The rise of the U/W Flash deck in Standard came in large part because of how powerful Aetherworks Marvel was. U/W Flash was a natural predator, relying on a fast clock and cheap counters such as Spell Queller to put the Marvel decks under pressure and prevent them from executing their game plan. Marvel decks evolved, though, and many pilots felt they were actually favored against U/W Flash at the time that both Smuggler’s Copter and Reflector Mage were banned. All of these adjustments knocked U/W out of the format, but it’s been making a comeback as Marvel decks sans Emrakul have become one of the top Standard decks.
U/W can play mostly at instant speed, and the biggest payoff remains Spell Queller. This is a reasonably sized creature with 2 power in the air for 3 mana, but the tempo swing it provides is massive. Your opponents will try to resolve Gideons and Marvels, and even though they may eventually deal with Spell Queller, that lost time and mana is tough to come back from. That also depends upon you not having a second Spell Queller to foil their plans, and in those cases, 2 copies can be unbeatable.
The other powerful flash creature is Archangel Avacyn. She’ll save all your creatures from damage-based sweepers, most removal spells, and virtually all combat situations. She can ambush opposing Heart of Kirans, and affect the game whenever you have 5 open mana. This is intensified when your deck has other plays at instant speed, but in testing for the Pro Tour, Stasis Snare was one of the toughest cards for non-Marvel decks to beat.
White’s removal has moved fully into the flash arena with both Stasis Snare and Cast Out. Cast Out’s ability to cycle means it’s useful in all matchups and all stages of the game. It can take out Gideon, Marvel, or Ulamog. Stasis Snare is a bit more affordable and functions as a Murder for white more often than not.
Glory-Bound Initiate is tough to race in matchups that care about damage. While a 3/1 creature already hits hard, a 4/4 lifelinker is going to be nearly impossible to block effectively, even if you can only attack every other turn. The fact that the deck has instant-speed removal in Stasis Snare and Cast Out makes double-blocking an exerted Initiate a frightening proposition.
Thraben Inspector loses some of its luster without Smuggler’s Copter to crew, but it can attack and defend planeswalkers while becoming a real threat with even a single Aethersphere Harvester emblem. The addition of Aethersphere Harvester gives Inspector some added utility while providing a nice life buffer against the format’s aggressive decks.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar has always been the way U/W Flash decks win the majority of their games, even when Reflector Mage and Smuggler’s Copter were in the format. He hits hard and there aren’t many satisfactory answers to him. His emblems are incredible with U/W’s evasive creatures and ability to flood the board, and he can create an army of tokens all by himself.
The addition of Declaration in Stone to defend against big Eldrazi while having a way to exile problematic Zombies gives you some additional game in the format. We haven’t seen much of this card in a while, but it could easily make a comeback.
U/W Flash has lots of powerful options to compete at the highest levels. If you can find a good game plan against both Marvel and Zombies, you’re in a great place in Standard!
____DELBAS, 5-0 MTGO Competitive League