Jace’s Angels in Zurich

Hi guys,

It has been a long time since my last article but today I am back to bring you a report of my last tournament in Zurich (that was in November so please note that at that time team America and Jund were not present in the format) and also to discuss the deck I was playing. So for this event my weapon of choice was “Jace’s Angels” aka UW/miracle playing this decklist:

[d]Lands:
4 Flooded Strands
2 Polluted Delta
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Scalding Tarn
4 Tundra
5 Island
2 Plain
4 Mishra’s Factory

Creatures:
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Snapcaster Mage

Spells:
4 Brainstorm
4 Sensei’s Divinning Top
4 Force of Will
3 Counterspell
2 Spell Pierce
3 Counterbalance
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Terminus
2 Entreat the Angels
1 Detention Sphere
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Sideboard:
3 Rest in Peace
1 Humility
1 Moat
1 Pithing Needle
1 Counterbalance
1 Detention Sphere
1 Land Tax
2 Enlightened Tutor
1 Terminus
1 Spell Pierce
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
[/d]

As you can see the aim of this deck is to take total control of the game until resolving at the end of your opponent’s turn an “Ooops I win” [mtg_card]Entreat the Angels[/mtg_card]. I am really satisfied with the main deck where the only questionable cards are the 4 [mtg_card]Mishra’s Factory[/mtg_card] instead of 1 fetch land, 2 [mtg_card]Glacial Fortress[/mtg_card] (which are great to dodge [mtg_card]Choke[/mtg_card]) and 1 [mtg_card]Karakas[/mtg_card]. Personally I really enjoy them, they trade with a thresholded [mtg_card]Nimble Mongoose[/mtg_card], they protect Jace, they can put pressure on your opponent during a control match up and the interaction with [mtg_card]Humility[/mtg_card] is great. And for more personal reasons, I love playing my antiquities playset of Mishras (being able to say “Winter is coming” while attacking with the winter mishra’s factory is priceless) and I do not own any [mtg_card]Karakas[/mtg_card] which is probably the best reason for not playing it. However the sideboard was far from perfect, I literally found myself 3 or 4 times having too many cards to board in which is problematic…

I packed 3 [mtg_card]Rest in Peace[/mtg_card] which are nuts against Reanimator, Dredge and other strategies based on the graveyard. It also shuts down [mtg_card]Nimble Mongoose[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Tarmogoyf[/mtg_card]. That was probably the best card in my sideboard.
[mtg_card]Humility[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Moat[/mtg_card] seem very similar but they fight different decks. [mtg_card]Humility[/mtg_card] is great against [mtg_card]Show and Tell[/mtg_card] decks and maverick to transform giant monsters or utility creatures into sweet 1/1. In the opposite [mtg_card]Moat[/mtg_card] protects you against an overwhelming wave of Merfolks, Elves or Goblins because sometimes [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] is not enough.
[mtg_card]Detention Sphere[/mtg_card] is some kind of Swiss Knife, an answer to every problem. I found myself wanting to side it in in every match-up… It is good against aggro decks, control decks, [mtg_card]Show and Tell[/mtg_card] decks and reanimator.
[mtg_card]Pithing Needle[/mtg_card] is a very nice utility card. I would never play without having it in my sideboard. It shuts down [mtg_card]Aether Vial[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Wasteland[/mtg_card] and quite whatever you want…

[mtg_card]Land Tax[/mtg_card] was disappointing. It is too slow against aggro and I never found room in my deck to side it in against control. I was terribly excited to play [mtg_card]Land Tax[/mtg_card] but I realised that it was a fake good idea…
Both [mtg_card]Enlightened Tutor[/mtg_card] were the glue to fix the sideboard and to make it work. Perhaps one could be enough but I feel more confidant by playing 2 of them.
[mtg_card]Spell Pierce[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Vendilion Clique[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card] are only extra copies to kick combo and control players.

Usually Miracle players splash red to pack additional [mtg_card]Red Elemental Blast[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Pyroblast[/mtg_card] against all kind of control, combo, aggro or aggro-control based on blue. Personally I am not a huge fan of this. It takes easily 4 slots in your sideboard and makes you weaker to [mtg_card]Wasteland[/mtg_card]. Furthermore I think that all those decks can be perfectly fought with an “Enchantment/Artefact” package fixed with [mtg_card]Enlightened Tutor[/mtg_card]. The two main troubles for UW/miracle are Goblins and avoiding the unintentional draws.

So let’s continue with the tournament itself!

I woke up at about… well too early and picked up my friend Jérôme. We arrived 20 minutes before the beginning of the tournament which should be a record because usually we arrive in Zurich 5 minutes late.

During the first round I faced Jonas with reanimator.
Game 1: He reanimated [mtg_card]Griselbrand[/mtg_card] on the second turn and I conceded immediately.
Game 2: This time he reanimated [mtg_card]angel of despair[/mtg_card] on the second turn and two turns later he played [mtg_card]show and tell[/mtg_card] into [mtg_card]sphinx of the steel wheel[/mtg_card] and I choosed [mtg_card]humility[/mtg_card]. He immediately conceded.
Game 3: This game wasn’t one. He mulliganed to four and I played a secont turn [mtg_card]rest in peace[/mtg_card].

1-0
2-1

For the second round I was paired against Philippe playing merfolk.
I can’t remember exactly how those games went exept that I lost quickly the first one and the second one was a long game which my opponent didn’t concede despite the counterbalance lock and [mtg_card]moat[/mtg_card].
Time was called while we were shuffling for the third game and the match was a draw.

1-0-1
3-2

The third round was against Mark with his own build of UR control featuring [mtg_card]Isochron Septer[/mtg_card]
This match wasn’t very interesting. Mark tried to resolve [mtg_card]isochron septer[/mtg_card] all games long but [mtg_card]jace, the mind sculptor[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]detention sphere[/mtg_card] were too strong for him.

2-0-1
5-2

Mischa was my fourth opponent playing one of the coolest deck of the universe (or at least of the format), Elves!
Game 1: At the end of his second turn he already had five nasty elves on the board so I set up a [mtg_card]terminus[/mtg_card] for the next turn thanks to [mtg_card]brainstorm[/mtg_card]. From that point it was just a matter of time to get enough lands to resolve a lethal [mtg_card]entreat the angel[/mtg_card].
Game 2: [mtg_card]humility[/mtg_card] followed by [mtg_card]moat[/mtg_card] closed the game easily.

3-0-1
7-2

At the same time Jérôme had 12 points and we faced one another during the last round. We did some maths and found that his concession would avoid us to play each other before the final. So he gave me the victory. (By the way I would have crushed him, Storm decks are free wins for [mtg_card]Counterbalance[/mtg_card])

QF, where the real fight begins: Philippe, Goblins, my nightmare…
Game 1: I resolved a second turn counterbalance lock and I managed to counter quite every card he tried to play…
Game 2: he was mana screw during several turns which allowed me to take an irreversible advantage.

2-0

SF, Andy brought his [mtg_card]Goblin Charbelcher[/mtg_card] deck to the table
Game 1: he managed to resolve 10 goblins thanks to [mtg_card]empty the warren[/mtg_card] but [mtg_card]terminus[/mtg_card] saved me.
Game 2: I dealt with his two [mtg_card]xantid swarm[/mtg_card] before assembling the counterbalance lock and winning the game with a random [mtg_card]entreat the angel[/mtg_card]

2-0

After that, I split the final and the generous price pool with Jérôme who also managed his way to the final. But our real earn was on the way back when we stopped at the Burger King where we luckily got an extra free mug with our Big King XXL double extra cheese menu!

Thanks for reading,
Azrael