Epiphany at the Drownyard – Researching the Field


Hello and welcome to my new column Epiphany at the Drownyard!  Here we will be discussing standard and understanding the fundamentals of the decks within standard and how to attack them.

Let us take a look at one of the two current bogeymen of standard, U/W flash.

Emma Handy’s U/W Flash List at SCG Knoxville Open (8th Place)

This deck just keeps putting up impressive numbers of top 8 decks. In fact U/W flash this last weekend managed to put up 3 top 8 lists. What makes this deck tick? What makes it perform so well every weekend?

Spell Queller

On the play this card is an absolute star. With being able to time walk my opponent’s third turn following up with a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is just brutal. Even on the draw being able to shut off my opponents fourth turn to be back on the play is just so strong, but one card can not simply carry the entire weight of the deck on its back. With the likes of Archangel AvacynReflector Mage, and Stasis Snare all of what this deck does is simply brutal. Avacyn holds up your spell queller through removal to keep up the tempo advantage. The Thraben Inspector Smuggler’s Copter combo keeps up your card advantage to put yourself light years ahead of your opponent. The 2/3 bodies coupled with the evasion and effective removal all make this deck a dangerous opponent. The sideboard that Emma has put together is one that I can appreciate. This deck qualifies as an aggro midrange strategy, which means that the beatdown is applied through stand alone threats not synegystic linear strategies, so the sideboard slows us down into a more traditional midrange strategy while being more effective against the extreme aggro decks that want to 20 to 0 in 4 turns. The sideboard is almost a completely transitional board except the cards can come in as singletons or doubles if needed. Although this deck may be an absolute terror on the meta game it is not unstoppable.

This deck does not fear many things but it does fear one thing with crippling concession.
Ishkanah, Grafwidow
The true bogeyman of the format. The dreaded spider queen, Ishkanah, Grafwidow.

Brad Nelson’s G/B Delirium at SCG Knoxville Open (First Place)

Spells (18)

This deck has also been putting up consistent top 8’s since the beginning of the newest standard rotation. There is a lot of great things that this deck gets to do that no other deck in standard can. Getting delirium is just the beginning. It plays with the graveyard as almost a secondary library. The engine in Liliana, the Last Hope is one of the strongest things to be doing in standard. A turn 3 Liliana -2 into a turn 4 Mindwrack Demon means that it has almost zero drawback. The deck also gets to play arguably the most efficient removal spell in the format, Grasp of Darkness. It hits all the valuable things in standard while reducing the value of standard’s friend Spell Queller. As a whole the deck is just another midrange deck that lives on the border of control, but what makes it stronger than U/W flash is Ishkanah, Grafwidow. What she does is make it impossible for U/W to swing into, and bouncing it to hand with Reflector Mage does not stop the tokens from chump blocking the guys in the air and the ground. Being a converted mana cost of 5 also makes Spell Queller just a terrible draw in the match up. The whole deck just reduces the value of all of U/W flash’s tempo cards and makes their trades even worse. The deck is also favorable to deal with every other deck in the format because of Emrakul, the Promised End. She is able to make a game go from 50/50 to 70/30 in their favor just with the cast trigger, and not to mention the 13/13 flying, trample, protection from instants body that it gets to hide behind. Although this deck has more synergy based strategies with the delirium theme, all in all any card that you play is just stand out good. No matter what this deck is pitted against it has an answer, even more in the sideboard. The ability to be mildly aggressive against straight control decks of the formats make this deck the hardest deck to play against in standard. U/W is rather straight forward in that it wants to knock your life total down to 0 rather quickly while gaining tempo through the use of its’ creatures and spells. G/B however can both beat your life total down quickly and extend very well later.

Going to a major tournament like SCG Knoxville, a Grand Prix, or even a local PPTQ the deck that is well poised to at the very least top 8 is G/B and it has the best chance of beating out some of the U/W decks that will most likely also get there.