Let me preface this article by stating that this deck went 12-3 at GP Manchester, finishing in the Top 32. I know that if I saw this particular deck on a website, I would assume it was a random brew and fun for FNM, but not remotely competitive. I would have been wrong!
This is a creatureless prison deck. Its goal is to dig through the deck for the critical pieces and eventually win with a big Rise from the Tides.
One of the key cards to this “engine” is bulk rare Jace’s Sanctum. This card has probably seen more play as proxy fodder than actual play, but it does some serious work in this deck. When you’re loaded up with nothing but instants and sorceries, the Sanctum allows you to churn through your deck much faster.
The key card for staying alive is Engulf the Shore. In a deck with 24 Islands, it’s likely to bounce the entire board. The bigger surprise is Prism Ring. While the Rings gain you a life for every spell you cast, this is not an effect we’ve seen played in Standard in a long time. And how about Hydrolash? Yup, Hydrolash is a 4-of in this deck! It’s nice that it can cycle when it’s not useful and help dig you deeper to the key threats.
Anticipate and Nagging Thoughts are your cheap ways to churn through your deck, making sure you find what you need. A discounted Pore Over the Pages ends up being a great rate as you may be spending a net or 2 or fewer mana to dig 3 cards deeper.
The payoff to this strategy of churning through your deck starts with Day’s Undoing. A turn-4 Sanctum can allow you to play both Engulf and Day’s Undoing on turn 5, sending all of your opponent’s creatures not just to their hand, but back into their deck! This deck is looking to get some key permanents into play, and yes, they happen to be Jace’s Sanctum and Prism Ring, but at that point, you’re just churning through your deck on the cheap, gaining life, and then refilling with another Day’s Undoing.
Part the Waterveil plays multiple roles in the deck. It’s the finisher on its own with the awaken cost, but it can often be cast in the same turn as Rise from the Tides to make sure all of your Zombies are getting through to end the game. With no other actual kill conditions in the deck, passing the turn after casting a Rise opens yourself up to Languish, Radiant Flames, and Declaration in Stone, among other cards. Part the Waterveil guarantees that you avoid that fate, and is an excellent spell to cast before a virtual Timetwister in Day’s Undoing!
I can’t imagine someone enjoying Magic in the same ways I do and not immediately building this deck. If you get paired against me on MTGO in the next couple days, you already know what I’ll be playing!