The Prerelease for War of the Spark is in the books, and while we still have a week until release, my mind has been unable to stand idle, mysteries and deck ideas brewing around endlessly in my imagination. Playing with the cards themselves only helped kindle this burning sensation that I’ve acquired for new decks, namely, Jace, Wielder of Mysteries.
I can’t take all of the credit for this deck, the original idea of combining Persistent Petitioners and Tamiyo, Collector of Tales spawned from the mind of my dear friend Carter Whitaker. I initially brushed the idea off as a mad man’s attempt of a value deck, but the more I kindled the flame for the idea in my own mind, the more I began to realise that he just may be on to something.
Persistent Petitioners: It saddens me knowing I can only fit 13 of my best advisors into my quorum, but it will operate smoothly nonetheless. This deck has a big advantage to it over the Standard mill decks of the past. It doesn’t have to mill just your opponent or just yourself. We have the option of winning either way.
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales: This card synergises with our core strategy way more than I anticipated. Her +1 ability has to potential to net us extreme card advantage, having 13 copies of a single card in the deck helps to ensure that. Passed that, the cards that are a miss with her ability go to our graveyard, essentially milling us four cards. Passed that again, any cards that we care about can be easily bought back with her -3 ability. Tamiyo will have a tale or two to tell in every game that she hits the battlefield.
The Nexus Package (Root Snare, Growth Spiral, Gift of Paradise, and Nexus of Fate): Including the Nexus package was a decision that I came to when I realised that this deck probably can’t survive a combat step passed turn four or five without having a technique for survival. The best way to do this in Simic colors, is Nexus of Fate.
Growth Spiral and Gift of Paradise give us the ramp needed to get to Nexus of Fate in a timely manner. I opted for Gift of Paradise over Wilderness Reclamation for a couple of reasons. First, the life gain on Gift of Paradise can come in handy, especially if the aggressive decks are actually as good as people are saying. Second, the only Instants in the deck are Root Snare, Growth Spiral, and Nexus of Fate, which isn’t enough ways to abuse Reclamation in order to justify it’s inclusion in the deck.
Root Snare is obviously there for our own survivability, and it’s comforting being able to buy it back with Tamiyo should we need it.
Nexus of Fate itself comes at a almost no cost to us. Between 23 lands and eight ramp spells, seven mana should be no difficulty to come by. The shuffle clause can become extremely relevant, however. For instance, when you are milling yourself out, any copies of Nexus that get milled get thrown right back into the deck, increasing the odds of you drawing one dramatically with each turn that your deck gets thinner from your own doing.
This shell makes Nexus an extremely dangerous card, should I survive the first five turns of the game. The decks that can do this are obviously the best and only decks for Nexus of Fate.
Jace, Wielder of Mysteries: Jace does not fool around in this build. If our opponent has a non-aggressive start and we’re able to fire off a second turn Growth Spiral for a turn three Jace, he produces enough card advantage to ensure we will never fall behind. That probably won’t happen very often, so what if he comes later?
Jace should be treated as a six drop in this deck, with a Root Snare to back him up after casting. The reason for this is you can play him and tick him up, with Root Snare to protect him, and then we untap, tick him up again, and play a land that gets us to seven mana, which is Nexus of Fate range. There are very few games that we will lose after resolving a Nexus of Fate with both of our Planeswalkers on the battlefield.
The Sideboard was built with the looming fear of one specific card; Unmoored Ego. Unmoored Ego hits Nexus deck extremely hard, and it will hit this deck even harder with their knowledge of Persistent Petitioners. This requires an amount of strategy in order to correctly traverse the match up.
Negate was the first card added, as a two mana answer to a three mana threat is efficiency manifest. Return to Nature is a bit of a filler card, being a strictly better naturalize however allows it to exile Nexus of Fate from our opponent’s graveyard, which can matter.
Everything else, Murmuring Mystic, Biogenic Ooze, and Hydroid Krasis, is our transformational Sideboard should we want it. These are all very good threats in a Nexus of Fate deck, and should we decide that the Petitioners are too soft a strategy for the match up, we can switch to a completely different style of deck.
All in all, this deck looks like it could be extremely fun to pilot at a Friday Night Magic, and would cause many headaches for opponents, especially if the Sideboard is utilized correctly. The days are closing in on War of the Spark’s release, and Standard gets sweeter and sweeter with each passing second of brewing.