Last week we delved into UR Spells, my current front-runner for best deck of the format. Can the power of UW Embalm and fliers overthrow it?
UW is a deck that has stood the test of time, across many formats. Combine cheap fliers, some tempo, and maybe some combat tricks/removal and you have the makings of a fine deck for almost every format. Is the Eternalize/Embalm mechanic worth it though?
In general, I’d say no. The deck did we drafted today did exactly what I expected it would do; Won when we had fliers (specifically Aerial Guide) and lost when we didn’t. Flying has been key in both Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation and it seems like the safer route to go down for the UW deck. The big problem with the Eternalize mechanic is that there isn’t enough payoff. Vizier of the Anointed is a fantastic card and will do some heavy lifting for you, but it’s Uncommon and requires you to have other Uncommons or Rares to back it up. The common UW Eternalize cards just aren’t exciting enough to use without some major help. Proven Combatant and Steadfast Sentinel aren’t necessarily unplayable, but they’re not great; That is reserved for rares like Adorned Pouncer or uncommons like Sinuous Striker and it’s very hard to pick those up late since they’re good in every deck, not just an Eternalize one. You can try to spike a Aven Wind Guide from your Amonkhet pack, but I wouldn’t want to rely on that strategy.
I don’t want to say you shouldn’t pick Vizier of the Anointed, but don’t take it first pick expecting to spike this deck and definitely don’t take speculative Steadfast Sentinels or Proven Combatants over other better picks for your colours. They’re just not worth the risk. It’s also not to say that UW is a bad deck. I’ve definitely had success with UW decks in this format, but it really is more of the traditional Flying route than a synergistic Embalm one. Pick up Aerial Guides, Ominous Sphinx, and good combat tricks and removal (Like Unsummon and Desert’s Hold) and you’ll be sitting pretty to take on any deck in the format.
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— Ilyon (@IlyonMTG) August 23, 2017