When I woke up the day of Worlds, I declared to my roommates that I should be playing Convincing Mirage in Standard. I thought that the deck was very good, but I didn’t know exactly how to build it. Rather than play a speculative list, I chose to play a “good” list of a bad deck instead.
After my fantastic 2-4 record, I decided to not make the same mistake in the PTQ. I wanted to have some fun, so busted out the pen and paper when we all sat down for dinner. Some UW and Uwg lists were circulating on Magic Online, but they were missing something.
Cards like Sigil of the Empty Throne and Mesa Enchantress were extremely cute, and would certainly add to the “fun” aspect of the deck. However, the Enchantress doesn’t fit the curve. The Sigil doesn’t either, but as it turns out, it would be great against the deck that knocked me out of the PTQ. On turn five, you probably want to play a blocker since you spent the first four turns doing essentially nothing.
At some point, I started writing down various ideas, but the one that really stood out was adding red for Bloodbraid and Ajani Vengeant. Adding either one or the other didn’t seem worth it, but with both, the deck suddenly had some power.
The morning of the PTQ, I was borrowing cards from Luis, Wrapter, and the Ocho in our hotel room. During a brief silence (which happens when Wrapter and Ocho are around, since they rarely speak), Luis suddenly yelled out, “Spread’Em!”
Clearly, I had the name for my deck.
Anyway, this is the list I played:
Round One: GW
I kept Spreading Seas, Ajani Vengeant, and a multitude of fetchlands, but failed to draw anything of relevance. I was flooded from the get-go, and while I chained a few Spreading Seas in the midgame to knock out his White mana, I still kept drawing lands. Eventually, a random monster got me.
Second game, things went according to plan. I went after his sole Plains and didn’t have enough disruption to keep him off Green mana as well, so I just held my extra Spreading Seas and Mirages. As I expected, his Green monsters weren’t enough to beat my flying animals, especially since he could never keep a consistent source of White mana.
Third game was more of the same. Without White mana, he couldn’t put any pressure on me or deal with my dudes.
1-0, 2-1 in games
Round Two: Boros
I was a little worried about this matchup, as I clearly had done zero testing. I assumed that it was a bad matchup, hence the full 15 sideboard cards for the matchup, and I wasn’t wrong. In the first game, he was locked out of mana, but he had a couple of guys pecking away at me. I desperately needed to find a Day of Judgment, but kept cascading into Mirages instead of Seas.
The second and third games were only close because of the Bushwackers in my opponent’s deck. Without those, War Monks and Wall of Reverence would have put me far out of reach. Instead, he was within a point or two of killing me, but fell just short.
Round Three and Four: Jund
Neither of these matches were very close. I did lose a game, but it was when he played turn two Leech, turn three and four [card]Blightning[/card]s through my “land destruction.” If I killed the Leech, I think I would have been alright, but it didn’t matter.
At this point, I was searching out people like Tim Willoughby and Brian David-Marshall, hoping they’d do some coverage of the deck. The camera men were on lunch at that point, so I had to wait a round.
Round Five: Vampires
I was a little slow to start, and my opponent got pretty far ahead with Sign in Bloods and random dudes. When I finally started Spreading some Seas, it didn’t matter, as I was close to already dead.
I decided to keep in the LD, as I was unsure how good things like Deft Duelist were going to be. Also, Gatekeeper and Mind Sludge are annoying, and the LD helps a lot against those, so I figured I would keep it in on the play and side in the dudes on the draw, hopefully catching him off guard.
As it turns out, it didn’t matter, as again, I didn’t get the LD action going quick enough. Also, a midgame Malakir Bloodwitch meant that my Baneslayer was more than a little awkward. Once he started Gatekeepering me, there wasn’t much I could do.
Round Six: Jund
Again, not close. Spreading Seas does way more than mana screw them, and there’s not much they can do about it.
Round Seven: Vampires
Crap. I still hadn’t figured this matchup out, as I totally wasn’t expecting very many Vampire decks.
I won game one by turning all his Swamps into Islands, but then lost the next two. I thought I was winning game two, but at some point, he turned it all around. I Wrathed his guys twice, but got Mind Sludged, and then Vampire Nocturnus kept his other dudes huge.
Third game I kept a two lander with Mirage and Ardent Plea, but missed for a few turns and fell too far behind.
With that, my tournament had effectively ended, but I stuck around to collect some packs. In the process, I beat another Jund deck and lost to Boros, despite winning game one. A surprise Ajani Vengeant caught me off guard in game three, and I couldn’t draw enough gas to kill it.
Vampires was a deck that wasn’t on my radar, and I failed because of that. Honestly, it wasn’t very big in the tournament, and maybe I was unlucky to get paired against it twice. I’ve also heard that the matchup isn’t that bad to begin with, but they definitely have the tools to beat you.
If I expected Vamps in the first place, I might have played some White Knights instead of Duelists, but I feel like the two drop plan isn’t very good in the first place. There are enough things like fliers and Plated Geopede that make even double Deft Duelist look pretty stupid. White Knight isn’t much better in that regard, as it’s harder to cast, but at least it’s better vs. Vampires.
Another somewhat anti-Vampires card is Sigil of the Empty Throne. Like I said earlier, you usually want a blocker out your five drop. However, if you get to untap with it, you probably can’t lose.
One of the minor issues I want to deal with is drawing too many Mirages and not enough Spreading Seas. The only way I can think of to sway the percentages in your favor is to cut a singleton Mirage. Typically, you won’t end the game with eight Seas and Mirages in play, so I think that cutting one is fine. For the matchups that go long, you’ll want the last one in the board though.
Here’s what I would play:
For the original manabase, I think I did a good job, especially for my first pitch. Improvements can always be made though. I was very happy with the trilands, but I just didn’t want to get blown out by Ruinblaster over and over. The thing is, they will rarely, if ever, be able to cast Ruinblaster, so I’m not that worried anymore. Jungle Shrine is almost always better than Expanse, especially once you up the Island count.
The best deck, and probably your best matchup. Not much to say here. Spread some Seas, and do it early and often.
Miser’s Wrath isn’t that bad, but drawing multiples usually sucks.
Not a great matchup, but one that is certainly winnable, especially post board.
Post board, you become a strange control deck. Things like Elspeth, Ajani, and Manabarbs might be difficult to deal with, so maybe there should be some Oblivion Rings or something. You should be able to stabilize well enough, but maybe you will have some trouble drawing a win condition and sticking it. Having protection from Path to Exile is about the only reason any Sphinxes are still in the deck.
Honestly, I’m still not sure whether or not I should keep in the Seas plan against Vampires, but with my sideboard, I think it’s pretty clear that I need to keep in the Seas. If Vampires is an issue, then there are certainly other things you can board specifically for Vamps, but as is, I would just stay on the Seas plan.
Again, Day of Judgment isn’t great, but you need a few of them to deal with Malakir Bloodwitches. If those don’t show up, you always have Baneslayer and Sigil to make them stay on defense.
This matchup doesn’t seem very good seeing as how they have Noble Hierarch, Cobra, and Knight to produce and fix their mana. However, if you can cast Day of Judgment, you are probably in fine shape.
You could bring in some Lightning Bolts, but I don’t think that’s entirely necessary. I would rather just bank on Wraths and Ajanis instead of diluting my deck. You could try switching up the win conditions depending on what they are trying to stop you with, but I’m fine with just keeping the maindeck configuration in the dark.
This deck makes me want to play Magic again. It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s great vs. the best deck, and it has game against everything else. If I were going to a tournament anytime soon, whether it be States or just messing around on Magic Online, this is definitely the deck I would be playing.