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By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Oct 15 2019 12:00pm
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This is a follow-up article. If you haven't read last week's column, I would highly recommend you read that first. You can find it here.

Last week my article ended after having talked about some essential tips and tricks for the Izzet Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker deck. I was planning on following it up later, but I got a ton of positive feedback on the article, so I decided to break mirrors while their still hot and just continue where I left it last week.

I'll start this off by mentioning that I'm really not a massive fan of sideboard guides, I see them as training wheels and guidelines, but I never flat-out follow along with them. There are a few reasons for that.

1: I have a plan in a matchup. Whoever wrote the guide could have a very different strategy. If you play a matchup in a different way that works for you, you should sideboard differently.

2: If you can access the sideboard guide, so can your opponent. If your opponent knows exactly how you sideboard, you are at a huge disadvantage.

3: If you change cards in the 75, the strategy doesn't change. The individual cards, however, do, so you would need a new guide every time you change a card.

4: Your opponents' playstyle might be different from what you expect and can very much change the sideboarding process.

A lot of playing our beloved Pestermite and Snapcaster Mage is knowing what you are trying to do in a matchup. As an example, you are the aggressor against both burn and UW control. But the sequencing is totally opposite for both. Against UW, go nuts and fetch yourself to 1 for all I care. Don't do that against Burn. 


A big part of playing this deck efficiently is knowing in what phase of the game you can beat your opponent and trying to stay there. I wish I could give you more tips on that, but besides general knowledge and a lot of reps, it's very much a feeling and experience thing. Remember kids, there is no substitute for hard work if you want to be successful with your deck. A lot of people telling each other that you need to play 1000 matches with a deck isn't about learning how your cards interact with theirs. It's about knowing what you need to do. Are you better in the early game? The Midgame? The late game? You can read about it all you want. You need to play the games to know for sure.


Think about it this way. If you have a mechanic coming over to fix something in your house. Do you want the guy that looks like he just finished school, or do you want the guy whose hands have grown into the shape of his tools? They both probably are good, but one will do it intuitively, and one will do it by the book. They both fix the problem. One will be second-guessing himself the entire time, the other will talk to you about anything but plumbing while he works. Think about it, you know who's the better mechanic.

This is the decklist I'll be referring to.  It's the same as last week.



I'll go through a bunch of the current tier 1. You should be able to extrapolate from there. For instance, the plan against Mono-Red Prowess or Burn isn't much of a difference. Basically, if you know what you are in the matchup, you should be able to figure it out.

Against Burn:

This is one of the hardest ones for people to figure out. You are most certainly the aggressor here. You NEED to kill them. If you don't pressure them, you basically auto lose. We might have an infinite combo, but their late-game is much better than ours. Think about it, we can dance around a few bolts and Lava Spike. But if they just end of turn Lightning Bolt us every turn, we will die.

So knowing you are the aggressor, how do you board?

I do 2 things here. I make my deck as aggressive as possible, I board out the Cryptic Command and a bunch of Remand. Remand On a Lava Spike is pathetic. And keeping up 4 mana for Cryptic Command is a death sentence in hiding. Kiki-Jiki combo'ing them out also isn't really an option. They are literal answers-to-Kiki.deck.

So now that I know I want those out, what do I bring in? Well, that's pretty easy to reason out from this point. I want stuff that trades reasonably with them and stuff that kills them. So I would board in all the Crackling Drake and the Vendilion Clique. For the rest, I would board in Spell Pierce, and after that, everything that is cheap and efficient.

Against Tron:

Once again, we are the aggressor. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger Packs a bigger punch than Brineborn Cutthroat. Once again, we won't win the late game. So we need to stay in the early and midgame as long as we can. Don't go and try to outvalue the deck crammed full with incredible bombs. It won't work.

So, the plan here is to think about what Tron loses to. It loses to disruption to their engine and pressure. So again, you want to be aggressive. However, this time, you don't board out Cryptic but the burn spells. You might say, "Well, but you can Lightning Bolt a Karn Liberated after it's downtick. And I get it. But that is a horrible exchange. You are down a permanent and a card in hand, and they just slam their next bomb. If you get into that play pattern, you've already lost. So those Lightning Bolt have to come out.


Oh, just don't overestimate Blood Moon. It's a good card but far from a win. All it does is keep them in the early game where you can beat them longer. They will get out of it.

Against Emry Ascendancy/ Whirza:

I'm not going to hide it, I haven't played this matchup a ton. But my logic here is that you are never beating their fair game, so play unfair and combo. I did notice that they are kind of dependant on a few critical threats. But I absolutely don't have a solid sideboard plan against them yet. So I'll just keep it to a short "I would combo them out." But I would be fully willing to change my plan against them after more playtesting.


Against Jund:

Jund is trying to one for one you with discard and then take over the game with threats. They are also a pile of removal. So what you want to do here is board out the combo and just bring in everything that draws cards or is a threat. Crackling Drake Is at it's prime here. You can definitely win, but the matchup is a complete topdeck fest, and they are built to topdeck. I do try to get rid of Liliana of the Veil at all costs. That card is a nightmare.


Here I board out everything that isn't card advantage and the combo. Usually, some Remand and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker are straight out. Every single creature comes in from the sideboard. Depending on if you saw either Dark Confidant or Wrenn and Six, you can bring in either Abrade or Magmatic Sinkhole. Force of Negation Definitely goes out. It does their gameplan for them. I know countering a Liliana of the Veil is as Juicy as Notorious B.I.G. Likes it. But it's still a 2 for 1. You don't want those.


Against UW Control:

Here you want to beat them at instant speed and mana efficiency. Late game, like most other decks, they are more powerful than us. We are, after all, a deck full of 2/1's and 3/1's. Not the most impressive of stat lines in a format where a 1 mana 12/12 and a 2 mana 6/7 exist.


This matchup, however, is very good for us. We can play the instant speed game a lot better than they can. And that also makes up the plan. Do everything you can to stop a Teferi, Time Raveler from being in play. Even though it's very personal because I just flat-out hate the card and everything it does to a game of Magic. It's also the sole reason UW could beat us in a game where we both do what we want to be doing.


The plan here is to play at instant speed as much as you can, just force them to do everything on their end step after having kept up counters through their turn. Don't be afraid to just throw in a Snapcaster Mage for no value, because it will be beating down for 10-12 damage on the regular. Or they Path to Exile it and you're happy you got a free Rampant Growth.

In the sideboarded games, you can basically do anything you want. You can out control them with Blood Moon and Tempo cards. You can full-on Aggro them out with creatures. You can combo them. It doesn't really matter, all the plans are viable against UW Control. Just do what you feel like. I usually mix it up for game 3, depending on what I saw out of their sideboard. If I saw a ton of answers to Blood Moon like Celestial Purge, I usually board into almost Mono-Blue Tempo. If I didn't show them the combo in the first games, I keep it in. You can do what you want, just be sure you know why you are doing it.


Okay, I'm over my word count, so I'll keep this short. As long as I keep getting positive responses to the articles about this deck, I'll keep writing about it.


May you never misclick while going off.



This was a good read. I by olaw at Wed, 10/16/2019 - 14:47
olaw's picture

This was a good read. I think this deck is an interesting adaption on the Splinter Twin archetype and will have to get around to playing it some time. Good article!

It plays a lot like Tarmo by R Koster at Wed, 10/16/2019 - 15:13
R Koster's picture

It plays a lot like Tarmo Twin used to back in the day. That's the whole reason I picked it up in the first place, I loved that deck so much.

And thank you! Good luck with playing it.