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The McShake Alchemist on Magic
UW without the Jace, the Caw, or the Blade
May 24, 2011

    Hey everyone!  Lemme first say thanks for reading, and please, don't stop there.  As the title implies, today I'm gonna be talking about a deck that is UW, and it has no Jace (Mind Sculptor, at least), Squadron Hawk, or any swords.  I've been playing it for awhile now and it has been doing pretty well at my locals.  I'll get to that in a moment.  I'd like to talk about myself for a few sentences momentarily.
 
     Firstly, if anyone plays other cards games or reads other parts of Pojo, they might know this already, but, I have written articles on Pojo for both the Full Metal Alchemist card game, as well as Yu-Gi-Oh! and have played most of the games that this site supports (most readers probly hit that 'back button of their browser after seeing that I played Yugi).  As far as CCGs go, I've played in states in pokemon, worlds in Full Metal Alchemist, qualified for Nats in Yugi and Naruto, but haven't really traveled for MTG, though I plan for that to change in the very near future (as in a months time).  Hopefully these articles will help me meet people in traveling, as well as inspire other people to think a bit more 'outside the box' when playing standard.
 
     Back to the article itself, anyone who has read my articles before knows how this usually works, so, firstly, I'll lay down the decklist, then explain the card choices.
 
UW Sans Sculptor/Caw/Blade control
As suggested by Sean Handy
 
Creatures (1)
1 Frost Titan
 
Sorceries (6)
2 Day of Judgment
4 Preordain
 
Instants (13)
4 Spell Pierce
4 Mana Leak
1 Stoic Rebuttal
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
2 Condemn
1 Divine Offering
 
Artifacts (8)
2 Contagion Clasp
3 Tumble Magnet
2 Everflowing Chalice
1 Batterskull
 
Planeswalkers (5)
2 Jace Beleren
3 Venser, the Sojourner
 
Lands (27)
6 Island
5 Plains
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Celestial Colonnade
3 Tectonic Edge
4 Seachrome Coast
1 Inkmoth Nexus
 
 
Sideboard
1 Day of Judgment
2 Baneslayer Angel
4 Kor Firewalker
3 Flashfreeze
1 Divine Offering
2 Hex Parasite
2 Ratchet Bomb
 
     Alright, firstly, let me say, this is tuned for my metagame.  I play at Hillside Games in Asheville, which gets an average turnout of about 30-45 players each week for fnm, and out of that I can expect the metagame to be
 
2 Caw Blade
3-4 Elves
5-7 (!!!?) Various Red Decks
1-2 Knights
2-4 Various Infect
1-2 Tezz Brews
2-4 Token based decks (wut)
1-2 Vampires
1-2 Valakut
3-4 Eldrazi Green
 
and the rest being various homebrews.  Because of the amount of Red Deck and elves and eldrazi green I sideboard the way that I do (Red deck is worse pre board is why I have the 4x firewalker rather than 'freeze, and FF doesnt do a lot against vengevine or eldrazi)
 
     Breaking the deck down into separate parts, first we have the creatures.
 
1 Frost Titan
 
I really am not that big of a fan of creatures right now, at least in this build, just because generally this deck relies on venser to get there and either my Manlands or Batterskull will get there on their own.  Frost Titan is what I've found to be the best creature right now as far as finishers go.  Because I don't really play other creatures, or fetchlands, or sac outlets, Sun Titan doesn't really do a whole lot unless I get a Tectonic Edge loop going, but, I can abuse a lot of different things with frost titan just because it can help seal the aggro matchup if you happened to hit day or slow them down just enough to start fighting back.  
 
     Next down the list we have sorceries
 
2 Day of Judgment
4 Preordain
 
I feel that I will get a lot of hate as far as only playing two Day of Judgments in this deck, that and a couple of other strange card choices might get me in some 'hot water' with readers (if they're even reading my articles).  I only like two in the deck because there are a lot of decks out right now that tumble magnet just gets there against.  Not to mention that most UB decks have Wormcoil Engine and Creeping Tarpit as their primary kill cons.  There are aggro decks that it helps against (obviously), but, there are a lot where it really is just a -X as far as card advantage goes.  Against Caw Blade their squadron hawks and stoneforges have already replaced themselves so really the day of judgment isnt helping you that much there, and against elves, if they're a good player they haven't overextended too much, so when you wrath their board of 3-4 dudes, they'll just cast archdruid/llanowar next turn and get back a 'Vine or two and bash in again.  I feel that the need of preordain in anything blue right now is self explanatory as to how awesome it is.
 
     The only thing better than sorceries....instants!
 
4 Spell Pierce
4 Mana Leak
1 Stoic Rebuttal
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
2 Condemn
1 Divine Offering
 
Spell Pierce is honestly a personal choice.  I like that it counters at least something in every deck, even if it's the summoning trap in valakut/elves.  It is just so relevant against other matchups that play artifacts or blue cards.  Mana leak, is mana leak.  Stoic rebuttal is a one of because I don't want it every game, but at the same time,  I like having a hard counter in the late late game that only costs two, so the opponent is more than likely expecting to just 'have to pay 3 more' for their spell.  Blue Sun's Zenith is a very recent addition to the deck, but in the control matchup it is absolutely amazing, especially since I play 27 lands, it is absolutely phenomenal.  I only play two Condemn because its not great in every matchup, but I like having the 1 mana removal spell, and having two is just enough to the point where you can get it to play it against your opponent first game, and then for the rest of the match if you leave one white open your opponent will think that they have to play around it.  Anyone who has played blue on a serious level knows that bluffing is more important than half the cards you play.  I play a single divine offering because it is good in just about every matchup (valakut and elves being the exceptions), but at the same time, it might be in the later game that it is even relevant, and most of the time, mana leak gets the job done anyway.  Offering is fantastic against caw blade though, game 1 it can completely throw CB players on tilt if they go EOT stoneforge in Sword of W&P or Batterskull thinking they got around 'leak, just for you to offering it because they tapped out.
 
    At the halfway mark we have artifacts
 
2 Contagion Clasp
3 Tumble Magnet
2 Everflowing Chalice
1 Batterskull
 
In the control v. control matchup, if its a long, drawn out game, the artifact package that you play wins you the game almost single handedly.  Pay attention to some older pro tour videos of dralnu de louvre and 5cc and how the decks played and noticed who the loser of each was.  Either the first to miss a land drop, or, the first one to try to play something without enough counter backup.  The clasp/chalice is cheap enough to the point where your opponent doesn't want to try to waste counter magic on it, and, the two together will put you so far ahead on mana that you'll just be able to play around all the leaks in their deck.  The magnet is just fantastic all around.  It can tap down manlands and stop them from attacking, I was almost sold there, not to mention it can tap down stuff with pro white that the deck has a decent amount of trouble dealing with half the time.  Batterskull is there because, realistically, this is a Venser deck, and, later in the game, once you really start ramping mana up there, every 8 mana is a vindicate that exiles a permanent instead.  Not to mention that it is good against aggro, as well as solid against most of the playing field.  Remember that the token is black though, so don't try attacking into any sword of feast and famines.  Did I ever mention batterskull on a frost titan is one of the most legit creatures ever?
 
     Planeswalkers, no witty wait to say that they're up next
 
2 Jace Beleren
3 Venser, the Sojourner
 
Jace Beleren is pretty good, nobody can deny that.  He just gets overshadowed by..  well....  himself all the time.  In this deck, though, while I won't lie and say that he is better, at all, I will say, that it is more abuse-able in this style of build than most decks that play him.  You can play him, draw by yourself, draw by yourself, and then either proliferate or blink him with Venser and start him back at 3.  He also serves the best purpose of all.  A way to kill Jace TMS a turn before TMS comes out, whether you're on the play or the draw.  Venser, on the other hand, is basically the heart and soul of the deck.  There are so many ways to abuse this guy in here.  You can blink frost titan and keep two things tapped, spread -1/-1 counters around with 'clasp, untap lands (relevant in control, laugh all you want), reset other cards that only have a certain amount of counters (jace/tumble magnet) or even protect certain creatures (frost titan, or creatures in the board) from your own day of judgment.  It really is not as hard as most people think to get this guy up to his ultimate.  Once you get it off, your opponent is on a very fast clock to try to kill you, which is even harder since whenever you play a counterspell, you more than likely counter the spell, as well as exile a permanent that resolved, while keeping all of their attackers at bay with clasp/magnet.  Like several planeswalkers, only a couple of his abilities are relevant (see: jace beleren, elspeth, knight errant, etc.), but, those two abilities are bombastic when built around.  Finally, I know that I am not playing Gideon.  I have Gideons, I originally had two copies of Gideon in the deck.  I personally just didn't find him useful often enough and he was usually the first card to come out when I sideboarded.  Against control, I don't play that many creatures and neither do they.  Meaning, that his first two abilities aren't that relevant, and when I actually animate gideon, he eats whatever creature removal they had that hasn't been played the entire game.  Against aggro, he is a turn later than Day of Judgment, 'nuff said.
 
     Lastly, I got lands
 
6 Island
5 Plains
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Seachrome Coast
3 Tectonic Edge
1 Inkmoth Nexus
 
I play the 1-of Inkmoth because it is solid when I start to get my proliferate engine going, but before then a lot of times it is just a source of colorless mana.  I am thinking of adding a second copy of it to the 75 but I'm not 100% positive yet.  I play 3 Tectonic edge because it is just so solid right now, but I need to hit my early blue land drops (untapped) so bad that I can't justify playing a fourth copy of it.  The rest of the lands I feel are self explanatory.  I play so many because I feel that the deck needs to never miss a land drop, and if it is, it is losing at that point in the game.  The deck needs to always be progressing, and it needs a lot of mana in order to win in the late game, and it needs to keep curving out in order to hit that late game.
 
Sideboard
1 Day of Judgment
2 Baneslayer Angel
4 Kor Firewalker
3 Flashfreeze
1 Divine Offering
2 Hex Parasite
2 Ratchet Bomb
 
     Most of the sideboard is pretty self explanatory because of my meta (lotsa red and green).  The high amounts of red and green would make one thing that I would want to play more flashfreeze, but I prefer more specialized choices v. both of them, and ratchet bomb does a whole hell of a lot against elves, which various elf builds are probly my worst matchup.  I play baneslayer against red and green as well, I feel little explanation needs to go with red, and against elves, nothing gives Vengevine the finger quite like a baneslayerdoes.  I play the hex parasites because it is just so good in the control mirror.  This deck has some problems against various tez builds if they win the die roll and get an early inquisition of kozilek on you, since bluffing is borderline impossible at that point, and they probably took one of the precious counterspells from your hand.  
 
     So, while this is a deck that I wouldn't advice to take to the next SCG open or Grand Prix, I would advise to try it at your next locals and let me know how it does!  I'm going to try to start doing video articles and deck profiles sometime in the near future so stay tuned for those.  If you play Yu-Gi-Oh! feel free to peruse my articles on this website by just going to the Yu-Gi-Oh! part of pojo.com.  This deck has been a lot of fun for me and while it isn't a budget deck (I'm glaring at you, batterskull) it is by far cheaper than most meta decks right now (0 fetches, no swords, no 5$ uncommons, no mindsculptor) and has given me a decent win/loss ratio at my store.
 
     I'm happy to also talk or email with anyone that would like to contact me.  I do deck fixes and things of the like and am happy just to talk strategy with someone, though on deck fixes, I would prefer to keep it standard, as I am trying to get into legacy, but am far from adept at it and at this point would like to only be accountable for myself in the format, as sad as it sounds.  So, if one wants to contact me here are my various social networks:
 
yahoo:  Andro_sphinx@yahoo.com
skype: Themcshakealchemist
youtube: themcshakealchemist
facebook: www.facebook.com/shakezilluh
 
Thanks again for reading!  Any feedback is greatly appreciated!   

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