Arena Standard - Stop in the Name of the Law

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7 25 4 24

This is the sequel to Didn't Say Please (seen here), a truly oppressive control deck I made because I'm a terrible person. Now I was clearly happy enough with that deck to do a full write-up for it, so why this change? Well as I kept playing the deck, I became less and less satisfied with two key matchups: Simic Ramp and [[Witch's Oven]] decks.

Simic Ramp is a matchup I assumed would be extremely favourable. Because all their impactfull spells cost 5 or more mana, I figured counterspells would match up well against them. The problem is that because [[Hydroid Krasis]]' card draw effect is essentially uncounterable, they can just slowly build up a mana advantage, refill their hand with Krasis, and then next turn cast more game ending threats than we have mana to counter.

[[Witch's Oven]] presents the same problem to us that it does to all counter based decks: they have hugely impactful plays at just 1 mana. This allows them to either sneak an oven past us turn 1, when we can't possibly counter it, or set up something like [[Mayhem Devil]] + [[Witch's Oven]] on turn 4 when it's unlikely we'll have the mana to counter both. The original deck did have something of an answer for this in [[Turn into a Pumpkin]] which could answer the oven in the late game while also giving us some extra health to endure [[Cauldron Familiar]] ETB effects a bit longer, but it wasn't nearly enough. If the opponent got more than one oven on the board, or drew enough cards off [[Trail of Crumbs]] to re-play the oven alongside another threat in the late game, we were just dead.

So I set off looking for an answer to these match-ups, and my solution is [[Rule of Law]]. With [[Rule of Law]] on the board, we can counter the one spell our opponent can play on each of their turns, and use the one spell we're allowed on our turn to answer something they already have on the board.

And just in case the oppenent tries to get cheeky and play a spell on our turn, we also have [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] just to completely lock them out of the game.


Deck Composition

The core of the deck remains intact. We have 4 each of [[Thought Collapse]] and [[Didn't Say Please]] to fuel [[Into the Story]] and [[Drown in the Loch]]. And we have [[Fae of Wishes]] to grab our key proactive pieces when we're ready for them, though I did replace one of them with a [[Jace, Wielder of Mysteries]] in the mainboard to make us more resistant to [[Unmoored Ego]].

Added to this is the combo of [[Rule of Law]] and [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] to help us establish a much stronger lock in the late game. Note that [[Rule of Law]], despite being a big part of our late game lock, is only a one-of in the main board. This is because [[Rule of Law]] isn't always an advantage for us.

If you play it before [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] against a deck with counterspells, for example, it can make it harder for us to resolve our key proactive plays. In general, you'll want to either have [[Teferi, Time Raveler]], [[Jayce, Wielder of Mysteries]], or [[The Magic Mirror]] down before it, and be in a relatively stable position already. This makes [[Rule of Law]] a very late game play in our deck, so we want to minimize our chances of drawing it to early, and eliminate the terrible possibility of drawing a duplicate in the early game.

Even with this caveat, having [[Rule of Law]] makes bounce effects become much more appealing, so we've replaced [[Quench]] with [[Brazen Borrower]], and added 2 [[Turn into a Pumpkin]] to the mainboard.

We've also added in [[Despark]] in exchange for one [[Murderous Rider]] and one [[Tyrant's Scorn]] because it's slightly less painful, and more flexible respectively. And like [[Murderous Rider]]'s Swift End, [[Despark]] also hits all the big uncounterable cards this deck otherwise finds very scary ([[Niv-Mizzet, Parun]], [[Shifting Ceratops]], and [[Chandra, Awakened Inferno]]).


The Wishboard

With only two [[Fae of Wishes]] in the deck, our wishboard is necessarily pretty minimal. We've got one extra copy of [[Jace, Wielder of Mysteries]], [[The Magic Mirror]], and [[Rule of Law]] to make it easier to set up our lock, and make it more resiliant. Other than that, we have [[Unmoored Ego]], to hopefully just remove all our opponent's uncounterable cards before they can cast them, and that's it.

That said, our sideboard is still exclusively non-creature spells, so we can grab other things if we need them. [[Despark]] in particular is a nice cheap and versatile answer to almost any problem you're facing.

A quick note about casting Granted with this deck though: it can be tempting to grab a card and play it on the same turn, but it's usually better to save that mana for counterspells and wait one turn to play whatever key card you wished for.


Tips & Tricks

[[Teferi, Time Raveler]] can bounce [[Rule of Law]] if you want to play more than one spell on your turn in the late game.

Similarly, both [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] and [[Tyrant's Scorn]] can allow you to bounce and re-use [[Murderous Rider]].

Remember, you want to avoid tapping out with this deck as much as possible.

The key to playing this deck well is lining up your answers with your opponent's threats. This is mostly a matter of practice, but the best advice I can give you to start out is to pause each time you're about to counter something and ask yourself a few key questions:

  • If I ignore this, how fast will it kill me?
    • If the answer on the order of 10 turns, that's often reason enough to let it resolve. In the late game we will have more resources than our opponent, and we can answer small threats then. In the early game though, we're even with our opponent, so we have to carefully marshal our resources in order to come out on top.
  • Can my opponent play any more spells this turn, and how do I plan to answer those?
    • Don't get baited into countering the Heart's Desire half of [[Lovestruck Beast]] only to have your opponent slam down a [[Questing Beast]]. It's a bad time.
  • What's the most narrowly applicable card I have that can answer this?
    • Once you've decided you need to answer a card, you have to pick the right answer. If your opponent casts [[Rotting Regisaur]], and you can either counter it or kill it with [[Tyrant's Scorn]], preserve your counter and go for the scorn.
    • Note that which cards count as most "narrowly applicable" will change based on your opponent's deck. Most of the time [[Murderous Rider]]'s Swift End is more narrowly applicable than a counterspell. But if they have any uncounterable cards, then the counterspells are more narrow.


Our wishboard takes up 4 slots here for [[Jace, Wielder of Mysteries]], [[The Magic Mirror]], [[Rule of Law]], and [[Unmoored Ego]]. For the rest of the sideboard we have:

2 extra [[Despark]] mostly for uncounterable cards ([[Niv-Mizzet, Parun]], [[Chandra, Awakened Inferno]], and [[Shifting Ceratops]]), but it also hits a bunch of relevant threats in general. [[Nissa, Who Shakes the World]], [[Korvold, Fae-Cursed King]], [[Embercleave]], [[Fires of Invention]]. Lots of good targets.

2 [[Time Wipe]] because it's a strong option against aggro decks, and also a backup answer to [[Shifting Ceratops]].

2 [[Kaya, Orzhov Usurper]] because she's a really good repeatable answer to [[Witch's Oven]]. She can also give us a bit of life gain every turn, which helps us survive pings from [[Cauldron Familiar]] or leftover emblems from [[Chandra, Awakened Inferno]].

1 extra [[Tyrant's Scorn]] for aggro match-ups.

And finally, 4 [[Mystical Dispute]]s because they are indispensable against flash decks, and a strong answer to [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] and [[Thought Erasure]].

As a final note, it is sometimes a good idea to bring in the second copy of [[Rule of Law]]. Against very low curve decks like [[Cavalcade of Calamity]] it can be an advantage for us much earlier in the game than would normally be the case.


Final Thoughts

This deck feels much stronger than its predecessor. [[Rule of Law]] is a very efficient way to cement our advantage in the late game, and [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] gives us a huge advantage against enemy counter magic.

This deck is of course still an evil pile of counterspells fit to be played only by the most degenerate of souls, but if that's you then give this deck a shot.


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Hey thanks yasstcg, that's a really nice comment to see right before starting my next write-up. Really brightened up my day. Glad you're enjoying the deck.
Hey man, I made an account just to say thanks ! I love counter / annoying decks, and I was mad azorius was absolutely not good enough in this crazy fast meta. This deck is winning me a lot of games and teaching me a lot about strategy. Cheers
Responding to the question below: Aether gust is probably the strongest sideboard option that I ended up leaving out, a couple of those wouldn't go amiss. Otherwise, negate, disdainful stroke, or cry of the carnarium are good option depending what you're most afraid of.
Are there any subs for a Jace and a magic mirror for the sideboard?
Last Updated: 07 Jan 2020
Created: 27 Dec 2019
2078 296 4

Mainboard - 60 cards (22 distinct)

Creature (7)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (25)
Land (24)
Planeswalker (4)

Sideboard - 15 cards (9 distinct)


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