Truth is I have no idea what to officially call this deck. We could call it something boring, like "Monoblue Time Warp" or something, but after Melissa and I played a few matches with it on Stream, I was like, "all we're doing is taking turns! That's what I'm saving this deck as!" And thus I had named the deck.
Ah, but what deck are we talking about? For those that don't already know, allow me to show you.
This deck is actually about four or so months old, and contains zero Theros or Born of the Gods cards aside from two Swan Song in the sideboard. It debuted in a Magic Online Daily Event, and was then shown on the mothership in the Daily Deck column. Someone then showed it to Melissa and I once while we were streaming and we then proceeded to stream the deck for a bit. The rest is history.
I would say that I get asked weekly for this decklist, so I finally decided to play it for you guys despite how grueling and agonizing the games can be (often for the opponent). While there are actually two versions of the deck - one that uses Elixir of Immortality and Jace Beleren for the win, and one that uses Laboratory Maniac for the win - I actually prefer the version with Elixir of Immortality and winning via Jace Beleren's ultimate ability. While I accept that we have a few Counterspells, a well-timed Lightning Bolt or two when we end up casting our Laboratory Maniac could be curtains for us! So for that reason, I opt for the less interactive versions of the deck.
Let's see how this thing plays.
Takin' Turns vs. American Control
Takin' Turns vs. Goblins
Takin' Turns vs. RUG Twin
Takin' Turns vs. BUG Superfriends
That's right: 4-0. Against four different decks and archetypes. I was saying to Melissa, the difference between a deck like this and a deck like Splinter Twin, let's say, is that when Splinter Twin tries to go off, if you stop them, maybe you can just stop them again next turn. When this deck tries to go off...you often don't get another turn.
As you can see, the deck has the potential to be utterly miserable for our opponent. They basically sit there and do nothing for about a million years (in Melissa's words) while we take, literally, turn after turn.
While Melissa and I originally decided to play the deck because we thought it would be cute or funny, it actually turned out to be pretty powerful. We have a massive 12 spells that let us take other turns, and once we have a Jace Beleren and a Howling Mine out, we're drawing two to three cards a turn. This also allows us to start chaining Walk the Aeons.
One change I made that you might have noticed was the removal of the two Tectonic Edges. There is rarely a land you want to spend your mana killing, and the Islands become increasingly more necessary the further into the game you get. You want to be able to have as many Islands as possible when Walk the Aeons requires you to sacrifice three per buyback.
One thing about the deck that took me by surprise was how consistent it was. Once you get to turn four or five and you start going off, that's usually it. While sometimes you might stumble and miss drawing a Time Walk for another turn, on those turns you can usually just use Cryptic Command on your opponent to tap down their creatures and counter whatever relevant threat them might play. Typically when it gets back to your turn, you should be good to start drawing a ton of cards and trying again.
For as many matches as I've played with the deck, it actually feels to me that the only decks that can compete with us are decks like Burn or really fast aggro decks. Control decks could pose a problem, what with the Counterspells and all that, but they usually can't counter enough of our spells and we have a tremendous amount of redundancy. The one card I would be worried about losing to a counter or removal would be a Jace Beleren because 1) we want to get Jace drawing us cards as soon as possible to get our engine online, and 2) we only have two of them and he's our win condition. Granted this has never been an issue, especially with Elixir of Immortality in the deck, but it is the deck's weak point is the opponent has something like Extirpate or Slaughter Games. For this reason, maybe adding one copy of Jace, Memory Adept for security might be reasonable.
Something we didn't really understand was the inclusion of Snow-Covered Islands instead of just regular Islands. We still don't think these serve any purpose aside from confusing your opponent; I mean I figured they confused us a fair deal; they have to at least confuse our opponents even slightly! Truth be told, however, now the snow-covered lands are simply a huge tell. There's no other deck in the format that solely runs Snow-Covered Islands so when the opponent sees one or two, they will usually know what's up if they've ever glimpsed our deck before.
The sideboard is pretty sweet as well. The Laboratory Maniac is alive and well there in case we want to go that route. We also want to have Laboratory Maniac on hand in case we come across a deck running Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. While Emrakul doesn't automatically spell defeat for our deck (because we can simply recur our deck over and over while forcing them to draw a card each turn, rather than milling, so they never get a chance to put Emrakul in the graveyard), facing off against an Emrakul does make for a much more grueling win.
Aetherize is also just Time Warps 13 and 14 against the aggro decks as we can basically Time Walk them by bouncing all their bros. It's also excellent against decks like Splinter Twin. Hurkyl's Recall is also like Time Warp against the Affinity decks, so there's that as well. The rest of the cards - Spell Pierce, Swan Song, and Gigadrowse - are great against the decks that are trying to stop you from "going off." I assume the Rapid Hybridization is for things like Ethersworn Canonist, or Meddling Mage, or Spirit of the Labyrinth (which hadn't been released yet at the time). Or better yet, Splinter Twin as they try to go off. Basically anything that would prevent us from going off, but we can also bounce something like that with Cryptic Command as well if need be. All things considered, the sideboard has been quite versatile and we found ourselves using pretty much every card at some point aside from Trickbind, but that isn't to say it doesn't have its uses.
That's all I have for today. Sorry about the delay yesterday and I hope you found the wait for this unique deck worth it. You guys have been asking about it a lot, so I hope this fulfills those cravings. I'll be back on Thursday with some more Standard offerings, so be sure to check back then! I also might end up streaming tonight, so be sure to check that out as well. Thanks for reading and watching.
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV