It also runs 4 tec edges as opposed to 2. The spell snares and mana leaks could basically be meta calls. If you take those out it is basically Ajani + Sphinx's versus Resto + Clique. The way I see it, the flash deck still doesn't win very quickly. Due to it not winning very quickly, I would much rather have Ajani/Sphinx's in those later scenarios than flyers that can be blocked and only hit for 3 a turn. Obviously the ETB effects are strong, but if you get to mid/late game, the control still overtakes you.
While Geist could be seen as weak in the current meta (which I don't necessarily agree with), he still presents a fast clock to the opponent. Control keeps them from playing the game. The flash version just seems like an awkwardly placed middle man to me. If there were flash creatures that either presented a faster clock or were more resilient, I would be a fan of running those, but in the current meta, Clique is very weak to removal and a 1/1 flyer blocks it (think BB, Lingering Souls, etc.). Resto Angel costs 4 mana for 3 damage, or at best can give you an extra snap on turn 6. I'm just not buying the midrange/control hybrid that is flash atm, but I will start testing it more and see.
The only way I see the flash variety becoming truly successful is if it becomes a good idea to run Aven Mindcensor mainboard. This card is already a great sideboard card, is a 2 power flyer, and can shut off pretty much any deck. As it stands, having 10 flash creatures just isn't enough to me when they beat so slow. If you up that count to 12/13 without losing much of the rest of the deck, then you have something that can kill a bit quicker.
Which of those decks with "Answer me" again before that?
For living end: If you iona for black, the only card they have in their entire deck, including sideboard, that can do anything is Beast Within, so you basically just have to keep counters open for that, and the cool part about beast within is that remand, in most cases, will be a time walk against that card...
For blue moon: The part about Gifts and Unburial rites that is amazing is they only require 1 color mana source...a resolved blood moon does NOTHING against us most games as you can fetch basic plains/basic island and you are set. Also, after thinking about it, Iona is better against this deck, too. If you Iona blue against them, they are done...
For amulet: This one is a little more sketchy, I will admit, but the deck doesn't win because of the Amulet of Vigor. The deck wins because of Summer Bloom and Summoner's Pact. If Spell Snare in the maindeck becomes a thing, being able to get around summer bloom for 2 turns becomes a thing. While this is clearly a magical Christmas land draw, imagine if amulet is on the play...
Opp Turn 1: Land -> Amulet
Your Turn 1: Land
Opp Turn 2: Bounce land -> Summer Bloom -> Spell Snare
Your Turn 2: Land
Opp Turn 3: Bounce Land -> Azusa/Summer Bloom -> Mana Leak/Spell Snare
Your Turn 3: Land -> Geist
Opp Turn 4: Do some stuff with a summoner's Pact for Prime Time
Your Turn 4: Land -> Swing wit Geist
Opp Turn 5: Play Prime Time -> Swing -> Gifts at end of Turn
Your Turn 5: Unburial Rites Iona for green -> Swing with Geist
Opp Turn 5: Opponent basically has to slaughter pact or gg, and even if they do, Geist is close to killing them.
The nice part about our deck, is if you can counter their early stuff, which our deck should be able to do, Geist provides a clock that they can't slaughter pact and Iona shuts them down completely if they DONT have slaughter pact...
I have an idea that might sound a little crazy, but am curious what you guys think. Would it be wild to consider the UW plan for this deck, or at least the creature heavy variety, and run this creature set?
In games where you are less concerned about leaving mana up for spells:
Turn 2: Wall of Omens
Turn 3: Brimaz
Turn 4: Brimaz swing (get cat) -> Play Geist
Turn 5: Sublime Archangel -> Swing with geist as a 8/8
On games where you play geist turn 3 or turn 4 with the intention of playing resto on turn 5, you generally use resto to swing with geist and save him. In this scenario, there is no need to save Geist as he becomes too powerful. With such a diverse board of creatures, this also gives a lot of options. If you are playing zoo, this can get crazy as Brimaz also gets to block twice, meaning two more cats and Geist swinging as a 10/10
Dude...what do y'all make of the Azorius midrange popping up on MTGO. I have no idea what to think of this deck. The only removal it runs is 4 path and 2 dismember which it is always paying 4 life for. I just have no idea what to think of a UW midrange deck that runs as many creatures as spells and no face burn. Is it just a flash in the pan, or where we want to be headed? I feel like Blade Splicer is potentially a legitimate card, although it still seems like a slight knee jerk against zoo. Wall of Omens clearly SCREAMS zoo to me.
The issue I have with taking out cryptic is it is the MOST powerful thing this deck can do. If you take out cryptic, we have a very hard time winning games where we are in a bad board state. Similar to what I said above, lets say you have a Geist down that they couldn't remove due to hexproof and its turn 6 or 7 and you have just a snapcaster in hand. They have 4 to 5 creatures down, an empty hand, and are at 15 life. You are at 5 or less life. Topdecking a cryptic is the only thing that gets you out of this situation.
Before you say "you shouldn't be in that situation to begin with," I would point out that if you are already ahead on board, using a cryptic for counterspell + draw is AMAZING.
If the board is even but your opponent is at <10 life, Cryptic to tap + Colonnade = GG.
Cryptic is great in this deck because, although it is expensive, it enables geist, is our only lategame hardcounter, provides tempo with card draw, and can even bounce. In test matches, I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to have cryptic + spell snare in hand against faeries...
I play 2, but I don't think it is just coincidence that the GP Prague winning deck ran 3...
Elspeth is definitely not bad in this deck either. I think against faeries she is superior to cryptic. If you pull off turn 3 Geist, turn 4 Elspeth, I don't see how faeries comes back in the slightest. Against zoo, however, she just doesn't do enough to get the job done in the games that are going poorly for you. Against combo she doesn't speed up the block enough to make a difference it seems, and you really are going to have a hard time tapping out to play her turn 4. I think the only game where Elspeth wins me a game I would have otherwise lost compared to Cryptic IS faeries and maybe slower combo decks than splinter twin.
This deck actually is great with cryptic in my opinion. I think most people just have a hard time casting cryptic and NOT using it to counter a spell. If I'm winning, cryptic command is essentially Dismiss. But, lets say you drop a Geist and a Brimaz against faeries, but you couldn't attack with Geist last turn because of too many faeries and and same thing after Brimaz. Your opponent has 3 BB tokens, a scion of oona, and a mistbind clique but an empty hand. They draw a relative blank. You cryptic command tapping all their creatures and draw a card. Now you are attacking for 10 damage the next turn, meaning you are most likely a few burn spells away from a victory. Obviously I cut out this scenario to shine for cryptic, but I use the tap down ability and draw 1 just as much as I use counter and draw 1. Against bad opponents, you actually get to counter AND tap down all their creatures. Also, my favorite line of play against aggressive decks like Zoo is Bolt turn 1, Helix turn 2, Geist turn 3, Geist swing turn 4 with resto angel to remove from combat, Cryptic turn 5 to swing for 9, Snap+Cryptic turn 6 ftw...
I'm clearly not trying to argue that Iona is worthless, I just don't see very many scenarios where she is better than Elesh Norn to the point where I wouldn't necessarily use a slot on her. I was using faeries as an example where she seems like she would clearly shine, and even then I think Norn is better. If they have Scion + Bitterblossom and 1/2 tokens and a mutavault or two then you can turn off blue all you want, but they just need 1 token that they make each turn to block, and can swing with mutavaults ftw...Elesh Norn, on the other hand, with any mana up for counters to protect her instantly kills their entire deck outside of Mistbind.
I wasn't, again, arguing that Iona is weak, just in our midrange variety, I think we want Norn pretty much every single time. That being said, I guess Iona could shine against Merfolk and Jund. Against merfolk, however, if they don't have much board presence by turn 5 then you probably already won. I guess Jund is a real thing though, but against, Scooze hates the combo out anyways.
I think it is better to run blood crypt by far as it is fetched by all 8 fetches. While that may not prove important most of the time, it will matter occasionally. I feel like 4 gifts is too many, but maybe I'm off on that. I guess if I am running the one black/red or black/blue shock, I could stick with 1 Unburial Rights. Now the question is Iona + Elesh Norn, or just Elesh Norn. I feel like Iona doesn't do as much as you would want her to, as if you are turn 4 Gift'ing and turn 5 using Rites, they will have at least something on board, meaning Pod can Pod to destroy her (Shriekmaw), Faeries can chump her for days with a bitterblossom up, Splinter Twin either already has the exarch/pestermite up so you have to call red meaning they can cryptic command, and she clearly doesn't do much against affinity.
Actually, as crazy as I first thought it was to include that as a sideboard package, I'm not so sure now...If you have geist turn 3, gifts turn 4, elesh norn turn 5 you are swinging for 10 from Geist alone...
Pod: WRECKS them, just WRECKS them...there is practically nothing they can do since, to the best of my knowledge, they run what, one Shriekmaw? And they can only pod it out as a sorcery, and you just wiped their board, so they better hope to have it in hand.
UWR midrange mirror: If you have this on board, they are required to have PtE to win. May seem hard to cast, but worth it to try just to wipe out their geists and make your unstoppable.
Splinter Twin: May seem like a bad matchup for this card, but on turn 4 you are keeping mana up to either counter their twin/remove their creature they are casting it on or you can drop this. It kills everything in their deck besides exarch, but you can swing with a bajillion exarchs when none of them deal any damage...
Affinity: While they do have some graveyard hate in their side, I don't think they will see this coming game 2 (And if you won game 1, that is all it takes). Also, while it may seem slow against affinity, you should be removing their creatures early anyways.
Living End: You won't use it here in the traditional ways, but holy cow does it hose them. Instead of Unburial Rites, just go grab Iona and Elesh Norn and toss them in. Let's see if they want to living end now...
Faeries: I think it would be hard to pull off, but if you pull it off its GG without a doubt.
GR Tron: Doesn't really do anything here, but you can't have everything. By the time you get it on board, you should have been using your mana for other things.
Jund: They have too many ways to answer this, I wouldn't think it would be worth it. They will either thoughtseize gifts, liliana norn, maelstrom norn, or scooze away your graveyard.
UR Delver: I just don't see this resolving here. They aren't using their mana by turn 4/5, so they will be able to counter either unburial rites or gifts ungiven. I think it is a pipe dream that this will resolve against a good delver player.
Zoo: They will probably kill you too fast, and they actually can PtE her since they aren't using that on Geist/Snapcaster.
At first, I sorta laughed at this idea, but now that I look at it it may be perfect. Sure, it takes up 6 sideboard slots, but at the same time, it hoses so many decks that you can use this as your main strategy against quite a few. Also, it isn't like you aren't going to ever play a game where you can actually CAST Elesh Norn. I've hit 7 mana in plenty of modern games with this deck that stall out because I remove all their threats, but can't land one of my own that easily. Also, if you are terrified of having unburial rites in your hand, just play one Blood Crypt. Does that open you up to tec edges? Sure...but you shouldn't be fetching for that land until you are ready to cast rites in the first place.
Not to mention, can anyone think of a more FUN sideboard than this card? I've decided, I'm running me some Gifts. So with that in mind, should I be running:
Contrary to popular belief, Geist is not useless against Zoo. Don't forget, there strategy isn't exactly to hang back, and they are fetch/shocking quite a bit. A lot of zoo players will still swing into Geist if they have a creature to drop afterwards to block, but if you can remove that creature, then you are getting in for 6 next turn. My Geists in games where I mulligan properly have actually done quite well...
Does anyone else think it is time for us to consider boros charm, at least in the side? I think this card lets us swing with our geist quite well, especially against faeries, and an extra 4 damage to the face could also win quite a few races. I'm not talking about boarding out burn for it, but as a great board in for remands in matchups where they are sour. May seem over the top, but just wanted to see what people thought.
I'm hesistant to jump on the Gifts Ungiven train, there isn't a much better top deck in stalled out matches, and it makes 1 of's in the sideboard that much better. That being said, against good player in matches where you are behind, the choices you make for Gifts telegraph what's in your hand, and they will never give you what you need the most to stabilize. It is slow against zoo. I'll be shocked at the times it doesn't get countered against faeries. Splinter twin either won't let it resolve, or will have twin in hand and just smile. Again, I think it is awesome in top deck stalled out matches, but I don't see it doing to much work anywhere else in this deck.