My last post talked about how I am currently considering taking out the Telemin Performaces in Vengevine Mythic’s sideboard due to many factors. Mono Red is a more popular deck and Kor Firewalker is a more effective card against them than Telemin Performance is against Polymorph. But before doing anything drastic, I decided to ask our resident Polymorph expert, Vincent Thibeaullt, how he felt the Mythic-Polymorph match-up is supposed to turn out. He most recently won a PTQ with it.
This is what Vincent has to say and I think it is quite the contrarian view on how Mythic should sideboard against Polymorph:
For the match-up vs Polymorph, the problem is that Conscription is often a turn faster than Poly, so it is really hard to win unless they get a draw that is not too explosive. However, the deck does not have much disruption maindeck (usually 0 Path to Exiles and 0 Negates) so the Polymorph deck can cast cast their namesake spell without worrying too much. Jace is the Mythic player’s only out. Most Conscription decks play 3 Jaces so if you are the Poly player, you have to be careful about that, maybe playing your own Jace beforehand, if you have time, or keeping a counter to deal with it if they cast it next turn.
After side, well, it depends what they do. If they enter 4 Negates, a few O-Rings and a few Path to Exiles, the match-up, contrary to what people think, gets better for the Poly player according to my playtesting. It seems counter-intuitive, but it is true. The reason is that entering all these «answers» cards will in fact slow down the Conscription deck and allow Polymorph enough time to go off. If the player piloting the Conscription deck sticks to the plan of killing the player really fast, they are more likely to win than if they dilute the aggressiveness of their deck. So between two pros that know what they are doing, the match-ups would be 50-50 or 45-55 with Polymorph being the slight underdog.
Wescoe wrote another article on the deck and managed to make Day 2 at GP Washington. I was scared of Cunning Sparkmages, so I decided to play Aggro Spread instead. I finished 6-3, punting a game siding badly but otherwise played tight. Wescoe stuck with Poly and added Pithing Needle maindeck in order to be able to deal with Sparkmages or a Jace after resolving Polymorph. I may try it out.
What do you guys think? Leave us some comments below!
On a side note, if you somehow managed to miss my video on Vengevine Mythic, here it is again:
Vincent at GP Washington
Until next time,
Kar Yung Tom (KYT) is the Digital Content Manager for Face to Face Games. He oversees the F2FTour.com and Magic F2F websites. He is also the lead host of the First Strike podcast.
Where would I find Wescoe's article on Polymorph? I am curious and intrigued!
It is a premium article on SCG. Wescoe put a lot of effort trying to figure out the best configuration for the deck. I may not share all his conclusions but his articles are well written and essential for anybody planning on playing the deck.
I read the article you're telling about. So last saturday I put 3 Needle main to test my Poly in my city meta (Novara-Italy). (But I didn't agree to have chalice instead of rampant, so I went the old way).
I can say that the addition of needles really improves your combo. Basically you can combo out with 1 less mana, or having a "double out" against decks with more capabilities (ex: Jace+Gideon or capsule+Sarkhan).
You're asking how's against Mythic? It's a really hard match-up for Poly. I tested that two nights in a row against the best mythic player around and he took about 5/6 games to steal his first win. Then it became (pre-side) a 50-50.
My plan in game 1 is to disrupt his early cobras with bounce (jace+ItRoil) and lock Jace (if I'm the up-tempo) or Reliquary (if I'm the down-tempo). With that soft-lock I'm able to comb him out before he can get his and that's all. Obviously winning the die roll helps a lot 🙂
In game 2 and 3 he discovered to take in only the negates. For Mythic is better getting bashing my face than playing the "control mode". Creating a ton of tokens and having access to a better card draw-counter suite makes me winning more.
So after debating on his sideing we went for 4 negates swapping for his 3/3 rhinos.
I tried the Fog theme. It's good, but it's not the only way to go. If I play first, I have to play a bad control role hoping to reach 8 mana before him. On the draw I can say that Poly cannot win if the oppo knows how to do. He can play men with 2 mana always open. He brings you to zero before he can even think on comboing.
So I'm on looking for solutions:
I tried the way Wescoe said: 4 control magic + 2 conscription. It's not as good as it seems: you lose 6 slots in side (and it could be a good thing if that means vicotry with a 90%) only for seeing yourself staring a Steppe that protects from blu the eldrazi-like-beast you chose. Of course if it resolves you get a biiiiig boy. But at that time.. who need conscripting that again?
I tried adding a mountain for pyroclasming his early guys. That comes usually too late and in mid-game you're with dead cards in hand.
This week I want to try with 3 All-is-dust. I think it could go, but I have to reach 9 mana… and then losing my precious jace+awakening zone… ok. no prejudices. I'll let you know on results.
On sunday I'll attend regionals, and if things are without an improvement I think I'll put in my sideboard:
2 Iona Shield of Emeria
3 Vapor snare
1 Pelakka Wurm
I don't think that many conscript players tested this match-up and I hope that 3 games are too few to learn what to do 🙂
Thank you Matteo for your extensive comment; it is highly appreciated and you raise a lot of interesting points. Your maindeck must be the same as Wescoe less the Chalice. For your sideboard, Vapor Snare over Mind Control is quite an interesting choice as it allows you to play Halimar Depths or Khalni Garden every turn. The Pelakka Wurn is probably for RDW match-up, which is pretty tough. Pithing Needle is a one mana answer to a lot of cards that are difficult to deal with for Polymorph, and they can slow down a lot of decks, like Jund or Naya. Other one-mana answer you could use in your sideboard are Vines of Vastwood, which are quite useful against decks with spot removals, and Spell Pierce, which allows to play Polymorph faster against UW control decks, and it can at time counter Luminarch Ascension, Chalice or even a planeswalker. Some people love dispel but I personally find it a bit narrow. If you want to know more about my thoughts on UG Polymorph you can read the previous articles I wrote on the topic on Manadeprived.
Good luck for your regionals and do not hesitate to tell us how it went.
Here it is how my Regionals went (Piemonte – North Italy) with Emrakul
First of all, what I sleeved:
4 Halimar Depths
4 Khalni Garden
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4 Awakening Zone
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Into the Roil
1 Vines of Vastwood
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 See Beyond
4 Spreading Seas
2 Iona, Shield of Emeria
3 Pithing Needle
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Jace Beleren
1 Into the Roil
I will try to cover my matches and sideboarding to have a shorter
article rather than saying "I play 3 of these because blah blah blah" or
"Spreading Seas is awesome against blah blah". I will be happy to answer
at any question, anyway.
The only note I want to put here is that I swapped about a million times
4 Spreading Seas with 3 Pithing Needle and 1 Garruk in my 75 between
side and main.
I've a strong plan for battling Mono-red: I WON'T FACE ANY MONORED.
Round 1: I see red sleeves in the hands of my oppo. I say "Uh, red
sleeves are bad, should I start putting sun screen?" he smiles and says
something like "It's not the sleeves' colour that makes a deck". We cut,
roll a die. He starts…. with a mountain… and a Goblin Guide. 🙂
I try a turn 2 Explore -> Garden to Emrakul turn 3, hoping he's not
aware of what's happening (at Regionals you see literally everything!!)
Ok, Searing blaze on the plant shows me wrong. He bolt my face (uh, on
turn 2 a Kiln Fiend joined his forces) and attacks.
Next turn I play a powerful Awakening Zone and…die.
+3 Fog +2 Flashfreeze +1 Garruk +1 Into the Roil +2 Iona
-2 Emrakul -4 Spreading seas -3 Jace
He thinks a lot with his 15 in hand and then says "But, if I kill all
your tokens you cannot win… ok, I don't side"
He kills each token my Zone tries to put in front of his Guides and I'm
wandering to see what my friends are doing at Minute 6.
Everyone in the room is still playing, so I decide to count the Red
Decks. 12 on 122 players. I've 1/5 chances to be in a table against RDW.
I'm reeeeeeeeally happy.
Round 2: Black sleeves (fiuuu, I've a theory that says "a REAL red mage
ALWAYS want to show you his REDNESS", red sleeves, goblin packs,
powerful tokens and so on)
I start and keep a really strong hand with the chance of turn 3 Poly if
I draw an untapped land.
He starts with Plains -> Hada freeblade. Wow! Ally-dec. I can combo on
turn 3 IF AND ONLY IF he's not UW.
A brief note: in Italy, a week before Regionals, an Italian-pro posted
an UW Ally list a-là "Liquid tempo". The strategy is: play a couple of
white allies, and then be untapped for Spell Pierces and Deprives. It's
not so powerful, but if you don't know what's going on it steals you
game after game. Polymorph is like 40-60 pre side and 20-80 post side.
I put my Plant out on turn 2 and draw the missing land. He plays a
triple-naya land and another Blade.
He sees Emrakul and scoops.
+3 Fog +1 Into the roil
-1 Vines -1 Garruk -2 Negate
Game two goes as much as game one. He plays an O-Ring on Emrakul on turn
three. I untap and pass. He play some random guy and attacks. I fog, EOT
into the roil O-Roing and that's game.
He's a nice guy and asks if we can play another sided match to test the
match up. He read on Poly from the net but never played the game. We
both discuss on how to side and give the new siding a try. We put out
the rings and in the Naya charms. I think that's better punching me hard
rather than trying to control my game. Poly has a real strong late game
with Jaces and counters.
I win even match three, but I have to thank a timely fog found by Jace
(The Eons Torn came down at turn 8) because he reached critical mass on
the table and can attack with everything, sac 6 lands and re-attack next
turn for the win.
Round 3: I'm sitting next to a friend of mine. I point at his oppo's red
sleeves and say: "I wish you luck. It's fireworks time" (he plays an
anti-super friends jund). His oppo obiously replies with an "I'm not an
aggro player". I cannot listen to him, my opponent shows up… and has
red sleeves too!! We three started a big laugh and explain everything to
him who's a kind person and shows me a mountain.
Game one is strange. I block his early assault (no Guide luckily) with a
copule of plants, then my awakening zone keeps his Kiln Fiend at bay.
When I see Garruk (but no polymorph) I'm at 1 life, Jace is keeping care
of his Kargan each turn and the baby-eldrazi+2 Beasts care about his
2fiends+1 Guide. We play 2 turns in this way…and no burn for him.
I draw the See beyond. The two cards are Poly and Deprive. whew.
I combo him out the next turn.
veeeeeeeeeeeery lucky!! 🙂
I side as in Round1 and I'm on the draw. On turn four he SearingBlazes
my plant to alpha strike with his army. An into the roil on his Fiend
puts me at 5 life. Next turn I draw fog, my awakening zone gives me a
token and my oppo goes for an alpha strike again with fiend and
bushwaker. I fog and.. he has no cards in hand!
So I polymorph into Iona and with my awakening zone I'm able to reach 1
life with only a bushwaker on his side. I draw Garruk, ask him gently
for a 3/3 beast and my opponent concedes.
I think that Garruk is a real monster against mono-red. Nowadays RDW
relies more heavily on small critters rather than on direct burn. I can
suggest to swap 2 Flashfreeze in side (you Jund matchup is already very
good) with 2 Garruk; in this way you can kill with 3/3s his early army
and feel comfortable for a mid-late game. It's still untested. Another
idea I got with this double-Garruk win is to try the Leatherback Baloths
(the 4/5 monster thing) but I feel them are not easily cast with that
Round 4: I'm against a skilled player I saw in couple others events. He
plays Naya. And I know it's a game about making your opponent take the
Game one he plays a turn 2 cobra, that I bounce immediately. I do my
draw-thing for a couple of turn while transforming two of his lands in
Islands. I resolve a Jace when he has a pair of Bloodbraid in play and
he chooses to attack me anyway. I brainstorm with MrJ and find a Kahlni
Garden. I put emrakul out (I risked for a path on that, but I was dead
with his next attack anyway) and he cannot attack for a win.
I can bounce two of his men with Jace and a Roil and attack. He sacks 4
lands and the Elves, keeping double Cobra. He draws nothing useful.
-1 Garruk -2 Negate -4 Deprive -2 Spreading seas
+3 Needle +3 Fog +1 Into the roil +2 Flashfreeze
Game two we both play in conservative way. I understand he put in more
isntant removal and he doesn't want to see an emrakul before he can
He manages to put into play collar and two mages. I let them resolve and
put out a needle naming Sparkmage. He looks at his Qasali in his
graveyard who sacrified himself to get rid of my zone. He frowns, draws,
taps out to play everyting and says "Go".
I combo and put Emrakul into play. He untaps and shows me a Qasali in
hand, I show my Freeze and he shows me… Ricochet Trap! Ok, I concede.
Game three I've been a real scrub. I'm still angry with myself, I could
fog him a couple of more turns to reach another needle on Qasali… uff
I play turn 1 Needle naming Qasali (the suprise effect is no longer
I do a turn 2 draw, shuffle, thing, he plays a cobra
I draw… needle… I think… (bad)…. and play needle naming Mage.
During my happy thinking he untapped, played a fetch… and …. Ajani
Vengeant-ed a land of mine. Then processed to cast a qasali and beating
me for 3.
Ok, could never recover and I lost all my lands to AJ Ultimate.
What a noob I am.
Why on the earth I HAD to play that second one? I could explore, I could
keep my Flashfreeze ready, even Sea a land!
My opponent agrees with my mis-play and proceeds to sign my
I'm out of Top8 for sure, too many players and quite zero draws…. I'm
reeeeeeeeeally unhappy. I threw away all my testing because I wanted to
Round 5: I'm paired with a guy who complains because he discarded 3
vengevines in a mirror and he flipped only spells with Bloodbraid
Elf….. ok, Jund.
I open 7 cards with a non-exciting hand. I chose to mulligan… 2
Spreading seas. I keep.
He plays a turn 2 Leech, but he never plays other stuff. He's with only
3 mana out and only 1 green mana.
Emrakul seals the win at turn 5.
+2 Flashfreeze +1 Garruk
This is the only match where Jace is a real sucker. He's only a
brainstorm for 4, before getting killed by every card in his deck.
Game two goes a bit longer. We trade card for card for 7-8 turns. He
plays 2 leeches, I counter, he makes me discard, I play beasts, he burns
them….but my 2 zones are enough to contain the two putrid girls.
I'm only worried by an eventual Sarkhan the Mad or Sarkhan Vol… i
didn't put in my needles because it's not a MUST play planeswalkers in
Jund… I'm givin him a chance to get me off guard if he can Blightning
my counters away.
I try polymorphing on turn 14 with 2 counters backup. He says "ok". I
say "go". He untaps and draws a card….
/Panic opponent on
a young judge (I think a Level 0 who had to be "on the field" to learn)
runs to our table and stops my opponent hand. We both watch him with 4
"?" as eyes.
He says: "Don't you take your additional turn?"
Ok, you should've watched my opponent face. He was paniced!
I said calmly "On Emrakul is written that I can only if I played it from
hands. So… no, thanks"
Young judge act as been called from another judge and goes away.
/Panic opponent off
My opponent thanks me, take a breath, draws a card and plays… Sarkhan
Vol. I show him my Deprive. He shows me… his hand.
Round 6: I mull to 5 due to a reaaaaally slow hand (3 counters, 2 lands,
polymorph and Explore) and a no-land-6-cards-hand.
My opponent shows immediatly to play next level bant. Ok, it's not so
terrible. As long as his walkers are at home I can win.
In fact my awakening keeps his Vengevines at bay while giving me more turns.
When emrakul attacks (Turn 10) the second time he makes a strange move
(I'm at three) after a long thinking. He keeps 2 land, a Hierarch and a
Bird. And chump blocks with the bird saying "Maybe I draw one of my 2
O'Rings". He does not, says to his 2 friends at his back that "His deck
is what I sould've played today!!! That's THE deck!!!" and concedes.
I makes a "fiuuuuuuuuuu" and proceed siding.
He asks me if I knew other ways to win that game. I answer that I was at
three and he had the win on the table.
He thinks for a while and then slaps her head (I don't report here the
fantasy play his friends told us): he had 3 hierarchs in play and I was
-4 Spreading seas -1 Vines -2 Ponder
+3 Pithing Needle +1 Garruk +1 Jace +2 Negate
It is a very long game. So long that my Beleren has drawn me something
like 12 cards (Sculptors from both sides were in graveyards for a
party). I had 3 zones on my side, 2 of which asked to small eldrazis to
chumpblock his monsters. The other one made up my mana.
We're the last table and everyone is watching us.
Finally I draw Emrakul "Hey boys, Papa has come!", sac 15 "boys" and
cast my monster. Draw a card from beleren, bounce a couple of things
and… proceed with an extra turn. My friends started to do a
which everyone in the room followed to underline my next attack.
I attack, he sacks, I draw again and say "go"
He casts an O'Ring and we start a counter battle. I won that battle, he
puts down his two cards (a hierarch and a vengevine) and we both shake
He's a friend of mine. I know he's playing a Junk-GoodStuff-4cc.
Basically is a Jund with white.
He trades beasts like Leeches for Rings and wraths and Giant cascade
wurms. (A guy in the room was grunting with a friend "What the!! He
played Bituminous… into… DoJ!!!!")
Games are boring.
First one he never draw his third land.
-1 Vines -1 Garruk
Second game I keep with 2 islands and some draw but I die with 4 Blue
sources out and no Green.
Third one I manage to spread some of his lands, I combo, he answers, I
re-combo in a couple of turns with counter backup
I reach an "astounishing" 17th place. And I'm not proud of me.
I think the deck has potential but it's now far and far away from being
a Tier 1. Every deck you'll face has answer to you pre and post side
even if the didn't plan your match-up. Your game in every match is a
battle for an opponent's error, a search for an opening.
Don't get me wrong, it's the fun part of that deck. But it's still too
It's however viable in a not-so-really competitive field, like your
local shop or FNM. I know that some Poly players reached the top, but
it's very dependant on your pairings. Paradoxally, the more Jund you'll
face the more higher you'll finish.
I think that the 75 are good to battle every deck you can find in the
room. I admit to have 2 flashfreeze that are not so juicy and the
Seas-Needle thing I said at the top.
I'll be honest: Jund and superfirends are easy match-ups, RDW is a
nightmare, Naya is even and Bant is uphill or not depending on Cobras.
The fact is that you CAN'T adjust your game plan or play the
control-aggro role as the situation arises. You are a combo deck. You
have a limited count of slots to side out, so there are limited slots to
I tried a turboland version to side in, but you'll find the same
percentages against the same decks = fun.
Indeed Polymorph is a skill intensive deck, you'll face many choices
during each turn and you have to guess what's in oppo's hand and mind to
choose whether combo or not. So, maybe it's a good training ground for
reaching decks with higher skills needed.
If you read this phrase you're wasting time. 🙂
Have a nice day!
Thank you Matteo, your tournament report was quite detailed and was a good and interesting read. Here at Manadeprived we appreciate when people participate and contribute in a constructive fashion as we try to be a forum for passionate magic players. I too do not think polymorph is a really good choice right now in the current metagame. Too many Cunning Sparkmages are around and the deck has a really a bad match-up vs RDW, which is the most popular deck right now. I am playtesting a lot for my Nationals right now and trying a lot of new cards, including Mass Polymorph. I will keep you posted on the results.