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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Feb 26 2018 1:00pm
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This week I have decided to take a look at some decks that do consistently well in Penny Dreadful tournaments. I also want to give a big shout out to "Thundershot899" who helped with this article - this is as much his as it is mine. All of the data used in this article was either gathered by him or is freely available on the Penny Dreadful website.

I also want to point out that the format is very fluid and the popular decks / decks that are doing well can change at a moment's notice. Being that every deck costs less than 1 ticket on MTGO, it is very easy to chop and change which deck you are playing (which keeps things very interesting and the format fresh). 

Now, the below list is simply an opinion and is based almost solely off of tournament data and not league data. However, the lists would likely end up being pretty similar anyway, as the data shows that what's proven good in the tournaments is also good in the leagues, and vice versa. 

The Tier List

 We have broken the tier list down into tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 decks. This list is not exhaustive but it is representative of the decks that have either won or made the top 8 of Penny Dreadful tournaments this season.

So, here you go, our stab at a tier list:

Tier 1: Temur Ascendancy, Mono Black Zombies, Azorius Control

Tier 2: Mono Green Stax, Orzhov Persist, Red Deck Wins, Goblins, Esper Blink

Tier 3: Elves, Turbo Fog, Mono Black Control

Unknown: Infinite Infinite Combos

This week I am going to have a look at the tier one decks as well as the Infinite Infinite Combos deck, which has potential to end up tier 1.  

Mono Black Zombies

When we started putting together the tier list, the Mono Black Zombies deck has had the most tournament top 8s since season 7 began with the release of Rivals of Ixalan. This deck leverages the Zombie lords that are legal in the format: Cemetery Reaper, Lord of the Accursed and Liliana's Mastery

Mono Black Zombies
by Metalatog
Creatures
4
Diregraf Ghoul
4
Shambling Ghoul
4
Cemetery Reaper
4 Lord of the Accursed
16 cards

Other Spells
4
Dead Weight
4
Sarcomancy
2 Scarab Feast
1
Vendetta
4 Liliana's Mastery
4 Dark Salvation
19 cards
Lands
3
Lake of the Dead
22
Swamp
25 cards

Cemetery Reaper

 

This was a recent version of the deck to make a tournament top 8. As you can see, it's an aggressive deck with twelve 1 or 2 drops in Sarcomancy, Diregraf Ghoul and Shambling Ghoul, before curving into one of the lords to pump the team. You then have a bunch of removal (including Dark Salvation to make more Zombies!). Lake of the Dead can help ramp you for Dark Salvation or Liliana's Mastery.

According to the data listed on the Penny Dreadful website, this archetype has a 63% win rate this season out of 128 decks (this, I believe, covers leagues and tournaments). It has also had 4 first place finishes and 19 top 8s. It is a solid deck and is a good choice if you want to start out. 

Temur Ascendancy

The next deck we are going to look at is Temur Ascendancy. This one has had the second most tournament top 8s this season. It is a midrange deck the leverages the power of its namesake card to hit hard and to refill its hand, meaning you always have plays to make.

 

This particular deck won a tournament very recently. As you can see, it has some mana creatures which is not necessarily for ramp, but for mana fixing, and then some bigger creatures in Savage Knuckleblade and Woodland Wanderer. Saproling Burst is also an important part of the deck: you can draw three cards and make three 4/4 creatures with haste for 5 mana if you have Temur Ascendancy out. A resolved Saproling Burst is very difficult to deal with.

Now for the stats: this deck has an amazing 65.1% win rate so far this season according to the Penny Dreadful website, and has a slightly favourable matchup against Zombies. In fact, it has a favourable match up against most decks, with one notable exception being the Aristocrats decks. If you are looking for a good deck for a tournament, it'd be this one. It has had 3 tournament wins and 17 top 8s in season 7.

Both Temur Ascendancy and Zombies would be what I currently consider the best decks of the format. 

Azorius Control

This is the only other deck to have won 3 tournaments this season, and it is a classic blue-white control deck. This particular one made the top 4 of a recent tournament:

 

Counterspells? Check. Card Draw? Check. Board wipes? Check. A single win condition? Also check. This is one of those decks I hate to play against most of the time, but it's also one of those decks I am happy to see when I am playing with my Sligh deck as it is generally an easy win (though Warmth really hurts). There is also two other versions of this deck; one that uses Aethergeode Miner and Cultivator's Caravan, and one that uses Planar Cleansing and Elixir of Immortaility the stats here are both of these versions combined.

So, what about the stats? How does this deck stack up against Zombies and Temur? Well, it's had 3 tournament wins and 14 top 8s this season, so it is not far behind. However, it only has a 54.1% win rate in tournaments and leagues putting it a touch behind those two decks. However, it crucially has a huge 70.4% win rate against Zombies, so keep that in mind. 

Infinite Infinite Combos

You like combo decks? Well let me show you a combo deck:

Infinite Infinite Combos
by Back_Alley_G
Creatures
2
Merfolk Looter
1
Mindshrieker
4
Blood Speaker
2
Turntimber Ranger
2
Worldgorger Dragon
4 Archfiend of Ifnir
15 cards

Other Spells
4
Animate Dead
2
Anticipate
4
Zombie Infestation
4 Arcane Adaptation
3
Buried Alive
4
Oath of Jace
1
Stroke of Genius
22 cards
Lands
1
Forest
6
Island
4
Opulent Palace
1
Piranha Marsh
5
Swamp
4
Vivid Marsh
2 Sunscorched Desert
23 cards

Worldgorger Dragon

 

This is a relatively new deck that has the potential to be a tier 1 deck based on its early tournament performances. As the name implies, it wins using infinite loops. Let's have a look at the relevant cards:

This combo works by using Animate Dead on Worldgorger Dragon, which is a pretty classic combo, and it works in a number of ways. When the Dragon enters the battlefield, it exiles both Animate Dead and other permanents, which causes the Dragon to go back to the graveyard, triggering Animate Dead and the permanents to come back. The Animate Dead then targets the Dragon again, and the cycle repeats. With a Sunscorched Desert or Piranha Marsh out, you will eventually ping your opponent to death. With an Island out and a Stroke of Genius in hand, you can generate infinite mana to mill your opponent.

This one works by having Arcane Adaption in play, naming Demon as the creature type. You then start discarding Blood Speaker to Zombie Infestation; the Zombies made by Infestation are now Zombie Demons, which triggers Blood Speaker's ability of returning to your hand. This will allow you to create infinite Zombie Demons. You can also use Arcane Adaptation with a Turntimber Ranger to create infinite Wolf tokens.

The deck has just started making a splash in tournaments, having 8 top 8s in a short space of time. It hasn't won one yet, but has come close. We almost put it on the tier 1 list but time will tell whether or not it gets there - but the deck is certainly powerful, with a 61.8% win rate at the moment. Keep an eye out for it.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, we have an aggro, midrange, combo and control deck all represented, meaning there is a top deck for every type of Magic player. You can expect to face these decks in both tournaments and leagues, and each of them is also a good place to start in the format. 

Next week, we will look at the tier 2 decks on our list. Until then, I encourage you to try the format out. For $1, what have you got to lose?

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