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Lingering Pox

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The letter C!ontrol, Aggro, Infect, Tokens, Commander—white and black tend to keep their distance from each other due to a difference in ideals, but recently, the white-black influx has invited all of the previously mentioned archetypes to adapt the odd-couple and use it to good effect. However, black and white have a much deeper history than just a few recent archetypes. Back in the days of old, black and white had a bit of a rivalry, each sporting its own Knight with protection from the other that would spawn a trend. During the days of Kamigawa, though, with Ravnica's Orzhov reinforcing it, a matrimony between the colors was made once again. The deck featured both Hand of Cruelty and Hand of Honor, and was commonly named "Hand in Hand" as a result. While naming conventions have changed plenty of times over the years, Joseph Snyder decided to pay homage to the archetype with a new take on the list and a play on the word "Hand."

Obviously, with a modern-day set of cards and environment, the deck had to evolve. It looks quite different than it used to, but the core game play is very similar. Despite Magic 2013 giving us access to both Knight of Infamy and Knight of Glory, the list uses neither. Instead, the deck looks to pressure its opponent with a fast start and enough discard to disrupt the opposing game plan. We have seen Gravecrawler and Geralf's Messenger team up before, but nothing quite like this. With no other Zombies in the deck, Gravecrawler really relies on its bigger brother here. Ravenous Rats fills in the role of the two-drop, allowing the deck to have a smoother curve, but its offensive potential is not the best. Instead, it, paired with cards like Duress, Smallpox, and Liliana of the Veil, really punish an opponent who is trying to hold on to cards.

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad makes an appearance as a reliable finisher and a source of card advantage that works pretty well with Smallpox. Of course, no white-black deck would be fully powered up without the addition of a play set of Lingering Souls, which Joseph made sure to include. With only six sources of white mana, the deck is able to reliably cash in a turn-three Geralf's Messenger, even if that does mean some white cards get stuck in Joseph's hand. Luckily, with a card like Lingering Souls, Joseph can simply discard the spell to fulfill the cost of a Smallpox or Liliana and then conveniently cast the spell out of the graveyard for just black mana. This tool allows the deck to function even when kept off of a color. With the two exalted Knights now seeing print, it will be interesting to see if Hand in Hand, more similar to how we remember it, can be reborn, but Joseph's attempt is still welcomed. The list was solid enough to Top 8 the TCGPlayer Open in Providence, so give it a shot at your local Friday Night Magic!

Joseph Snyder's White-Black Hand
Standard – Top 8, TCGplayer Open 5K, Providence


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