Raise your hand if you predicted that U/B Taking Turns would be one of the top performing decks at Grand Prix Las Vegas and make an appearance in an incredibly tough Top 8. Most of you currently raising your hands are filthy liars, but that’s okay. Daniel Wong believed it, and he proved it with his great run in the GP.
The premise behind this deck is to put effects onto the battlefield that allow you to draw lots of extra cards. Because repeatable card draw is a pretty broken effect, the cards are designed to be symmetrical. If you’re drawing 2-3 cards per turn, so is your opponent. The way to get around that is to make sure you’re taking more turns than they are, and to make sure they can’t capitalize on all of the cards they’re getting.
Dictate of Kruphix is the most powerful way to start drawing. You can play it an instant speed, so it’s harder to counter, and you can make sure that you’re the first one to get its benefit. After that, you have all your mana untapped to defend yourself. Howling Mine is the original such effect dating all the way back to Alpha. It’s still a great card here, and it will only cost you 2 mana, but the drawback of letting the opponent draw first (and the fact that there are more answers to artifacts) is costly.
With these effects on the battlefield, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re taking more turns. Time Warp is a 5-mana sorcery that will let you make another land drop, and draw more cards depending on the number of Dictates and Mines you have in play. While the original Time Walk was only 2 mana, this effect is powerful enough that you want an entire playset, despite being 2.5 times as much mana to cast.
Going up the mana curve is Part the Waterveil. This is an even more expensive Time Warp effect and has the added disadvantage of being exiled. But, getting up to 9 mana to awaken is a real possibility in this deck, so it can be your win condition on its own.
Temporal Mastery costs even more than either Time Warp or Part, but can be miracled for the same cost as the original Time Walk. The possibility of living that dream is so powerful that it makes Mastery a fantastic addition. Keep in mind that you don’t have to miracle on your turn, so any effect that allows you to draw a card on an opponent’s turn (when you have 2 mana available) leaves open the possibility of a bonus turn.
You don’t always have taking turns effects on hand, so Gigadrowse will help keep your opponent from getting value out of their extra cards. Gigadrowse can tap down opposing creatures to stop a big attack, or their mana to stop them from adding threats or disrupting you. Exhaustion can feel like another Time Warp, preventing your tapped out opponent from casting spells or attacking.
Cryptic Command is card draw, countermagic, and a fog. Bouncing a critical permanent is icing on the cake.
Some various other disruption in the forms of Censor, Commandeer, and Snapback can be cheap or free ways to stay in control. Adding black for the best removal spell in Modern with Fatal Push provides insurance.
U/B Taking Turns is an incredibly sweet deck, but GP Las Vegas showed that it’s more than just a gimmick. This deck has a real place in the metagame and has what it takes to win Modern tournaments!