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Hello everyone! For those who read my articles a lot, you know for the most part that I’m a brewer at heart. Nothing to me is as satisfying as taking down meta decks with brews as it feels like you really accomplished something with your creativity. However, I’m not always one to look for exclusively brews. I don’t mind taking established decks, sprucing them up a bit to my liking, and then playing them on ladder as well. However, there’s one deck that I tend to avoid as it generally runs against how I like playing Magic: playing the hated deck.
For whatever reason, I very rarely like having the target on my back. I can’t exactly place why, but sidestepping what the metagame expects is almost always my personal M.O. rather than just playing what’s considered the best deck. So today, it’s definitely a change of pace of what I’m going to talk about. Alrund's Epiphany has been the villain of Standard since nearly right after Innistrad: Midnight Hunt was released.
It’s an absolutely brutal deck that will chew up and spit out any untuned strategy that happens to cross paths with it. To make matters even worse, it’s extremely difficult to interact with the deck itself as it fights on such an unconventional access as most combo decks tend to do. Considering the power level, the time it takes to execute it’s wins (which isn’t even necessarily that long, but it can feel long since it’s so many turns), and how hard it is to interact with, Turns has deservedly earned a negative, yet respected status. Is there no hope to overcome the Epiphany menace?
In Bo3, that answer unfortunately seems close to yes. The deck just outperforms pretty much everything you put in front of it. There are decks that try to beat it like Dimir Lier, but nothing truly smashes it. However, that’s just Bo3, what about in Bo1? In Bo1, the bad guy doesn’t have it so easy. Bo1 is writhe with creature decks and it’s debatable whether or not Epiphany is favored in those matchups, but it is certain that being on the draw against an aggro deck for just one game is definitely not where Epiphany wants to be. This is going to be a naturally barrier that Turns as a deck can’t cross as no matter how good your deck is, beating aggro on the draw is going to be a problem…that is, until now.
You see, it’s hard to keep the villain down for long. If players are feeling safe that Epiphany is present, but only a small part of the format as it doesn’t excel against aggro, of course it had to evolve to keep pace. To that end, if you’ve been missing Epiphany and want to punish the creature decks that tried to push it out, here’s how you can do that.
This is technically a Turns strategy, but may actually be more similar to a Jeskai Control deck. How does this iteration of the deck fare better against aggro? It does so in two new ways.
First off, the White splash makes a world of difference when trying to stave off an aggressive curve. To start off with, Sunset Revelry on 2 is absolutely back breaking for smaller creature decks and an annoying road block for larger ones. Getting a few blockers and gaining 4 life can give you a substantial amount of time against any aggro deck, and if you manage to get a card too, then you’re just rolling in it. The second White card that obviously makes a huge impact is the addition of Doomskar. This isn’t much of a surprise, but Doomskar is pretty good against the creature decks whether you’re casting it on turn 3 post foretell or turn 5 naturally.
The second way this deck has evolved to be stronger against aggro is the addition of more win conditions. The appeal of Turns is a combo finish, but that requires a huge swath of mana and the right cards to make that possible. If you’re close to comboing but off by a mana, you’re dead. If you have everything you need, but the opponent has a Reidane, God of the Worthy you can’t get rid of, you’re probably going to die. These were immutable issues with the original list, but this deck has learned from that. Although it’s another expensive card, Hullbreaker Horror is excellent at winning games on it’s own. I couldn’t tell you how many aggro opponents I absolutely smashed by getting this into play as it just kills so unbelievably quickly.
The second new addition is the solo Lier, Disciple of the Drowned in the main deck. Lier is an absolute power house right now in Alchemy as it allows you to re-buy all your spells, and if you can cast Lier and immediately cast a Fading Hope or Sunset Revelry, it’s going to be hard for an aggressive deck to beat that.
Beyond those two new elements, the deck still does a lot of things the same. You still have the combo element of 4 Alrund's Epiphany and 2 Galvanic Iteration to chain together a bunch of Turns and Birds. You still have plenty of interaction with 4 Fading Hope, 4 Divide by Zero, and a few Jwari Disruption. Finally, you still have some card draw with Memory Deluge and Expressive Iteration as threatening plays in the mid game. Although this iteration can be clunky at times, having tools that can completely flummox aggro is an excellent place to be in Bo1.
NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS
It may seem weird to include the nutty professor in a deck like this, but the card is good enough that it should always be a consideration. The biggest thing holding it back is that this deck is more so trying to splash White rather than playing it as a main color, so it’s likely not worth running this for that reason alone.
You could throw in a copy or two if you really want. I like Hall, but it seems pretty unnecessary in a deck with so many win conditions already.
This card is always fine so it can be a…consideration.
You could easily play a copy or two of this if you’re running into a lot of Blue decks.
I’m not sure what you’d cut for this, but I’m always a big fan of it’s versatility. Fantastic sideboard plan at a minimum.
I’m currently unsure if this or Memory Deluge is better, but it’s hard to go wrong with either. Behold is better if you don’t’ have early plays and need to Foretell something where Memory Deluge is better if the game drags on. Considering the amount of early plays this deck has, I’m thinking Memory Deluge is better, but I could be wrong.
Initially I was surprised that the base list I saw wasn’t playing Unexpected Windfall, but with more games I started to see why. First, the base list I tried didn’t have an excess of Red sources which made casting it difficult (since then I added more Red, but still).
Second, Memory Deluge was reasonable as it respected the Blue mirrors much more as having your spell countered was so brutal. That said, Unexpected Windfall is much better against aggro as it can accelerate out your 7 drops so it’s hard to say which is better If you want to be better against aggro, I would add more Red sources and play Windfalls. If you want more respect for Blue, keeping Memory Deluge should do just fine.
I’ve never been a big Prismari Command fan, but I feel like it should always be a consideration since it’s very effective in (mostly) dealing with Esika's Chariot. That said, I don’t think Chariot is so popular we need a card specifically for it.
I think if we were only trying to combo, Wandering Mind would be more of a consideration, but with other win conditions, the need to find spells is much lower. Still a decent card though.
This was a pretty big consideration for me as I’m just a huge fan of this card, but it probably doesn’t fit that well in the deck. We have a really hard time turning Night to Day which makes a big portion of this card much harder to utilize which is obviously a huge detriment for us. I could still see running 2 of these or something, but I’m not convinced it’s better than anything else we’re currently playing.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- It’s very easy to forget, but Lier, Disciple of the Drowned makes all spells uncounterable. That line of text doesn’t affect us with the current build, but can stop other Blue decks from countering your combo pieces.
- Considering we have multiple win conditions, forcing an opponent to devote a lot of resources to stopping a Hullbreaker Horror is fine in this version versus decks where they’re extremely reliant on Horror sticking.
- Keeping your life total high is a higher priority in this version than it was in the Izzet version. This deck is a bit clunkier so we don’t mind throwing out early Fading Hope as much as Izzet could.
- Land sequencing is extremely important. You have to worry about Expressive Iteration as well as Doomskar on turn 3 so make sure you take extra time planning your land drops.
- You don’t need every mode of Sunset Revelry to be live to play it. Two of the modes is generally the average and I will pretty much always fire it off if I can draw a card out of the deal.
- Don’t be afraid to Galvanic Iteration smaller spells in this version compared to Izzet. Horror will carry you in games you can’t combo.
Thank you for reading!