THS: U/R spells

Earlier this week, I had a chance to draft the U/R spells/scry deck that I’d theorized about in previous posts but that I hadn’t drafted yet. Here was my deck:

1 Omenspeaker
3 Crackling Triton
1 Spellheart Chimera
1 Spearpoint Oread
1 Borderland Minotaur
1 Ill-Tempered Cyclops
1 Purphoros’s Emissary
1 Prescient Chimera
1 Stoneshock Giant
3 Magma Jet
2 Lightning Strike
1 Voyage’s End
1 Hammer of Purphoros
3 Griptide
1 Steam Augury
1 Rage of Purphoros

9 Mountains
8 Islands

Sideboard:
1 Fleetfeather Sandals
2 Akroan Crusader
1 Satyr Rambler
1 Deathbellow Raider
1 Fanatic of Mogis
1 Wild Celebrants
1 Titan’s Strength
1 Spark Jolt
2 Boulderfall
1 Sealock Monster
1 Mnemonic Wall
2 Fate Foretold
2 Stymied Hopes
1 Reaper of the Wilds
1 Fleshmad Steed

This was an extremely casual draft and only one other drafter at the table was in red, which is how I ended up with 10 removal/bounce spells. The first pack I opened was weak and I took Griptide over a Steam Augury that I thought might table (it didn’t). I then took a Lightning Strike over a Vaporkin, and then a Magma Jet, followed by a second one later in the pack. I also picked up a Steam Augury (not the one I opened) and a Spellheart Chimera (over a Flamespeaker Adept) later in the pack, both cards that I would have usually ignored if I hadn’t previously thought through what a U/R deck might look like. I opened Hammer of Purphoros in the second pack and obviously took it. (I learned later that another Hammer of Purphoros was dedrafted fourth pick by the person next to me; red was wide open.) The rest of the draft was more removal and whatever creatures I could pick up, including a couple of late Crackling Tritons.

The deck didn’t end up being quite the U/R spells deck I’d envisioned. It didn’t have any Flamespeaker Adepts (I saw 2 but took removal over one and a Spellheart Chimera over the other) and I would have preferred more Spellheart and Prescient Chimeras. However, the plethora of removal made it really strong and I ended up going 5-1 (10-2 in games) over the course of the evening.

Some things I learned:

  • Make sure to pick up an Annul or 2 for your sideboard because this deck has no other ways to deal with enchantments. Similarly, it’s a good idea to have a Wild Celebrants or 2 for your sideboard or even your maindeck, in case your opponents have a weapon of the gods or an aggressive start followed by a Prowler’s Helm.
  • All but one of the creatures in my deck had toughness >= 3 which largely invalidated any Pharika’s Cures and Magma Jets that my opponents were running. There are only a few blue or red creatures with toughness <= 2 that you really want to run anyway (Master of Waves, Nimbus Naiad, Vaporkin, Labyrinth Champion, and potentially Fanatic of Mogis), so it doesn't make sense to run cards like Spearpoint Oread since those provide targets for these removal spells.
  • In the summary of archetypes in THS/THS/THS, I’d theorized which cards would work well in this deck. I was wrong about a couple of them. There are many 5cc spells you’d prefer to run over Mnemonic Wall, like Prescient Chimera, Rage of Purphoros, and Wild Celebrants. Triton Fortune Hunter and Wavecrash Triton also don’t work well in this deck as it has a relatively low creature count, so you don’t want many spells that target your own creatures. Bestow creatures are often a good way to add targeting effects to your deck without increasing your spell count, but all the common bestow creatures have a toughness of 2, which is suboptimal for the reasons described above. Finally, there are many other creatures at 3cc that you’d rather run in this deck — Spellheart Chimera, Flamespeaker Adept, Crackling Triton, and Meletis Charlatan — all of which have a toughness of 3.
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