Last weekend I played a nice big UW deck in the MagicFest Online Season 2 Weekly Championship. I managed to go 10-4 which was enough for 21st place and an invite to the MagicFest Online Season 2 Finals. It seems to me that the big UW deck is pretty nice. Companions are the name of the game these days. UW gets to take advantage of 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 for the low cost of playing 20 extra cards in your deck. I don’t think the cost of playing 80 cards is particularly steep for this deck. Obviously it increases the variance of the deck by some amount. On the other hand there aren’t that many cards that you’d play more than four of given the chance. So I don’t think it reduces the overall power level of the deck by much.
4 《Hallowed Fountain》
3 《Raugrin Triome》
2 《Fabled Passage》
3 《Temple of Enlightenment》
4 《Castle Ardenvale》
4 《Castle Vantress》
1 《Field of Ruin》
-Land (33)- 2 《Dream Trawler》
2 《Dovin’s Veto》
3 《Thirst for Meaning》
2 《Mystical Dispute》
4 《Shatter the Sky》
4 《Omen of the Sea》
3 《The Birth of Meletis》
1 《Banishing Light》
4 《Elspeth Conquers Death》
4 《Shark Typhoon》
2 《Glass Casket》
4 《Narset, Parter of Veils》
4 《Teferi, Time Raveler》
If Yorion were a normal card it would be fine. But as an extra card it’s pretty great. This deck doesn’t exactly maximize the potential of Yorion’s flicker ability, but that’s alright. Yorion just hangs out as a way to get extra value and turn the corner.
The card is quite flexible in the way that cards with cycling tend to be. Since even cycling for no shark or a very small shark is pretty nice. The shark is also good at attacking Planeswalkers. You can even make a shark on your opponent’s turn when they have 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 in play. It also does a pretty good 《Hydroid Krasis》 impression. Which is to say it’s big.
I think having land types to make your Castles come into play untapped is pretty important. It seems to be the consensus that 《Irrigated Farmland》 is better than 《Temple of Enlightenment》 in Pioneer. Although the Triome costs one more to cycle and in Pioneer you have 《Glacial Fortress》 in your deck as well. So I decided to play a mix of both.
I’m going to be honest. I forgot this card existed. It seems pretty good. I still like 《Absorb》 but it’s probably right to at least play a mix of each. I suppose it probably depends on how valuable the 3 life tends to be in the format.
It counters Companions and is generally a pretty good card.
Matchup and Sideboard Guide
The Basic strategy in this matchup is to counter the 《Fires of Invention》 and most of the other stuff. Try not to tap out if you don’t have to. In postboard games watch out for 《Legion Warboss》 and 《Mystical Dispute》. I think the Fires deck is a reasonable match up. Your answers do line up pretty well but if you don’t draw them things will go sideways fast.
It is not the worst but tapping out is often pretty bad and it doesn’t block most of their stuff very well. But if you do get to untap with it, it is pretty nice. So I could see leaving them in the deck depending on how your main deck and sideboard is configured.
I don’t think this card is that good in the matchup but it can be really good situationally. And is sometimes the only card that can get you out of a tough spot. If you like to live dangerously then feel free to board it out I suppose.
I think this matchup is pretty reasonable. Teferi prevents most of the 《Wilderness Reclamation》 shenanigans as long as it’s in play, but you probably want to counter it if you can.
If you manage to answer the early game threats usually you can just counter the 《Zenith Flare》s. Also 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 has a nice passive ability for this matchup. I’m not sure exactly how good or bad the Cycling deck is for Big UW because usually the games are not super close either way. Since this deck is catching on a bit I’d probably throw another 《Glass Casket》 in the board instead of 《Devout Decree》.
It only exiles 《Lurrus of the Dream Den》. Although Lurrus is a nice one to exile I suppose.
This matchup feels pretty good. I think the answers line up reasonably well.
Usually these decks play mostly black cards although it does hit the Companion and a few other key spells.
Similar to Obosh but 《Elspeth Conquers Death》 gets a lot worse. Also this deck is a bit lower to the ground so there is presumably a higher chance of getting completely run over.
I think this matchup is pretty close. These decks play most of the same cards. I cannot say with confidence that Big UW is the superior of the big decks. Although, I do think playing green is a pretty significant cost to the mana base. Of the green cards 《Growth Spiral》 is probably the most dangerous in the pseudo mirror match since being up mana is pretty valuable. 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 is a powerful card, but at least it is not super great against Narset. So it’s not unbeatable. If Big Bant is the superior big deck it is probably due to Uro giving you an edge in other matchups. I imagine the repeating source of lifegain is pretty valuable against 《Witch’s Oven》 decks for example. I think this matchup comes down to the Planeswalkers. Countering them, exiling them with 《Elspeth Conquers Death》, and attacking them with sharks.
This deck wasn’t really around last week. It is pretty similar to regular Jeskai in a lot of ways, but it seems to be better. At the very least better against a durdly UW deck. The other Fires deck plays things like 《Bonecrusher Giant》 and 《Sphinx of Foresight》 that aren’t super threatening and can be ignored for a few turns. The Lukka deck plays things like 《Narset, Parter of Veils》, and 《Agent of Treachery》 that generally demand a counterspell.
I’m hesitant to bring any Cages in at all but they at least prevent 《Agent of Treachery》 from entering from the library. The problem is that it is very narrow and you might need to end up dealing with the 《Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast》 somehow anyway.
They just don’t seem to have all that many targets in this matchup. I was happy to draw plenty of these against regular Fires but neither of them does anything against Narset. What I would really want in this matchup would be more 《Negate》s and possibly 《Disdainful Stroke》.
The format is still fresh from the impact of the Companions. So I’m not entirely sure how everything will shake out, but I do know that Yorion is really good. Unfortunately good perhaps. So we will definitely be seeing lots of big deck strategies going forward.
Gregory Orange (Twitter)