U/R Prowess by Levi Basham at SCG Cincinnati – 41st

Creatures (8)
4 Soul-Scar Mage
4 Stormchaser Mage

Non-Creature Spells (29)
4 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
4 Fevered Visions
4 Riddleform
3 Shock
2 Unsummon
3 Collective Defiance
4 Crash Through
4 Incendiary Flow
1 Insult // Injury

Lands (23)
5 Island
8 Mountain
2 Highland Lake
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Wandering Fumarole

Sideboard (15)
2 Weaver of Lightning
2 Abrade
2 Dispel
2 Negate
2 Refuse // Cooperate
1 Baral’s Expertise
1 By Force
3 Sweltering Suns

Summary

With the release of Hour of Devastation, a lot of new and interesting decks have been popping up on MtGO, and the results at SCG Cincinnati have further cemented the hope that many players had that we would be entering a very diverse format. One deck that stood out to me deeper down the results was this U/R Prowess deck played by Levi Basham, which looks to tempo the opponent out with Prowess creatures, cheap burn spells, and ways of churning through cards.

Like any tempo deck, under-costed creatures make up the spine of the deck. This deck plays Soul-Scar Mage, Stormchaser Mage, and Riddleform to that end. Soul-Scar Mage and Stormchaser Mage both are cheap creatures with Prowess, allowing them to grow far beyond what their mana cost would indicate when several spells are cast. Riddleform, on the other hand, will never grow above a 3/3, but a 3/3 flyer for 2 mana is far too strong for its own good (see: Smuggler’s Copter). The key to Riddleform is being able to activate it turn after turn, which this deck is uniquely equipped to do, with its multitude of cheap spells and ways of drawing cards.

Before getting into the cheap spells in this deck, it’s important to look at the reliable card advantage sources that let the deck accelerate into the mid and late game. This comes in the form of Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Fevered Visions. Chandra, Torch of Defiance has proven time and time again that multiple flexible abilities on one card is a worthwhile investment. It can draw additional cards, add additional mana, or get pesky creatures out of the way, clearing the way for your own creatures. Fevered Visions has been in and out of the format for a while, but its play against the slower decks of the format is undeniable, and it frequently is unbeatable for any deck looking to play the control role in most matchups.

 

Among the many spells this deck plays, Unsummon, Crash Through, and Insult // Injury stick out. Unsummon is the definition of a tempo card. When out in front, it mostly acts as a removal spell, as the opponent is forced to spend yet another turn casting the creature, while you are getting in damage. However, when playing from behind and not applying pressure, it barely sets the opponent back at all, and the board advantage gained is minimal. Crash Through is a new Hour of Devastation spell that is mostly used in this deck as a 1 mana draw spell, but the trample is relevant more often than you would think against small blockers in this format. Insult // Injury has proven itself as a fantastic limited card, but it hasn’t yet broken into Standard. When paired with Prowess creatures or burn spells, Insult can quickly slam the door shut on any game.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:

Mainboard

No changes.

Sideboard

-1 Baral’s Expertise

-1 By Force

+1 Refuse // Cooperate

+1 Negate

This is day 200 of Spellsnare.com’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 199 here, where we featured another Standard deck that put up an impressive result in Cincinnati this past weekend.

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