Leading up to the Toronto Open+, the most common question people asked me after looking through the deck was, “Isn’t this just bad Splinter Twin, and why are you playing it?” While it’s not quite the same, I am going to explain why I think you should pick up the deck.
UR Breach – Truman Yee
Is UR Breach Just a Bad Version of Twin?
As you can probably tell, the deck does resemble a lot like the old UR Splinter Twin; and plays fairly similar. With the exception, that Twin was more capable of winning the fair way. Twin never relied heavily on the combo to win games, and at the end of its life; Grixis and other URx variants were far more common than traditional UR. Due to the combo being relatively fragile, and just threatening the combo; made people play in a way that made beating them down, with creatures a stronger plan-A. I am guessing it’s for this reason, people assumed Breach is just a worse version of Twin. But what people forget is how much better the Breach combo is compared to Twin, as it can often come down a couple of turns faster; since we don’t require as much counter back up.
3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn – Emrakul is half of your combo, but extremely annoying to draw in multiples. Most lists play will 4, but I decided I wanted to cut it for Pull from Tomorrow. As it’s typically better in the mid to late game, assuming you don’t have a Breach.
4 Snapcaster Mage – In my experience Snapcaster has been an over performer, but it seems some lists have gone down to 2-3. Which I think is strictly wrong.
1 Vendilion Clique – Clique has been good for me so far, but I still consider this a flex spot. If Titan and Storm isn’t well represented in your meta, I can see cutting this for more removal or third Blood Moon.
2 Blood Moon – One of the best hate cards in the format. I am currently trying to make room for the third, and most likely cutting the Search for Azcanta or Clique.
1 Search for Azcanta – I ended up cutting a Sulfur Falls to make room, as I found the deck can flood out if games go long enough; and I felt that an extra mana sink, and possible turn 4 Breach was worth cut. Moving forward I am not sure if this is going to hold its spot. With more aggressive creature decks like UG Merfolk and 5c Humans gaining traction, the card may be too slow in the meta.
4 Through the Breach – Second part of the combo, and a 4 of because it has some outside benefit of instant speed Platinum Emperion; which has been surprisingly relevant. Secondly, when it gets Thoughtseized, it won’t shuffle your deck and graveyard; which increases the EV of Snapcaster Mage.
4 Cryptic Command – People have been cutting back on this card, and I am not sure why. Outside of Grixis Shadow, most decks aren’t playing efficient counter magic; and if they are, you probably have more. Personally, I wouldn’t go lower than 4, or maybe 3 if the meta makes a drastic change towards combo decks.
2 Electrolyze – It’s great on the play, and usually a bit slow on the draw. But a necessity if you want game against some of the faster aggro decks, like Affinity and Humans.
1 Supreme Will – Card has been great. Being able to dig 4 deep into your deck, when the counter mode isn’t good; has saved me on multiple occasions.
1 Izzet Charm – I feel like this card is under appreciated, and would almost consider it a staple in the deck. It offers so much versatility in the critical parts of the early game, and can cycle in the late game.
1 Pull from Tomorrow – This was the 4th Emrakul, but I like Pull from Tomorrow so much more. The amount of times you get to draw 6 plus cards, is actually surprisingly high; and I feel like it gives the deck the few extra percentage points vs. GBx that makes the match up favourable.
4 Remand – Easily the best or worst card, depending on what you are playing against. Always play 3-4.
4 Lightning Bolt – I am currently trying to figure out if playing a main deck Roast is better than the 4th Bolt. If your meta doesn’t have a lot of Shadow, GBx and Eldrazi, Bolt is probably better.
4 Serum Visions – There has been bit of a debate on whether Serum Visions should be Opt. Personally, I think every combo deck should be on Serum Visions. Because Serum Visions will get you 2-4 cards deeper into your deck, and Opt will only get you 1-2. Serum also has the added benefit of being able to hide the combo on the top of your deck, which can drastically affect your opponent’s ability to use their hand disruption effectively.
2 Desolate Lighthouse – Best blue utility land, never really wanted more or less than two.
SB: 1 Izzet Staticaster – Easily one of the best sideboard cards in the game right now, and I am currently trying to make room for a 2nd.
SB: 1 Keranos, God of Storms -As awesome as Keranos has been, I am not sure if it’s still needed in the sideboard. I have been bringing it in mostly vs. GBx, and control. But both matchups are favourable without him. However, I have also tested him vs. Elves, Merfolk, and Humans; and he performed fairly well. But there are better cards for those matchups.
SB: 2 Platinum Emperion – I credit most of my success with the deck to Platinum Emperion, and would never remove the Madcap package. If you’re not playing it in the side, you are sacrificing a ton of percentage points to your bad, and 50/50 match ups. Currently there are a lot of decks that can’t deal with him, and even if they do have a few answers; most people fail to bring them in, and will even board them out.
SB: 1 By Force – This is mostly in the board for Affinity, but has the additional benefit of being goodn vs. Tron, and Lantern.
SB: 2 Anger of the Gods – I really want three now that 5c Humans and UG Merfolk are becoming popular.
SB: 2 Roast – Roast has been great, and with the lack of fliers in the format the drawback; is almost non-existent.
SB: 3 Madcap Experiment – Already talked about it earlier, I think exactly three is correct.
This is one of your best matchups, and one of the reason why you would want to play the deck. The core of your strategy is to disrupt them as much as possible, and then combo them out with Breach Emrakul. Both the Breach and Madcap plan are good, but I found I had to rely slightly heavier on the Platinum Emperion plan due to how fast they can ramp.
Affinity is an awkward match up game one. You can have hands that will destroy them, or hands that leave you dead by turn 3. Luckily post board is great for us, and this match up boils down to trading early on, and then crushing them in the mid to late game.
UR Gift’s Storm
This matchup is great for us, basically every card except Blood Moon is good, and they can’t effectively interact with your instant speed combo. Post board get slightly more difficult if they draw multiple pieces of the puzzle, but it’s going to take them a lot to overwhelm your counter magic.
Grixis Death’s Shadow
Death’s Shadow decks are fairly bad for us, in terms of what every other match is like; since they play a unreasonable amount of disruption. To win this, you will often be on the burn them out game plan for game one, but if they play sloppy; you can always combo them out. Post board I feel like this matchup gets better, but I don’t ever feel favoured. If this deck is popular in your meta, you may want to look into adding more Roasts in the board and possibly the main.
This matchup is difficult for me to evaluate, as I have personally never lost to it. But I didn’t win in a way that I felt was easily reproducible. The games you have Blood Moon are extremely easy. But when you don’t, you are often pressured to draw the combo ASAP, or hope you can counter every single one of their threats. Post board Platinum Emperion is one of the best cards in the matchup, and can often win you the game by its self.
As one of the first people to explore the archetype, I have bit of a soft spot for the deck. I haven’t had a chance to play against it, but I have played on the side of 5c Humans vs. UR Breach. The match up seems kind of 50/50, pre-board. But favourable for UR Breach post board. For the Humans player to have a chance at winning after boarding, they need a lot of disruption, and for the UR player to not draw multiple early removal spells.
I hope anyone who was able to read through all this was able to learn something new about the deck, and how I approached the build. There seems to be a lot more people jumping on the deck, and putting up results; which in it self isn’t too surprising. Since the deck is great. But when you look at how many different cards are being played in any given 75, you start to notice how strong the core strategy of the deck is.
Moving forward I think the deck is a great option for anyone planning to play a large tournament like an RPTQ or FaceToFaceGames.com Open. I have been playing the exact same seventy-five since I got back, and still consistently winning; with a win-loss-ratio of 50-5. Overall, I have been extremely satisfied with the deck, and the only changes I am potentially looking at for the future; is adding better removal to hedge vs. 5c Humans.