This may be the best deck in the format. The matchup against Red is extremely close, but your sideboard cards are incredible in the matchup. Against midrange decks like Zombies, Temur Energy, and B/G Constrictor, it’s difficult to lose. Against Gift, you have a favorable matchup. Against control decks, you have to play tight and run well, but it’s far from out of reach. And as I learned in the GP, you aren’t beating U/R Zombie Emerge very easily!
One mistake I made, and every other list I’ve seen online, was to only run 3 copies of the namesake card Approach of the Second Sun. This makes perfect sense in theory, as it’s a 7-mana card that you don’t need to draw multiple copies and you put the first one back into your deck. In practice, this isn’t how things work. Against many decks, you want to fire off the Approach on turn 7 and again on turn 8 or you’ll risk losing to their board. This means you not only want to find the first ASAP, but need to find the second without seeing 7 new cards.
There are also discard and counters in the format, and players will often target your Approaches. This means you’ll need to find more copies in those instances. You also have a number of card drawing spells that put cards on the bottom of your library and you don’t want to be forced to take the 7-mana card when you need other spells or lands early. Ben Stark told me to add the 4th and he felt it was a big mistake to run fewer than 4. I’m happy I listened.
The rest of the deck is filled with 1-for-1 removal, sweepers, card draw, and cycling. Supreme Will pulls double-duty as a card that can interact with the opponent or helps find what you’re looking for. Spending 3 mana for Impulse or Mana Leak is a bit on the expensive side, but the options are very important.
Glimmer of Genius is the best card draw in Standard. You have zero ways to ever use a single energy in the 75, so that part is useless, but being able to see up to 4 cards is important when you need lands, sweepers, or Approach.
Hieroglyphic Illumination is not a very powerful Magic card and you’ll often cycle it early, but it does act as a nice split card to ensure use your mana every turn. When you don’t have a Glimmer, being able to draw two is useful, but this is not your heavy-hitter.
Fumigate is a really strong sweeper as the life gain is also relevant. Making room for a main-deck Descend Upon the Sinful makes sense, exiling is huge in Standard right now, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of a Fumigate. Costing 1 less mana and gaining life are simply too important to this deck.
Cast Out is another card you often see in quantities fewre than 4, which is another mistake. Cast Out is definitely on the clunky side, but it removes tough-to-deal-with threats like Gods and planeswalkers. It’s also a card I actively want to cycle early in the game, but may need more copies of as the game goes on. With so many white sources, being able to cycle early is a huge plus, so I don’t want to go lower than 4 here.
Blessed Alliance is a solid removal spell that doubles as life gain. It offers more ways to get rid of a Hazoret and punishes creaturelands and haste creatures often.
Aether Meltdown is awful. When I saw the first lists that were successful, I cut the Meltdowns for Thraben Inspectors. The Inspectors were likewise totally awful. Everyone already had dead Abrades and Fatal Pushes that they could now use on these, the slow card draw on the Clue was mediocre, and the value just wasn’t there. I ended up going back to Meltdowns for the GP, but I wouldn’t play them again. Instead, I would look to cards like Immolating Glare, Stasis Snare, or more copies of Gideon.
Gideon of the Trials overperformed for me in testing. One of the bigger problems with Gideon is that it’s at its best in the matchups where you’re already most favored, but it’s still reasonable across the board. It’s an actual threat against control, makes midrange overextend, and can gain 6 or more life against Red.
Censor is great. It’s what makes blue decks viable. It can interact early and cycle late, a powerful effect of which blue control decks should always play 4.
Approach is an awesome way to approach a very specific metagame, but that’s exactly the metagame you should expect going forward. It’s also losing very little in the rotation, so expect Approach to be a solid win condition in the future of Standard!