My name is Justin, and I work for Escapist Magazine.
Like most folks I've played Magic on and off over the years. It's only been recently that a more competitive fire has been stirring. Moving past routinely getting prizes at FNM, I've Top 8'ed some PTQs and made into money at a few smaller events, it's been a slow climb but I'm enjoying seeing myself progress. I doubt I'll ever see myself on the Pro Tour, but I still like the environment of competitive magic.
Recently I've been trying to branch out from my aggro roots, see what it's like on the other sides and learn how they tick more fully. Playing control, tempo and combo in various formats.
|Avg. deck rating||5.20|
|Favorite formats||Standard,Commander / EDH,Modern|
|Venues||Atomic Empire, Gaming Underground, Event Horizon Games, Game Theory|
|Last activity||3 days|
Yes and no. At some point a good hand against a good match-up negates player skill. There's just no amount of Pro-Tour Top 8s that can miraculously pull out a win. Player skill is about giving yourself the best chances to win.
That said, the UW Heroic deck requires a lot more skill than I think most folks give it credit. It's got important mulligan decisions since it needs to have both parts of the deck, and it has the typical decision aggro hinges that make and break games.
And it also looks at a lot of cards, there's a lot of scry and even tutoring that can occur in a single game with the deck. The more actions and decisions points that occur in a game the greater chance that a players skill can tip the odds for and against them.
The checklist cards are only there as stand ins. Your deck would still contain an illegal number of cards. You'd be given the opportunity to replace it if possible, otherwise a basic land would be added to make up the difference.
As Abzan Midrange against Jeskai Tempo you typically want some combination out of your sideboard of -
More removal. Killing their creatures takes a lot of wind out of their sails and leaves them with a bunch of burn spells. Their game plan is to stick a threat and then keep the opponent off balance. If you keep them off a constant source of damage it's much easier to stabilize.
Cheaper threats, specifically you're trying to dodge Disdainful Stroke. However, many of them are bringing in some number of sweepers after board. Don't overextend into them.
Just to clarify as well, even if they had zero cards in hand you don't loose the game until you attempt to draw from an empty library.
That's not exactly what Jace, the Mind Sculptor does. Jace's ult ends up making the cards currently in their hand into the only cards left in their library. Often that's still effectively a win, but it's not technically a win right that moment, unless they had zero cards in hand.
Exile all cards from target player's library, then that player shuffles his or her hand into his or her library.
And that's a Magical Christmasland statement
I can do better. T1 Fetchland, Thought Scour, Gitaxian Probe. T2 Thought Scour - which means you now have eight cards in librayr and can Treasure Cruise on Turn 2. In fact with both Thought Scours you only need a fectchland or a Gitaxian Probe to have Turn 2 cruise since each one is three cards in the yard.
Christmas for everyone.
But really this demonstrates why these lists are interested in having a small number of Thought Scour. It's not about powering out Treasure Cruise as early as possible, but it gives you a lot of fuel to snap it off on Turn 4-5 when you want to rebuild your hand. Especially for building it up during someone's end step when they might have played their turn out not expecting to need to fight over a Treasure Cruise.
Triggers prowess on Monastery Swiftspear.
Makes elementals for Young Pyromancer.
Makes Snapcaster Mage a cantrip.
"Before your spell is cast, I'm Counterspelling it" doesn't work. What's actually happening is that you're effectively saying before your spell resolves I'm doing something in response.
Just to reinforce this, wording when it comes to Magic rulings is very specific.
Casting a spell is the act of putting it on the stack. So it's impossible to try and counter a spell with these kind of effects since the spell has already been cast. Spells resolve from the stack, you're not casting it when the spell actually goes off.
701.4a To cast a spell is to take it from the zone its in (usually the hand), put it on the stack, and pay its costs, so that it will eventually resolve and have its effect. A player may cast a spell if he or she has priority. See rule 601, "Casting Spells."