Valuable Lessons – The New Cawblade

Welcome back to Valuable Lessons. For the last few weeks, I’ve been a traveling Magic vagabond. Last weekend, in Nashville, I was periodically talking with Tom Ross while he played in a Standard event on Sunday. Round after round, he reported victory. The Boss let me take a look through his deck and I was extremely excited about trying it myself. I did my best to recreate the list I had seen the weekend prior and made some of my own changes to align the deck correctly for postboarded matchups. Today, we’ll be taking a look at Blue/White Heroic in the new Standard.

So, why is Blue/White Heroic so good right now?

It demolishes the green decks. Abzan, Green Devotion, red/green, Temur, and Sidisi Sultai all get demolished by the deck in game one, and things don’t really get much better for them in post-board games. Against everyone else, we’re a cheese deck. We pick our spots, successfully protect the right threat at the right time, and win a lot of free games as a result. Blue/White Heroic is definitely tier one right now, and playing with the deck feels completely unfair.

Let’s start by taking a look at my current list for Blue/White Heroic and then we’ll have a discussion regarding the card choices.

Blue/White Heroic

Let’s talk about what makes this list different from other Heroic decks.

The big thing is that this deck isn’t trying to be cute with things like Triton Tactics or four copies of Phalanx Leader. I still play a few Phalanx Leader to make my Heliod’s Pilgrims better and to enable the creatue-heavy draws, but I’m not all in on any single plan. My current mix of creatures feels very right. Eidolon of Countless Battles is a great inclusion that The Boss is all about, but I haven’t been as impressed with it. I’m also playing four copies of Heliod’s Pilgrim, which is essentially Stoneforge Mystic in this deck.

The most important card in the deck is Ordeal of Thassa. Never sideboard out any of these—it’s too important to the deck’s overall function and game plan. Our Heliod’s Pilgrim will be finding additional copies of this card more than 75% of the time. It’s really nice to equip a creature with two copies of Ordeal of Thassa at the same time for tons of power and card advantage out of nowhere.

I’ve heard people ask why Feat of Resistance gets the nod over Ajani’s Presence. I didn’t get it either at first, then I played against Jeskai Charm and Abzan Charm. Those two removal spells are prevalent enough to warrant Feat of Resistance over Ajani’s Presence in the main. We can make a nice swap against decks where Presence is a strict upgrade.

We only need one copy of Singing Bell Strike, Aqueous Form, Ordeal of Heliod, and Stratus Walk in the main, especially if we’re rocking four copies of Heliod’s Pilgrim. Each of these cards is perfect in the right situation. Against Jeskai, it’s important to have access to Ordeal of Heliod in the main, and we get to sideboard up to another copy. Against Green Devotion we usually want to find Aqueous Form when we don’t need Ordeal of Thassa. Against Abzan, Stratus Walk is ideal if we already have a voltron creature. It’s nice to have access to the removal-spell-esque effect we get from Singing Bell Strike.

When playing with the deck, it’s important that we use every part of the buffalo. We need to wait for protection mana or wait for the opponent to tap out if we want to punish them with an Ordeal of Thassa. The deck takes time to learn and you will not be successful with it right away. Don’t worry, keep playing with it. The rewards are worth the time you put in.

One of the most exciting selling points of the deck is that we get to play Treasure Cruise in Standard. It’s pretty awesome. I promise.

The sideboard is still a work in progress, but the numbers work out very well when you need to approach a particular matchup. Never sideboard out Ordeal of Thassa, more than one Heliod’s Pilgrim, Battlewise Hoplite, or Hero of Iroas, the rest of the deck is pretty malleable for a given matchup on the play or on the draw. Here’s a general guide to sideboarding with this list.

Against Blue/Black Control:

Remove

Add

Against Green Devotion

Remove

Add

Against Mardu Tokens

Remove

Add

Against Red/Green

Remove

Add

Against Jeskai

Remove

Add

Against Abzan

Remove

Add

Against the Mirror

Remove

Add

Instead of the Negate you could add Stubborn Denial.

I strongly recommend Blue/White Heroic going forward. The deck is extremely good and has the potential to push the Standard metagame in an entirely new direction. It may seem extreme to call the deck the new Cawblade, but the deck does truly feel like it’s playing on a different level from the rest of Standard and Tom Ross is close to unbeatable with it in his hands. Expect great things from this one.

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