So, UW is sweet, we all know it, we all know why.
But what about the third color (or lack thereof)?
Green seems to be the color of choice, and it brings you farseek, thragtusk, and the centaur healer-resto angel combo vs aggro.
Farseek is sweet ofc, but it isnt really vital for anything, just really a nice cog for the deck. You can skip it, and just run a couple more lands (26-27 lands instead of 24 and 4 farseek), and its pretty much the same in the end imo.
Thragtusk, centaur healer and resto angel (I know resto is white, but if you arent running thragtusks and centaur healers, you probably arent running resto angels), those cards are pretty much anti-aggro cards.
If you have other ways to deal with aggro, I would argue that you dont really need the green. In which case, having a different third color that helps you deal with control instead of aggro might just end up better.
For example, if you run black instead of green, you can replace the farseeks with drownyards, end up with the same amount of mana sources, but have a giant advantage in the control matchups. Out of the board, duress can also be amazing vs the control decks.
I see some people running red too, but Im not sure what matchup that actually strengthens, someone more knowledgeable might like to pop in and give their view on that.
Running red or black, and then a little splash of the other, can also give you the advantage of slaughter games out of the board, which is really really sweet in control matchups. Though I guess with green and farseek, you can do that too.
Also, how do you guys deal with the mirror? I see people running dispels, and I can see the utility for winning counter wars, and countering revelations, but wouldnt negates be better, since they can counter jace too? Its an extra mana, which doesnt really matter, unless you are trying to defend your own sphinxs revelation. So is it worth it to have to revelation for 1 less card, for the ability to counter opposing jaces?
Duress is very sweet for decks that run black, similar to negate, but a little more proactive, they work well together.
Slaughter games is obviously amazing too, though on a different level. If you side it in, the base wisdom is that you should go for the sphinxes revelations.
But what about just going for the win conditions instead? Imho, if you pulled out thragtusks, and then maybe angels if they run them, youd be pretty much assured a win with just drownyards, since they cant really win anymore, and even if they run a singleton other win condition, if they dig for it with revelations, drownyard will kill them really fast. With a little luck, you can also just mill any other relevant win conditions, but it doesnt really seem that most decks have that many relevant win conditions in the mirror.
To me, G feels better than R because it has Thrag that it could roll into standard with that is super dumb. Red doesn't have a card on that level yet, from what I've seen, and that really hurts in a 4 set + core standard.
I think B could be pretty strong, but I wouldn't personally go into it without Gatecrash support.
In closing G>R>B, though Gatecrash could very well change that.
So the soldiers lift their rifles and
they're aiming at the head
they think of their first love before they take their final breaths
and somewhere in the distance
they hear something someone said: "how did it come to this?"
Well obviously gatecrash will change the whole thing, with dimir and orzohv coming in...
But what Im more concerned with is right now.
Thragtusk is amazing for sure, but is it good enough to warrant the green splash alone?
A couple of weeks ago, I would have said yes, without a doubt.
But looking at it right now, more and more decks are moving towards control, with sphinxes revelations and such, and thragtusks are not all that good against those.
And as for the aggro decks thragtusk is supposed to help beat, well aggro decks are either coming up with plans to deal with thragtusk effectively, or are just dying.
Aggro decks that lose to thragtusks will not survive for much longer.
Once those are gone from the metagame (and imo, they will be pretty soon), the question is whether the green splash for thragtusk is still worth it, since every successful deck will have a plan to deal with or ignore thragtusk effectively.
BANT runs 1-3 Sphinx's Revelation as well so that point kind of offsets. We already have blue so you can dedicate as much anti-control to the SB as you want. A mix of Dispel, Negate, and Dissipate is usually plenty, add Jace, Memory Adept if you feel the need. Splashing B/R for control isn't really needed.
Thragtusk is also hard for control to deal with because it comes back and requires two answers. Farseek into T3 Jace is also pretty mean. There is just too much synergy in green at the moment to give up for another color.
Red lends itself to less permanent-based control, with miracles and burn.
I think if you want to beat face with creatures, play green, if you want to grind people out with planeswalkers, play black, and if you want huge, swingy plays, add red.
I response to the last OP question, in my own experience mirrors are decided by who can land Geist of Saint Traft (available to all manner of UW control) first and protect him the best. But maybe that's just my local meta.
Red doesn't have Tusk, that's true, but i think red is better... i tested all colour combinations, and red gives the most consistency against fast aggros, wich can close before we can cast Tusk... i might be testing green again, but i think red is simply better.
I have not liked the idea of thundermaw in a deck like this. Mostly because you are playing a really reactive style game. Thundermaw is really proactive. Counterflux seems very good if you are in a control heavy meta, with the rise of UW flash i could see this card gaining some ground. Izzet staticaster is VERY good against the aggro decks/ midrangy decks that use a lot of mana dorks. I have not tried it against the flash style of decks but i imagine it would not be terrible at all.