I have been studying the Apocalypse cards since the spoiler came out... And I'm only impressed by a few cards. I seem to be the exception but I for one do not think that the new cards will have a huge impact on the new Standard environment. One card that I do think is really good is Fire/Ice. Not only do I think it's good but it fits right into a deck that I have been playing for about two months that had never been quite as good as I wanted it to be. With the inclusion of Fire/Ice the deck is a lot closer to where I want it.
Without wasting any more time here is the decklist followed by the card-by-card analysis:
Counterspell: It is a must in any blue deck and this one is no exception; it is needed in every matchup. It protects Seismic Assault protects you from Blastoderm Saproling Burst and other huge creatures and forces the key spells through for you.
Exclude: This card seems to be the spell that people seem to debate the most. Many people say that it should be Rethink but I found myself countering creatures almost every time with the Rethink and obviously Exclude is better when you are countering creatures. Almost every deck now has creatures in it.
Accumulated Knowledge: I believe it was Sean McKeown who stated that this card has become"the backbone of modern control decks." Well my deck is definitely a control deck... And Accumulated Knowledge is as abusive in this control deck as it is on any other control decks if not more because the extra lands can be pitched to Seismic Assault to kill creatures or to kill your opponent.
Opt: Another card that some people disagree with despite that it is a perfect fit in the deck. A lot of times when my opponent is going first I need to counter something on the second turn. Opt helps me get the second blue that I need for the Counterspell. Opt is also never a bad card to draw because it lets me cycle through the deck to get what is needed in the late game.
Fact or Fiction: The quick burst of cards is incredible and if I can play this after the first turn that my opponent doesn't play a spell it almost assures me of winning the game. There are so many ways that this card can destroy my opponent. When I play it before I have a Seismic Assault on the board and a Seismic Assault is turned over my opponent will often make bad enough piles for me to win the game. Against this deck my opponent can never just put four lands in one pile and the one counter I might need in the other pile and expect to win.
Fire/Ice: This is my pet card from the new set and I think that it will be played in Type Two and Block Constructed for a long time. All right — enough ranting about the card and instead let me tell you some of the uses that it has in the deck. First the Fire side whose uses are more obvious; the ability to take out two searchers or two mana creatures is huge but it also kills other cards that give the deck a problem — like a second turn Blazing Specter. The Ice side is what I personally think is incredible. When people watch me play this deck they always ask the same thing: Why do you just randomly Ice lands? Well this card is an unexpected Rishadan Port for my deck. Against counter decks they often tap out except for the counter mana that they think they need to cast a Blinding Angel or a Thieving Magpie; I let it resolve then Ice their land draw a card then easily win the counter war over my Seismic Assault and effectively win the game. Against aggressive decks Ice is just as useful; I can Ice a land against Fires if I don't have an early counter and deny them a turn to cast a Blastoderm effectively getting me two cards — the card that I drew off my Ice and the card that I draw during my next draw step. Icing a Port is also an effective strategy when an opponent is expecting to Port me during my upkeep. This card just kills people's planning and helps against every deck.
Urza's Rage: This card also helps against every deck. I can rage Chimeric Idol Blazing Specter Skizzik or a searcher (even the almighty Lin Sivvi). It is also another win condition against control decks or anyone who deals with Seismic Assault.
Trade Routes: An outstanding card drawing machine in addition to its ability to turn all the lands on the board into free shocks.
Gush: Insane with Seismic Assault and can pull off some of the most miraculous wins. If you are about to lose and you have a Gush in your hand float two blue mana cast Gush and hope for the best; you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. It is rare for me to have lost a game with a Seismic Assault in play and having seen a Gush sometime in the game.
Misdirection: The one Misdirection in the deck has proved to be key in a lot of different situations. Trust me that fires players do not like having their Wax/Wane to their Fires or their Burst. Against counter decks this might as well be Force of Will.
The sideboard changes every time I play it but three more Misdirections and two Nether Spirits are a main stay. Four Hibernations also seem to be necessary. The other sideboard cards rotate between Scorching Lava Fat Moti Millstone and Teferi's Response.
Notably absent from the deck are creatures. The reason for that is I like to create dead cards in my opponent's hand. I have ended games against fires with them throwing their hand of three Flametongue Kavus at me and B/R angrily gripping their Terminates and their Vendettas.
The deck has tested considerably well and I hope you give it a shot before writing it off. The deck draws so many cards that the answers that are in the deck are almost always in your hand.
Give me a response at www.gc.peachnet.edu and tell me what you think of the deck and I will respond back to you. Be different happy and don't get hit by a bus.