On Monday we started with this:
The UWR archetype has many of the capabilities of earlier incarnations of UW Control, but with some powerful additional bells and whistles. Red gives the deck Temple of Epiphany and Temple of Triumph, Assemble the Legion out of the sideboard, Anger of the Gods, and quite a bit more flexibility.
The most unique big spell of the UWR Control archetype is of course this fun-of seven:
Make the Play Monday - Triple Threat asked us to approach three different decisions with the UWR deck.
How did Pro Tour and Grand Prix Champion Alexander Hayne approach them?
"I would play Temple of Triumph. First of all this might make our opponent think we are playing burn...but also gives us access to red and white mana for potential Last Breath or Izzet Charm. We have lots of lands and a few scry lands, so I would just look to scry away lands; and since we have a bunch of scry lands, having the option to play Hallowed Fountain untapped turn four after playing Island turn two (if we draw Izzet Charm / Last Breath / Syncopate) is more valuable than keeping the scry until we know what the opponent is playing. Unless our opponent is playing the control mirror, any spell at this point is valuable, and our hand is already good for the control mirror so hedging is a good idea."
"I think that basically discarding any non-Counterspell, non-Sphinx's Revelation card would be fine, but I would probably discard Firemind's Foresight, since it costs a lot of mana for basically a slightly worse Sphinx's Revelation...and we really just need to hold our position for a couple more turns so having cards that gain us a huge advantage in a couple turns aren't that valuable since we are going to win then regardless."
"Assuming this is our opponent's end step (since we can cast Sphinx's Revelation or Firemind's Foresight but not the Detention Sphere), I would find Dissolve, Syncopate, and Deicide. Since he only has two copies of Courser of Kruphix left as enchantments (since he seems to be playing a standard list), I would then untap, Detention Sphere the Ajani, and Deicide my sphere in response, getting rid of Ajani forever and not needing to worry about potential Keening Apparition top decks. Then I would keep up Dissolve and Syncopate for his Elspeth, Sun's Champion. I would let Xenagos resolve if he chooses to play that, and let Elspeth + Sphinx's Revelation ride me to victory in the long game backed up by my two Counterspells."
Alexander Hayne's response:1. Play Temple of Triumph (and scry away lands)2. Discard Firemind's Foresight3. Firemind's Foresight for Syncopate, Deicide, and Dissolve
Here are my responses:
In the real life version of this game I was actually watching a rerun of 24 and played the Hallowed Fountain...but I don't expect very many people responded Hallowed Fountain; also it is, if not the worst play, strictly worse at this point than Temple of Enlightenment; which is, in turn, worse than either of the other Temple options.
Why is Hallowed Fountain worse than Temple of Enlightenment?
In either case we are playing a UW dual land that enters the battlefield tapped. However one of those lands can potentially be played up later in the game at the cost of two life...and the other can't. We are going to play our land tapped on the first turn in either case, and we are not going to use our mana this turn as we have no one mana spells to play, so playing Hallowed Fountain (as I did) just costs us flexibility.
Why is Temple of Enlightenment worse than the other Temple options?
Our opening hand includes Izzet Charm as one of only two spells. We have a reasonably high incentive to wanting to be able to play Izzet Charm on the second turn (whether we take that option or not) and we can't play Izzet Charm unless we have UR open on the second turn. We have two red mana producing lands in our hand, but they are both Temples, ergo if we want UR available on the second turn, we have to play one of those Temples on the first turn.
Not playing one of the two red Temples just screws us out of being able to play Izzet Charm on turn two, which is awful given our hand.
It's probably not controversial, then, that either Temple of Triumph or Temple of Epiphany are better than Temple of Enlightenment; which in turn is substantially better the stupid Hallowed Fountain I played.
One of the two Temples is better than the other; and here I will throw in with Alexander Hayne.
Initially I had Temple of Epiphany as the play because there is a UU card in my opener, but there are plenty of blue producing lands to get us to Jace, Architect of Thought. Temple of Triumph is better because it will get us to Izzet Charm on turn two (via a turn two Island, probably)...but can trick the opponent into thinking we are a RW burn deck, if for only a turn.
Here we are an overwhelming favorite.
We have so many cards we are going to have to discard (versus his mere three cards); we have a bunch of threats in play (including both Planeswalkers to take control of the game and Soldier Tokens to beat him up); and most importantly, as a control deck, we have ton of options and can craft a plan to completely take control of this game.
In this spot I would choose to discard Jace, Architect of Thought. If you look over to our graveyard, you can see there is already a copy of Jace, Architect of Thought there; which got there by my playing the second Jace on top of the first. The fact is, I've already got a Jace and they aren't going to mess with it. They have no creatures, and we have a Dissolve if they have some kind of anti-permanent spell.
We're just very unlikely to ever have time to cast the third Jace this game. It's not like we need the card advantage of yet another Jace (especially with Sphinx's Revelation and Firemind's Foresight in hand). Separately, I would actively want to keep Banishing Light, Izzet Charm, and Dissolve to play the "trade cards" game; and the big instants are great for reloading if that is the game we are going to play.
I found Keening Apparition pretty annoying to have to play against (it is neutralizing the Detention Sphere I want to use on his Ajani); so because of that I just went with good old Izzet Charm with the plan of removing the Keening Apparition. I of course got Syncopate and Dissolve for my other two cards, as 1) they are perfect for fighting the big threats we know he is going to try to field at some point, and 2) I've already got a Sphinx's Revelation for the next turn.
If I didn't already have Sphinx's Revelation I would probably have gotten that over Dissolve as my third card, trusting in the Syncopate only to keep me spry against his hand for a turn; thankfully I didn't have to that way.
The actual line had me blowing up Keening Apparition and attacking Chandra to death while hiding Ajani, Mentor to Heroes under my enchantment.
Mike Flores's responses:1. Play Temple of Triumph.2. Discard Jace, Architect of Thought3. Firemind's Foresight for Syncopate, Izzet Charm, and Dissolve
Overall I found UWR a fun deck to play due to its many options and opportunities to make decisions. Of course any opportunity to touch your library is an opportunity to screw up, but luckily we have articles like Make the Play Monday / Flores Rewards Friday to hash out the kinds of plays and scenarios so that we can turn potential cost centers into revenue centers, if you grok. ;)
Now for the good stuff:
Unfortunately, no one actually agreed with Alex this week! A lot of you came close, but his pick of Deicide was pretty next level.
For agreeing with YT, Jay Bowen gets a $25 TCGPlayer.com gift certificate as well. Congratulations YYY!
Make sure you send a message to our Facebook page - MTGatTCGplayer - to claim your prize! Thanks to everyone who played.
Kinda sorta post script…
What kinds of decks and scenarios do you want to see in Make the Play Monday / Flores Rewards Friday? I have been making an effort to switch up different kinds of decks, from control decks like this one to beatdown decks like Monoblack Aggro, to pump spell decks like Naya Auras.
But what do you want to see?
I'd love to accommodate, if I can.
You know where the comments are.
Alexander Hayne is a Pro Tour and Grand Prix winning machine. He was the 2011-2012 Magic Pro Tour Rookie of the Year. Surely you'll want to follow him on Twitter at @insaynehayne.