Thundermaw Hellkite Deck (9th Place out of 439 Players)
July 23, 2012 | Posted by Dee
In my opinion, Adam Percy’s Thundermaw Hellkite deck from this past weekend’s Starcitygames Standard Open in Las Vegas was definitely the breakout deck of the tournament.
He found a way to use the awesome Dragon and his efforts got him 9th place out of 439 players. He built a Blue/White/Red (UWR) Midrange deck that featured Thundermaw Hellkite as the main finisher.
Check out his decklist below.
|UWR Dragon Midrange|
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This deck is designed to prey on the many aggro decks in the Standard metagame. It has boardwipe spells with 2 Whipflare and 3 Bonfire of the Damned.
Along with being good at killing multiple creatures, Whipflare is also a cheap way to get around Geist of Saint Traft’s hexproof ability to destroy him.
Bonfire of the Damned is one of the best cards in the format. It’s the only one-sided mass removal spell. It’s awesome when you miracle it and it’s solid when you cast it without the miracle cost.
It fits the deck well because you can set it up as a miracle with Ponder. Also, the deck has a lot of lands and card draw to find more lands.
The deck has cheap removal spells (2 Dismember and 2 Pillar of Flame) to help you avoid being run over by an aggressive deck.
Blade Splicer is a great ground blocker versus cheap aggro creatures. For example, it matches up well against Strangleroot Geist and Gravecrawler.
Restoration Angel combos very well with Blade Splicer. She’s also great blocker because of her big body and flying ability.
You may not think of Phantasmal Image as an anti-aggro card but it can often play that role. For example, it’s good against Strangleroot Geist and opposing Blade Splicers.
Once you take control of the game with all these anti-aggro cards, you can win pretty quickly with Thundermaw Hellkite. It’s a huge flyer for only five mana, has haste, and clears the sky of blockers when it enters the battlefield.
Your opponents will usually be surprised with how fast the Dragon can kill them. It kills one-toughness flyers so sometimes you can slow down a green aggro deck with Birds of Paradise.
Even though this deck is geared to fight aggro decks, it’s not bad against control builds. Many control decks rely on Lingering Souls. Thundermaw Hellkite just crushes that card.
The 3 Cavern of Souls makes sure that the Dragon will resolve whenever your opponent is holding counterspells like Mana Leak. I like to wait and play Cavern as my fifth land and then cast Thundermaw Hellkite.
With this play, you can surprise an opponent who is planning to counterspell your next spell.
Blade Splicer and Restoration Angel are decent cards against control. Sun Titan can be very good especially with Cavern of Souls set to Giant and Phantasmal Images in the graveyard.
I’ve been impressed by Devil’s Play for finishing off control players. The deck has 25 lands, 4 Ponder, and 4 Desperate Ravings so late in the game, you usually have a lot of mana to cast a lethal Devil’s Play.
Plus, the sorcery has flashback. I won one game against Esper Control by flashing back Devil’s Play for eight.
Phantasmal Image has a couple roles in this deck. It interacts well with Sun Titan. It kills legendary creatures like Thrun and Geist of Saint Traft. It copies any of your other creatures for value.
I’ve found myself copying Snapcaster Mage to flashback Ponder to set up my next draws or copying Blade Splicer for more attackers. But my favorite way of playing Phantasmal Image is copying Thundermaw Hellkite.
Once you reach seven mana, your opponent is in danger of taking 10 damage in the air from two hasty Dragons. Against control players that rely on sorcery speed mass removal spells like Day of Judgment and Terminus, this combo of Phantasmal Image and Thundermaw Hellkite can kill them out of nowhere.
The deck doesn’t have that many cheap instants as other Midrange decks. There are no Gitaxian Probes or Thought Scour. Therefore, Adam only had two copies of Snapcaster Mage. The Human Wizard creature is still great with Ponder and Pillar of Flame so you want access to a few copies.
Desperate Ravings requires careful play to use effectively but I think it’s a more powerful card draw spell than Think Twice.
If you have any comments or questions about this deck including sideboard strategies, leave a comment below.