I’m Bored. Let’s Brew.

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I tend to enjoy drafting a lot more than playing Standard for a number of reasons. That said, if you want to take Magic seriously, then Standard events are generally going to be more common and more lucrative (I know, comical word to describe a Magic tournament) than limited ones. I haven't been paying a ton of attention to Standard lately and from what I've heard there are some rather silly things happening. My understanding is that Unburial Rites + Acidic Slime + Restoration Angel is all the rage but that deck apparently can't beat Jund and the aggressive decks are sort of glass cannons.

Oh, and Sire of Insanity is a pretty real thing.

After perusing the SCG Open Series schedule and the PTQ schedule it looks like I have literal zero Standard events that I should care about until August. That, to me, means that it's time to start spamming completely outrageous decks at unsuspecting opponents and hoping that one of them turns out to be alright.

I was experiencing mixed feelings playing Naya prior to Dragon's Maze, as no matchup felt especially bad but everything felt very draw-dependent. So now, I think I'm going to take a hiatus from playing what sounds safe. It'll be a nice throwback to the point in my life when I would just show up to FNM with 56 cards + 4 Jace the Mind Sculptor. Those were the days...

When I brew I have a pretty top-down approach. Travis Woo, for example, likes to start with the question of what he can do. I like to start by asking the question "what do I need to beat?". Here's a short list of things that I don't want to lose to:

That's a pretty mixed bag. Needless to say, the power level of Standard is pretty freaking high right now.

When it comes to aggressive decks, they're typically the easiest to combat as "kill all of your dudes" is extremely consistently a strong strategy against them, so to start off I want to focus on the other decks.

It looks like I'm going to need to be able to beat some very big plays without relying too heavily on my graveyard or on controlling a lot of lands. The easiest solution seems to be just being aggressive, but I'm not about that.

Well, I do like attacking with these guys:

Some time ago I was really into UWR Geist tempo but ended up retiring the deck when UWx flash decks started popping up everywhere. The decks that were better at casting Sphinx's Revelation were just too tough to deal with, but with everything being more midrange I could see Geist Tempo being a pretty serious contender.

Since I played the deck two pretty interesting new toys have become available:

Ral Zarek is also a thing now, but I'm not thinking he's where I'm going to want to be. What I want to do is punch people in the face early and often. So right now I'm asking myself two questions:

Do I Want Geist, Reckoner, or Both

When it comes to combating aggro Reckoner is the clear choice, and if I'm attacking unimpeded then I'll prefer to have Geist. Seeing as I'm insanely out of practice, I'm just going to jam both. The worst thing that could happen is that I'll lose some matches of Magic. I do that all the time soooooooooooooo, pretty low opportunity cost to trying both.

Is Warleaer's Helix Good Enough?

I'd be pretty surprised if the answer was no. It kills the majority of potential opposing threats, provides a life cushion and packs a lot of damage for a singular card. There's no way it isn't an awesome target for Snapcaster Mage, so I think I'm sold for the time being.

Oh yeah, if it wasn't obvious I'm definitely going to be playing Snapcaster Mage. Seems unlikely that I'll pass on Restoration Angel as well.

I suppose I have another pretty important question?

Sphinx's Revelation?

I think I'm going to start off with these ones on the sideboard and see how it feels. I want to see how well I can just kill people. Stopping to durdle, while fun, isn't conducive to this plan. They're definitely a front-runner for sideboard options though.

So, it looks like I want to kill people with these:

I'd make a wager that counterspells are going to be mostly just okay in a deck that wants to tap out for these types of threats, and I know for a fact that I'll need to be able to kill creatures. These look like good options for a spell suit:

In typical early draft fashion, I'm thinking I'll start with a grip of two-ofs and see how everything feels. This looks like a good starting place:

Cosby Sweater


4 Boros Reckoner
4 Geist of Saint Traft
4 Restoration Angel
2 Thundermaw Hellkite
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Pillar of Flame
4 Searing Spear
2 Mizzium Mortars
2 Detention Sphere
2 Warleaders Helix
2 Izzet Charm


4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Steam Vents
4 Sulfur Falls
4 Clifftop Retreat
2 Cavern of Souls

Thoughts Going In

Reckoner + Geist might be overloading me on creatures and leaving my Snapcasters hanging from time to time. Cavern of Souls is also awkward with Reckoner in general but I definitely want the Caverns over basics. It's possible that I want to explore some manner of draw option other than Izzet Charm, but things that aren't Sphinx's Revelation in this format are pretty unimpressive. I'm also wondering how good Resto is going to be but I'd find it hard to believe that just Flash 3/4 Flier isn't generally good enough. I mean, come on. Card is stupid. A maindeck Dissipate or two might also be necessary. We shall see.

I plan on running this deck through some Dailies, 8-mans, etc and seeing how things run. Is it quick enough to beat Reanimator and Jund? Is it powerful enough to combat Naya Blitz? I don't know, but it sure looks fun.

-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

7 thoughts on “I’m Bored. Let’s Brew.

  1. i don’t like d sphere. Snap cant use it! and it die! 4 snap? without much instant/sorcery, it might be a bit much.

    You don’t need 26 in a deck without sphinx revelation (that i can only guess you didn’t want to play for budget issue. this card is awesome) Try Slayer’s Stronghold or Moorland Haunt. you defenitly don’t need 12 checkland / 12 shock. 8-9 check is enough. 10-11 shock should me enough. put basics and utility land for the remaning slots. (you need less azorious and more mountains with the actual list)

    1 or 2 unsummon are cool in that type of deck. boros charm? azorious charm? Thoughscour? (the draw four discard 2 in izzet, thoughtflare or something)? try turn // burn, awesome when attacking with geist! you need a good selection of spell, (aka not 4-of) to maximize those snap in late game. So when you pay 3 or 4 with a snap late game, you can do almost anything.

    Overall, nice deck but you need to test it. for the article in general, try to explain more options in your article, why you didn’t take one route or another is almost as important as explaining your cards choice… and at the beginning, you point out specific cards you don’t want to lose against and your deck don’t really address to those cards. you don’t answer angel, sire, groundseal and sphinx at all (you won’t really put a d-sphere on a groundseal really?). it’s a nice introduction, but you don’t follow up in the right direction IMO.

    Good luck!

    1. You will NEVER see me submit a decklist with buget considerations.

      This was all very stream of conscious and the deck has changed a bit since I put it together. I have zero problem with the manabase and don’t see why you wouldn’t want all the duals. The big problem with decks like this before was they didn’t have that luxury.

      I’ve been playing a good amount since I posted this and trying to aggro Dragon wasn’t really working out and Azorius Charm/ Sphinxes Revelation have been decided on in some capacity. This list was fairly rough and was just an update as I wrote. Next week we’ll get down to the nitty gritty.

    1. I don’t like Boros Charm as a Maindeck option. It does basically nothing against aggressive decks and I’d rather have blanks against control because losing game one to aggro tends to matter more, as sometimes you just get run over so you want your deck suited to beat them every game. Azorius Charm will likely be in my update for next week.

  2. I think of this as less “let’s brew” and more “jam good stuff”.

    As the tl;dr post stated, I’d like to see more meat & potatoes… this just comes off as a “oh crap, it’s deadline!” article.

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