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Magic Market Index for April 20th, 2018
 
Pauper Review: Dominaria
 
The Limited Archetypes of Dominaria
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Yeah, if you can stay alive long enough to resolve a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or Gideon of the Trials and an Oath of Teferi, you're in pretty good shape. Look forward to seeing your list.

    Ever since I mentioned stupid Inspiring Statuary, I've been tinkering with a Bant Approach deck that uses Treasure Map, Thaumatic Compass, and Pacification Array (and/or Edifice of Authority) along with Hour of Promise to ramp up into double Approach pretty quickly (once as early as T5).

    Testing is ongoing, and I am waiting for access to DOM cards to bring those into the mix: Karn was the main reason I thought of it, Seal Away and Syncopate would be good upgrades to the removal/counters, and there could be some good Historic synergies. So far, it has great game against UR GPG: the Pacification Array shuts down the infinite Combat Celebrant finish, and the artifact subtheme makes running 3 Crook of Condemnation in the SB no problem, and in fact very desirable. With the Arrays and flipped compasses, there's a point at which you can achieve lockdown control of the board with an absurd amount of mana to access, and wins often come through Ipnu rivulets (running 9 deserts).

    I need to work on the ratio of counterspells, removal, and sweepers to address weaknesses to creatures, PWs, and go-wide (token) decks, but it's been a fun deck to play for sure. I'll keep testing and if it gets anywhere near competitive, will report back...

    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    I was looking again at some of the DOM spoilers, and I think Jaya Ballard may be worth a look in a Jeskai Approach shell. Both of her +1s are great to cast or dig for approach (or other answers you may need), and her -8 has great synergy with all the instants and sorcerers we play. I dabbled in UW Drake for a while, and Abandoned Sarcophagus is no joke. Her emblem does the same for all of your counterspells and sweepers, which is huge.

    It’s too bad she doesn’t protect herself: that and her high CMC (and RRR cost) might be reasons she won’t work, but as with all other walkers, she’ll be a lightning rod for attacks which can keep life total afloat.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Thanks for passing that along pumpmonkey!

    I don't know Patrick Chapin or whether he's played much UW (or Approach) in this standard, but I'm puzzled by some of his card choices. The 2x Gideon/Teferi seems like a good place to start for a new-style UW Approach build, but the Evolving Wilds doesn't strike me as being a good choice for the deck (as opposed to a couple more Field of Ruin). 2 Ipnu also seems wrong because it's a hidden wincon that's tough for opponents to stop. Spells-wise, it's a lot of the usual suspects...some things I've moved away from (Censor, Pull from Tomorrow, Hieroglyphic Illumination), but only 2 Approaches seems incorrect. Sideboard is highly suspect (particularly Spell Pierce, Sacred Cat, Solemnity?).

    I hadn't considered Memorial to Genius...might be a nice 1-of late game include, but I'm just so leery of enters-tapped lands that I'm not sure it's worth it.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Agree about Slaughter the Strong potentially being a nice check against the G deck that's likely coming down the pike. I'm not sure about mainboarding it, but it may find a home in the SB depending on how the metagame shakes out.

    I played against a mono G stompy-style deck tonight on MTGO that was super fast...way too fast for the typical UW setup, and it will only get faster with Llanowar Elves. G1 he went:
    It was reminiscent of the Pummeler decks that were running around for a while--putting you on a fast clock that you have to disrupt or else die fast. Chump blockers will only get you so far with the trample provided by Rhonas's Monument (and, of course, Galta).

    The good thing about Slaughter the Strong is that it will get around Blossoming Defense and Heroic Intervention. I also think Authority of the Consuls might become a thing again (or remaining a thing for those who kept it in the SB).

    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    @kpal: Not sure if you were "get real"ing me or the previous dude, but my point was just that the 3 bodies caracal provides strike me as being a better option in a mostly creature-less deck than the one dawnbringer. Approach is a fragile wincon post-board (when negate, duress, and doomfall typically come in), no doubt about that. For me, it's a question of what the best alternate creature-based wincons are games 2 & 3, and I think it's nice to have extra bodies on the battlefield.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    @[email protected]: I agree re: Lyra Dawnbringer and Fall of the Thran. For 5 mana, I'd much rather have 3 cats (7 total power) than one big old Vraska's Contempt target. At least with the cats they need 3 removal spells to get rid of them all. I've seen a few red decks bring in Sweltering Suns from the sideboard specifically for the cats, so I grant that Lyra would be better in that situation, but I think getting 3 bodies is worth the risk.

    Part of me wonders whether Fall of the Thran might work in a build that relies on a bunch of artifacts and Inspiring Statuary, but if I'm mentioning Inspiring Statuary, chances are I'm pretty far from a viable deck. Although when I first thought of Inspiring Statuary, I wondered whether there might be potential for a ramp deck that relies on that card and a bunch of artifacts to accelerate the Approach--the Bant Approach had some success with ramp, and even Mono-W relies on Orazca relic to approach quicker...seems too janky to work, but I might test it out, particularly with Mox Amber.

    I think Teferi, Hero of Dominaria could have promise. Gideon mainly functions as a must-answer threat that either draws a contempt right away (meaning opponent takes a turn off to get rid of him), or else saves you 3-7 life from creatures attacking him, and he (very occasionally, but sometimes) can get the win through beatdowns. The upside to Teferi is that with negate backup to protect against contempt, he has a better chance of sticking around for a turn or two (or hopefully longer), and his ultimate is backbreaking. Approach necks need ways to stay alive long enough to approach twice, and Teferi is another good option to let you do that because he's must-answer. Is he better than Gideon?

    I also agree re Esper being more viable after DOM drops. I think Jeskai may be worth another look. With Sulfur Falls the mana base will be just as good as Esper, and Wizard's Retort and Wizard's Lightning along with a few copies of Baral, Chief of Compliance (and potentially the Naga Wizard Champion of Wits). I don't like the idea of moving away from a creatureless build, but there may be value in doing so. Reducing instants/sorceries by 1 is a good thing, as is plowing through your deck with Champ...


    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Full DOM spoiler is up, so let's discuss new brews!

    Some initial thoughts/questions for the group:

    • Seal Away: Planning on testing 4 of these--looks really good. The thought would be to replace Slash of Talons and potentially one or more Essence Scatters/Cast Outs. I wonder if 4 of these and 4 settles will be correct moving forward (doing away with fumigate entirely). Mono-G looks pretty good and aggressive (and fast with their ramp), and fumigate isn't great against green decks because of heroic intervention. Granted, Blossoming Defense is still a thing, so can't over-rely on this, but I see it as a major upgrade to Baffling End.
    • Syncopate: I never played the Ravnica block, so don't know how this card was back then, but seems really strong and could warrant 4-of consideration. The flipside is that against U, this makes Approach a much riskier proposition, as you risk having one of your 3 copies exiled if it's countered.
    • Wizard's Retort: Could Baral, Chief of Compliance warrant maindeck consideration? Seems like a Jeskai build might go that route and have access to some good tech, but don't know that it's right for UW.
    • The Mirari Conjecture: Is this playable as a 1-of? Maybe not, but I feel like it may be trying out of the SB against control decks. Against most decks, you want to fumigate turn 5, and there aren't a ton of good sorceries that we cast before T6. I think it might have decent synergy with Search for Azcanta // Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin in that you can pitch an Approach or Fumigate early without worrying too much about it.
    • Board the Weatherlight: Seems good in a superfriends build, and maybe this is the sorcery that The Mirari Conjecture wants?
    • Teferi, Hero of Dominaria: I'm thinking of trying this as a 2-of along with a couple Gideon of the Trials for almost an Approach of the Superfriends build, which, along with SFA, might give you enough historic things to run a Mox Amber?
    • Karn, Scion of Urza: He's colorless, powerful, replaces itself immediately (and threatens card advantage), and will be a lightning rod for opposing creatures/removal, so seems worth at least thinking about.
    • Invoke the Divine: I like the 4-lifegain, but don't know that I like it enough to replace Forsake the Worldly with it (exile and cycling are better in the decks you want them against).
    • Urza's Ruinous Blast: seems really good in a superfriends build.

    What do we think? Are we in a better, worse, or about the same place?
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Welcome to the forum, Halandur! There are a ton of decklists in these pages, so you should be able to find what you're looking for. My initial thoughts are that you'll want to replace some of the basic lands with the 4x Glacial Fortress and add in 2x Settle the Wreckage (Renewed Faith and Kefnet seem to be the easiest cards to cut to fit them in). Spell Pierce is pretty weak, so I'd cut that from the board to make room for some Forsake the Worldly. Glyph Keeper seems good on paper (dodges removal!) but it's a fairly juicy The Scarab God target.

    A lot of the changes will depend on what kind of decks you're finding in your metagame. The best bet is to try some things out, see how they work, adjust, and see if the adjustments work or not.

    Have fun brewing!
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Good afternoon all! Made it back from Seattle with a 9-6 final record, which I can't be at all disappointed with given that I went 3-6 at my last GP!

    The TL;DR summary: I loved this UW build, I thought it performed very well, I made a couple of mistakes (and took a couple suboptimal lines that cost me), but overall I think it was a great choice for the event and am looking forward to continuing to evolve it when DOM hits!

    If you want more details, read on. Unfortunately, my memory of these matches (particularly day 1) is a bit sketchy because playing so many matches in such a short timespan really taxes your brain, but I will do the best I can to remember any nuggets from the matches...

    First, here's the list I was jamming:


    I had experimented with deleting Disallow, but I ended up including 2 copies so I could hard counter noncreature spells and/or activated/triggered abilities. 2 copies seemed fine.

    Day One
    Match one: Sultai Snek/GPG
    The first of my 6 (!) Snek matchups for the weekend. This was a somewhat spicy brew that included God-Pharaoh's Gift and Gates to the Afterlife. I took round 1 with double approach, no problemo (he could have won this one though...he managed to resolve a GPG after I had Approached once, but instead of bringing back a Walking Ballista, adding a counter and pinging me for 1 for the kill, he brought back Kitesail Freebooter.

    The next two matches were tougher, and I don't think I sideboarded or played this matchup correctly. Frankly, I didn't really know how to sideboard against it: I usually bring Regal Caracal in for the Snek matchups (mostly to throw in front of Bristling Hydras until I can fumigate), but not for GPG matchups, and I bring in Forsake the Worldly against GPG but not snek...so I ended up with some janky mix of the two plans that didn't go well. He rolled me G2, and I lost G3 by taking a very suboptimal line that involved me casting Torrential Gearhulk to flash back something (seem to recall it was Essence Scatter to keep some creature or other from resolving), which ended up putting a 6th creature in the yard, allowing him to cast Gate to the Afterlife, activate, and GPG me to death. I was at 2 life at the point, so likely wasn't winning, but it was a rocky start. (0-1)

    Match 2: Jeskai Approach
    Took this one easy 2-0. UW is just house against this G1 with all their dead cards. I had a great hand to start G2 (couple negate and disallow), which allowed me to counter both of the Gideons he tried to resolve. Opponent didn't seem super focused either, but I'll take a W when I get one. (1-1).

    Match 3: Sultai Snek (with Scarab God)
    This was an interesting matchup in which the win came from a mega-punt by my opponent.

    Game 1, double approach. Easy peasy.

    Game 2: he won with Scarab God and a ton of dudes, BUT there was a key judge call that I think may have tilted my opponent a bit. He had a Nissa, Steward of Elements on the field and did her +2. Opponent was a super-manic card riffler, and when I looked carefully, I saw that he had three cards he was looking at—I guess he had scryed 3 instead of 2. JUDGE! The resolution was a warning to my opponent, and I was allowed to look at the three cards and decide which one was not part of the scry (third one was shuffled back in to his deck before resolving the scry). Ridiculous part was that the 3 cards were Fetid Pools, Aether Hub, Aether Hub, so I didn't even get to bin something worthwhile.

    Game 3: opponent mega punt time. First off, he had The Scarab God on the field (I believe with a counter from Hadana's Climb on it, making it a 6/6). I had 9 mana up. He attacks. I flash in Torrential Gearhulk, targeting Slash of Talons and block with TG so they trade. At end step, I disallowed the SG return card to hand trigger, leaving SG in the yard. He takes his next turn, and at end step starts going through his graveyard. I asked what he was looking for, and he said he was returning the Scarab God to his hand. I said "nope, that got disallowed, so he stays in the yard," and he didn't believe me, so he called a judge (who confirmed that SG was dead-zo).

    I don't know if it was the 2 judge calls or what, but opponent was definitely tilted. I got an Approach in. I think my hand was Cast Out, Irrigated Farmland, with a couple Ipnu Rivulets on the field and plenty of lands. Approach was 6 down at this point. He duresses with Scarab God on the battlefield. In response, I cycle Cast Out (5 deep) and gain a Glimmer. He takes the Glimmer. My end step, I activate Ipnu Rivulet, revealing card, card, card, Torrential Gearhulk (Approach now on top). He has a negate in the yard, but for some reason, he got super excited by the Gearhulk, and at end step, he activates TSG to snag him. In response, I cycle Irrigated Farmland to pick up the Approach, and slam it on my turn. Whew. (2-1)

    Match 4: BG Snek
    Lost game 1, which was really unfortunate because G1 is where we shine. But had only 3 lands turn 6 while he had all the sneks and siphoners. GG.

    Game 2 and 3 went much better. Another interesting judge call in this one. I had double caracal on the board with 3 cats. He had an 8/7 Jadelight Ranger, a Bristling Hydra, and a Ripjaw Raptor on the board. He swings with the Raptor and the Ranger. I chump the Ranger and throw 2 caracals and 2 cats in front of the Ripjaw Raptor (I had fumigate in hand so basically just looking to max out my life gain…sorry kitties…). He orders blockers, and we go to damage. I say "Caracal and chumping cat die, Raptor dies, I gain 17, you draw a card from Enrage." And he says, "don't I draw 4 because you blocked with 4?" I told him I'm pretty sure that combat damage is dealt simultaneously, so it would only be one enrage trigger. Judge was called, and he said, "no, it's four different things damaging it, so it's four." I asked him to please look it up (and dude at the next table was like, "yeah, I don't think that's right…"). Judge looked it up and confirmed that it's just one enrage trigger. Next turn, I swing with Caracal and remaining cats then wipe the board. At this point, I'm at 30+ life and in complete control. (3-1)

    Match 5: UW Drake
    I played this deck for a while on MTGO but gave it up when XLN/RIX didn't add much to it. The keys are (1) keep Drake Haven and Abandoned Sarcophagus off the board and (2) exile graveyards before the second approach because their only mainboard counter is usually 4x countervailing winds. I did just that G1 and double approached.

    G2 was a bunch of draw/go/cycle. He was burning through a ton of his deck without finding what he was looking for, and whenever he managed to resolve a Drake Haven, I promptly got rid of it through Cast Out/Forsake the Worldly. Ended up decking him with Ipnu Rivulets. (4-1)

    At this point, I've achieved my goal of improving my performance from the last GP, so the rest is gravy…

    Match 6: UB Midrange (Atsuki Kihara, Hareruya "God of Standard")
    I looked up this opponent afterward and wasn't surprised to see that he's had some high-level success. I got rolled both games this matchup, which is a tough one for us to begin with, but made tougher by having a great pilot who drew all the right things. One suboptimal play I made G1 was to Cast Out his Liliana on T5…he cast Scarab God the next turn and I didn't have an answer, and the God is much more impactful than Lili (although both can be a pain). The language barrier made it tough to chat, but he was very kind and humble in his thrashing of me! (4-2).

    Match 7: BW Vampires
    I wish, wish, wish that I had seen more of this deck. Cakewalk. 4x Field of Ruin makes Adanto no big deal, plenty of board wipes, and he has no way to interact with Approach game 1.

    Game 2 he brought in Kitesail Freebooter, and hit one T2. Sadly, I had my spicy SB tech in hand at the time (Hour of Revelation), so the cat was out of the bag. Kept his Radiant Destinys from getting out of hand, managed the board, and got there with Gearhulk beatdowns. (5-2).

    Match 8: Sultai Snek
    We're both win-and-in, and I'm disappointed to see Sneks again, but so be it.

    G1, I resolved a T3 Gideon, which is always great for me because he typically gains me 6-8 life before dying. He's a threat, so opponents need to deal with him, but he's just a sacrificial lamb for this deck. He attempts to Vraska's Contempt him T5 (negate), then tries to resolve Skysovereign, Consul Flagship (disallow). Got him with double Approach.

    G2 was just about the same. Board wipes showing up right when needed. I think opponent was pretty mentally tired at this point—at one point, he missed his Jadelight Ranger explore triggers (he cast the Ranger, then said "Combat?"…don't think he ever realized he missed the trigger). Likely didn't matter because I had 2x Settle in hand, but it just shows how important the mental game is. (6-2, made day 2!).

    Grabbed an awesome dinner at Blue C Sushi with my son (who went 4-3-1…not shabby!) and a buddy from Portland who was also playing. Got a good night's sleep without letting thoughts of cardboard interfere too much.

    Day Two
    Match 9: UW GPG (Yuuki Ichikawa)
    I didn't know my opponent by name before the match, but figured he was someone legit when I saw his 2017 World Championship hoodie! About the nicest, most humble, enjoyable opponent you could ask for. Gerry Thompson was playing right next to us, which was kind of cool too.

    G1: we both mull to 6 and miss our third land drops (which makes us both laugh quite a bit). I Spell Swindled his God-Pharoah's Gift, which made him laugh and say, "Double Approach?"—I joked that I didn't know if I brought enough treasure tokens, but I had exactly 7. Didn't manage the same-turn double-approach, but got there.

    G2: I think I could have won this game if I'd played a bit differently. I kept the board clean enough—kept him off GPG with Forsake the Worldly and used my boardwipes strategically (and used my life total as a resource), while he was just digging deeper and deeper with Champions of Wits, eternalized Champions of Wits, Chart a Course, and Strategic Planning. I Scavenger Grounds our yards away. After a field of ruin, I count his library and he's at 20 cards, and I have 2 Ipnus on the board. I end up cracking the Ipnus too soon, and he resolves a GPG, which may have given him the creatures needed to bring back for the win. Think he got down to 1 card in library.

    G3: I didn't really have the answers in this one. I managed to resolve Approach, and I had ipnu and cycler in hand, but he had ipnu as well. I might have been able to get the Approach back in my hand, but as it turned out, he had a negate in hand anyway, so I don't think I was going to win that one. In hindsight, I really needed to put away that G2, and I think I probably could have if I had taken a more optimal line than I did.

    After the match, Yuuki was chatting with Shouta Yasooka (who had been watching), and I was de-boarding. I show Yuuki the Crook of Condemnation that I didn't see the entire match, and we both laugh. Then I showed him the Spell Swindle and he laughed again and told Shouta about how his GPG got swindled. Just a fun GP moment that I'll remember. Can't say enough nice things about this guy. (6-3)

    Match 10: Sultai Snek (Corey Baumeister)
    After losing to a pro, I just laughed when I got paired with another one! Mike Sigrist was playing next to us for this one, which again, was kind of cool.

    G1: Got there with double approach. No worries.

    G2: He looks at his opening hand and goes, "ehh….I'll try to make it work." To which I reply, "I think that probably means that you have the nuts…" Sure enough, T1 Duress, T2 Siphoner, T3 Snek, T4 Rishkar. Lolz.

    G3: He mulls to 6 and gets stuck on lands for a while. I resolve Caracals, he resolves a Carnage Tyrant with a Hydra on board. My turn, I swing with all (the good ol' sacrificial-cats-before-fumigate play). Sure enough, I wipe the board after. At this point, I'm in pretty firm control and manage to get 2 gearhulks on the board, then another caracal, and he scoops it up. Super nice guy, and really enjoyable match. (7-3)

    Match 11: Red Aggro
    First Bomat Courier I faced all day. Really not a lot to say about this match—kept a bad hand G1 (it was serviceable against any deck but his). Didn't see sweepers G2. Lost with about 40 minutes left in round! (7-4)

    Match 12: Grixis Midrange
    G1, got there with an easy double approach.

    G2, he resolved siphoners T2 and T3, and just drowned in card advantage. I also missed a Search for Azcanta trigger here (I drew the card before remembering to flip). Don't know if it would have changed things, but my only missed trigger of the day…

    G3, he stuck a Chandra and a Lili, and I couldn't get rid of Chandra before she emblemed. Just the way it goes, I guess. (7-5).

    Match 13: Sultai Snek
    G1, got there with an easy double approach.

    G2, he got there with Hadana's climb and ballistas.

    G3, I think Gideon and Gearhulks got me there, but can't really remember…really mentally tired at this point, but I now know I'll leave with a record that's better than .500, so pretty stoked. (8-5).

    Match 14: UB Midrange (or maybe Grixis?)
    I played too timid G1 and let my mind play tricks on me and got punished. Started the game with double approach in hand. He managed to double Gonti me, and I really don't know what he has, although his eyes got a little big the first one, which for some reason made me certain that he had taken Spell Swindle. I approach once, and he's built up a good board with TSG and a bunch of zombos. I had the opportunity to Approach again, but I didn't have mana for countermagic, and I was paranoid about the swindle. Turns out it was a fumigate and I would have been totally clear. Instead, he reanimates all the things and kills me before I can try again. Some regret over this one, but I really can't be too disappointed.

    G2, I just couldn't get anything going, and he stuck an early Arguel and Search for Azcanta, so he out-carded me like crazy. (8-6). No pro point for me, but it's all good.

    Match 15: RG Dinos
    Cakewalk. All the sweepers, all the essence scatters, he can't interact with Approach. He brought in Prowling Serpopard G2, but I easily cast that out (and countered the Naturalize). Easy, easy matchup for this deck, and wish I'd seen RG more than just the final match. (9-6).

    Takeaways
    I loved the deck this weekend, and would not hesitate to rock it in another standard event. I think it's only going to get better after DOM drops (although exploring a splash of B might be worth it given the improvement in the mana base). The weaknesses are what we've discussed for a while: missing land drops and iffy early-game interaction. But the strengths are strong: extremely favored G1, access to reasonable creature finishers post-board (Caracal, Torrential, Nezzie), good ways to interact with enchantments, good answers to resilient threats (Carnage Tyrant, Phoenix).

    In retrospect, I should have found room for at least one, if not two, Farm // Market to handle the proliferation of Sneks. Seriously, they were everywhere. Maybe instead of Crook of Condemnation, although Crook did some work for me. And if UR GPG continues to be a thing, I think the case for a Crook in the main gets even better. Slash was great for the siphoners, but Sneks were a problem.

    I also think I got burned by a couple of suboptimal plays (although I reaped the benefit of a couple suboptimal plays/errors by opponents, so they wash out). I think that my game has improved 100% since my last GP, and this one made it very clear to me that deck selection has only so much to do with success—minimizing/eliminating play mistakes, carefully evaluating lines of play before making a decision, and staying mentally focused is just as important, and why I think the pros do as well as they do consistently. I definitely have room for improvement, and hope to keep the upward trend.

    Overall, the GP was a blast. For the most part, my opponents were fun to play against (only a couple less-than-friendly folks), and having the opportunity to play against a couple pros was definitely something I'll remember for a while!

    Next goal: getting that 10th win for the pro point.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Hey gang! Just a quick update from GP Seattle. I ended the day 6-2 with UW Approach, so I'm pretty stoked to make my first day 2! My matches were against (in order):
    • Sultai Snek/GPG (it was gross...I took a suboptimal line in this one which I blame for my loss) (loss 1-2, 0-1 for the day)
    • Jeskai Approach (won 2-0, 1-1 for the day)
    • Sultai Snek (won 2-1 in turn 3 of extra turns...opponent misplayed a TSG activation that would have won him the game, so lucked out, 2-1 for the day)
    • BG Snek (won 2-1, 3-1 for the day)
    • UW Drake Haven (won 2-0...one of the wins being an Ipnu mill out, 4-1 for the day)
    • UB Midrange (lost 0-2...got steamrolled by an excellent player from Japan...4-2 for the day)
    • BW Vamps (won 2-0...I love paying this matchup, 5-2 for the day)
    • Sultai Snek (won 2-0, 6-2 for the day)

    I'll do a more thorough writeup after I get back in case folks are interested. The metagame is pretty interesting up here, but there are more copies of winding constrictor than I'd like to see, personally. Just tons of BG and Sultai snake decks.

    I'm hoping to see nothing but vampires tomorrow!

    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Wow...really interesting lists. I played the UW Drake deck for a while and found it to be really resilient against a lot of decks. This cycling Approach looks pretty sweet. I'd love to find out from the deckbuilders what their sideboard strategies were--with only creatures in the sideboard, it almost seems like they would just board the same for every matchup (remove X cards for 15 creatures and become a beatdown aggro deck).

    Kinda want to build this on MTGO and take it out for a spin...
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Quote from Hobbits73 »

    Hi codaddy;

    You've made some great posts recently, thank you! Here are my thoughts . . . I'll have to say I am not nearly as optimistic as you . . .

    I'm not sure how well UW Approach is positioned in this meta. I agree game 1 is often favorable but even that is changing with recent Sultai builds mainboarding 2 Negate and creature builds getting lower to the ground. I agree with Eric from CFB and kpal on this thread that post-board can be a nightmare. UW Approach is barely a part of the mtggoldfish metagame now, if it was in a great place it would be producing better results IMHO. The community will eventually figure out what works. Mono-White Approach wasn't a thing a month or so ago but now it is the best Approach deck in the meta (as defined by % in metagame). . .

    I think because that deck has so many removal options. Yes, it is all sorcery speed but it's effective and consistent. And there really isn't a lot of enchantment removal in the game. What little there is will quickly get overloaded with 4 Baffling End, 4 Cast Out, 4Ixalan's Binding, and 2 Thopter Arrest plus 2-3 The Immortal Sun. Ironically, I think Mono-White Approach is the easiest deck in this meta for UW Approach.

    I'm also going to GP Seattle so this has been on my mind lately. Reliance on counter-magic, while extremely mana-efficient, is also very narrow. I get that one opportunity, if I don't have the mana or Essence Scatter gets countered I'm out of luck. I have to wait to Settle the Wreckage. If Thopter Arrest gets countered the opportunity is there to follow-up with Cast Out next turn.

    UB Control, has some reliance on counter-magic but has the best direct removal in the game with Fatal Push and Vraska's Contempt . Which they can cast again when the Torrential Gearhulks come to the party. . .

    UW Approach has Cast Out I guess, but that often gets cycled and while you and pumpmonkey have enjoyed some success with it, I've heard no one say Farm // Market is really a great magic card.

    I'm reluctant to make big changes to my deck so close to the GP but I may look at a uW option with minimal counters and heavy enchantment removal.

    Best wishes for a fun and successful GP!


    Hey @Hobbits 73! I completely agree that post-board games are tricky, and they really always have been with the Approach deck. My hypothesis (which can never really be tested) is that the post-board matchups, and articles from EFro and others saying the deck isn't a great option because of the post-board matchups, turn people away from the deck, which leads to fewer people playing the deck, which leads to fewer tournament results primarily due to the small share of the meta. If so many people were turned off of UW Approach that 10 people out of 1500 play the deck at a GP, chances are it's not going to be represented in the Top 8 (or Top 32). If 50% of the players showed up with it, the story would be different.

    I think the other flavors of Approach have found a bit of success because they are unexpected and opponents aren't sure how to attack them. I totally agree with you that W Approach (and BW Approach) is a cakewalk for UW Approach. They might sneak in G1, but they can't win 2 or 3 because Negate and Torrential Gearhulk. Forsake the Worldly does a ton of work in that matchup too. Go ahead and Binding my Caracal/Gearhulk...I'll just get rid of Binding on your end step and get a couple extra Cats/Flash back another spell. The Bant version can be tough for me G1 because I lack a ton of countermagic and they can ramp so dang fast, but G2 and G3 are usually favored for us too (if you can manage to counter their Hour of Promises).

    The fact is that there's a ton of luck that goes into any tournament, regardless of what deck you play. I fully believe that if I'd faced RG Monsters/Red Aggro for the first 5 matches of my PPTQ, I wouldn't have made Top 8, let alone won. The thing I don't get about EFro's article is that at my PPTQ, my UW Approach was the deck that nobody in the Top 8 wanted to play against. If my deck is so bad post-board, why don't you want to play against it?? Smile

    I'm curious what your current build looks like. I'm going to keep testing this week to fine tune what I register this weekend. Good luck to you as well!


    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Along the lines of "know yourself/know your enemy," thought this grixis energy article on CFB was worth a read: https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/grixis-energy-deck-guide/

    Just another data point for the theory that Approach decks are currently well-positioned because they are not expected. This deck has only 2 1/2 maindeck answers to Approach (1 Supreme Will, 1 Commit // Memory, and a Torrential Gearhulk to potentially flash one of those back), and only dedicates a couple SB slots for answers (2x Negate, an additional Commit // Memory, 2 Duress, 1 Doomfall).



    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Ran the Disallow-less list through two leagues yesterday and went 4-1 and 3-2. Losses were to mono-R (oh so close matches...MTGO wasn't giving me any of my sweepers which was pretty unusual), Sultai Climb (against an opponent who I've played before and defeated...again, sweepers were not to be found), and UB midrange (a reanimator variant with Liliana, Death's Majesty, multiple Gonti, Lord of Luxurys maindeck, and Walking Ballista).

    I made a dumb play mistake in the UB matchup by not exiling a Champion of Wits from his graveyard on my end step with Crook and letting him eternalize. I chalk it up to not having played with Crook before--for some reason I thought I could activate Crook in response to the attempt to eternalize (a la Scarab God/GPG), but that is definitely wrong. That's why you practice.

    Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by the Crook. It's a pretty innocuous 2-drop that is unlikely to draw countermagic, and it does a ton of work in just about every matchup because just about every meta deck uses the yard for something. Most importantly, I didn't miss Disallow.

    From memory, the list I'm currently running looks like this:



    I didn't really miss the second SFA--there's a lot of card draw/selection with the deck, so I typically find one at some point. It used to be that whoever found SFA and flipped it first was highly favored, but I'm not finding that to be the case lately, especially with the 4 Field of Ruins. Blowing up their Azcanta on their end step usually prompts them to tap 4 lands to activate one last time, which can sometimes open the door to fire off an Approach.

    Regarding Spell Swindle, the card just continues to do work, and having that 3-4 (or more) extra mana is really really helpful.

    I do think that 3/1 Cast Out/Ixalan's Binding might be correct...that's the mix I played in a far earlier build. I find myself Casting Out main phase about half the time, usually when they resolve a Planeswalker that I wasn't able to counter, and binding would be better in those situations.



    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Quote from Pankary »
    Do you plan on keeping the Spell Swindle in the future? Personally, I think it might be a little heavy against aggro decks.
    And what do you think about Baffling End? I'm not convinced about using it because I don't like it being a sorcery-speed spell.


    I really like spell swindle against decks that can't interact with it (i.e., non-blue decks), and even like it a little against U decks when I'm on the play and can potentially hit a Glimmer or Gearhulk at their end step. It's gotten me out of a number of jams, and it's house against RG monsters. Against aggro, I'm looking to play my sweepers turns 4/5, so I see Swindle as more of a turn 6/7 (or later) play to get whatever they want to jam after I Settle, and it can really help with the double approach. But your mileage may vary. I did manage to swindle a Galta in a league the other day and double-approached the next turn (turn 6 or 7 I think) and it felt so good. It's the secret sauce and opponents don't really expect to see it, which can give an edge (and they even sometimes forget that Gearhulk can hit it).

    I'm not a fan of Baffling end because it's sorcery speed. I think I'll be a much bigger fan of Seal Away when Dominaria hits and will test it as a 4-of to replace the farms and slashes. But others like it (and it shows up in 5-0 lists from time to time), so it clearly can do work, and I think it would help shore up the mono-B matchup that I've had trouble with.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
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