Backup Plans

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The letter I! don't think it's unfair to say that Patrick Dickmann's "Tempo Twin" resembles Shouta Yasooka's Eternal Command, just with the Splinter Twin combo spliced in. Following Pro Tour Born of the Gods and Grand Prix Richmond, Dickmann's deck was widely considered one of the best decks in the format, if not the best. The running joke was that Dickmann's deck rarely comboed, so why bother running it in the first place? Why not make the backup plan, which has proven to be successful, the main plan and fill out the deck with ways to supplement that plan?

Two reasons. The first is that everyone must respect turn-three Deceiver Exarch into turn-four Splinter Twin. It will cause your opponents to play overly cautious and potentially save their removal for your potential combo despite them getting beaten down by a Tarmogoyf. The second reason is that your opponents will often over-sideboard against your combo, diluting their decks against your backup plan.

Of course, as players become more familiar with Dickmann's deck, you might lose those edges when they figure out how to actually fight you. In that case, you might want to take a look at TirioNstaRz10's Eternal Command deck. With Æther Vial, Eternal Witness, Phantasmal Image, and the full four Cryptic Commands, this deck is incredibly robust. Sometimes, a backup plan ends up being better than your main plan.

Gerry Thompson
Gerry Thompson
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Gerry Thompson is a former professional Magic player and strategy writer, whose career highlights includes a Top 8 at Pro Tour Gatecrash and two Grand Prix wins in Denver and Nashville. He's currently a development intern for Wizards of the Coast.

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