Do The Wave! (U/G Genesis Wave In Standard)

Friday, March 18 – Brad Nelson goes step by step through his multi-part deckbuilding and tuning process, starting with an initial U/G Genesis Wave build and running it through the gauntlet. See how the Player of the Year works his magic!

Part one- Tuesday 3:32 PM

I had a really difficult time writing last week. I was so focused on having all the answers that, when I realized didn’t, I had to push my boundaries a
bit and write about something that I was still uncertain about. I ultimately wrote about the questions I was asking, instead of the answers I was
discovering. This was a very new experience for me, and I decided that I wanted to explore other (hopefully) useful ways of providing you with
information. After all, I’m not going to be able to discover the best deck every week.

That’s why this week we are going to experiment.

Magic columnists (almost) always write their articles after they have done work on a deck and know what they are doing. It is very rare for the public
to get a look into the deckbuilding process from square one. Going through every version of a deck until it gets to a point where the pilot is ready to
play it, or write about it. So that is what I’m going to do this week. I am going to write, then play, then write, then play, then write, until I feel
like the deck is in a good spot.

This is everything I think about and do in two days of gaming. Eat, sleep, write, game!

The deck.

Brian David-Marshall

I briefly tested an early version of this deck before Worlds, but that was my only experience with the deck. All I really know about it is that Conley
Woods took second place in a StarCityGames.com Open with it a while back.

The first thing I want to do with this deck (or any deck) is ask as many questions about it before I actually start playing. This will help shorten the
initial testing on MTGO because I will know what I want to see and work on right from the beginning.

The most important thing to figure out is how to sideboard. I don’t have a clue what is going on with this deck. I know Acidic Slime is coming in
against Valakut and any Sword deck — but beyond that it gets confusing.

Wall of Tanglecord and Tumble Magnet seem like they are for the aggressive decks, but it is not clear which ones. I know they are both good against
Boros, but Tumble Magnet seems slow and not that great against Mono Red.

Negate seems weird in the sideboard. The reason I say this is that I don’t see any Explores in the maindeck. Explore is one of the most powerful cards
when it comes to cards like Lotus Cobra, Khalni Gardens, and Halimar Depths. Explore is actually amazing with Halimar Depths. It lets you play the land
on turn 2 and also lets you draw one of the cards right away when you have a late game Depths.

I know Explore is not in the deck because it cannot be hit with Genesis Wave. Negate also has no value when it comes to Genesis Wave. It seems that
Negate is here to help resolve our threats since the deck is always being proactive. I guess it can hit Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but after that, it
just seems weak to all the other counters that can be in its slot.

U/G Ramp decks have traditionally been very weak against Mono Red. I don’t even mean it’s simply a bad matchup. It is miserable. A U/G ramp deck with
no cards dedicated to this matchup just makes it almost an auto loss.

Conley was running four Acidic Slimes in the original list. It seems that BDM took them out top fill in a couple four-ofs and added a Wall of

So my initial questions are:

What cards are coming in and out in the matchups?

Why is Explore not in this deck?

Can this deck ignore Mono Red now that Pat Sullivan crushed a Star City Open a few weeks back?

Should Acidic Slime be in the maindeck?

Are the cards that are currently in the sideboard really that good?

-Can they get better?

-Is it just better to have very specific cards instead of decent cards for either control or aggro decks?

Time to play some matches.

Part two: Tuesday 9:18 PM

I just finished up ten matches, and there is a ton of stuff to go over. This is what I played against.

1 U/W Caw-Blade 1-0

2 U/B/W Caw-Blade 2-0

2 Valakut 1-1

1 B/W beatdown featuring Hero of Bladehold, Stoneforge Mystic, hand disruption, and some removal. 0-1 (I played this deck first, and I think I threw
the match multiple times.)

2 Mono Red 0-2

1 Vampires 1-0

1 White Quest 1-0

I kind of wanted to play against Boros — but I just never ran into it. I’ll get a friend to play that matchup after I talk about the deck and make a
few changes.

The first thing I found with the deck is that I was having problems with not having green mana in my openers. There are only ten sources that can cast
a turn 1 Joraga Treespeaker and only four more that produce green. Fourteen sources seem a bit low in my opinion when you only have Halimar Depths to
help find them. It is also a bad play to keep a hand hoping that Halimar Depths will find a green source.

So I think I want one more source of green in the deck.

I really liked this deck’s matchup against any Stoneforge Mystic deck. It seemed fast enough to get a big board presence even through a Sword of Feast
and Famine. Primeval Titan plus Halimar Depths is very good at consistently finding threats through hand disruption, and it’s relatively easy to land
our spells since current Caw-Blade decks do not run many counterspells. Acidic Slime was an all-time champ at keeping them off lands and also dealing
with Swords when needed.

Khalni Garden really shined against Vampires. They had a tough time dealing a ton of damage and killing off all of my creatures. Grabbing two of the
lands with a Primeval Titan was very good. The Gardens gave me Gatekeeper of Malakir protection and also gave me some chump blockers when life totals
were tight. It’s also sweet to block a Bloodghast with Highborn in play when you are at two life.

Valakut was surprisingly not that bad of a matchup. I thought it would be tough, since the Slimes are in the board, but I was able to beat them with
the mana denial still in the deck.

Time to answer the questions.

What cards are coming in and out in the matchups?

Sideboarding was very difficult with this deck. I think I was making a few mistakes, but it seems hard to not take out some of the main players.
Genesis Wave is a very hard card to cast in sideboarded games, so I was always boarding out one or two unless I was up against a matchup that it was
great against.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor also was a card that had to go multiple times. This seems like the card that gets cut against aggro decks. I thought that it
was going to be the case, but it was particularly true with this deck. So now there are eight cards that should come out against any aggro deck that
has red in it because Spreading Seas is very bad when our opponent has the ability to kill us on turn 4…

Why is Explore not in this deck?

I can see why Explore is not in this deck after playing it. I still think I want it, but the deck needs answers in the maindeck against Valakut — which
leaves very little room for a card like Explore. I want to try to find a few slots for this card to give it a try as a two of or something.

Can this deck ignore Mono Red now that Pat Sullivan crushed a StarCityGames.com Open a few weeks back?

The Mono Red matchup was just as bad as I thought it would be. I was resorting to boarding in Negate just to help in the last couple turns when they
can burn me out. This is not the correct way to play this matchup.

Should Acidic Slime be in the maindeck?

Acidic Slime was an all-star every time I boarded it in. I really don’t know why this moved to the sideboard in the first place. I keep trying to
figure it out, but it doesn’t make sense. This card is always a two-for-one since it has deathtouch. It blocks an aggressive creature and can even kill
off an equipment before it does so.

Are the cards in the sideboard really that good?

The sideboard was very rough. Most of the cards were not that great. They were slight upgrades that didn’t really do as much as a sideboard card
should. Sideboards should be able to have high-impact cards that change matchups. These cards are very slight upgrades to the cards in the main. I want
to change around the entire sideboard.

So I want to move Acidic Slime to the maindeck as my first change. The maindeck cards that I felt were underperforming were the Wall of Tanglecord and
the fourth Genesis Wave. Wave makes this deck, but drawing two of them early in the game is just very bad. I don’t think I won a game that I had two of
them in my first nine cards unless Jace, the Mind Sculptor was around the help shuffle one away. It is a very bad card when it is not cast for nine
mana. Primeval Titan is the best card to play before the Wave, and you always get to look at four cards to find one (searching for Halimar Depths and a
sac land means you can shuffle away the first three if you don’t see anything you want).

The other card that felt bad was Spreading Seas. Now this card is amazing against Valakut, but it was very weak in most of the other matchups. I think
I’m going to try this decklist now.

This list is not designed to be amazing yet. What I want to do is try to see if the deck is missing anything after I cut some of the initial spells and
also try out some of the new creations I put in the sideboard. I like to try out new things in a deck right after I start working on it since the only
way to answer those questions is to play with the cards.

Part three: Wednesday 12:53 PM

I found out that Patrick Chapin voice is quite loud. I’m already starting to play against multiple copies of his new Jund deck in the 2/8 mans. The
best part about this is that the new decklist is set up quite nicely against them. They are just a card-advantage deck that doesn’t do anything too
powerful. The deck seems very good against the known metagame but horrible against a deck that is trying to go big.

3 Chapin Jund 3-0

2 Valakut 2-0

1 Rug 0-1

1 Esperblade 1-0

1 Mono Red 0-1

2 Boros 1-1

I finally got to play against Boros. Cunning Sparkmage was very good against this deck, and it reminded me how hard that card was to deal with in the
old Time Warp Turbo Land deck. There really isn’t a good answer to this card besides Frost Titan, which is as good as it is going to get.

Being on the draw was very bad. It almost seems like the chance to beat them drops 30% when you are going second. Turn 1 Steppe Lynx was almost game
over because of how much damage it deals in the early turns.

Khalni Garden was once again a champ and proves that four is the correct number. I never like seeing this card on paper but does it ever shine when in
the games.

RUG was a very tough match that came down to his having more ways to deal with my early accelerants. Lightning Bolt and Mana Leak were the problem
cards here. Not being able to decide what way the game plays out is a big set back when on the draw.

The upside to this matchup is RUG has a very tough time dealing with U/G when the ball starts rolling. Things will get out of control for them very
fast. This usually happens after the first Primeval Titan hits the board.

The games against Mono Red are getting closer. I was able to force a game three and almost win it, but a few nice top decks stole the game away from
me. Wall of Tanglecord and Obstinate Baloth were the champions in this matchup.

Losing the extra Spreading Seas did not seem to hurt this deck’s chances against Valakut. The only problem I see is that I am now 3-1 against them, and
the only loss was the one time I lost the die roll. Looking back on it, I realized that neither deck broke serve — which means the player on the play
always won. There were also very few mulligans in those matchups. I think I’ll have to find a friend and battle this matchup out more extensively to
get a real sense of what’s going on.

Explore didn’t seem as good as I would’ve hoped. I liked that the deck had more acceleration, and it was especially nice to have when I wanted to
guarantee play a turn 3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Obstinate Baloth. I also would hit it off Genesis Wave, but that didn’t seem like that much of a

The best thing it did was let me draw a card off of a Halimar Depths after Primeval Titan attacked. This is also the one thing this deck lost when I
took out Spreading Seas. Having the cantrips seems very important throughout the game.

Oracle of Mul Daya was a champ! I thought it would be good against other ramp decks as well as anything that disrupts a hand but has limited removal
(like the Caw-Blade variants). It was a true all-star against Chapin’s Jund deck, and I definitely want to have a couple in the sideboard of the final
version. This card proved itself big time.

The Ratchet Bombs were not that great in this deck. I think this card would be very good against K-Red, but that deck is not on the radar at all. It
just lacks in all the other creature matchups.

One card that I must’ve skipped over the first time I looked through Standard is Wurmcoil Engine. It seems perfect for a deck like this, since Frost
Titan isn’t all that good against most aggro decks anyway. I know it doesn’t deal with a flying creature like Frost Titan does, but it seems like it
would be very good in a tight spot. Being three creatures is also good against Vampires. I want to try him out.

I want to try four Walls of Tanglecord in the sideboard now, since we have a game plan to get out a Wurmcoil Engine. This will help Overgrown
Battlements produce more mana and will allow us to do this faster.

I kind of want to find room for one Spell Pierce in the sideboard, since no one seems to be playing around this card. I like that it is both proactive
and reactive and very easy to cast. The problem is that I don’t know what cards I can cut yet but want to keep trying out new ones.

I put one Spreading Seas in over the Acidic Slime because I added another six-drop, and it seems that the count is getting high. Now I know that every
other list of this deck ran four Frost Titans, but it seems to only be great against Valakut, and I’m not only 3-1 against them but only playing the
deck 20% of the time. I think it’s worth a shot to fix up the aggressive matchups at this point.

Part four- Wednesday 11:22 PM

2 Boros 1-1

2 Mono White Aggro 2-0

1 Chapin Jund 1-0

1 Mono Red 1-0

1 Esperblade 1-0

1 Mono Black Control 1-0

1 U/G Turbo Land 0-1

1 Bant Aggro 0-1

I didn’t manage to get in any more testing against Valakut as I wanted to. It seems like it will have to be skipped, since I’m a night’s sleep away
from going to Vegas. I did get some more testing in against Boros though.

I really like the new plan against aggro decks. It seems so obvious now. I don’t know how long it will work because this information gets to everyone —
but for now, it is good. I didn’t know that dropping a Wurmcoil Engine as fast as possible was a valid strategy…

This deck still has its problems that I haven’t found the answers to. One of them is how to fix the inconsistent draws the deck has. Maybe that’s just
something that the deck has to deal with.

This could go on and on, as I know I’ll continue playtesting this deck — but my article deadline is fast approaching. That said, I do have a decklist
that I think would be good for an event this weekend.

Please let me know if you liked this style of article. At the very least, I need to know what to change and what information was needed/not needed. I
could definitely see myself writing another article like this because it was a lot of fun to put together.

Brad Nelson