Owen’s a Win – The Standard Gauntlet for Nationals

Today I want to talk about what my current gauntlet should look like for Standard heading into Nationals. With m12 and the bannings, there are tons of strategies and improvements on decks that were previously unplayable because of the long (and awesome) dominance of Caw-Blade. Until the format evens out (which likely will occur not too long after Nationals) and definitive metagame is established, there are countless decks you can try to play – and most of them should be at least okay.

After a fair amount of testing, here is my take on what decks should be considered tier 1 and are the highest on my list of decks I could see myself playing at Nationals:


[deck]3 Sword of Feast and Famine
3 Spellskite
4 Squadron Hawk
3 Dismember
3 Into the Roil
4 Mana Leak
3 Spell Pierce
2 Gideon Jura
3 Jace Beleren
4 Preordain
2 Timely Reinforcements
4 Island
3 Plains
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Tectonic Edge
2 Ratchet Bomb
1 Sun Titan
1 Deprive
1 Dismember
2 Flashfreeze
3 Mental Misstep
2 Day of Judgment
2 Revoke Existence
1 Timely Reinforcements[/deck]

This is Oscar Flores’s 2nd place list from SCG Seattle and I have to say I think he hit the nail on the head perfectly this time. Previous lists of Caw-Blade have run [card]Blade Splicer[/card] and [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card] as creatures to enable the use of full-price Sword of Feast and Famines. But having played with them myself, I can say they are quite clunky and slow.

Adding the tapout creatures turns a deck like Caw-Blade into some UW midrange deck that tries to win in fair ways as opposed to what it looks like in this form. It has a lowered manacurve, all the same cheap counterspells, and the same game-ending power of [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] with the same cheap disruptive elements.

I personally was having the problem of filling the creature roles in this deck because I wanted to have enough guys to support the equipment but I didn’t want to run creatures as bad as Hero and Blade Splicer. I love the [card]Spellskite[/card]s, the extra [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card], and [card]Timely Reinforcements[/card]. Between those, [card]Squadron Hawk[/card], and [card]Preordain[/card], it should be just enough to make the Swords playable while still letting you play your normal strategy. In addition, Spellskite provides a nice road block against Splinter Twin and Timely Reinforcements lives up to its name against Mono-Red and Vampires. The only thing that worries me is that this list might be a little light on actual win conditions, but that’s pretty reminiscent of old Caw-Blade lists anyways – and possibly explain the two copies of [card]Gideon Jura[/card]. If anything, that makes it even more like old Caw-Blade but that doesn’t worry me; as a fast player myself I’d just have to keep in mind that it’s very possible I’m likely to go to time in a tournament with this list, and adjust my pace of play accordingly. I like this deck and consider it to be the optimal build of UW for Standard and my top choice heading to Nationals.

Tempered Steel

[deck]3 Contested War Zone
4 Inkmoth Nexus
11 Plains
4 Glint Hawk
4 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
3 Porcelain Legionnaire
4 Signal Pest
4 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge
4 Dispatch
3 Glint Hawk Idol
4 Mox Opal
4 Tempered Steel
2 Celestial Purge
4 Kor Firewalker
2 Mental Misstep
4 Shrine of Loyal Legions
3 Spellskite[/deck]

Next up is Tempered Steel, and again I have to say I like this deck a lot. This is the winning list from Japanese Nationals and it’s pretty streamlined. After playing with this particular list, I can say I hate [card]Porcelain Legionnaire[/card] and would prefer to play just about anything over it. Over lists I have seen have run a couple [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card] main which again seems out of place in this deck. At such a high investment cost, he really hasn’t lived up to his hype coming out of Block Constructed. Basically costing 4 and getting no value when killed really sucks. Even worse, even in the cases where he does survive, oftentimes you don’t actually win the game with it.

Some people run a couple maindeck [card]Spellskite[/card] but unless you fear [card]Splinter Twin[/card], this seems like an unreliable plan. I mean why play an 0/4 for 2 in your aggressive deck? Before I get trolled into oblivion, I realize this deck plays 4 Ornithopter and I like them in the list but it’s obvious that [card]Ornithopter[/card] does tons of things that Spellskite can’t such as enable t1 Glint Hawk, makes your Mox Opals better, and provides more nut draws between [card]Tempered Steel[/card]+[card]Steel Overseer[/card]+[card]Contested War Zone[/card]. [card]Blade Splicer[/card] has actually been decent in my testing with the deck and wouldn’t mind seeing a couple in here. Without a doubt, Tempered Steel is the fastest most consistent aggro deck in the format and a deck you have to be able to beat to expect to go deep in a big Standard tournament in today’s environment.


[deck]3 Evolving Wilds
6 Forest
10 Mountain
3 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
2 Verdant Catacombs
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Birds of Paradise
2 Oracle of Mul Daya
3 Solemn Simulacrum
4 Overgrown Battlement
4 Primeval Titan
1 Harrow
4 Explore
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
3 Pyroclasm
4 Rampant Growth
1 Tumble Magnet
2 Nature’s Claim
2 Creeping Corrosion
2 Ricochet Trap
3 Memoricide
2 Obstinate Baloth
1 Swamp
2 Koth of the Hammer
1 Tumble Magnet[/deck]

Valakut is better now in this format than it has ever been previously. There are plenty of aggro decks for it to prey on now, and even though there is a version of Caw-Blade that exists, it seems to be much more beatable now. The list above is just a mishmash of Mihara’s list from Japanese Nationals and other lists I’ve seen. [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card] has impressed me in my testing, so I wanted to include a couple – though honestly he isn’t that impressive against Tempered Steel or Caw-Blade, so maybe I should scale down to only 2. I like the direction Valakut has gone in because it’s now safe to play [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card] over [card]Summoning Trap[/card]. The maindeck slots are all pretty self-explanatory and the sideboard has 2 [card]Ricochet Trap[/card] for Flashfreezes and 2 Koth of the Hammer so you have some kind of viable plan against UB control. You have [card]Nature’s Claim[/card] against Tempered Steel and [card]Splinter Twin[/card]/[card]Pyromancer Ascension[/card], and the splashed [card]Memoricide[/card]s are there so you have a reasonable plan against the mirror match (as opposed to last year at worlds when everyone was playing Act of Treason and just hoping to draw better). Valakut isn’t a deck I would usually look to play but now it’s much more consistent, the mirror match is less of a joke. I feel like Valakut, though being weak to Tempered Steel and Caw-Blade, is a bigger favorite against the rest of the field than the other two, so there is some reason to want to run it.

These next groups of decks are decks that I personally would not consider running but are still good enough to be played and something you should reasonably expect to face at Nationals.

[deck]4 Shrine of Piercing Vision
4 Deceiver Exarch
4 Splinter Twin
1 Dismember
4 Dispel
4 Into the Roil
2 Mana Leak
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
2 See Beyond
5 Island
4 Mountain
3 Arid Mesa
4 Halimar Depths
3 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Spellskite
2 Combust
1 Dismember
2 Mana Leak
2 Mutagenic Growth
1 Twisted Image
2 Jace Beleren
4 Pyroclasm[/deck]

This is Matt Nass’s Splinter Twin list, and honestly it looks quite strong. The only thing I think he’s missing is an alternate win condition be it [card]Frost Titan[/card], [card]Inferno Titan[/card], or [card]Jace, Memory Adept[/card]. I think between [card]Preordain[/card], [card]Ponder[/card], and [card]Shrine of Piercing Vision[/card], you can very easily sideboard 2 or 3 of a separate win conditions and have it be effective. There will be matchups you face where people just sideboard in 5-7 narrow hate cards just to stop the Splinter Twin combo like [card]Celestial Purge[/card], [card]Act of Aggression[/card], [card]Dismember[/card], [card]Nature’s Claim[/card] – honestly the list goes on and on. So just adding a couple new Jace to the sideboard can win the game all by itself and dodge all their sideboard cards. I saw a list from French Nationals using it and I was pretty impressed by the idea of it. The cost of adding it is just a couple sideboard slots and what it adds to your deck is pretty huge. That said, I haven’t personally playtested it and Matt knows himself a combo deck better than most, so if he says it isn’t needed, then you could just try his list card-for-card.

[deck]4 Shrine of Burning Rage
4 Chandra’s Phoenix
4 Furnace Scamp
4 Goblin Guide
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Searing Blaze
4 Staggershock
4 Arc Trail
4 Flame Slash
8 Mountain
4 Arid Mesa
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Teetering Peaks
4 Manic Vandal
2 Vulshok Refugee
2 Manabarbs
3 Act of Aggression
4 Dismember[/deck]

This is a list taken from the last SCG open and it doesn’t look too horrible. Personally if I was to run Mono-Red, I would play more than 20 lands and I would try to avoid Furnace Scamp, but the rest of this list looks pretty standard for the purposes of playtesting Mono-Red. When M12 was released, just about everyone thought Mono-Red would be the new dominant deck including myself. [card]Grim Lavamancer[/card] and [card]Incinerate[/card] just look so cool and were enough to make the deck competitive in Extended in previous formats. But honestly, Mono-Red has been a huge flop overall. In all the Nationals results, SCG tournaments, and in my own personal playtesting, Mono-Red just hasn’t quite been performing how people expected it to. I don’t think there is any specific reason for this other than the deck was just overhyped and not all that great to begin with. It’s a known entity, and it’s easy to sideboard effective cards against the deck especially since the deck isn’t resilient to a good amount of sideboard hate. Combine that with the fact that it isn’t even an overwhelming favorite against any deck in the format game one, and you have a recipe for disaster.

[deck]4 Bloodghast
4 Gatekeeper of Malakir
4 Kalastria Highborn
4 Pulse Tracker
4 Vampire Lacerator
3 Viscera Seer
4 Dismember
3 Go for the Throat
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Staggershock
7 Swamp
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Lavaclaw Reaches
2 Marsh Flats
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Demon of Death’s Gate
3 Manic Vandal
2 Dark Tutelage
3 Act of Aggression
2 Combust
1 Go for the Throat
2 Arc Trail[/deck]

Lastly we have Vampires, a deck I was really expecting to make a big splash in new Standard but has been a bit of a letdown. It’s entirely possible the list I was using originally wasn’t optimal, but when I tried playing Vampires, it was a bit underwhelming. I like a lot about the deck: it’s fast, aggressive, consistent, and has good reach and synergy. But playing against any deck with Solemn Simulacrum is a real uphill battle and it feels almost hopeless. Vampires is a big favorite against Caw-Blade and you can build a sideboard full of [card]Manic Vandal[/card]s and [card]Demon at Death’s Gate[/card] so you can be at least even against Tempered Steel and Valakut. Additionally, I like Vampires against Mono-Red and Splinter Twin because of the large amounts of spot removal. Also, the mana curve is low – almost every card in Vampires costs 1 or 2 mana and the Twin combo costs four mana and requires some setup.

Just writing this article makes me pretty excited for Nationals with tons of viable decks and I honestly believe you could take any list in this article and have a shot at winning the whole tournament. That’s just how diverse this new format is. I don’t know for certain which deck I’m going to choose, but I will say I like most of my options, which is more than I can say for most of the tournaments I playtest for (it’s usually a choice between bad and worse). But I know 1 thing for certain: it’s going to be fun!

68 thoughts on “Owen’s a Win – The Standard Gauntlet for Nationals”

  1. Brodie McKnight

    One deck that I haven’t seen anyone talking about is the BR Vampires deck with bloodcrank combo in the main, which seems fairly decent. The other is Pod combo… Are these just not decks, or is everyone trying to let them go under the radar…

  2. you know his name is edgar flores. you are trying to troll, lsv called him oscar before. implying you dont need to know the name is somebody who is just successfull on scg tournaments. give this man credit, call him by his real name. to troll like that makes you look insecure.

  3. how do you get paid to write this? Just post a bunch of decklists and give an obvious rundown of each. Nice article.

  4. Thing is, most of those other decks people have mentioned are frankly just not good. Pod, yeah, is a deck I like, and UB has some place, but the Bloodcrank combo? Birthing Pod-Splinter Twin? No.

  5. You mention cards to use against UB control yet you dont have any list for UB control or dont have any opinion about UB control as a deck? Imagine it would fall somewhere in the “do not play but except to face it” list…

  6. Its sad that there isn’t more creativity in the pro MTG community. I am of the opinion that there are likely dozens of potential tier 1 decks out there, but nobody bothers to try and homebrew. They just make small improvements on decks that people already know are good.

    This is why I have so much respect for Conley Woods.

  7. Come on. Unless it is some inside joke with what he is fine with, give the man some credit. Although the scg events are garbagetournies, Edgar Flores still win there with an alarming rate.

  8. Not wanting people to troll you into oblivion but calling him Oscar.
    Oh owen you rascal 😉

  9. I like your run down of the deck’s but there are a few things that bothered me with this article, you mention a deck like BR vamps in your list of tier one decks, but it hasn’t been showing up on many large tournament top 8’s, where UB has shown up in multiple National top 8’s etc, LSV has even been testing a gauntlet for it and realistically he destroyed valakut, and went positive against caw-blade. I’m very disappointed right now since I have much respect for you as a player and was hoping for you to win PotY 2011, but how can you consider UB not a tier1 deck?

  10. this article sucks. surely just a list of links to top 8s would have been just as much content, except without the embarassing misnaming of Edgar Flores (or was it an embarassing troll attempt intead?) and without excluding two other gauntlet worthy decks: UB Control and Birthing Pod.

  11. @Jester – Check the title of the article again. That’s right, it’s a *gauntlet* article! Your comment implies that you either ignored that fact or don’t know what a gauntlet is

    If it’s the former, stop it. Pay attention and think before posting.

    If is the latter, well, a gauntlet is the decks you should expect to see at Nats in significant quantities. These are the decks you want to test against. You may be absolutely right about the dozens of tier 1 decks. However, no one – not even the pros – has time to test against dozens of decks. To make the best use of their time, they gotta pick like 5 or 6 and test against those. Those 5-6 decks are called a “gauntlet,” and that’s what this article was about. Mkay?

    Nice article Owen.

  12. After a fair amount of testing, here is my take on what decks should be considered tier 1 and are the highest on my list of decks I could see myself playing at Nationals:

    maybe you guys should read before asking y you deck wasn’t included.

  13. lol at people going nuts about the Oscar joke. it’s an inside joke that Edgar himself finds amusing. So unless you know any of the involved parties how about you stop white knighting.

  14. Not sure what people were expecting from this article. Owen provided exactly what the title said it would, a gauntlet for Nationals. Seems pretty straightforward. He hit all the bigs ones and offered a little bit of insight on each. Really, this is about what I expected, nothing more, nothing less.

  15. after listening to your troll feed at the scg event, I lost a lot of respect for the cfb crew, you were rude and obnoxious and extremely disrespectful to prettymuch everyone that appeared on camera. You aren’t god’s gift to earth, you’re a card player. I don’t know why you think you’re so clever by calling Edgar Oscar, you know his name. I guess you think you’re special because you feel these events are “below you”. Why don’t you go to them and clean house?

  16. For Tempered Steel, you also have to consider that Spellskite is an anti timely-reinforcements card. You can pay enough life to it’s ability to drop you below your opponent so they don’t gain 6 life. It’s quite worth it.

  17. Yeah, I would agree that your vampires list is a bit suboptimal. While I’m not stating I have an optimal build, I think you should test out Grim Lavamancer in the main board, dropping the pulse trackers. It gives the deck the much needed reach and the pulse tracker is so laughable in power level right now what with timely reinforcements being such a beating. Sure it drops in some synergies, but the power level of the “mancer” allows you to answer trouble creatures and put much needed pressure and adds complexities to the board state. This means adding 2 more fetches to the deck to power the “mancer” up as well. I also dropped the staggershocks for a 1 of doom blade in the main (1 in the board) as well as main deck dark tutelage (something i’m still debating on).

    Beyond the Main deck i think the sideboard could use some work. Duress is a house against most of the 50/50 matches and caw blade. I would recommend 3/4. It hits anything that just outright wrecks the deck, Giddon, DoJ, Black Sun’s zenith, ratchet bomb etc. I’d take out the Demon, it feels really bad to me now w/ lavamancers in the main, never really cared for him at all really.

    I just felt I would give my 2cents on the deck that I’ve been play for a while. And to prove I’m not just talking out of my ass check out the Australian and french nationals lists for vampires. I disagree with the removal of seer over pulse tracker as having the combo in the 60 can flat out win games.

  18. I’m wondering how good Oblivion Ring is in the current meta. The fact that none of the UW lists run it should give an indication…. But I feel that the catch-all answer can still catch a few targets.

  19. channel fireball are all playing pod, since in one article and one video they have not mentioned anything about it, despite it getting results around the world

  20. after listening to your troll feed at the scg event, I lost a lot of respect for the cfb crew, the rest of them weren’t also participating in your stone nut high feed.

    …Man, it’s a lot harder to parody that guy up there than I thought it would be. Hope you’re planning on GTLiving again, because it was awesome and I enjoyed every minute.

  21. @Andrew You can’t pay for it’s ability unless you have a legal target. Timely reinforcements doesn’t target a creature or an artifact so you can’t “redirect it” to Spellkite. The only thing you can redirect to Spellkite are things that affect creatures or artifact and don’t exclude each other. Without having a legal target you can’t activate abilities.

  22. Based on the PTQ i was at saturday, this gauntlet is garbage. There were 71 individuals at the PTQ i attended (a local $3K the week before, a couple major Cons, and Nationals had a lot of people tapped out for cash), and I would say that fully 50 of them were running either UW Cawblade or UW Venser. From what my buddies and I could gather, there was 1 vampires player in the room (and he must have been a newer player as he had mountains in the deck), 3 valakut decks, probably a half dozen or so tempered steel decks, one UB control deck (me), a couple RUG Twinpod decks, at least one mono-red deck, maybe a half dozen or so dedicated twin decks, a GW Infinite Life combo deck, and the rest was Caw and Venser. I ended up playing against UW the FIRST THREE ROUNDS.

    Frankly, its frustrating because it says the bans didn’t do a whole lot, if anything it made caw-blade more accessible. The format really is no more open now than it was a two months ago. You still have to play caw, and thus the caw mirror all day, in order to have a chance to win. This is seriously going to be the most boring summer for magic since i started playing.

  23. Did you really need to put up Flores’ list that got 2nd, when Nick Spagnolo got 1st with an IDENTICAL list, disregarding ONE different sideboard card, so you could make a joke? Disappointed.

  24. “Based on the PTQ i was at saturday, this gauntlet is garbage”

    Maybe your PTQ was garbage? I think the established pros are more likely to get a gauntlet correct than random scrubby scrubs at a PTQ.

  25. @Matthew: You’re right in that a lot of people are still playing Caw, but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I’ve run several decks against a couple of new Caw lists and I gotta say that I’m unimpressed. In fact, since the ressurgence of Caw, I’ve yet to lose a single game to it much less a whole match. I’ve been running a rogue version of Venser and I gotta say that the only decks that have given me trouble have been G/B Pod and Valakut. The format seems completely wide open to me. It seems like there’s a different deck winning every week. At this point the best players are winning for the most part and a lot of those players run some form of U/W because no matter what cards are in the format, they have natural synergies that other colors don’t have.

  26. Here’s a good gauntlet –

    Tempered Steel
    Metalcraft Koth
    Grand Architect

  27. @rezwits: The list of decks you made is too big to be a an effective gauntlet. It would take too much time to test against all of them. That’s why Owen choose an aggro, a control and a combo deck, to represent all threats that the decks has to face without being impractical.

  28. He doesn’t have a UB list because it’s not a deck worth playing.

    You just straight up lose to all the aggro decks game one, unless you MD hard for them, in which case valakut destroys you game 1.

    Then, post board, pretty much all the aggressive strategies have some kind of wrath protection, so the cards you bring in are a lot worse. Nighthawk is probably the best thing you have going for you, because solemn just doesn’t do enough against stuff like monored and tempered steel..

    it’s just a clunky, awkward deck that there is no reason to play when cawblade and valakut both play like a dream and give you a ton of great plays and options.

    Playing UB in this format feels like you’re playing with both hands tied behind your back.

  29. Why are there so many retards complaining about the banned list “not doing anything”. Do you even know what the list is for? It’s for cards that are problems for certain formats. Just because a deck wins doesn’t mean it’s a problem. Just because a deck is dominant doesn’t mean it’s a problem. Learn how to fuckin play if you can’t beat it. Play the deck and get better at the mirror match and you will no longer have a problem.

  30. @shadmed: You are incorrect. Spellskite’s ability targets any spell. It doesn’t matter whether the spell can target it; you can still activate Spellskite’s ability. (It doesn’t DO anything, of course.) Spellskite’s ability can even target a creature spell.

  31. @Random Scrub: I believe shadmed is correct here. Spellskite cannot target something that cannot legally target it. And it must change the target to itself. There is no way to just use part of the ability. I think this would be similar to how you cannot cast a spell that targets something, such as Naturalize does, without a legal target. Magic doesn’t even let you cast Naturalize without a legal target and in the same way doesn’t let you pay the cost for Spellskite’s ability without a way to use the whole ability.

  32. 100% you can redirect anything on the stack to spellskite, regardless of whether it targets. asked a level 3 at a scg open because someone mindslavered had a spellskite and was wondering if you couild redirect the a preordain to kill him

  33. Spellskites ability can target any spell or ability, even one that can’t target Spellskite. It can even target a spell with no targets, like a creature or Planeswalker.

  34. Spellskite even targets out of game targets spells and abilities. Wanna help a buddy, run Spellskite.

  35. Spellskite Rulez!

    Spellskite is so awesome that there was guy who was going to give a homeless person $100, so I used it’s ability, punched myself in the face(didn’t have the blue mana), and redirected it to the Spellskite. Since I owned the Spellskite, I got the $100.

  36. if you build your vampires list correctly it beats tempered steel, try with arc trails and grim lavamancers main like the list from australian nationals, guy in the top 8 4-0d tempered steel in matches

  37. For the record, here’s the text of Spellskite’s ability:

    ‘Change a target of target spell or ability to Spellskite’.

    What’s the target of this ability? ‘Target spell or ability’. It doesn’t say ‘target spell with exactly 1 target’ or anything along those lines; it’s perfectly legal to for this ability target a spell or ability with 0 targets, or targets that can’t legally be changed. It won’t do anything when it resolves, but that doesn’t prevent you from activating the ability, as long as there’s a spell or ability on the stack for it to target.

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  39. having played mono red to great success at FNM, I am convinced that it is good, but not the best in the format. for that reason, nobody playing it at a big event is good enough to make a top 8 while fighting through a room of people packing 6-7 sideboard slots against mono red because of how hyped it was.

  40. Hey Owen while I know you can’t play every deck I am sure you at least have a game plan against them. Some rough idea of how to beat them. Maybe next time you can include a few decks that are maybe close to tier 1 with your thoughts on how to beat them. I know that might make some of the whining go away and show people you are smart enough to know the deck you named are not the only ones being played. Even pros can bring a bad deck sometimes. But good article gl at nats

  41. @eric That would explain 4 UB lists making top 8 at Chinese Nationals and another 2 in Japan. I’m not arguing it’s the best deck, but it’s certainly something to be aware when you’re testing.

  42. He’s running down the expected Tier 1 lists, not the Tier 2 stuff like Birthing Pod or UB Control that will likely see a lot of play, but probably won’t win.

  43. RDW should be playing 8 fetches at least and also some number of tumble magnet in order to compete. The fetches + mancer is too good and tumble magnet is at LEAST 3 times colorless removal for 3 colorless. How can you not want that?

  44. You say you won’t really consider playing twin, but why have you been playing it nonstop for the past week in every standard daily and PE you could of? I agree Oscar is better then you.

  45. Wow you guys come on. “Target” is a very reserved word in magic. A spell must have a target for spellskite to redirect it. You can’t spellskite a creature or a preordain. That lvl 3 judge should not be a judge…

  46. Niles: Maybe an analogy is in order. If a spell says ‘Target creature loses flying until end of turn’, does a creature have to _have_ flying in order to be a legal target for the spell? Spellskite’s ability reads ‘blah blah blah target spell or ability. What comes in the blah blah blahs is absolutely irrelevant to what Spellskite’s ability can target.

  47. @Niles – Actually, you CAN target any spell with Spellskites Activated Ability. It just doesn’t DO anything if there is no target that could be changed to Spellskite.

  48. back @ cyanide —

    If you actually play the matchups and test, you would know that UB isn’t actually a real deck. I don’t care if it makes all of spain’s top 16 or whatever.

    Obviously control decks will always do disproportionately well in an environment like nationals, because those pilots are probably experienced with the deck and know their metagame well.

    The point is, that if you are entering a big event in which you expect a wide field of decks, UB just doesn’t have the tools to compete. You just can’t make the same list beat valakut, monored, tempered steel, ect.

    If you metagame perfectly and have all the right answers at all the right times, yeah – UB is awesome. But against the field, it just doesn’t actually do enough.

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  50. The reason your mono red deck is bad is because your sideboard doesn’t anticipate hate. Usually the function of a sideboard is to bring the hate, but the neat thing about mono red is that your sideboard is made to fight the hate you know is coming. Perilous myr, tumble magnet, molten tail, cards in this vain are your best choices. There is not much discussion to this, but I assure you most of the “conventional” wisdom surrounding mono red is wrong.

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