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By: darthibanezowner, Don
Aug 04 2010 1:26am
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I have avoided trying to write an article featuring a UW control deck as most people do not want to see another deck with Jace 2.0 in it.  However, with M11 a card has been introduced that will make “Little Jace” become more than just a card that has the unofficial text “Destroy target Jace, the Mind Sculptor”.

Last December I made the choice of devoting most of my Magic funds to playing Magic Online.  I realized that spending this much money on a game, that I would reasonably only be playing twice a month in real life, was not the best use of my resources.  Since I could play a lot more online I sold most of my real life Standard “Money” cards to fund a mass purchase of “Money” digital cards.  It sucks that we sometimes have to make choices such as these, but that is the nature of real life.  I still play FNM, but with much more budget decks.

This past FNM I was playing the Merfolk deck that I wrote about in my last article, minus the Big Jaces.  It performed as well as I thought it would for a budget deck.  However, after not winning at least a pack I realized that the spike in me was going to demand that I at least make an effort to build one competitive deck for real life.  The problem is that I love playing UW control and, while I have Jace 2.0  and Baneslayers on Modo, I own exactly zero cardboard versions.

After seeing the recent Nationals results I came across a couple of UW lists that contained no Baneslayers, three Big Jace and three Little Jace.  I perused the lists and noticed the one card that would finally allow me to play UW control in real life as well as online. Of course they would be two different versions.

The card I am referring to is this:

 

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We all know how strong the Green and Black Titans
are, but this card has the most potential to be abused.

 

What makes this card so strong?  I will argue that all of the Titans provide some strong value, but Sun Titan is the one that can be the most versatile.  Primevil Titan gets you two lands while this one can only get you one if it resides in the graveyard.  One land from your graveyard is still quite a valuable resource.  Grave Titan gets you two zombie creatures while this one can get you any creature that costs less then three cmc as long as it is in the graveyard.  There are no other Titans that can return a planeswalker from the graveyard either.  Are you playing the mirror?  Why not destroy a land with Tectonic Edge before combat and then do it again after Sun Titan’s ability resolves?  Do you want to deal damage?  Why not attack with Sun Titan and put its trigger on the stack.  Then sac an Ember Hauler to deal two damage.  When the trigger resolves you simply target the Ember Hauler and repeat.  This is kind of like Inferno Titan isn’t it?  You can do the same thing with Executioner’s Capsule clearing two creatures from the board before your opponent can declare blockers.  Why not draw four cards with Courier’s Capsule?  The options are endless if you can get these cards in the graveyard.  But wait!  Each of those cards have their own abilities that put themselves in the graveyard for you.  These are just a few examples of how powerful Sun Titan can be in Standard.  I haven’t even looked at all of the things you can do in the eternal formats.

With that in mind, I made sure to trade heavily for them Friday night and walked away with three.  Saturday morning I easily acquired two online promo versions for pretty cheap.  Getting the Jace’s Ingenuitys turned out to be more difficult  The Mtgotraders bots had one copy for .5 tix which I snatched up.  Everybody else was trying to sell them for 2 tix, which was quite outrageous, but understandable since the availability was quite low at the time.  I eventually got the second copy for a reasonable price and began testing the deck online.

Here is the list I settled on for Magic Online.  The more budget version I will be playing at FNM will be listed at the bottom of this article.

Sun Titan Control

an Amalgam of the decks designed by Guillaume Wafo-tapa and Julien Parez played at the French Nationals.


Creatures

4 Wall of Omens
2 Sea Gate Oracle
2 Sun Titan
8 cards

Other Spells
2 Jace's Ingenuity
4 Mana Leak
2 Essence Scatter
1 Cancel
2 Deprive
2 Path to Exile
2 Condemn
2 Day of Judgment
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Jace Beleren
26 cards


Lands

4 Tectonic Edge
4 Plains
4 Island
4 Glacial Fortress
1 Arid Mesa
1 Scalding Tarn
4 Sejiri Refuge
4 Celestial Colonnade
26 cards

Sideboard
3 Luminarch Ascension
1 Cancel
3 Flashfreeze
3 Kor Firewalker
1 Negate
1 Oblivion Ring
3 Celestial Purge
15 cards

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What makes this deck strong is not just the interactions of the core cards with Sun Titan, but the fact that each card is strong on its own.  I have won several games without ever casting the Titan. 

UW is moving towards a more draw go style of deck so you will need to adjust your play style if you are used to the tap out style decks..  You will rarely ever tap all of your mana completely on your own turn.  In the early stage of the game you do what you need to do to survive by countering and playing your oracles/walls.  They do a terrific job of stopping opposing creatures and providing you card advantage.  The addition of Mana Leak allows for you to counter any early threats that your opponent may throw at you giving the deck time to stabilize.  Let’s look at your Planeswalker package.

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Elspeth easily presents a serious threat for the opponent.  A flying 4/4 soldier token is pretty good on its own, but a 9/9 flying, vigilant titan is just brutal.

The card advantage you gain from Big Jace is unmatched and he can protect you from a single creature when needed.

Little Jace has taken a back seat to his older brother, but he is quite powerful in this deck.  I actually prefer to cast this version first if I have a choice.

This deck runs less removal than the previous tap out versions of UW Control, but with the Seagate Oracle and Wall of Omens you have protection in the form of blockers.  Here are the removal spells you have on hand:

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It turns out that many creatures attack in this game so this card is not as bad as I initially thought!  With all of the Titans running around, and people playing with man lands, this card is quite good.

Path is still needed as creatures like Fauna Shaman, Cunning Sparkmage, and Sovereigns need to be removed before their abilities get out of control.

With the amount of creatures present in this deck, casting a Day of Judgment seems like it might be bad.  However, our creatures have served their purpose and we can get them back with Sun Titan’s ability later on.

Oblivion Ring is mostly going to be used to take care of opposing planeswalkers, but can be used for other threats as well.

 

All control decks rely on card draw and this deck is no exception.  You have the planeswalkers above who provide card advantage and the cards below provide additional card draw.

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Choosing the better of your next two cards is an awesome ability and he can block Goblin Guide all day.

Another terrific blocker and it replaces itself.

This card is replacing Mind Spring as we never want to tap out during our own turn.  Instant speed card draw is rare in the current standard format and this card does it quite well.

While Sun Titan does not technically draw you a card, the card advantage it does provide is quite insane.

The addition of Mana Leak to the format has allowed the other counterspells in the deck to become much better.  Here is what you have to work with:

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With the tap out control decks your second turn play was usually casting Wall of Omens or Spreading Seas.  Now you need to make a choice between casting them or holding up mana for this card.

While this is not a universal counter spell, there are enough creatures in the format that this one still has some uses.

When you reach the late game your Mana Leaks become less effective.  Deprive is much better at that stage of the game when its drawback is less of an issue.

Cancel has had many detractors over the years, but it is not a bad spell.  Its only drawback is that it does not have the same mana cost of Counterspell.  In this deck that is not much of an issue.  I would not put more than two in a deck though.

Your win conditions are usually going to consist of beating down with a Sun Titan, but you have a few more options at your disposal as well.

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Throwing any of your creatures in the air is a pretty good way to win I hear and she creates her own.

I have won many games with this card and it will more than likely be your best win condition.

You may laugh at this, but I won two games chucking this thing in the air with Elspeth.  So while she may be the real threat I am going to give this guy some credit.

 

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I have never actually won with Jace’s ultimate, but it is there if you can pull it off.  However, fate sealing someone, or brainstorming every turn pretty much wins you the game anyway.

Bashing  with a 6/6 creature is extremely satisfying and I suggest everyone try it.

Here are some things to keep in mind while playing this deck:

1.  When using Jace Beleren do not use his +2 ability.  You are not interested in using his ultimate.  Just draw cards until he goes away.  There is nothing like using the last counter from him, attacking with your Titan, and bringing Jace back to draw again!

2. If you have both Jaces in your hand at the same time go ahead and cast Jace Beleren first.  Drawing a card every turn is pretty strong and you establish Jace’s presence before your opponent can.  If your opponent uses removal on it you are ok with that as you can simply cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor next turn. Or you simply bring it back with Sun Titan.

3.  Against a deck that uses a lot of non basic lands, you can really devastate their mana base recurring Tectonic Edges from your graveyard.

4.  One thing you need to watch out for is getting too cute with abusing him and just forgetting to win. 

Here is the budget version I plan on playing in Paper Magic:

I honestly think this version will work quite well despite missing Big Jace and Elspeth.  The card advantage this deck can provide can easily overwhelm an opponent.

Please let me know what you think about these decks and what you may do to make them better.

Don

darthibanezowner on Modo and darthmorphling on Twitter

16 Comments

First off, good read, and by Westane at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 01:36
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First off, good read, and having submitted my UW article I can say they're different enough to coexist. My only point of contention is Jace 2.0. In a heavy permission list I've actually won MOST of my games by fatesealing to his ultimate. However, your build seems to be more offensive than mine, so...

Additionally, I've been amused with just how much I love Jace Beleren lately, especially with Titan recursion. Again, good article.

Thanks for the comments! I by darthibanezowner at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 11:28
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Thanks for the comments! I would love to be able to use Jace 2.0's ultimate, but it seems like I may be to conservative in my play style. I have fate sealed when my opponent had 0 cards in hand, but still won before I got the ultimate off. When the opponent has a handful of cards, I tend to fate seal myself, then use brainstorm to get card advantage until I at least have two counterspells in hand. At that point I am usually bashing with some Elspeth powered fatty!

I actually just acquired the third Mind Sculptor this past week so it may all change now that I almost have a playset. I do enjoy playing Jace Beleren though and I am seeing him a lot from opponents as well.

Yep, I'm also sitting at 3x by Westane at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 12:40
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Yep, I'm also sitting at 3x JMS, without a whole lot of inclination to buy a 4th.

It also seems that while our decks are nearly identical, our playstyles are very, very different. With Jace 2.0, for example, I'll almost always brainstorm out of the gate, unless my opponent only has 0-2/3 cards in hand. I don't +2 myself unless it's very situational, as by brainstorming I'm guaranteed value even if Jace gets dead next turn. Also, I run 6x Jace so I'm not too worried about losing a couple!

I play very heavy permission, and as a result play very conservatively as well. However, being the kind of player I am I'm really only interested in the long game. I seldom activate my Colonnades and generally just take my time in winning. But, that's just my Draw-Go style.

I will only fate seal myself by darthibanezowner at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 13:04
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I will only fate seal myself if I know my opponent is not playing control. If I suspect they are playing with burn, vengevines, or bloodbraids, I feel awkward leaving Jace at 3. The reason I fate seal myself when they have a hand full of cards is that I am not sure what they have in hand and what would be best to put on the bottom of their library. And this is only to get me to 5 loyalty. This gives me some options as to what is best for me. Once he is at 5 then brainstorming it is!

against control I just brainstorm, even when he is at three, until I have card advantage.

As far as the colonnades go, I don't mind using them as long as I have the mana leftover to protect it with counters.

I look forward to seeing your deck and videos you will be posting. My only suggestion is to turn off the in game sound effects.

I definately liked the by Lord Erman at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 07:32
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I definately liked the article. Sun Titan is also one of my favorite cards from M11 (as you also know from yesterday's article), and I quite liked this version too. Very powerful.

Good read Don, keep it up.

LE

I appreciate the comments! I by darthibanezowner at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 11:34
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I appreciate the comments! I am going to try your Titan list as I have yet to play an esper list. When ever I see one I think some Persecutors would be great in this, but that would change the whole point of the deck. Must resist. I guess I am mostly a control player who still likes to turn creatures sideways!

I look forward to seeing your other article on sun titan. I hope you build with ember hauler as I think that would be a great interaction. I think I will start brewing that one myself!

anyone else see Sun Titan by JustSin at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 18:40
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anyone else see Sun Titan articles becoming the flavor of the month?

Not even articles, more like by Westane at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 19:01
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Not even articles, more like UW in general. Do you know how many UW mirrors I've played in since M11? Ugh -.-

Did you see the results for the latest Standard Premiere? Of the top 8 SEVEN were UW Control o.O

After the first UW article by darthibanezowner at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 20:18
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After the first UW article was published by westane I seriously reconsidered posting mine. I was nearly done with it and it took quite a while to write up so I figured why not?

It is a strong deck though and it seems to be the deck to play online. I am sure it has to do with how easy Sun Titan is to get compared to the other titans.

I am getting tired of playing the mirror though, but since my shop has recently been overrun with UW it is good practice.

its nothing personal, article by JustSin at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 22:02
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its nothing personal, article is good, deck looks sweet, I'm just already tired of all the UW lol

Hey I totally understand. by darthibanezowner at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 23:48
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Hey I totally understand.

Really good article. by First_Strike at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 20:40
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Nice job.

Thanks! by darthibanezowner at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 23:49
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Thanks!

Well I do play UW as well, by Chakkan at Fri, 08/06/2010 - 05:13
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Well I do play UW as well, but more in the mill idea (as said in last LE's article)

Your version of this deck has inspired me much for the evolution of my own deck. And though i don't play Sun Titan, your template has been of great help.
I did encouter a LOT of Sun Titan decks lately, but i must confess that i've never lost to any yet cause I play graveyard hate and thus the Titan's ability becomes suboptimal. I even won once by milling with a Titan and a 9/9 indesctrutile level up white guy (can't remember the name) on the other side. Must have been tough for that opponent. The consistency and ability to survive you brought to my deck even allowed me to win after beeing attacked by a hardcasted Emrakul ! So, thanks again, great article and nice deck building.
I don't own any JMS, but 4 Jace Beleren, and I play one Crystal Ball that i've always been glad to play. I owe it many victories.

This is my question : with onyl 2 Titans and 2 Elspeth in your deck, have you been in much trouble if facing any graveyard hate ? and heavy denial ? If ever ?...

Thanks !

David

He, like me, plays permission by Westane at Fri, 08/06/2010 - 19:13
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He, like me, plays permission control. Two is all you need :D

I haven't come across any by darthibanezowner at Sat, 08/07/2010 - 21:22
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I haven't come across any graveyard hate with this deck as of yet. The deck doesn't rely on recurring stuff from the graveyard. It is more of a bonus actually.

The only decks I have had some difficulty with have been a couple of white weenie variants. I have actually added another Day of Judgment to the sideboard because of this.

Now playing my Naya Shaman deck I have seen quite a bit of graveyard hate.