Phoenix Rising: a Players Tour Top 8 tournament report (Day 2)

Alas, it’s time to start Day 2 of competition.

I have a tough pod ahead of me that consists of Edgar Magalhaes, Brandon Pascal and Logan Nettles. After snagging a quick morning breakfast and coffee at Starbucks, I made my way to the tournament area. All four of us are passing to one another. Edgar is on my right and Brandon and Logan are to my left. 

I begin the draft as anyone would like to, with a [Card]Shadowspear[/Card] as my first pick. I take it over a [Card]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/Card] and [Card]Acolyte of Affliction[/Card], so I can assume Brandon is going to be taking one of those. Edgar passes me a relatively weak pack, but I happily take a [Card]Rise to Glory[/Card] from it hoping to move into Orzhov which is one of my favourite draft archetypes. 

Third pick I take a [Card]Chainweb Aracnir[/Card] out of yet another weak pack. Fourth pick I take a [Card]Fateful End[/Card], trying to consistently be taking the best cards out of the pack while looking for a signal. I take a few more red and green cards and I receive a last pick red card which I assume is Edgar signalling to me that I should be in red. Why else would you take a basic land over a normal card? Well… I would later find out the person to Edgar’s right took the basic land and left Edgar with two red cards and Edgar was in Izzet.

Pack Two yields me a first pick [Card]Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis[/Card] which I take, being fine with a switch to Boros for the power level. [Card]Tectonic Giant[/Card] is my second pick and I am extremely happy. Third pick I take a [Card]Gallia of the Endless Dance[/Card] because I have a few Satyrs and it’s the best card in the pack. Fourth pick I take a [Card]Dreadful Apathy[/Card], unable to commit to either colour. From there I see no white and solidify myself into Gruul. Here is the end result:

My Day 2 Draft deck.

Theros Beyond Death Draft #2

Round 9 – David Olsen (Win) 6-2-1

Time for me to exact my revenge! My opponent was playing a Dimir deck with a lot of countermagic. After a long grindy game one that almost got away from me, I was able to snag the match in two games with a nice satyr draw from my deck featuring Gallia. 

Round 10 – Brandon Pascal (Win) 7-2-1

I passed Brandon his entire deck and knew that this was going to be my toughest match yet. He was Golgari with at least three Gray Merchants. Game one I was able to cheese out a victory thanks to [Card]Wings of Hubris[/Card], which allowed me to get in two large attacks followed by a [Card]Fateful End[/Card]. Game two I got Grey Merchanted a bunch and died pretty convincingly. Game three I curved two-drop, into three-drop, into [Card]Tectonic Giant[/Card] and the game pretty much ended on the spot. He was light on removal which was good for me.

Round 11- Faraz Abounorinejad (Win) 8-2-1

Faraz was on Boros Aggro. I think I was naturally favoured in this match because I’m nearly as fast but my creatures are just a bit bigger. This is generally just true about aggro mirrors in Limited. Game one we raced a bit before I fell behind and had to go on the defensive. I was able to stabilize at two life and hold him off before closing out the game with some big creatures. Game two I slow rolled [Card]Shadowspear[/Card] for as long as possible, eventually having my [Card]Nylea’s Forerunner[/Card] revoked from existence. The turn after [Card]Shadowspear[/Card] came down and the game was pretty much locked up from there.

Overall I thought my deck was solid and I was anticipating a 2-1. But with a little bit of luck and a few great rares I managed to 3-0 the pod and move forward feeling good into Pioneer!

[Deck Title= Dimir Inverter – Pete Ingram]
[Creatures]
4 Inverter of Truth
3 Thassa’s Oracle
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries
2 Omen of the Sea
2 Censor
4 Dig Through Time
4 Fatal Push
1 Hero’s Downfall
2 Mystical Dispute
4 Opt
1 Thought Erasure
4 Thoughtseize
[/Spells]
[Lands]
6 Island
2 Swamp
2 Choked Estuary
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Fabled Passage
2 Fetid Pools
4 Watery Grave
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Damping Sphere
1 Pack Rat
1 Hero’s Downfall
2 Mystical Dispute
1 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
1 Agonizing Remorse
2 Cry of the Carnarium
2 Legion’s End
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Pioneer with Dimir Inverter

Round 12 – Charles Wong – Sultai Inverter (Win) 9-2-1

I started out my constructed rounds in Day 2 in the feature match area. Game one I managed to pull out the win in clutch fashion. Charles went for the combo with double [Card]Thassa’s Oracle[/Card] in hand. I lead on [Card]Thoughtseize[/Card], taking one of the two Oracles. Then I cast [Card]Dig Through Time[/Card] to find another [Card]Thoughtseize[/Card] for the other Oracle and a [Card]Fatal Push[/Card] to take out the Inverter because I had used a [Card]Fabled Passage[/Card] that turn. Game two the game was long and I eventually died to an escaped [Card]Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath[/Card]. Game three went long and despite an early [Card]Deathrite Shaman[/Card] from my opponent, I was able to stick two planeswalkers in the form of [Card]Jace, Wielder of Mysteries[/Card] and [Card]Jace, Telepath Unbound[/Card]. Eventually I managed to play an [Card]Inverter of Truth[/Card] and win the match. 

Round 13 – Nathan Calvin – Mono-Black Aggro (Win) 10-2-1

Game one I managed to disrupt my opponent and kill a few things before executing the combo fairly early. Game two I was falling behind but I managed to stick [Card]Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet[/Card] and thankfully my opponent didn’t have an answer. There was a pivotal turn where my opponent decided he had to go for it even if I had a removal spell. I had a [Card]Fatal Push[/Card] and was able to kill a creature and block with a Zombie token and Kalitas and the game ended quickly after.

Round 14 – Matt Nass – Lotus Breach (Win) 11-2-1

I had made it this far without playing against the breakout deck of the tournament. I wasn’t looking forward to having to battle against the deck, but also someone who is very well known for playing these kinds of strategies. Game one I disrupt Matt’s hand a few times and he bricks on draws. I set up the combo and gave him a turn window to draw an [Card]Underworld Breach[/Card] and he did it. Game 2 I managed to stick a [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card] and win fairly easily. Game 3 I got an early [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card] in play but Matt was able to kill it. So on a turn where Matt was tapped out I pretty much had to Dig into my second [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card]. I cast Dig, looked at the top seven and hit! From there it was fairly easy to win the game after getting very lucky throughout this match.

This matchup is one where you need to mulligan aggressively and try to be as proactive as possible. This is also a rare matchup where [Card]Thassa’s Oracle[/Card] is much better than [Card]Jace, Wielder of Mysteries[/Card] because it’s a cheaper way to combo. Going forward I will likely have three copies of [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card] in my sideboard because I suspect this deck is going to be popular. 

Round 15 – Allen Wu – Lotus Breach (Loss) 11-3-1

Another Lotus Breach match against a player that I haven’t had much experience against, but seems to consistently crush tournaments. I have two win and ins for Top 8 at this point and I’m looking to lock it up immediately. Game one I die pretty fast to the combo which is how most game one’s are going to go in this matchup. Game two is very long and drawn out. I stick a [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card] but Allen answers it and I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose my first win and in for Top 8. I manage to go for the Combo in a turn and he surprisingly has nothing and we head to game three.

We had another long drawn out game where I have a [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card] in play. Allen casts Granted for [Card]Natural State[/Card] with one mana up and I respond with a [Card]Dig Through Time[/Card] with six lands in play. He then attempts to [Card]Mystical Dispute[/Card] my Dig, but I tell him that he can’t because of [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card]. So I know two of the cards in his hand and I take a [Card]Thoughtseize[/Card] and [Card]Inverter of Truth[/Card] off my Dig to join the [Card]Thassa’s Oracle[/Card] that I was holding onto. I draw for turn and quickly realize I’m dead because of the [Card]Mystical Dispute[/Card] in his hand. A heartbreaking loss after battling back game two.

Round 16 – William Jensen – Lotus Breach (Win) 12-3-1

This is it, for all the marbles. Game one I lose in typical fashion and I can just feel that sinking feeling come over me, but I snap out of it because I realize that this is my shot and that feeling certainly isn’t going to help me. Game two I mulligan and lead off with a [Card]Thoughtseize[/Card] and am able to stick a [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card] while Huey draws a bunch of air. I assemble the combo and we go off to game three. Game three goes long and comes down to a turn where I put a second [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card] in play, knowing that the only way to get around it is [Card]Blast Zone[/Card]. 

Huey draws a [Card]Sylvan Scrying[/Card] for turn and puts [Card]Blast Zone[/Card] in play but my plan is to go for the combo next turn. I play [Card]Inverter of Truth[/Card] turning my library into three cards with an [Card]Opt[/Card] and [Card]Censor[/Card] in my hand. I target myself with [Card]Jace, Wielder of Mysteries[/Card] having zero cards in my library. When Huey goes to put a counter on [Card]Blast Zone[/Card], I cycle [Card]Censor[/Card] and win the game.

I shake Huey’s hand and wish him the best of luck into making into the Top 8 despite losing which I believed to be very likely (Spoiler alert, he did). I’m still in disbelief as I stand up and am greeted by applause and high fives from many friends. I did it, I Top 8’d my first PT.

After filling out the Top 8 forms and doing my interview, I headed back to the Arrogant Butcher to join up with friends. After a nice dinner, I decided to be a great friend and pay for everyone’s dinner. And by that I mean I lost the credit card game, a loss that I took with a smile on my face. 

After dinner, I went back to the hotel with Eli Kassis. He and Edgar were gracious enough to offer to help me practice some games for my quarterfinals match against Corey. I played a few games against Edgar on Magic Online and then went to bed as I was extremely tired after a very long and stressful day. 

PT Phoenix Top 8. (Courtesy Wizards of the Coast)

Top 8 – Corey Burkhart – Dimir Inverter (Loss) 12-4-1

I woke up and headed to the site to get ready for my match with Corey. I had my sideboard plans pretty much locked up as I had a pretty good idea of what Corey was going to do in the matchup. I kept a marginal hand game one that had lands, cantrips and most importantly: zero copies of [Card]Fatal Push[/Card]. I was on the play thanks to being fourth seed and lead with Island and passed. Corey lead out with [Card]Thoughtseize[/Card] which is never a good sign. The game went on for a bit but Corey pulled ahead with Jace and it was off to game two. 


Game two was similar to game one. I kept a marginal hand and got [Card]Thoughtseize[/Card]’d on turn one from Corey. There was a turn where I cast a discard spell and took a Jace over a [Card]Dig Through Time[/Card] which may have been incorrect in retrospect. I knew I was cold to the Jace, but it’s possible I could have taken Dig and left mana open going into Corey’s fourth turn which he would be hard pressed to jam Jace into. I landed an Ashiok which did virtually nothing and eventually Corey landed a Jace. Then a [Card]Pack Rat[/Card] came down on Corey’s side which was the final nail in the coffin. Congratulations to Corey for being a stand up player and for taking down the tournament!

As for me, I think I learned a valuable lesson this tournament: Never count yourself out. Now, I’m in a great spot for Rivals and I’m fully reinvested into Magic which feels good. I feel this need to prove myself further, so I’m going to put my all into the Players Tour Finals in Houston in April.

Courtesy Wizards of the Coast.

Thanks to everyone who gave me support throughout this tournament, it really meant a lot.

You can check out my updated Dimir Inverter list and sideboard guide on the Team BCW Patreon! www.patreon.com/teambcw.

In Phoenix with No Hope: a Players Tour Top 8 tournament report (Day 1)

When I left for Players Tour Phoenix I really had no hope to do well. 

It was Wednesday night and I was wavering on what deck to play:

*Ding* *Ding* *Ding*

In the right hand corner, coming in at 150 lbs, we have Dimir Inverter: Lean, mean and I’d tuned the deck enough to be very confident in the list. 

[Deck Title= Finalist PT Brussels, Dimir Inverter – Piotr Glogowski]
[Creatures]
4 Inverter of Truth
4 Thassa’s Oracle
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
2 Thought Erasure
4 Thoughtseize
2 Censor
4 Dig Through Time
2 Drown in the Loch
4 Fatal Push
4 Opt
2 Omen of the Sea
3 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries
[/Spells]
[Lands]
2 Choked Estuary
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Fabled Passage
2 Fetid Pools
6 Island
3 Swamp
4 Watery Grave
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
2 Cry of the Carnarium
1 Damping Sphere
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Legion’s End
3 Mystical Dispute
1 Noxious Grasp
1 The Scarab God
1 Thief of Sanity
1 Ultimate Price
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

In the left hand corner, coming in at 200 lbs, we had Sultai Delirium coming off a fresh 4-1 in a league where the only thing I learned was that I wanted a second [Card]Murderous Rider[/Card].

[Deck Title= Winner PT Brussels, Sultai Delerium – Joel Larsson]
[Creatures]
2 Courser of Kruphix
1 Emrakul, the Promised End
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
3 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Murderous Rider
4 Satyr Wayfinder
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Tireless Tracker
4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
1 Walking Ballista
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
3 Traverse the Ulvenwald
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Fatal Push
2 Grisly Salvage
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
2 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Blooming Marsh
1 Botanical Sanctum
4 Breeding Pool
1 Castle Garenbrig
3 Fabled Passage
1 Forest
2 Island
1 Opulent Palace
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Watery Grave
1 Swamp
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Tireless Tracker
1 Vivien Reid
1 Sultai Charm
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Noxious Grasp
2 Mystical Dispute
3 Leyline of the Void
1 Hostage Taker
1 Duress
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Cast Down
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

My record with Dimir Inverter, despite winning SCG Richmond with it, was 10-6 so I wasn’t super confident in it and I also knew that it would have a huge target on its back going into the weekend. However, I knew the list I’d prepared was good and I didn’t know where to begin or end with Sultai Delirium, especially with so little time before decks were due. 

Courtesy StarcityGames.

I settled on a Dimir Inverter list with Edgar Magalhaes, Jonathan Rosum and Dylan Donegan. We all registered close to one another’s list at around 1:30 am EST. The most important last minute choice I made was to add a second [Card]Damping Sphere[/Card]. 

Thursday rolls around and my Team BCW chat is popping off with several players saying their flights were delayed or canceled. I was worried because my flight was very late and basically one delay would leave me drawing dead to arrive on time. I was flying out of JFK which was lucky because the weather gods shined down upon me and all was well. I end up getting in at the hotel in Phoenix at around 1:30 am, and eventually fall asleep to wake up early the next morning to get cards and battle. 

At some point on Thursday I get a Facebook message from Edgar which leads to us making a pact where if we 0-3 Draft, we have to book a flight to play in SCG Philadelphia. I’m pretty excited by this, considering my lack of faith in this tournament and also I don’t want to fall behind in the PC race. More on this later.

Friday morning Eli Kassis, Brandon Pascal and myself grab a quick breakfast from our hotel and head to the site. Draft pods go up and I get inspired to throw my AirPods in and listen to “Neato” by Three Loco, a tradition that will now be something I do at every PT. I get to my pod, sit down and the Draft gets underway.

Pack one, pick one I am faced with a tough decision: [Card]Calix, Destiny’s Hand[/Card] or [Card]Elspeth’s Nightmare[/Card]. I chose Calix based on the fact that I have lost to this card handily before and I think pairing either colour off with black and splashing the other will lead to a great deck. Thankfully when asked, Mike Sigrist agreed with my pick. I second picked an [Card]Elspeth’s Nightmare[/Card] but see no other black cards and quickly fall into Selesnya. I end with a sweet looking GWbu deck:

I played 16 land in this deck with Labyrinth, two Dryads and an Omen, I think it was more or less fine. I thought my deck could have trouble finishing out games so I incorporated Eutropia. I absolutely love this Limited format because I think there are a large pool of playable cards which leads to very interesting deck building. 

Theros Beyond Death Draft #1

Round 1 – Nathaniel Knox (Draw) 0-0-1

Game one is super long and grindy. Nathanial has a sweet UGwb deck featuring [Card]Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath[/Card], [Card]Shatter the Skies[/Card] and a bunch of other really strong cards. I managed to narrowly win game one by running him out of cards. Game two looked like it would end in similar fashion, but his second to last card is [Card]Sweet Oblivion[/Card] which milled me out and forced a game three. With very little time on the clock I managed to get Nathaniel down to one life by turn four of turns, resulting in a draw.

Round 2 – Michael Flores (Win) 1-0-1

Flores was on an aggressive Boros deck that featured [Card]Shadowspear[/Card]. Thankfully I was able to outrace it in game one thanks to [Card]Mantle of the Wolf[/Card] and [Card]Alseid of Life’s Bounty[/Card]. I boarded-out blue going into game two because I didn’t think I would need it to win games against such an aggressive strategy. Game two I played Mantle again and it was just as great as game one against the aggro deck and I was able to take the match down.

Round 3 – Tom Ross (Win) 2-0-1

This match was extremely close. We both had similar decks although Tom was Golgari and we both had [Card]Elspeth’s Nightmare[/Card]. Game three Tom stumbled on lands and I was able to capitalize playing around both the removal spells I knew he could have on three black mana, which he did. Eventually Calix came down and that was enough to seal the deal. 

Pioneer with Dimir Inverter

Round 4 – Tyler Hill – Mono-White Heliod (Loss) 2-1-1

I won game one fairly convincingly but games two and three my opponent was able to get [Card]Gideon of the Trials[/Card] down and I couldn’t get it off the table before it and some other creatures beat me to a pulp.

Round 5 – David Olsen – Mono-White Heliod (Loss) 2-2-1

My opponent was on Mono-White Heliod again, this time with maindeck [Card]Leyline of Sanctity[/Card]. Game one a [Card]Gideon of the Trials[/Card] landed again and it was able to both lock me out of winning and beat me down. Game two I keep a [Card]Thoughtseize[/Card], [Card]Opt[/Card] and single land hand and my opponent mulligans to five and puts a Leyline in play which I completely forgot about. I boarded-in [Card]Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver[/Card] like a dope. I fail to draw lands and quickly get run over after drawing an Ashiok which is a fitting punishment for my stupidity. 

How quickly we fall. Reality had checked in at this point and my mindset was completely shattered. I messaged Cory Baumeister who sadly wasn’t able to make the event and asked him if he would like to team for SCG Philadelphia assuming I get my third loss and am eliminated. That degen flight was looking more and more appealing by the minute at that point. Like the great friend Corey is he informs me that I need to chill out and that I can still win the PT. Corey, you’re great and I’m truly thankful we’re friends. You’ve made my event experiences so much better this year. 

Round 6 – Eric Fox – Mono-Black Aggro (Win) 3-2-1

I lost game one but was able to battle back with the help of my sideboard cards. I’m having a tough time remembering what happened this match, however I do remember it being very close. 

Round 7 – John Rolf – Mono-Red Aggro (Win) 4-2-1

This match had razor thin margins and I narrowly escaped with a win. It came down to a pivotal turn in game three where I jammed [Card]Jace, Wielder of Mysteries[/Card] onto a board where I could die if his hand was good, but if he had to kill Jace I would likely win. Thankfully he had to kill Jace and from there I was able to narrowly maneuver my way into assembling [Card]Inverter of Truth[/Card] + [Card]Thassa’s Oracle[/Card] to win the game when he was hellbent. 

After this round, Eli, Edgar and I all had win and in’s for Day Two. However, we were all on the win and stay or lose and head to the airport for SCG Philadelphia plan. I sat next to Edgar as I had for a bunch of rounds because we were both in the draw bracket. Both of our final matches were against 5C Niv-Mizzet. We were both torn at which result we wanted more, to win and stay for Day Two, or to lose and have a very sweet story to make a deep run in SCG Philadelphia.

Needless to say, I’m very happy with how things ended up.

Round 8 – Adam Fronsee – 5C Niv (Win) 5-2-1

I won game one after opening on some early discard and resolving the combo a few turns later. Game two was very interesting. I had ripped my opponents hand apart with discard and was super far ahead. I could go for the combo, but I would lose to a few cards if my opponent top-decked one of their three outs. So I went for a safer play of playing Jace on an empty board and plussing.

My opponent played a [Card]Niv-Mizzet Reborn[/Card], acquiring a [Card]Slaughter Games[/Card] and a [Card]Bring to Light[/Card]. On my turn I was able to [Card]Thoughtseize[/Card] the [Card]Slaughter Games[/Card], but I was fairly certain he had a second copy. So I passed the turn and my Jace died to Niv and he [Card]Bring to Light[/Card]s for [Card]Slaughter games[/Card] on [Card]Inverter of Truth[/Card] and I go onto lose the game. I couldn’t help but feel like I threw this game away and now game three was for all the marbles. Game three he got stuck on lands and I pulled super far ahead and won by milling him out with [Card]Jace, Telepath Unbound[/Card]’s ultimate.

Eli, Edgar, and I all advanced to Day Two! So the SCG Philadelphia dream was dead, but we all had our eyes set on broader horizons. Afterwards a bunch of us went out to a lovely dinner at the Arrogant Butcher, where we would go on to runback the following day. 

That’s how my day ended. From no hope to win, to a Jace ultimate and a birth in day two. But as you know now, my work wasn’t done there. I went to bed with bigger goals in mind than jumping on a last minute flight to Philadelphia.

The story of Day 2 of Players Tour Phoenix, coming soon.

Cat Combo is back: Pioneer’s most broken cards

Pioneer is the talk of the town in Magic right now. With the exception of maybe how broken [Card]Oko, Thief of Crowns[/Card] is.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, it’s a format where all cards from Return to Ravnica to the latest set are legal. The one caveat is that the five fetch lands from Khans of Tarkir are banned. Also, it is very likely that there will be more cards banned before the first Player’s Tour takes place that uses this format. 

So, we’re all going to spending the next few weeks trying to find a deck to play in Pioneer. But where do you start with all these options? Well here is a tip from Sam Black that I think everyone should follow:

This format has some incredibly powerful cards that have seen sweeping bannings across multiple high-powered eternal formats. So what cards are in the conversation that could potentially be banned in Pioneer? Here is my short list:

Emrakul is a card that is only going to get more obnoxious the larger the format is. Not only is it a very powerful card that many control decks can’t beat in long games, it’s also a card that is extremely really un-fun to play against. For that reason, I don’t expect it to live long in the format. 

[Card]Aetherworks Marvel[/Card] is probably the biggest offender on this list as it allows you to play a fair game, but then slam an “oops I win” card and put Ulamog or Emrakul (or whatever unfair thing you can find) into play. I suspect that [Card]Aetherworks Marvel[/Card] doesn’t live passed the first B&R announcement, but we shall see.

[Card]Rally the Ancestors[/Card] may be a lot worse now than it was before, but it is an incredibly powerful card. Rally is the type of deck that can easily play around cards like [Card]Rest in Peace[/Card] and other graveyard hate and for that reason, I could easily see this getting out of hand. 

Kethis is a card that has only been out for a short amount of time. We saw it dominate Standard alongside [Card]Mox Amber[/Card] and a slew of great planeswalkers before Dominaria rotated. I can easily see this card coming back again to dominate alongside [Card]Emery, Lurker of the Loch[/Card]. [Card]Mox Amber[/Card] is perhaps the better target as I’m sure given enough time, it will be just as unfair as it’s other Mox siblings.

The last of the super unfair cards is the great combo of [Card]Felidar Guardian[/Card] and [Card]Saheeli Rai[/Card]. This puts a strain on the format that I’m not sure is healthy as it creates this tension of the opposition always having to respect the combo when they have a piece on the board. Much like the old [Card]Splinter Twin[/Card] problem in Modern. I think it’s likely a piece of the combo should get banned to let the format prosper. That being said, I would actually ban [Card]Saheeli Rai[/Card] over [Card]Felidar Guardian[/Card] as I think the cat could see play without Saheeli and I don’t think the statement is the same vice versa.

There are also a few cards that while I think are likely appropriate power level for a format like this, could prove to be problematic at some point:

[Card]Smuggler’s Copter[/Card] is a card that we didn’t get to see much in Standard when it was legal — because it was so quickly banned. This was mainly due to the fact that it was colorless, so any deck could play it. The value you get from a card like this while also being such a proactive play is simply unheard of. While I think this card is likely fine in a more open format like this, I could still see it getting to a point where it’s slightly obnoxious. 

[Card]Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx[/Card] is the pinnacle for any mono-coloured deck that is looking to gain an advantage from having access to a ton of mana. I think that Mono-Green Devotion will likely be a top contender in a format where the above cards have been pushed out and I wouldn’t be surprised if this eventually should make its way out of the format. 

[Card]God Pharaoh’s Gift[/Card] has the ability to be cheated in play via [Card]Gate to the Afterlife[/Card]. You can do some cool things like potential combo kills with [Card]Combat Celebrant[/Card] and whatever other new toys you get in the format. I suspect that this type of deck will be kept in check by things like [Card]Rest in Peace[/Card], but perhaps it gets to a point where it can easily play around graveyard hate. Definitely something to keep an eye on going forward. 

Like I said off the top, our first goal with this format is to abuse these awesome cards in order to see just how broken some of these decks can be. Which, as you might imagine, was the framework for the decks I’ve prepared for you below.

One of the most interesting things about Pioneer is that the format looks to be slow enough that many of these decks will be able to support midrangey elements to help protect or support their combo. Saheeli combo for example can lean on [Card]Reflector Mage[/Card] to keep the board clear and [Card]Teferi, Time Raveler[/Card] to protect it’s combo. 

This kind of combo-control potential is nothing to bat an eye at if history has taught us anything.

Here are some lists that I’ve been working on:

[Deck Title= Four Colour Rally – Pete Ingram]
[Creatures]
4 Stitcher’s Supplier
4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Cruel Celebrant
3 Grim Haruspex
4 Nantuko Husk
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
4 Zulaport Cutthroat
2 Elvish Visionary
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Collected Company
4 Rally the Ancestors
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Fabled Passage
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Watery Grave
4 Godless Shrine
4 Temple Garden
1 Swamp
1 Island
1 Plains
1 Forest
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
3 Mystical Dispute
4 Knight of Autumn
3 Anafenza, the Foremost
4 Thoughtseize
1 Assassin’s Trophy
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Four Colour Saheeli Combo – Pete Ingram]
[Creatures]
4 Gilded Goose
4 Felidar Guardian
2 Llanowar Elves
2 Reflector Mage
4 Rogue Refiner
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Attune with Aether
4 Harnessed Lightning
1 Oath of Chandra
4 Oath of Nissa
3 Oko, Thief of Crowns
4 Saheeli Rai
3 Teferi, Time Raveler
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Aether Hub
4 Botanical Sanctum
2 Breeding Pool
2 Fabled Passage
2 Island
1 Mountain
1 Plains
3 Forest
1 Hallowed Fountain
2 Spirebluff Canal
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Disdainful Stroke
3 Knight of Autumn
1 Natural State
2 Mystical Dispute
1 Pithing Needle
2 Rest in Peace
1 Supreme Verdict
3 Veil of Summer
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Kethis Combo – Pete Ingram]
[Creatures]
1 Alela, Artful Provocateur
4 Diligent Excavator
4 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
3 Fblthp, the Lost
4 Hope of Ghirapur
4 Kethis, the Hidden Hand
1 Lazav, the Multifarious
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Mox Amber
4 Oath of Nissa
3 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Narset, Parter of Veils
[/Spells]
[Lands]
3 Botanical Sanctum
4 Breeding Pool
1 Temple Garden
4 Watery Grave
3 Geier Reach Sanitarium
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Overgrown Tomb
2 Drowned Catacomb
[/Lands]
[/Deck]

Pioneer is gearing up to be a very exciting format and I think once we get passed the initial brokenness of the format, I think it has the potential to be one of the best formats Magic has seen since the inception of Modern. I’m really looking forward to playing this format more once the Mythic Championship and the Invitational are over.

How to win the Golos mirror

Dear Diary,

I Just got back from SCG Philly. Standard almost everywhere. Golos almost everywhere. Hehe. Oh diary, what a week. I won a lot in Standard. I don’t know if it’s going to go anywhere. Edgar was very specific that this is not going anywhere, that it was a one time fluke. But I won six times so you tell me. I am definitely feeling very eerie.

More tomorrow, xoxoxo, Pete.

***

Standard is evolving rapidly and it’s clear that Golos is the deck to beat. Just take a look at this weekend’s Mythic Championship lists — which are more than 40 per cent Golos decks. So if Golos is the best deck, then it would lead us to the fact that beating the mirror is key. The mirror comes down to a few things:

Game one is going to be a flat out race to who can get faster mana and zombies in play. Assemble your [Card]Field of the Dead[/Card]s as fast as possible.

Many players have begun to play trump cards to get a little bit of an edge. But what’s the best trump card?

Well, three weeks ago this answer would have been [Card]Fae of Wishes[/Card]. Brad Nelson started out with this technology to get [Card]Jace, Wielder of Mysteries[/Card] to win the mirror. However, at SCG Philly there was some new technology that was brought to the tables: [Card]Kenrith, the Returned King[/Card]. Kenrith easily wins games by giving your creatures haste and trample in conjunction with a mass of zombies and [Card]Beanstalk Giant[/Card]s.

You can even reanimate Golos in the same turn if you have enough mana to amass even more zombies. Kenrith is the new trump and [Card]Fae of Wishes[/Card] is so five minutes ago. Kenrith is so impactful that I would consider playing two copies maindeck going forward.

Another thing that you can do to impact the mirror in your main deck is playing some number of [Card]Agent of Treachery[/Card]. Normally, this is a three-of in stock sideboards, but since the mirror is so prevalent, I like having one or two in my maindeck now. This card allows you to steal opposing [Card]Field of the Dead[/Card]s, which is what you want to be doing the vast majority of the time to ensure you can amass the bigger board.

The last thing that you can do to your maindeck is play a mixture of [Card]Oko, Thief of Crowns[/Card] alongside [Card]Teferi, Time Raveler[/Card]. Oko allows you to steal opposing [Card]Golos, Tireless Pilgrim[/Card] and also turns [Card]Beanstalk Giant[/Card] into a measly 3/3 Elk. Teferi is also quite good in the mirror, especially in post board games, so I wouldn’t want to stop playing that card either. These cheap planeswalkers can provide the sort of incremental advantage necessary to snowball a game in the mirror.

So with all that said, here is what my deck would currently look like:

[Deck Title= Five Colour Golos – Pete Ingram]
[Creatures]
2 Realm-Cloaked Giant
1 Agent of Treachery
4 Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
3 Hydroid Krasis
1 Kenrith, the Returned King
2 Arboreal Grazer
3 Beanstalk Giant
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Once Upon a Time
2 Oko, Thief of Crowns
2 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Growth Spiral
4 Circuitous Route
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Field of the Dead
3 Fabled Passage
1 Thornwood Falls
1 Tranquil Cove
1 Temple of Malady
1 Temple of Mystery
1 Boros Guildgate
2 Island
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Golgari Guildgate
1 Azorius Guildgate
1 Temple of Epiphany
2 Breeding Pool
1 Hallowed Fountain
2 Temple Garden
1 Simic Guildgate
2 Plains
2 Forest
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Agent of Treachery
2 Veil of Summer
1 Teferi, Time Raveler
2 Deputy of Detention
3 Devout Decree
1 Time Wipe
2 Disdainful Stroke
2 Mystical Dispute
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

The sideboard is another part of your gameplan that is going to hugely impact your performance in the mirror. Right now the way the sideboard is configured it would go like this:

+2 [Card]Agent of Treachery[/Card]
+1 [Card]Veil of Summer[/Card]
+1 [Card]Teferi, Time Raveler[/Card]
+2 [Card]Deputy of Detention[/Card]
+2 [Card]Disdainful Stroke[/Card]
-2 [Card]Arboreal Grazer[/Card]
-4 [Card]Once Upon A Time[/Card]
-2 [Card]Realm-Cloaked Giant[/Card] (Leave in if you don’t see opposing Beanstalk Giant)

We’re going up to near max of [Card]Agent of Treachery[/Card] because of how devastating it can be in the mirror. Veil is a cheap answer to opposing [Card]Agent of Treachery[/Card] and can also get something through a counter. [Card]Deputy of Detention[/Card] is the real MVP and is going to allow you to win off the back of clearing your opponents zombies out of the way and attacking for a bunch of damage.

This of course makes our Teferi’s better as well so we can rebuy our Deputy’s and our Agents. Deputy can also answer an opposing Teferi in a pinch. Finally, we have [Card]Disdainful Stroke[/Card] which while bad against Teferi, is insane against [Card]Circuitous Route[/Card], Golos and [Card]Agent of Treachery[/Card]. The way these mirrors play out a key counter can swing the entire game, so I think Stroke is key.

I highly recommend you test out the mirror with your friends as it’s going to be extremely important in Standard going forward. My best tips are to not get bogged down by the insane board states and always have a plan. Always be asking yourself, how am I going to win this game?

Also, it is very important to not burn your [Card]Fabled Passage[/Card]s and Routes early in spots where it’s simply putting some extra lands in play for a few zombies. SAVE THEM for when you can max out the most zombies or go for a win with Kenrith! I have seen so many of my opponents just cast a Route to thin out their deck and I jump for joy when this happens because I know I’m going to probably win as a result.

The Golos mirror is very skill intensive and there is a lot to be gained in the matchup.  Hopefully this little primer is enough to put you over the top at your next Standard event!

Grabbing food in Eldraine: The set’s best cards for Standard

I’ve got to say that Throne of Eldraine has me more excited for a Standard set than I have been in a long time. 

The flavour and the all-around cool card designs pouring out of this set are outstanding, and I can’t wait to brew new Standard decks. This week, I’d like to talk about some of the specific cards that I think will make an immediate impact on this new Standard format: 

First, Food, glorious food!

Food is one of the new mechanics in this set and let me say, that it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, Food is the thing that I think has the potential to be the most powerful in this set. Let’s get things started with goose that is not loose.

Exit: [Card]Llanowar Elves[/Card]

 

Enter: [Card]Gilded Goose[/Card]

While Llanowar Elves may be a bit more powerful as a mana excelerator, [Card]Gilded Goose[/Card] has a lot to offer, possibly even more then it’s elf counterpart. On the surface [Card]Gilded Goose[/Card] ramps you once for free, but also has the potential to gain you a bit of life and allow you store mana for bigger turns going late. However, there are a ton of ways to make more food and being able to sacrifice food for free can be quite useful! I think curving this little guy into [Card]Oko, Thief of Crowns[/Card] will prove to be a defining sequence in this new Standard environment Standard.

Oko is a food generating, elk(ephant) making, creature swapping bad boy from the streets of Eldraine. Oko is insane for a three mana planeswalker! It effectively starts on six loyalty and has the ability to defend itself on the following turn by turning food into 3/3s. You can also immediately downgrade an opposing creature which is a unique effect we don’t see often in Standard. After Oko makes a Food, you can even trade that Food for an opposing pesky creature — with power three or less of course. I am a big fan of Oko and I suspect it to be quite the powerhouse for its time in Standard.

[Card]Wicked Wolf[/Card] is a great way to get use out of having a lot of food in play and requires the opponent to exile it to get rid of it. That being said, both Oko and Teferi deal with it pretty nicely by either making it lose all abilities or bouncing it respectively. So I can easily see a world where [Card]Wicked Wolf[/Card] doesn’t cut it. 

This may be one of the best ways to sacrifice Food. It is a very good chump blocker that gains you incidental life. If you have a way to sacrifice creatures, this can become a fast clock as well. I think this might be a sideboard card depending on how the format shakes out, but I certainly think that it is a card to be keeping an eye on.

Call me Hansel because I’m all about those crumbs. Seriously, I think this card is busted. With all these planeswalkers in the format, playing all permanents in your deck is hardly a cost which means this card is always hitting. [Card]Trail of Crumbs[/Card] is the exact card I was looking for when I first saw Food as a mechanic and I think that it will be the glue the holds the archetype together.

Okay, I’m stuffed. Moving on. 

This card is sweet. A sweeper that doubles as a big creature that can kill the opponent. As with all Adventure creatures, you can bounce it with Teferi to recast the Adventure side which is very powerful. The fact that there are some constructed playable Giants — like [Card]Bonecrusher Giant[/Card] — is going to hurt this card a little bit. That said, I think this could see a bit of play in decks that don’t have access to [Card]Kaya’s Wrath[/Card] or could see play alongside it. 

Speaking of the Bonecrusher, have you seen this card?! I’m not a huge red mage, but this card gets me excited. It curves nicely, killing a creature and then dropping a huge body that punishes the opponent for interacting with it. Red is certainly going to take a hit with this rotation, but [Card]Bonecrusher Giant[/Card] could put it back on the map.

Speaking of powerful red cards, this one doesn’t disappoint either. It has the potential of having an immediate impact when you cast it pre-combat, which is always a bonus for aggressive cards. Adding two damage to all red sources is an incredibly powerful effect, and being a 2/4 for four is a pretty sturdy red creature.

So I think this card is broken. Not sure what the goals on this card were, but I’m not a huge fan of it design-wise. It’s extremely flavourful which I like. However, it is going to influence Modern significantly and also will likely see a bit of play Standard as it increases your likelihood to cast [Card]Gilded Goose[/Card] on turn one. Get your play-sets while it lasts, this is a hot ticket.

This card is great and exactly the type of card a Knight’s deck is looking for. It has a very relevant body and is great against any deck with damage-based removal. Depending on how the format shakes out, this could be one of the best threats in the format for certain decks like Mono-Red or control decks leaning on red removal. 

It’s been a while since we’ve had [Card]Hero’s Downfall[/Card] in Standard, and I am happy to have it back! This is a bit worse on rate, being that you have to pay the two life. But it more than makes up for it with having the castable Lifelink body attached. I’m a bit concerned about the play patterns with this and [Card]Teferi, Time Raveler[/Card], but the mana isn’t that great now and it’s a huge mana investment. It might not happen right away, but if the mana improves those these two cards in combination will allow control players to secure a vice grip on the game. 

This is one of the cards from the Brawl Decks and I think it, alongside some other cards, definitely have the ability to see play in Standard. This card plays very well with food and also there are a fair amount of playable coloured artifacts in this set as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if [Card]Shimmer Dragon[/Card] was the control finisher of choice for many decks that can support it.

We just got the five rare cycle of lands for this set and while that means no Temples for now, these lands are pretty sweet. I think this land is likely the best of the bunch. Late game being able to draw a card and pay minimal life is going to be very powerful for a lot of black decks in this format. I suspect this card to see a fair amount of play in any deck playing black.

That’s going to wrap this up for this week. Be sure to catch me talking about this more on my podcast with Dylan Donegan and Jonathan Rosum, Tapped Out Podcast. It can be found on Soundcloud, Itunes, Stitcher and Spotify. Until next time, get to brewing!

It’s time to BREW in new Modern

11-4 at SCG DFW with Azorius Stoneblade good for a Top 16 finish. Welcome to Modern [Card]Stoneforge Mystic[/Card].

My deck was everything I expected with the addition of one of Legacy’s best two-drops and and with a good break here or there, I could have seen myself in Top 8.

It was an interesting event and there was a lot to try to keep with as everyone adapted to the new format.

With the banning of [Card]Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis[/Card] and [Card]Faithless Looting[/Card], the Modern format is honestly an entirely new beast. Not to mention, the unbanning of [Card]Stoneforge Mystic[/Card]. I really enjoyed the tournament in Dallas because, at least for now, it would appear Modern has become a much more interactive format. You can get run over sometimes, it wouldn’t be Modern without that. But, have a more interactive format at its base allows you to brew a little more and come up with strong plans to help put W’s on the board. And, I like to brew.

It’s with these changes that it becomes extremely important to go back through Modern’s history and check out all the archetypes that have succeeded in the past. Before the format got a little too quick for comfort. It’s easy to forget that Modern is a relatively new format and that means that exploration is always viable — especially when the format’s turned on its head like this. The best deck could be under all of our noses, and I’m going to do my best to find it. This is what makes Magic so fun and creative!

While I think Azorius Stoneblade is a great deck and one that I will definitely be considering moving forward, I’m going to put it in my back pocket for now and work on some Modern brews. And that’s what I’m going to walk you through today: four different Modern brews. You’ll see some blasts from the past with a little new flavour peppered in here and there.

First up, we have a deck that has gained a fair amount of new tools recently. A deck that was somewhat popular in old extended: Aggro Loam.

[Deck Title= Aggro Loam – Pete Ingram]
[Creatures]
3 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Tireless Tracker
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Fatal Push
4 Raven’s Crime
2 Assassin’s Trophy
3 Liliana of the Veil
3 Seismic Assault
3 Wrenn and Six
3 Life from the Loam
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Blood Crypt
1 Blooming Marsh
1 Swamp
1 Forest
1 Mountain
2 Graven Cairns
2 Ghost Quarter
2 Forgotten Cave
2 Barren Moor
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
1 Stomping Ground
2 Wooded Foothills
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
Sideboard
1 Darkblast
2 Ancient Grudge
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Collector Ouphe
3 Collective Brutality
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Ghost Quarter
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

This deck is a blast from the past and one that is very near and dear to my heart. Shout out to Phil Napoli, an old school Northeast grinder who I Googled for inspiration on this list. [Card]Wrenn and Six[/Card] is absolutely awesome in this deck and with the printing of the cycle lands in Modern Horizons I think this deck could be a real contender again. [Card]Countryside Crusher[/Card] is an option for these archetypes that I haven’t included above but can be quite potent in this style of deck. This is especially true if you’re looking for a quick way to clock your opponents and the format ends up having some spell-based combo decks you’re looking to close the door on.

With Hogaak and Phoenix gone and Dredge at an all time low because of [Card]Faithless Looting[/Card] being banned, graveyard hate has been pushed out of a lot of sideboards. In the absence of graveyard hate the Loam, Wrenn and [Card]Seismic Assault[/Card] engine can absolutely take over midrange mirrors and those are on the rise lately in Modern. You’re also offered the ability to play [Card]Ghost Quarter[/Card] in your maindeck and recurring it with Loam is a real way to punish big mana decks which is something every fair deck in Modern is looking for.

I think this deck has the tools to contend with the current top decks in the format and it is definitely something I want to work on moving forward.

The next deck that I want to work on is another blast from the past, Four Colour [Card]Gifts Ungiven[/Card].

[Deck Title= Four Colour Gifts – Pete Ingram]
[Creatures]
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Knight of the Reliquary
3 Noble Hierarch
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Assassin’s Trophy
2 Collective Brutality
1 Fatal Push
4 Gifts Ungiven
1 Life from the Loam
3 Liliana of the Veil
2 Lingering Souls
1 Negate
1 Raven’s Crime
1 Unburial Rites
3 Teferi, Time Raveler
[/Spells]
[Lands]
3 Botanical Sanctum
1 Breeding Pool
1 Plains
1 Gavony Township
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Swamp
1 Godless Shrine
1 Horizon Canopy
3 Marsh Flats
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Watery Grave
1 Windswept Heath
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Forest
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Temple Garden
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Path to Exile
1 Negate
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Spell Queller
2 Stony Silence
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Terastodon
2 Timely Reinforcements
2 Tireless Tracker
1 Unmoored Ego
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

I think [Card]Gifts Ungiven[/Card], [Card]Unburial Rites[/Card], and Iona/Elesh Norn is an underplayed combo in Modern. That being said, Iona is a bit worse now that [Card]Karn, the Great Creator[/Card] is a prominent threat in Modern that can sidestep it.

With this list you have the added power base power level of curving a turn one accelerant into a powerful three-mana planeswalker in Teferi or Liliana. The gifts package is very good in this deck because it not only offers a combo, but also interacts on multiple different axis’. You can assemble [Card]Raven’s Crime[/Card] and [Card]Life from the Loam[/Card], or search up a Snapcaster pile the ensures you get the answer you need.

Another deck that I am interested in that utilizes the gifts package is a deck that Gerry Thompson used to play a lot back in the day, Azorius Tron.

[Deck Title= Azorius Tron – Pete Ingram]
[Creatures]
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Walking Ballista
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Azorius Signet
4 Thirst for Knowledge
4 Remand
2 Condescend
4 Path to Exile
3 Expedition Map
1 Repeal
4 Gifts Ungiven
1 Talisman of Progress
4 Karn, the Great Creator
1 Mindslaver
1 Unburial Rites
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Tolaria West
4 Urza’s Tower
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Plains
4 Urza’s Mine
1 Island
2 Seachrome Coast
4 Urza’s Power Plant
2 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Academy Ruins
2 Hallowed Fountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Negate
1 Disenchant
2 Dispel
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Terastodon
1 Ensnaring Bridge
2 Timely Reinforcements
1 Mycosynth Lattice
1 Pithing Needle
1 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Celestial Purge
1 Crucible of Worlds
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

This deck now has an extra four mana payoff in the form of [Card]Karn, the Great Creator[/Card] which makes your two-mana rocks like [Card]Azorius Signet[/Card] way better. I think there is something here and I’ve had moderate success with this deck online. It may just be weaker than regular Tron on power level, but it is multi-faceted and is hard to hate on unlike traditional green Tron decks. Having to board in hate for the graveyard and for Tron is rough on the opponent.

[Deck Title= Azorius Urza Blade – Pete Ingram]
[Creatures]
3 Urza, Lord High Artificer
4 Stoneforge Mystic
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Arcum’s Astrolabe
3 Force of Negation
2 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Path to Exile
1 Batterskull
4 Serum Visions
2 Thirst for Knowledge
2 Pentad Prism
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Thopter Foundry
1 Sword of the Meek
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Flooded Strand
6 Snow-Covered Island
2 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Glacial Fortress
4 Field of Ruin
1 Academy Ruins
1 Scalding Tarn
2 Hallowed Fountain
2 Seachrome Coast
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Celestial Purge
2 Supreme Verdict
1 Disenchant
1 Cataclysmic Gearhulk
2 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Monastery Mentor
2 Timely Reinforcements
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Batterskull
1 Disdainful Stroke
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Finally, we have a Azorius Urza Blade brew that I have been thinking about and working on. This deck is a bit different than the rest of the decklists that I have seen, but will look similar to the Urza decks you’ve seen winning Modern tournaments for the last month or so.

This version is less reliant on artifacts and has no copies of [Card]Mox Opal[/Card], but instead is playing more blue cards to lean hard on [Card]Force of Negation[/Card]. I’m unsure if this is the correct route to go, but I think this deck could be quite powerful in a metagame where [Card]Force of Negation[/Card] shines. Being able to protect [Card]Urza, Highlord Artificer[/Card] is incredibly powerful and often you can hard-cast the Force once it’s in play.

The fact is, Opal is harder to turn on in the popular Urza lists than almost any other Opal deck out there. With an emphasis on basic lands and snow mana, it’s hard to play enough cheap artifacts to power it up without [Card]Darksteel Citadel[/Card]. This version offers a more interactive slant to the deck that allows you to gradually approach your combo with protection rather than power it out as soon as possible. It also utilizes Stoneforge better than almost any deck as both a combo enabler in conjunction with [Card]Sword of the Meek[/Card] and a secondary way to win the game.

I think we’re at a time in Modern where it’s correct to be brewing, this is basically a brand new format that is relatively unexplored because the interaction level has taken a dramatic shift. I’m looking forward to my next Modern tournament and if all else fails, I’ll have the blade waiting.