Historic UR Phoenix | Adam Plays Magic

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Have you ever had the best meal of your life, then have the waiter bring out dessert? Fortunately, we're dining at Chez Streets of New Capenna and we've just been served Ledger Shredder, a perfect complement to our Arclight Phoenix deck.

Ledger Shredder has been making waves in every format it's legal, and it's easy to see why. It offers a decent 1/3 flying body that often becomes a 2/4 before your opponent gets to untap. Shredder comes with built-in card selection, a discard outlet for your Phoenix, and a stocked graveyard to enable Delirium. Above all, it plays well with the UR spells archetype without overcommitting to the graveyard, making typical Phoenix hate pieces like Lantern of Insight less backbreaking. Just existing on the battlefield acts as a quasi-Rule of Law because it gets to Connive off your opponent's spells too! A two-mana threat that fixes your draws and messes with your opponent's gameplay is -chef's kiss-.

Mind you, Phoenix didn't need the help. It's been a dominating deck in Historic for years now, and it keeps getting excellent additions. It takes full advantage of some of the best card draw spells in the game: Expressive Iteration, Careful Consideration, and Faithless Looting, all of which also play well with Ledger Shredder.

As you can probably tell, I'm a big fan. But what about the rest of the deck?

What I Like

Phoenix is a deck with a lot of consistency. Half the deck is made up of cantrips and ways to improve your draws, then you have a handful of hard-to-answer threats and solid removal options. It's a perfect recipe. It's often trivial to string together three instants or sorceries in the same turn to return Phoenix, even if you only start with one in hand. Your graveyard is often stocked well enough to escape Ox of Agonas for a free draw three multiple times in a game.

Thanks to all of your card selection, you're more likely to find your key pieces as well as your sideboard cards. You're rarely ever with a lack of options and the deck scales well with player skill.

Notably, your opponents will often over-prioritize answers to Phoenix like Rest in Peace, which are both bad in multiples and leave them soft to your less graveyard-dependent threats.

If you like taking game actions and drawing cards, this is the deck for you.

What I Don't Like

Due to all of the card selection, Phoenix has a lot of decisions, and making a wrong one can be catastrophic and cascading. I know I put this in the plus column, but it's equally deserving of a minus. It's pretty common for you to keep a hand with mostly cantrips and see how it develops. Sometimes those cantrips draw into too many lands, too many creatures, or into too much air in general. This runs the risk of not developing your board state in a reasonable amount of time.

As I discuss in the video, this particular list was developed by Team ChannelFireball for the New Capenna Championship. The sideboard is focused on tackling a very small and predicted field. As a result, there are a lot of cards for the mirror, but not many general answers like Anger of the Gods. If you take this list for a spin on the Arena ladder, I recommend revisiting your sideboard and adjusting based on a more generalized metagame.

The Deck

End Step

And another one is in the books! UR Phoenix is exactly my kind of deck and it's always a pleasure when I get the chance to sling spells. Another special milestone--during the recording for this week, I hit 100 followers on Twitch! If you're not keeping up with me there, you're definitely missing out. As always, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter at @AdamECohen if you want to talk shop about the deck or have a suggestion for what you'd like to see me play in a future installment.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation