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Arcane Laboratory: A Rough Start

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

Have you ever seen a tournament winning decklist that looks so good you cannot help but think “Man, that deck is for me”? It happens to me anytime I see a decklist with Snapcaster Mage and 4 Lightning Bolt. This time the deck to catch my eye was Pro Tour Winner Shaun McLaren’s UWR Control list for Modern.

I watched all of McLaren’s games featured on coverage and was really impressed with how his deck performed. He was expertly grinding his opponents out of their resources while gaining small advantages that eventually lead to very large plays and wins. This is normally how I want to be playing magic, so the deck seemed like a natural fit for me.

But, who exactly am I? What is Arcane Laboratory?

My name is Jason Clark, although I am more well known as @RealEvilGenius on twitter. I’m a player and community member from the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. A few months ago after watching Scotty Mac stream regularly every Monday for almost a full year I became very interested in streaming. I was lucky enough to be given the chance to join the LegitMTG family with my own stream on the LegitMTG Twitch channel. Every Tuesday night at 8pm EST Arcane Laboratory can be found on that very channel. I will be playing mostly Modern with a bit of Standard and even some Legacy mixed in. But, enough about me, let’s get back to that Cryptic Command-filled goodness.

The main deck looks like your typical UWR Control list for the most part, but there are a few choices to talk about. Having the full four Tectonic Edges is a must. It hits key lands, like pieces of Urza Tron or Valakut. Sometimes you can use it to punish an opponent to stumble. The mirror match also usually comes down to who draws more Tectonic Edges. A singleton Spell Snare helps hedge against things like Tarmogoyf, Bitterblossom, Pyromancer Ascension, and opposing Snapcaster Mages. The single Anger of the Gods can lead to blow outs versus Zoo or Affinity.

The sideboard is where we begin to see some really interesting pieces of technology. Porphyry Nodes are an unusual choice that happen to be very good against decks that just make streams of creatures. It also has the added benefit of hitting hexproof creatures because it doesn’t target. Logic Knot functions a sort of 5th Mana Leak that can be better in the late game, but worse early. I’d also like to mention that the Threads of Disloyalty was Shaun’s all star for the event and I encourage you to watch what the cards does for him in the PT top 8 replays.


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Unfortunately, on Tuesday Twitch was having some server issues and was cutting streams off every 2-3 minutes. This made streaming impossible and I was forced to stream on Wednesday instead. I wasn’t nearly as prepared to play Magic as I was Tuesday because of a longer day at work.

But, those are just excuses. I played terribly. In the first round against Jund my lines of play were definitely incorrect and I wasn’t taking enough time to think my plays through. That said, facing any deck playing Thoughtseize is going to be a bit rough, especially after a mulligan. In the mirror I mis-identified my game plan and was punished for it. Finally GRIXIS Faeries gave me my final loss of the night, smashing me with Bitterblossom and Mistbind Cliques. Not exactly how I was hoping my first stream would go.

For the past 6 months I’ve been playing my own UWR Midrange deck in Modern. As a result I fell into some old habits with the Control list that just aren’t optimal. Next week I’ll be bringing my Midrange list to the table to hopefully redeem my pride a bit!

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