Energy decks, whether they be Temur, Sultai, or 4-Color, are the best things to be doing in this Standard format. The individual power of each card can already go toe to toe with any deck in the format, but when combined they yield a powerful, synergistic game plan that is favored, especially after sideboarding, in nearly every matchup.

That being said, there are several decks in this format that believe they have a good matchup against this style of deck. U/W Approach, and the other variants, Jeskai and Esper, look to attack Energy over the top and take advantage of the deck’s weakness to board wipes, especially in game 1. In this article, I’ll be taking a look at a couple different U/W Approach lists and discuss the deckbuilding decision made in each, eventually arriving at what I believe to be the best variant going forward. Let’s jump in.

U/W Approach by Jorge Esquivel at SCG Classic – 3rd

Creatures (1)
1 Torrential Gearhulk

Non-Creature Spells (34)
4 Cast Out
4 Censor
3 Disallow
3 Essence Scatter
2 Farm // Market
4 Glimmer of Genius
4 Opt
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Supreme Will
3 Approach of the Second Sun
4 Fumigate

Lands (25)
7 Island
7 Plains
4 Glacial Fortress
1 Ipnu Rivulet
4 Irrigated Farmland
2 Scavenger Grounds

Sideboard (15)
2 Angel of Sanctions
4 Regal Caracal
3 Negate
1 Settle the Wreckage
4 Slash of Talons
1 Search for Azcanta

This first list is one that proved very successful for Jorge Esquivel at a recent SCG Classic. Its defining features are a mainboard Torrential Gearhulk, 2 copies of Farm // Market, only 1 mainboard Settle the Wreckage, and a playset of Slash of Talons in the sideboard.

U/W Approach by jonathandede on MtGO

Creatures (0)

Non-Creature Spells (35)
4 Opt
4 Censor
3 Essence Scatter
3 Disallow
2 Supreme Will
4 Glimmer of Genius
2 Settle the Wreckage
3 Fumigate
3 Approach of the Second Sun
3 Search for Azcanta
4 Cast Out

Lands (25)
4 Field of Ruin
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Irrigated Farmland
6 Island
7 Plains

Sideboard (15)
4 Authority of the Consuls
4 Negate
2 Sunscourge Champion
1 Gideon’s Intervention
3 Regal Caracal
1 Torrential Gearhulk

This is a 5-0 list from MtGO that’s been used to success by several different players in Standard Leagues. The defining features of this deck are 3 mainboard Search for Azcanta and the full playset of Field of Ruin.

U/W Approach by rewata on MtGO

Creatures (0)

Non-Creature Spells (35)
1 Gideon of the Trials
3 Opt
4 Censor
4 Supreme Will
4 Glimmer of Genius
3 Settle the Wreckage
4 Fumigate
4 Approach of the Second Sun
1 Farm // Market
3 Search for Azcanta
4 Cast Out

Lands (25)
1 Field of Ruin
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Ipnu Rivulet
4 Irrigated Farmland
4 Island
8 Plains
1 Scavenger Grounds

Sideboard (15)
3 Authority of the Consuls
3 Negate
1 Gideon of the Trials
2 Sunscourge Champion
4 Regal Caracal
2 Torrential Gearhulk

The last list we’ll look at is another 5-0 decklist from MtGO. This list somewhat splits the difference from the two lists above, but has a much heavier focus on board wipes, as well as a singular copy of Gideon of the Trials in the mainboard.

Now, let’s look at how these decks overlap in order to isolate how they’re different from one another.

U/W Approach Overlap

Creatures (0)

Non-Creature Spells (24)
4 Cast Out
4 Censor
4 Glimmer of Genius
3 Opt
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Supreme Will
3 Approach of the Second Sun
3 Fumigate

Lands (19)
4 Island
7 Plains
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Irrigated Farmland

Sideboard (6)
3 Regal Caracal
3 Negate

Now let’s look at some of the decisions that each of these players made when building their decklist.

Disallow + Essence Scatter vs. Supreme Will + More Board Wipes

The first two lists here each opted for 3 copies each of Disallow and Essence Scatter, giving the deck a more traditional Control spin that wasn’t really seen in this archetype before rotation. However, rewata instead went with a more traditional U/W Approach package, maximizing on Supreme Will and fitting in more board wipes by forgoing hard counter magic.

The extra two copies of Supreme Will alongside extra board wipes is marginally better against Ramunap Red, as Supreme Will digs to Approach of the Second Sun (or a board wipe) and the second and third copies of Settle the Wreckage offer crucial interaction in the early game against Red. On the flip side, Disallow and Essence Scatter give this deck more game against the Energy decks of the format, which currently are running rampant. Because of the current makeup of the metagame and this deck wanting to be tailored to beat Energy, I’ll stick with the Disallow and Essence Scatter combo.

Farm // Market vs. Search for Azcanta

 

Jorge Esquivel’s list ran two copies of the generally underwhelming but effective split card Farm // Market. It’s very effective at being targeted removal in the early or mid game as well as a card neutral loot spell in the late game, digging to Approach of the Second Sun when needed. Jonathandede however opted for zero copies of Farm // Market, and instead went with three copies of Search for Azcanta. The powerful 2 mana enchantment lets this deck do a considerable amount of digging in the early and mid game, and present a nearly unbeatable source of repeatable card advantage in the late game.

The rewata list, however, has a little bit of both. It keeps the 3 copies of Search for Azcanta that jonathandede had, but manages to fit in 1 copy of Farm // Market. I played with Farm // Market at Grand Prix Washington DC in U/W Approach, and had some mixed feelings about it. I felt it was fantastic on day 1 for me, when players played around it less, but was less than exciting on day 2 when players were able to get the read on what was in my hand. Going forward, I like rewata’s split the best, as having access to Farm // Market is nice, and I don’t really want to leave out Search for Azcanta from my mainboard.

Ipnu Rivulet + Scavenger Grounds vs. Field of Ruin

The Esquivel and rewata lists both play Ipnu Rivulet and Scavenger Grounds, while jonathandede opted for the full playset of Field of Ruin. Ipnu Rivulet is a powerful option in this deck, as it can help dig for the second Approach of the Second Sun while acting, more or less, like an Island. Scavenger Grounds is an easily explained inclusion: people hate losing to GPG decks! Graveyard decks are becoming more and more prevalent in this format, and the inclusion of Grounds gives this deck some nice game against these decks before sideboarding.

Field of Ruin, while not producing colored mana, does a lot for this deck against some of the more problematic lands in this format, such as those on the flip side of Search for Azcanta, Treasure Map, and Legion’s Landing, to name a few. There are also corner case situations where you’ll be happy that your Field of Ruin can hit the opponent’s nonbasic land that they’re relying heavily on, hence why jonathandede had a playset and rewata was able to get one in.

Going forward, I’ll be sticking with rewata’s mana base, as I think it offers the perfect blend of colorless utility lands and mana consistency, with the small shift of 1 Plains into another Island

Slash of Talons vs. Authority of the Consuls

These two cards operate in the same slot, but I’ve been very impressed with Authority of the Consuls, and less so with the more marginal removal spell in Slash of Talons, so I’ll be sticking with the powerful 1 mana enchantment.

Angel of Sanctions vs. Sunscourge Champion

This is the other sideboard decision that I’ll go over in this article, and just like with the Slash vs. Authority decision, this one is split with Esquivel on one side (Angel of Sanctions) and the two MtGO players on the other (Sunscourge Champion). Both certainly offer quite a bit, but I’m inclined to believe that Sunscourge Champion is the better choice for this particular metagame. I’ve already talked quite a bit in this article about the importance of beating Energy in this format, but I don’t think that Angel does enough versus Energy that it becomes a more valuable option than Sunscourge Champion against Ramunap Red, so that’s what I’ll be going with.

Finally, let’s take a look at the U/W Approach list that I’ll be playing going forward, and that I believe is best suited to this format.

U/W Approach by Jonah Gaynor

Creatures (0)

Non-Creature Spells (35)
4 Cast Out
4 Censor
3 Disallow
3 Essence Scatter
4 Glimmer of Genius
3 Opt
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Supreme Will
3 Approach of the Second Sun
4 Fumigate
1 Farm // Market
3 Search for Azcanta

Lands (25)
1 Field of Ruin
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Ipnu Rivulet
4 Irrigated Farmland
5 Island
7 Plains
1 Scavenger Grounds

Sideboard (15)
4 Regal Caracal
3 Negate
3 Authority of the Consuls
2 Sunscourge Champion
2 Torrential Gearhulk
1 Settle the Wreckage

U/W Approach is not the best deck in this format. However, I believe it’s uniquely positioned to fight this metagame and has the raw power necessary to possibly overthrow the Energy decks sitting atop this format.

Until next time,

Jonah

Spellsnare writer Riccardo Monico doesn’t think you should be playing U/W Approach in this format. You can read his article here, where he discusses what he believes to be the best deck for you to play in this Standard format.

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