Pat Chapin is not shy about using hyperbole, so his statement of "This format will be unplayable once everyone realizes how good Mirari's Wake
is" should probably be taken with a grain of salt. But Chapin is certainly confident about his chances and his deck, even though he lost his first match with it.
The deck is based around abusing Mirari's Wake, the "combination Glorious Anthem/Mana Flare," by casting pricey spells such as Time Stretch and Kirtar's Wrath. The finisher of choice is a single Firecat Blitz that resides in the sideboard, ready to be fished out with Burning Wish. With six land and a Wake in play, the Blitz can deal twenty damage on its own. The Burning Wishes and the Blitz put a strain on the deck's mana base by necessitating a fourth color, but four Far Wanderings, four Krosan Verges, and Living Wish provide ample "fixing."
The deck relies so heavily on the Wake that a good chunk of it is dedicated just to finding one. "You can Compulsion for it, Deep Analysis for it, or Flash of Insight for it," said Chapin, "or you can Wish for Quiet Speculation, Speculate for Deep Analysis, and then Deep Analysis for it. But the plan is just to get a Wake in play and untap. No one should ever lose a game of Magic if they get to untap with a Mirari's Wake in play."
All the deck has to stop the early beats is four Moment's Peace (which are often Speculated for), a trio of Kirtar's Wraths (one of which is in the 'board), and two Firebolts in the 'board. That handful of cards should be able to buy Chapin enough time to get a Wake into play and then cast a huge Flash of Insight or a Time Stretch. "Time Stretch is like Time Spiral," said Chapin, "in that it should just say 'Win the game.'"
One of the deck's weaknesses is to other decks that can Speculate for Moment's Peace, but Chapin has that covered with an Ambassador Laquatus in the sideboard. The other natural enemy of the deck is fast red burn, but Chapin is certain that such a deck isn't viable in this environment.
The deck certainly looks hard to play, and with only three Circular Logics for defense, knowing what to counter against black control seems really important. But Chapin and Eric Taylor, also running the deck, are both sure it was the correct call for this event.
Some members of Team CMU, including Eugene Harvey and Nate Heiss, are running a different Wake deck, designed and tuned by their teammates Paul Sottosanti, Nick Eisel, and Mike Patnik. Their version is the more "traditional" three-color style, and wins mainly via Crush of Wurms. Living Wish gives access to a variety of other beaters, such as Phantom Nishoba; Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor; and Genesis.
"The deck can win even if you get Mind Sludge
d and Haunting Echoes
'd," said Harvey, "because you have so many ways to win. You have Crush, every Living Wish
, and even Kirtar's Wrath
. The tokens are huge because of the Wake."
Compulsion, Deep Analysis, Quiet Speculation, and Flash of Insight provide the tutoring power, with a lone Holistic Wisdom as a way to reuse the goods. Moment's Peace and Aether Burst hold the fort against creature rushes.
Like most of it's kind, the deck tries very hard to get a Mirari's Wake into play by turn four. Two Far Wanderings and four Krosan Verges help accelerate the mana, with the extra trick of "Wish for Krosan Restorer on turn two" thrown in as a backup plan.
"The deck can lose to black if they play a Nantuko Shade on turn two and just start attacking," said Heiss, "But most people don't play the Shade early." Other than that, the only truly bad matchup is Upheaval/Zombie Infestation. "It loses to decks with a lot of counters," said Eugene. "This deck is powerful, but really hard to play."
Will Mirari's Wake break up the trinity of mono-black, blue/green, and blue/white birds? Is there a finally a viable combo deck in this format? We'll see after eight rounds today.
Eugene Harvey - GP Cleveland
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Pat Chapin - GP Cleveland
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