Magic the Tournament Grind: Part One, July


This past weekend I attended SCG Richmond, M14 was a brand new format and going into the event I was pretty excited to see the impact of the new cards. It had been a while since I had attended a big event and to be honest I was pretty excited to just to play. Big events are super fun and you get to play a ton of magic against, at the least,  generally competent opponents. If you read my earlier article you know I was on esper control. My list didn’t change very much because given my testing it ran rather well. The list I played is below,

4 Snapcaster Mage

1 Jace, Memory Adept

4 Azorius Charm

2 Doom Blade

3 Far/Away

2 Dissipate

2 Syncopate

4 Silence

4 Terminus

3 Think Twice

4 Sphinx’s Revelation

1 Oblivion Ring

4 Nephalia Drownyard

4 Hallowed Fountain

4 Glacial Fortress

2 Isolated Chapel

4 Godless Shrine

4 Drowned Catacomb

3 Watery Grave

1 Island


2 Negate

1 Oblivion Ring

1 Curse of Death’s Hold

2 Supreme Verdict

3 Vampire Nighthawk

2 Renounce the Guilds

1 Jace, Memory Adept

2 Ratchet Bomb

1 Witchbane Orb

Overall the list ran well. Silence was a great card. I only ever boarded a couple copies out against an aggro deck, otherwise I adhered to my four copies. With snapcaster and Jace, Memory Adept the silence plan can straight shut games out. I won a bunch of games by playing Jace and getting the silence lock. I went X-3 (3-3 drop, I wanted pizza) and I think with a few tweaks the deck could be quite competitive. More on that later.

Rather than going through each match I’m going to talk about the matchups of the decks I played. I think think may be a more interesting read but let me know in the comments what you’d rather hear!

Rakdos Aggro (R/B)

This was a very aggressive deck with Spike Jester and Hellrider. A lot of the games come down to stabilizing and casting a Sphinx’s Revelation and winning OR doing everything you can to draw a Sphinx’s Revelation. Naturally you board out slower cards and add in more removal, sweepers, and anti aggro cards. I boarded like this,

-2 Silence

-2 Dissipate

-1 Doom Blade

-1 Snapcaster Mage

-1 Think Twice

+ 2 Supreme Verdict

+ 3 Vampire Nighthawk

+ 2 Ratchet Bomb

I think I was was set up well to survive. In the tournament I got blown out game 1 via land screw, won game 2, and lost game 3 when I got stuck on lands again. Happens. The heavy haste nature can be difficult to play around but overall I think esper should normally crush, assuming you hit lands (gotta love that variance)

UWR control.

This is one of those matchups that is heavily in your favor. Drownyard just gets there. Silence plus Jace also shines and your general higher Sphinx’s Revelation gives you an advantage, especially since you can use Silence to protect your Revelations. I boarded like this.

-4 Terminus

-1 Doom Blade

+2 Negate

+1 Oblivion Ring

+1 Jace, Memory Adept

+1 Witchbane Orb

Oblivion Ring for planewalkers, more counterspells, Jace to speed things up (gotta keep round time in mind), and Witchbane to shut down burn and random sideboard cards like Psychic Spiral (which mine totally did, WOOP). The match is fairly easy. Just stay patient and mill. Beautiful thing is your opponents Revelations generally don’t matter all that much since the life gain is irrelevant and most of the time you get to Revelation when they are tapped out and stay ahead.

Jund (X3)

I played Jund several times. It was a very popular deck. Overall I think this deck is also in your favor. The life gain from their creatures is again irrelevant to your game plan and they are very susceptible to Jace + Silence lock down. The game plan here is to live until you can Revelation over and over and Drownyard them out. All of my Jund matches were easy except one, shout outs to the guy who maindecked 4 Liliana of the Veil and 3 Rakdos Return (that was rough for me). Here is how I boarded.

-2 Doom Blade

-2 Syncopate

-1 Terminus

-1 Sphinx’s Revelation

+2 Renounce the Guilds

+1 Jace, Memory Adept

+1 Oblivion Ring

+2 Negate

Basically, you smooth out you removal package and counters. I opted to cut a Revelation for Jace to hedge against Slaughter Games which turned out to be a good call.

Junk Aristocrats.

This match is difficult. Sorin emblems and Gavony Township are difficult to handle because they make top deck Lingering Souls a big problem after you stabilize. I unfortunately did not note my exact sideboard plan. But it probably looked like this,

-2 Doom Blade

-2 Syncopate

+1 Witchbane Orb

+1 Curse of Death’s Hold

+2 Ratchet Bomb

I need more matchup experience here. But overall I think you prioritize stabilizing and trying to cast a Revelation (Duh) but this isn’t always easy because they board into Sin Collector.

Moving forward I would probably maindeck the 2nd Jace, Memory Adept and Oblivion Ring. Not sure where I would cut but I think you could find space with some testing. Why aren’t I testing that you might ask??? Well because I’m switching decks. That’s right, again. More like switching back to UWR.

Creatures (11)

  • 4 Augur of Bolas

  • 4 Restoration Angel

  • 3 Snapcaster Mage

Lands (26)

  • 1 Island

  • 3 Clifftop Retreat

  • 2 Encroaching Wastes

  • 4 Glacial Fortress

  • 4 Hallowed Fountain

  • 1 Moorland Haunt

  • 3 Sacred Foundry

  • 4 Steam Vents

  • 4 Sulfur Falls

Spells (24)

  • 4 Azorius Charm

  • 2 Counterflux

  • 1 Rewind

  • 3 Sphinx’s Revelation

  • 2 Syncopate

  • 4 Think Twice

  • 1 Turn

  • 2 Warleader’s Helix

  • 3 Pillar of Flame

  • 2 Supreme Verdict


  • 2 Ratchet Bomb

  • 2 Izzet Staticaster

  • 3 Thundermaw Hellkite

  • 2 Oblivion Ring

  • 3 Dispel

  • 2 Renounce the Guilds

  • 1 Turn

Watching William Jenson play this was truly inspiring and made me really want to play it again. I’ve have been playing uwr flash type decks for almost a year now and I love them. It isn’t often I don’t pick good lines with control/UWR decks but I was put in my place watching the Pro Tour veteran and sure in Hall of Famer pilot this deck. It was amazing to get a dose of what that level of playing magic looks like. You only get that by coming out to these types of events.

There is a PTQ this weekend so I will report back how I do playing UWR. Shout outs to all the TEG guys you made it out to SCG Richmond. Most of them really appreciated the tips the BIG crew gave them so I might also follow up with a tournament survival guide soon so if you go to a big event like this you will know what to expect.

Later Dudes

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