Hi all, this is my long awaited deck guide on Simic Flash. Sorry it took me so long to get out but I wanted to be thorough and give this awesome deck the justice it deserves.
For reference for any new readers, I’m a competitive grinder who managed to hit Mythic 1000 twice in a 6 day stretch (September 26-October 2) playing Simic Flash right after Eldraine released, and I then took it to the SCG Standard Classic in Philadelphia where I played to a top 4 finish (to read more about that, see my Simic Flash Tournament Report here: https://mtgazone.com/simic-flash-top-4-scg-classic-tournament-report/).
First, I’d like to present the decklist in its current iteration.
4 Spectral Sailor (M20) 76 2 Unsummon (M20) 78 2 Opt (XLN) 65 4 Brineborn Cutthroat (M20) 50 3 Wildborn Preserver (ELD) 182 4 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39 4 Quench (RNA) 48 4 Once Upon a Time (ELD) 169 4 Sinister Sabotage (GRN) 54 3 Frilled Mystic (RNA) 174 4 Nightpack Ambusher (M20) 185 1 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242 7 Island (ELD) 257 6 Forest (ELD) 269 4 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255 4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246 3 Veil of Summer (M20) 198 3 Negate (M20) 69 2 Disdainful Stroke (GRN) 37 3 Aether Gust (M20) 42 2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58 2 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 19
- The deck plays for tempo so when it’s on the play it’s able to proactively beat down while negating our opponent’s biggest threats
- The threats in this deck are high quality and disrupt our opponent’s game plan simultaneously oftentimes
- The deck requires knowledge of the meta to understand when to pressure and when not to and how to play around certain cards
- Gameplans are non-linear and highly adaptable depending on what our opponent does, making each game very contextual
I’d now like to delve into some of the card choices and explain why cards are played at certain numbers.
Card Choice Explanations
- 22 Lands: With Once Upon a Time and Opt your consistency is much better and requires less land drops total and lets you play more relevant threats. This deck cantrips a lot
- 3 Frilled Mystic: A lot of lists are playing 4 but the card kind of clogs up your hand and I’m always a fan of making your curve as reasonable as possible. I thought having 1 less 4 drop in favor of one more two drop was a good decision which brings me to the next card
- 3 Wildborn preserver: A lot of lists are only playing 2 copies of this card, but in your aggro matchups its key for 2 reasons, first it can get huge and block regisaur if the game goes long, second it it provides a reasonable mana sink when you get deeper in the game and gives good versatility
- 1 Castle Vantress: This card is redundant with the spectral sailor effect in a lot of ways, and you really don’t want your land to come into play tapped (same reason we don’t play Fabled Passage).
- 2 Unsummon: Unsummon ups the power level of the deck because it lets us dodge spot removal and do some neat plays with frilled mystic and brazen borrower. However, sometimes it’s not great in the hand and requires a lot of mana so it’s important not to draw too many. 2 just feels right.
Matchups and Sideboard Guide
- Golos Ramp: Decks best matchup. You play an aggro strategy in this matchup and beat over with brazen borrower.
Out: 2 Spectral Sailor, 3 Wildborn Preserver
In: 3 Negate, 2 Disdainful Stroke
- Mono Black Aggro: This matchup’s pretty ok game 1 and improves a lot with veil of summer games 2 and 3. Knight of the eblon legion is a bit of a problem card for this deck, but if you can get out a nightpack ambusher and chump their knight repetitively, oftentimes you can stall out the game and win with fliers or spectral sailor outdrawing your opponent.
Out: 2 Sinister Sabotage, 1 Spectral Sailor
In: 3 Veil of Summer
- Green Stompy variants (BG): This matchup is tough and requires skill to play. You have to switch roles quickly between beatdown and control and it requires a lot of practice, recommend just giving it a shot. In this matchup, Brazen Borrower is your best card.
Out: 1 Sinister Sabotage, 2 Spectral Sailor
In: 3 Aether Gust
- BG/Jund Adventure: Yeah, this matchup’s tough. The problem is the inkeeper which is almost always a negative tempo play for you, hard to counter, and then the deck spams the field with small threats that block and draws cards. I do think this is probably like a 30/70 matchup because sometimes you’ll steal games just aggroing them out and playing counterspells and aether gusting their inkeeper in post-boarded games, but it’s really playable. Just play to beat over with fliers and beat them down as aggressively as possible because if they get their engine churning it’s hard to win.
Out: 1 Sinister Sabotage, 2 Spectral Sailor, 1 Wildborn Preserver, 2 Opt
In: 3 Negate, 3 Veil of Summer
- Mono Red: You’re the control in this matchup, and then you turn the corner fast. They have very little counterplay to your bigger threats and you have small blockers. Shoutout to wildborn preserver in this matchup. Use your life total as a resource.
Out: 3 Sinister Sabotage, 1 Opt
In: 3 Aether Gust, 1 Negate
- Fire of Invention decks: Pretty bad against you. Go face fast, back up your threats with counterspells, they lose. Teferi’s a problem card, counter it.
Out: 3 Wildborn Preserver, 2 Quench
In: 3 Negate, 2 Disdainful Stroke
- Doom Foretold decks: ^^ see above. This deck’s pretty bad.
Out: 2 Spectral Sailor, 2 Quench
In: 3 Negate, 1 Disdainful Stroke
General Gameplay Patterns
There are a lot of contextual decisions to make with the deck. Oftentimes, you want to avoid tapping out for threats unless your opponent has an anemic turn. An exception is clocking with brineborn cutthroat to quickly end the game and backing it up with countermagic.
It’s important to save your counters and use them sparingly only against things you couldn’t answer otherwise. You don’t have that many of them and they’re the most powerful cards in the deck.
I wish there was more to say, but the deck requires repetitive practice in all matchups to understand how to play it, so get on and grind!
If you have any questions, I’ll be sure to respond to them in the comments section. Thanks so much, and enjoy.