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Ixalan is the most excited for a set that I've been for a long time, and I can't wait to start playing with Dinosaurs and Pirates in Standard. These tribal strategies aren't for everyone, though, as there are still a few extremely good decks left from the last Standard season that will be the foundation of the metagame for #SCGDFW.
One of those decks is U/W Approach, the deck that I played at #GPDC at the beginning of the month. I may not really be known as a control player per se, but U/W Approach was my go-to deck last Standard season, and today I'm going to update my decklist for those of you looking to play it at #SCGDFW. First of all, let's take a look at the list that I played at #GPDC and see what will be rotating out of the deck.
The majority of the deck, including most importantly our win condition, will survive rotation and be available for Ixalan Standard, but let's take a look at the few cards that will need to be replaced.
As you can see, I really valued my lands entering the battlefield untapped and played a whopping seventeen basic lands to help facilitate that. I never wanted to have to play a tapped land in the late-game against Ramunap Red and wanted my manabase to be as smooth as possible because of that matchup, so I didn't play Port Town or any colorless lands such as Westvale Abbey. I was very happy with my manabase before and thought that strategy worked very well in the deck, and the only land that is rotating out now is Prairie Stream. Thankfully Glacial Fortress is entering the format, which is actually just a strict upgrade for us. No longer do you need two basic lands on the battlefield for your Prairie Stream to enter the battlefield untapped, all you need is any other land in the deck on the battlefield and voila, untapped Glacial Fortress.
Anticipate was a card that I actually loved in the deck but most other people didn't play. I always wanted to be doing something on turn 2, whether it was using a Blessed Alliance as removal on the draw or casting Censor as a counterspell on the play. People frequently would play around Censor if possible throughout a game, and I always loved having Anticipate as a card to cast at their end step to use that two mana. It allowed me to more often find a Glimmer of Genius for turn 4 and a Fumigate for turn 5, which was the curve I frequently wanted. Also, Anticipate was a cheap way to filter through cards to find your second Approach of the Second Sun after casting the first.
All three of the early-game removal spells that I used are rotating out, and that's going to be the biggest hit to the deck. Losing Blessed Alliance is the worst hit by far; it was the best removal spell for a turn 2 Longtusk Cub early on, or a Hazoret the Fervent or Glorybringer in the late-game. Versatile two-mana removal spells are very hard to come by, and Blessed Alliance will surely be missed.
I also had three copies of Stasis Snare and a Declaration in Stone in my maindeck, which was more removal than many people played in U/W Approach, but I wanted to make sure to be able to beat Hazoret the Fervent among other cards. With a large portion of the Standard metagame revolving around creature decks, I wanted an extremely high win percentage against them Game 1 between overloading on removal and blanking their removal spells. This will likely be a good strategy for #SCGDFW as well with the introduction of a tribal block, but we're going to need to find new removal spells to replace these rotating ones.
So we're losing some key cards, but not a lot overall. Let's take a look at what's entering the metagame from Ixalan that could find a home in U/W Approach.
Let's start with the easy one. Opt will be a nice replacement for Anticipate. Even though you don't get to see as many cards as Anticipate, having half of the mana cost is a very nice. Overall this will most likely be an upgrade to the deck, and a very easy swap.
Search for Azcanta basically goes in the same slot as Opt does and the trade-off is speed for power. Search for Azcanta is a very slow card, but over time the two-mana investment can yield amazing dividends. This is the kind of card that won't help in your worst matchup, Ramunap Red, but over a long game it can be incredibly powerful. For now I would only want to put one in the maindeck because of the weakness to Ramunap Red and the fact that it's legendary, but I could see it overperforming enough to have another copy or two in the sideboard. It's worth noting that the transform clause is a "may," so that if you already have an Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin on the battlefield, you can leave the second copy on the Search for Azcanta side.
Everyone loves drawing extra cards, right? So how about seven cards for seven mana?