Hi everyone,

So I've been developing this list for a while and I think I've found a deck that has favorable matchups against Shops, PO, AND URw Snapcaster Mentor Control. I'll try to explain a little bit of WHY I think I can claim this, but first, the list:

"Infernal Justice League" a.k.a Junk Hatebears

Land (20):
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Marsh Flats
1 Windswept Heath
1 Verdant Catacombs
2 Scrubland
2 Bayou
1 Savannah
1 Plains
1 Karakas
1 Strip Mine
2 Wasteland

Artifact (6):
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Jet

Enchantment (3):
3 Stony Silence

Creature (22):
3 Deathrite Shaman
3 Dark Confidant
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
3 Spirit of the Labyrinth
2 Kataki, War's Wage
2 Grand Abolisher
3 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
1 Anafenza, the Foremost
1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty

Instant (9):
3 Mental Misstep
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Abrupt Decay

Sideboard (15):
4 Containment Priest
1 Archangel of Thune
3 Mayor of Avabruck
1 Rest in Peace
1 Kataki, War's Wage
1 Stony Silence
3 Infernal Reckoning
1 Swamp

So how can I claim this to be good vs. these 3 decks? Let's break down each matchup.

1. Paradoxical Outcome - Now when I refer to this matchup I am largely referring to the UWB breed that runs Mentor, TV/Key, Blightsteel and Balance. I believe I beat this deck with some regularity because the full moxen to get a turn 1 Stony Silence/Thalia/Spirit of the Labyrinth and I also have 3 Mental Misstep to catch certain annoying openers off guard. If I can make it to turn 2 at parity I feel as though their deck can't keep up with the torrent of hatebears this deck can deliver. 3 Spirit of the Lab and 4 Thalia is rough for a deck built around 4 preordain, 1 Ponder and 4 Paradoxical Outcome. Kambal is often just the icing on the cake and Stony Silence is just miserable for them. Grand Abolisher is also helpful in making sure your key spells resolve and also at not allowing your opponent to maximize their mana with something like EOT Vampiric Tutor. Dark Confidant is just another "inevitability" card they also have to deal with.

2. Shops - This matchup can be a bit tight and is probably the closest of the 3 but 6 plows after game 1 really help a lot. The fact that 3 of them actually gain YOU life can also be clutch if you are trying to stabilize before you die. Like, sometimes you can Infernal Reckoning a Foundry Inspector and have that be just enough life gained to stabilize in time for a devastating Kataki. Also, Kataki + Stony + Wastelands + Mayor is just a great synergistic set of cheap threats. Anafenza and Deathrite Shaman are also helpful in this matchup.

3. URw Snapcaster Mentor Control - This matchup can also be a bit swingy, but I've found that experience in the matchup really helps. This is where some of the most odd-ball cards in the 75 are at their best. Shalai is brutal for them, as is Archangel of Thune and after game 1 you get both. You can easily set a cavern to angel to make sure either or both resolve and if you can land a Kambal, Archangel gets silly in a long game. Aside from the flashy, "over-the-top" cards you also have an excellent way of interact with their early game in Thalia, Spirit, Bob and Mental Misstep. This is also a matchup where Abrupt Decay can be clutch cause it hits Pyromancers and Mentor and is uncounterable. Cavern of Souls is also hugely relevant in this matchup because you need to out-tempo your opponent and deadening the effect of their Force of Wills early can be crucial to victory. Don't fool yourself though, this matchup can be grindy as hell, and if they happen to be on a larger than normal glut of spot removal they might take it down. But. . . . don't assume that any large amount of spot removal is instant death for Junk Hatebears either. Sometimes you can outmaneuver it with tight timing and cards that interact favorably fighting theirs on the stack like Mental Misstep with a Kambal in play, for example. It's a very complex matchup with a lot of micro-interactions that take a while to get the feel for. Don't worry if you struggle at first to beat URw Mentor. The matchup isn't too bad, and I'd argue, favorable even. Also, be sure to side in those Mayors in this matchup. They are relevant here. Mayor protects Kambal from bolt in that it becomes a meat shield for bolt because Kambal is a 3/4 with Mayor in play.

Anyway, I hope this sparks some conversation, and even, perhaps, some civil debate.


last edited by Stormanimagus

So this is intriguing to me, and the notion that a life gaining plow turns around the shops matchup is pretty enticing, but if 6+ plows could beat the deck, why don't the snapcaster + plow + fragmentize decks wreck shops? Is it just that also having creatures is relevant?

I have found the hardest cards in shops to beat for this deck are ballista and anything large, and I know stony silence can help with the ballista, but there are only 3 main and even with 4 post board, it is almost a guarantee that in some games we aren't going to draw that. In those games spot removal is very mediocre against ravager decks, to make that "life gain plow" into "condense two creatures together?

I am not totally against the deck, and the fact that you have had success makes me want to test the matchup, but can you talk a little more about the MU, and specifically whether two basics is sufficient post board? You mention kataki + stony + wastelands + mayor, but i guess i would counter with spheres + wastelands + ballista + any other creatures before you get all that online, since they are running more fast mana and not altogether that high of a curve.

As a corollary, and this is meant to be a thought experiment, what makes this better than White Eldrazi, similar access to disruptive threats, bigger creatures, equivalent access to plows. I am not saying it isn't, but as a former hatebears player, and white eldrazi player, i found that eldrazi was just a version of hatebears where the threats mattered more to my opponent, and that deck has not been at the top tier for awhile now.

All that aside, I am going to throw this together when i get home to test against shops, because if it is even decent, let alone good, I am hopping back on the hatebears train.

@garbageaggro All very good points. I will try to answer them based on my experience. One thing though before that is that I don't think the shop matchup is stellar but I would put it at above 50%.

  1. The Ballista Problem - Sure Stony Silence is helpful but generally the Stony Silence is there for Ravager and Steel Overseer. Nabbing Ballista is just gravy. The way you really beat Ballista, I've found, is that you overload it with targets it must answer and hope they don't have a Ravager to give it insane amounts of counters. You do all this very early in the game by having a glut of 2-drops.

  2. Why 6 plows matters. You are able to follow up a plow on their foundry inspector with bodys that make the game irritating for shops because they are now slowed by their own spheres. The Snapcaster decks that also run a lot of removal do not "just wreck shops" largely cause they run one of the worst cards in the format vs. spheres as a 4-of in Preordain. My list runs no such nonsense. I run Deathrite Shaman. Deathrite Shaman >>>> Preordain as a 1-drop vs. Shops.

  3. This is better than Eldrazi because you have less anti-synergy with Stony Silence (ie you don't play or rely on Sol Ring/Mana Crypt and can survive your own Stony far more readily). You also don't run Sol Lands so this deck weathers a wasteland storm from shops far better than Eldrazi does.

  4. In general, the way you beat shops is early tempo advantage. You also bait their ballista out with something like Bob, and then follow up with Kataki to slow them down or even pick off permanents. Also, one card you didn't mention but is actually decent vs. them is Abrupt Decay. It's a removal spell for most things you care about in their deck INCLUDING Sphere. Also, do not forget that Anafenza is a total house vs. shops because it prevents Modular and Hangarback Thopters from happening. The shops matchups is definitely tighter than the other 2 and if I find it too close for comfort I may add some more cheese for it down the road but for now, I'm ok with where it's at.


So i think i am on board with all of this but 3. Specifically "weathering a wasteland storm better" white eldrazi ran between 26 and 30 mana sources, and you run 26. Yes there curve was a bit higher, but all the lands in eldrazi make mana and some of yours don't. I would argue that it is easier to get color screwed against wasteland here, than it is to get "sol land screwed" there.

That all aside, i think the other arguments are pretty compelling. Typically I haven't been a huge fan of AD just because early black and green in these white heavy decks feels tough to me, but I typically ran more basics. The Anafrenza interaction is pretty neat. Like I said I will build it and check it out.

@garbageaggro Abrupt Decay can be awkward for the manabase (though that is where DRS is supposed to shine), but I just don't know of any other card that kills a mentor and can't be countered and also takes out annoying "free wins" like Time Vault. It's a highly versatile card that really has saved the day more times than I can count.

So I have been trying to decide how necessary green is to the list? I think the reasoning might come down to having decay available against oath, but I wanted your feeling about that matchup and how close it is.

@garbageaggro The exile effect from DRS is also huge vs. dredge and academy rector decks. That is a major reason for splashing green.

I have basically always found DRS to be too slow against dredge in game 1s, and haven't played against rector in my meta. But point taken. In those matchups it is also plausible to just play 1 savannah and no other green and just fetch it right?

Howdy, so I am working on a mostly WB version of the deck and I was vacillating on a couple things.

Here is the list with which I am starting :

My thought was that I could maybe get by with Karn over bob as the CA engine, which I think is better, but likely that means I would want to also run a different lock piece in place of stony silence in the main (namely damping sphere). I would also probably run 1 additional revoker at that point.
That may or may not be feasible against shops (read Ballista) any thoughts?

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