Hey everyone! This weekend marks the release of Ultimate Masters (UMA) and I for one I’m pretty excited to try out this Limited format. I’ll be heading down to GP Portland to play some UMA events and hopefully have some sweet opens. The set seems fairly high EV though prices seem to be dropping pretty quickly but either way I don’t want to get into the financials today I want to talk about some of the cards to look out for in each color and what some of the archetypes are trying to accomplish.
White has two things heavily supported in the mechanics which are Heroic and reanimating. Cards like Phalanx Leader and Wingsteed Rider are fantastic cards in Heroic decks and with all the Umbras to go with them the Heroic archetype may be the scourge of the format. Tethmos High Priest is another insanely powerful common Heroic card that can get back your Phalanx Leader. As far as a reanimator strategy there is Resurrection at Common and Miraculous Recovery at uncommon to bring back some of the Eldrazi in the set. I’d be looking to pick up Icatian Crier as a way to toss your reanimation target in the graveyard and make some blockers along the way.
There are a few things going on here as usual since blue tends to be the best support color. We get some sweet ramp in the format in the form of Deranged Assistant which works perfectly with a lot of the other mechanics in the format. You will notice the graveyard is a big part of the entire set so Deranged Assistant is a great enabler for those shenanigans. There is a spells matter deck here but it looks to be more in the higher rarities. Blue has some more ramp with Dreamscape Artist at Uncommon. There is also Slippery Bogle and if you get really lucky Sovereigns of Lost Alara and a decent number of enchantments in blue so there is a Auras deck here as well. Blue seems to have a lot of role players like Sultai Skullkeeper who I’ll probably want one of in all my blue decks. Stitcher’s Apprentice is another card that I want in all my blue decks and is so annoying for your opponent just invalidating a lot of their removal and plays well with so many other mechanics.
Here is the color you want to pair with white for reanimating big monsters. There is Unburial Rites at Uncommon and can be flashed back which is great for if you are self milling and happen to mill it then you can still cast it from your graveyard and it’s actually less mana. There is also Buried Alive to put those creatures in the yard. Otherwise there are a lot of discard outlets to toss your creatures and to enable any madness strategies as well. Olivia’s Dragoon is a great card to use to pitch your reanimation target or to help cast a Delve spell.There is also an Aristocrats style deck here with cards like Bloodflow Connoisseur and Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker to be able to keep sacrificing the same creatures over and over again each turn if they have 1 power. Not to mention casting a huge Grave Strength and just swinging for lethal. You can also use cards like Death Denied to send your sacrificed creatures back to your hand to recast.
In red there are some more payoffs to do an Izzet spells sort of thing with cards like Young Pyromancer and Thermo-Alchemist. There are more pieces to the Heroic deck like Arena Athlete who can make blocking very difficult for your opponent. The thing about Heroic is it makes all these cards that target very interesting. Now I see Nightbird’s Clutches and see the potential for you to use this on offense to target your own creatures say two Phalanx Leaders and attack. There are more pieces for the Aristocrats style deck with cards like Magmaw looking like a decent sac outlet. Then you have some other payoffs such as Furnace Celebration and some nice synergy in Hissing Iguanar. We also a have a great Madness enabler in the form of Faithless Looting what many say is a broken card in Modern. I’m very excited to have this in the set and it will be the catalyst for a lot of what you want to be doing in this format. I’ll also mention Mad Prophet as another Madness enabler and with haste you can potentially get a great double spell turn.
Finally green has one of the best role players in the format Satyr Wayfinder. It helps you hit your land drops then fuels just about any of the other mechanics in the set whether you are playing with Delve cards or Flashback cards Satyr Wayfinder is exactly where you want to be. The all mighty Spider Spawning is here and there seems to be a self mill strategy with that card and be aware it is very powerful. You just want to flip your deck into your graveyard and then go crazy with spiders. We also have Hooting Mandrils another Delve creature for most likely the Golgari color pair. We also have some more cards that could fit into a Heroic deck such as Travel Preparations which is just busted there. Green seems best suited to fit somewhere within the Sultai graveyard archetype but also has some applications in Naya with Heroic.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the Heroic decks just dominate the format or if the ability to produce bigger threats will be enough to slow them down. These graveyard decks seems to be pretty slow and if these Heroic decks just come out swinging then the graveyard deck will never get the chance to set up. I do hope that they are not too overpowered though because I look forward to doing some stupid Spider Spawning stuff this weekend. So get out there find a local draft or if you don’t want to spend a bunch of money you can draft phantom on MTGO and give this format a try it looks to be a ton of fun with a lot of room for creativity in deck construction. For anyone heading down to the GP this weekend good luck and have fun! Find me on Twitter and lets connect, I’ll be jamming Limited all weekend so come by and say hi!
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