Friday, January 18, 2013


In this post I'll be discussing a saucy anti aggro/midrange brew based of Gerry Thompson's UWr Flash. I've developed Flash this direction due to the abundance of aggressive decks like G/W Aggro, Mono Red, and other midrange decks present in my local and Magic Online metagame. Without further ado. . .

Lands: 24
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Steam Vents
3 Glacial Fortress
4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Sulfur Falls
1 Island
1 Mountain
2 Plains
1 Evolving Wilds

Creatures/Win Conditions: 16
4 Augur of Bolas
4 Restoration Angel
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Runechanter's Pike

Snapcaster/Augur Food: 20
4 Thought Scour
2 Pillar of Flame
1 Unsummon
1 Azorius Charm
3 Mizzium Mortars
1 Searing Spear
2 Izzet Charm
2 Syncopate
3 Desperate Ravings
1 Sphinx's Revelation

Sideboard: 15
1 Planar Cleansing
1 Psychic Spiral
1 Mystic Retrieval
2 Dissipate
2 Sundering Growth
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Pillar of Flame
1 Rolling Temblor
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Azorius Charm
1 Runechanter's Pike

Here's a quick breakdown of the deck and it's unique decisions.

4 Augur of Bolas/4 Snapcaster Mage/4 Restoration Angel
We all know why these dorks are good, nothing too see here.

3 Mizzium Mortars, 0 Supreme Verdict
I always hated relying on 1 Verdict, it was far too inconsistent and frequently led to me getting overrun. I also disliked nuking my own board, since I found it hard to consistently finish my opponent off. Mizzium Mortars solves both these problems. It's a strong early game play, gives you an out to Loxodon Smitter, is a great turn 4 play with Snapcsater, and serves as a wrath variant that lets you keep targets for Runechanter's Pike.

2 Jace Memory Adept
I found myself boarding in 2 Jace's in practically every match I played, with Big Rakdos (4 Aristocrats, 4 Thundermaw Hellkites) being the exception. He's very strong against control decks, sidestepping all their creature removal and giving you a critical threat diversity. Against midrange and Aggro decks he threatens to bury them in card advantage while increasing his loyalty.

2 Runechanters Pike
I added the second cause I was so sick of removing it from Thought Scour, Augur of Bolas, and Desperate Ravings. This is a key win condition that potentially kills in 2 attacks.

2 Izzet Charm, 2 Syncopate
I've been very happy with these two. Charm provides a critical number of soft counters which helps keep control or combo(Omniscience) in check while being perfectly serviceable as a shock or careful study. Syncopate is excellent as a 2 drop or going long against big badass spells, about 3 out of 4 times you only have to pay 1-2.

3 Desperate Ravings, 4 Thought Scour, 1 Sphinx's Revelation
Many games I had Revelation rot in my hand while I got beat down by some number of Smitters or Chainwalkers. I found Revelating for low amounts was completely ineffective since my deck was answer light and I was too far behind on board. That's why I made the switch to Desperate Ravings, it fits on the curve easier, generates lots of card advantage, while letting you access more cards in the key early stages of the game. By adding more win conditions too the deck I've reduced the rage inducing sting of random discard. Thought Scour's are critical to hitting your land drops, fueling your Pike, and keeping the spell count high for your blue creatures. I still want access to Sphinx's Revelation, but I don't want it in my opener often nor do I want it to be my primary strategy, so 1, maybe later 2, is a good amount.

1 Searing Spear, 2 Pillar of Flames, 1 Azorius Charm, 1 Unsummon,
Since you see roughly half your deck every game, and games tend to go longer, it's very important to have unique and versatile effects available too you. Azorius Charm is extremely versatile, Pillars are for undying creatures, the Spear is for Hellrider and to make combat tricky, and 1 Unsummon has consistently done god's work for me providing me tempo and insane mana efficiency.

Match ups/Sideboarding
The sideboard is pretty obvious. Psychic Spiral + Mystic Retrieval are my package against practically every control deck, especially Esper Frownyard.dek. Planar Cleansing are for the Midrange decks everywhere that are abusing Garruk Primal Hunter, Sorin, etc. Oblivion Rings are played over Detention Sphere so we can target other Detention Sphere's, both are played so we can answer a Planeswalker, even if it's at a disadvantage. Lastly there's more varied removal and counters to help adapt to various match ups.

I'm very confident in this list and it's ability to deal with the wide gauntlet that is standard. It's currently geared to fight aggressive and midrange strategies, which litters my metagame, and judging from recent tournament reports it's present in yours as well. The control match ups aren't unwinnable, but I'd say MOAR MORTARS has about a 2/5 match win rate. My next post will include a mini tournament report, thoughts/feelings on match ups, and a starting point for sideboarding.


  1. Neat list, detailed write up. Good job.
    By Match win rate, is that 2/5 as in 40% win rate total, or just vs control?
    And how often does retreival + spiral actually kill or prevent a control deck from milling you?

  2. 40% vs control, roughly. I've had spiral be game winning in long control match ups (mirror esper) in the past, mostly due to Snapcaster. Sadly I haven't had a opportunity to flash back Retrevial targeting Spiral, but my thoorycraft tells me it'll be bonkers. Sorry about the delayed reply.

  3. Pretty good writeup, I might have to give this deck a try.