Feature Article from Frank Lepore

Modern Monday - UG Doubling Season

Frank Lepore

5/18/2015 11:00:00 AM

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Now I'll preface this article and state that the deck we're playing today was more designed for fun than for its competitive nature. It's also somewhat tricky to pilot and has a ton of decisions to make each turn, so misplays are bound to happen. That being said, I don't actually expect to win every match, but I'm hoping that I'm at least able to do something cool every match.

Some of you may notice a similar list was proposed by Travis Woo a while back. While his list was definitely helpful as a starting point, as you can see, the final configuration we landed on came about after a good deal of trial and error and is significantly different from his initial list. Take a look.

UG Doubling Season by Frank Lepore
Main Deck
Sideboard
3 Vendilion Clique
1 Wurmcoil Engine
Creatures [4]
4 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Jace, Architect of Thought
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Planeswalkers [9]
2 Cryptic Command
4 Doubling Season
4 Explore
2 Farseek
4 Remand
4 Serum Visions
4 Utopia Sprawl
Spells [24]
4 Breeding Pool
3 Forest (262)
3 Island (253)
4 Khalni Garden
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Simic Growth Chamber
1 Verdant Catacombs
Lands [21]
Deck Total [58]


3 Dispel
3 Fog
4 Kitchen Finks
3 Nature's Claim
2 Negate
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

Basically the goal of the deck is simple: get a Doubling Season into play, then get a Jace, Architect of Thought into play (which enters with an ultimate-enabling eight loyalty). We then activate Jace's ultimate. Jace goes to the graveyard and we search our library and our opponent's library for a card. Typically we will search our own library for another Jace, Architect of Thought and rinse/repeat until our last Jace is found with which we will typically fetch an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.

Sound simple? Well, it is. Kind of. The deck definitely has some holes and shortcomings. We'll get to all that below. For now, let's take a look at how it performs.

UG Doubling Season vs. RG Midrange

UG Doubling Season vs. Abzan Collected Company

UG Doubling Season vs. UR Delver

UG Doubling Season vs. Death and Taxes

Boy, do I have a rant about the way Leonin Arbiter works on Magic Online. While we still may have lost the match, we definitely lost that game when we would have otherwise won due to the awkward way Leonin Arbiter works (in a way that literally no other card on Magic Online does)

Either way, the deck went through quite a few transformations before it ended up in the configuration it's currently in.

We originally went down to three Doubling Seasons instead of four. We quickly changed that. While Doubling Season is a card you rarely want to draw multiples of, it is a card that you absolutely do want to draw during your game. At least if you want to combo off, that is. We made some changes from the original version we were playing that look something like this:

-3 Courser of Kruphix
-1 Dispel
-2 Savor the Moment
-2 Time Warp

+2 Farseek
+1 Island
+2 Cryptic Command
+3 Vendilion Clique

So just imagine a deck with those initial cards in it over the added cards and you'll get a good idea what we were toying with.

I kept wanting fewer and fewer Savor the Moment, until I just cut them altogether. We only have two planeswalkers to activate and that's basically the only thing that makes Savor the Moment more than a glorified Explore. So we just swapped them for cheaper ways to hit a planeswalker on turn four (Farseek) since that's basically what we want to be doing. I ended up feeling the same way about Time Warp.

The thing is, the “Time Walk” effects are kind of deceiving. We see a deck with a lot of planeswalkers and think, “oh, sweet, we get to activate their abilities two times in a row!” But that's not what the deck cares about. We have two things we want to accomplish in the deck: cast Doubling Season, then cast Jace, Architect of Thought. If we manage to do these two things, we don't care about taking more turns, because typically we're going to be ultimating Ugin, the Spirit Dragon on the same turn we cast Jace.

We also wanted more blanket answers so we just added two Cryptic Command. It's just a powerful card that does a lot of things you want it to, so it seems to be working out. Vendilion Clique is kind of similar in that it's simply a powerful card; it can play defense or offense, and it can make sure our combo is safe from any shenanigans. All in all I like it much better than the former Courser of Kruphix.

After playing a ton of matches with the deck, I'm not even sure we want Wurmcoil Engine. I might just want to add another Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Adding another Ugin is kind of a double-edged sword. We never really want to draw him because we always want to search for him for free with Jace when we have Doubling Season in play. Unfortunately, sometimes we do draw him. Adding a second means that our odds of drawing him may go up, but the times we do draw him, we will have a second in the deck to search out; there have also been plenty of times where we simply hard cast Ugin, which is not all that uncommon. Alternatively we could add something like an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, which we can also “cast” with Jace, meaning we get the free turn and almost assured victory. This gives us two threats to search for in case we end up drawing one, albeit Emrakul is much less likely to be hard cast.

Mid
Low
 Doubling Season
$62.46
$41.46
Store QTY Price  
Adventure Games Osh 3 $47.89
HB Tarte 1 $53.78
justsoldit 5 $53.79
Joels Card Shop 1 $55.00
PlusOneMetairie 1 $55.52
CardMonsterMorris 1 $56.00
Card Monster Lex 1 $56.00
Card Monster Cedar 2 $56.00
cardmonsterfoothills 1 $56.00
Card Monster West 1 $56.00
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Doubling Season Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Ultimately I would love to try the deck after adding another color, specifically red or white. Red also gives us Sarkhan Vol which allows us to ultimate instantly and creature a horde of 4/4 flying dragons; pretty hard to deal with. White gives us Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, which we can ultimate instantly and gain 100 life off of, often assuring us enough time to find our win conditions...or he can +1 to help us find Jace. Both colors give us ways to slow down the opponent (and provide answers to things like Leonin Arbiter and Ethersworn Canonist) like Firespout, Pyroclasm, Anger of the Gods, Wrath of God, and Ghostly Prison, to name a few. The mana base would have to be completely restructured, along with the entire deck most likely, but I think it could be done. For those of you asking why we don't just play something like Scapeshift or Splinter Twin instead, well...because we're trying to have fun here.

Anyway, that's all I have for today. Hope you enjoyed the list. It may not be Tier 1, but it's definitely Tier Fun. Make sure to head back on Thursday for some Standard action, and make sure to catch me on my daily stream over on Twitch TV. I'll also have a big announcement over on Twitter this week, so be sure and follow me if you don't already. You can find the link to both below. Thanks for reading, and I'll catch ya then!

Frank Lepore
@FrankLepore on Twitter
FrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday - Thursday afternoons