(Hey guys. The Magic Online Community Cup is upon us again and they're currently accepting nominations. If you believe I would be worthy of representing you guys, direct your browsers here and do me the favor of nominating me for your representative at the Community Cup.
In the subject field, simply type "Frank Lepore." In the question field, type anything your heart desires and let them know that you want to nominate me for the Community Cup and why. That's all it takes. I would be honored to represent the community that has become such a large part of my life and I appreciate any help you guys could provide to get me there. Thank you so much for your consideration. -Frank)
When I was in Providence for the Open a week and a half ago, someone randomly came up to me and handed me their deck. (This happens to me more than you might think.) I thumbed through it, unsure of what to expect, but actually thought it was pretty sweet. I'm always a fan of players doing well with out-of-the-box cards. This list had Prophetic Flamespeaker, Keranos, God of Storms, Jace, Architect of Thought, and Dissolve, to name a few. I liked all of these cards individually, so to see them in a deck without the addition of something like white or black was intriguing.
Being as I was in the middle of a large tournament, I couldn't really do much at the time other than give my approval and keep moving. Later in the event, the player of said deck walked past me and said "X-2!"
Now my interest was piquing. I didn't get to talk to him again, but I said to myself, "X-2 is pretty good for a homebrew. And I would really love to see a control list with things like Stormbreath Dragon and Prophetic Flamespeaker..."
I took to Facebook and posted the following:
"Someone came up to me and showed me their UR list yesterday atthe Open. It had Prophetic Flamespeaker, Stormbreath Dragon, Dissolve, and other cool cards. If anyone know who this was, let me know. I'd love to get another look at the list and maybe showcase it in an article."
Immediately the power of social media began to work its magic and within a couple hours, John David Miller had posted the list within the thread. That was ten days ago. Things got a little hectic after winning the TCGplayer Open in Orlando this past weekend, but then John messaged me again on Tuesday. He thanked me both for giving him a copy of my token for his friend along with what I do for the community, he congratulated me on my Open win, and finally, he sent me his updated UR list.
Well sweet! That was a well-timed reminder. Looks awesome, right? I thought so when I first thumbed through it. Well, we played some matches with the deck to see how it worked and we were pleasantly surprised. Let's take a look.
UR Control vs. Orzhov Control
UR Control vs. GW Devotion
UR Control vs. Naya Aggro
UR Control vs. UB Inspired
I'll admit, that last matchup wasn't exactly tier one, but I'll also admit that the deck was way more resilient than I ever thought it would be. There were multiple games where I was like, "no way can we win this one," only for us to go on and win that one. We played another match with the deck against Esper, which I mention in the first video. It was a nail biter. We thought we were going to win on time, but we actually just won with two unbeatable Stormbreath Dragons when our opponent ran out of answers. It was an incredible game and it broke my heart that it didn't save properly.
Stormbreath Dragon is one of the best creatures in the format right now and there were so many times my opponent simply didn't have any answers for them. The fact that I was able to kill two planeswalkers in one turn against GW Devotion with one dragon was huge! (#TwoPlaneswalkersOneTurn) I think having this guy as a finisher in the deck is fantastic for a control deck. He's easily the Obzedat or Blood Baron of UR. (The Blood Baron of UR should be a reality TV show.) The only problem I see is that, against aggressive decks, red and blue have virtually no way to ever gain life. Maybe a Trading Post or two in the sideboard might do some good if this becomes an issue, as four life per turn is pretty insurmountable for red decks.
One problem I kept mentioning was the fact that red doesn't really have access to any kind of Detention Sphere effect. We have to take care of planeswalkers the old fashioned way: with damage and Counterspells. This is sometimes difficult, but not insurmountable! One problem I wish we didn't have was the ability for our opponent to plus Jace, Architect of Thought to essentially "blank" our Prophetic Flamespeaker. This isn't unavoidable by any means, but once Prophetic Flamespeaker gets going, he's really powerful, so it's frustrating to have to work around the -1/-0 setback.
I love Domestication as a card, but it might not be that good right now. The only creature I can actually imagine myself wanting to steal is a Courser of Kruphix, but honestly that isn't very exciting. I think something like Hammer of Purphoros might be better, as it's great against control decks and adds an equal amount of Devotion for Keranos. It also allows us some surprise attacks with Prophetic Flamespeakers and Mutavault. Maybe Keranos, God of Storms too.
Some cards I would definitely be tempted to try out are as follows:
- AEtherling: The quintessential blue finisher. Never leave home without it. Seriously, no reason this guy can't fit as a one-of perhaps. Not sure if he's needed though.
- Chandra, Pyromaster: Basically for the same uses as Prophetic Flamespeaker, but also able to pick off x/1 creature or even prevent something from blocking our Prophetic Flamespeaker. It also allows our three damage effects to take out four toughness creatures.
- Counterflux: Better than Syncopate? Unsure. But it's amazing in the control mirror match.
- Fated Conflagration: This could be perfect as maybe a two-of. It kills everything. Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Obzedat, Ghost Council, Stormbreath Dragon, Courser of Kruphix, Polukranos, World Eater, Elspeth, Sun's Champion after her first +1, Jace, Architect of Thought after his first +1, Domri Rade. The list goes on and on. It might as well be a red Banishing Light And it fits on the curve perfectly. ("I'm big on curves." - Frank Lepore, 2014)
- Haunted Plate Mail: I've always had a soft spot for this card. It could be another great finisher since the deck doesn't have that many creatures, we have a slight dip in our curve at four mana, and equipping a Prophetic Flamespeaker with it seems insane.
- Mercurial Chemister: I'm going real deep here, but man do I love this guy. Have you read these abilities?!
- Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius: I'm just begging for an excuse to play this guy as a one-of. He almost singlehandedly turns on Keranos as well. Not sure he wouldn't be a great addition.
That's about it. Like I said though, I think the deck is awesome. It just worked so well that I wondered if we might be able to go further and add some of these awesomely underplayed hits. I'll mess around with a bit and maybe give you guys an update after I do. John said he ended up going 7-3 after misplayed the last round, which is huge considering it was such a large and long event. I couldn't actually ask for more out of such a rogue control strategy. Thanks a ton for sending it to me, John.
Well, that's about all I have for this week. Nominations for the Community Cup close this Friday (June 20th) at 10 am PDT I believe. As I mention in the beginning of the article, I would be honored if you would take a few minutes and give me a nomination if you think I'm deserving of it. Thanks for reading and I'll catch you back here on Monday for some Modern action.
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