With the tournament’s field consisting primarily of Goblins, RW Control and smatterings of MWC, two players playing different version of a White-Blue control deck stood out in the crowd. Both of them made day two with Brian Kibler still being in contention for the top 8 whilst Stephane Purcha, who was in fourth place after day 1, has accumulated a number of draws to make his performance today less stellar.
Purcha’s maindeck varied by dropping two land, a Complicate, an Eternal Dragon and an Akroma’s Vengeance in favour of three Chain of Vapors and two Decree of Silence. His sideboard was vastly different, so here it is:
4 Wall of Deceit
3 Wipe Clean
2 Chromeshell Crab
1 Decree of Silence
The format is split into two different categories: cards that are good against Goblins and those that work against control. The distinction between the two is very clear. Knights, Angels, Wing Shards and a combination of Decree of Justice and counterspells are all very effective versus the little Red critters; whilst sideboarding gains things like Windborn Muse, Wall of Deceits and even the option of Wall of Hope, although neither player chose to run these. These spells allow the WU player to survive the early game so that it can get mana to use its superior late game spells, like Decree of Justice, Vengeance and Akroma’s to finish the game off. Unlike MWC which suffers really badly from Siege-Gang Commander, WU can counter them, a solution which works just as well with Rorix Bladewing. Stephane’s Chain of Vapors really help to pull the deck through the early game with more than enough life to stabilize. After sideboarding, the Muses are very significant. There are many other cards that can contend for their slots, cards like Wall of Hope, Wall of Deceit, Foothill Guide and Starlight Invoker, however the reason for the Muse’s superiority is that they deal with cards that cause the deck problems, ie. Siege-Gang Commander, the early Goblin rush and Haste creatures like Menacing Ogre, Clickslither and Rorix.
The deck has four key components to winning the much slower control matchups: Decree of Silence, Decree of Justice, Eternal Dragon and Chromeshell Crab. The Decree of Silence is amazingly powerful, partly due to its fantastic synergy with Chain of Vapour and Stifle. Stifle can be used to counter the triggered ability of removing a counter when an opponent casts a spell, effectively allowing the WU player to decided what spells he wants the Decree to stop. Stifle’s other main effect is that it scares people. Much like the knowledge of Force Spikes made people play around them, so does Stifle. The Chains work in a very similar way, returning the Decree to your hand when the third counter is removed, before the Decree is sacrificed. Of course, you can always win a counter war in the mirror by cycling it! Decree of Justice is a phenomenal instant-speed win condition as it allows you to leave your mana open for counterspells and Wing Shards. Its other use is as a defence to other people’s Decree’s and to protect Akroma from being Wing Shardsed, a very multi-purpose card. The Eternal Dragons make it very hard for you to miss land drops in the slower matchups, exceptionally important considering how expensive a lot of the deck’s spells are. The Crabs are, to quote the Dragonmaster, ‘Insane’, they make the MWC matchup almost impossible to lose and really help against RW control. Stabilizer is very useful in doing what it does best, and Kibler admits that if he’d have known that there would have been less Sulfuric Vortexes flying around the tournament, then he would have played more and less Daru Sanctifiers.
All in all the deck is incredibly solid, with few significantly bad matchups and a lot of positive ones. The manabase is solid and the deck is fun to play, albeit slow. Expect it to make an appearance in future tournaments.