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Blue/White Stoneblade and the New Kids on the Block

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Hey everyone!

This weekend the SCG Tour makes a stop in Indianapolis. It feels like I'm in Indy for a tournament every other month for either an SCG or Magic Fest. Luckily it's a great town. The format is Modern and I couldn't be more excited.

After watching SCG coverage for Philadelphia it seems Standard is bogged down by Golos mirrors and I want nothing to do with it. Legacy seems sweet, but I never have enough opportunities. It would be great to give Jeskai Mentor a spin as decks like that are right up my alley.

That leaves us with Modern; It's currently my favorite format as it balances deck diversity with accessibility. I'm able to play Modern multiple times per week at hobby shops if I desire. Each new set keeps Modern fresh as Throne of Eldraine turned the format on its head yet again.

I've been championing uw Stoneblade for the last few weeks and I made some changes to the sideboard to stay up to date. The newest kid on the block is Emry, Lurker of the Loch. Rather than simply focusing my time fighting Whurza there's a new flavor of artifacts that operate in a different way.

The new artifact deck on campus is based around the amazing Emry, Lurker of the Loch.

Here's an example of a 5-0 deck from Yamakiller in a Magic Online League;


While this deck will evolve with time it's important to take note of the artifacts it plays. They all cost zero mana; simply material to return to hand with Paradoxical Outcome or easily make 1/1 tokens from Saheeli and Sai.

Jeskai Ascendancy plus Emry lets you cycle through the deck with Mishra's Bauble. This eventually finds two moxes to cast repeatedly with Emry's ability which creates lots of mana. They die to the legend rule to be recurred. Then you can cast a token-generating threat and take an extra turn with Nexus of Fate and win.

The shuffle ability on Nexus of Fate is important because taking another turn means you need to draw all of the cards off Mishra's Bauble without decking.

If the opponent doesn't have a creature on the battlefield you can simply attack with a large Emry because each time she untaps Jeskai Ascendancy also gives her +1+1.

This is a new foe to face. It's the metagame's response to Spell Snare being well positioned as there aren't any 2-drops in the deck. It's possible to cast Engineered Explosives or Everflowing Chalice with two mana, but that can be avoided. I need a plan to specifically interact with this deck.

Here's my current list of Stoneblade with Emry in mind:


The maindeck has remained similar to my starting point, but I moved Dismember to the sideboard in favor of Supreme Verdict. This is because when Dismember is bad in a matchup there's very little to do with it. Supreme Verdict, on the other hand, is able to pitch to Force of Negation. A sweeper effect is also powerful against the same matchups as Dismember. I see a lot of cards each game which makes the first copy powerful. It even kills Eidolon of the Great Revel without dealing me damage.

My sideboard has changed by a few cards, but it alters how matchups are approached.

There are only four Blue cards in the sideboard. I'm making room for more of Modern's hate cards instead of flexible counterspells. This is a conscious effort to make the sideboard less flexible as many of the cards in the maindeck are versatile. I don't have to cut many cards because Path to Exile is the most polarizing spell. This is a deck that can utilize extreme upgrades.

The Wrath of God I originally played to fight Humans is exchanged for Supreme Verdict. There's isn't a correct answer on which one to play as they both have advantages. The way my sideboard is currently built means I need the extra Blue card against Paradoxical Outcome decks and Titan Shift. Pitching to Force of Negation is an acceptable floor on power level.

Two Stony Silence get the nod over Surgical Extraction and Disenchant. While I like the ability to extract Tron lands it's the only matchup where it truly shines. Surgical Extraction is also good against Dredge and this move is making my matchup worse. If you feel Dredge will be popular it's worth finding room for a third Rest in Peace or Ashiok, Dream Render.

This doesn't happen often, but Disenchant isn't actually great against the new artifact deck in Paradoxical Outcome. Their deck is configured in a way where the top end are Blue spells and the cards that give them power are zero mana artifacts. I'm trading down on mana every time as I attempt to destroy a Mox or a zero mana Engineered Explosives. Emry can also cast them on the next turn in slower games, too.

The scariest artifact in the deck being Mishra's Bauble means I need to stop it from activating in the first place. I can also punk them on mana by shutting off moxes and Stony Silence doesn't die to Engineered Explosives.

It's still not yet clear to me if Paradoxical Outcome is better than Whurza, but I expect to face both types of decks in the short run. Stony Silence is also great against Whurza.

Stony Silence is also a great sideboard option against Tron so I don't feel bad cutting two cards for that matchup. Disenchant is lower impact as a Stony can shut them out of the game.

When Stony Silence is in play it creates an interesting conundrum for the Tron player if they should cast Mycosynth Lattice with Karn, the Great Creator in play. When both players have a way to stop artifacts from activating on a battlefield full of artifacts the first person to deck loses. Nobody can cast spells by tapping mana and planeswalkers can't be activated. A single Stonetorge Mystic or Snapcaster Mage could take the game. The only thing we can do is attack.

The one downside of Stony Silence is you cannot equip Sword of Feast and Famine. This can be mitigated by bouncing Stony Silence with Teferi's ability or you can simply swap the sword with the second Batterskull. The latter is a more reasonable option.

While this seems like a big setback I would be all right with swapping Sword of Feast and Famine for Batterskull against every artifact deck except Tron. This is because Sai, Master Thopterist, Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, and Thopter Foundry all create pesky blockers. The sword can also be hit by a Pithing Needle after it's revealed by Stoneforge Mystic. Batterskull is much better at grinding through tokens.

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is also making an appearance in the sideboard. There's a new Grixis Control deck that takes advantage of Drown in the Loch.

Here's an example piloted by Aspiringspike to a 5-0 finish in a Magic Online League:


This type of control deck feeds on clunkier control decks, but is less robust. Each spell being more nimble means they sacrifice flexibility. Kolaghan's Command is annoying to face which means I need to close the game with a sticky threat.

Grixis Control is always a deck I want to be great, but typically falls short. Time will tell if this version can be great in the hands of someone other than Corey Burkhart. I'm eager to give it a spin as it generates so much value.

I don't think I would want to play this in a big tournament as each round would go close to time. There would be no time to get food in between rounds and I would be exhausted.

Grixis Control looks to be a nightmare matchup for uw Stoneblade. My best hope of winning the match comes from the Rest in Peace, Gideon, and Teferi in the sideboard to cheese them out.

Gideon also represents a no nonsense threat if your round goes late. Jace and Teferi are good at creating card advantage, but there aren't any other ways to close a game quickly. It's nice to have the option to win fast.

Since I'm building this deck for an SCG event I want to be more prepared for Jund. It doesn't matter if the deck is well-positioned or not when you spent hundreds of dollars on expedition lands. Jund people do Jund things.

Modern Horizons has given us the tools to fight a better fair game than ever. Gideon plays well against decks that aren't looking to do something broken. Most opponents I face are playing threats, card advantage, and interaction. I'm dedicating one slot as a catch-all. Nice artifact hate spells, buddy.

Disdainful Stroke is the only counter that remains in the sideboard to make room for more hateful cards. Since there are already eleven counters in the maindeck I focus on adding the most hateful one in the board. Disdainful Stroke is either great or I don't side it in. It covers Primeval Titan, Karn Liberated, Urza, and Paradoxical Outcome.

Here's my updated sideboard guide:

Tron::

The hive mind is currently torn on whether to play Once Upon a Time. Either way I can leave in the three Spell Snares.

Titan Shift:

Burn:

Humans:

I'm now cutting a Cryptic and a Jace to make the deck less expensive. Spell Snare has a chance of not doing anything, but it can hit Phantasmal Image.

Dredge:

Jund:

U/W Stoneblade:

Paradoxical Outcome:

Whurza:

Grixis Control:

I'm also experimenting with a version of Stoneblade that takes advantage of Spell Queller without ditching Cryptic Command:


I need to test this deck more, but it has promise. A similar list took second in a Magic Online Modern Challenge earlier this week. My key innovation here is to not go all-in on Spell Queller in favor of less 3-drops. The Sword of Feast and Famine is more likely to connect with three Teferi and the Spell Quellers so I can cut the Batterskull from the board.

Mystic Sanctuary combos with Cryptic Command in the late game. I can search for the sanctuary because it's an Island which makes fetch lands reasonable topdecks in the late game. This makes me feel better about only playing two Jace.

Modern continues to impress. It's looking more like Standard where new sets completely change the format. A format changing every few months without having to buy a new deck is a welcome change.

Hopefully Stoneforge treats me right in Indy. I hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading,

Kyle