Do you remember how I told you that Thassa was busted right after Theros Beyond Death came out? I recently got a message from Daniel Wustmann on twitter that he’s been playing the U/W version of this deck and doing well with it. I also talked to Nathan Zamora at Dreamhack Anaheim and he spoke very highly of it, so naturally when I came back home, I had to take to the ladder myself. I made some changes and this is my current build:
U/W Blink (Standard)
This is one of the most fun decks I’ve played in Standard in a really long time, and it’s very powerful.
How does this deck work?
It’s a huge value train that seems to have game against everything. I currently have 80% win rate with it on ladder, though I somehow haven’t played against a single Clover opponent, which should be a bad matchup for the deck. I like the deck against blue and red decks quite a lot though.
Your ideal start every game is either Prince or Fblthp on turn 2, followed by Teferi and then either Thassa or Elite Guardmage on turn 4. You start “blinking” your own creatures to get extra cards and life, until you have 7 mana for Agent of Treachery. That, combined with Thassa, means you immediately steal two of your opponent’s permanents followed by one more in each of your next turns. That usually seals the deal. Thassa’s unique effect and indestructibility gives this deck a different angle of attack that most Standard decks aren’t well equipped to beat.
2 Omen of the Sea – Sometimes it gives you extra devotion to “turn on” Thassa, and sometimes you can just dig for whatever combo pieces you are currently missing, but I feel like this card is very replaceable if you want to make some changes.
4 Teferi – Can you imagine a U/W midrange deck without it?
3 Brazen Borrower – Most of the cards in the deck are sorcery speed, so it’s important to have something you can play on your opponent’s turn. Best against control and midrange decks, but also works as a temporary answer to Embercleave.
4 Thassa – Your card advantage engine and the reason why this deck works. Without it, it would just be an underpowered midrange deck. Keep in mind that it has a second ability that taps any creature for 3U. This is a good mana sink in the late game or a “surprise” way to kill your opponent out of nowhere by tapping their team.
4 Elite Guardmage – The best card to blink with Thassa because it gives you both cards and life.
2 Time Wipe – This card is also very replaceable. I like it slightly better than Shatter the Sky because thanks to all the life gain, you’re usually not in a rush to play a sweeper, and returning something to your hand is really valuable in this deck.
2 Elspeth Conquers Death, 1 Cavalier of Dawn – The number of these is also interchangeable, I currently like 2+1. ECD is one of the most powerful cards in Standard and helps you get rid of cards like Nissa, Who Shakes the World or Wilderness Reclamation. Cavalier fills a similar role while also being a creature that you can blink with Thassa.
3 Agent of Treachery – Drawing cards and gaining life is nice—but let’s be real, you aren’t going to beat many Standard decks by attacking with 4-mana 2/3s. Agent of Treachery is both an answer to problematic cards from your opponent but also a win condition.
0 Dream Trawler – I keep getting asked why there are none in the deck. You just don’t need it and it doesn’t fit the deck. You want creatures with enter-the-battlefield triggers, not another expensive card. You also draw enough cards and gain enough life already.
0 Gadwick -Similarly, I don’t feel like you need Gadwick in this deck or that it even fits, but if you want to get creative or if it’s your favorite card, by all means feel free to add one copy. It helps you turn on Thassa and you generally have a lot of mana, but unlike in U/R Flash, you don’t actually have a lot of instant-speed cards to take advantage of its tapping ability, which is a pretty big downside.
0 Cavalier of Gales – It would be easier to get to 5 devotion to blue, but the other 5-drops are just better and you don’t want to play too many expensive cards.
2 Castle Vantress, 1 Castle Ardenvale – I almost never activate the white Castle, so if you want to cut it or just don’t have enough wild cards, feel free to do that and just replace it with a Plains. The blue one I activate fairly often when looking for an Agent in the late game, but it’s also not super necessary. It’s good in the control matchups where you don’t mind if it sometimes enters the battlefield tapped, but if the format became all aggro, I think I would get rid of one to have my lands come into play more consistently untapped.
26 lands – Definitely do not cut a land from this deck, it’s very mana hungry. I’d rather play 27 than 25.
4 Dovin’s Veto – The best card against all the greedy Bant decks that usually fold to having their Nissa and ECD countered.
2 Mystical Dispute – More ways to make sure your spells resolve against blue decks, and that their Teferi does not.
1 Brazen Borrower – Against the control decks, I like to board up to 4 Borrower and just play a slower “flash” game with counters and Borrowers. I feel like these matchups are already very good though, so if you need to cut something out of your sideboard to improve other matchups, it would be a reasonable cut.
3 Aether Gust – Mostly just for the red decks so you have an instant-speed way to deal with Embercleave. While this card is obviously great against U/G Ramp with expensive cards like Cavalier and Finale, do not board it in against Bant. It does nothing against Teferi and ECD, and Aether Gusting their Hydroid Krasis is a horrible deal. You have more than enough answers for their Nissa.
4 Devout Decree – More cards against red, but also your best card against R/B Sacrifice. I usually try to save it for Priest of Forgotten Gods and Mayhem Devil, but sometimes it can be correct to even get rid of a Cauldron Familiar before they can start sac’ing it to Oven.
1 Heliod’s Intervention – Answer for Clover and Witch’s Oven.
The one card I could actually see improving the deck would be Deputy of Detention, which would give you more answers against cards like Oven and Clover, while also being a passable removal spell against the aggressive decks.
How does this deck fit into the metagame?
I have been beating all the Mono-Red decks pretty easily, because every creature you play replaces itself and blocks. You keep gaining life, Teferi stops them from playing Embercleave at instant speed, and sometimes you just get them with Time Wipe. After sideboard you bring in eight more cards. I have also been beating all the decks with blue, whether it was U/W control, Bant, Fires, or U/R or U/G Flash. They can’t really afford to spend their counters on your creatures because those aren’t the most threatening cards that you have, but if they don’t, then you just keep drawing extra cards while building a board. If they do counter them, then you just resolve the game-winning cards like Teferi or ECD.
As I already mentioned, I have somehow not played against Clover yet, but in theory it should be a pretty bad matchup. People are probably staying away from it though, because it’s an extremely complicated deck and there has been a resurgence of anti-Clover decks like Jund and B/R Sacrifice and Temur Reclamation, while their best matchups like U/W Control are nowhere to be found. You can’t always beat everything.
What are you looking for in your opening hand?
Mostly just lands and spells. Make sure you have something to play in the early turns against an aggressive deck. Due to the large number of cantrips, you can keep a very wide range of hands, including a lot of two-landers. Any hand with six lands is a mulligan, but sometimes I keep five in a control matchup where it’s important to make a land drop every turn. I’d essentially never keep a one-lander on play, but on the draw with a Temple and cards like Fblthp, Omen, and Teferi, it can be correct to keep.
Tips and tricks
• Is blinking Prince or Fblthp better? That depends on the situation. Usually you will want to draw, but if you are only digging for a specific card, it is often better to scry because you see more cards. So if your only out is to draw into a Time Wipe, you would rather blink your Prince, but on turn 4 you are usually going to be happy with both lands and spells, so you’ll take the random draw from Fblthp.
• You apply similar logic to what’s better to play on turn 2 if you have both Fblthp and Prince. It’s almost always going to be Fblthp, but if you critically need a third land, it could be better to play Prince or Omen. Leading with Fblthp first and blinking it with Prince on turn 3 gives you more cards though.
• How do you deal with a Dream Trawler? That’s far from the most annoying cards against you because you can either counter it with Mystical Dispute for 1 blue mana or just tap it every turn with Thassa. Sure, they can give it hexproof in response, but… yea, it’s gonna get tapped anyway, so that doesn’t actually do anything. The most annoying card for you is Elspeth Conquers Death, but it’s not that hard to learn how to play around it.
• Cavalier of Dawn can target your indestructible Thassa and give you a free 3/3 token every turn.
• Think about how you want to play multiple scry effects in one turn. I usually lead with Temple of Enlightenment and then play Charming Prince, because I’m more likely to get more value this way. Scrying 2 first usually ends with you keeping at least one card, so if you play Temple second, it’s more likely to not do anything. If you lead with Temple and put the scry on the bottom, you see three cards this way.
• You can blink your Charming Prince with Thassa, causing the Prince to “phase out” one of your creatures till the end of your opponent’s next turn. This play is extremely useful against decks with sweepers and Elspeth Conquers Death, where you will sometimes want to protect your Agent of Treachery from it that way.
Remember that Fblthp is a great blocker for Unchained Berserker. I used to have Alirios as an extra card for this matchup which gives you two good blockers for just 3 mana and it’s a solid target for Thassa sometimes, but it’s just not necessary.
I would register this deck if I were going to GP Lyon or GP Detroit because it’s a lot of fun and if you dodge Clover, you can beat everything else.
If you are interested in actual gameplay, you can check out this VOD where I play this deck for about nine hours straight in the Czech Arena League and then on ladder. I also submitted some of the sweetest matches for the CFB daily videos, so you can also check here on the website or YouTube.
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