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By: neckfire, Eddie Davenport
Dec 19 2019 1:00pm
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Just when I thought I was out; they pull me back in! – Michael Corleone, The Godfather: Part III. 

That’s right, Wizards did it again with Pioneer. I had sold out of MTGO and moved over to Arena about a year ago. I couldn’t stay away any longer, this format is just way to sweet to ignore. I jumped in with a few aggro decks just to see if some of the budget options would work. Truth be told, they were okay. I was able to break even in leagues, but I was not having fun. Then it happened, if there was such a thing as love at first sight then this was it.
Behold this beauty by Meltiin:

I quickly bought what I was missing and loaded it up and played a few leagues. This deck had a lot going for it in the form of the draw locks with Narset, Parter of Veils combined with Geier Reach Sanitarium and the hidden gem of this deck Hostage Taker. Unfortunately, this deck had some cards that just did not mesh well with the game plan of the deck in practice. Vantress Gargoyle on the surface seems perfect for this deck. It has a huge body to block early on for you and once this deck is ready to win it can start attacking the opponent. The issue I found quickly was this deck often plays with less than 4 cards in its hand. That makes blocking hard.  The nature of the locks this deck generates is that while you are drawing multiple cards a turn you are also discarding those cards. So, it was time to rethink the deck design.


The Lock – let’s be honest if you are going to play this deck it’s for the lock. Narset, Parter of Veils static ability reads “Each opponent can't draw more than one card each turn”. So, combine Narset, Parter of Veils with Geier Reach Sanitarium on your opponents draw step means that your opponent now discards a card a turn. If your opponent is empty handed it means that your opponent never plays Magic again.

Combine Narset, Parter of Veils with Day's Undoing and it reads you draw 7 cards your opponent draws one.

While Narset, Parter of Veils is the core of the lock it is not the only way to lock your opponent out. Notion Thief works the same way as Narset, Parter of Veils except instead of your opponent just skipping the draw you draw the card instead. Combining Notion Thief with Day's Undoing equates to you drawing 14 cards and your opponent ending up empty handed. 

While the lock is the core of the deck there is more to the deck than simply locking out the draw step.

As soon as your opponent sees Geier Reach Sanitarium or Notion Thief they will generally try and deploy threats as fast as possible. Enter Hostage Taker to take your opponents best threat and use it against them. Nothing is better than winning with your opponents best threat. And in a pinch serves as a psudo removal spell. 

The Interaction

3 Thought Erasure – This was a budget choice over Thoughtseize. It serves the same role and helps power up Search for Azcanta.

4 Fatal Push – One of the best removal spells in the format and combined with Fabled Passage can take out most threats.

4 Hero's Downfall – Being only two colors allows you to play some powerful removal spells that most decks do not get access to. Being able to kill both creatures and Planeswalkers is invaluable to this deck.

2 Languish – Having a board wipe is necessary and unfortunately Damnation is not legal. 

The Draw Power

2 Dig Through Time – Until they ban this card, I will play this in every Blue deck period.

3 Search for Azcanta -Secretly one of the most powerful cards in this deck. Being able to set up your draws in a deck that is seeking specific answers always is key to your victory. 

The sideboard is constantly changing in the current meta. The main standouts are the full playset of Unmoored Ego. The Izzet Pheonix decks are difficult but having a full compliment of Unmoored Ego helps neuter both giving you time to set up and win. 

Tips & Tricks-       

Don’t be afraid to just run out Day's Undoing. Even if you don’t have a lock out it still helps you refill and sometimes can be the correct call.

-        Always keep in mind what you are playing towards when it comes to the lock, sometimes its correct to not activate Narset, Partner of Veils if you know your opponent plays burn so that you can keep her alive to lock your opponent.

-        One you have a lock set up you are in no hurry to win, always try and keep some interaction up in case your opponent can do something or break the lock. Eventually you will find a creature to win.  

This deck has been incredible to play and has me really enjoying this format. The locks that this deck can generate can come out of nowhere and are powerful. At times I feel like I’m back playing vintage drawing so many cards in one turn and locking out my opponents. 

Thanks for reading and best of luck if you decide to pick up this deck.