When I was contemplating what to play at my local Winter Regionals tournament hosted by Star City Games, I looked no further than my favorite color combination: America (or Jeskai). I have been playing Jeskai Wins since the onset of Khans of Tarkir, and I never lost hope that the deck was always a contender. With the new cards from Fate Reforged making a splash in Modern I decided to play an old favorite, and I secretly hoped no one would expect it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is my Jeskai Wins featuring a singleton Mindswipe.
When you look at my list, you may notice an odd thing. I was building with Abzan in mind, so I included Valorous Stance. This is a list that is new. I actually played Void Snare at the tournament in that slot, but Stance is so much better after I played with it. I would highly recommend the card. Now onto my games!
Match 1: vs. Temur midrange – 0-2
This was honestly the hardest thing to have to play first. I lost brutally both games to multiple Savage Knuckleblades. They tend to dodge Disdainful Stroke pretty well and the only spell that just killed them was Stoke the Flames. I had a rough time dealing with multiple gorillas in both games and eventually just lost after exhausting my resources. In game one, he landed a turn 3 Knuckleblade into a turn 4 Knuckleblade into a turn 5 Knuckleblade. I honestly could not contend with those ugly gorillas. Game two was slower since he went for a Xenagos, The Reveler on turn 4 instead of that pesky gorilla. I dealt with the planes walking satyr only in time to get beaten down by Polukranos, World Eater and Savage Knuckleblade.
When I look back on my match, I would have loved to have had Valorous Stance. Exiling Knuckleblade is incredible and can only be avoided by bouncing him. I disliked watching my opponent pump his guys in response to me burning them. Also, if I would have had more valuable cards like Sarkhan or Narset in my hand I might have had the ability to win on the spot. But, I was not lucky that day and lost terribly.
Match 2: vs. Jeskai odd stuff – 2-0
This match lasted probably 5 minutes. Both games went wonderfully for me and I ended up winning with a Mindswipe for about 8 in game two! That was very exciting. Anyways, I became a little scared since the mirror match for me is such a fierce battle and I cannot let my life fall below 10. Thankfully it was not a mirror matchup. I managed to get two Rabblemasters in play in game one to win in a couple turns, only contested by a Seeker of the Way that ate a Magma Jet. When I was digging through my sideboard I saw Mindswipe looking very lonesome. Since this deck was a good matchup for me, I figured that I would slap it in the main to see how it ran. My plan worked beautifully. Mantis Rider went unchecked and took my opponent all the way down to eight. He tried for a Briber’s Purse, I Mindswiped for exactsies. What a great feeling. Now to get some food since there are 45 minutes left in the round.
Match 3: vs. Sultai Control – 2-0
I was worried when I saw Opulent Palace on turn one. Sidisi always tends to be a very rough matchup for this deck if I have no removal. The good thing was that I had it! We exchanged blows and he bashed with a Satyr Wayfinder while holding a hand full of removal. On about turn 13 I top decked a Narset and she made it to the battlefield unchecked. My opponent was at 12 when I untapped. I drew, played a Temple of Triumph to see what was on top. It was Stoke the Flames. I exhaled and bashed with Narset, Enlightened Master. I revealed 2 Stoke the Flames, a Magma Jet, and a Jeskai Charm, all of which domed him. Needless to say we moved to game two. When I was flipping through my sideboard I saw the Mindswipe again and thought that it could be good since my matchup is control. Game two was different. I had a very explosive start, almost killing him with two Mantis Riders. Feed the Clan was the only thing keeping him in the game. Feed the Clan drug the game on and on, which helped me find my Mindswipe! I attacked. Opponent casts Hero’s Downfall on Mantis Rider. I Mindswipe for 12. Good game!
~At this point I was all about Mindswipe. I had won two games and was 2-1 going into the fourth round! How could I be so lucky!~
Match 4: vs. RW Burn – 1-2
This game was quite the nail biter. I traded a Rabblemaster for a Rabblemaster, Stoke for Stoke, Strike for Strike. Dig Through Time found me a Narset in game one, and she cleaned up the game with a couple of burn spells and Sarkhan. In game two I went for my Negates, Ashcloud Phoenix, Magma Spray, and Anger of the Gods. I saw none of those cards and lost pretty quickly to a Monastery Mentor that was pretty much invincible. In game three I made a misplay that cost me everything. A Dig Through Time found me a bunch of lands, Stoke and Jeskai Charm. With four lands in play and a Sarkhan in hand, I took the spells and hoped to draw land, which I didn’t for two turns. Had I taken the Battlefield Forge and cast Sarkhan into an empty board, I probably could have done something to take care of game three. My opponent just stomped my face with a couple of Goblin tokens and a Rabblemaster when I didn’t draw land. Let’s just say I take Dig Through Time very seriously now.
Match 5: vs. RG Aggro – 2-0
This game felt good to win since my opponent had pins of all the top 8s he has ever achieved all over his playmat. In game one I had an answer to everything and just won with Mantis Riders. I literally killed everything. Before damage, stoke the Stormbreath. Declare attackers? Magma Jet takes care of Shaman of the Great Hunt. In side boarding I grabbed a Mindswipe because, well, why not. I exchanged blows with the RG Aggro deck in the early game and managed to land an unchecked Sarkhan to get my opponent to 12. I followed up this Sarkhan with two Rabblemasters and just passed, putting him to 8 (he had some blockers for the tokens). Double Feed the Clan with a 4/4 in play hurt a lot. Top decked Mindswipe next turn and brought my opponent down to 16. He untaps, and tries for a Stormbreath. Mindswipe for 8! The famous quote of the day happened here: “Who plays Mindswipe?!” I do.
Match 6: vs. Abzan Midrange – 0-2
This is my roughest matchup. For some reason I just cannot beat Siege Rhino. I did not have any Hushwing Gryffs with me, so I just tried to stick it out with Mantis Riders and Sarkhans. In game one I opened a hand that just couldn’t do it. Mulled to 6. Looked at a hand that had no lands. Mulled to 5. Saw a hand with 3 lands, a Mantis Rider, and a Stoke. So we progressed into the game. It was very one sided due to my mulligan. He had a Downfall for my Mantis Rider and an Utter End for my Sarkhan I top decked in the late game. I scooped when he showed me two Sorin to complement his monstrous Fleecemane Lion and Siege Rhino. In game two, I snap kept a hand with 3 lands, some dudes, and a Narset. I never saw any other lands the whole game and just lost to double Siege Rhino.
At this point, I was 3-3. I dropped from the tournament and went to go play some Munchkin: Axe Cop at the Chili’s across the street before my friends and I drowned our sorrows in queso and burgers. I would say that it was a great night for Jeskai. Abzan ended up taking our Regionals because, well, it is just too good. Siege Rhino kind of controls the Metagame right now. With that being said, I would definitely add some Fated Conflagration and Hushwing Gryff to my sideboard. Valorous Stance is also a very good card and deserves a slot. I feel like my main board was great, and the only change I might make is dropping the Narset to the sideboard in order to play another Dig Through Time, but that is a decision that I currently do not think is that great. I am definitely going to keep Mindswipe because that card is insane. I wouldn’t be surprised if UB control splashed a singleton Mountain and a Mindswipe as an alternate win condition. The card is great and totally unexpected! I would love to see that happen across the board!
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