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By: NVOtosReborn, John Mayer
Feb 05 2015 1:00pm
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Treasure Cruise  Birthing Pod

Good riddance!

I have to admit, I was a little sad to see Dig Through Time get the axe, but what are you gonna do? Now that the metagame has shifted a fair amount, people are scrambling to figure out the format in time for the upcoming Pro Tour. As many of you know, I'm a advocate of casting 4 mana enchantments that win the game, and I still feel like Splinter Twin is a solid choice moving forward.

"But wait, isn't Twin really bad against Abzan?"

Generally, decks that attack the hand and have powerful pieces of disruption like Abrupt Decay are well-suited to combat Twin decks. Many people adapted to playing things like Blood Moon, or adding green for Tarmogoyf to try and fight against these decks, but the matchup was still pretty rough.

Until now.

Some of the maindeck choices may not be optimal, but until the metagame stabilizes and we have a clear representation of decks, this is adequate.

Card Choices

Now, I know this has been done enough already, but I want to go over the card choices in this deck as some may seem a bit unorthodox.

1 Desolate Lighthouse 0 Tectonic Edge

I like to be able to cast my spells on time, so I really don't want a whole mess of colorless lands. This deck runs a small number of lands as it is, and you really aren't a mana denial deck. We have other ways to deal with a Celestial Colonnade and such, and Lighthouse offers a way to help filter dead draws in a longer game.

2 Gitaxian Probe 4 Serum Visions

These are clearly good for setting up a game plan, letting you know what to play around and so forth. They're also a sorcery, which helps to grow your Tarmogoyf. It has other applications as well, such as digging to a scryed card after playing Serum Visions. Since Preordain and Ponder are banned, Serum Visions is the next best filter spell we have available. I'm not a fan of Sleight of Hand, since Serum Visions digs 3 cards deep.

2 Spell Snare 3 Remand 1 Cryptic Command

Remand is great as it allows you to sometimes Time Walk your opponent and draw a card. It's a great tempo play and also is a way to pseudo-protect your own spells from opposing countermagic. Spell Snare hits a very wide variety of important spells in every archetype and allows you to have some defense while on the draw. It's extremely beneficial to counter things like Arcbound Ravager, Cranial Plating, Tarmogoyf, Mana Leak, Remand, Bitterblossom, Boros Charm, and so many more. Cryptic Command doesn't really need explanation, it's just an extremely versatile card that is good in almost every situation.

1 Flame Slash 4 Lightning Bolt 1 Electrolyze 1 Izzet Charm 1 Dismember

Lightning Bolt should be self-explanatory at this point. Without Linvala, Keeper of Silence in the format, Flame Slash isn't quite as necessary, but it's still very effective against a lot of other creatures and usually functions as the 5th Lightning Bolt. Electrolyze is useful in many situations, especially against Affinity, but at worst is a burn spell that cycles. It pairs decently well with Snapcaster Mage, but if there's not a lot of X/1s in the format, I could see cutting this card. As for Izzet Charm, the Return to Ravnica uncommons really does work. It's a removal spell in a pinch, allows you to loot away dead cards or dig for others, and counters all sorts of scary spells such as Liliana of the Veil. Lastly, Dismember is a way to remove troublesome creatures (Siege Rhino, Deceiver Exarch, Tarmogoyf) that are otherwise diffult to kill with Lightning Bolt.

3 Snapcaster Mage 4 Tarmogoyf 2 Huntmaster of the Fells 1 Batterskull

I trimmed down on the number of Snapcaster Mage, as it usually takes a lot of splash damage from Tarmogoyf/graveyard hate, and a vanilla 2/1 with flash isn't the best. This could very well turn out to be incorrect, but if Golgari Grave-Troll turns out to be a thing, we don't want to have any backlash. Huntmaster of the Fells somewhat fell off the radar, but it's still a very powerful card. It excels big time against decks like Affinity and Zoo, plus any deck packing Liliana of the Veil. The small amount of lifegain isn't irrelevant against Burn, and can create a fast clock if left unanswered. I wanted to try a copy of Batterskull in the maindeck, as it's only bad against a small amount of decks, which usually includes Storm and the mirror. Against the rest of the field, it's a difficult-to-answer threat that can be recurred, giving you a slight edge in game 1 against decks like Abzan, Burn, Zoo, and Control.

3 Pestermite 2 Deceiver Exarch 3 Splinter Twin

Anyone who's played the deck knows that drawing multiple copies of Splinter Twin is not very fun. When we had access to Dig Through Time, I was down to only two copies, since it was much easier to find when you see so many extra cards. Unfortunately, that didn't pan out as planned, but I like the idea of trimming combo pieces in the current meta. Many games are won on the back of damage and tempo, so you can win the game with your other offense while your opponent uses their removal pre-emptively on your combo dorks. People aren't going to know that I've trimmed down on the number of Splinter Twin, so opponents will play accordingly. Even so, trimming down doesn't mean I've forgone the combo altogether, so it's something they need to be aware of at all times. It's an extremely rewarding feeling to have your Pestermite killed on your opponent's end step in response to a Twiddle trigger, only for you to untap and slam a Huntmaster of the Fells that they have no answer to. Against certain matchups, you really want access to free wins, so it may lower your percentages a little bit, but that's why we have a solid backup plan.

For reference:
1 Dispel
2 Negate
2 Mind Control
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Combust
2 Anger of the Gods
1 Nature's Claim
1 Spellskite
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Keranos, God of Storms
1 Surrak Dragonclaw

Dispel and Negate are for decks with scary spells! You namely want them against Burn, Scapeshift, Twin, and Control. I will sometimes slide in a Negate against BGx to combat Liliana of the Veil. Ancient Grudge is pretty self-explanitory, and comes in against Affinity for sure. I'll also bring it in against Tron, Amulet Combo, and sometimes it'll come in to hedge against decks packing Torpor Orb and/or Spellskite. It's also really good against Birthing P- Oh. Siege Rhino is a white creature. Combust kills white creatures. Also clearly good against Twin, UWR (Resto, Colonnade), and other fringe decks like Knight of the Reliquary Zoo, and so on. Many people have picked up Pyroclasm thanks to Pod's exit, but I still think Anger of the Gods is superior. It only costs one more mana, but kills things like Wild Nacatl, Kird Ape, and Vengevine. It's mainly for Zoo and token strategies, but if the Dredgevine deck becomes popular, this card will see a lot more play. Nature's Claim is something I've been on the fence about for a long time. It almost seems unnecessary, but it's a catch-all against random cards like Ghostly Prison or whatever else you might play against. It's also an additional removal spell for Affinity, 8 Rack, Twin decks and so on, but you usually don't have a problem there. Spellskite is another catch-all, but shines against decks with a lot of removal, or burn decks. It eats an Abrupt Decay quite well, and does a fantastic job of blocking Wild Nacatl. It also grows your Tarmogoyf and prevents your Twin opponent from comboing off. Plus, resolving this on turn 2 against Bogles is game over. Engineered Explosives is yet another catch-all, great against pesky permanents. On 0, you hose tokens. On 1, you hose most of Zoo's aggressive creatures, all of 8 Rack's damaging permanents, lots of auras from Bogles, and other random things like Soul Warden, Signal Pest, etc. On 2, you are able to hit quite a few important cards, and is generally the number used most frequently for Sunburst. I could spend all day listing the sweet things that this kills, but look up at Spell Snare for a few ideas. 3 is the max we can cast this for (unless there's an Urborg in play), and that's mostly used in fringe situations. I've killed Vendilion Clique, Blood Moon, Ensnaring Bridge, and prevented my Twin opponents from comboing off, and there's a lot more you can do with it as well. It's just very versatile. Keranos, God of Storms is similar to Batterskull in the sense that you just can't ever kill it. This comes in against Abzan, Control, and other grindy matchups where having an extra card or drawing Splice Onto Lightning Bolt every turn is good. Lastly, Surrak Dragonclaw is something I've been testing lately. He's similar to Thrun, the Last Troll, but has some upsides and downsides. The reason why I like him is because he has flash, allowing you to threaten countermagic or a Twiddle dork, and then just slamming down an uncounterable 6/6. He gives your Tarmogoyfs trample, makes everything else uncounterable, and does a really good Ambush Viper impression against cards like Siege Rhino and opposing Tarmogoyfs. He is vulnerable to Path to Exile and other removal, but he is a massive body that can close a game out real quick and function as a removal spell against other large creatures.

Anyways, that's the deck, thanks for reading! ...

Mind Control


This is probably the most stand-out card from my decklist. After Khans of Tarkir was released, Pod decks started to pick up Siege Rhino, making their deck even better, and there was still the glaring issue that we had against BGx decks. A popular card to use against them was Threads of Disloyalty, but that doesn't do too well against Siege Rhino or Abrupt Decay. I needed something that would function a little more proactively, so I started to jam Sower of Temptation in my sideboard. I even ran one copy in the maindeck, and it was pretty sweet to nab an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn from an unsuspecting Tron player in the first game. Aside from that, it was better suited in the sideboard. Sower was great, as it dodged Abrupt Decay and let me take any creature I wanted. Unfortunately, it matched up extremely poorly against Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, and every other removal spell in the format. After talking with some friends about it, one of them decided to give it a whirl in his sideboard. Mind Control is nearly impossible to answer with standard removal spells, and still does the same thing as the other two. Yes, it may be more expensive, but stealing their biggest creature is worth the cost, especially when it's generally permanent. I haven't had a whole lot of testing with it, but my win rate against BGx decks is insanely high thanks to the transformational sideboard.

I still think that Tarmo Twin is a major contender in this format, but I guess we'll see what the upcoming Pro Tour has to offer! Until next time, thanks for tuning in.



Control Magic is a good card. by Joe Fiorini at Thu, 02/05/2015 - 16:42
Joe Fiorini's picture

Control Magic is a good card. It's a plus one card advantage play. opponent loses one card, you gain one. nobody has many good answers to mind control either, i think it's a decent piece of tech.

I wish it was treachery, the one that untaps five lands when it ETB, but we have to take what we can get.

Nice work. If I ever play modern again, this is going to be my deck, if only because I have the goyfs now.

Looks like twin is still a by NVOtosReborn at Mon, 02/09/2015 - 00:01
NVOtosReborn's picture

Looks like twin is still a contender after all!