Fairly early on in testing we identified Jace as the best card for Standard in the new set. After that, most of our testing focused on how to make decks based around it. My teammates are playing UB and Jeskai decks that use it. I wasn’t really happy with either of those decks so I wound up going in a different direction.
The UR mill deck I built was a combination of a UR Pyromancer’s Goggles deck Huey had been working on and a Turbo Fog deck Reid had been trying. It basically plays like a Fog deck, but uses Magmatic Insight and Tormenting Voice to enable fast flipping of Jace and delving.
Sphinx’s Tutelage is the most important card in the deck. It’s your only reliable way to win. Before you have one out, you’re basically just trying to get one into play. Once you have one in play it’s pretty easy to mill somebody out over a couple of turns. The deck can actually kill much faster than you might suspect.
Whelming Wave, Send to Sleep, Anger of the Gods, and Roast provide the deck’s only defensive cards. Anger of the Gods is a tricky card in that it isn’t all that well positioned for Standard, but it is incredibly good in the right matchups. Whelming Wave is mostly there to buy time against Green Devotion. It will often take them 2 full turns to get an offense back into play. It’s very easy to get spell mastery with this deck, which makes Send to Sleep a two-turn Fog in the right circumstances. It’s also important to have a cheap defensive spell to draw into when you are casting all of your draw effects.
A lot will probably be written about Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy after this Pro Tour. It’s an extremely powerful card because it’s so easy to turn it into a 2-mana planeswalker. It seems to work best in decks that can both reliably flip it by turn 4 and have cards that are worth flashing back at that point. This deck meets those criteria with the red draw spells and Anger of the Gods. It’s also important to note that the looting also triggers Sphinx’s Tutelage.
Dictate of Kruphix was one of the last additions to the deck. I tried additional copies of Alhammaret’s Archive and Aggressive Mining. They both proved to be a little bit too expensive and inconsistent. The other nice aspect of the Dictate is that it allows you to build up an enchantment buffer to protect Sphinx’s Tutelage from Dromoka’s Command.
The one Dig Through Time in the deck is a concession to the fact that you really need to find Sphinx’s Tutelage or you can’t win. Once you have a Tutelage in play it’s generally better to use all of your delve fuel on Treasure Cruises.
From the sideboard Negate, Gainsay, and Talent of the Telepath are all tools to use against control decks. The main use of the permission spells is to try to protect Sphinx’s Tutelage. Talent of the Telepath is a hugely threatening card against UB because it can hit both Dig Through Time and Thoughtseize. There’s also one Disperse in the sideboard which can come in to get problematic permanents like Ashiok or Orbs of Warding off the board.
Fiery Impulse and Seismic Rupture come in against aggressive red decks. I’m playing Fiery Impulse instead of Wild Slash because it can be used to kill 3-toughness creatures like Mantis Rider and Seeker of the Way after a prowess trigger.
Overall I don’t really know what to expect from this deck. It isn’t a deck destined to be a long-term top tier deck in Standard, but it is a powerful deck that will hopefully catch people off-guard.