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Cook’s Kitchen- U/R Aggro

When cards from Innistrad were being spoiled not too many people were excited for a flying Wild Nactal named Delver of Secrets. All of the hype was around a certain Wizard called Snapcaster Mage and for good reason. Snapcaster Mage is one the best creatures printed in a while. However, Delver of Secrets is by far the best aggressive blue creature ever printed. The runners up being Vendilion Clique or… Flying Men? There really isn’t anything even close to Delver’s power level in blue.

 


            

 

Delver of Secrets being incredibly strong for it’s colors allows blue to be played differently than traditional blue control decks. Traditionally blue control decks sit back, counter threats, draw cards, stop the opponent until they’ve won the attrition war and then play a win condition. Delver of Secrets completely changes the way that counterspells are used in the control decks. The idea now is to play a creature and protect it, more along the lines of a tempo deck than a control deck.

 

Lu Cai created the standard U/R Aggro deck with this plan in mind for Star City Games Las Vegas.

 

U/R Aggro by Lu Cai (From SCG Las Vegas)
Maindeck:

Creatures:
3 Chandra’s Phoenix
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Stromkirk Noble

Instants/Sorceries:
4 Brimstone Volley
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Incinerate
4 Mana Leak
1 Negate
2 Vapor Snag
 4 Ponder

Basic Lands:
9 Island
9 Mountain

Non-Basic Land:
4 Sulfur Falls

Sideboard:
2 Spellskite
2 Manic Vandal
2 Stromkirk Noble
2 Dismember
3 Flashfreeze
1 Steel Sabotage
3 Arc Trail

 

Lu Cai made it all the way to the finals of the event before he was taken down by UB control. Lu created a very innovative deck for the event, taking most of the Red Deck Wins shell and added blue for some over powered spells. While watching Lu throughout the event I noticed that when he lost, it was for one main reason. Mana flood. The deck that curves out at three mana, there just isn’t a need to run twenty-two lands. When the control decks of standard format aim to cast six and seven mana spells while running twenty-four to twenty-five lands it makes a player reconsider their mana. I certainly did while building this deck, twenty lands with four Cantrips in Ponder are more than enough to consistently hit land drops.

 

Mana is something that is very unusual with this deck because there isn’t a whole lot of mana fixing in blue and red currently in standard. This makes casting spells such as Chandra’s Phoenix a liability. In a deck that runs nine Island, nine Mountain, and four Sulfur Falls it’s difficult to cast things with double mana of a color in a casting cost. Another reason Chandra’s Phoenix is a concern is U/R Aggro ideally should be playing a turn one Delver of Secrets or Stromkirk Noble, then another creature turn two. After this the deck wants to keep mana for counterspells, burn, and bounce like traditional counterburn.

 

My solution to the Chandra’s Phoenix problem is to run Stormblood Beserker instead. I got the idea from a friend and a list from states:

 

U/R Aggro by Mike Ulland (From States)

Maindeck:

Creatures:
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Grim Lavamancer
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Stormblood Berserker
4 Stromkirk Noble

Instants/Sorceries:
4 Brimstone Volley
2 Dissipate
4 Incinerate
4 Mana Leak
2 Negate
3 Arc Trail

Basic Land:
9 Island
9 Mountain

Non-Basic Land:
4 Sulfur Falls

Sideboard:
3 Sword of War and Peace
3 Spellskite
3 Manic Vandal
2 Negate
1 Arc Trail
3 Traitorous Blood

 

This list does a few things more successfully than Lu’s list from Las Vegas. Mike’s list runs the maximum number of playable one drop creatures to increase the game plan of playing creatures and protecting them, with four of both Delver of Secrets and Stromkirk Noble. Mike also chose Stormblood Beseker over Chandra’s Phoenix. With eight creatures in the deck that use counters it’s probably worth it to run Volt Charge like Red Deck Wins. Turn one Stromkirk Noble, turn two Stormblood Beserker, turn three Volt Charge is the best thing Red Deck Wins can do. There isn’t a reason U/R Aggro can’t do the same.

 

Aside from Volt charge, a lot of lists play Gut Shot over Galvanic Blast to improve Stormblood Beserker. I’ve tried Gutshot, it’s not as good as people think. Sacrificing a card to deal one damage to be able to play a marginal creature isn’t worth it. While Beseker can be good, it’s awful if two cards go into casting a creature to have it eat a removal spell. Gut Shot has other merits than Stormblood Beserker, it’s fantastic turn one killing a one drop while casting a Delver or Noble.  The best thing possible to do with Gutshot is to kill a creature turn one, Snapcaster Mage on turn two and kill another. Although, this is such a corner case, the consistency and extra point of burn in Galvanic blast will affect more matches than Gutshot. U/R Aggro wins a surprising amount of games with burn after early threats have become outclassed or destroyed. A burn spell that is worth playing is Arc Trail. With green/white Tempered Steel, and Illusions being very popular at the moment the card is incredible. I suggest removing Incinerate from the list because the possibility of getting a two for one is more relevant at the moment than an additional damage. Incinerate is better against the slow control decks and Wolf-Run Ramp which were popular in past months because well, there aren’t any creatures to target.

 

While Mikes list is very close to something I would run, there’s definitely some changes that still need to be made. The fourth Snapcaster Mage and Stormblood Beserker need to leave. Both of these cards aren’t very good in multiples and are conditional based on the game state. Dissipate falls under the same category as Chandra’s Phoenix with the double-color mana cost issue. While we’re on the topics of things I dislike, let’s look at another list from states by Trey Ballew.

 

U/R Aggro by Trey Ballew (From States)

Maindeck:

Creatures:
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Grim Lavamancer
4 Snapcaster Mage

Instants/Sorceries:
4 Brimstone Volley
4 Desperate Ravings
4 Incinerate
4 Mana Leak
 4 Arc Trail
2 Devil’s Play
4 Ponder

Basic Land:
10 Island
7 Mountain

Non-Basic Land:
2 Rootbound Crag
4 Sulfur Falls

Sideboard:
3 Phantasmal Image
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Dissipate
2 Flashfreeze
2 Twisted Image
4 Slagstorm

 

Trey’s list doesn’t follow what most of the U/R Aggro decks are trying to accomplish by only running four Delver of Secrets. The game plan of “play a creature and protect it” won’t happen too often. This list attempts to be a mid-range deck with late appeal, from the Desperate Ravings and Devil’s Play. Whether or not this is actually better than being aggressive, I’m unsure. I highly doubt it though. One of the worst things about the list is the Rootbound Crags. The ability to flash back Ancient Grudge isn’t worth the games lost that Rootbound Crag’s coming into play tapped will cause. Enough being negative, what I do like is this list:

 

U/R Aggro by Bryant Cook

Maindeck:

Creatures:
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Stromkirk Noble
3 Snapcaster Mage
3 Stormblood Berserker
2 Grim Lavamancer

Instants/Sorceries:
4 Brimstone Volley

4 Galvanic Blast
4 Mana Leak

2 Volt Charge
2 Vapor Snag

1 Negate

4 Ponder

3 Arc Trail

Basic Land:
8 Island
8 Mountain

Non-Basic Land:
4 Sulfur Falls

Sideboard:
4 Flash Freeze
3 Manic Vandal

3 Volshok Refugee
2 Negate
2 Dismember

1 Dissipate

 

The list is pretty much exactly what I described over the course of the article, no surprises. The sideboard is a bit different than the others in the article, in my local Metagame there is more Wolf-Run and Red Deck Wins than most places, which is why you’ll find the Refugee’s and Flash Freezes in higher numbers. Am I a hypocrite for playing Refugee after arguing against Chandra’s Phoenix? I don’t believe so. Against the mirror or Red Deck Wins if Refugee resolves, the chances of winning the game are dramatically increased. I also decided to play a random one of Dissipate in the sideboard for control match-ups countering things such as Sun Titan or Elesh Norn. Other than those few cards, it’s a pretty standard sideboard for U/R Aggro.

 

The deck is very consistent and hasn’t under-performed for me at all in my testing. In general, U/R Aggro is begging for some sort of fetch land or dual land to make the mana base more consistent.  It’s the weakest thing about it. U/R Aggro in Standard plays very similarly to a Legacy deck.  In fact, it’s basically just the U/R Delver deck Doug McKay has had so much success with in Jupiter Games Legacy NELC Events. I actually feel as if I’m playing a Legacy deck at times because the deck is a lot faster than a majority of the other decks in standard sans Tempered Steel or Illusions.

 

Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!

Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook on MTGthesource

BCook3289@yahoo.com

 

 

2 thoughts on “Cook’s Kitchen- U/R Aggro”

  1. Hahaha too funny Caleb, damn right tell him whats up. Why couldn’t you win invitational I had you on my fantasy team but kenny had alex and won obv. 

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