UG Uro

I think I’m finally happy with UG Uro and the sideboard in Vintage.

(Download the decklist)

Workshop Aggro (Ravager, Traxos)
+2 True-Name Nemesis, +2 Force of Vigor, +2 Tabernacle, +2 Ooze, -4 Preordain, -1 Mental Misstep, -1 Narset, -1 Oko, -1 Sylvan Library
Counter Spheres & Lodestone. Force of Vigor threats. Allow opponent to lock themselves out once you have Ramunap + Strip/Wasteland. I will gladly keep hands with multiple Wasteland effects.

Workshop Control (Golos Stax)
+2 True-Name Nemesis, +2 Force of Vigor, +2 Surgical, -4 Preordain, -1 Mental Misstep, -1 Narset
Counter Spheres, Crucible, then Golos. As long as you can keep Crucible off the table, you should win.

Workshop Combo (KCI, Blue Steel)
+2 Ooze, +2 Force of Vigor, +2 Spell Pierce, +3 Surgical, +2 Tabernacle, -1 Probe, -1 Mental Misstep, -4 Preordain, -1 Treasure Cruise, -1 Dig Through Time, -2 True-Name Nemesis, -1 Sylvan Library
You need to deal with Scrap Trawler, Sai, and Emry, in addition to the usual suspects. Keep Crucible off the table. If they have Sai, keep KCI off the table.

Storm Variants: Jeskai, Citadel, DPS, Paradox Outcome
+2 Spell Pierce, +2 Flusterstorm, +2 Force of Vigor, -4 Preordain, -1 Ramunap, -1 Oko
Play and protect Ouphe. Wasteland/Strip Mine their White, Black, and Red mana, in that order. Expect Blightsteel in Games 2 and 3.

Bazaar Variants – Dredge, Hollow One/Vengevine
+3 Surgical, +2 True-Name Nemesis, +2 Ooze, +2 Tabernacle, +2 Force of Vigor, -4 Preordain, -4 Ouphe, -2 Oko, -1 Sylvan Library
Mulligan into Surgical for Vengevine. Surgical Targets: Prized Amalgam, Ichorid, Vengevine
Tabernacle wins games.

Creature/Tax Variants (Hate Bears, Eldrazi)
+2 True-Name Nemesis, +2 Ooze, +2 Tabernacle, -4 Preordain, -1 Sylvan Library, -1 Oko (draw) / -1 Narset (play)
Counter Lavinia, Thalia, Sphere, Thorn. Waste their lands. Stick Tabernacle. Ooze to gain life.

UR Control
+2 Fluster, +2 Pierce, +2 True-Name Nemesis, +2 Surgical, -4 Preordain, -1 Oko, -1 Ouphe
Optional: +2 Ooze, -2 Ouphe
Second worst matchup. They have Lightning Bolt, Pyroblast, Dack/Narset, and many, many other good cards.

Breach Combo
+2 Ooze, +3 Surgical Extraction, +2 Flusterstorm, +2 Spell Pierce, -4 Preordain, -2 True-Name Nemesis, -1 Treasure Cruise, -2 Oko
It’s going to be a long game. Keep the graveyard empty of relevant cards. Whoever blinks first loses.

4c Planeswalker/4c Dreadhorde
+2 Spell Pierce, +2 True-Name Nemesis, -1 Ouphe, +3 Surgical, +2 Ooze, -4 Ouphe, -4 Preordain
Surgical Force of Will and Wasteland. Be aggressive.

Doomsday/Inverter Combo
+2 Fluster, +2 Spell Pierce, +3 Surgical, -1 Ramunap, -2 Oko (keep one for Sylvan Library), -1 Sylvan Library, -2 Force of Vigor, -1 Preordain
Wasteland/Strip + Surgical. Ouphe to lock out their mana. You can still lose to Black Land + Ritual -> Doomsday -> Ancestral/Gush, Black Lotus, Thassa’s Oracle, Street Wraith, X.

BUG Variants
+2 Ooze, +2 Tabernacle, +2 True-Name Nemesis, -4 Preordain, -1 Ouphe, -1 Force of Vigor
DRS is the bane of your existence. Don’t be afraid to Surgical your own land in response to DRS so it cannot pay for its own Tabernacle upkeep.
Green Sun Zenith gets DRS. Force of Negation.

+2 Force of Vigor, +3 Surgical, +2 Fluster, +2 Spell Pierce
-4 Ouphe, -1 True-Name Nemesis, -4 Preordain
This match is a toss up. They have access to Pyroblast, Lightning Bolt, and Veil. Keep an Uro and a TNN in.

Points of interest:
I keep boarding out Preordain. We run twenty-two lands, two Mox, and a Lotus. We also have fifteen card draw spells, and two of our lands draw cards. Preordain is my first cut on the draw. It’s also terribly awkward to bottom two cards with Preordain, only to shuffle them back in with Misty. It’s worth running main. If the format goes heavier to creatures, I could also consider Ice-Fang Coatl and Hexdrinker instead of Preordain.

Basic Lands
I want a fourth basic Island.

Waterlogged Grove
The second copy is a flex spot.
It should not be another basic.
It should tap for both G and U.
It needs to come into play untapped.
It needs to add value with Ramunap.

Non-land considerations:
Brazen Borrower
Eternal Witness (yup)
Green Sun’s Zenith
Living Wish
Search for Azcanta
Trygon Predator (too many CMC3)

I’m sure there are other considerations.

Arcum’s Astrolabe – Update

Seeing Astrolabe take form in Daryl Ayer’s Four Color Control Legacy deck makes me leap for joy. I also feel vindicated because this is an odd card. I’m also ecstatic because 4 and 5C Control are my all-time favorite decks.

Arcum's Astrolabe

Currently, Collector Ouphe and Force of Vigor are running rampant in Vintage, so AA will likely not appear, but there is a deck out there. You just wait and see.

MUD Planeswalkers

If I could play any deck at all at SCG Con next weekend, I’d run 74 of the below 75. (You can download the decklist in .txt format here.)


Yeah, that’s a Mox Opal in the board. Sometimes you need to be able to wish for a mana rock, and your maindeck already Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, Black Lotus, and Moxen. It could be a fourth Grim Monolith, but you should respect Phyrexian Revoker. Mark Twain didn’t actually say, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” He said, “If you’re going to put all your eggs in one basket, watch that basket!” (May or may not be true.)

I started to write what I’ve tried so far, but it’s easier to just write it once, update as needed, and refer back to it over time. It’s a living document, and some cards are omitted (See Weatherlite, that legendary artifact for Planeswalkers, and other stuff in articles…)

Previously, the slot was devoted to Sorcerous Spyglass, but over ~8 leagues with KTCG, I haven’t wished for it once…

TL;DR? I recommend the deck. It’s powerful, fun, and hits from just the right angles to power through a lot of the current hate.

Candelabra Karn

High Tide leveraged free spells, it’s namesake, High Tide, and Candelabra of Tawnos to generate lots of mana, draw lots of spells, and cast a fatal Stroke of Genius. Workshop decks tend to have at least 9 lands that generate two or more mana (4x Mishra’s Workshop, 4x Ancient Tomb, and 1x Tolarian Academy), so I figured it was worth a shot.

So far, I’m 2-2 in Vintage. When the deck runs, it’s great, but I don’t think Candelabra fits in this build.

Jhoira’s Familiar again tests poorly. If you can cast it at four, you can likely cast something better at four. It’s just too slow, even if it helps you cast your Planeswalkers. Cursed Totem in the board is awkward when most of your removal is based on Ballistae. And Candelabra is powerful enough that it requires further exploration.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon was surprisingly powerful at {8} vs Workshops. Overall, I give the Planeswalker package 4.5 stars out of 5. I think I want two copies of Karn Liberated, and I want Mishra’s Workshops to allow me to cast Planeswalkers.

Here’s the list:

1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
4 Wasteland
1 Triskelion
3 Grim Monolith
1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
4 Ancient Tomb
2 Karn, Scion of Urza
4 Mishra’s Workshop
1 Karn, Silver Golem
1 Lodestone Golem
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mana Crypt
1 Time Vault
1 Mana Vault
2 Jhoira’s Familiar
4 Karn, the Great Creator
3 Voltaic Key
1 Inventors’ Fair
1 Sol Ring
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
2 Ugin, the Ineffable
1 Trinisphere
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
4 Mishra’s Factory
4 Walking Ballista
3 Candelabra of Tawnos


1 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Liquimetal Coating
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Batterskull
1 Witchbane Orb
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Silent Arbiter
1 Mycosynth Lattice
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Cursed Totem
1 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Platinum Angel

MVP: Silent Arbiter

Asymmetric Planeswalkers have made their debut. Narset and Karn are strutting their stuff to full effect, and most of the decks seem to have figured out the best ways to abuse the new passives.

Silent Arbiter

It’s round three, game three vs Workshop Aggro, and I’m on the play. I open with turn one KTCG, and immediately wished for Chalice of the Void for 0. We jockey for board state position, and I take control of the game with a wished Wurmcoil, but my opponent answers with a Hangarback Walker for 5. He chump blocks with the intent to attack Karn.

Everyone is already aware of Mycosynth Lattice combo, but Silent Arbiter is my sleeper MVP. This guy changes the entire dynamic of the Workshop matchup. As long as you can disable Arcbound Ravager, you win should win. This is where I won:

At this point, my opponent effectively has no cards in hand (moxen), and I have Ensnaring Bridge in mine. Unless my opponent draws a Karn of his own or a Phyrexian Revoker, his only option is to attack with one Thopter a turn at Karn, forcing me to add a counter to Ballista and kill it. Eventually, I will win this fight.

My opponent didn’t draw an out, and I went on to Crucible/Strip Mine lock my opponent out of the game.

The deck is solid. Voltaic Servant is consistently better than expected. It has pseudo-Vigilance, survives blocking most Vintage creatures (Mentor, Pyro, Snapcaster, Revoker), untaps Grim Monolith, and suffers no Mental Misstep. You know you’re in good shape when your opponent is actively bolting your Servants instead of you or Karn.

Vintage Challenge 2019-05-25

I would consider trimming Karn, Scion of Urza and one Grim Monolith. Also, that Jester’s Cap needs to be Ice Age. Just look at this gorgeous art!

Jester's Cap

I digress. I’m not sure what I would add for those two cards, but I consistently cut these two cards first when sideboarding.

The deck needs an answer for an opposing Karn without needing an activated ability. Meteor Golem and Spine of Ish Sah, are great singleton tutor targets for Kuldotha Forgemaster, but they are too slow to warrant a second slot.

Evasion is out, because, well, there aren’t any good artifact creatures with Flying. Steel Hellkite is the best option, and I’ve tested it (see left). Maybe there is room for some sort of Glint Hawk Idol or Spined Thopter type of threat, but I’m not seeing it. MUD lacks any short of native Shadow or Fear effect, so Hangarback Walker is probably the best bet.

TLDR? I’m happy with the deck. Silent Arbiter is good. We have two slots available.