This deck comes from the original Extended format, which is basically today’s Modern. I think it originally comes from Gabriel Nassif, who played it at PT Berlin 2008 and then at Worlds a couple months after. There was a lot of play to it and cards like Riptide Laboratory let you do some really cool tricks with all the Wizards.
I played so much of this deck that I felt really good coming with it into GPs. I think I made the top 16 of three or four Modern GPs in a row, which, combined with my other GP and PT finishes, gained me enough points to get the highest level in the Pro Club, really jump-starting my pro career and allowing me to travel to Magic tournaments around the world for the next 10 or so years.
Coming into PT Austin 2009, I think I arrived from some Asian GP where I practiced a little bit with Shuhei Nakamura and some other Japanese players. I wasn’t really a part of any team, so I just built my deck myself by talking to a local friend from Germany I met through Magic Online.
This was a format where you could play cards like Chrome Mox, Hypergenesis and the Dark Depths and Vampire Hexmage combo. But I always liked aggro decks and Wild Nacatl was also one of the stronger cards at that time, so I just put as many one-drops into my deck as possible, topped it off with Tarmogoyf, some burn spells and Might of Alara.
My list had a bunch of mistakes, including running a Mountain instead of a Plains in a Blood Moon format and having “a little bit of everything” in the Dredge hate department in my sideboard instead of actually thinking about it and playing more copies of the best anti-Dredge card. This came back to haunt me in the Top 8 where I had one of my three copies of Gaddock Teeg in play and I drew a Ravenous Trap that I couldn’t cast against my Dredge opponent. I ended up losing 2-3 in the quarterfinals, so it definitely cost me big, but I was still super happy about my performance with a deck I basically built myself without the help of a big team.
By the year 2012, I was already testing with the ChannelFireball team and made friends with everyone on the PT circuit. One of the best Standard players of all time, Brad Nelson, was always happy to share his GP lists with his friends, and one of those times I was the lucky recipient of a deck list Brad brewed up for a GP in North America. We had a GP in the same format in Europe here in Bochum, and I blindly played Brad’s list without much preparation. As usual, Brad ended up breaking the format, most people had no clue what the deck was even doing and, after two long days, I won the entire GP!
As I was always mostly a Limited player, this scenario repeated itself many times. Brad broke Standard in half, shipped me his deck list and it just felt almost too easy to do well with it because of how perfectly tuned his lists were. Thanks Brad!
We were on some crazy long trip around the world with Shuhei in 2011, where we played GP Brisbane (I think I went 0-3 drop), followed by visiting Peru and the Machu Picchu before we went to GP Santiago (I lost in the Top 8), and then finally ending up in Hiroshima, Japan for a Standard GP. We did a lot of sightseeing everywhere, so there wasn’t much time for testing multiple formats.
In Brisbane, we noticed a G/W Tokens deck in the Top 8 that we really liked the look of. After coming back to Shuhei’s before GP Hiroshima, we were super jetlagged and, for the most part, didn't even know what time of the day it was, so we just played about 10 games with this deck before sleeping for what was probably 30 straight hours to catch up on sleep. It looked good, so we just settled on playing it and hoped for the best.
I ended up getting paired against Shuhei in Round 4 after our three byes, won a close match and then got paired against by far the most popular deck in the tournament, U/W Spirits, seemingly every match until the finals. I don’t think I have ever played the matchup before because the deck was fairly new, but somehow we hit the jackpot and we had a great matchup against it. I went 7 or 8-0 against it, including beating it two or three times in the Top 8 and ended up winning the GP!
I couldn’t really have picked any other deck than Elves as my number one. I already had a PT Top 16 and some decent finishes by the time Berlin rolled around, but never really broke through. We found Elves about a month before the tournament and set up a message board with some other international players where we discussed the best possible build. We settled on this version with Predator Dragon and Chord of Calling, which ended up carrying me into the Top 8, which secured me the second highest level in the Pro Club in my first full Pro season.
The deck was honestly unreal and turn two kills were not uncommon, but there were obviously a lot of other teams who found the deck. There ended up being six copies in the Top 8 and LSV won the entire thing, which jump-started his career as well.
Looking back, I cannot believe we only ran two copies of Elvish Visionary in a deck with four Wirewood Symbiote and instead played gems like Elvish Champion, but this deck was simply so powerful that it let you get away with even deck building mistakes like that.
Martin learned to play Magic at a young age after he saw some of his classmates playing it. Once he learned, he built a beginner deck and ever since then, he’s been hooked. Considered one of the top players in the world, his busy travel schedule made him become a real Magic Globetrotter, representing the game worldwide. Learn more about Martin.