Standard - GB Rock (June 2019)

28 27
14 12 10 24
Midrange Control


June 2019 Edition

This standard list of the Rock functions as a control-oriented midrange build. We attempt to have answers for everything, and can play either aggressively or defensively utilizing the tools available to Green and/or Black.
Specifically, we want to ramp while also eliminating key opponent threats with our premium removal options.  Once we have a playable game-winner, we immmediate press our first available advantage and then switch to dropping super-powerful planeswalkers. 


know your role


In order to understand the general playstyle and theory of this list, you should be familiar with the following terms and concepts relating to your role in the game:



Reactive- Playing cards in response to your opponents cards. 
Your opponent presents threats to you.

Active- Plays cards to threaten opponent, and will win the game if unanswered.
Your opponent must react to you, otherwise they will lose (to illustrate further,
even a llanowar elf can be an active threat as you will deal 20 damage of health
in 20 turns if your opponent does nothing).

Advantage - At current game-state, you are most likely to win.
Can be difficult to determine who has the advantage early to mid game if both
players are active or if both players are reactice. 

Disadvantage- At current game state, you are most likely to loose. 



Often, with this deck, you will intentionally play the reactive role for the first half of the game. Most non-control decks don’t want to play reactively, and will typically only be in a reactive state if they are at a disadvantage and forced to do so (reactive-disadvantage). This GB Rock attempts to exploit the benefits of playing reactively which is rare for a midrange styled deck (reactive-advantage).


Accordingly, for those new to a deck that wants play at a reactive-advantage, it may feel like you are losing even though you are, in fact, winning. Its very important to know when you are at a reactive-advantage vs. when you are at a reactive-disadvantage, and being able to identify the difference between these two states is critical to success with lists like this one.


After playing at a reactive-advantage, we then switch gears to an active playstyle. The midpoint of the game is the moment you switch from a reactive-advantage to an active-advantage. YOU MUST PRESS THE ADVANTAGE AND THEN LOCK THE OPPONENT DOWN.


This means if you can reasonably keep your opponent on the reactive-disadvantage for the remainder of the game, then do so immediately



Some articles (not mine) on the history of the "Rock" archetype, with some MTG theory:
 Rock (MTG Wiki Explanation)
Wizard's of the Coast Rock Deck Tech Article
MTG Salvation Forum Thread - Where did the Rock Archetype Get its Name
MTG Top8 - Recent Rock Tournament Lists in Modern 




4 [[Llanowar Elves]]

3 [[Leyline Prowler]]

2 [[Massacre Girl]]

4 [[Paradise Druid]]

3 [[Ripjaw Raptor]]

4 [[Ob Nixilis's Cruelty]]

4 [[Vraska's Contempt]]

3 [[Liliana, Dreadhorde General]]

3 [[Vraska, Golgari Queen]]

3 [[Ugin, the Ineffable]]

3 [[Nissa, Who Shakes the World]]

4 [[Woodland Cemetery]]

4 [[Overgrown Tomb]]

4 [[Interplanar Beacon]]

6 [[Swamp]]

6 [[Forest]]


4 [[Assassin's Trophy]]

2 [[Command the Dreadhorde]]

2 [[Sorcerous Spyglass]]

3 [[The Elderspell]]

3 [[Ashiok, Dream Render]]

1 [[Massacre Girl]]




{{Paradise Druid}}

Hexproof and the ability to tap for any color of land on a mana-dork is an extremely useful ability. [[Paradise Druid]]'s one-toughness can also be a boon if you strategically play a massacre girl as one-health creatures don't always appear in all matchups.



{{Leyline Prowler}}

Excellent against aggro decks, and also destroys the big mama-jammas like [[Carnage Tyrant]] with deathtouch. Between our 4 [[Llanowar elves]], 3 [[Paradise Druid]], and 3 [[Leyline Prowler]], we have access to 10 sources of mana-ramp (outside of Nissa).



{{Massacre Girl}}

Plenty of targets or [[Massacre Girl]] exist in the current meta. Great for removing your opponent's mana-dorks, and clears out afterlife cards nicely. This will also kill a [[Rekindling Phoenix]] and its token. Sometimes I run three-of in the mainboard, and other times I opt for these in the sideboard. As a general rule though, 2-of is a good baseline from which you should modify card counts.



{{Ripjaw Raptor}}

Fantastic card. [[Ripjaw Raptor]] was very underrated for a while, but its starting to catch on. Sometimes you'll drop these in a control-matchup, but not always. With an empty board state, this creature's attack power will put your opponent on a 5-turn clock.



{{Ob Nixilis's Cruelty}}

The exile effect and 3 cmc is why we run this. We opt for a large volume of single target removal in lieu of board-clears.



{{Nissa, Who Shakes the World}}

People like this card, rate it highly, and use it. Even so I think its under-rated. In my opinion, [[Nissa, Who Shakes the World]] is the strongest and most meta-warping planeswalker released in the past few sets (yes, stronger the Teferi and his son). It will become even more prevalant, I'm sure. Ramp, damage, and a game-winning ultimate for 5 mana. 



{{Vraska, Golgari Queen}}

Even more removal with an added synergy for Liliana and Ugin.



{{Liliana, Dreadhorde General}} / {{Ugin, the Ineffable}}

In siutations when you are unsure of which ability to use, defer to creating a dude. After playing the list for awhile, it will stop feeling like a coin-toss on which ability to use in some situations- but starting out you should make the tokens more often than you would normally think is appropriate. You want hand-advantage, and a threat on the board and both Ugin and Liliana provide same. 





{{Assassin's Trophy}}

Side in against control (removing [[Ob Nixilis' Cruelty]]). Fantastic card, but hurts too much against mono and dual-colored decks to run mainboard.




{{Command the Dreadhorde}}

Bring this in when playing against midrange decks. It destroys them.





{{Sorcerous Spyglass}}

If the opponent is playing powerful permanents that have an activated ability (planeswalkers, etc.) bring these in.




{{The Elderspell}}

Great against superfriends, the mirror, and any deck heavy on planeswalkers. A bit too restrictive to mainboard, as it whiffs more often than [[Price of Betrayal]], on average since you are limited to only targetting planeswalkers.




{{Ashiok, Dream Render}}

Shuts down 4c Dreadhorde decks and Izzet phoenix/drake decks. In a pinch, bring in against control matchups. This card keeps Tamiyo in check.




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I agree it needs draw. Either maindeck Ripjaw Raptor or maybe Bloodfast?
Its nice, but the lack of disruption is definitely felt in the esper matchup if they have a nice hand and you don't. However, on an average, I've found the current list to perform slightly better.
Looks like you recently made some changes. How do you feel it holds up with Massacre Girl as the only true sweeper and no real hand disruption post board?
It really depends on the meta after rotation. That said, many of the important cards in this list are going to stick around.
Hello, I really like the deck but do you think it will endure even after the rotation?
For Ripjaw you can play Biogenic, thrashing brantodon, and/or thorn Lieutenant
Definitely gonna try this, is there a sub for Ripjaw Raptor?
Please let me know if any of my reactive/active explanation is confusing and I'll try to fix it. Its a very important aspect to playing the deck, and I want to be clear on the point.
Last Updated: 09 Jul 2019
Created: 06 Jun 2019
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