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A Unique Time

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"It's a unique time in our history, in the history of any civilization. It's the moment of the acquisition of technology. That's the moment where contact becomes possible." Contact

It's a unique time...

...when Wizards takes action and bans two cards, but the oppressive deck still remains to dominate the format.

...when Wizards creates a new format that shakes the financial community.

Well these past few weeks have been busy haven't they? Between new formats and tons of huge events, the Magic community has certainly been busy. We all know that Caw Blade is still out in force, but its dominance has been lessened now after the bannings. Still, it is the best deck so we must prepare ourselves to beat it. I am preparing to beat it at the upcoming Grand Prix Pittsburgh! This summer has been great: a Starcity 5k and a Grand Prix in my home town is amazing. I hope lots of players get to attend.

What can we do about fighting the swarm of Squadron Hawks equipped with Sword of Feast and Famine? For the past few weeks I have been advocating creating a giant fighting robot to destroy your opponent named Voltron! Voltron is equipped with his blazing Sword of War and Peace to swing past those pesky Squadron Hawks. If you follow the new show, you know the deck can draw its magma pistols with Mortarpod. Voltron is a toolbox worth of cards designed to beat up on players that are trying to equip their Squadron Hawks with Sword of Feast and Famine.

Let's get to my updated list.

Voltron!

If you have been playing with the deck, you know how powerful some of the cards are. Check out my last two articles solely dedicated to playing this deck: Ready to Form Voltron and Voltron Force.

Well what's different? Previously I have not liked the Etched Champion in this deck, but I think that it it quite important so he made it back into the deck. In that spot I had been running things like Kemba, Kha Regent or the two planeswalkers that are in the sideboard. Etched Champion is similar to those cards in that he is a difficult-to-deal-with threat that can win the game all on its own. He should almost always be unblockable and unkillable outside of Day of Judgement. You will notice I still have my Oblivion Rings. That is because they have been simply amazing in basically every match. I do not understand how the deck can run without them. Other than the changes to the never-static sideboard, the only other adjustment was a third Sword of War and Peace over the lonely Sword of Body and Mind.

The most important thing to know about this or any deck right now is how to beat Caw-Blade. The first thing you should do is to read the other two articles I've written about the deck. Once you have done that you will probably notice that I keep going on about Spell Pierce.

I believe that Spell Pierce is the single most important card to winning the match. You have all these really good Equipment in your deck, what is your rush to play them? The only one you can run out there regardless of the situation is Flayer Husk and maybe Mortarpod, depending on if you have a back up, but probably not even then. You want to play such that their Spell Pierces are so bad that they think about sideboarding them out for game two. These games are not quick so you should not be worried about them beating you quickly. If you get a Sword Spell Pierced, you will probably lose the game. Make them have to spend not only a Spell Pierce but also a Mana Leak to counter your equipment. Number one, if they do that then you should have the time to be attacking them and whittling down their life total. Number two, they are spending two cards to deal with your one Sword.

The number two most important thing to remember about playing this deck against Caw-Blade is to wait to play your Puresteel Paladin.

It is almost never the right play to cast him on turn two. If you have nothing else to do on your turn two and your opponent isn't showing Mana Leak, then sometimes it is right to play it there. Almost always the best time to play the paladin is late in the game. When you play it with a bunch of equipment in play, you get so much free mana because all of your equipping is free. A good time to play him a lot of the time is turn five if your opponent taps out. Then you can play Puresteel Paladin followed by Sword of War and Peace, draw your card, and blow them out.

One thing that makes this deck so good against Caw-Blade is the fact that the mana curve is so low. Because all of your cards are so cheap, you can play around all of their counters. The better you get at this, the easier the match will become. Make sure you test the match. If you have additional questions, I'd be happy to answer them below.

Maybe you never watched Voltron as a child and so you need a different deck to play. Well today is your lucky day. There are two other decks that are also quite good at beating Caw-Blade that I want to talk about.

First up is Brian Kibler's new deck, Blade Breaker. Kibler, the creator of the Caw-Blade menace, knows how to beat the deck, and I think it's quite good too. Here's his solution that he updated to top 32 at the TCG Player Invitational.

The basic premise of this deck is to make sure that you kill every equipment that Caw-Blade ever plays. If Caw-Blade does not have their Sword of Feast and Famine, it is not nearly as dangerous. This updated version cut one Manic Vandal and one Acidic Slime for some bigger guys but that should still be enough to destroy their swords. Personally I like running a second Inferno Titan in my build, but I do not have much testing with the deck yet so I would rather just post his list for everyone.

Not only do you get to destroy their Swords, but you also get to swing through their blockers with Hero of Oxid Ridge. This hasty guy has always been good at fighting Squadron Hawk and now he is also good at fighting Timely Reinforcements. They can't counter Thrun, the Last Troll and they can't block your guys equipped with Sword of War and Peace. This deck is designed to beat up on Caw-Blade.

I like the Obstinate Baloths in the sideboard to help with the Mono Red match as well as any other aggressive match if you need it.

Skinshifter can be a little awkward but he is pretty decent. Often you can play what you need to play and still have the mana for Skinshifter because of Lotus Cobra.

Overall the deck is pretty solid. It definitely has good matchups against Caw-Blade and Tempered Steel. More testing and sideboarding for matches like Valakut, UB Control, and Splinter Twin might be necessary, but this deck is certainly a good metagame choice.

The second deck I want to talk about was posted this week by Terry Soh called Snake Blade. What intrigued me about Snake Blade was its similarities to the Beef Blade project my friends and I were working on before the bannings. Take a look.

UG Snake Blade

What I like about this deck is the versatility that Green Sun's Zenith gives the deck. I have loved that card since it was first printed and it was really good in Valakut. Lotus Cobra gives you such a huge mana advantage and so does Sword of Feast and Famine. You are not going to run out of cards because between Garruk, Primal Hunter and Consecrated Sphinx, you should always have something to do. This deck seems like it has answers for every deck in the metagame but it also seems quite skill intensive. Though I have not tested this deck myself yet, it seems like the perfect solution right now.

Well, that's all for this week.

Until next time, Unleash that Caw-Blade-beating Force!

Mike Lanigan

MtgJedi on Twitter

Jedicouncilman23@gmail.com

p.s. When I first started writing for this site I wrote on the financial side. Would anyone be interested in an article on an introduction to speculation? Post below or send me a message. Thanks!

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