Video Series with Ryland: 5C Humans

What a crazy week for Modern. This week I’ll be exploring Collins Mullen’s 5-Color Humans deck which he took on an undefeated run to a trophy at the most recent SCG Open in Cincinnati. Tons of great content has already been written about this feat, including Trevor Holmes’s article just recently posted, so I will try to keep it brief and get to the games!

People have been asking me all week if I thought this deck was the real deal and if it would continue to show up in a big way. Frankly, I think the answer is a resounding yes. As always, the meta will adapt—it’s unlikely that Storm will remain a free win game one when you name Grapeshot on Meddling Mage, and I’ve already been blown out by Anger of the Gods from the Storm sideboard. But the strongest element of this Humans deck, in my opinion, will be its unyielding power within the luxury of adaption.

Have you done a Gatherer search for Human? There are 1254 Modern-legal Humans in Magic. Yes, most of them are unplayable nonsense. But among all of the unwanted and unloved Humans of the Magic worldthere is a plethora of powerful options. There are some small decisions: should I play Orzhov Pontiff or Izzet Staticaster; Fiend Hunter or Banisher Priest; Dark Confidant or Tireless Tracker? Not every decision is so small, however—dependent on the metagame you could make broad shifts in the decklist to attack in a different way.

Is the format less combo oriented? Cut the Meddling Mages or Freebooters and add whatever grindy elements you want to attack a more Midrangey format. Play maindeck Bobs and Tireless Trackers to generate more card advantage; potentially even switch up the manabase to support Collected Company for more grinding. Need to race more often? Could consider even lower-to-the-ground Humans like Lightning Mauler or Burning-Tree Emissary to give you more explosive starts. Some of these things may never end up being a good idea, but the excitement comes from the ability to adapt to an ever-changing Modern world. This is what will give the deck the legs to continue to be a powerhouse in the format.

I’ve enjoyed the deck so far, and I highly recommend picking it up if you are interested. I would like to issue a small warning, however. In my opinion, this deck will require frequent tuning to succeed. As I alluded to previously, many decks (Storm included) are already adapting to beat Humans. If you want to move continue piloting this deck for a long period of time, you will have to adapt as well.

I hope you enjoy the matches and, as usual, I’m interested to hear what kind of content you’d like to see moving forward, so I can continue to evolve and improve my videos. Please let me know your thoughts, and any improvements you would like to see concerning formatting, presentation, or whatever else strikes your fancy. If you’d like to see similar content, check out my Twitch channel for some more live Modern!

5C Humans, by Collins Mullen

Creatures (36)
Champion of the Parish
Kitesail Freebooter
Mantis Rider
Mayor of Avabruck
Meddling Mage
Noble Hierarch
Reflector Mage
Thalia’s Lieutenant
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Thalia, Heretic Cathar

Artifacts (4)
Aether Vial

Lands (20)
Ancient Ziggurat
Cavern of Souls
Hallowed Fountain
Horizon Canopy
Plains
Temple Garden
Unclaimed Territory
Windswept Heath
Sideboard (15)
Anafenza, the Foremost
Ethersworn Canonist
Fiend Hunter
Izzet Staticaster
Mirran Crusader
Reflector Mage
Tireless Tracker
Vithian Renegades
Xathrid Necromancer
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

Ryland began playing Magic when Innistrad was released while he was a Sophmore at Virginia Tech. After quickly becoming enthralled with the game it became an integral part of both his work life and personal life. Upon graduating college he became LGS Manager for a couple years and now streams full time at twitch.tv/holyshamgar.

2 thoughts on “Video Series with Ryland: 5C Humans

  1. Good videos !

    You actually want to cast Lieutenant first in 2 early instances I recall (not that it would’ve changed the outcome in those games) :
    1- Storm : Lieut into 2x Nobles, because it’s unlikely you’ll attack with the latter (need them for mana or don’t get through most blockers), But Lieut being 3/3, probably 4/4 next turn is nice !
    2- LE : Lieut into Med Mage, where the latter will be targeted by spot removal at some point while Lieut will be +1 power.

    Lieut is good to cast last in many situations obviously:
    – when you alpha the opp for lethal
    – when bigger First Strikers or Flyers are priority in a given MU / situation
    – minor case is when you want to pump a Mayor and let him flip or a Ref Mage, so they survive Anger by themselves.
    – on the draw VS prison, ramp & combo decks, it’s certainly better to cast a Med Mage, Thalia or Freebooter before a Lieut, and the argument of pumping FS / Flying creatures adds up.

    It’s less appealing to pump vanilla creatures like Nobles, Med & Ref Mages though. All in all, Lieut is one of the more difficult cards to sequence optimally.

    Hostage Taker and Duskwatch Recruiter are cards I’m very interested in that could use mana after vialing them out.

    1. Thanks for the feedback!

      Those are great points. I don’t know if this came up in the video at all, but something else I noticed I wasn’t doing often enough was vialing in additional creatures in response to the Lieutenant trigger when possible. When sequenced that way, I get to have my cake and eat it too!

      Both Hostake Taker and Recruiter interest me but I don’t think we would vial in Hostage Taker a lot. Ticking the vial up to 4 would be a real cost that I think we would avoid in most situations, even after drawing the Hostage Taker.

      Thanks for watching!

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