What to make of UW Wizards in Modern (A Magic the Gathering Post)
Hey everybody. Let me start by saying that it’s been about a year since I played Modern. I love watching Magic the Gathering, but actually playing the game is different. I often fall in and out of love with it. Well, I decided to throw together one of my pet decks, UW Wizard, and take it to Modern. Now, I need two disclaimers.
Since I fall in and out of love with MTG, I rarely buy expensive cards. Namely, lands. I’m sure running 8 fetch lands or so would help the consistency of the deck. (I run 3)
And secondly, I’ve only played a few games, so who knows. But I have noticed a trend.
I am just going to put my thoughts out here and maybe some of you will get some use out of it.
I started brewing this deck back when Dominaria first released because of Naban
His ability to double triggers just screams value. These support cards jumped out to me.
I’ve found myself wanting an aggressive 1 and 2 drop and more Merfolks.
Maybe these two?
I got excited when Benthic Biomancer launched but honestly I never bothered buying him. He is a 1CMC Merfolk. In theory, he helps play on curve, discount Wizard’s Retort, and is another merfolk to reveal to Silvergill. Also is a semi Silvergill in that turn two he can draw us a card. I think he is a card where it is easy to talk yourself into him. May have to pick some up later.
Cursecatcher on its surface seems worse because they can simply pay one to bolt or path Naban. However maybe we want to run both? or maybe we just need more merfolks and the slight disruption is just a plus? I’m not really sure honestly.
Wizard’s also needs more stack or hand disruption. We don’t get very solid interaction in either phase. We can mess with creatures all day. We need a 2CMC card like Kitesail Freebooter that would let us view their hand. This would let us set up our Meddling Mages better and then use Deputy and Reflector to better effects. Not to mention, a freebooter like effect in wizards getting a double trigger would be great. Other cards I’ve considered would be Spell Queller and Thalia just to get some more controlling effects. We lose out on some synergies because they are neither merfolk nor wizards but they are pound for pound good cards.
Interestingly enough, since Naban, Reflector, and Meddling Mage are all humans, you could cut out the merfolk package and use cards like Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial and Unclaimed Territory naming humans and still cast half your wizards. Then your playing Naban, Kitesail, Thalia, Meddling Mage, Reflector Mage, still playing Deputy, and maybe Champion of the Parish
If Naban and Champion see a human entering the battlefield like Meddling Mage, then Champion gets double +1/+1 if I am not mistaken. This strategy ultimately makes Wizard’s Retort worse but I’m sure other counters such as Unified Will could work.
You could also cut the human package and play mostly merfolk.
I run Harbinger in my paper deck. I did not have him online so I cut him. That felt like a big mistake. I never had enough Merfolk for Silvergill and the curve was wonky. I also wanted more bounce effects against Infect. So, whether its Harbinger or not, I do think the deck wants more 2 mana interaction. The draw back to the lords is that none of them are wizards except Harbinger and Master of the Waves. I think that might be okay if we had more interactive merfolk. So, I’m not sure how deep I want to go on Merfolk at the moment. I think Wizard’s wants a more reliable 2 mana draw card. Like a Silvergill or Elvish Visionary but less dependent on our hand.
Lastly, a good 3 mana lord.
I’ve just been underwhelmed with Naru any time I wasnt playing casually (Casually, it is amazing). She almost makes me want to splash red for 4 lightning bolts. As ETB and copying Lightning Bolt and then having Naban trigger allowing Naru to trigger again on the bolt almost seems like a reasonable way to close the game with just 5 mana. Let me know if that sounds just crazy.
I suppose a parting question will always be why not play Humans, Merfolk or Spirits? I suppose there’s a brewer in all of us who wants to create a new archetype. Wizards seems to work fine in fair creature metas and good draws with Naban into Deputy should help manage almost any board, but I feel like wizards needs more hand and stack interaction to solidify itself. I guess there’s a chance we just cut Naban and try to play UW Good Wizards.
I’m not going to submit a decklist because I’m not sure what the correct build or numbers are. Here are other Wizard’s that could be great SB or meta dependent calls.
In testing, Phastasmal Image worked to great effect but it was bounced or walking ballistaed every chance someone got. Unsettled Mariner could fix some problems with Wizard’s Retort, Silvergill, and Champion of the Perish, but it doesn’t interact with the stack or hand and it doesn’t effect the board. I’m undecided on if I want to buy some and test it out.
Have you played with UW or UWB or UWR wizards? If so, let me know. And if this inspires you to brew it, let me know how that goes.