Katherine presents a Historic brew with some potential.

A New Deck

Like many people I’ve become a little frustrated with Standard. Resorting to Historic for my MTGA fix during this quarantine, I decided to get creative and try a Gyruda brew.

Building Around Gyruda

Personally, I love companions, the unique deck building restrictions made brewing incredibly fun to me and leapt at the chance to utilize Thassa’s Oracle in a combo orientated creature deck. After over 20 hours of testing however, I ended up with a surprisingly resilient combo deck, winning through mill, Oracle or just a massive board presence, fighting through an absurd amount of hate. Unlike Winota, Joiner of Forces, this deck gives you a lot more agency, letting you weigh up the options and go off on turn 4, 5 or 6. With the right setup, the deck frequently wins on the spot. Utilizing loops including Luminous Broodmoth, Spark Double and Thassa, Deep-Dwelling to extend the combo.

Paradise Druid

Mulligans

With the companion mechanic, the deck mulls surprisingly well. Criteria for a keep-able opening hand in game 1 contains a combination of 2-4 lands and 1-2 ramp spells. Similar to Dredge decks, hands that contain Spark Double or Gyruda are likely inclusions for a mulligan. Each Spark Double or Gyruda in your opening hand dilutes the potential to hit combo pieces and it’s rare I actively want these in my opening hand, it’s not uncommon to win on a mull to 5 or even 4. In games 2 and 3 depending on the match-up, you’ll want key anti-hate pieces or hands with a little more sustain vs aggressive decks which I’ll go into later.

Sequencing & Combo

Turns 1 and 2 are obviously incredibly simple, play a scryland and a mana dork. However as early as turn 3 you have choices to make. In the dark the ideal sequence is turn 3 Broodmoth, leading into Thassa on 4 and Gyruda on 5. This gives you the highest chance of ending the game on turn 5. With these 3 pieces, each Gyruda gives you a minimum of 2 triggers due to the legend rule and Luminous Broodmoth’s interaction. The difficulty comes in the common scenario when you’re unable to take the time to completely set up this sequence. Depending on the match-up this sequence will need to change, sometimes rushing the turn 4 Gyruda and sometimes waiting until the combo is almost assured to win on the spot.

Luminous Broodmoth

The deck has a favorable match-up vs aggressive decks. Upon hitting Mythic my win-rate vs Mono Red Obosh is 5-4, Mono Black 7-0, Gruul 6-2 and Lurrus 5-1. The difficulty comes in surviving the early onslaught, several games vs Mono Red were lost entirely to Chainwhirler wiping out my Paradise Druids on turn 3 or 4, resulting in me being unable to cast Gyruda to stabilize. Mono Black, Gruul and Lurrus simply don’t have the speed to get under Gyruda and often lack the ability to interact with Paradise Druid or Humble Naturalist. Broodmoth allows you to block with dorks from turn 4 onward if needed, making a win with Gyruda trivial.

Winota, Joiner of Forces


Combo decks are slightly more varied, My win-rate vs Winota was 8-7, I believe it’s a slightly favorable match-up but is highly play/draw dependent. On the play it’s often enough to rush Gyruda on turn 4 to flood the board and survive their initial Winota triggers and prey Haktos doesn’t roll a 3. Post-board you have options like Meddling Mage and Settle the Wreckage to even the playing field a little. However sometimes they just hit 3 Marauders and there’s not a whole lot you can do against that. It may be worth investing in some slightly more specific sideboard choices if Winota continues to increase in the meta. The Luuka match-up is a weird one. There’s nothing really stopping them putting an Agent into play on turn 5 with Luuka, this forces us to cast Gyruda on 4 which can be difficult against Deafening Clarion, Wolfwillow Haven gives a little security vs Clarion but not against Teferi so early turns can be difficult, however if you manage to resolve a Gyruda and put a Broodmoth or Shalai into play it can be difficult for Luuka decks to meaningfully respond. Field/Gates decks aren’t a massive issue, dodging an early Gates Ablaze, Gyruda on 5 is often enough to win the game, stealing an Ulamog is a highlight if they’re playing it. The difficulty comes with Simic Nexus, my win-rate is an absolutely horrendous 0-8. Many of the losses came early on before the deck was entirely finished, however many of the games weren’t close. Unless you win with Gyruda immediately, you simply bring them closer to looping Nexus forever. As a result I think this match-up is incredibly rough but I have no doubts a better player could even this record up a lot.

A few other standouts include Teferi Control/Hero decks and Mono Blue, these are interesting, turning the deck into more of a mid-range game plan. Cards like Fiend Artisan become much more useful to dodge counter-spells and Meddling Mage. Post board Broken Bond and Destiny Spinner become essential.

Thassa’s Oracle

Sideboard Guide

IN
Mono Red Obosh
3 Settle the Wreckage
1 Loxodon Lifechanter

OUT

4 Paradise Druid

This match-up can be pretty tough. It’s about surviving early. Mana dorks are a little less important, bringing out Paradise Druid as it folds to Chainwhirler. Key cards are definitely Charming Prince to fend off early aggression and gain life, following a few Princes with Broodmoth can net you additional life and extra blockers. Keep making land drops and keep your life total high. Choosing the right time to settle to clear the way for Gyruda can be important, Loxodon Lifechanter can give you a little extra life to survive any Lightning Strikes and seal the deal.

IN
Lurrus Burn/Mono Black
2 Remorseful Cleric
2 Settle the Wreckage

OUT

2 Wolfwillow Haven
2 Fiend Arisan

This match-up is considerably easier than Mono Red. Not being as fast as Mono Red and instead trading off for a little more reliability. Again, surviving the initial onslaught of Lavarunner and Pyromancer is essential, trading off mana dorks is fine to ensure you survive as any Gyruda is usually enough to stabilize and make it difficult for Lurrus to close it out. Fiend Artisan isn’t as useful here as it’s frequently a 1/1 when it comes down and Remorseful Cleric is just all round a better blocker and can be useful against recursion. You also hit it off Gyruda which is why we use this over Leyline of the Void. Additionally Shalai can be a great card vs Pyromancer, forcing them to target themselves.

IN
Gruul
2 Settle the Wreckage

OUT

2 Wolfwillow Haven

Gruul match-ups turn into a more mid-range grind. Try not to let them flood the board too much and keep in mind Settle is useless vs Spellbreaker. However once you establish a Broodmoth and Gyruda or two it becomes difficult for Gruul to break through and you can go for the combo or just chip away with moths and angels.

IN
Jund
2 Remorseful Cleric
2 Settle the Wreckage
2 Meddling Mage

OUT

2 Fiend Artisan
2 Thassa’s Oracle
2 Wolfwillow Haven

Jund ended up being a really interactive and interesting match. Priest of the Forgotten Gods makes it difficult to establish an early Gyruda. Balancing mana dorks and other expendable creatures such as Charming Prince is important, early Broodmoth or Shalai make the match trivial as Priest’s ability is either unable to target you or your sacrificed creatures become recursive. A well timed Cleric can cripple their tempo and Meddling Mage naming Kroxa or Priest can do the same. Settle is in there as a little backup against more conventional aggression. Don’t be afraid to throw Clerics and Mages out to protect your docks from Sac effects too, as with many matches, Gyruda usually seals the deal.

IN
Winota Combo
2 Settle the Wreckage
2 Meddling Mage
1 Loxodon Lifechanter

OUT

2 Wolfwillow Haven
2 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
1 Fiend Artisan

Winota is one of the more frustrating match-ups. Many of the games are decided with a coin flip. Unlike this deck I don’t feel there are many choices to be made for the Winota player besides trying to flood the board with Angrath’s Marauder. If you’re unlucky and they hit 2-3 Marauders, it’s basically over. Even a single hit means you’re likely dead. As a result you want to try and rush Gyruda as quickly as possible. On the play this isn’t too difficult and a decent Gyruda can fill the board enough to survive. From then on it’s usually favorable. On the draw it’s not uncommon for them to hit Winota on 3 and just start smacking you for massive damage. It can be worth delaying Gyruda for a turn to play Settle. Winota decks often only play 2 basics and as a result, Settle can be a massive blowout. However Spellbreaker incidentally shuts Settle down completely which can be very frustrating. Meddling Mage naming Winota is great as you would expect.

IN
Field/Gates
2 Meddling Mage
3 Broken Bond

OUT

2 Fiend Artisan
2 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
1 Wolfwillow Haven

This one isn’t too complicated, I firmly believe we’re the better combo deck and as a result the usual game plan of Broodmoth and Gyruda can seal the deal. Broken Bond serves as a ramp spell and removal vs Golos and any Grafdigger’s Cage/Guild Summit. Meddling Mage can also name Golos or anything else you’re a little worried about to help you along.

IN
Jeskai Luuka
3 Destiny Spinner
2 Meddling Mage
3 Broken Bond

OUT

2 Wolfwillow Haven
4 Charming Prince
2 Fiend Artisan

I find this match-up to be inconsistent at best. Frequently I’ll find myself using dorks and evasive threats to steadily chip away with Broodmoth as insurance from Shatter the Sky. They’ll be expecting you to pull out the Gyruda combo and will likely hold up Mystical Dispute. Forcing them to tap out for Agent can give you an opportunity to play Gyruda. Timing is everything in this match-up, tapping out too early into Dispute is death, flooding the board into a Clarion is also death. Pacing your threats and reacting correctly is key.

IN
Simic Nexus/Jeskai Nexus
2 Meddling Mage
3 Broken Bond
3 Destiny Spinner

OUT

2 Wolfwillow Haven
2 Fiend Artisan
2 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
1 Humble Naturalist
1 Paradise Druid

Nexus fills me with the rage of ten thousand suns and I wish it didn’t exist. However it does so we’re bringing in Meddling Mage and naming Reclamation or Nexus depending on how far into the game we are. Broken Bond any Azcanta or Reclamation you see and pray to gods. You get 1 shot with your combo so make it count. If you don’t win once you play Gyruda it’s basically over, passing the turn over without a Meddling Mage on the board means it’s almost assured they’ll be able to loop Nexus with no issues. You can’t mill them out due to Nexus’ replacement effect and attacking is often impossible due to Root Snare. However I have snatched a couple of games, due to a Meddling Mage resolving and naming Root Snare.

Conclusion

All in all, on my journey from Gold 4 to Mythic, I faced a grand total of 1 Gyruda deck, as a result I’m pretty happy that I managed to brew up a heavily inspired, Historic Variant of this flavor of the month deck. We’ll have to see how it fares post companion changes! You can find my full stats for the deck here!