Raymond Perez, Jr. is no slouch or stranger to the highest levels of competition in Magic. He is also a hard worker, priding himself on putting in the hours grinding to appropriately prepare for his next tournament. As a result, when he shows up with a pretty crazy brew and does well, it’s not likely to be an accident.
The U/R decks we’ve seen in Standard so far have almost all been Pyromancer’s Goggles decks. This is completely different. Half blue control deck, half ramp deck, this U/R strategy is focused on keeping an opponent off-base long enough to transition into powerful planeswalkers and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.
While it does have Hedron Archive to fufill the role that Explosive Vegetation plays in traditional Green Ramp decks, this deck is mostly getting out ahead of schedule with its lands. With a whopping 28 of them, it will be difficult to miss land drops, and that’s important when you’re leaning on them to get ahead. Shrine of the Forsaken Gods is nothing new in Eldrazi Ramp as a means to accelerate Eldrazi casts, but Raymond is also using Mage-Ring Network.
This callback to the old Time Spiral “charge lands” is perfect for the pace of play that this deck wants to execute. If our opponent does something relevant for the turn, we counter it. Otherwise, we tick up our Network and get ever closer to satisfying our Hunger.
Everyone knows how powerful Chandra, Flamecaller is, but what I don’t see most people talking about is Jace, Unraveler of Secrets. One thing I learned from working with Team East-West Bowl at the last Pro Tour was how ridiculous Jace is. His ability to bounce two creatures in a row is perfect for buying the time that this deck desperately needs.
A lot of the elements present in the sideboard are fairly straight forward. Thought-Knot Seer is a nice threat for bridging the gap and pressuring an opponent, particularly in midrange matchups. Warping Wail is another versatile tool for managing key creatures, preventing disruption like Transgress the Mind and Infinite Obliteration, or even helping to speed up a haymaker by a turn.
What aren’t straightforward are the Forests. I’m guessing those are just a clerical error, but hey, maybe we want to get up to a three-color 31-land deck sometimes!
If you’re looking to satisfy your desire to cast some big spells but you don’t like the feeling of tapping out every turn, then Ray has designed the deck for you!