Deep Analysis — The 800-lb Gorilla of Time Spiral Block
Love it or hate it, U/B Control is the best deck in Time Spiral Block.
It was not long into my testing for the first PTQ of the season that I realized how murderously difficult it was for anything in this format to compete with a deck playing four Damnation and four Tendrils of Agony backed up by four Urborg, four Tolaria West, and three or four Mystical Teachings for redundancy.
In a format this slow, you can't beat that kind of nonsense with a beatdown deck unless you are absolutely, stone-cold hating on U/B. Hating on U/B with an aggro deck will get you killed against the normal aggro decks if you cut your anti-aggro cards for anti-U/B cards and they didn't. (I haven't tested against Wafo-Tapa's Slivers yet, but I'll refer you to a quote by the designer on his imminent match against U/B in the Top 8 of Montreal: “I know I would preferred any other matchup in the top 8.” I'm betting that deck is not the answer the format has been looking for.) Midrange control is going to have a hell of a time against a fully-featured control deck that chains Teachings to answer its trumps on a one-for-one basis, so it's going to take something seriously special to convince me that a decklist without Urborg and Tolaria West is the correct choice for a PTQ.
With about one week of testing under my belt, I ran U/B at a Chicago PTQ. Chicago is in the top tier of difficulty among PTQ locations I've ever attended (between Southern California, Arizona, Missouri, Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Kansas), and for the first time ever, I made it through the Chicago Swiss without a single match loss. I lost immediately in the Top 8 due to multiple un-keepable opening hands, to a Mono-Red player I had defeated in the Swiss earlier. His comment on the matchup was, “if anyone here can say he beats the Red Deck, it's you.” (Unless I do nothing in both games, naturally.) Zac Hill had no such issues, and just straight-up won his PTQ with U/B. (Grats!) The Top 8 of the Chicago PTQ resolved with Adrian Sullivan and his U/B deck emerging victorious. (More grats!)
It's the real deal, folks: the top dog of the format, and for my money, it's not close.
If you haven't been playing any U/B, or have been testing against only one list, I'm going to run through a quick (well, quick for Deep Analysis) overview of the menu of common card choices presented to the U/B mage. If you are already “in the know” when it comes to U/B, feel free to skip down to the Building U/B section.
Careful Consideration – The gold standard of draw spells in the format, Consideration is even more useful in this deck because of all the situational cards. Four copies of Urborg is common for these decks, so unless the opponent is playing them as well, the Legend Rule is bound to strand a copy or two in the U/B player's hand. Consideration recycles these into useful cards, along with bullets like Extirpate and Pull from Eternity, which are often outright useless in the wrong matchup. It is worth noting that Consideration is vulnerable to Willbender and Imp's Mischief, while Foresee, Think Twice, and Chronicler are not.
Foresee – While it lacks Consideration's ability to cycle away blanks, cannot be tutored up by Mystical Teachings, and must be cast in the main phase no matter what, Foresee's colored requirements are admittedly easier to meet than those of Consideration. However, the real reason to play Foresee is that it can dig farther than Consideration; if you need a Damnation, you have the option to Scry all four to the bottom and hope the card you need is now one of the two cards you're about to draw.
Think Twice – While this card saw a lot of play in Dralnu, it sees almost none in Block except for the two in Wafo-Tapa's Pro-Tour-winning maindeck. I think a big part of the reason for this is that Dralnu couldn't afford to drop its defenses by playing a four-cost draw spell in the main phase. If Block U/B operated as much on the opponent's end step as Dralnu did, Think Twice might even move in on the territory of Careful Consideration or Foresee - but since tapping four in the main phase is fine in this block, why not get some card selection with your two-for-one?
Mystical Teachings – Even the U/B builds that don't play Teferi play Teachings. Not only is it a two-for-one where both of the “ones” are tutor effects, the Teachings for Teachings chain can yield up to five tutor effects from one piece of cardboard. However, unless you've lived in a cave for the past five months, you're familiar with this thing already. Let's move on.
Aeon Chronicler – We all know by now that Patrick Chapin loves the Chronic. The obvious advantages are that it's the card drawer that dodges Cancel (though not so much Delay), and as long as you have a few cards in your hand, it can serve as both card drawer and finisher. However, some other U/B mages are starting to “just say no” to the Chronic in favor of…
Shadowmage Infiltrator – I'm not sure if Gerry Thompson was the first to add Finkel to U/B, but if not, he is certainly one of its strongest advocates. Easier on the mana wallet than the Chronic, Finkel also starts drawing cards earlier and can put his dukes up in the early game against Mogg War Marshal and Blood Knight. While the two are by no means mutually exclusive, most U/B players I've talked to are playing either Finkel or the Chronic, but not both. It's interesting to note that an unanswered early Finkel is much more apt to run away with a mirror match than is an unanswered Chronicler, because Finkel can start hitting on turn 4, before the opponent has had time to cast draw spells. If he didn't have the removal spell in hand when you laid the Finkel, he might not find one before you've buried him in card advantage. In contrast, by the time you can suspend a Chronicler with X = 4 or 5, the opponent has seen so many cards and cast so many draw spells that odds are excellent that he'll have found a Teachings, or just a rawdogged Pull or Haunting Hymn to negate your Chronicler right away – before you have time to untap and defend it with countermagic.
Damnation – You know the drill. It's worth mentioning that in the mirror match, this is the most consistent removal spell you've got. Isolation doesn't stop Triskelavus, Sudden Death doesn't stop Korlash… Damnation stops ‘em all.
Tendrils of Corruption – This has got to be the defining card of the format. Everyone builds around it, and many lose to it anyway. I wish I could explain more thoroughly what a massive wrecking ball this card is in Time Spiral Block, but if you haven't playtested against it, you probably just won't believe me.
Slaughter Pact – The cheapest immediate way to deal with a threat, and an excellent insurance policy against cards like Gargadon, Griffin Guide, and Timbermare. The fact that it can be fetched with Tolaria West is just the icing on the cake. The main downside is that there are a lot of key cards in the format that it can't kill: Mystic Enforcer, Mire Boa (unless they tap out), Whirling Dervish, Korlash, and Shadowmage Infiltrator are all immune. This is mainly an issue because, of those creatures, only Shadowmage Infiltrator can be killed by Tendrils; if your only spot removal spells are Tendrils and Pact, you can't Teach for an answer to these cards. Luckily, that's easily solved by…
Temporal Isolation – This is the most versatile creature killer in the format, and the most vulnerable to reversal. Venser, Disenchant, and Riftwing Cloudskate all negate this card, but if you fire off a Damnation before any of those come into play, it doesn't matter.
Sudden Death – This used to be important for killing Teferi, but if Wafo-Tapa's deck picks up, it'll be more important for killing Frenetic Sliver. It's also a more reliable way to deal with Shadowmage Infiltrator and Mire Boa than Isolation, but doesn't stop Korlash, Mystic Enforcer, Whirling Dervish, or Gargadon.
Strangling Soot – Usually seen in the sideboard these days, Soot's only mirror-match application is killing Shadowmage Infiltrator. It's usually a two-for-one against the weenie decks, though you'll usually be flashing it back via seven mana and Prismatic Lens.
Delay – This card's cheapness compared to Cancel is a big, big deal, but so is the fact that you have to play Teferi to make it a one-for-one. U/B expert Gerry Thompson (whose Korlash list Top 16 finishers Cheon and Scott-Vargas was based on) posited that it is always better to play Cancel than Delay because, although Delay is the far superior card, having to poison your deck with multiple Teferis (which are “weak, and a liability against Take Possession”) is not worth the upgrade. In a Pickles list like Kenji's - where being able to play morphs at instant speed and Teachings for combo pieces is actually quite powerful - this is a different story.
Draining Whelk – As permission, this guy is the pits. Keeping six open all the time? Blech. Fortunately, he makes up for his deficiencies as a permission spell by being a Dragon as well.
Pact of Negation – this is the safest answer to Bust, Haunting Hymn, and Disintegrate, and it can be fetched with Tolaria West. It's too expensive to play as more than a two-of, and most lists will include only one copy, if any. It's much more of a bullet than it is a stock permission spell.
Spell Burst – A phenomenal counter against Kenji's deck of Morphs and Ancestral Visions, Burst's “lock out the game” ability is not as useful when you want your opponent to be playing out small weenies so that you can Tendrils them and get back up on life. In the mirror match this is unlikely to counter anything relevant, as well, so its applications are pretty narrow. It is quite strong against Pickles, though, so it does make its way into the occasional sideboard.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir – Although the slowest finisher of the bunch, Tef is more about sealing up the game than finishing it on his own. If you need a faster clock, he lets you fetch one with Teachings. If you've Delayed a card or two, or if a suspended Gargadon or Riftwing Cloudskate is impending, he'll make sure none of these cards get in your way. If the opponent is Blue, Tef turns all his countermagic off. Although a staple at PT: Yokohama, the Mage of Zhalfir has actually been omitted altogether from some modern lists to make room for…
Korlash, Heir to Blackblade – The tricky part about Korlash in U/B is that U/B generally wants more Blue sources than it wants Black sources. Sure, you can add Korlash to a mostly-Blue manabase under the assumption that you'll always have Urborg when you play him, but if your deck contains only a Swamp or two (for Terramorphic Expanse), his Grandeur ability will be left high and dry. Some Korlash lists have moved to a Swamp-centric manabase in order to accommodate four copies of the Heir; others have kept their Islands and merely used him as a one-of or two-of finisher (the late-game power of an 8/8-ish regenerator for four mana is tough to argue with), and still others stay away from him entirely. In any case, Korlash is almost certainly the fastest finisher available to U/B.
Triskelavus – This guy appears almost inevitably alongside Academy Ruins, turning it into the Finisher That Keeps on Giving. Guillaume Wafo-Tapa maindecked this combination even before Tolaria West was around, and now that the Ruins can be fetched on command, the deadly duo is more accessible than ever. It is the most expensive of the finishers, but also the one with the most inevitability behind it.
Draining Whelk – When played as a one-of, the Whelk's general purpose is to be fetched via Teachings when the board is stable. If you can afford to keep six open from that point forward, many opponents simply cannot play spells that cost four or more. If they do, you get a two-for-one that includes a sizeable finisher. If they do not, you neuter their ability to play spells and put yourself even further in control of the game. Some lists play two or more Whelks in order to maximize the chances of scoring big with it; when you have cast a Teachings for Whelk, most opponents will play around it unless they have forgotten you have it, but it takes a paranoid player indeed to start playing around a card you might not play – or, more likely, only play one of – whenever you leave six open on his turn.
Aeon Chronicler – I'm not putting Finkel's 1/3 self on the finisher list, but the Chronic generally has a legitimate body on it. Like Draining Whelk, one of the advantages of playing the Chronic is that it serves the dual purpose of getting you further ahead in the control game and putting you closer to killing the opponent. There are three basic ways you can play Chronicler: Kavu Climber mode, where you Suspend him for one in order to start attacking right away (or just hardcast him if you need a blocker); Phyrexian Arena Mode, where you tap out to suspend him for as much as possible; and Phyrexian Gargantua Mode where you suspend him for less than the maximum amount. You tend to go for the Gargantua when you need to keep mana open for Cancel or Teachings, or when you want a finisher as quickly as possible but your hand is too low on cards to actually call him a threat if you only Suspend for one.
Detritivore – Thus far, DV has been seen only in sideboards for this archetype, but it's not inconceivable that some people would main him now that every deck but White Weenie has targets for him. Unlike the Chronic, you can't really suspend Detritivore for one and call him a finisher. However, he puts you much farther ahead in control mirrors than Chronic does when you leave him suspended for a few turns. He's like Shadowmage Infiltrator in that if he isn't dealt with immediately, he can run away with the game by himself.
Aven Riftwatcher – The premier anti-Red sideboard card, Riftwatcher is of questionable merit against the other aggro decks of the format. As G/W and U/G move in on Mono-Red's territory, this will likely be phased out for more versatile sideboard cards.
Epochrasite – Unless he gets Riftsweepered or Disintegrated right away, Epochrasite is a substantial beating against aggressive decks. Not only does he chump block early and come back to fight post-Damnation, he threatens a quick finish if the opponent tries to sit and burn you out. Drawing two or three Epochrasites can be a blessing or a curse against aggro; if you have no other action, you risk dying before the first one makes it out of its cocoon… but if you have disruption to go with your insects, he'll be telling his friends about your “freaking three Epochrasite draw” after the match.
Take Possession – If they aren't ready for it, this is probably the best card for the mirror match. Taking the opponent's Urza's Factory is its best use in a factory war, but nabbing a Korlash or Teferi can also put you far enough ahead to steal a victory off high-quality card advantage.
Prismatic Lens – In a deck this heavy in four-drops, this turn 2 accelerant is amazing. The color-fixing ability also comes up a lot, particularly with regards to the White splash. Although cheaper, it doesn't hold a candle to the mana production capabilities of…
Coalition Relic – If this cost two mana, it might be worth $15 in the secondary market. As it is, it's more akin to Kodama's Reach than anything else; it costs three, and nets you two mana roughly every other turn. Tapping for this on turn 3 instead of a Lens-accelerated four-drop, a Shadowmage, or a Transmuted Tolaria West is a slow start for U/B, but the late-game benefits it confers can be worth it in slower matchups, especially the mirror. It is at its best in decks like Ruel's and Wafo-Tapa's, where it can double-accelerate into a big spell like turn 4 Wild Pair or turn 5 Take Possession, which is why Shouta only ran two in his U/B list and Cheon and LSV omitted it altogether.
Terramorphic Expanse – Blah blah color fixing blah.
Dreadship Reef and Calciform Pools – Dreadship Reef can help get Damnation online without Urborg, but Calciform Pools helps color-fix the White splash. In the Gerry Thompson School of U/B, you don't play any storage lands because you are tapping out all the time and don't have time for colored mana hiccups; as you can see, Cheon and LSV had no storage lands whatsoever. In the pre-Montreal world, these were everywhere because they are strong in the mirror, and Zac and I played only one Calciform Pools apiece on our way to making Top 8 at our respective PTQs. I'd say the jury is still out on the correct amount of these to play.
Urza's Factory – The applications are obvious, but the question of whether to run one or two is up in the air. Two gives you more consistent access to it in the late game – and you always do want one in the late game – and gives you a way to Tolaria West your way out of a Take Possession situation, but will never help you out in the early game. Considering the main way this deck loses is to mana issues in the early game, I'd say this is still up for debate.
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth – The only tension here is whether to run the full four out of respect for the massive beating that is Tendrils, or to cut down out of respect for the Legend Rule. It would be silly to run none of these.
River of Tears —If you float Blue before playing your land, it helps you get Blue for Careful Consideration, and if you don’t, it helps you get Black for Damnation. It only helps you flashback Teachings if you use it in your main phase, but it’s not usually hard to find one Black source by the time you’re ready to flashback Teachings. As Magus of the Moon isn’t nearly popular enough to consider the fact that it’s nonbasic a significant downside, this is usually just an upgrade over Island as long as you don’t misplay with it.
Academy Ruins – Again, this is pretty much for Triskelavus and nothing else. I guess Mishra builds would find it useful, or maybe you could get techy and use it as a Wasteland for the opponent's Triskelavus, but that's about it.
Mystical Teachings Bullets
Extirpate – Disciplined U/B players will hold this for the opponent's Teachings, but greedy ones will pick another target earlier if they think they can ride that lesser advantage to victory. Some board an extra copy so that Extirpate can be used twice – once on the Teachings and once opportunistically – but one copy will remain in the average maindeck as long as Teachings is popular.
Haunting Hymn – This card is absolutely devastating if resolved in the mirror or against a Green deck. Although it is possible to come back from being Big Hymned, it is both difficult and generally requires a good deal of luck. Some U/B mages opt for two or more copies of it, because it is so devastating in the right circumstances.
Pull from Eternity – Gargadon, Chronicler, and Epochrasite. I've targeted Rift Bolt with it before, but I wasn't happy about it. Like Extirpate and Teachings, Pull is a necessary evil in the maindeck as long as Gargadon and Chronicler remain popular.
Disenchant – Prior to Wafo-Tapa's Slivers deck, the big targets for this were Take Possession, Griffin Guide, and Sacred Mesa. Now, Wild Pair and Take Possession are by far the most important, and Coalition Relic is in the mix as well. Time will tell if these are reason enough for Disenchant to make the maindeck.
Venser, Shaper Savant – He's alternately a clunky foil to Take Possession/Temporal Isolation/Griffin Guide, a clunky way to maintain board position (it's hard to “gain tempo” with a four-mana bounce spell) or a clunky Remand. However, the fact that he pulls triple-duty and sticks around to block Saffi or Sulfur Elemental does count for something. For example, do you board in two Disenchants against an unknown opponent, on the off chance he's boarding Take Possession? One Disenchant and one Venser is less likely to give you dead draws, though as Take Possession spreads, it may be safe to just board two Disenchants every time and be done with it.
Snapback – Although less clunky than Venser against creature enchantments, and more likely to gain you tempo when used on an opposing creature, Snapback has no Remand-like qualities. Perhaps more importantly, it will regularly be a zero-for-one or worse, while Venser will always yield a (somewhat useful) 2/2 body.
Momentary Blink – This appeared in Paul Cheon and Luis Scott-Vargas's sideboards, and I can only imagine it is to counter Temporal Isolation in the most adorable – er, I mean advantageous – way possible. As a protection spell against other spot removal spells, it's pretty narrow and clunky – you have to have 1W open the first time, and 3U open the second time. Nobody's going to walk into the flashback, and it can't counter Take Possession no matter what, so it seems to me the card's only applications are against Temporal Isolation and maybe in conjunction with your own Epochrasite.
Imp's Mischief – Apparently, only Olivier Ruel had the stones to maindeck this in Montreal. Redirecting an opponent's Careful Consideration, Ancestral Vision, or (gasp) Haunting Hymn is a powerful effect in the mirror, and even changing the target of a Tendrils or Slaughter Pact can be clutch if both players have enticing targets. It's also useful in the format's rare countermagic wars, as you can Mischief an opposing Cancel to target the Mischief itself, effecting a Counterspell for 1B. (Yes, you still lose the life.)
I have seen all sorts of combinations in this archetype, but every U/B list I try starts out with four Damnation, four Tendrils, four Urborg, four Tolaria West, and three Mystical Teachings. I am one of several deck designers who consider this combination of cards to be the Aether Vial of post-Future Sight Time Spiral Block: they're so stupid broken, you're expected to have a good explanation ready if you've omitted them from your list.
Damnation ranges from the most reliable one-for-one in control mirrors to the most devastating blow to aggro decks imaginable. If you aren't playing four, you'd better have a damn good reason for it. Urborg and Tendrils are the insurmountable hurdle that makes me want to vomit at the thought of playing aggro in this format; if you aren't playing four of each, you'd better have a damn good reason. Tolaria West taps for Blue or gets Urborg and Factory, and comes-into-play-tapped is a joke of a downside in this format. If you aren't playing four, then you'd better have a damn good reason. Teachings is only a three-of by default because it's slow, because you only need to draw one per game, and because you rarely want it earlier than the midgame.
The two essential bullets for the mirror match are Extirpate and Haunting Hymn. If you Extirpate Teachings, then you have access to the Teachings chain in the late game and your opponent does not. That's a big advantage, and so is Mind Twisting your opponent. You go for the Hymn whenever the opponent can't counter it, and the Extirpate whenever he presents a Teachings. If you know your opponent's decklist, you might alternately Extirpate Korlash (if you know that his only other finisher is Urza's Factory, for example), but unless you explicitly know otherwise, nothing is as crippling in the mirror match as losing your Teachings. Since the two cards are used in different situations, it's important to have access to both of them in the mirror. If you had to cut one, it would probably be the Extirpates, because Hymn is good in a number of matchups… but you'd lose a lot of mirror match punch if you did. I'd put Urza's Factory on the list of essential bullets for the mirror match, except that it's pretty essential to the deck in general.
Pull from Eternity is another auto-include, because of Greater Gargadon and Aeon Chronicler. It's also the reason the default U/B configuration will be U/B/w and not U/B/g or U/B/r. Red decks are easily defeated if you can Teach for Pull, but are otherwise a real struggle if they have Gargadon. Riftsweeper can be fetched if you have Teferi out, but that's clunky enough to be unrealistic as an answer to Gargadon.
With a deck this rich in four-drops, four Prismatic Lens is standard, and the first Coalition Relic comes only after the Lenses have been maxed out. The consensus on mana sources seems to be 30-32, counting Lenses and Relics, though I have seen the occasional list of 34.
Even if you don't max out on Urborgs and the like, it is difficult to argue against playing the following cards in your U/B maindeck:
4 Prismatic Lens
4 Terramorphic Expanse
1-2 Urza's Factory
1-4 Tolaria West
1-4 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Plains (heh, “U/B deck”)
2-4 Tendrils of Corruption
3-4 Mystical Teachings
1-4 Careful Consideration
1 Pull from Eternity
1 Haunting Hymn
As this article is meant to be a reference guide for U/B as a whole, and not my personal take on it, I'm going to hold off on posting a decklist until next week when I go into more detail on my build.
This will necessarily be the most pessimistic part of the article. (After all, there's a reason I settled on U/B for this PTQ season in record time.) The short answer to the question of how to fight U/B is, “it ain't easy,” and the explanation is, “Tendrils of Corruption.”
No matter what your deck is, you can expect to have a Tendrils of Corruption cast against you in every game you play against U/B. If the opponent will really have 26 or so life heading into the late game – and can gain even more as the game drags on – you need to come up with a whole lot of damage in a whole big hurry to have a shot at victory by beatdown. Is Time Spiral Block a place where that kind of firepower is easy to come by? You do the math: Mogg War Marshal is a staple in the format's mono-red aggro deck.
The reason I don't want to beat down in this format is that your success as a beatdown player against U/B – and do you really think you can make it all the way through a PTQ Top 8 without pairing against U/B? – depends entirely on how unprepared your opponent is for your particular flavor of aggro.
The problem with that is, well, Mystical Teachings exists. Prior to the Chicago PTQ, I was talking to Gerry Thompson about how I wanted to maindeck a Temporal Isolation in order to have a tutorable answer to Korlash and Mystic Enforcer. This discussion made the comment I read on a message board that “the Korlash decks just can't deal with [our Tarmogoyf deck's] Mystic Enforcers” seem like a sad joke. Here they were all pumped up about their deck's brawniest threat against the best deck in the format, and Gerry and I were discussing whether or not to trump it outright by changing one card in our maindecks.
The most common myth floating around seems to be that Greater Gargadon “solves” the Tendrils issue. I played against three Mono-Red decks in the swiss at Chicago, all of them drew Gargadon, some of them drew multiple copies, and I dispatched all three. Drawing Gargadon doesn't mean U/B can't Tendrils you, drawing Gargadon just means they have to Mystical Teachings for Pull from Eternity first. While that costs them valuable time, and is occasionally just the boost you needed to finish them off, you have to realize that Gargadon has only Delayed the Tendrils, not Cancelled it.
The most successful anti-U/B strategy I've heard of seems to be overloading them with threats. Zac's only loss at his PTQ was to a deck that (I believe) contained Akroma, Detritivore, Hellkite, Chronicler, and Boom/Bust between maindeck and sideboard. These are all very slow, but they are all very threatening; all the life gained from Tendrils is immediately erased by one hit from Akroma. I'm not sure if Kenji's Pickles strategy will prove the way to give U/B a run for its money, but I have heard that the U/G aggro-control decks do not cut it.
I've never been much for playing The Best Deck in any given format, but in Time Spiral Block, for the first time, I just don't see any profit in the alternatives. I can't find the aggro deck that beats Tendrils and still stands up to the other aggro decks, and I can't find the threat-heavy deck that overwhelms U/B while still holding up against the format's beatdown contingent.
It seems the only downside to playing U/B is that, well, it's hard. Much like Kamigawa Block's Gifts Ungiven control decks, U/B is very skill-testing, and only those who pass the test wield the most dangerous weapon in the format. It also takes a lot of patience; I only finished two of my rounds at the Chicago PTQ with more than ten minutes to spare in the round, and they were both against mono-Red decks.
In case you were wondering, I played against Mono-Red round 1, G/R midrange round 1, G/W Tarmogoyf round 3, Mono-Red round 4, Mishra round 5, and Mono-Red again in round 6. (I drew into the Top 8 from there.)
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't single out good man Aaron “Darth” Hauptmann for having my back at the PTQ. Not only did he call me to wake me up after I slept through my alarm and nearly missed registration, he found the last few cards for my deck as I raced over to the site, helped me sleeve the deck at the last minute, and pointed out multiple erroneous game states in the games he watched that could have led to some serious warning action had my opponent and I played on and not noticed until several turns later. Big ups to you, Darth! Sorry I didn't win the thing.
Up next week: my take on U/B.