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Louck Sac – Pregnant with Twins

I’m back in Seattle and playing Magic again! End of intro, cause this is a long one.
The target: SCG Seattle, then a PTQ the next week.
My weapon of choice? For five days it was Turbo Fog. Bill Stark, a man who has been known to cast a Howling Mine before, helped me work out the deck’s kinks. He also helped me realize that deck just wasn’t good enough. I hate to waste all that effort, so here’s where we ended up:

Who Fog-ed?

[deck]4 Temple Bell
4 Rites of Flourishing
4 Jace Beleren
4 Fog
4 Safe Passage
3 Stonehorn Dignitary
4 Leyline of Sanctity
3 Beast Within
4 Preordain
1 Elixir of Immortality
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Seachrome Coast
1 Razorverge Thicket
2 Forest
3 Plains
5 Island
Sideboard:
4 Kor Firewalker
4 Spellskite
3 Flashfreeze
2 Negate
1 Beast Within
1 Stonehorn Dignitary[/deck]

Just a few notes for aspiring Fog players: I think we could have played one or two [card]Tanglesap[/card]s over a few [card]Stonehorn Dignitary[/card], the only real downside being [card]Primeval Titan[/card], but we never got that far. In order to have a chance of beating Red, Valakut, or Vampires you need the Leyline. That’s why [card]Preordain[/card] got the nod over [card]Wall of Omens[/card], since it’s better at finding Leyline. [card]Beast Within[/card] is there to kill problem planeswalkers and the occasional [card]Pulse Tracker[/card].

Embarazada

Fog was dumped on Monday night, at which point I had resigned to playing RUG Twin. Zaiem was a big advocate of the deck, and I trusted his advice. Still, I had to try one last brew, which I cooked up on Tuesday.

I think it all started with my desire to play [card]Totem-Guide Hartebeest[/card] to find [card]Splinter Twin[/card]. I like the idea of grabbing [card]Guard Duty[/card], [card]Spreading Seas[/card], or [card]Mind Control[/card]. I’m a sucker for value, but I don’t think I can tell the difference between a friend’s free moving-day couch and taking a cushion off of a chair in the alley.

Somehow I got the idea of pairing this concept with [card]Birthing Pod[/card] and the [card]Soul’s Attendant[/card] + [card]Leonin Relic-Warder[/card] + [card]Phyrexian Metamorph[/card] infinite life combo.*
*You have [card]Leonin Relic-Warder[/card] and [card]Soul’s Attendant[/card] in play. [card]Phyrexian Metamorph[/card] joins the party as a Relic-Warder, but as an artifact, he can attempt to remove himself from the battlefield. This is only temporary, as he immediately returns himself to the battlefield and repeats the process, gaining one life every time. When he’s done showing off he can become whatever else he wants.

I really liked the synergies in the deck, which I kept stumbling upon through testing. [card]Soul’s Attendant[/card] fueled [card]Birthing Pod[/card]. Unwanted combo pieces could be upgraded into value. [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] turbo-charged your [card]Birthing Pod[/card] with a untap. (You upgrade your two-drops into four-drops a lot.) Even [card]Splinter Twin[/card] had worthwhile targets beyond the insta-kill. What finally sold me was realizing how easy it was to get the infinite life combo together with [card]Birthing Pod[/card] smoothing your draws.

Meanwhile, while the rest of your deck is distracting the opponent you can just pop a Deceiver Exarch kill out of nowhere.

This is what I registered in the open on Saturday. I can’t claim credit for every card in the list – I had a lot of awesome help over testing.

Pregnant with Twins

[deck]4 Birthing Pod
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Leonin Relic-Warder
4 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Deceiver Exarch
3 Splinter Twin
1 Totem-Guide Hartebeest
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Wall of Omens
1 Spellskite
1 Sea Gate Oracle
1 Pilgrim’s Eye
1 Blade Splicer
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Archon of Justice
1 Sun Titan
1 Frost Titan
1 Inferno Titan
4 Arid Mesa
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Evolving Wilds
2 Mountain
2 Plains
2 Island
1 Forest
4 Seachrome Coast
3 Celestial Colonnade
1 Glacial Fortress
Sideboard:
1 Spellskite
1 Kor Firewalker
1 Lone Missionary
1 Malira, Sylvok Outcast
1 Celestial Purge
1 Flashfreeze
1 Tuktuk Scrappers
1 Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Sylvok Replica
1 Grand Abolisher
1 Phyrexian Ingester
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Devout Lightcaster
1 Mind Control[/deck]

What a sideboard, eh? I’ll get to that. Here’s a card-by-card breakdown of the deck, since each slot is serving a pretty important role.

4 [card]Birthing Pod[/card]

When I saw this card I knew it would make me build bad decks, but I had no idea the card was actually legit. It’s surprisingly powerful, but that’s another article. I’m still not sure if it’s best to throw down a Pod before or after your creatures. It usually comes down to the matchup and your hand, I guess – I haven’t found a great rule of thumb. It’s worth pointing out that the second [card]Birthing Pod[/card] is still very valuable – playing the full four has to be correct.

4 [card]Soul’s Attendant[/card]

A necessary combo piece, it’s still valuable to fuel [card]Birthing Pod[/card] or stopping the [card]Splinter Twin[/card] combo. It’s also the only one-drop deck, which is a very valuable card to have. That’s the biggest advantage the green version has over this deck with [card]Birds of Paradise[/card] and [card]Llanowar Elves[/card].

4 [card]Leonin Relic-Warder[/card]

Another combo piece with relevance outside the combo. You’ll sure be glad he’s on your team when playing against Tempered Steel. Unfortunately, he also warps the manabase, but what can you do? I usually run this guy out on turn two even without targets – it’s nice to get a presence on the board for future [card]Birthing Pod[/card]s, as well as representing the combo. It’s also pointing out that this guy can “untap” a [card]Birthing Pod[/card], if you have two Pods. In one turn during the tournament I was able to upgrade a [card]Soul’s Attendant[/card] into an [card]Archon of Justice[/card]!

4 [card]Phyrexian Metamorph[/card]

The last piece of the life combo, he’s by far the most versatile. [card]Clone[/card] is one of the most fun (and potentially powerful) cards you can play with, it’s just that normal you don’t have a good excuse to put so many in your deck. I would say that I win just as many games by cloning six-drops as I do with either combo. My opponent uses a [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] (that I can’t interact with) to accelerate out a [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]? Thanks buddy, I have TWO [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]s! (I won that game.)

Also note that Clones also copy converted mana cost, which makes them awesome with [card]Birthing Pod[/card]. Not only can you “accelerate” your birthing pod by using 3 mana to put a five-drop on the table, but you can create additional Pod fuel at exactly the cost you need. Need a two-drop but want to keep your [card]Soul Warden[/card]? Clone it! Metamorph even has the awesome benefit of sometimes becoming a second [card]Birthing Pod[/card].

4 [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card], 3 [card]Splinter Twin[/card]

I shouldn’t need to explain to you why the [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] combo is amazing. What makes it good in this deck? I like this deck because it can attack from so many angles by presenting great threats. It reminds me of that chess strategy where you control the center of the board without actually being in the center. (I know very little about chess.) This deck can threaten infinite life, infinite damage, or multiple Titans from almost any board state.

It’s of the utmost importance that you don’t forget what [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] can do outside of the combo. Untapping [card]Birthing Pod[/card], tapping opposing permanents in your opponent’s upkeep, untapping a blocker, or even main phasing a Deciever so you can untap a land and cast another creature. These kinds of plays can be very important. I specifically remember winning a match by untapping my [card]Frost Titan[/card] to gain initiative against an opposing [card]Frost Titan[/card].

Similarly, [card]Splinter Twin[/card] can do more than the combo. I find it interesting that I usually lose games where I [card]Splinter Twin[/card] a non-deceiver, but that’s because it usually means I’m already desperate. Just because it rarely works doesn’t mean it’s not the right play. Also note that the token copies keep converted mana cost, which can be good Pod fuel.

1 [card]Totem-Guide Hartebeest[/card]

Hartebeest used to be a bigger focus of the deck, but it turns out all he needs is [card]Splinter Twin[/card] to be good.

1 [card]Phantasmal Image[/card]

In theory this guy is really awesome. Have you ever brought this guy back with [card]Sun Titan[/card]? The problem here is that you so rarely upgrade a 1-drop. Not only does the deck only have four, and not only are those four valuable, but it’s almost always better to upgrade the biggest creature you have on the board than the smallest one. [card]Phantasmal Image[/card] seems awesome (especially in the green deck with more on-drops) but is only useful in a few corner cases. The deck still has access to Metamorph, so it’s not like this cut is a big loss.

1 [card]Wall of Omens[/card]

Sometimes you don’t want to combo and you just want value out of your [card]Soul’s Attendant[/card]. I think the deck wants a handful of good value two-drops – at one point I was running four Walls – but I think I’ve found better.

1 [card]Spellskite[/card]

First, it protects your combos from removal. Second, it stops opposing [card]Splinter Twin[/card]s. However, like the other two drops, it’s hard to tutor up when you want it. It’s still one of the best sideboard cards you can have.

1 [card]Sea Gate Oracle[/card]

The most value for value’s sake slot in the deck. Sometimes your two-drop becomes a four-drop through [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card]. Sometimes your two-drop becomes a [card]Pilgrim’s Eye[/card] to fix your mana. Sometimes you get a [card]Blade Splicer[/card] to beat down. And sometimes, SOMETIMES, you just want value, and you get a [card]Sea Gate Oracle[/card]. That’s a dream I’m willing to give up on.

1 [card]Pilgrim’s Eye[/card]

Meanwhile, [card]Pilgrim’s Eye[/card] is exactly what this deck wants in the value slot. He serves a very specific role, which is fixing your mana. The deck has WW, UU, RR, and a forest in it! Finding the one forest turns out to be surprisingly important sometimes, but usually your grabbing the second Mountain.

1 [card]Blade Splicer[/card]

This is a combo card in a beatdown cards body. Sure, I’ve won games beating down with [card]Blade Splicer[/card] and cloned [card]Blade Splicer[/card]s. Sure, it’s really good at blocking vampires and goblins. What it does best, however, is provide a zero for your [card]Birthing Pod[/card] to find [card]Soul’s Attendant[/card]. It’s often too slow in the sense that they see it coming and formulate a plan to stop it, but you gain a lot of value by distracting them while you have a [card]Birthing Pod[/card] in play, eventually winning with Titans.

1 [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card]

Basically a four-mana [card]Pilgrim’s Eye[/card], while also being some of the best value in standard. For most of testing he was the only non-metamorph four-drop, but I think I found a friend. (Later.)

1 [card]Archon of Justice[/card]

I’ve been blown away by the quality of [card]Archon of Justice[/card]. It’s the best thing to Pod through on your way to a Titan, while also being an answer to anything. The green version has [card]Acidic Slime[/card], which is probably better than Archon, but you take what you can get. Being able to kill a Titan or planeswalker is nice, but most of the time he’s killing an [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card].

1 [card]Sun Titan[/card], 1 [card]Frost Titan[/card], 1 [card]Inferno Titan[/card]

Once I had both [card]Pilgrim’s Eye[/card] and [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card], I liked drawing a Titan just to cast. It’s a nice “backup” plan. This deck has the best untaps with Titans in play – the number of games you win with triple [card]Frost Titan[/card] is surprisingly high. However, I think this is one too many titans. I’m not entirely sure, and to be honest I would want to test against Caw Blade before I made a cut.

[card]Sun Titan[/card] is the best combo re-enabler. It sucks that you can’t get back Metamorph or [card]Birthing Pod[/card] or [card]Archon of Justice[/card], but you’ll take it. [card]Sun Titan[/card] ends up being the least impressive, surprisingly, but I’m still happy enough to keep him.

[card]Frost Titan[/card] has become the best one, serving as a great answer to whatever needs answering, as well as being great at locking up a game win. Multiple times I’ve kept [card]Splinter Twin[/card]’s second red tapped down.

Unfortunately I rarely got to use [card]Inferno Titan[/card], and he is usually the first Titan sideboarded out. He’s been cut from my most recent list, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Caw Blade testing forced him back in. I just don’t think there’s room for all three Titans maindeck, though. His ability to kill other Titans in combination with a clone would be even better if [card]Frost Titan[/card] didn’t already do that.

The Mana

[deck]4 Arid Mesa
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Evolving Wilds
2 Mountain
2 Plains
2 Island
1 Forest
4 Seachrome Coast
3 Celestial Colonnade
1 Glacial Fortress[/deck]

Ten sacrifice lands, seven basic lands. Plus [card]Pilgrim’s Eye[/card]. Plus [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card]. At some point you’ll run out of basics to grab, but the mana constraints on this deck are so strong that you can’t afford to run more than the minimum number of basics so that you can get extra value out of a [card]Scalding Tarn[/card] later in the game. In fact, if it wasn’t for [card]Frost Titan[/card], I would be tempted to only run one Island! Being able to make WW on turn two or RR on turn four (depending on your hand) is often the deciding factor.

If there were more RW dual lands, I’d certainly run those. Instead the mana is a little blue heavy, but I think that’s just where you have to be. I like 25 lands, though I wonder if the deck couldn’t cut one or two Titans for some [card]Preordain[/card]s or [card]Wall of Omens[/card] and run 24. The deck can operate surprisingly well on few lands, but I almost always want more. In matchups where I side out Titans I often side out a land, but I’m not sure that’s right yet.

Sideboard

Fifteen singletons! Sure it’ s fun, but it’s certainly not right. I think eleven of these cards were close to right, but the rest should have been filled in with something like extra [card]Kor Firewalker[/card]s, [card]Spellskite[/card]s, and [card]Flashfreeze[/card]s.

1 [card]Spellskite[/card], 1 [card]Sylvok Replica[/card], 1 [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card], 1 [card]Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs[/card], 1 [card]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/card]

This is my “one at every mana cost” package against Splinter Twin. I like it. Your goal against Splinter Twin is to get as many of these on the table as you can. I don’t think Sylvok Replica is that good against them, though, since you’ve got to keep mana open to use it, but they can just tap your forest with Deceiver Exarch at the end of the turn. May not even be worth having in the sideboard, let alone siding in.

1 [card Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs]Kazuul[/card], 1 [card Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite]Elesh Norn[/card]

These might be good against decks that like to attack, like Tempered Steel, but I can’t tell. Do I really want to side in a seven drop against Memnite? And they can always give me a few free 3/3s from Kazuul while a [card]Glint Hawk Idol[/card] kills me. I certainly bring Elesh Norn in against Caw Blade, but like I said, that matchup needs more testing.

1 [card]Sylvok Replica[/card]

I was literally scooping to a [card]Torpor Orb[/card] until somebody suggested [card]Sylvok Replica[/card]. You even have outs to multiple [card]Torpor Orb[/card]s if you can clone your [card]Sylvok Replica[/card]. It’s also nice to have an answer to [card]Pyromancer’s Ascension[/card] that’s better than [card]War Priest of Thune[/card].

1 [card]Spellskite[/card]

He’s pretty good in a lot of matchups, like Red, Deceiver Twin, maybe even Valakut. He gains a lot of value out of the sideboard when he’s attracting the extra hate, like [card]Nature’s Claim[/card], which is why I feel fine cutting any from the maindeck.

1 [card]Kor Firewalker[/card], 1 [card]Lone Missionary[/card]

This is essentially the same slot, I just liked the extra value to your [card]Birthing Pod[/card]s, especially in other matchups like vampires.

1 [card]Malira, Sylvok Outcast[/card]

90% cute, %10 being terrified of [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card] or the GW infect deck. However, due to how fragile Malira is, and how it doesn’t actually kill an [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card], AND how it’s nearly impossible to cast early, I think this I a slot I can let go of.

1 [card]Celestial Purge[/card], 1 [card]Flashfreeze[/card]

The last few filler cards. I’m pretty sure you just want [card]Flashfreeze[/card]s thanks to the rough Valakut matchup. In an ideal world your sideboard is all creatures, but there aren’t creatures that stop a [card]Primeval Titan[/card] before it even starts.

1 [card]Tuktuk Scrapper[/card]

This slot oscillated a lot between [card]Manic Vandal[/card], [card]Oxidda Scrapmelter[/card], and [card]Master Thief[/card]. Then some genius (not me) suggested [card]Tuktuk Scrapper[/card]. You know what happens when you clone this guy? Two artifacts die, and they take four! I even got to live this dream against Tempered Steel in the tournament – he didn’t have enough artifacts left for me to want to clone it a second time.

1 [card]Grand Abolisher[/card]

This card could be insane. It could also be blank. I have no idea. I had it on the table a couple of times and really liked it, so I’m inclined to think that [card]Grand Abolisher[/card] is good. However, it seems like a weak sideboard card, especially as a one-of. I can’t bring myself to run it in the maindeck, though, so he gets the axe.

1 [card]Phyrexian Ingester[/card]

The idea here was that often times you clone an opposing Titan, and then want to [card]Birthing Pod[/card] into an answer to that Titan. I swear this situation was coming up in testing, but I still have yet to actually [card]Birthing Pod[/card] up an Ingester.

1 [card]Mind Control[/card]

In the midrange matchups I felt like being able to tutor up a [card]Mind Control[/card] with my Hartebeest would be really valuable. It’s another decent way to attack Titans. Again, I swear these situations came up in testing, but in actuality I’m not sure I’ve ever actually done this play. I think the [card]Mind Control[/card] is powerful, but unnecessary. You might be better off with [card]Volition Reins[/card], providing a somewhat needed “answer” to planeswalkers, but the UUU scares me.

1 [card]Devout Lightcaster[/card]

I wanted something worth tutoring up against Vampires, and [card]Devout Lightcaster[/card] is the best, especially with Splinter Twin and Metamorph around.

Cuts

I also wanted to mention a few cards that didn’t make it.

[card]Preordain[/card]

The creature slots in this deck are so valuabe, I can never seem to make room for [card]Preordain[/card]-like cards. I’ve seen [card]Preordain[/card] in other [card]Birthing Pod[/card] lists, so maybe I’m wrong, but they also don’t need to make room for the life combo. I have trouble convincing myself that [card]Preordain[/card] is better than [card]Wall of Omens[/card].

[card]Squadron Hawk[/card]

I wanted to try him out at SCG Seattle, but I just didn’t have enough time to test it. The more that I thought about it, the more insane the Hawk seems. After playing the deck I sometimes felt like my Pods were low on fuel. Not all the time, but sometimes. I also felt like I needed a way to block flying creatures like [card]Squadron Hawk[/card] or [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card]. Tada! Tried cutting random value creatures for four [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]s at the PTQ, and I was very impressed.

[card]Molten-Tail Masticore[/card]

I had one more cut I wanted to make in the deck for the PTQ, a Titan, but I couldn’t figure out what I wanted for the longest time. Marshal Sutcliff liked Masticore in his RUG Pod list, so I decided to steal it for myself. It seemed especially sick with [card]Squadron Hawk[/card] being added to the deck! I never got a Masticore going in the PTQ, but I really liked knowing that he was there.

[card]Grim Lavamancer[/card]

Good one-drops are hard to come by outside of green. Testing showed that it’s hard to have enough fuel in my graveyard to take advantage of a Lavamancer, or there just weren’t any worthwhile targets on the board. Getting red early is hard, and it makes your early turns awkward.

[card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]

The 6 that never made it. In most cases you’re going to be better off with a Titan. In matchups where the life is good for you (like Red or Vampires) it’s presumed that you get an attack with the Wurmcoil before you die. If that’s the case, then [card]Inferno Titan[/card] is usually better, since they’re just dead from your attack, as opposed to you just being not dead. [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card] blocks just as well as Inferno Titan – one negates the damage before it happens, the other as it happens.

[card]Guard Duty[/card], [card]Spreading Seas[/card], [card]Pacifism[/card], [card]Arrest[/card], [card]Narcolepsy[/card]

Throughout testing these cards were pushed out of the maindeck and out of the sideboard. Being able to “kill” a creature for a single white mana (or 1W, or 1U) off of your Hartebeest sounded relevant in theory, but it just never happened. Spreading Seas was the value card, for when you wanted your Hartebeest to just draw you a card and maybe kill a manland, but this was just barely better than grabbing another Splinter Twin usually.

In the Future, Birds

Here’s the new list that I would recommend playing:

Pregnant with Double Twins

[deck]4 Birthing Pod
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Leonin Relic-Warder
4 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Deceiver Exarch
3 Splinter Twin
1 Totem-guide Hartebeest
4 Squadron Hawk
1 Pilgrim’s Eye
1 Blade Splicer
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Molten-Tail Masticore
1 Archon of Justice
1 Sun Titan
1 Frost Titan
4 Arid Mesa
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Evolving Wilds
2 Mountain
2 Plains
2 Island
1 Forest
4 Seachrome Coast
3 Celestial Colonnade
1 Glacial Fortress
Sideboard:
2 Spellskite
3 Kor Firewalker
1 Lone Missionary
3 Flashfreeze
1 Tuktuk Scrappers
1 Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Sylvok Replica
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Devout Lightcaster[/deck]

The maindeck changes:
-1 [card]Spellskite[/card]
-1 [card]Wall of Omens[/card]
-1 [card]Phantasmal Image[/card]
-1 [card]Sea Gate Oracle[/card]
-1 [card]Inferno Titan[/card]
+4 [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]
+1 [card]Molten-Tail Masticore[/card]

I played this in a PTQ a week after the SCG tournament, and I’ve never been happier with the deck. I felt like the [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]s were very powerful, and in turn, that the deck was actually powerful. I was confident as I sat down every round. I actually looked forward to seeing what my opponent was playing, instead of dreading every deck in the format. I handily dispatched my first three opponents 2-0 each; GR Infect, RUG Pod, and Caw Blade.

Then I lost a close one to Caw Blade, a matchup I think is favorable but would need to test more to figure out. I lost to an untimely [card]Gravitational Shift[/card] fueled by [card]Emeria Angel[/card] even after I had [card]Archon of Justice[/card] + [card]Splinter Twin[/card] + [card]Birthing Pod[/card] active for two turns. I dealt 14 damage to myself between sac lands, [card]Birthing Pod[/card], and Metamorph. I’m sure I could have won that game just based on the number of choices I had, but I’m not sure exactly where I lost it. In game two I mulliganed a one lander into a one lander into a one lander that I kept, but won that game. In game three I mulligained a one lander into a two lander, but missed three land drops, so I lost. I can accept that variance.

The next round I faced Valakut, the matchup I’m most scared of. I did some fancy stuff with clones in game one, but was just short of getting infinite life in time. I think game one against Valakut is bad unless you have a draw that can go infinite (either way) on turn four or five. In game two I set up [card]Spellskite[/card] and [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] on the board for his pivotal [card]Primeval Titan[/card] turn, nabbing all of the Valakut Triggers with my [card]Spellskite[/card]. I then untapped and cast the game winning [card]Splinter Twin[/card], only to realize that the [card]Scalding Tarn[/card] I had sacrificed on the end of the turn grabbed an Island instead of a Mountain. Whoops! I can’t believe I did that. There goes the tournament.

Despite the outcome, I love the deck. I think the cards in my current sideboard are mostly correct, but the numbers on Kor Firewalker, Spellskite, and Flashfreeze can be tweaked to the metegame. Here’s how I would sideboard in the big matchups:

Red / Goblins

+2 [card]Spellskite[/card]
+3 [card]Kor Firewalker[/card]
+1 [card]Lone Missionary[/card]
+3 [card]Flashfreeze[/card]
-4 [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]
-1 [card]Birthing Pod[/card]
-1 [card]Frost Titan[/card]
-1 [card]Molten-Tail Masticore[/card]
-1 [card]Splinter Twin[/card]
-1 [card]Island[/card]

If they have [card]Shrine of Burning Rage[/card] you may be scared enough to bring in Scrappers or the Replica, but I find [card]Leonin Relic-Warder[/card] to usually be good enough.

Vampires
+2 [card]Spellskite[/card]
+1 [card]Lone Missionary[/card]
+1 [card]Devout Lightcaster[/card]
+1 [card]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/card]
-1 [card]Frost Titan[/card]
-1 [card]Splinter Twin[/card]
-1 [card]Phyrexian Metemorph[/card]
-1 [card]Leonin Relic-Warder[/card]
-1 [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card]

is a matchup that you would really like an [card]Inferno Titan[/card] in your sideboard, but hopefully Elesh Norn can get the job done. Normally I would take out a Birthing Pod against the agro deck with a bunch of removal, but with Hawk fuel and a very potent three-drop, I don’t think that’s right.

Valakut
+2 [card]Spellskite[/card]
+3 [card]Flashfreeze[/card]
-4 [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]
-1 [card]Molten-Tail Masticore[/card]

This is the matchup I wish you had a Mind Control for Primeval Titan, but it’s probably just worse than more Flashfreeze. I’m pretty sure you’re just a combo deck in this matchup.

Caw Blade
+1 [card]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/card]
+1 [card]Sylvok Replica[/card]
-1 [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card]
-1 [card]Splinter Twin[/card]

I like Replica here over Scrapper since it’s a way to kill [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card], or to hold off a sword in a way that sorcery-speed answers can’t. Elesh Norn is your endgame plan, though I still can’t tell if it’s better than [card]Inferno Titan[/card]. I’m currently shaving on the Splinter Twin combo, since they seem to be more prepared for that with Spellskites and even [card]Gravitational Shift[/card].

Relic-Warder is really good against the Blade Splicer version of Caw Blade. [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card] can be a problem, though. The deck may want to invest in some [card]Oblivion Ring[/card]s out of the sideboard to beat [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card] and planeswalkers like Gideon or Venser.

This is the best deck in the format, but I’m only sideboarding two cards. That doesn’t seem right. I think that says I need more testing here.

Tempered Steel
+1 [card]Sylvok Replica[/card]
+1 [card]Tuktuk Scrapper[/card]
+2 [card]Spellskite[/card]
-1 [card]Frost Titan[/card]
-1 [card]Sun Titan[/card]
-1 [card]Molten-Tail Masticore[/card]
-1 [card]Island[/card]

Your plan is this matchup tends to be to some combination of gaining infinite life, answering [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card], and killing everything with [card]Tuktuk Scrapper[/card]. Sometimes you get the [card]Leonin Relic-Warder[/card] + [card]Phyrexian Metamorph[/card] draw that can just beat them down.

UR Twin
+2 [card]Spellskite[/card]
+1 [card]Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs[/card]
+1 [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card]
+1 [card]Sylvok Replica[/card]
+1 [card]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/card]
+3 [card]Flashfreeze[/card]
-3 [card]Leonin Relic-Warder[/card]
-2 [card]Phyrexian Metamorph[/card]
-4 [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]

[card]Soul’s Attendant[/card] is still awesome, but the life combo isn’t. I like to keep in a [card]Leonin Relic-Warder[/card] since it makes my [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card]s better. If they try to Splinter Twin you, you can Deceiver in response, tapping their Deceiver, then untap and nab their Splinter Twin with a Relic-Warder. Leaving in one Relic-Warder gives you that option, while still leaving the possibility of infinite life. This may or may not be worth it.

So There You Have It

Everything you ever wanted to know about pregnant Hawks but were afraid to ask. I love this deck, and I love talking about this deck, so feel free to hit me up in the forums.
Jonathon Loucks
[email protected]
@JonLoucks on Twitter
Zygonn on MTGO

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