Wizard with a Knife - Brewing in Modern

Wizard with a Knife - Brewing in Modern

Brewing a UW Flash style deck in Modern.

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I am about to ask a very stupid question, as I'm likely missing something obvious, so sorry if this is a retarded question:

Why run Scalding Tarn and Marsh Flats? You play Tarn, sacrifice it, pay 1 life and then put an Island into play. How is this better than just running an Island in your deck instead? Isn't the point of such lands to use those with colors appropriate to your deck, so you can use them to get the land type you need in a given circumstance? If the only possible outcome of playing such a card is getting only one land type, aren't you just tossing life away? Wouldn't you need something like Flooded Strand for a blue/white deck?

I'm only a casual Magic player, so I'm asking an honest question here, I'm not trying to be a smartarse or anything...

Jandau:
I am about to ask a very stupid question, as I'm likely missing something obvious, so sorry if this is a retarded question:

Why run Scalding Tarn and Marsh Flats? You play Tarn, sacrifice it, pay 1 life and then put an Island into play. How is this better than just running an Island in your deck instead? Isn't the point of such lands to use those with colors appropriate to your deck, so you can use them to get the land type you need in a given circumstance? If the only possible outcome of playing such a card is getting only one land type, aren't you just tossing life away? Wouldn't you need something like Flooded Strand for a blue/white deck?

I'm only a casual Magic player, so I'm asking an honest question here, I'm not trying to be a smartarse or anything...

Sadly, Flooded Strand, and the rest of the Onslaught fetches, are not Modern legal. So you're forced to make due with just the enemy fetch lands. Also, Scalding Tarn and Marsh Flats can still go an get Hallowed Fountain though because it has the basic land types. Which still essentially allows you to play more sources of each color.

Slycne:

Jandau:
I am about to ask a very stupid question, as I'm likely missing something obvious, so sorry if this is a retarded question:

Why run Scalding Tarn and Marsh Flats? You play Tarn, sacrifice it, pay 1 life and then put an Island into play. How is this better than just running an Island in your deck instead? Isn't the point of such lands to use those with colors appropriate to your deck, so you can use them to get the land type you need in a given circumstance? If the only possible outcome of playing such a card is getting only one land type, aren't you just tossing life away? Wouldn't you need something like Flooded Strand for a blue/white deck?

I'm only a casual Magic player, so I'm asking an honest question here, I'm not trying to be a smartarse or anything...

Sadly, Flooded Strand, and the rest of the Onslaught fetches, are not Modern legal. So you're forced to make due with just the enemy fetch lands. Also, Scalding Tarn and Marsh Flats can still go an get Hallowed Fountain though because it has the basic land types. Which still essentially allows you to play more sources of each color.

I admit, I don't keep up with what's currently legal, but I was just using Flooded Strand as an example. But aside from the Fountain synergy, you might as well be playing basic lands instead, right? Therefore, is the ability to fetch Hallowed Fountain worth all the life all this will cost you (as once you played the Fountain you'd essentially be using the fetch lands to get plain lands)?

Also, wouldn't that many fetch cards with so few basic lands open the danger of having dead cards in hand? For instance, you already have a Plains and the Fountain in play, you pull a Marsh Flats. That card then literally can't do anything.

Again, not trying to be a prick here, just trying to understand how this works.

Jandau:
snip

There are advantages to the fetches that make up for the life loss. To start they all represent the ability to go get UW or U/W, where as a basic is only every going to be U or W. This means smoother mana and less mulligans, and if you're talking about a list that's going to play game after game at a tournament consistency is important. The ability to search can also be more important than initially apparent. As mentioned in the article Blood Moon is a card you're sometimes forced to play around, so the option to go get basic lands can be key rather than say having them just be something like Mystic Gate. Even the shuffling can sometimes matter, let's say I kept cards on top with Serum Visions thinking the game was going to go a certain way and my opponent plays something unexpected. Fetching let's you shuffle the library and get a fresh draw.

There's also an extremely small mathematical advantage as each fetch land also removes another land from the deck. It statistically works out that eventually you'll draw a spell instead of a land you might not need. Though it's a much smaller % than most folks believe. Basically it comes down to the idea that all that utility is worth the life loss.

As for eventually running out of lands to search for, it's theoretically an issue, but the games where that occurs you would be so flooded with mana to have basically lost already. So the only risk would be the 1 in a 1,000 games where the game has gone super long and yet somehow a land off the top wasn't a dead draw regardless.

I think the most obvious thing missing from this deck is celestial colonnade. Having your dual land which can help with flooding and act as a kill condition is very important.

I love the deck, and I like that you're not just going UWR like everyone and their mom. However, I would suggest maybe using an Eidolon of Rhetoric in your board instead of Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. While Teferi gives Geist flash getting a turn 6 Geist is not really where you want to be IMO. However, cheaper to cast, doesn't die to Lightning Bolt, and if they swords it you get an extra land in the control matchup which makes mana leak worse for them. I would suggest a play test with it because it has exceeded all my expectations. I also think If you decide to switch out the mind censors jp201 is right with a celestial colonnade or two.

Jandau:

Slycne:

Jandau:
I am about to ask a very stupid question, as I'm likely missing something obvious, so sorry if this is a retarded question:

Why run Scalding Tarn and Marsh Flats? You play Tarn, sacrifice it, pay 1 life and then put an Island into play. How is this better than just running an Island in your deck instead? Isn't the point of such lands to use those with colors appropriate to your deck, so you can use them to get the land type you need in a given circumstance? If the only possible outcome of playing such a card is getting only one land type, aren't you just tossing life away? Wouldn't you need something like Flooded Strand for a blue/white deck?

I'm only a casual Magic player, so I'm asking an honest question here, I'm not trying to be a smartarse or anything...

Sadly, Flooded Strand, and the rest of the Onslaught fetches, are not Modern legal. So you're forced to make due with just the enemy fetch lands. Also, Scalding Tarn and Marsh Flats can still go an get Hallowed Fountain though because it has the basic land types. Which still essentially allows you to play more sources of each color.

I admit, I don't keep up with what's currently legal, but I was just using Flooded Strand as an example. But aside from the Fountain synergy, you might as well be playing basic lands instead, right? Therefore, is the ability to fetch Hallowed Fountain worth all the life all this will cost you (as once you played the Fountain you'd essentially be using the fetch lands to get plain lands)?

Also, wouldn't that many fetch cards with so few basic lands open the danger of having dead cards in hand? For instance, you already have a Plains and the Fountain in play, you pull a Marsh Flats. That card then literally can't do anything.

Again, not trying to be a prick here, just trying to understand how this works.

Well, it's only a problem if he has the plains and all 4 hallowed fountains in play.

Also, previous poster, Teferi survives lightning bolt just fine).

On the article:

Your decklist has the wrong second sword (SOWAP) in it, not the SOLAS mentioned in the article.

(Of course I'm pretty sure SOFAF is much much better in your deck; it's a better card in general, plus it plays very well with your flash and counters plan, allowing you to cast the occasional sorcery or move swords around and still have mana up)

I think in general more discussion of card choices - and more of what DIDN'T make the cut - would be better. Also, paragraphs are good, but clear deliniation of which card you are talking about is better.

Jandau:
I am about to ask a very stupid question, as I'm likely missing something obvious, so sorry if this is a retarded question:

Why run Scalding Tarn and Marsh Flats? You play Tarn, sacrifice it, pay 1 life and then put an Island into play. How is this better than just running an Island in your deck instead? Isn't the point of such lands to use those with colors appropriate to your deck, so you can use them to get the land type you need in a given circumstance? If the only possible outcome of playing such a card is getting only one land type, aren't you just tossing life away? Wouldn't you need something like Flooded Strand for a blue/white deck?

I'm only a casual Magic player, so I'm asking an honest question here, I'm not trying to be a smartarse or anything...

For most Modern decks, it's just to fetch a dual land, which is especially useful for sideboards that "splash" colors.
It's the most blunt, and obvious usage possible for such lands.

Apart from that is deck thinning.
4-fetch thinning on its own is often NOT worth the 1 life paid. It needs something more.

But for decks that run shuffle and cycle effects (shuffling, Scry, or any mass-reveal, extra turn or mass draw strat), the advantage is cumulative and can easily tip games. Drawing into a combo piece AFTER thinning two cards and cycling five after two turns is nothing to sneeze at.

Incidentally, that's why cheap, effective deck cycle cards like Preordain and Ponder keep going onto the Ban lists in Modern. On their own, they aren't overpowered; replacing themselves and filtering a couple cards at best. But in conjunction with deck thinning and filtering effects, they're very powerful.

jp201:
I think the most obvious thing missing from this deck is celestial colonnade. Having your dual land which can help with flooding and act as a kill condition is very important.

1 or 2 Celestial Colonnade is probably right. As I mentioned in one of the Facebook comments, I had been hesitant just based on the deck not having a ton of cheap 1 mana interaction and Modern tends to swing somewhat on the first few turns. I think the next change I'm going to try is cut the Aven Mindcensors and run the 3rd Clique, which I picked up today after breaking up some standard decks, and 1 Colonnade to start.

commodore96:
I love the deck, and I like that you're not just going UWR like everyone and their mom. However, I would suggest maybe using an Eidolon of Rhetoric in your board instead of Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. While Teferi gives Geist flash getting a turn 6 Geist is not really where you want to be IMO. However, cheaper to cast, doesn't die to Lightning Bolt, and if they swords it you get an extra land in the control matchup which makes mana leak worse for them. I would suggest a play test with it because it has exceeded all my expectations. I also think If you decide to switch out the mind censors jp201 is right with a celestial colonnade or two.

Maybe, I'm generally willing to give anything a try, but Eidolon of Rhetoric does work against me too or at least isn't fulfilling quite the same role as Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. While being able to flash in Geist is nice, the real reason to run Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is that my opponent is now no longer to fight over any spell with me. It's impossible for them to counter a spell at all since now all there counters are sorcery speed. Where as Eidolon of Rhetoric does something similar, but in a way opposite. If I cast something, then they get to respond and I can't respond back.

mrverbal:

On the article:

Your decklist has the wrong second sword (SOWAP) in it, not the SOLAS mentioned in the article.

(Of course I'm pretty sure SOFAF is much much better in your deck; it's a better card in general, plus it plays very well with your flash and counters plan, allowing you to cast the occasional sorcery or move swords around and still have mana up)

I think in general more discussion of card choices - and more of what DIDN'T make the cut - would be better. Also, paragraphs are good, but clear deliniation of which card you are talking about is better.

Oops, yeah the swords have been in flux quite a bit. SOFAF is indeed a fine card, but I'm a pretty big fan of SOLAS - rebuying Snapcaster Mages never gets old. And I think the protection from white is generally more relevant than green in the blind. Sticking a SOFAF and then instantly untapping is pretty nice though.

Thanks for the article suggestions, I'll keep them in mind for next time.

 

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