Welcome To The Grind: A GenericBad Deck Tech

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers,

Mathew here from GenericBadMagic to bring you a decklist created by a good friend that’s sure to come away with a few wins at your local FNM or Standard Showdown. Featuring some of the best creatures that black mana has to offer, hand disruption and removal this deck will hit hard in the early game and transition nicely into an attritional strategy to grind out the match if needed.

Let’s take a look at the creatures that help us beat down early in the game and stay ahead:


4x Dread Wanderer
4x Scrapheap Scrounger
4x Gifted Aetherborn
3x Dusk Legion Zealot
2x Oathsworn Vampire
3x Yahenni, Undying Partisan
3x Bone Picker
3x Ravenous Chupacabra
2x Bontu, The Glorified

If you want to show your opponent you’re ready to grind it out from turn one, look no further than Dread Wanderer. An aggressive creature for one mana that can return from the graveyard is just what you want in this kind of deck, the downside of entering the battlefield tapped is one that doesn’t hurt too much on the play and if anything makes your side boarding decisions easier before a game where your opponent will likely choose to go first.

Scrapheap Scrounger has been an absolute all-star since it’s introduction in Kaladesh, making his way into just about any deck that uses black mana, particularly the menace that is Mardu Vehicles. This guy generally provides great advantage and forces the opponent to play a more expensive exile spell for the sake of permanent removal, even after eating a number of Fatal Push or other destroy spells.

Gifted Aetherborn is simply one of the best creatures in black on the market right now, two mana for a 2/3 is already alright but having Deathtouch and Lifelink stapled on is a real backbreaker for opposing aggro decks, this guy attacks and blocks like a champ and is excellent at trading up and taking them down with him.

Dusk Legion Zealot has really surprised me, making the jump from good Limited option in Vampire tribal to filling in as a quick way to draw a card in a colour with fairly restricted options in that regard.

Oathsworn Vampire is simply more recursion, with other creatures like Gifted Aetherborn and Bontu in the deck to gain life, this guy will pretty regularly be cast from the graveyard and prove to be a waste of opposing removal.

Yahenni helps to really tie this together, being fast and aggressive is in line with the modus operandi of the deck and the ability to get bigger and stronger when opposing creatures die just makes your removal spells that much better. The real strength that this card has though is the survivability. As a reverse Selfless Spirit (kinda want to call him Selfish Spirit now) able to survive boardwipes (except Settle the Wreckage) by sacrificing a comrade at instant speed this cool guy never looks at explosions, he just turns around and walks away.

Like the vulture he is, bone picker is extremely eager to get involved in the carnage caused by your aggressive creatures and removal, so eager he’ll come down for a seriously discounted mana cost a lot of the time. At his best as a one mana 3/2 with Flying and Deathtouch he’s an aggressive eye in the sky, or excellent defence when you’re behind.

Ravenous Chupacabra, hereafter known as bad dog, is a great little tempo swing for four mana, taking out any non-indestructible creature and providing you with a 2/2 body in the process, not to mention the synergy with Bone Picker and Yahenni.

Bontu the Glorified, my favourite of the Amonkhet god cycle, he’s touch to block and easy for this deck to enable, even offering you information from your deck when using his ability, this also entitles you to 75% off any Bonepickers that turn because you have to sacrifice a creature and allows you to re-cast your Oathsworn Vampires from the graveyard. Win, win, win and win!

Other Spells

4x Fatal Push
2x Arterial Flow
2x Vraska’s Contempt

All of our other spells are disruption for the opponent, Fatal Push takes care of most early drops in the format and enables our Bonepicker discounts and makes Yahenni bigger.

Arterial Flow forces the opponent to part with two cards and as long as you control a vampire (you have eight in the deck) you get to drain them of two life points in the process.

Vraska’s Contempt is fast becoming one of the premium removal spells in the format as it deals efficiently with indestructible or recursive threats like Hazoret and Rekindling Phoenix in todays metagame.


4x Ifnir Deadlands
2x Field of Ruin
18x Swamp

In addition to our eighteen Swamps we also utilize Ifnir Deadlands as a land that turns into additional removal (or shrinkage) in the late game alongside two copies of Field of Ruin to help keep the opponent from burying us in Vampire tokens from Adanto, the First Fort or card advantage from Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin.


4x Duress
2x Lost Legacy
1x Vraska’s Contempt
2x Moment of Craving
1x Arterial Flow
2x Gonti, Lord of Luxury
3x Bontu’s Last Reckoning

Our sideboard is where we slow down and take stock after game one and we will often find ourselves looking to add more grind to the deck, more ways to survive and more ways to frustrate, with effective disruption in the form of Duress, tearing key combo pieces like God-Pharaoh’s gift out of the opponent’s hand and Lost Legacy taking care of Refurbish, Approach of the Second Sun and Drake Haven we can insulate ourselves reasonably well against the dominant Blue/White strategies in the format.

Bontu’s Last Reckoning is excellent for those match ups where the opponent will straight up out-aggro us and beat down until we die. This should buy us a turn or two after clearing a cluttered field, becoming even better late in the game when we can just bring back our recursive creatures.

Moment of Craving isn’t as strong as Grasp of Darkness was but can still take out some pesky threats, gaining life in the process, perfect for taking on Red Deck Wins.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury will steal your heart… along with a card from the top of your opponents Library. Because what’s better than beating your opponent? Doing it with one of their best cards. Of course, Gonti could hit nothing but your opponent doesn’t have to know that and this is what makes Gonti so great for mind games against control when the opponent has to wonder if you took one of their own counterspells. Even if you din’t take anything good Gonti is still a 2/2 with Deathtouch that is excellent at trading up with bigger creatures.

In Summation

This deck can be an absolute nightmare to play against due to all of its recursive threats, ways to gain incremental advantage and straight aggression. You can even sideboard quite effectively into a mono-black control deck utilizing some of the nastiest tricks that the colour has to offer in Standard.

That’s about all I have for the deck today, huge credit goes out to my friend Ross Gauld for the design of the deck and the near instant results it put up at FNM and Standard Showdown and I can’t thank him enough for letting me write his deck up today.

Please let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter @GenericBadMtg

You can also catch me by email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com

Until next time, draw well, have fun and respect each other!




A Casual Deck for Rodent Enthusiasts

Hello my fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here with a deck that’s perfect for the kitchen table (because it’s legal in zero other formats) and made up of my favourite creature type in the game… SQUIRRELS!

I figured it was best to leave brewing in Standard until after the banned and restricted announcement to get the best possible idea of the meta I’ll be playing in for the coming months, so today it’s a totally casual deck that should be very nicely balanced for the kitchen table and offer good fun gameplay against your friends concoctions. The format is 60 card Casual Constructed and no card is off limits, however it was in the forefront of my thinking to keep the power level reasonable and focus more on theme than function.

Lets start with our creature package:


4x Llanowar Elves
4x Blossom Dryad
4x Squirrel Mob
2x Deranged Hermit
4x Earl of Squirrel

Llanowar Elves and Blossom Dryad help us to ramp out our entire hand, flooding the field in the process. This is very much likely to draw some of the opponents removal as you may as well “always bolt the bird”. (Bolt the bird meaning to kill the mana dork, referring originally to Birds of Paradise)

Squirrel Mob is the first of our fuzzy little friends to make an appearance and actually only one of two Squirrel permanents in the deck, however it likes to benefit from our Squirrel generating effects and generally get pumped up.

Deranged Hermit is one of our lord effects which also generates four squirrels in one go (boosting our mob) and makes them all bigger. If you don’t want to pay the echo cost it’s still decent for making Squirrel Mob a big ol’ four power and toughness bigger. (five until you have to sacrifice him)

Making his way to the ring, weighing in at around 600 grams (yes I researched Red Squirrel weight…), it’s our rodential overlord… THE EARL OF SQUIRREL! Straight outta Unstable (it’s casual remember) this guy comes down to make every creature token we may end up controlling into a Squirrel and even makes all of our Squirrels bigger through the anthem effect. What’s more it gives us the best keyword ability in all of Magic history: Squirrelink, generating one squirrel for each damage it deals. Squirrel Mob likes this guy, receiving a huge boost over the course of a game where you keep the Earl alive.

Other Spells:

4x Rancor
4x Chatter of the Squirrel
4x Squirrel Nest
4x Druids Call
3x Acorn Harvest
3x Parallel Lives

So, we need to make Squirrels to fuel our mob and overrun our opponent, Chatter of the Squirrel and Acorn Harvest do a decent job of getting more bodies on the field and can even be flashed back from the graveyard.

Druids Call, primarily when enchanting Squirrel Mob, can threaten to really take over the game, discouraging damaged based removal targeting our muscular fuzzballs and naturally making the Mob bigger whenever it takes damage.

Squirrel Nest was added to the deck to combo with Blossom Dryad, letting us create two Squirrels each turn by tapping and untapping (then re-tapping) one land, as always, making Squirrel Mob bigger.

Parallel Lives opens a portal to an alternate reality where literal hordes of Squirrels lay in wait, patiently looking for an opportunity to spill over into our world and assert total domination.

The last card I added to this deck was Rancor because why not give your 15/15 Squirrel +2/+0 and Trample?


Along with eighteen copies of basic Forest in our deck we utilise a playset of Swamyard, giving us a level of protection for our Earl of Squirrel or Squirrel Mob.

Closing Statement:

This is a deck I decided to brew up after playing in Unstable, because if there’s one thing it taught me, it’s that sometimes its important to get back to the roots of Magic and focus on just having fun rather than being competitive.

Try it out, have a great time and start wondering why everyone doesn’t have a casual Squirrels deck!

Until next time you can catch me on Twitter @GenericBadMtg or by email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com

In conclusion… all hail our new Rodent Masters!



A GenericBadSummary: New Year Edition

Hello my fellow Planeswalkers,

Mathew here from GenericBadMagic to talk to you about the year I’ve had, how I feel about what I’ve achieved and what I hope to achieve within content creation and Magic in general throughout 2018.

Since I set up a WordPress account on the 18th of June 2017 and posted my first article it has been a great six months writing up decks and sharing my experience of GP Birmingham 2017 (where I achieved a record of 3-6-0) with you all. I couldn’t be more grateful for the support I’ve received online and at my LGS. Without the decks supplied by my fellow paper players and one or two other sources I would have roughly half the writing to do and this would be so much harder, so thank you all for everything.

GenericBadMagic has been growing nicely on Twitter with 236 followers at the time of writing, more people than I had hoped to ever reach. I hope to continue this growth by continuing to create articles and incorporate some streaming on Twitch in the near future. This will allow me to add another dimension to my content, showcase my thoughts and feelings on the decks I write up whilst providing a real record of performance (or failing in the most hilarious of manners). Another thing I’m excited to get my hands dirty with is recording and editing my gameplay after the fact for YouTube to be enjoyed whenever you fancy some generic bad magic (misplays sold separately).

In terms of paper play I’ve actively tried to get to more tournaments in my local area (I’ve still to play in a Constructed PPTQ) and ill continue this into the new year becoming more accomplished and competitive as the weeks roll by. It’s unlikely that I will find myself in a position to go to more than one GP per year at this time but I have my sights set firmly on a return to Birmingham in May to have a crack at the Standard field. Back to the subject of PPTQ’s and I have a very clear goal in mind for 2018, make at least one top 8. This might not seem like a big goal but to me it’s something I’ve come so close to, an obstacle to overcome and something to push on from to better things.

The main aim, which is far more difficult to quantify, is to improve as a player. I hope to achieve this through regular practice and streaming/creating for an audience to get feedback and exchange ideas. This is the best way to improve as a collective and I hope you’ll all join me on the journey!

That’s all I’ve got today, you can catch me on Twitter @GenericBadMtg in the meantime and don’t forget to show some love to the small content creators of the community this New Year.

Draw well, respect one another and have a Happy New Year.



Fraying Sanity: A… Compelling Argument For Mill

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers,

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here to bring you a whole new standard brew, drawn up from scratch by yours truly over the last week or so, Standard Mill! Our deck is entirely focussed on demolishing the opponents library as quickly as possible through mill spells and creatures, supported by some level of removal and board management with a little card selection to find the necessary cards.

Lets take a look at how our creatures contribute,


4x Minister of Enquiries
4x Seer of the Last Tomorrow
2x Fleet Swallower

We start with four of Minister of Enquiries, a creature that has seen play almost exclusively in decks that want to mill themselves and benefit from God-Pharaoh’s Gift. Here, though, we want to take away the top three cards of our opponents library at any opportunity.

Seer of the last tomorrow is a blocker with pretty decent toughness that lets us ditch those dead land or removal spells and take some more of our opponents library away.

Last in our creature base is the old favourite, Fleet Swallower, I’ve been trying to make this guy work since my old Izzet Control list and I think that in a focussed deck like this one he is able to shine. All you need do is attack with Fleet Swallower to remove half of the opponents library and let one of our enchantments do the rest.


4x Search for Azcanta
4x Fraying Sanity
4x Cast Out

Search for Azcanta helps us to be selective of what we draw and flips into an impulse effect to find our removal or mill spells to stay alive or close out a game.

Fraying Sanity is the second half of our Mill Fish win-con, forcing the opponent to double up on the cards milled for the turn, meaning one Fleet Swallower swing is lethal. This can also be devastating for the incremental removal of the enemy library over the course of the game.

Cast out is our spot removal, taking care of any non-land permanents simply don’t like the look of, whether it be an opposing Search for Azcanta, Hazoret or other dangerous threat. This also at least offers the utility of cycling away for another card when it’s simply not relevant.

Other Spells:

4x Compelling Argument
2x Glimmer of Genius
3x Settle the Wreckage
2x Fumigate

Compelling Argument is our cheap mill spell, adding up to twenty cards milled in a game with the playset, more with Fraying Sanity in play to double up. Again, you can cycle it away if something else entirely is required for the situation.

Glimmer of Genius offers good card selection and also provides some energy for Minister of Enquiries to do his thing.

Settle the Wreckage is the entire reason I chose white over black as the support colour. This is because the opponent either goes and gets a number of land cards out of their library, bringing them closer to being milled, or they chose not to because they’re scared of our plan and then don’t benefit from the “downside” of our spell.

Fumigate is another good card in white for this deck, gaining back some life, clearing the board and putting more cards in the opponent’s graveyard to trigger Fraying Sanity for some extra value.


4x Ipnu Rivulet
4x Scavenger Ground
2x Hostile Desert
4x Irrigated Farmland
4x Glacial Fortress
4x Island
3x Plains

Our utility land starts with four copies of Ipnu Rivulet, simply another way to mill our opponents for the small cost of sacrificing a desert. you can keep this repeatable by sacrificing any of the other deserts in the deck, or sacrifice Ipnu Rivulet to its own ability in a pinch.

Scavenger Grounds helps us to keep Gift decks in check and stop the opponent from taking advantage of a full graveyard.

Hostile Desert can help to keep us alive through opposing attacks by removing some of our sacrificed deserts and becoming a 3/4 creature to fight our ground battles.

To try and ensure we have both our colours online by turn four we have four each of Irrigated Farmland and Glacial Fortress in our suite of twenty-five total land. This ensures we hit our land drops as much as possible and also compensates for the sacrificing of deserts to mill our opponents.


Authority of the Consuls comes in against aggro and token decks to slow them down and gain us life at the same time.

Gideons Intervention helps us to shut down Approach of the Second Sun or just take away the utility of God Pharaoh’s Gift dependant on matchup.

Ixalan’s Binding gets rid of opposing Scarab God, Cast Out or even other copies of binding.

Negate and Disallow come in to combat control and try to win counter wars while Torrential Gearhulk can come down and do the same or let you reuse one of your mill spells whilst allowing you to take on more of a beatdown plan.

So that’s all I have for now on this deck. I do plan on testing it live on stream in the new year for you all because if there’s one deck we don’t see enough of in the Standard environment these days it’s mill!

Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter @GenericBadMtg and tell me how bad I am at brewing! (King of Jank, I’m looking at you)

Until next time,

Draw well, have fun and respect each other.



GenericBadInsights Part 1: Misplays

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew here from GenericBadMagic with a subject we can all relate to. Whether it’s on the kitchen table, your local FNM or PPTQ we have all had a misplay that lingers in memory long after the fact. Something you find yourself thinking about months later, wondering why? Why? Why didn’t I play that differently.

Here’s mine:

Picture the scene, round one of GP Birmingham 2017, the format is Modern, I’m playing Burn and I’m tied at 1-1 against a Scapeshift deck, I have an empty hand, four land plus a fetchland in play, on 9 life facing down an angry Thragtusk while my opponent is on 3 life.

Seeing this raging Thragtusk I made the rookie mistake of trying to preserve my life total, choosing not to fetch and find a land. Two turns in a row I fail to topdeck that all important burn Spell or creature to apply pressure, two turns in a row I neglect to fetch, reluctant to spend that seemingly precious one life.

I should truly have fetched at the earliest opportunity, thinned out my deck and gave myself the best possible chance of finding what I needed, a Lava Spike, Lightning Bolt, Rift Bolt, anything. The simple truth of it was that I was on a two turn clock, whether I fetched or not Thragtusk had to hit me twice to kill me and I failed to appreciate that.

I finished 3-6 for that tournament and while I wasn’t expecting anything special from my first run at a major event I didn’t see any other top tier decks that I knew I had a decent matchup against from my very underwhelming testing experience. I only naturally feel that I could have don much better if I’d only won that game but it would be a mistake to beat myself up about it, to decide that I definitely would have went 7-2 or 8-1 or otherwise made day two and excelled if I had just made the correct play. That would be too easy an excuse to hide behind.

The right thing to do now is to learn from it, apply my knowledge of using life totals as a resource in future games, reading the boardstate and understanding the clock my opponent puts me on and use that to make more optimal gameplay choices going forward.

So just remember, whatever the mistake, learn from it. Do yourself a service and work to understand what you did wrong, don’t hide behind it. Make better choices, informed by the errors of games gone by. Be mindful of this and you will improve as a player, certain things will become second nature, you’ll miss less of the nuances of the game and over time become a better player. Keep in mind though, it’s virtually impossible to catch everything and you will make errors in judgement. Think of these as lessons and every day becomes a school day!

I’d love to hear from everyone else, catch me on Twitter @GenericBadMtg or in the comments here with the plays you wish had gone differently, let’s learn together as a community and work to truly better our understanding of the game.

Until next time, enjoy yourself, draw well and respect each other.



Izzet Aggro? No, Really, is it?


Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here to bring you all a deck that was voted for by the good people of Twitter. Earlier this week I ran a poll allowing my followers to choose the colour combination of this weeks scheduled deck tech. The options available were Dimir (Blue/Black), Rakdos (Black/Red) and Izzet (Blue/Red) and after an initial draw between Dimir and Izzet our final victor in the follow up poll was Blue/Red!

This is one of my favourite colour combinations to brew and mess with due to the high volume of aggressive non-creature spells and efficient methods of sculpting your hand to be found amongst the card pool offering almost unreasonable flexibility. From here all I had to do was decide “What kind of Izzet deck do I want?” We’ve all seen the control mode which made a huge splash in Standard not too long ago but I wanted to run with something more suited to FNM than a feature-match table, good ol’ Izzet Spells Aggro!

Onwards, to the ingredients!


4x Soul-Scar Mage
4x Daring Saboteur
4x Bloodwater Entity
4x Enigma Drake

To make this work we need a creature package to live in harmony with our suite of instants, either by receiving some benefit or facilitating the optimal hand. Soul-Scar Mage, to start with, has the old favourite keyword “Prowess” providing a temporary +1/+1 buff each and every time we cast a non-creature spell. On top of this he also turns the damage caused by our spells into permanent -1/-1 counters for the opposing creatures, a sort of two-step answer to Hazoret and other dudes with Indestructible.

Daring Saboteur doesn’t really benefit from our other spells but rather facilitates the sculpting of your ideal hand via doing combat damage, we can even use our excess mana to make this abseiling pirate unblockable and guarantee a loot effect. This can be very useful in a game where you either want to ensure you hit land number four or simply need some more interaction in hand to take care of a threat or go into overdrive and wreak some havoc.

Bloodwater Entity is another creature with evasion in the form of Flying, which makes the Prowess keyword all the more intimidating as the only limit to how much damage you put over their ground troops with this guy is your potential mana pool and cards in hand. It even facilitates it’s own Prowess triggers by returning any one Instant or Sorcery card from your Graveyard to the top of your own Library, meaning you can play it again the turn you want to attack and make sure you get at least one Prowess trigger.

Last in the main-deck menagerie is Enigma Drake, coming down and getting a huge bonus for all the spells you cast over the course of the game due to it’s power being equal to the number of Instant and Sorcery spells in your graveyard at any time. As a late game bomb or just a solid creature in the mid-game this card has potential to really spiral out of control and take over a game. If anything is going to eat a removal spell out of the opponents hand, I’d be betting on Enigma Drake.

Non-Creature Spells:

4x Opt
4x Shock
4x Lightning Strike
2x Abrade
3x Repeating Barrage
3x Heiroglyphic Illuminations

In a deck like this it’s useful to note that all of your non-creature spells have a good chance of doing more than they naturally should, due to the presence of Prowess triggers. This can lead to some very interesting decisions on when to play spells and how to get the maximum amount of damage in. With Opt, this isn’t a question you would normally find yourself asking, as it has the sole purpose of drawing you a card after scrying. But here it can turn on a Prowess trigger and find you a burn spell or removal, thus getting another Prowess trigger if you can cast the newly found spell and ultimately making your Soul-Scar Mage, Bloodwater Entity and Enigma Drake far more dangerous than they otherwise would be.

Shock and Lightning Strike are cheap staples in any Standard burn/red-based aggro decks, once again triggering Prowess for next to nothing and also doing damage to face or clearing the path of obstacles in the way of your attackers. Abrade fulfils a strictly removal niche, either causing three damage points to a creature or outright destroying an Artifact. Plenty useful in this, the world of God-Pharaoh’s Gift and as a result we run two in the main board by default.

Repeating Barrage is one of those spells that doesn’t want to stay gone once you’ve cast it and can be returned to your hand for a moderate fee, which in the late game you’d be happy to pay to get back a Prowess enabler that’s capable of going straight to the opponents face for three damage or potentially removing a creature from contention in future combat phases.

Heiroglyphic Illumination offers versatility as a spell to either cast when in need of a couple more cards and a Prowess trigger or you can just cycle away when it just isn’t doing the business for you and mana is a concern.

To close out the main deck spells we have Sweltering Suns, an excellent reset button against other fast aggro strategies and, much like our previous card, can be cycled for another when it isn’t relevant. I’d also like to remind you that with a Soul-Scar Mage on board this would put three -1/-1 counters on EVERY opposition creature permanently and if you can trigger prowess a couple of times before it resolves your mage will even live through the damage!


4x Spirebluff Canal
6x Island
12x Mountain

Spirebluff Canal

In order to cast spells we need mana and since this deck is mostly red there is a heavy slant towards Mountains compared to a relatively low number of Islands, but we do run a full playset of Spirebluff Canal in order to facilitate both of our colour requirements.


2x Abrade
2x Sorcerous Spyglass
3x Negate
2x Spellweaver Eternal
2x Neheb, the Eternal
2x Field of Ruin
2x Crook of Condemnation

In th sideboard we fill out the playset of Abrade for those games against God-Pharaoh’s Gift, Sorcerous Spyglass to get some early information on what the opponent is up to in game two and shut down a card (I’m thinking Walking Ballista or Hazoret). Negate allows us to pick our battle when we really need something to resolve and stay on the board for the win where it may be countered or removed and Crook of Condemnation can fairly effectively combat Torrential Gearhulk strategies as we wipe the field of graveyards in general. Field of ruin is another card for the control matchup, usually taking care of one of the many flip lands in Ixalan and helping us fix for our second colour.

In games where we struggle to get damage through I’ve elected to try out Spellweaver Eternal, a creature which still has Prowess but also causes the opponent to lose life for blocking it through the Afflict mechanic. Following in a similar vein we get to use Neheb, The Eternal, a bigger, badder Afflict creature that generates mana post-combat based on how much life your opponent has lost so far that turn, allowing you to then throw out another creature or even a couple more burn spells to close out the game.

That’s about all I’ve got on this list so far and hopefully a few of you guys make it up, apply adjustments and take it for a spin. You can locate the complete deck on MTG Goldfish for pricing, just click the link!

If you do, you can let me know how it was on Twitter @GenericBadMtg or by email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com

Until next time, have fun, draw well and respect each other.



Y2k: Apocalypse of Steel

Hello My fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here to bring you another Standard deck to bring along to your local game store for FNM or dominate the kitchen table. Today we look at a somewhat under-the-radar strategy that pops up every now and then without ever quite making the breakthrough to mainstream tournament play, it’s… a Tezzeret deck!

The goal is to Utilizing spells like Tezzeret, the Schemer, Tezzeret’s Touch and Chief of the Foundry to take over the board with artifacts of great power and toughness in order to beat down your bewildered opponents. There aren’t enough copies of Abrade in the world to stop your legion of obedient artifacts taking over the board like a fearsome horde of SkyNet T-800’s coming back from the future to assassinate the opponent.

Let’s take a look at what goes into making this happen.


4x Ornithopter
4x Gifted Aetherborn
4x Chief of the Foundry
4x Hostage Taker

Four copies of the old crowd-pleaser, Ornithopter, gives us a free flying blocker in the early game with potential to completely take over the skies in conjunction with some of our other pieces.

Gifted Aetherborn is just a fantastic card when dealing with the current meta-game. Everything without Indestructible at worst trades off with this guy and you even gain some life from attacking or blocking.

Chief of the Foundry is the lord effect the deck needs to really overwhelm, a prime target for removal and four copies is usually good for drawing an abrade or two out of the opponents hand.

Hostage Taker fits well in the deck at the very least as temporary removal that may even steal one of the opponents better threats.

Instants and Sorceries

4x Opt
4x Fatal Push
2x Vraska’s Contempt

Opt, meaning to “make a choice” allows us to do exactly that, looking at the top card of your library and deciding if you want it or not. Do you choose what is revealed or the unknown below? All I know is I certainly opt to include a full playset of this card.

The best one drop removal spell in Magic, Fatal Push, also takes up a full playset as a way of staying ahead against Ramunap Red and other small-creature strategies in the early game.

Vraska’s Contempt comes in as a way to take out those bigger threats, a clean answer to a resolved Scarab God or Hazoret, which also gains you two life. This can be extremely relevant against the rising tide of aggro decks in the format.

Non Creature Artifacts

4x Aethersphere Harvester

Aethersphere Harvester

Aethersphere Harvester is one of the strongest Vehicles to come out of Aether Revolt, both due to having Flying and also fuelling its own Energy requirements for two turns, allowing you to choose the most strategic combat scenario to gain some life and stay ahead of the game.

The Tezzeret Package

4x Tezzeret’s Touch
4x Tezzeret, the Schemer

Tezzeret’s touch is a three mana investment to turn any of your non-token artifact army into a big ol’ 5/5 that doesn’t stay dead, giving your Ornithopters a real fear factor and likely forcing the opponent to use up an Abrade or Fatal push just to deal with it.

The main man himself is excellent as a four mana Planeswalker starting at 5 loyalty this means that with just a single +1 activation he can survive a hit from Torrential Gearhulk or Hour of Devastation. Big flavour win for Wizards right there! Speaking of his abilities, adding one loyalty counter to him provides you with an artifact that can be cashed in for one mana of any colour. This also helps to fuel both of his other… talents. Having lots of artifacts can really power up his -2 ability as a mode of removal, the more you have the greater the decrease in your targets toughness, this is an ability you should only really use on particularly threatening creatures and when the target is sure to die. If you make it to seven or more loyalty counters we get an emblem turning one of our artifacts into a 5/5 on each of our turns combat steps, taking over the board with huge threats (which you can keep generating by using his +1 ability. (if Tezzeret survives removing the counters in the first place)


2x Evolving Wilds
2x Fetid Pools
4x Drowned Catacombs
4x Island
10x Swamp

Our three featured land all help to ensure we have both of our colours online as early as possible. Evolving wilds also offers the utility of enabling Revolt for our Fatal Pushes pretty much on demand. Fetid pools can always just cycle away for another card in the late game and Drowned Catacombs will come in untapped almost every single time after turn one.


3x Nimble Obstructionist
4x Spell Pierce
4x Costly Plunder
4x Walk the Plank

Nimble Obstructionist can offer us some versatility from the Sideboard, either coming in as a flyer at instant speed or cycling to counter an activated or triggered ability you really don’t want to happen (think Ramunap Ruins, Bristling Hydra or Hazoret).

Spell Pierce comes in and acts as insulation in the early game from control decks, allowing us the time we need to get set up with minimal disruption.

Costly Plunder is the new Altars Reap, except with even less downside in this deck. Any of our Etherium Cells or other artifacts can be cashed in for two cards off the top of your deck.

Walk the Plank is the downgraded replacement for Grasp of Darkness in this format, removing most threats. Surprisingly this spell has really come into its own in a format yet to see a major Merfolk uprising… (hint, hint, check the link)


This deck has some great synergy and is a very strong contender at FNM level, maybe missing something to take it really over the top, but still good if you want to have fun beating people with a legion of animated toasters and microwaves.

So try this deck out for yourself and let me know what you think, full credit has to go to Matthew Tidcombe, a player out of my LGS who’s had this deck built since Kaladesh, tinkering with each new set release.

As always you can find me here, on twitter @GenericBadMtg or by email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com.

Thanks also to @wintargetgame for the recent interview which has been posted up on the Life Successfully website along with interviews of other small content creators like Magic with Zuby, MTG Youngmage and Orcs Head Magic, so please go check them out and support the online content creator community.

That’s about all I have to say today so until next time remember to  draw well and respect each other.



Arcane Gene-Splicing: A Mad Scientists Dream

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers,

In this era of modern science and technology have you ever wanted push the boundaries and cross breed horses and cats with… well, everything? Meet me in a reality where science meets magic and I’ll show you, though the medium of my new deck… Arcane Gene-Splicing!

It’s Mathew here from GenericBadMagic to show you a brew of mine that takes everything from Humans to Artifacts and turns them into weirdly intimidating Cat/Horse… things. We do this by splashing Blue in our otherwise mono-white list for one of the weirder junk rares from Ixalan, Arcane Adaptation. Lets take a look at the creatures we have to play with here.

The Creature Package

4x Crested Sunmare
3x Regal Caracal
4x Metallic Mimic
3x Annointer Priest
3x Cloudblazer

So to start with we have Crested Sunmare and Regal Caracal as our ideal cards to take advantage of  Arcane Adaptation. Offering our chosen tribe either indestructible as a Horse, lifelink and +1/+1 as a Cat or even both with two Adaptations in play. This is then supported by Metallic Mimic as we simply name the creature type chosen with Adaptation to ensure everything enters with a +1/+1 counter on it.

To help our game-plan as best we can you can find both Annointer Priest and Cloudblazer in the creature suite. Annointer Priest gains us life from tokens entering the battlefield (through Sunmare or other sources) and Cloudblazer doing what it does best with lifegain and card draw on entering the battlefield, fulfilling the criteria on Sunmare to create a horse token and giving us something else to use our blue mana on.

Non-Creature Spells

4x Oketra’s Monument
4x Annointed Procession
4x Arcane Adaptation
4x Legion’s Landing
4x Cast Out
2x Settle the Wreckage

Our non-creature suite is where we see how I’ve put together the white cores of U/W Monument and the currently popular Abzan Tokens deck to generate advantage through token generation whilst also introducing tribal synergy to the mix. Monument creates a 1/1 Warrior whenever I cast any of my creatures, which are all cheaper due to being white, this token then subsequently gains us life from Annointer Priest. Annointed Procession will double this impact and in conjunction with Arcane Adaptation everything comes in with Indstructible or Lifelink due to the tribal synergies afforded by Sunmare and Caracal.

Legion’s Landing is the ideal turn one play as it offers long game inevitability in token generation after flipping into Adanto and the vampires it generates can keep you ahead on life. Cast Out is a must, taking care of prominent threats like The Scarab God or Hazoret and cycling for another card when it’s sitting dead in our hand while Settle the Wreckage can clear the board of aggressive decks when we’re on the back foot.


4x Glacial Fortress
2x Field of Ruin
1x Scavenger Grounds
10x Plains
4x Island

Our mana-base is fairly stock with four copies of Glacial Fortress to enable our spells of either colour, two Field of Ruin to combat the opponents non-basic lands like Adanto or Orazca. A single Scavenger Grounds helps remove graveyards to minimise the impact of The Scarab God or Torrential Gearhulk and a ten to four split of Plains to Islands to round it all off.


2x Fumigate
3x Oketra’s Last Mercy
3x Gideon’s Intervention
2x Cataclysmic Gearhulk
4x Forsake the Worldly
1x Sorcerous Spyglass

Our sideboard options can help to insulate against aggro and combo decks. Fumigate clears the board and gains us life. Gideon’s Intervention targets Approach of the Second Sun and kills their game-plan dead while Cataclysmic Gearhulk can beneficially reset the board state, serving as both a vigilant attacker and an intimidating blocker. Four copies of Forsake the Worldly targets opposing Search for Azcanta or God-Pharaoh’s Gift to significantly cripple the engines of U/B control and the various Gifts decks in the current format. If we find ourselves in dire need of a reset we can fire off Oketra’s Last Mercy to return our life-total to 20 and allow us that extra turn or two to turn the corner. The last inclusion in sideboard is a one of Sorcerous Spyglass, a silver bullet to negate the Activated Abilities of cards like Orazca, The Sunken Ruin, Hazoret or even Ramunap Ruins.

In Closing

This deck is most certainly a work in progress but one I feel you can have a lot of fun with, even if just role-playing as a mad scientist with an army of Cat/Horse-abominations (obviously my chief motivating factor). I highly recommend you try this list out and let me know what you think!

As for in game decisions I feel the first tribe chosen from Arcane Adaptation will usually be horses. The ability to give all of your tokens and other creatures indestructible from the off is excellent, allowing you to block favourably and leverage better positions throughout the game. The second Adaptation will likely nominate Cats to assist in gaining life and generating more and more Horses to take over or force a board stall.

Please hit me up on Twitter @GenericBadMtg or email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com with your feedback, if you like the article tell your friends and follow the blog for email updates when I post anything new!

In the next month or two I should also be up and running with a stream playing Magic online on Twitch and maybe even have YouTube in the works. But while we wait I’ll keep on writing up (hopefully) interesting deck lists for you all to try out!

Until next time, have fun, draw well and respect one another,



Simic Merfolk: Aggro With Gills

Hello my fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew here from GenericBadMagic bringing you a new list, fresh from the rivers of Ixalan, yes it’s U/G Merfolk! Now anyone who’s ever played Magic anywhere other than the kitchen table probably knows that Merfolk is a strong tribal deck in Modern, usually relying on powerful Merfolk Lords and Spreading Seas to lock down the opponents mana base, but with the new set comes all sorts of Standard Fish-Person potential. This deck really focuses on swarming the board early and going for the throat, but has the potential to go longer and eventually overwhelm the opponent with beefed up, unblockable and very, very angry dudes.

Credit for this list has to go to Mark Shepherd and Daniel Hunter, both players from my local game store who I have known for a very long time and always have a lot of fun playing against. In fact, this list has done all but 4-0 for the last two FNM’s, not too shabby boys.

So without further ado, lets dive in (get it?) and have a look at…

The Creature Package

4x Kumena’s Speaker
4x River Sneak
4x Merfolk Branchwalkers
3x Herald of Secret Streams
3x Vineshaper Mystic
4x Metallic Mimic
2x Kopala, Warden of waves
1x Tempest Caller
2x Verdurous Gearhulks

To start with we have four copies of Kumena’s Speaker, River Sneak and Merfolk Branchwalker for our opening two turns, each applying pressure in a slightly different way. Speaker has a sort of watered-down Wild Nacatl ability and will almost always be attacking for two damage on turn two, River Sneak gets in under the opposition by being unblockable and even gains a temporary boost whenever you cast one of its buddies and Merfolk Branchwalker offers card advantage through explore, either grabbing you a land from the top of your deck or beefing up and giving the option of binning the top card or keeping it for your next draw.

Three copies of Vineshaper Mystic helps you get permanent +1/+1 counters on your unblockable creature and can even put itself out of reach of spells like Sweltering Suns or Essence Extraction and Herald of Secret Streams makes all of your beefed up Merfolk unblockable, helping you through board stalls you may encounter against the likes of Temur Energy or that one Naya Dinosaur deck that shows up every single FNM. (because there’s no party like a Carnage Tyrant party these days right?)

I want to take a moment to talk about Kopala now, this is a card I can see making it’s way into Modern Merfolk, even just as a budget alternative to Kira, Great Glass-Spinner. Sure, he doesn’t outright counter the spell or ability, but he does tax the heck out of it and is also another Merfolk to receive a boost from the likes of Lord of Atlantis or Master of the Pearl Trident. So yeah, Modern playable, just think about it. In this deck anyway he’s still super sweet just through making spot removal that much harder for the opponent to utilise.


To close out our mass of twenty-seven creatures we have one copy of Tempest Caller, to tap down the entire opposition board when unblockable dudes just aren’t enough, four copies of Metallic Mimic because he it goes in every tribal deck ever since his arrival in Aether revolt. Here he makes your guys come in bigger and stronger and will even benefit from tribal perks which, to my eye, merits a maybe spot in modern Merfolk too. Our last creature is one that no one wants to see resolve opposite them, Verdurous Gearhulk, distributing four +1/+1 counters however you like among your creatures is an incredibly powerful ability and the fact we also get a 4/4 body with Trample to go with it, all for five mana I might add, is just great in this deck. Expect him to come along and close out games.

Despite being a creature based strategy we still find room for eleven non-creature spells to support our watery onslaught so lets have a run down.

Non-Creature Spells

2x Opt
3x Blossoming Defence
3x Deeproot Waters
3x Nissa, Steward of Element


Both of our one drop non-creature spells are instant speed so, much like The Spanish Inquisition, no one will see them coming.

Spanish Inquisition
Proud of me yet Dad?
But, Monty Python references aside, Blossoming Defence is instant speed protection from spot removal, or just a pump spell for those last points of damage while Opt lets you get that little bit deeper into your deck and find some of the stuff you need.


Deeproot Waters can generate a tonne of Merfolk tokens over the course of a game to help you run over the opponent or provide chump blockers for the big guns they may deplow and Nissa seems to have found herself a home, almost always getting something with her 0 ability if she has three or more Loyalty counters and closing out a game if you sink all the mana into her and start her on six or more.


4x Unclaimed Territory
3x Hashep Oasis
3x Botanical Sanctum
1x Scavenger Grounds
5x Island
6x Forest


Our mana base is pretty simple, with Unclaimed Territory fixing mana for a chosen creature type (Merfolk, in case you hadn’t guessed) and Hashep Oasis giving us utility in the later game by buffing up a creature to get through some more damage. The single copy of Scavenger Grounds is a kind-of silver Bullet against Torrential Gearhulk, exiling  graveyards before it can enter the battlefield and bring back an instant. In all twenty-two land feels fine in this deck as everything is pretty low to the ground and the mana curve is more of an undulation than a big old hill.


3x Supreme Will
2x Negate
3x Crushing Canopy
3x Heroic Intervention
2x Essence Scatter
1x Rivers Rebuke
1x Crook of Condemnation


Our sideboard against control will almost always see a number of the above brought in as Negate and Supreme Will can deal with counterspells, while Heroic Intervention insulates us against sweepers and spot removal.


Essence Scatter and Rivers Rebuke help us to gain an advantage over our aggro counterparts and go wide strategies like Ramunap Red or Abzan Tokens.


Crushing Canopy comes in to attack opposing Flyers or Search for Azcanta, even taking care of Deeproot Waters in the mirror match while Crook of Condemnation can selectively remove cards with the ability to come back from the Graveyard or even just take away one (or all) spells an opposing Gearhulk can make use of.

In Closing

This deck is great fun to play against and just looks fantastic to pilot, it’s maybe missing a slight spark which is sure to come with Rivals of Ixalan and I may have a few suggestions for cards to switch out for (a catch all that gives information like Sorcerous spyglass would be great) but I would very highly recommend putting this deck together and taking it down to your local game store for a good time.

I’d love it if anyone who reads this wants to take the time to give me feedback and I’m always available through Twitter @GenericBadMtg or email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com

Until next time, have fun, draw well and respect each other.




New Standard: The Return of GenericBadMagic

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here and it’s been a few weeks since I last produced any content but in that time I’ve put together what could be a nice and competitive deck list with a twist for Ixalan Standard. Ever since the release of Hour of Devastation, and it’s namesake boardwipe, I’ve been dying to try out U/R control but never had the resource available to put a list together due to the costs of Torrential Gearhulk and Chandra, Torch of Defiance.

With the release of Ixalan I find myself with enough new and untested toys for the deck to really have me interested and today I’m going to talk you through my concept for what the deck could be.

As a disclaimer I will say this started out as a fairly stock list, in fact I copied the basis straight from the list Paul Cheon ran for Channel Fireball months ago on YouTube, this gave me an idea of how to put together the mana base, which is extremely important in control. I then proceeded to load the deck up with the usual staple spells and supplement them with new releases. Let’s take a look at the list and then I’ll talk about the unusual (or simply new) additions.


4x Aether Hub
4x Spirebluff Canal
11x Island
6x Mountain


4x Opt
4x Spell Pierce
3x Harnessed Lightning
4x Lightning Strike
4x Censor
2x Fraying Sanity
2x Disallow
4x Glimmer of Genius
1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2x Vance’s Blasting Cannons / Spitfire Bastion


3x Torrential Gearhulk
2x Fleet Swallower


1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2x Glorybringer
2x Sweltering Suns
2x Hour of Devastation
2x Abrade
2x Disallow
2x Magma Spray
2x Crook of Condemnation

The Usual Suspects

As I mentioned previously this list started out as an established template for the archetype. To supplement or even improve on the already established suite of instants and sorceries we see Opt, Spell Pierce and Lightning Strike join the staples of Glimmer of Genius, Disallow and Harnessed Lightning. The loss of Incendiary Flow to rotation is mitigated by Lightning Strike and it’s return to the Standard format, offering the same damage output and versatility to go for the dome, losing the exile effect but coming in at a whole mana cheaper for the privilege.

Torrential Gearhulk and Chandra, Torch of Defiance absolutely take their places at the head of this deck with Gearhulk often being the finisher on the eventual beatdown and Chandra providing mana, card advantage/damage, removing creatures or even potentially providing a pretty busted emblem.

The New Experiments

One more reason for the inclusion of Opt and Lightning Strike at such low mana slots is the addition of Vance’s Blasting Cannons to the deck. With an ability straight from the Khans mode to Outpost Seige it already offers solid enough card advantage but it’s true power (and reason for inclusion) lies in transforming the enchantment after casting our third spell of the turn.

Vance's Blasting Cannons
Welcome to the mana base, Spitfire Bastion! Of course we can use this to generate a red mana but where’s the fun in that? Just pay 3 mana (one of which must be red) and tap it to bolt any opposing creature or player. The perfect threat to hold up and significantly harder to remove than Dynavolt Tower, which would have filled the role of providing reach without our new toy.

Spitfire Bastion

The Alternate Ending

Another card that really excited me during spoiler season is Fleet Swallower, a 7 mana 6/6 fish which traumatises (rounded up instead of down) whenever it attacks. But how does that help? Always removing 50% of a library doesn’t get them to 0 cards, so how do we finish off this alternative win condition? Fraying Sanity. That’s how.

Fraying Sanity is an Enchantment Aura Curse which, at the end of every turn, causes the chosen opponent to put cards from the top of their library into their graveyard equal to the number of cards that hit the yard for them already that turn. So if they have 40 cards left when Fleet Swallower attacks they put 20 cards into the graveyard and when you pass turn they do it again. This should cause the opponent to lose on their own draw step since Laboratory Maniac is nowhere to be seen!

Contingency Planning

I’m very aware that the mill-win is an experimental inclusion for the archetype but I’m prepared to take that leap!

Supreme Will
A potential upgrade

Long term, to be more competitive if this doesn’t pay off, I can see the Fraying Sanity/Fleet Swallower combo being removed for a playset of Supreme Will, providing card advantage and more spells to trigger Vance’s Blasting Cannons.

In Closing

That’s about all I have about this list but it is the one I plan on playing long term, tuning and adjusting to the metagame in a bid to start putting up some results, starting with my first constructed PPTQ at the end of October!

If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to hit me up here or on Twitter @GenericBadMtg

You can also find this list for a more visual view at Mtg Goldfish

While your’re at it check out Kitchen Table Mtg for a wide selection of content creators (including myself) to enjoy.

Until next time, keep on Planeswalkin’