Chasing Victory – Opening the Vaults


Last week I took you through some of my homebrews, but I put all those aside for now. Open the Vaults was something I always wanted to try. AJ Sacher and I even brewed up a list for a 5K, but he didn’t get to play it, so we never got to find out exactly how good it was. Well, I finally broke down and bought garbage like Filigree Angel on Magic Online.

I can’t see myself playing any other deck in Standard right now.

Here’s the list:

The concept is simple. Fill the graveyard by using cyclers and Sphinx of Lost Truths, and then cast Open the Vaults for a ton of value. You might not win the game immediately, but resolving an OTV typically has a drastic effect on the game.

Some people would rather go big with cards like Sphinx of the Steel Wind, but that’s entirely unnecessary. Filigree Angel gains you life immediately, and while Sphinx is more powerful, you run the risk of them being able to untap and burn you out before you safely pad your life total. Even if they are able to kill your threats with Day of Judgment or something similar, the life you gain should give you enough time to find another Open the Vaults.

Sphinx just doesn’t belong unless you want to be specifically hateful toward Jund. Still, I would run Sphinx in addition to Filigree Angel, not instead of. The only reason I cut an Angel is because I often would have them in my hand with no way to discard them. Perhaps boarding in more fatties against decks with Blightning is the way to go, until they figure out they should probably be boarding out Blightning at that point.

You might be thinking, “Islands and no Jace? Pff, this guy is an idiot.” While you may be correct about my lack of brain cells, Jace does not belong in this deck. I know everyone currently has a man crush on Jace, but if the only cure for what ails you is casting Jace, perhaps you should go play Extended. Standard is currently not very Jace friendly. Especially in this deck, you have no way to defend Jace properly.

The split on Journey and Oblivion Ring is because of Maelstrom Pulse and curve issues. Pulse also influenced which Borderposts I ran, otherwise I would just play all UW Posts. The manabase is interesting. You should notice that I have exactly zero lands that get Ruinblastered! It wasn’t always like this, but when you’re trying to build a deck that relies on casting its six mana namesake, you’ll do almost anything to not get Stone Rained.

Between the eight fetches and four Borderposts, the mana is pretty solid. You only really need WW early, UU can come later, and you can always Spreading Seas your own land if you really need to cast Sphinx. Black is basically a non issue until sideboarding and the matchups you side in the Black stuff go long anyway.

There are some nice lands like Kabira Crossroads, some traps like Halimar Depths, and some hidden gold like Magosi, the Waterveil. I think that right now, it’s just better to not get Ruinblastered. Magosi is a sweet card for the UW pseudo mirrors. Imagine this situation: You cast Open the Vaults, gain some life, and draw some cards. They cast Day of Judgment. Repeat. While there are some cards that get around this (Sanguine Bond, which I’ll talk about later), Magosi does it while not being a dead draw.

Picture this instead: You are both doing nothing. They know their pitiful threats are not long for this world. They also know that you have very few must counter cards in your deck. You activate Magosi, they spend another turn doing nothing. You cast Open the Vaults, take your stored Time Walk turn, and kill them. Alternatively, you cast OTV, Time Walk, and then OTV again if they only had one counterspell, or enough mana to cast one.

There are a couple problems with this plan. Mainly, Spreading Seas and Tectonic Edge.

Everflowing Chalice is an interesting card. It’s not a mana fixer by any means, and it might seem like you need one, but that’s not entirely true. I run one full extra mana source than the version that made top eight of Pro Tour San Diego, and I run no risk of ever getting Ruinblasted into oblivion. There are also 12 cyclers that can be played early, so your colors shouldn’t really be an issue.

However, we do kind of want to play our Sphinxes and Open the Vaults a turn earlier than normal. Sometimes that can mean the difference between winning and losing vs. Boros or RDW. Be careful with your Borderposts. While they might just seem like an artifact Coastal Tower, you can also just hard cast them on turn three if you need the acceleration. If I’m playing against a control deck, I will often wait until I can multikick Chalice. Hardcasting your Filigree Angels is often the correct play against slower decks, but I’ll get into that in a minute.

So why not play multiple Chalices? Well, like I said, the Borderposts can function as pseudo Chalices, and there’s always the Maelstrom Pulse issue. Having cards with different names is really beneficial right now. Also, you never really want to draw two. One Signet is pretty helpful, whereas two is probably unnecessary. At that point, I usually discard them to Sphinx or use them to make Hulk or Filigree Angel a little better.

With the Borderposts, Knight of the White Orchid may actually be better than Everflowing Chalice. I’ll be sure to test that in the coming days though. For now, I’ve been satisfied with Chalice. Knight can sometimes not do what you need it to do and it’s also somewhat difficult on the mana early game. Still, having an extra guy to block with seems great, and it’s another minor threat to harass your opponent’s planeswalkers.

As I said last week, Spreading Seas is best used as a value card. Early game against a lot of decks, you use it to slow them down for a turn, hopefully missing a land drop. Other than that, you can pick off the slightly annoying manlands, or discard it to Sphinx and draw an extra card from Open the Vaults. Be careful when you play against UW though. Sometimes you may want to pick up a Spreaded Plains or Swamp of yours with a Borderpost, but OTV works for both players. Eventually, they will end up drawing an extra card.

The Sanguine Bond was a joke card in the original version of the deck, but it’s actually very difficult to beat UW control without it. For each OTV you have, they have a Day of Judgment or Martial Coup in their deck. If they play carefully, they could just deck you. My kingdom for a Mistveil Plains!

With the Bond lurking in your 75, it’s very easy to bait their counterspells and Wraths by just casting Hulks and Angels. In the control matchups, it’s usually correct to pressure them with Hulk rather cycle for a random card. After all, what are you looking for? Your deck is cyclers and OTVs! You have to bait out their spells somehow.

Thankfully, the premier UW deck is the one designed by Czech studs Big Z (Matej Zatlkaj) and PT Hawaii T8er Michal Hebky. While I definitely feel like the Czech UW deck is hands down the best version in Standard, they don’t play any counterspells! Open the Vaults is pretty much game over if you find your Sanguine Bond.

The other versions, like Chapin’s, have things like Cancel and Negate, but as I said earlier, you can bait those out with your mediocre threats that they actually have to deal with. Post board, things get much easier.

Initially I had some Sen Triplets in the sideboard for the control matchups, but I quickly discarded those. While dreams of untapping and casting their Mind Spring were appealing, they were just dreams. Turning Open the Vaults into a stone kold killer is much more important, as is cheap disruption to force it through.

I also started with Celestial Purge and Flashfreeze as my Jund hate that would double as RDW hate. As I played the Jund matchup more and more, I realized that I still wanted some sort of blocker against them, and Kor Firewalker could be a virtual Celestial Purge while maybe gaining you some life in the process. However, the new RDW lists were all siding in Doom Blade against me, regardless if they saw Firewalkers or not. ManuS suggested that I play Wall of Denial instead, and I typically know a good idea when I hear one.


Boogeyman, etc. The thing is, I actively LIKE my Jund matchup. It’s not like I want to play against Jund every round, since eventually someone will beat me, but it’s not really something I dread either. Open the Vaults has such a powerful effect on the game. It’s exactly what control decks need to even up the value gained from cascade, Sprouting Thrinax, and Blightning.

Speaking of Blightning, sometimes it helps me out by giving me a discard outlet for my big artifacts, but unless your OTV opponent has some really scary stuff like Steel Wind, you should be keeping in your Blightnings. Some of you might ask why I would even bring up siding out Blightning as if it were some sort of sacred cow, but it really isn’t. There were some Esper control decks a while ago that backpacked off of their opponents’ Blightnings to discard Iona and Rise from the Grave it. Open the Vaults is somewhat of a similar concept, but the things OTV can reanimate aren’t nearly as scary as Iona.

So far, I’ve beaten Jund opponents with stock sideboard cards like Sable Stag, Mind Rot, and (lol) Goblin Ruinblaster. However, some of the grinders are packing not only Duress (which is fairly stock, I’ll admit), but also Vithian Renegades. I realize that those cards are splash damage from the “real” UW control decks in the format, but c’mon guys. Please don’t cast those cards against me.

Obviously you put in the Flashfreezes. The Jund builds differ so much that it’s hard to say what else you need. If they have a lot of Siege-Gangs, you really want to keep in Day of Judgment. Broodmate Dragon is similar, but not nearly as threatening since it’s a full turn slower, doesn’t function as spot removal, and can’t burn you out.

If they have Putrid Leech, you probably want Wall of Denial. However, Journey and Oblivion Ring are decent against Leech while also being a little better vs. SGC. I almost always shave a Journey and O-Ring, and cut the Chalices. You don’t need to accelerate vs. Jund and the games go long. Eventually, you will get to six mana.

I would still almost always cut one DoJ, and obviously the Bond comes out.


I talked about this earlier, but this matchup is either a bye or terrible, depending on their build. If they have counterspells, you have to bait them out if at all possible. It’s also helpful to keep Jace off the table if at all possible. While it may seem nice to use our Oblivion Ring on their Chalice when they are mana screwed, we need to be patient and use our Ring for a more important purpose.

If they aren’t playing counterspells, have fun. You have free reign to do whatever sick, demented things to your opponent that you could ever want. If they do have some Cancels and whatnot, that’s ok too, as long as you realize exactly how you’re going to win the game. Cycling all of your dudes and hoping one of your four Open the Vaults resolves is a tall order. Instead, try to go with the anemic beatdown route.

Duress, Sculler, and the extra Bond come in. If they have Sphinx of Jwar Isle or a bunch of Martial Coups, you probably want to keep in some Day of Judgments. Journey to Nowhere is pretty loose unless they have Baneslayers, and even then I’d still probably rather have DoJs. Spreading Seas aren’t great, but I do like keeping in a couple if I have room to mess up their manlands.


Ranger of Eos is by far their best card against you. You can beat all of the other cards in their deck easily except for Ranger. Bushwacker is the real problem card, but Ranger needs to provide an army for them first. Boarding in some amount of Flashfreezes is a necessity, just to stop their Bushwacker turn post DoJ. Use spot removal on the early turns and clear the board if you have to. Hell, throw out some chump blocking robots if you have to get to six mana for DoJ + Flashfreeze if you have to.

Sometimes though, you just have to Wrath and hope they don’t have the Ranger. They always do, but we can dream right?

I would bring in at least two Flashfreezes, probably three, and a couple Wall of Denials for Spreading Seas and Sanguine Bond.


This matchup is tricky. Sometimes you don’t draw the right answers and they do what their deck is designed to do: run you over. Wall of Denial is a huge beating postboard; they basically can’t beat it, considering that most of their guys die at end of turn.

I bring in the whole sideboard minus the Bond and take out Journeys, Oblivion Rings (watch out for Manabarbs!), DoJs, Bond, and the Spreading Seas. That leaves you with one more slot to fill your sideboard with. I’m fine with leaving a Sculler on the bench since drawing multiples could lead to disaster if they peel an Earthquake. You could also just take out a Courier’s Capsule on the draw, but post board you have a lot of stuff to slow them down, and having extra cards to pad your hand from Blightning is nice.


Great matchup. They do almost nothing to threaten you. Manabarbs and Dauntless Escort are their scary sideboard cards, and Qasali Pridemage to a lesser extent. DoJ is excellent here, and Flashfreeze is good against a lot of their best cards. Wall of Denial might seem good, but you will eventually have to Wrath it away. They can also just pound through it with Scute Mob, Knight of the Reliquary, or Behemoth Sledge.

I would bring in all the Flashfreezes for the Bond, a Journey, and two Spreading Seas. The numbers might look a little weird, but I want to Spread some manlands. The Bond is unnecessary, and Journey is alright, but you have plenty of removal already, and Flashfreezes to fill a similar roll.


Is this a deck? If it is, it probably beats me with Mind Sludge straight up.

All in all, I like my chances against everything. It is Standard though and while the matchups might seem favorable, they are still close. One misstep and you could be signing that match slip.

If I think the deck is that good, why would I write about it? Well, first of all I don’t hold back. If you guys want information from me I’ll give it to you. Second, especially with a deck like this, there is little to be gained from me writing about it. Sure, you guys could start packing Jund Charms and Relic of Progenituses, but that would be pointless as OTV isn’t very popular right now. Regardless, I welcome the day I can side in Baneslayer Angel to laugh at all your stupid Jund Charms.

Whether you’re the nicest guy on the Pro Tour (hi Big Z!), or even just a big jerk like Michal Hebky, you should probably play my deck. At least once. Preferably at GP Brussels this weekend.

Good luck!


55 thoughts on “Chasing Victory – Opening the Vaults”

  1. Thank you, finally someone else thinks this deck is for real. I have been crushing with the deck around here with my only losses being back to back against RDW and once against jund. I like your sideboard a lot and I will definitely be moving towards it as my sideboard is relatively ineffective. Not gonna lie I am kinda surprised that I found a pro running this deck. Thanks.

  2. Great Article GerryT. I’ve been trying OtV for awhile now and I originally thought the PT Top 8 list was the list to build, but I like your “no Ruinblaster targets” plan as well as a better defined SB. I agree that on paper the matchups look like a blowout, but I know from personal experience that they can go either way. You either completely roll your opponent or get completely rolled. Either way, glad to see people are still innovating with Open the Vaults.

  3. nice article gerry, 1 question though. Why the lack of mind controls in the sb? Great card against bant which is gaining a ton of popularity and also helps out a lot in the vamps matchup and the even more random eldrazi green matchs. Still not sold on the borderposts though..my build upped the land count by 2 and i run 3 chalices. Seemed like game 1 the only way to beat mono red is race otv and chalice > borderposts for that. How many games has borderposts after maelstrom pulse left u mana screwed?

  4. I go full on mean against Jund and run the Steel Wind’s in the main. I’ve never run the Sanguine Bond/angel combo, but my win percentage Vs. Jund is amazing. The only time I really have trouble post OTV is if they have white based removal and can RFG my Sphinx. Otherwise the Esper-kroma stomps mud holes all over all sorts of ass.

    I had a game at my last FNM where a Naya player I was playing ended up with a 21/21 Scute Mob that couldn’t do anything due to a Sphinx sitting squarely in its way with all of its vigilency pro green goodness.

  5. I remember brewing up this deck a while back because of how awesome Open the Vaults is, but I couldn’t really get it to be good ever. I was using Soul Manipulation back then; do you think that card could be a pseudo-Cryptic Command? That was basically my dream back in the day, cycling dudes, Soul Manipulation for crazy value, Sphinx, and then Open the Vaults. Although I did not play Filigree Angel at the time, that’s a great idea and helps you not get burned out. I like it. This deck seems awesome.

  6. Thanks for the list, its nice to see a uw deck that has a different strategy than killing the opponent through baneslayers and jaces

  7. Thank you for suggesting people play this deck. I love it when writers make tournaments easier.

  8. Is a Grim Discovery//Tectonic Edge package worth it? I tried this deck for a few weeks after the Pro Tour and I won countless games with the little engine that could.

  9. Tectonic Edge isn’t good, because you want to cast 6 mana sorcery spells and not lose your lands by activating tectonic edge.

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  11. I’ve seen this deck a lot online and am packing relic in basically every sideboard the last couple of weeks to help against OtV (and the unearth deck that seems to be running around)… This deck is really strong and can pull a win from the edge of death.

    Great article.

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  13. Been playing it all night and I won 2 out of 7 games. Honestly, I’m not the best player (tons of missed clicks tonight), but in every match up that I played I felt like I was missing something with this build. Either it was the necessary counter spells verses control or an early game for aggro. I was playing a lot of common decks but with subtle changes, like: 1 Jund with stingers, 1 Naya, 1 boros (which splashed for naya cards), 1 r/g deck that never got off in either game (didn’t really know what it did), 1 vamps (with sadistic’s), 2 u/w decks with vastly different builds. I beat the r/g deck and one of the u/w decks (a strange aggro version). Long story short, I feel like when this deck does what it’s supposed to do, it’s amazing, otherwise extremely under whelming. With all that off my chest, I think with some more work it will be an amazing deck. I didn’t know what I was going to play for the longest time and I really lost interest in Standard, but this deck has brought me around again.

  14. hehe nice article Gerry and nice referral there.
    actually the idea is from an article of BKibler and turned out to be pretty awesoem in testing. 🙂

  15. your deck is wack……..honestly dont listen to his list the way mgto shuffle is u have to imagine if u dont hit a sphinx with some land with a vault and a d of j, and some artifacts u lose…..come on u know mtgo shuffle. this deck is wack and this guy posting this article is proabley play some jund or othert archtypes. this advice coming from a guy thats been play magic since beta…goodluck all.

  16. I was thinking about playing this deck at Nationals Qualifiers and if the testing proves its quality, I am determined to play it.
    Just one detail: Matěj Zatlkaj is Slovak, not Czech (unfortunately).

  17. Why isn’t Time Sieve on this list? Seems like it’d be a nice fit, although I don’t know what it would replace.

  18. Bunderkind: This is not a turbofog which draws 4 cards per turn with Howling mine/Font of mythos. You cannot rely on drawing more than 1 OtV and hardcasting 5 artifacts just to get an extra turn would be VERY slow.

    GerryT: But an imho really interesting card is Ethersworn Canonist, at least for SB against Jund or Boros. At it’s worst it lures Bolt or Pulse, at it’s best it slows down landfall beatdown by several turns and disables cascading. Have you tried it?

  19. I’ve been trying a list like this, but with a twist of an aggro early game to keep people off their feet and hurt control. I don’t have the list on me, but it’s something like:

    4x Esper Stormblade
    4x Tidehollow Strix (no, really)
    4x Glassdust Hulk
    4x Open the Vaults
    4x Scourglass
    2x Filigree Angel
    1x Esper Adjudicator
    1x Sphinx of the Steel Wind
    2x Sphinx of Lost Truths
    2x Soul Manipulation
    2x Negate
    4x Architects of Will
    1x Sharuum the Hegemon
    1x Thopter Foundry

    4x Mistvein Borderpost
    4x Fieldmist Borderpost
    4x Marsh Flats
    6x Island
    4x Plains
    2x Swamp

    The nice thing about this list is that the various cheap creatures and Thopter Foundry can do a passable job of either putting pressure on slower opponents or holding off faster ones while you set up backbreaking Scourglass and Open the Vaults, along big beaters like Sharuum, Ethersworn Adjudicator, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, and Filigree Angel.

    As I said, this list I posted here is probably a little off since it’s from memory, but it seems to do a pretty consistently good job. If anything needs to change, it’s probably some diversification of the borderposts to avoid Maelstrom Pulse, and maybe a Chalice or two.

  20. dowjonzechemical

    You are funny. This is the tone of voice that fits you best, as opposed to the moron of the week drek.

    My opinion, based on my own lack of brain cells.

  21. i’m just not understanding the Borderposts.

    Gerry, you made some pretty extreme cuts to the mana base in order to avoid getting Stone Rained by Tectonic Edge or Goblin Ruinblaster but you just make yourself extra vulnerable to the same problem with Borderposts. Honestly, don’t you think you’re just as if not more likely to have a post smashed by Maelstrom Pulse, Qasali Pridemage, or Oblivion Ring?

    just seems bad.

    i’d much rather yank the posts in favor of 2 more basics and 2 more chalices.

  22. I play Cruel Control currently and it wrecks OTV. I’ve played against Vaults combos alot more in the last week or so and only lost maybe a game or two preboard.

    There’s enough spot removal to keep you from hard casting and plenty of counters to save for your OTV. Post board I run 2 Relics to fulfill the anti-jank role and if you’re running a more counter heavy Vaults deck the Dispells come in. Also Broodwitch can put the breaks on anything but Hulk. How do you get around those besides having to alway have a DoJ? Is there a transformative board that can fit for this deck? Once your opponent knows you can’t win without vault and holds counters for it what do you do?

  23. Xavier Rodriguez

    It seems like this deck philosophy is building mana stability at the cost of removal and threats, though I do like the disruption oriented sideboard – tidehollow sculler is pretty cute.

    Sanguine Bond has always been an awful trick, it’s just so likely to be countered or o-ringed that I don’t believe in it. The only must-deal-with it threat from UW was Iona and my deck had answers to it.

    My decklist and tourney results here: http://power9pro.com/blog/2010/03/opening-vaults-superstars-5k-top-16/

  24. Decent article, the deck is pretty strong i do feel that there should probably be a mind control somewhere in the deck or sideboard somewhere. People are starting to play more vampires and against the new uw deck with a bunch of x spells you can usually catch them when they play iona and lock them out of the game. I also tend to leave all of my spreading seas in against naya because there mana is kind of awkward and there is basically no way i see myself losing agianst them unless they get me with a ravine.

  25. I have been playing this at FNM. I started working on it after States where I did well with Jacerator but saw the writing on the wall. I completely agree that the deck loses on the mana base with the PT version. I still have Glacial Fortress, but I took out the gain life lands and the colonnades in favor of basics. I’m running Chalice instead of Borderpost because Chalice brings a DoJ out on turn 3, whereas Borderposts cannot do that. Just thought I’d throw that in as another argument.

    My meta has a healthy amount of vampires and Chapin control at the moment, so here’s my board for reference:

    4 Negate
    3 Flashfreeze
    2 Pithing Needle
    2 Luminarch Ascension
    1 Hindering Light
    1 Oblivion Ring
    1 Journey to Nowhere
    1 Day of Judgment

    The only black card I use is a Sharum in the main. I like your Sculler and Duress package, but personally I don’t play that as well. Therefore, my board is strictly UW and I run one swamp in the main with three fetches. A few thoughts:

    – Luminarch is great against Chapin. They have to O-ring it. That lets you sneak something through turn 4. If they don’t have O-ring, it’s big pressure. Multiples are okay, because they can’t sweep them or sneak damage through. I might commit to this fully over Pithing on Jace.

    – Hindering Light is really good as a supplement against decks with Mind Sludge or decks that do things like Burn and Pulse where you almost always get to use it as damage prevention and card drawing. Against Vampires, if I have cycled some dudes, I don’t necessarily SoLT if they are going to Sludge me, so I’ll just hold the counter, then OtV. I know you guys don’t play against much Vamps, but I get to do it all the darn time.

    – Negate is in for Chapin too, but the Luminarch pro-active approach might be sufficient there, so I might go back to a Hindering, throw Bond in the SB and use the other two blanks for some anti-RDW – Purge or WoD.

    I run 4x Filigree. It completely swings games. I’ve thought about 3, haven’t gone there yet. I don’t disagree with your point, though.

    Aside from Chapin control, I’ve never lost a game for anything other than land problems. Honestly. Since you don’t kick SoLT, you don’t need a lot of fixers to hit WW or UU given all the cyclers. So definitely a simple land base is the right move.

  26. ive been trying to use this idea to build a felidar win… bond would be an intersting change of direction. For the felidar i have to hedron crab myself to make sure i can gain the full 39 life if necessary but then I cant DoJ safely. I think bond is harder to cast but superior is every way

    PS everybody who talks trash about Jerry or this list is only advertising that they don’t understand Magic 😛

  27. Nice article. We can always count on you giving us something to play that’s a little more original and is still competitive.

  28. Have you tried master transmuter? I would try him out is sb. He curbs well with your deck, and when he hits the table he pulls up his pants with a baneslayeresk confidense saying “do you have an answer?”. No? Well every turn he survives things get worse for you by either blanking any removal or gaining you as much life as you want. Keeps BSA from swinging in some scenarios as well. Just a thought, may not have a place, but you should at least try him. You may realize he is the right bait for counters or may end causing your opponents to tap out, which leads to turn 5 or 6. I hear those are pretty good turns for you.

  29. Xavier Rodriguez

    The issue with cards like ponder is that you’re already running 18-22 cards that dig down in your deck, and they have the synergy of coming back into play after that open the vaults. I would rather get the added value of a cip spreading seas or a courier’s capsule off my vaults vs. a dead ponder. I’ve actively discarded o-ring or jtn’s off my Sphinx just to o-ring them back as well. With any addition this deck, you have to take into consideration it’s natural synergy and whether your choice takes away or adds to it.

  30. its a good deck
    what are your thoughts on running hedron crab to fill the graveyard and ponder to help find open the vaults

  31. I put this together a early this morning and have played about 12 games with it already. The only loses I had was to a WW deck that just kept up the pressure with drop after drop and me with no DoJ, second round i brought in the Scullers and Walls and I managed to hit a filigree angel before he killed me and came back. The 3rd round i had to mul down to 5 and lost the same way i did the first round. The other lose i had was to Boss Naya where I just got totally land screwed 2 games in a row with only 2 lands by turn 5 each game.

    I’ve played Chapin U/W using the hulks and architects as counter bait. post board games were a little easier with the scullers and duress destroying their hand, I usually won with the 2-3 creatures that got through their counters. I suggest grabbing their DoJs with duress and sculler, let them counter your creatures.

    The games i played against Jund were a lot better then I thought they were going to be. I didn’t lose 1, they won a game here or there but as long as i could stall with spreading seas and DoJ/Wall I usually came out with the win. Once you lay down a Filigree angel and are out of the range where they can just LB or BBE into something ridiculous you pretty much have the game locked up. If i have an open the vaults and angel in my hand ill usually cast the angel first to gain some like from the borderposts and what not. They usually use w/e removal they have left in hand on it and then next turn i use OtV and its that’s just about game.

    G/W/b Junk was very vulnerable to DoJ, just watch out for their Pulses. Gerry took care of this already by using cards with different names.

    The one other game I played against Naya went a lot like the match against Junk. Try to save an O-Ring for their Behemoth Sledge. I would keep in the Journey to Nowhere just incase they bring in their Collar/Sparkmage combo. Once you OtV you don’t want to have to DoJ to get rid of a lone sparkmage that’s picking apart your board (like i did). Naya isn’t the fastest deck around and if you can keep their board clear early you win.

    I only played against RDW once unfortunately, I really wanted to test against this deck more now that everyone and their mother are playing this again. The one i did face had the black splash. Game one he beat me down before I could do much of anything. Game 2 I dropped a turn 2 firewalker and he didn’t get a deathmark for about 5-6 turns, by that time I had a board full of artifact creatures and he just stalled. Game 3 he gets me down to 8 life and i get a firewalker out he deathmarks it, he gets me to 5 life
    I get a wall down, his hands just about gone and he only has the mana to unearth 1 creature at a time. He LBs me to 2 life, next turn i topdeck an angel and he concedes after i gain 12 life.

    I changed the sideboard slightly to add 2 firewalkers just for this match. I tgook out a sculler and a wall for it. Even the RDW that splashes black has a problem getting rid of it. I myself played the deck last Friday and lost to Firewalkers all night even with 4 deathmark and 4 doomblade, I knew it was still going to be a problem and added the extra 2 doomblades. Firewalker stalls the whole deck until they draw an answer.

    Great deck if you wanna try something a little different that has a good matchup against Jund. i don’t know if Sanguine bond is really necessary but it sure is fun to kill people with. Thanks a lost for the break down Gerry. Your sideboarding notes help a lot.

  32. Was just testing out the deck in the practice room for a little while.

    Played 8 matches
    2 – 0 against jund
    1 – 1 against u/w control
    0 – 1 esper control? kind of a rogue deck, had identity crisis in his board with 4 main deck duress
    2 – 0 against rdw splash black for blightning
    1 – 0 against rdw

    Overall thoughts it is pretty good. The games that I lose are when I just keep drawing lands and cannot find the open the vaults in time or I just draw too many open the vaults with no valuable artifacts. I have loved wall of denial and tidehollow sculler… those two cards have been so solid against rdw and control decks respectively. I will continue to test this, i love the jund matchup… basically a bye especially post board.

    Thanks for the deck gerry, real fun to play and very cheap to construct.

  33. Was testing this deck out tonight. I had fun playing it, but some of the cards make me cringe. Spreading Seas, Capsule, Journey to Nowhere, and the 4th DoJ should be dropped. While the Seas are great at what they do, it’s not enough to really make up for wasting a turn. The same applies to Capsule and Journey is just a bad O-Ring, despite the existence of Pulse. I guess by this logic people should drop that 4th leech, 4th Firewalker, 4th Bloodbraid, 4th Lynx, and so on. There is better card draw and the 4th DoJ just belongs in the board. Also Sphinx of the Steel Wind: where in the hell is this beast?

    I’m not a bad ass mtg player, but these are just what I’ve concluded after playing this deck.

    Ps. grixis owns this in the direct butthole.

  34. Spreading Seas is not a waste of a turn considering that you don’t have much else to play during those turns. Also most of the top decks in standard right now run 3 colors and/or manlands which helps you stall during the early game. Capsule is much better then any of the other card drawing spells when considering the synergy with other cards in the deck. As for running 4 O-rings, when they get pulsed its not like losing a couple of creatures from it. Your opponent is getting back the cards you removed and counteracting the removal you played already, It can drastically swing the board in their favor. I don’t think I’ve had one match yet where I’ve needed to O-ring a creature. You have DoJ and journey to do that and can save the O-rings for their non-creature threats. You want the 4 DoJ so you can consistently get one in your opening hand. If you can’t stall you don’t win. As for the Sphinx, you can probably fit it in somewhere but I’ve played about 6 or 7 Jund match ups and haven’t lost once to it yet. I don’t think he’s necessary.
    BTW the mirror match can get out of hand very fast, if you start seeing a lot of this deck now that Channel Fireball and Gerry have promoted it be prepared for some extremely long games online or a lot of draws at FNM.

  35. mick: Bant is actually declining in popularity, hence me not even mentioning it in my article. Mythic is a deck that I’ve kind of had problems with, but mostly because of Finest Hour, not their random creatures. I’m also not worried about Vamps or Eldrazi Green. If you don’t like the Borderposts, feel free to cut them, but replacing them with Chalice doesn’t really solve anything either.

    drew: It’s fine g1 if you know what you’re doing. Iona is a blowout though and I’m working on changing some cards to fix that.

    Kevin: Soul Manipulation doesn’t really solve any problems and it drags you into a straight 3c deck.

    Jerry Player: See you in DC?

    Kyle: I don’t really like sacrificing my lands.

    los: Yeah man I hear ya. MTGO shuffler is hella broken.

    XX_Humanoid: Big Z is lucky I don’t just call him a Frenchie. 🙂 Canonist would be pretty bad against Boros and just trading with BBE isn’t going to do enough against Jund.

    dow: Agree to disagree? 🙂

    dbg: Cutting Posts straight up for Chalices is pretty bad, and opens you up to the same type of problem, so what’s the point? I cast Borderposts about the same amount of time as I use them as my land drop anyway. The cuts to the mana base hardly seems extreme. I’m basically a 2c deck and there’s a ton of fixing.

    chaos_noise: Well, if anyone were playing your Dispel/Relic Grixis deck I might be in trouble.

    Xavier: I hope they counter my Sanguine Bond. That’s kind of the point. Still have Rings for their Rings also.

    quin: Why is it everyone thinks that Vampires, Bant, Dredge, etc are all on the rise? How could that possible be, especially when they all lose to Jund? I barely ever see any of those decks. Mind Control for Iona is a fine idea though. Fair point on the Naya matchup.

    justin DZ: Luminarch might be fine vs Chapin, but bad vs real UW with White Orchids.

    jberardi318: Nah, normally I just change 4 cards from a stock list and claim it as my own. Appreciate the sentiment though.

    Monk Realist: Ponder probably isn’t the worst. TONS of cycling effects though. Not sure what I would cut.

    amc: Yeah man you’re completely right.

  36. @amc/Gerry

    I used to play UW shroud and always had a good match against Grixis post-board with Luminarch, Flashreeze and Hindering Light. Would that not also apply here, for those of us using that mix in the SB for their meta? Appreciate your thoughts. There are a few grixis decks at my shop right now, but I haven’t had the honor of pairing against them yet with OtV.


    Re: UW tap-out, with the lack of mainboard counters, isn’t that a better matchup anyway compared to Chapin? Or have you still found this difficult enough to require SB answers?

  37. Well Gerry, there’s a few Grixis decks in my meta of basically 3 different builds. One is mine which is a throw back to more pre-WWK style Land-Go one for ones and then Cruel, another is running creatures (Turtles, Pilgrim’s Eyes, and Specters iirc), and the other is mostly Jace and way’s to protect and abuse him to card advantage your way to an Ulitmatum.

    Each is fundimentally the same though post board they can all do different things. Luminarch will typically wreck a slow deck like Cruel Control, but that is also tenious if they can turn aggressive with Turtles, man-lands, or vamps.

    Luminarch and have a way of dealing with Broodwitches in the board. Sanguine bond can be pretty devistating even if you are forced to hard cast angels. That seems to be my best advice vs Cruel Control. Cast creatures and make them use their one for one removal on the early ones and peck their life down so they are forced to tap out to cast removal or a Sphinx. That gives you the window to pop an OTV.

    I know 4 Dispels in the board seems strange, but last FNM there were 3 Chapin Control, 2 other Cruel Control, and a Shroud-Go control. If your meta is weird and control heavy Dispel can do great things for you.

    Good luck with the build!

  38. gerry…believe me i tried ur deck its that unless u get a awesome 7 card draw or even a 6 card draw your doomed. i have also played this deck live yesterday with way better results. didnt mean to insult ur deckbuilding schools since its alot better then just playing jund. im just fustrated of standard since until jund rotates out it is pointless.

  39. I had to cut the journeys and go 4 oblivion rings, there were just to many times (especially in the mirror) where I needed to o ring their o ring.

  40. @Gerry

    Great build. Have you considered running dispel SB as an offensive counter for UW control?

  41. I’ve built this list (well, I only own 3 DOJ so I’m substituting one Martial Coup for the moment) and am really excited to give it a try.

    Dumb idea… but what about a Magister Sphinx? (ETB: target player’s life becomes 10) – if you have the Magister and the Sanguine Bond and the Filligree Angel in the graveyard, I think you can choose the order of “enter the battlefield” effects so you could set your opponent to 10, and then gain life from the Filligree and Sanguine Bond would be more likely to kill them on Open The Vaults.

    Eh, now that I read that: It is a dumb idea. Forget I mentioned Magister Sphinx 😛

  42. Ex-Crypt of Agadeem pilot here. This deck is entirely more reliable and I look forward to playing it. Been interested ever since its performance in San Diego.

    I really like your list and will try it out and tune it for my meta. My FNMs mainly consist of White Weenie, Elfdrazi (RG and G) and UW Control. There’s 1 Boss Naya and a Naya Aggro, maybe 1 or 2 Vamps and 1 RDW. Also 1 Runeflare Trap deck that always manages to pull a win early, as early as 3-4. The rest consists of allies and some home-brew. Jund presence is almost non-existent.

    What modifications would you suggest?

  43. Also I might add that it doesn’t matter that Sanguin Bond is countered, it still enters the field as an enchantment and can not be countered this way, and will likely be a heavy hit, if not an instant kill. On paper, it looks great against the control match up.

  44. ^and I’m sorry for triple comment (no edit), but to clarify, with regards to the Bond entering the field I mean when you play an Open the Vaults of course

  45. Ty a lot for this article, Gerry.

    I have the following questions: Why terramorphic instead of esper Panorama (i lost several games due to CITP)?

    How is the KoTWO ?

  46. Hey Gerry…I played this deck and loving it. 3-1 in tourney leave me 7th place. First place was on Polymorph deck which got me that lost.

    How you stop Poly? Iona will say White and I am dead. Any tips and what sideboard cards should come in?

    I did beat UW…boy it was rough…life gaining got opponent to call off during overtime clock. 80 life lol He got tired of Vault

  47. call me crazy, but ever since i swapped capsules for etherium astrolabe my hand seems to fill itself perfectly. (Architects hard cast/sort top 3 cards/sac to astrolabe for a preferred draw). While this can slow your game down, trust me ive seen it happen, it just seems to me like securing your hand with an OtV/DoJ is a worthy swap…

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