Deck Tech: UR Spells

Today I’m going to offer a deck tech on what I’ve been playing in the post-M21 standard. With the metagame still very flexible and a rotation looming in October, this deck list uses relatively few rares, sideboards quite well and has a ton of interaction against a range of decks while being quite fast.

Main Deck

  • 4 Opt
  • 4 Shock
  • 4 Crash Through
  • 4 Infuriate
  • 4 Pteramander
  • 4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
  • 4 Sprite Dragon
  • 3 Scorching Dragonfire
  • 3 Brazen Borrower
  • 4 Stormwing Entity
  • 4 Fabled Passage
  • 4 Steam Vents
  • 2 Temple of Epiphany
  • 7 Mountain
  • 5 Island

Sideboard

  • 3 Grafdigger’s Cage
  • 2 Negate
  • 2 Aether Gust
  • 1 Mystical Dispute
  • 3 Flame Sweep
  • 2 Lava Coil
  • 2 Narset, Parter of Veils

The thing to realize is this. UR Spells is the archetypal tempo deck. The idea is to apply pressure early and often, disrupting your opponent’s game plan so they can’t pressure you in return or disrupt your plan. Your creatures function best on the attack, and pieces of removal or bounce spells are most often used to remove blockers or problematic combo pieces. The main deck is light on specialized interaction, namely counterspells to remain fast and effective in the greatest number of game ones. Brazen Borrower is a great catch all and Scorching Dragonfire is an acknowledgement of difficult permanents like Anax, Teferi, Mayhem Devil and Stonecoil Serpent.

That being said, this deck shines after sideboarding, with heavier removal suites against aggro and midrange decks, or a cluster of counterspells for clutch turns against the variety of control and ramp decks that see play. When sideboarding, it’s tempting to remove one mana, low impact spells but that’s a trap. Those spells are what make the deck work, fuelling all of your creatures and allowing Dreadhorde Arcanist to generate lots and lots of value. Instead, frequent cuts when sideboarding tended to be Pteramander against aggro and midrange, Brazen Borrower against aggro, and Scorching Dragonfire against control decks.

The other thing to cover is weaknesses. One pretty heinous matchup is Mono-Black aggro. Their removal suite hits basically all of our creatures and our deck isn’t incredibly threat dense. In fact, any deck with lots of single target removal tends to be difficult for us. We can however, quickly outclass small burn spells, effects that say destroy are in the minority in this meta and those hurt our deck the worst. Additionally, Mono-Red is a challenging match. Our best starts tend to be Dreadhorde Arcanist and Shocks. Aside from that, it’s difficult to race when they don’t stumble. Our deck suffers while blocking and Mono-Red often has enough early interaction and pressure to be a turn or two faster.

The big reason to play the deck though, is some of the absurdly hard hitting starts it can serve up. Almost all are fuelled by Dreadhorde Arcanist and Infuriate. Those two cards by themselves threaten 7 damage on turn three, but in conjunction with Sprite Dragon or Stormwing Entity we can realistically threaten a turn four kill. Stormwing Entity is also a large part of the reason to play this deck. Off the back of another spell, this creature is an absurd mess of stats. 3/3, flying and prowess for two mana would be strong. Add to that a scry 2 when it enters the battlefield, well that fuels our following turn with even more spells to trigger prowess, to grow our Sprite Dragons and to fuel Dreadhorde Arcanist.

Keep in mind that this deck won’t look anything similar come October’s standard rotation. It won’t be here for a long time, but a good time. Consider putting it together if you like the notion of fast kills, combo deck adjacent play patterns, tempo decks and lots of decision points. If your preference is for a more grindy or card advantage focused style of play, this list may leave you feeling uninspired. I hope that these deck techs of mine fuel a healthy deck brewer’s curiosity, picking up a new deck or experimenting with different play styles. Moreover I hope it was useful and informative in some way. But as always, good luck and good skill!

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