the Flames
Chained to the Rocks
Outpost Siege
Lands (25)
Battlefield Forge
Bloodstained Mire
Caves of Koilos
Mountain
Nomad Outpost
Plains
Swamp
Temple of Silence
Temple of Triumph
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

What I really like about this list is the ability to go wide with a lot of creatures, and to gain the most benefit out of Brutal Hordechief and choosing “dragons” on Outpost Siege. If our opponent gets too low we can always just kill them outright with burn as well.

Humble Mardu (36)
Butcher of the Horde
Goblin Rabblemaster
Humble Defector
Seeker of the Way
Sorin, Solemn Visitor
Bile Blight
Crackling Doom
Hero’s Downfall
Lightning Strike
Mardu Charm
Thoughtseize
Lands (24)
Battlefield Forge
Bloodstained Mire
Caves of Koilos
Mountain
Nomad Outpost
Plains
Swamp
Temple of Malice
Temple of Silence
Temple of Triumph
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

This list is much more similar to my older Mardu list that I won a few FNMs with. Seeker of the Way is incredibly powerful in a deck with a bunch of spells, and is often a nightmare to play around. The correct play is pretty much always to kill it as soon as possible, but that often just leaves it open for you to play a Goblin Rabblemaster the turn after and get value out of it.

Chris Wendelboe

Chris is a level 2 judge from Ashland, New Hampshire. He enjoys Scapeshift, modern, and putting on the best events possible.