Hello there. I'm sure that most of you have read all of the recent articles about U/W Opposition and why I was wrong to build it the way I did. I'm writing this in response to all of those articles. Of course, I realize that it is very likely that I did in fact build my deck incorrectly. However, I feel that going into greater detail about my card choices and play strategy will shed light on several key points about the deck. My intent is not to insist that I was right all along, but rather to show people that my build was not something I put together on a whim. There's a reason behind every card in the deck. Maybe the reason isn't good enough, but it's there.
First, let's take a look at the deck list in my original article:
Most people agreed that while it wasn't completely hopeless, this build had crappy cards in it that ultimately made it a pile. That may be true. In fact, that's probably true. I don't think so, however, and here's why:
This little guy is usually the first of your creatures to bite the dust. His card drawing abilities make him a prime target for all the Shocks, Smothers, Chainer's Edicts, Innocent Bloods, Mutilates, Violent Eruptions, etc. that the tier one decks are all packing right now. You know what? That's okay! U/W Opposition is all about stalling the game until you can lock the opponent down. If your opponent is paying two mana to cast Volcanic Hammer on your Looter, then he isn't using the mana to play Wild Mongrel. That's a good thing.
On the other hand, if your opponent decides to ignore the little insect, he'll allow you to go through your deck at the rate of two cards a turn. That's also a good thing. Of course, sometimes the Looter will just get shocked at the end of your turn. That's not a good thing. It's not all bad, though. All the burn pointed at the Looter isn't going to your dome. The only time he's a really bad deal is when he gets hit by an Innocent Blood or a Chainer's Edict. Most of the time, though, you won't be playing him on turn 2 against MBC or 'Tog.
Wall of Deceit
The jankiest card in my build, I still think it deserves a place in the deck. All the arguments for the Looter apply to the Wall, except the Wall won't draw you more cards... or will it? U/G, R/G and Sligh are all popular decks, and the wall can block most of their threats. This buys you more turns to draw the cards you need. Of course, R/G and Sligh can burn it out - but that still means they're spending burn on the Wall that could have been going to your head. The deck's primary purpose is to stall, and the Wall helps you do it. It's not necessary for the deck to function, but I feel that it helps a lot. I like it. I also don't know of any other blue or white creatures that can function the same way.
This card is good. With Static Orb in play, this card is nuts. I don't feel the need to go over its virtues one more time because everyone agreed that it's amazing.
Counterspell... Counters stuff. It counters stuff for the low price of UU, no questions asked. That means that you can use it to counter threats while you're trying to survive as well as to protect your lock once it's in place. Simple, huh?
In decks like Psychatog, the Spike can counter that second turn Mongrel even if you went second. In this deck, Force Spike does all that and more. Not only is it powerful in the early game, when the opponent is tapping out, it's also good in the late game, when you have Static Orb in play.
I removed this in my newest version of U/W Opposition, but Lapse was crucial to the build in my article. Without large creatures like Call of the Herd tokens or Ravenous Baloth, the deck had to counter threats much earlier and much more often. The Lapse was also very good with Static Orb in play making it difficult for your opponent to recast his newly drawn threat.
I got a lot of criticism for this card, but I still think it's necessary for the deck to function. I know this because I tried making the deck without Mobilization and it just wasn't any better than the U/G Opposition builds without it. In fact, it was often much worse. Here are a few reasons why:
...and the list goes on and on. Nowadays, more than ever before, people are packing large amounts of creature removal in their decks. An Opposition deck needs creatures to win. This deck in particular needs three, but would much rather have four. Even then, it still needs one more guy to go to the red zone while his friends lock the opponent down.
That's over a third of the total number of creatures in the deck.
That means that without Mobilization, each and every single one of your creatures becomes a valuable commodity that must be protected whenever possible. With the limited amount of counters the deck can support, countering Smothers and Edicts is just not an option. You can, of course, run more creatures to make up for this. However, you'll still have to protect them to some extent. With the Orbs and Oppositions already taking up eight slots in the deck and the remaining slots used up by upping the creature count, that leaves less room for counters. This is bad. Besides, green has much better creatures than white. If you want to play a creature-heavy Opposition deck, play U/G.
With Mobilization, however, you can afford to be a lot more lenient with your countering. You don't need to protect your creatures nearly as much. As long as you still have a Mobilization in your deck, you still have the potential to lock. Suddenly, letting Wraths go uncountered becomes a very attractive option. With Mobilization, it's no longer an issue if your opponent kills one of your guys. You can just make more.
Also remember that Mobilization tokens don't tap to attack. Because of this, your soldiers can disrupt and attack at the same time. It's not unusual for the deck to win four turns after locking the opponent, with soldiers making up most of the attacking force.
Mobilization can also counter Edicts and Bloods for 2W.
I will admit, however that four was probably the wrong number of Mobilizations to run. I'm running three right now and am very happy with it. I don't know why it seems to be under-performing for most of the people who tried playing with my deck. (I can tell you why - The Ferrett)
The only time Mobilization is dead is if the opponent manages to get an Engineered Plague into play. People usually don't run those in the main anyway. It only helps against, Sligh and most Sligh players have switched to R/G (thanks, Kai!). It also costs three mana, so you usually won't have trouble countering it.
So why not just play U/G Opposition and splash white for the Muse? Well, that's actually not such a bad idea. With City of Brass, Birds of Paradise, and fetch lands, you can usually set up your mana base to support such a scheme. However, doing so will usually force you to take large amounts of pain from your land early on. If you don't draw enough Baloths, getting burned out becomes more of an issue than if you had simply run U/G. Here's a list I tried, but ultimately gave up on:
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Llanowar Elves
2 Wild Mongrel
4 Ravenous Baloth
4 Windborn Muse
4 Call of the Herd
3 Static Orb
3 Squirrel Nest
4 City of Brass
4 Windswept Heath
3 Flooded Strand
The mana was too painful, and it didn't have enough counters to protect the lock. It also has less focus. U/G Opposition decks are usually aggro-controllish. U/W Opposition is straight-up control. Mixing the two just hasn't yielded good results for me. The tokens and Baloths wanted to end the game quickly. The Muse wanted to stall. I never had any cards that I wanted to discard to the Mongrel.
Also, the deck sometimes had draws that gave me tons of mana producers and nothing to do with them. It did function impressively when it worked, but it didn't work any better than most U/G builds. Maybe someone can make the splash plan work. That someone won't be me.
...and that's why I believe Mobilization is a necessary evil in U/W Opposition.
Good by itself, amazing with Opposition or Windborn Muse. It's an important part of the deck's lock.
There's a reason the deck is called Windborn Opposition. This is it.
Adarkar Wastes, Flooded Strand, Plains, Island
I never had problems with my mix. I almost always had the mana I needed when I needed it. You can juggle the numbers if you want, but this is the combination that worked for me.
So there you have it. The reasoning behind all the cards in my original build. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I was right. Whatever the case may be, I can only hope that you at least got a good laugh reading my defense of Mobilization.
I also got a lot of suggestions about how to improve the deck. Here's how I'm running it right now:
The addition of Worship allowed the deck to run fewer creatures since countering early threats wasn't such a necessity anymore. It also improved the deck's stalling abilities. It also has great synergy with Mobilization and can sometimes single-handedly make an opponent scoop. The improved ability to survive aggressive creature strategies also allowed the deck to play Complicate instead of Memory Lapse. Complicate is good mid-game and, like Force Spike, amazing once the lock is in place.
Now for some match data. In each of the following cases, I played a between fifty and a hundred games against the relevant deck, using deck lists copied mostly from internet strategy articles and top eight decklists found throughout the net. In each case, half the matches were sideboarded and half were not. It took a long time to play all those games, so I hope everyone appreciates this part of the article:
Psychatog (48 wins, 52 losses)
Still your toughest matchup. I read an article on StarCity that claimed I built my deck wrong because it had trouble against 'Tog, the best deck in the format. While I agree that any new deck should be able to beat the current best deck, I don't agree that 'Tog is that deck. (You're going to argue with Ben Ronaldson? The creator of Deep Dog, Red Deck Wins, Cocoa Pebbles, and Trinity Green? - The Ferrett, admiring uncertainly) While it's true that 'Tog can be tweaked to beat any kind of deck, it can't be built to beat every kind of deck. Making your 'Tog deck better against control will weaken it against aggro and vice-versa. Tog is also hard to play correctly, offering a player many chances to make mistakes while running it. 'Tog is a great deck, but it's not the deck to beat right now.
(It's also important to note that in a hundred games, only once was my opponent able to successfully Upheaval and that I was able to force Static Orb into play in all but eight of the games) The deck won 48 out of a hundred games, but it just as easily could have been 52. I'd say that the deck can win against 'Tog about 50% of the time.
The important thing when playing against 'Tog is to force a Mobilization into play early, while they are setting up their mana. Afterwards, make as many tokens as you can (at the end of each of their turns) and pressure then until they try to Upheaval, then counter it and play a Static Orb. This is a lot easier said than done, and I would recommend extensive playtesting to get the hang of this matchup. Most of the difficulty in this match comes from the fact that it's usually the best players that run 'Tog. As such, they're not going to be making a lot of mistakes. You can usually count on them to make one or two, however, just because 'Tog is so hard to play. You should learn to recognize and take advantage of these mistakes.
R/G (71 wins, 9 losses)
This is the deck to beat, as far as I'm concerned. R/G beats has been getting more and more popular lately, especially Kai's build. I played fifty games against Kai's build and thirty games against the more traditional R/G, with anger and madness cards. In both cases, the Worship was usually too much for them to handle. Even when they brought in Vigilantes and Tranquilities/Naturalizes from the board, they usually watered their offense down so much that I was able to lock them down anyway.
Just remember never to let them destroy all of any particular card: Force them to use their Disenchant effects on a few copies of each of your key cards. You will almost always have more ways to lock them than they have ways to kill your enchantments, and you usually have enough stall to survive until you can draw them. (All nine losses were to Kai's build, though the traditional R/G deck might have won if it managed to get a God draw.)
U/G Madness (64 wins, 16 losses)
Much like R/G, this deck doesn't like letting you resolve a Worship. That said, it is much harder to beat simply because Circular Logic is an efficient counter that costs only one mana to them. Play as you would against R/G, but plan for their counters. Try not to let them counter all of any component of the lock. Force them to spread their countermagic too thinly on all of your stall cards if you can.
U/G Opposition (45 wins, 15 losses)
This is a pain to play, simply because it's so much like a mirror match. They generally have better creatures and are faster to set up, but you have a better lock mechanism and more countermagic. I was losing this matchup a lot until I realized that the only cards I had to counter were Opposition and Seedborn Muse. They will have Naturalize instead of Tranquility, so it's much safer to play multiple enchantments. Not really all that difficult, but always very annoying. They will win, however, if you get cocky and start making bad plays like letting an Opposition through. They can (and generally will) punish you severely for every mistake you make.
On the plus side, it's much easier to survive their early creature assault and they're susceptible to getting dead draws of almost all mana producers.
AstroGlide (60 wins, 10 losses)
This deck doesn't like your Static Orbs. Most of the time, you and your opponent will be racing. He'll be racing to kill you and you'll be racing to lock him. If you can counter their Lightning Rifts and find your Oppositions or Orbs, you'll win. (I played 28 games against G/W/R Glide and 32 games against R/W)
MBC (47 wins, 13 losses)
Mobilization is key here, as is countering Engineered Plague if they have it. It's usually not a challenge to lock the opponent down.
Sligh (50 wins, 0 losses)
This used to be an easy matchup, and it got even easier with Worship added. The match is by no means a bye (the results of my matches were probably a fluke), but it's not hard to win at all. Let them waste their burn on your walls and Windborn Muses. This is your best matchup.
Well, that's it. I know most of you won't be convinced by my arguments, but at the least I hope you enjoyed reading and maybe got inspired by an idea or two.