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Updating UW Flash

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Aloha!

And hello once again. Today I am going to cover possible additions to the UW  Flash deck. There are a lot of slots in this deck that are set in stone and if you want to replace multiple cards, you will change the whole deck and concept. But 4 to 5 cards always vary from player to player, so let's see what might be best suited for the metagame ahead of us.

Before and shortly after Grand Prix Warsaw, there were only three real options to choose from - UW Flash, BG Delirium, and Mardu Vehicles. But with the Kaladesh Championships online superstar Jaberwocki introduced the world to his new creation, RG Marvel/Delirium. Because of this, Marvel decks are on the rise again, which was almost inevitable after BG Delirium claimed the throne for so long. With that in mind, we have to choose carefully. Now there is not only the controlling Green/Black deck and the ultra aggressive Vehicles deck that require us to be as flexible as possible, but also a combo deck which threatens a deadly 4-drop.

Before we go over our candidates, let me break down the slots which are - in my opinion - set and should not be changed:

25 Lands

4 Thraben Inspector

4 Smuggler's Copter

3 Selfless Spirit

4 Reflector Mage

4 Spell Queller

4 Stasis Snare

4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Archangel Avacyn

This is the core and the main idea of the deck. If you change these, you might want to build a whole different deck. This leaves us with just 4 additional slots.

Let's see what our options are:

Rattlechains

This guy was in the first iteration of the deck, which made big waves at the Pro Tour. It can protect Spell Queller or just flash in at the end of the turn if nothing else was cast. Being able to flash in a Selfless Spirit is cute, but the fear of Liliana, the Last Hope keeps it now from seeing too much play. It also is not overwhelming against the aggressive decks and is maybe just not good enough anymore. Now of course, nobody expects it, but I still don't think the time for a comeback has come. A 2/1 flyer does not attack into either Smuggler's Copter nor Ishkanah and that's basically the whole format in a nutshell.

Revolutionary Rebuff

Now we come to a flurry of counterspells. The first entry here is such a bad card but may be a necessary evil, and thus is being played in almost every list right now. It does not counter Smuggler's Copter or any other Vehicle, Aetherworks Marvel or any Puzzleknot, no Metalwork Colossus and gets worse and worse as the game progresses. Still, the deck needs something to do on the second turn and sometimes you just do not have the Copter ready. Rebuff is a pretty neat answer to various 5-drops like Ishkanah and Avacyn, so having a card which is good in the mirror as well as against BG is a nice thing to have, while the situationality is very frustrating at times.

Thalia, Heretic Cathar
Versions:
Eldritch Moon (Foil)

Spell Shrivel

This is the counterspell we actually want to play, but costing three mana is an absolute disaster. UW Flash is already overloading on 3-drops, especially with another entry on the list, coming just in a second. Spell Shrivel belongs in every Sideboard and en masse, but the main deck needs something else in my opinion.

Negate

I played with this a lot, as I copied Steve Hatto's list from Pro Tour Kaladesh as a starting point and it was fine but nothing too exciting. Negate might actually be a good option once again with Marvel on the rise and BG declining a little bit. It hits everything you want to hit against Marvel and can actually counter Smuggler's Copter on the play. It counters removal out of the aggressive decks as well as in the mirror, which is very tough to do with a Rebuff and you can still hit some things in BG like the tutor effects or a removal spell. It is still bad that the cards you care about are creatures for the most part.

Declaration in Stone

This removal spell was played very heavily at the start of the season, but things went in another direction. First, you don't want to overload on removal spells, but you need to apply pressure as well. You are a tempo deck, so trying to keep the battlefield clean of everything is not a route to victory.  Second, the card disadvantage keeps coming back at you. It is still a fine play to make after Ishkanah hit the board though. What really kills this removal spell for me is its sorcery speed. This is not a turn 2 play.

Immolating Glare

Another two mana removal spell and this time it is an instant. This is great against Copters and Toolcraft Exemplars alike and sometimes it shines against Grim Flayers as well, but I always start cursing when I draw Glare and am in the beatdown role. In some matchups it can be more of a race and then Glare is fine in any case. But now with two decks in the metagame being almost completely immune to it, I had to cut it from my main deck. Also, getting owned by either Selfless Spirit or Avacyn in the mirror does not help either.

Thalia, Heretic Cathar

This is the aforementioned additional 3-drop. Thalia is great when being cast on the play and very medium when on the draw. She is great in almost every matchup, slowing down the Delirium decks, brickwalling the aggro onslaught and messing up all kind of things in the mirror, at least the flash in Archangel. She is clunky though and being vulnerable to every spell does not help. I play her as a one-of, as having two in your hand is way more miserable than having two Gideons or Avacyns.

Key to the City
Versions:
Kaladesh (Foil)

Gisela, the Broken Blade

Some players cut Gideon for the other 4-drop, some just play more heavy hitters. Neither of these things can be right. Gideon is probably the best card in the deck after Smuggler's Copter and lifting the mana curve is also not what the deck needed (hint: it is the exact opposite). Gisela is an awesome sideboard card but does not belong in the main deck.

Elder Deep-Fiend

I really want to try this one out. I fear that you don't have enough sacrifice fodder to make the big Eldrazi work, but this steals wins against so many things. Suddenly Ishkanah is not that big of a problem anymore and even Emrakul can be tapped to have your creatures not run into her. Speaking of Emrakul, tapping lands down on the crucial turn will delay her an additional turn. Emerging the Deep-Fiend can trigger Archangel Avacyn, which is a neat way to get that Anger of the Gods effect when not having access to Selfless Spirit.

Key to the City

This is currently a work in progress but it is doing the things I want it to do for the most part. Letting Gideon attack past all the Ishkanah tokens and everything else is a cool feature and gives sort of inevitability to the matchup and even Emrakul cannot stop that from happening. It also works as a poor man's Smuggler's Copter of sorts, letting your creature attack and loot at the same time. This deck really needs the loot ability to not flood out horrendously and sometimes four Smuggler's Copter are not enough.

So my current recommendation for the last four slots is:

2 Revolutionary Rebuff

1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar

1 Key to the City

There you have it. I will give the Eldrazi plan a try before I jump on my plane to hopefully sunny Spain, but this is where I am at for now.

That's it for today. If things go as planned, I will bring you a report from the Grand Prix next time.

Until then,

Jasper

Jasper Grimmer
Jasper Grimmer

About Jasper Grimmer

Jasper is a player from Germany who can be found at almost every European Grand Prix and prepares a lot for them. Being on the GP circuit since 2011, he has had a number of good finishes: 

  • Top 8 GP Malmö 2012
  • Top 8 GP Paris 2015 
  • Top 4 Team GP Florence 2015 (with Amit Cohen & Robin Steinborn)
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