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By: olaw, Oliver Law
May 24 2013 9:30am
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Hello!

Welcome to another Becoming A Modern Man!  I apologise for my brief hiatus.  I been quite busy recently and also I've been feeling a big negative about MTGO due to the planned changeover to Shiny.  However, with Modern Masters on the horizon I'm feeling a bit more motivated.  This is an article that I meant to get out a while back but I think it's still relevant now.

In this article I will be looking URW Twin, a variation on the more traditional UR Splinter Twin combo decks.  The added white gives you access to Restoration Angel, Wall of Omens, Path to Exile, Celestial Colonnade and various other powerful and useful cards.

 

DECK TECH

Creatures

Wall of Omens
Wall of Omens
We aren't running any draw spells in this deck so Wall of Omens is one of our main ways of drawing cards.  The advantage of running Wall of Omens over other draw spells is that it's very relevant against aggressive decks and can help stem the tide while you put your combo together.  It also works nicely with Restoration Angel and can even be a Splinter Twin target if the occasion calls for it.

Spellskite
Spellskite
Spellskite is a very good way to protect your combo.  Spellskite can take a bullet for a creature or a Splinter Twin as most enchantment hate can also target artifacts.  Spellskite is also, like Wall of Omens, a solid blocker against aggressive decks.

Snapcaster Mage
Snapcaster Mage
We are running a lot of the same cards as the URW Control deck so it's not too much of a surprise that Snapcaster Mage is pretty awesome here.  Sadly there isn't a ton of room for the guy but the numbers can certainly be tweaked.  Snapcaster + counters/Lightning Bolt/Path to Exile are all great plays and the 1-of Snapcaster can produce great value.

Deceiver ExarchPestermiteVillage Bell-Ringer
Deceiver Exarch/Pestermite/Village Bell-Ringer
Here are our three-mana combo creatures.  Each of these creatures is capable of comboing with Splinter Twin or Kiki-Jiki.  You can mess with the numbers but here we're trying to maximise on the four toughness combo creatures as they are much carder to kill with damage spells like Lightning Bolt or Electrolyze.  Pestermite, however, does have the advantage of being able to combo through cards like Soul Warden and just generally being a better offensive threat.

Restoration Angel
Restoration Angel
Restoration Angel is a great body and has an effect that works nicely with the other creatures in the deck.  More importantly Restoration Angel + Kiki-Jiki is another combo that can win you the game.  Ordinarily, adding Angel to your Splinter Twin deck will water down the combo, as Angel doesn't combo with Splinter Twin just Kiki, however, here we are using Angel as an alternate win condition.  The presence of Angel, along with burn and Colonnade means you actually have a realistic alternate route to victory with damage.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Kiki-Jiki your alternative method of comboing.  Kiki works just as well as Splinter Twin when it comes to comboing with Pestermite, Deceiver Exarch and Village Bell-Ringer.  It also has the additional benefit of being able to combo with Restoration Angel in this deck.  Kiki clearly has a strong reason to be in this deck already but it's also good to have a different angle of attack.  Being able to combo with all creatures turns off some hate cards your opponent might be playing such as Spell Pierce or Negate.

Spells

Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Bolt is obviously amazing, however, it's not always an auto-include in Splinter Twin decks as they generally aren't interested in going to the dome with the damage.  Cards like Flame Slash are sometimes more useful as they deal with problem creatures such as Spellskite and the drawback of not being able to go to the face doesn't matter too much.  The situation is different here though as damage can be relevant when playing URW Twin, therefore, Lightning Bolt is a strong choice as removal and potentially the last few points of damage if the combo-route fails.

Path to Exile
Path to Exile
One of the major advantages of playing white is having access to this awesome removal spell.  I probably don't have to explain how good Path is as a removal spell.  A cheap and efficient way to deal with the majority of the creatures in the format.

Izzet Charm
Izzet Charm
There are better choices than Izzet Charm for each of its various modes but it's the versatility that really pays dividends here. Sometimes it's a pseudo-Spell Pierce, sometimes it's a Shock for their Dark Confidant or Delver of Secrets etc. and sometimes you just need to dig deeper to find your combo pieces.  Each mode is very useful in this deck and is a great utility card.

Remand
Remand
A great tempo card.  Remand draws you deeper in to your deck, hopefully finding your combo pieces, while also slowing your opponent's tempo.  Remand can buy you whole turns and for combo decks that can be very significant.

Splinter Twin
Splinter Twin
This is the traditional combo piece of the deck.  It probably doesn't require much explanation.  Caleb Durward actually said in his article regarding this deck that he sometimes used Splinter Twin to enchant his Wall of Omens just to draw extra cards, so there are actually some other interesting interactions here.  Generally though this is the second piece of your combo.

Sphinx's Revelation
Sphinx's Revelation
Anybody who has been playing Standard recently will be well aware of the power of this card.  It's not strictly necessary in this deck but it is excellent in the late game at helping you find the cards you need and preserving your life total.  I like this as a one-of but it is an expensive card and could easily be swapped out for another copy of any other card in this deck.

Manabase

Celestial Colonnade
Celestial Colonnade
Colonnade is probably the most interesting part of the manabase as it also our second big attacker in the deck.  A 4/4 Vigilance, Flyer is nothing to sniff at and can very easily get the job done in the late game.

Arid MesaScalding Tarn
Arid Mesa/Scalding Tarn
We have our fetchlands to ensure that we can access all three of our colours when necessary.

Sacred FoundryHallowed FountainSteam Vents
Ravnica Duals
Of course we are running the duals to fix our mana.  The mana can be a bit awkward at times, particularly with the heavy red requirements for Splinter Twin and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker but generally it's too much of an issue provided you know what you're doing.

Sulfur Falls
Sulfur Falls
Sulfur Falls rounds out our duals giving us another blue/red dual that should come into play untapped.

Sideboard

Celestial PurgePyroclasmRest in PeaceNegateAjani VengeantDispelStony SilenceDisenchantAven Mindcensor

  • Celestial Purge is a strong white sideboard card that can take out specific red and black permanents.
  • Pyroclasm is a nice sweeper that can help kill off early aggressive creatures.  It also has the advantage of not killing your Deceiver Exarch or Village Bell-Ringer.
  • Rest in Peace is another fantastic hate card against decks that use graveyards.  This was particularly good against Eggs but that isn't much of a deck thanks to the banning of Second Sunrise.
  • Negate and Dispel can be used to counter spells that prevent your combo.  Particularly useful against opposing blue decks but also useful at countering removal.
  • Ajani Vengeant is a bit of a random one of but it's a fun card to have access to.  It can be good against decks like Tron, particularly if you can get it to it's ultimate, but it's generally pretty good against any deck that doesn't have a lot of attackers.
  • Stony Silence is another great white hate card.  It's very useful against Tron decks and is a good way to shut down Birthing Pod.  Again, it was a good Eggs hate card but as that's not so much of a big deal anymore some tweaking might be sensible.
  • Disenchant was my go to card for destroying artifacts and enchantments.  I built this deck before Dragon's Maze released though and now Wear/Tear might be a better choice in a deck like this that has access to both red and white mana.
  • Aven Mindcensor is a great hate creature.  Searching is a big part of a lot of decks in Modern, in particular it's how fetchlands work.  However, Mindcensor is generally at it's best when it's preventing cards like Gifts Ungiven, Birthing Pod or Sylvan Scrying from working to their full potential.

COST
This is not a cheap deck unfortunately.  The fetchlands are expensive as always and Restoration Angel still a very expensive card.  Sphinx's Revelation is also a very expensive card but it can be easily cut from the deck.

Main Deck

4 x Scalding Tarn= 42.00
3 x Restoration Angel= 41.73
1 x Sphinx's Revelation= 28.95
4 x Arid Mesa= 28.32
2 x Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker= 21.92
4 x Celestial Colonnade= 11.92
4 x Path to Exile= 11.40
1 x Spellskite= 7.75
4 x Remand= 7.12
1 x Snapcaster Mage= 6.22
2 x Sacred Foundry= 5.28
2 x Steam Vents= 5.28
4 x Splinter Twin= 4.00
2 x Sulfur Falls= 4.00
1 x Hallowed Fountain= 2.80
4 x Wall of Omens= 0.72
4 x Deceiver Exarch= 0.44
4 x Lightning Bolt= 0.32
2 x Izzet Charm= 0.30
1 x Pestermite= 0.08
Total: 230.55 tix

Sideboard

1 x Ajani Vengeant= 15.46
1 x Aven Mindcensor= 2.61
2 x Rest in Peace= 0.90
3 x Dispel= 0.24
2 x Stony Silence= 0.12
2 x Pyroclasm= 0.10
2 x Disenchant= 0.04
1 x Celestial Purge= 0.03
1 x Negate= 0.02
Total: 19.52 tix

Grand Total: 250.07 tix

GAMEPLAY


Our first match is against Red Deck Wins.  I'd say this matchup is generally favourable.  It's quite difficult for them to interact with your combo but there is the risk that you will be too slow.  Cards like Wall of Omens help quite a lot here as they can prevent most of the damage their creatures will do.  Counterspells out of the sideboard help a lot in preventing yourself from being killed before you find your combo pieces.


The second match is against a traditional UR Splinter Twin deck.  This is quite a complex matchup though I think there is a slight edge in having the option of attacking for the win, at least that's how it seemed to play out here.


The third match I have for you is against a Storm deck.  You don't see many Storm decks around these days as the ban of Seething Song hit the deck hard.  It shows here as my opponent wasn't really able to get anything off despite some slow starts from my deck.


Our final match is against RG Tron.  The Tron matchup I'd say is generally favourable for traditional Splinter Twin decks as they have difficulty interacting with it.  You're probably at a bit of a disadvantage here in comparison to the traditional Splinter Twin builds as really you're looking to combo as quickly as possible.  The slightly diluted combo in this deck is therefore not as useful but this is still a reasonable matchup and you can certainly use your sideboard to counteract some of the negative parts of these matchups.

CONCLUSION
This is a fun deck.  It is a nice variant on the traditional Splinter Twin decks, building some of the elements of the URW Control decks into it.  The deck does water down the combo element of the deck somewhat but the access to powerful cards like Path to Exile and a strong alternate win-condition is very worthwhile.  I enjoyed this deck a lot and I would highly recommend putting it together if you are fan of the Splinter Twin archetype.

I apologise again for having not written anything for a while and for not getting this article together sooner.  I hope it's still interesting and relevant in the post-Dragon's Maze metagame.  I'm really looking forward to Modern Masters and I hope that will do some good things for the format.  Provided I can find the time I shall endeavour to get back into writing again.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)