How to Win a Modern RCQ

Ben Fraley
January 25, 2023


If last week's breakdown on B/G Yawgmoth didn't persuade you to play the deck, I won a forty-four person RCQ on 1/21/2023with my own Yawgmoth list. This is how I won that RCQ, and if you're interested in playing the deck yourself my next article will be a 300 dollar version of the deck as well as how to upgrade it.

I got to my local game store about an hour early for the tournament. I talked to friends and looked around to see what people were playing before submitting my decklist. There were a lot of Murktide decks and decks running Underworld Breach, so before turning anything in I decided to run two Endurance in the main as opposed to the usual one, a decision that would prove to be very important. 

I submitted a list that looks like this:

Round One:

I am facing an opponent on UR Murktide, a pretty even matchup but my opponent seems very inexperienced. I easily combo game one by landing an early Yawgmoth, Thran Physician with an undying creature. Game two they interact a little more but eventually tap out to play a Blood Moon, at which point I Chord of Calling for a Yawgmoth and then draw until I cast a Blood Artist. A very quick and clean 2-0 to start out the tournament.

Record 1-0, 2-0 


Round Two:

I'm up against Grixis Shadow. They are on some more spicy tech like Thought Scour to turn on Murktide Regents and Snapcaster Mages. They start game one out very slowly enabling me to land a Wall of Roots into a Young Wolf. From there it is a very important matter of keeping cards out of the graveyard to avoid their Drown in the Lochs. I Chord of Calling for a Yawg and drown them in card advantage from there. Game two starts out typical but on turn 3 they get greedy and tap out to play two Death's Shadows. I then use my turn three to play a Young Wolf and use an Eldritch Evolution to get down a Yawgmoth. The rest of the game is just a pattern of consistently chump blocking their Shadow's then sacrificing before damage to shrink the other Shadow. Yawg's Proliferate ability was very important as even when they were are 4 life their Shadows were only 4/4's or 5/5's. This went on long enough to allow me to find a Grist, the Hunger Tide, Proliferate the Grist and then ult to deal them 8 to face for lethal damage. 

Record 2-0, 4-0 


Round Three:

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician (MH1)

I am facing Humans. The Humans matchup is almost disgustingly easy most of the time. I ramp out early, drop a Yawg and chump block until I assemble the combo. They have almost no way to deal with Yawgmoth and his Protection from Human's means he can block forever. Game two I keep a hand of Birds of Paradise, Yawgmoth and 5 lands. A hand that is bad in any other matchup but in this case works perfectly as I get an early Yawgmoth and can cast anything I draw.

Record 3-0, 6-0 


Round Four:


My opponent is on 5-color zoo. I get on the board very quickly with a good draw while they land just a Territorial Kavu that I can chump block. They spend their 3rd turn to try and double Leyline Binding my Yawgmoth. I am able to draw into a Boseiju for the first Binding and a secondary Yawgmoth so I let the second binding resolve. Then on my turn I cast the new Yawgmoth and combo kill them in the upkeep as I needed an additional mana which I got from Wall of Roots. (Wall of Roots says you can only activate its ability once per turn but that means you can also do it on your opponent's turn.) Game two my opponent mulligans to five cards. I have yet another fortunate hand as I land a Grist, the Hunger Tide down on turn two. This allows me to answer his Scion of Draco on the following turn, but he is able to Unmoored Ego my Yawgmoths turning my awesome combo deck into a kinda crappy pile of creatures. It ends up not mattering as I beat him down with a smattering of Strangleroot Geists, Grists, and a Geralf's Messenger.

Record 4-0, 8-0

With this pristine record I am firmly seeded 3rd and am able to intentionally draw twice to lock myself into the top 8. The top 8 is untimed with open decklists so I use my extra time to study what my opponents will be on, get some food, and talk to the 1st and 2nd seed about matchups.


Top 8 Round 1:

I am extremely nervous about this match. I am relatively unfamiliar with the Murktide matchup and facing some-one in the top 8 means they have to be at least fairly competent. I am seeded 3rd and my opponent is 6th so I get the play. Game 1 my opponent controls me relatively well but makes a mistake tapping out to put lethal on board. This gives me the opportunity to cast both a Yawgmoth and a Chord of Calling in the same turn to allow me to combo kill them. Game 2 I know they have two Fury's in the deck, a card that absolutely destroys me. They end up drawing it and hard casting it at the correct moment to essentially 3 for 0 me. I am then just out of the game and move rather quickly on to Game 3. Game 3 they Blood Moon me which shuts down my mana but they also make the mistake of letting me keep a Birds of Paradise. I use that Birds to keep myself in the game. Over the course of the next turns I cast 2 Grists and a Scavenging Ooze. This wastes their resources until they have 1 card in hand and I am able to deal the final damage with my Scavenging Ooze.




I am facing yet another Murktide deck. This time my opponent is on the play because they are seeded 2nd while I am 3rd. I am incredibly thankful for my two Endurance in the main because in Game 1 I am able to tutor an Endurance out very early to shut down a Dragon's Rage Channeler and lock up a Murktide Regent in their hand. Then I draw the second Endurance and it pretty much locks up game 1 as they have their graveyard shut down yet again and I just kill them via combat. In game 2 they land two Dragons Rage Channelers early and without Endurance they just beat me down. Not only that but a Fury takes out a couple creatures to slow me down and from there the game is over. Game 3. Going to game 3 yet again makes me very nervous. This game is an intense battle of advantage and cards. After a couple turns we both are down to 1-2 cards and I am just attacking with a 2/2 Young Wolf and an Endurance. I draw a second but due to their mana being held up turn after turn it is very easy to read the Counterspell they are holding. I hold my Endurance until they tap down to 1 mana to cast a Murktide as a desperation blocker. Then I flash in my 2nd Endurance and with now lethal on board they scoop it up.


The Finals. 

My opponent is on Scapeshift. Their whole plan is to slow me down, get to 6-7 lands and then kill me with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. This makes our games just a race to combo first. He is the 1st seed so I am on the draw. I get out very, very, fast with 7 mana on turn 3 due to casting Birds of Paradise turn one and Wall of Roots into Double Birds on turn two. I then cast a Yawgmoth and an Eldritch Evolution to get a Geralf's Messenger, after which I then sacrifice all of them to draw 8 cards and kill a Dryad of the Ilysian Grove. This shuts down his combo and I kill him on my next turn. Game 2 I have a good draw but with lethal on board he top decks the Scapeshift and kills me on the spot. Going to game 3 is extremely nerve wracking. However after I draw my opening hand I feel a little better. I keep a hand with a Turn 2 Necromentia, and if that resolves I pretty much have the game locked up. I cast an Ignoble and he just plays a Valakut. I then cast my Necromentia naming Scapeshift and his deck turns from a 1-card combo deck to a pretty bad pile of Temur control. From there I am still nervous due to the high stakes but I am eventually able to assemble Yawgmoth, a Grist ultimate and a Geralf's Messenger which means I can just kill him. Seeing this he scoops it up.

After what was almost 11 long hours of Magic I was then given my invite to the Round 3 Regional Championship as well as around 150 dollars. I ended with a record of 7-0-2 in matches and 14-3 in games overall. 

If this gets you interested in playing B/G Yawgmoth you are in luck as I just wrote a guide to the deck. With the printing of Dominaria Remastered Yawgmoth is down to 20 dollars a piece making it fairly reasonable to build a Budget version of the deck. In my next article I will give you a look at my version of a 300 dollar Yawgmoth deck as well as a sideboard guide so you are prepared for whatever event you may go to next!