Howl & betray (core 2)

by wickeddarkman on 21 February 2023

Main Deck (51 cards)

Sideboard (15 cards)

Artifacts (1)

Enchantments (3)

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Deck Description

The final results for the culling are here...
The 9 worst cards have been removed from this deck, finally making the rest of it into "core 2". This means that you can sit down and think about 9 cards to put into the deck to improve it.

The 9 worst cards ended up as:

2 betrayal:
It's sad to see these two go away, but at least one of them survived and stayed in the deck. I'm not sure how much of a difference it will make as flood is gone too.

1 cephalid scout:
This card was tied with 1 fade away, and so I had to dig through the archives to see which of those two were historically weakest. Both were weak at only two periods during the whole culling making them equal. However, cephalid scout was the first to show weakness which is why fade away won over it.

1 counterspell:
This showed signs of weakness really early during the culling, and comparing it to mana leak and rites of refusal the key lies in the mana and in versatility. Rites of refusal covers two functions, one is to counter spells, the other is to get cards from your hand into your graveyard. Mana leak is more versatile in the casting cost which is why counterspell failed to become a succes in this couple.

1 flood:
The last flood is going away, and it's not sure that it will be able to return to its half again. It was cool with betrayal, but only against aggro.

1 lotus petal: (from green halfdeck)
I'm rather satisfied that one of these were lost as I'm rigging up as system to deal with situations where two halves combined has more than 4 copies of a card like this time (there's still 5 lotus petals) in the long run evolution will figure out which halfdeck needs the majority of copies in such situations.

1 nantuko Vigilante:
I had such high Hopes for this one.

1 thermokarst:
This card was very bad during tests against aggro and then got better. It didn't get good enough for both copies to stay in the deck, but I guess that stone rain might be included among the new mutations.

1 tinder wall:
I feared a bit that both of these would go, but at least one of them survived.

Is made up of the highest scoring cards that were cut from the project. Over time this will also evolve, and part of the greater process is to reintroduce cards from the sideboard as mutations so if anything changes, the best cards will get several chances to get back into the deck.

Serves no other purpose than being a 1/1 that can attack or block. I'm thinking about a way to find more useful 1/1's for these slots.

5 Blue and 4 Green mutations will be available to join the deck. The great work of introducing possible mutations to evolution will begin as soon as I've worked out some ideas of what to do with this couple, so let's start by describing what we got and where that might take us...

It's rather good against the token based decks, and also has been useful against planeswalkers or as a finisher. It's also been good to support howling wolf, creating a powerful defence or offensive when they are needed.

Has actually been a nice stall card, but only against aggro. I guess this last copy will die out naturally and perhaps it will be replaced by burn or repulse.

Has been way more efficient with foil and rites of refusal than I expected, and has also been excellent against discard strategies. Because of that, I'm putting some added focus into flashback and madness.

Is blues version of wrath of god, and within this couple it's been rather good because it's possible to ramp so you won't lose your own creatures. It's downside is that it's basically only good against decks that frequently taps out. Theres been games where I've been able to set up a good sweep by using Man-o'-War and repulse, so I'll consider working on that aspect. I've been thinking a lot about slow motion as a card that might be worth trying out as support or even something like contempt.

Was added recently and has survived the culling. It aids creatures like howling wolf and penumbra bobcat influencing the direction of combat and can also become a finisher. It's also a flashback card which enables it to give cards like foil and rites of refusal a second purpose.

I didn't expect all 4 of these to end up in the deck, and 1 of them was 2 points from being among the weakest cards, so in the future it might get cut. During games against discard decks this was actually good, and it's been working well with foil and rites of refusal. It's also been good with instant burn to take out blockers or attackers engaging the wolves, so my thoughts are focussed on adding more burn as well as trying out rancor as a support card.

A full set of these wasn't a thing I'd expect to survive for so long, but the card has remained a staple within this couple. Part of my original project was to allow 2 duals in each halfdeck to be a little more competitive and land grant can fetch duals as long as they are also forests.

Originally it was just a crazy idea to add this, but it has been an important part of changing the green half from green into gruul. It's also a nice way to fix the mana of the other half during the early game.

Has been vital at ramping stuff faster, and has let me use counterspell, mana leak and rites of refusal very early during games. At the moment the deck has 5 of these. Two belongs to the blue half and the rest is in the gruul.

Was 1 point from ending up among the weakest cards. The reason for this has been that the couple has currently no ETB creatures that have synergy with this, so it has only been good against aggro. This has made it difficult to go aggro with myself, because the only bouncable creatures have been tinder wall and occasionally cephalid scout. So I've looked at a number of creatures that could bring valuable effects to the deck, perhaps opening up to add more Man-o'-War. Elvish pioneer could for example boost an early mana base as well as help land grant out a few turns later. The list of synergies with this card is already extensive.

Got a hell of a lot more points than counterspell, so I'll try to add more. They will be competing with foil and rites of refusal.

Clung to the mainboard by 1 more point than the best of the weakest cards.
It's not that bad against aggro (as a small wall), and actually shines against combo and control. It's main problem is that it's easy to kill with removal and that it's also easy to see as something to hate with removal. On the first level, foil seems to be the best defence for this, as it can draw into the stuff to discard. Burn, Man-o'-War and repulse has been used to clear the way for it, so these can be expanded upon. I've also given some thoughts about using rancor to make this ram through any blockers. Doing so won't damage the blockers but you do get the draw from it.

Has primarily been used to stall aggro or to function as aggro against decks with sweepers. Like howling wolf it can be combined with burn to make it more effective, and I think rancor will also look sweet on this.

Got a decent number of points. It has been used both on the opponents creatures as well as my own, which has lead me to search for ETB creatures to insert into the deck for matches where it doesn't pay to bounce the opponents creatures.

Has been brilliant with flashback spells, so I'm working towards supporting flashback and madness within the deck. So far deep analysis and firebolt have been the first trial of the theme. Foil also supports the same theme.

it's a rather sweet defence against big aggro, and can increase aggro against blue decks. I can see rancor work well with this too.

The plan is to go with stone rain, but there are certain stages to evolving this. So far I'm only glad to see it when facing manlands and tron. Tilling frenzy has been tried out as well, but was to hard to use well.

When this couple lost its last blue elemental Blast, I suspected the cards would be culled out. It turns out however, that when coupled with burn and the other creatures in the deck, the 1/1 creatures actually play both an aggressive and a defensive role. This means that I'm now involved in a small hunt for better options to replace this card with. An extensive list has already been build to investigate this aspect.

It's a small wall against some aggro and was originally put in the deck as ramp. Lately I've been trying to make the deck gruul to support some burn. This one was close to be cut from the deck, so to keep it I will probably need to add more burn or something that can be played for all that ramp.

Has been a lot better than I hoped it would be. It's been increased aggro against blue decks and has been cycled or used as defence against everything else.

There are so many possibilities to explore, and generation 2 will be formed by the many crazy ideas that I've got that evolution choose to build on. I've outlined a number of cards above that will be in the project, but behind the scenes there is so much stuff going on that I could write about it for days. Here is a couple of ideas that I'm considering.

It's a decent aggro/ramp creature that I've been thinking a lot about. The major reason for thinking more about it is the idea of using more flashback as well as trying out to find things to ramp with once again. It's major weakness is that it needs instants if you want it's mana during combat, and otherwise you just need a sacrificial outlet. Flashback spells seem like they are one way to get around this. I can imagine that cathodion and firebolt will be nice as an aggression synergy.

Having a 2/2 creature could be fun. I can imagine games where lotus petal and tinder wall can be used as emergency boost and otherwise the ramp will make it a nasty threat. I can also imagine to set up the opponent by playing this, see them Sink mana into it and then I play fade away sweeping the board.

If foil and rites of refusal become a larger part of the blue half, groundskeeper may be a way to return those lands to the hand, negating the cost of these counterspells. There is also a large number of creatures where you activate their ability by discarding a card, and this can be used to loop that effect each turn.

It's been on my mind for a while. I want something to play with all my ramp and this can be the perfect card for it. Early on I can use lotus petal and tinder wall when playing it, and later when I have lots of lands I can bounce it with Man-o'-War or repulse and cast it as an even bigger creature.

I've covered the wonders of this card before, and think the blue half has matured enough for this to enter the equation. It generally serves as either a small beater or as a way to stall decks with big spells.

So, generation 1 was only capeable of winning 5 out of 51 games, but hey, generation zero didn't manage to defeat anything, so it's actually quite an increase.
Evolution is a slow process, but it's a lot more reliable as a workforce than a majority of humanity, so it's something I'll keep doing for years to come. On a short term scale I'm working towards generation 2, and as soon as that has been reached I will take a temporary break to see how well all the 4 premodern halfdecks will be working against the top predator of pauper. I'll be playing about 10 games against it with all the combinations that the halfdecks can be coupled. (BG, BR, BU, GR, GU, RU) I might even expand the range to a few other top decks just to see how far my project can actually go. It's still being developed in a void, and that's something that I'm going pretty far with, but it will be fun to see how it would go if I went to a tournament with it, so I'll spend some time building up a couple of game reports on how my work actually performs against real decks.

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Card Legality

  • Not Legal in Standard
  • Not Legal in Modern
  • Not Legal in Vintage
  • Not Legal in Legacy

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