Hey everyone! This will be my last Standard article for this season. I’ll be focusing on other formats (mostly Modern and possibly some Legacy) in the off-weeks as the Ixalan spoilers roll in. Please let me know in the comments which decks you’d like to see me battle with—no suggestion is off the table as long as it’s competitive enough that we can get some good feedback on the idea and look to improve the deck! Without further ado, let’s talk about some U/W Approach of the Second Sun.
Standard is usually a cyclical format, and this Standard environment was no exception. We started with Mono-Red dominating Standard, Zombies going slightly bigger, Temur going bigger than Zombies, and we’re now at a point where The Scarab God is in many decks. The format has become ruled by powerful midrange strategies, with a mix of aggro and control decks. So how do you attack a metagame with such a diverse field? One way you can do it is to play a deck designed to do the same thing every game, and go slightly over the top of other decks like Temur Scarab God and God-Pharaoh’s Gift.
Here’s the list I’ve been working with:
This deck excels at going over the top. Anyone looking to play a “normal” game of Magic is in for a rude awakening when you show up with a deck that’s immune to creature removal. This creates a large number of dead draws for your opponents, leaving you free to take advantage, as you can spend the entire game lining up your removal against your opponent’s threats and managing your card draw.
I really like untapped lands. I hate it when you’re looking to cast that 4-7 mana spell and draw a tapped land, ruining your ability to keep up or close the game in a tight match. Tapped lands come with some upside and some additional power, but the cost you pay in tempo is huge in some circumstances. This deck limits itself to only 4 Irrigated Farmlands, which I find myself cycling often, and that allows you to play on curve, keep up with your opponents, and cast Approach on time at a very high clip. If I can give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to improve at Magic, it’s this: in deck building, play fewer tapped lands!
Speaking of cycling, this deck has a number of cards with that flexibility. Cast Out, Censor, and Hieroglyphic Illumination help you make your land drops and draw to your key spells. I think without Censor and Cast Out, this deck wouldn’t exist. In my research of U/W Approach, there were a number of lists I looked at, and the one thing that continued to confuse me was why players would play with fewer than 4 copies of Cast Out. It’s not the most efficient card (Utter End wasn’t ubiquitous and W/B was very good), but the flexibility is worth paying the extra mana cost. We live in a world of indestructible creatures, large Vehicles, and devastating artifacts and enchantments. Having a catch-all to answer them is important, and in a pinch, it cycles for 1 mana. Between Censor and Cast Out, these 2 cards are the glue to the shell that is U/W Approach, and I wouldn’t leave home without them.
Supreme Will and Glimmer of Genius are lthe next most important cards. These cards allow you to see 4 cards deep, which gets you more than halfway back to your Approach. These cards both dig you to lands, filter your draws, and find your Fumigate or Approach to really hammer your opponent. After Cast Out and Censor, I would not register any less than 4 of these cards.
I’m still working on the cheap removal. I’ve seen Blessed Alliance, Declaration in Stone, Stasis Snare, Sandblast, Unsummon, and Aether Meltdown all across decks that have been successful. From my experience, Blessed Alliance is the best of these. Another card with flexibility, I find this will usually gain 4 life and force your opponent to sacrifice a deadly creature. Aether Meltdown is the next most popular, but the anti-synergy between it and Blessed Alliance was enough to push me away. I split my slots on Stasis Snare as an additional way to handle God creatures like Hazoret, the Fervent, The Scarab God, and Rhonas the Indomitable. I like Unsummon as the deck has the ability to gain strong card advantage, and you can afford a card or two that creates card disadvantage but generates a mana advantage. Sometimes, all the control deck needs is a little time to get its answers in order and mana online. Unsummon isn’t flashy, but it does that job well, and I’ve been giving it a go. I would at least keep my eye on it. That being said, it’s the card I’m least sure of in the list, and I can see them becoming another Illumination and Stasis Snare if you really want to play more solid answers.
I’ll be back later this week with a video series with U/W Approach! Again, please post in the comments section below with what Modern decks you’d like to see me play. By the time I see your comments I’ll already be working on my content for the next week, but if I see a large number of responses I’ll do my best to cater to what the community wants to see the most! So get in there, share your favorite Modern deck (and list) and we’ll see what people choose the most!