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By: Jbat, Johnathan Batliner
Aug 06 2020 12:00pm
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 If you read my last article you may have noticed that I have a slight distaste for playing against the High Tide deck that is quite popular in Penny Dreadful this season. With that being the case I set out to brew a deck that could consistently beat High Tide and still have a reasonable chance against the rest of the field. After a few failed attempts and some really bad league runs I eventually came to Dimir Flash and now believe it is the way to go. In this piece we are going to go over the Dimir Flash deck and one of the popular High Tide lists so you can decide for yourself if it's better to beat them or join them. First here is the Dimir Flash Decklist. 

Dimir Flash 

 

Gameplan

As you can see we do not have a lot of creatures in this list so the deck plays like a typical control deck with our first concern being to stop our opponent from winning, maintaining card advantage, and then figuring out how we close the game out. But since we are head hunting High Tide with this list it seems valuable to go over our best cards against them first. Certainly our best card is Ashiok's Erasure which exiles a card off of the stack and that's cards controller can't cast cards with the same name as the exiled card. This is particularly good against High Tide because it becomes very difficult if not impossible for them to win if they can't cast High Tide.

Although High Tide usually plays some amount of counter magic we can often still land Ashiok's Erasure on the battlefield because of the Cunning Nightbonder that we run 4 of. Cunning Nightbonder reduces the cost of spells with flash by 1 and makes them uncounterable. This affects 8 cards in our deck making sure that we can beat out any Mana Leak or similar effect that is thrown our way. 

Maintaining card advantage is always important with any control deck and this one is no different. To help achieve this we run 3 copies of Fact or Fiction and 2 copies of Into the Story. Fact or Fiction is usually best to cast at your opponents end step, actully most of our spells will be cast at the opponents end step unless we are responding to something. Into the Story is a little better in the late game since we need our opponent to have 7 cards in their graveyard in order to make it cheaper. 

The cards in our opponents graveyard is actually a significant number for Drown in the Loch as well which functions off of cards in the graveyard and is one of our more versatile spells either countering a spell or destroying a creature. It seldom feels bad to have one or more of these in hand. Lochmere Serpent one of our better finishers also cares about cards in our opponents graveyard since it can exile 5 of them to return to our hand which can be useful in the longer games but we do need to be careful to not cripple our use of Into the Story or Drown in the Loch by doing so. 

One of the unique benefits to all of our creatures having flash is that they can act as additional removal spells for our opponents attacking creatures as we can flash them in in response to an attack surprise block and kill what was a threat. 

So that is the base level gameplan of the deck, kill/counter whatever our opponents play land a flash threat at endstep, maintain card advantage, and grind our opponents life total down to zero. If that sounds good this deck might be for you. 

Sideboarding 

When it comes to sideboarding for this deck evaluating your opponents gameplan is crucial. The easy decisions are along the lines of High Tide runs 0 creatures so we switch the 4 Heartless Act out for 3 Miscast and 1 Duress. One of our weaker matchups is against aggressive decks and it's usually correct to bring in the 2 Crux of Fate to wipe a board that they have over-committed to, even better if it's a green deck because we can run Nature's Ruin for a one sided effect.

If we find ourselves in a little more of a long grinding control matchup it can be good to bring in Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Oona, Queen of the Fae Teferi blocks them from casting at instant speed so their counterspells are rendered ineffective and Oona can exile a library surprisingly quick, and the 5/5 flying stats are a nice bonus. We only have one Soul-Guide Lantern in this sideboard because we don't usually want to exile a graveyard and disable cards in our own deck as mentioned earlier but it can be good against some of the decks that make heavy use of the graveyard so it's a nice contingency to be prepared for. 

 

 High Tide

Gameplan

I personally have less experience actually playing High Tide but here is my best attempt at a gameplan guide for the deck. The goal of the High Tide deck is relatively simple with plan A being to mill out your opponent with Brain Freeze or a little less ideally Braingeyser. This goal is made a little easier with the aid of cards such as Frantic Search and Turnabout which simultaneously up your storm count and allow you to generate more mana. It is best to cast these cards after casting at least one High Tide if not more, but they can be cast sooner if necessary as Frantic Search can help you dig for the pieces you need and Turnabout can tap creatures your opponent controls or their lands if you need to throttle their mana. 

Finding your combo pieces is aided by the use of cards like Peer Through Depths Shimmer of Possibility Opt and Frantic Inventory which are generally best to cast on your opponents end step. If we find ourselves in the scenario where our opponent has something on board interfering with our ability to go off we have answers in the form of Into the Roil and Commit/Memory to bounce it or bury in their library. 

Commit/Memory also serves a second roll allowing us to shuffle our graveyard and hand into the deck and draw a fresh hand keeping the storm count going up and bringing us closer to victory, Time Reversal also helps in this regard. If we fail to find or are unable to cast either of these spells Mystic Sanctuary can help us return a spell from the graveyard to our library top so we can reuse something like Peer Through Depths to find whatever card we may need at the time. We have one other utility land in the form of Thawing Glaciers which just ensures we find enough islands. 

There is only a small amount of counter magic in the main deck so we have to use it carefully if we need it to protect our win conditions. In fact Thassa's Intervention is our only main deck counterspell. However the versatility of this card is nice and as mentioned above we often find ways to rebuy cards from our graveyard so reusing Thassa's Intervention more than once in a game is well within the realm of possibility. 

Sideboarding

The two most important matchups in sideboarding here are against aggro and control decks. Against the aggro decks the first change we need to make is to bring in our 2 copies of Engulf the Shore which will allow us to reset the board state and buy us a few more turns to setup our combo. Tidespout Tyrant and Murmuring Mystic are also reasonable in these matchups as they allow us to create a board state of our own and play as a deck that has creatures as well. If the aggro deck we find ourselves playing is red or green or both Flashfreeze can be an all-star countering their most important spells. 

In the control matchups some of our better sideboard options are Swan Song and Stern Dismissal. Swan Song is simply a one mana counter allowing us to protect our High Tide from opposing counterspells and it doesn't really matter to us if we give them a 2/2. Stern Dismissal is useful for giving us one more way to bounce problematic permanents. 

Conclusion

If you find yourself playing against the High Tide deck, or other combo decks, a little too often and want a consistent way to prevail over them I would strongly recommend giving Dimir Flash a try it is full of game impacting decision points and full of fun interaction, well fun for us at least. If you don't mind going with the general flow and like taking 8-10 minute turns I'd say give High Tide a try as much as I tend to bad mouth it there is a certain skill level required to successfully pilot this deck. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if there is anything you'd like to see in the future don't hesitate to let me know that either. 

Sincerely, 

John Batliner aka BatMana