Hello and welcome to another addition of Droppin' Baums! This week we saw another weekend completely dominated by the likes of the chainwhirling menace. Grand Prix Copenhagen had a whopping six copies of red-based variants in the Top 8. There were also two white-blue decks, one of which was piloted by the powerful mage Javier Dominguez. I liked the choices that Dominguez made for the weekend; I would have played a similar list if the Grand Prix was closer to me. Approach of the Second Sun is a must-have for a couple of reasons. Being able to still win the game against Black-Green Constrictor when they are drawing all the cards they need thanks to Lifecrafter's Bestiary and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner is one of them. You simply need a way to win the game through all of their card advantage and Vraska's Contempts. Approach of the Second Sun does exactly what you want it to do. The other reason is you simply need to be able to avoid draws. The games go so long—if you dont want to be in the draw bracket you better have a solid plan to do so. Let's check out the list!
I was very close to playing this at Pro Tour Dominaria. My brother Brad Nelson took this masterpiece to a solid 29th place. Big congrats to him! I think this deck is fantastic and would have been playing it if it was a Grand Prix or a RPTQ. I didn't play it at the Pro Tour because there is so much more on the line and such a wide variety of stuff that teams will try. I think this list is only going to grow more powerful with age. It's like a glass of fine wine. While the other black and red glasses of wine try to best each other, the classic white zin will only get more appealing. Thats deep, I know!
While these Red decks try to gain the upper hand in the mirror, they make one of two choices. They either slow down their decks and play more effective removal like Vraska's Contempts; or they just go as low to the ground as possible with Mono Red. Both of those options are good for white-blue! When the metagame shifts like this we may start to see more blue-black The Scarab God decks to counter that. Then red will step back up to the plate. It's the rock-paper-scissors reality we will have to deal with until a certain goblin's chainwhirling days are put to rest.
Game one, we are a clear favorite thanks to Approach of the Second Sun. This was one of the main reasons we wanted to have the card in the deck for the Pro Tour. We were not going to play a white-blue list that didn't have a good plan in the mirror. When it comes to advantages for sideboarded games it gets much trickier. The best card is History of Benalia and everyone knows about that. The advantage we gain is in the long game one. The rest is up to how well you play the deck. I have seen many situations where I could have seen either player win based on the plays. Practice up. One piece of advice: don't counter Glimmer of Genius—save Disallow for the spells that matter.
(On the play you can think about taking out Walking Ballistas.)
This matchup, of course, is never easy. It is the boogeyman of the format, the best deck, the MJ of Magic (yeah, I said it). It will never be an easy matchup. Game one I do believe we are favored. That is really the reason to play this deck—it has great game ones. Games two and three, though, are bad enough that I didn't play this deck at the Pro Tour. To be fair, I was always the "black-red guy," so anytime someone wanted to test out their white-blue sideboard strategy, they asked me too play. Needless to say, I was practiced up!
In my opinion, this is the toughest matchup for white-blue. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and hand disruption has always been a good plan to deal with linear control decks like this one. That being said, naturally drawing a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and being able to back it up with just about anything is usually game over. The Scarab God is laughably bad, but the crew of misfits he hangs around with are what makes this matchup a close one.
Game one is another situation that isn't worth even repeating, but I will anyway: we crush them game one. Games two and three are usually the same kind of story as R/B Chainwhirler matchups. They are normally bad for us since they gain so much advantage with Lifecrafter's Bestiary, but have no fear: we have Approach of the Second Sun! We will counter the powerful artifact if we have the choice, but if we cant, we will ignore it and focus on only countering things that either take our Approach of the Second Sun or kill us. The rest of the game is spent surviving till we see that beautiful sunrise!
This matchup is much better for us than the black-red matchup. Not being able to look at our hand before they decide to go for it or not is a big game for us. A great experienced player can still dance around your Settle the Wreckages so you need to familiarize yourself with the matchup to feel favored. Being able to keep in Approach of the Second Sun is very nice, giving us a great turn-seven play when our opponent is playing defensively around a Settle the Wreckage.
Now it's your turn, your time! RPTQ and PPTQs are right around the corner, along with Grand Prix Pittsburgh. Time to put in the work and get the results!
With all of that in mind I am doing a special DOUBLE BAUM this week. Be on the lookout for a special edition, featuring the evolution of B/R Chainwhirler. Where do we go from here? Heart of Kiran, Pia Nalaar, Ahn-Crop Crasher, so many options and I will be talking through all of them. Of course it will also contain a detailed sideboard guide and some sweet, sweet games of Magic. See you all later this week!