From Right Field: From the Files of Police Squad

Read Chris Romeo... every Tuesday at

One of my favorite things about Magic: The Gathering: Online: The Colon Game is that people remind me of cards that I’d forgotten were even Standard legal. Like the other day. I was working on this White (with a little Blue) deck when I faced off against another player working on W/u. On his fourth turn, he dropped Ballista Squad…

{From Right Field is a column for Magic players on a budget or players who don’t want to play netdecks. The decks are designed to let the budget-conscious player be competitive in local, Saturday tournaments. They are not decks that will qualify a player for The Pro Tour. As such, the decks written about in this column are, almost by necessity, rogue decks. They contain, at most, eight to twelve rares. When they do contain rares, those cards will either be cheap rares or staples of which new players should be trying to collect a set of four, such as Dark Confidant, Sacred Foundry, or Birds of Paradise. The decks are also tested by the author, who isn’t very good at playing Magic. He will never claim that a deck has an 85% winning percentage against the entire field. He will also let you know when the decks are just plain lousy. Readers should never consider these decks "set in stone" or "done." If you think you can change some cards to make them better, well, you probably can, and the author encourages you to do so.}

One of my favorite things about Magic: The Gathering: Online: The Colon Game is that people remind me of cards that I’d forgotten were even Standard legal. Like the other day. I was working on this White (with a little Blue) deck when I faced off against another player working on W/u. On his fourth turn, he dropped Ballista Squad.

“Ha ha ha,” I thought smugly to myself. “Isn’t that cute?”

Then, I remembered that this guy could rule the board way back in Mercadian Masques days. That was quickly followed by the realization that the guy could indeed rule my board right now. “Oh, crap,” I now thought. My whole strategy of attacking ground to a halt as I attempted to build up to an Alpha Strike or at least enough creatures that losing one to the Squad wouldn’t prevent me from swinging for significant damage the next turn.

“Wait a second. What if that plays right into his hand? What if he has Wrath of God, and he’s banking on me overextending?” I was caught in the trap. I couldn’t make a decision, and that hamstrung me. In the end, with too much swirling around in my head, I made the wrong decision. I overextended, he cast Sunscour, and he went on to win the game.

I modified my deck and came up with this gem, from the files of Police Squad:

The first thing you’re asking is “Where’s Glorious Anthem?” Does every White deck need Glorious Anthem? Okay, probably, if you’re in beatdown mode. I’ve chosen to add a bit more of the flying here. So, that extra +1/+1 for the ground pounders isn’t needed. I don’t think. Hey, that’s what this column’s all about: you finding your own way through these decks. Want Glorious Anthem? Find room.

Me, I like this build. It’s got the ABC’s of Deck Design.

The ABC’s of Deck Design: Advantage, Beats, and Control

The “Advantage” is… card advantage. In here, that’s achieved through Repeal, Sky Hussar, and Adarkar Valkyrie. “Beats” is exactly what it sounds like: creatures that attack. This has creatures at one through six on the mana curve, although four is not really for beating. Finally, we have “Control.” Those would be Faith’s Fetters, Repeal, Remand, Ballista Squad (“Duh!”), and, when the occasion is right, Ronom Unicorn. Oh, and Quicksand. And sometimes Ghost Quarter.

Non-Random Thoughts on Ghost Quarter

Ghost Quarter is probably most efficiently used as a way to thin out your own deck. That wasn’t what I originally thought. When I first started including this gem, I thought, “I can mana-hose the other guy. If his only source of Black mana in a B/W deck is that Orzhov Basilica, he’s hosed!” No, he isn’t. He just goes to get a Swamp. Of course, the best use of Ghost Quarter is to get rid of lands like Vitu-Ghazi or Rix Maadi, ones that can’t simply be replaced by a basic land. However, if your opponent doesn’t have those, don’t be afraid – nay, be quite happy! – to use Ghost Quarter to off your own land. Just make sure it’s late enough in the game and you have enough other lands (in this deck’s case, six or seven) that you’re not hosing yourself.

Now, on to what many folks say they’ve been missing the most, game recaps. I will be including these in the section that I now call

Dr. Romeo’s Situation Room

Game 1: Like I said, Magic Online reminds me of cards that are still out there. Like this version of my Fork You deck. I had an inauspicious start, mulliganing down to six cards. My hand was three lands, two Faith’s Fetters, and one Repeal.

Situation #1: Would you keep that hand?

What Romeo Did: I kept it. I was afraid to go down to five cards. I’m not saying that I was happy to keep it. Far from it. My first non-land permanent would have been Faith’s Fetters. So, I was hoping to draw into more. I was just too afraid to throw it back.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: At first, it didn’t seem like it. I didn’t draw a land in my first three draws while he got a second-turn Hearth Kami that swung for six on turn 3 thanks to Unchecked Growth. I was quickly at fourteen. Fortunately, my fourth draw was a land. I cast Fetters on his Hearth Kami, and I was back up at sixteen. Meanwhile, I had drawn Ballista Squad, Sky Hussar, and another Fetters. My fifth draw was a Suntail Hawk, and it didn’t get burned out.

Situation #2: He dropped a Forked-Branch Garami, and I made a Ballista Squad. With me at twelve life again and him with two cards in hand, should I have chump blocked?

What Romeo Did: I didn’t want to chump block because I wanted to have two White creatures for the Hussar.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: The Garami dropped me to eight. He wasn’t holding two Chars. He was holding something and Jugan, the Rising Star. The Hussar Forecast? Snow Angels of the Adarkar Valkyrie variety. My regular draw was a land. Faith’s Fetters on Jugan put me back up at twelve. On his turn, he put me back down to eight. The other card turned out to be Kodama’s Reach, and he made lotsa mana. During my upkeep, same thing. Tap the Hawk and Squad, draw Remand, and draw a land. The land allowed me to drop the Valkyrie. Now, I’d block. If he swung, it meant he had either a burn spell or something like Unchecked Growth. His Garami stayed put. My turn produced a Bathe in Light and land. I cast the Hussar pre-combat so that my Hawk could swing, too. He was finally at fourteen. (The Hawk had hit once.) On his turn, he cast Scorched Rusalka.

Situation #3: When he cast the Rusalka, I had Boreal Shelf and Plains up, an active, untapped Valkyrie, and Remand and Bathe in Light. He had lotsa mana (much Red), the Garami, and Jugan and Hearth Kami wearing Faith’s Fetters but no cards in hand. What should I have done?

What Romeo Did: I let the Rusalka hit.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: Nope. Do you agree? Here’s what I was thinking about a microsecond after I hit okay. I knew he’d be sacrificing something to the Rusalka, most likely the Jugan since he could make his Garami a 9/9 with it. He could have pitched both, but the Jugan was the problem. What I think I should have done, with the Rusalka on the stack, was use the Valkyrie’s ability on the Jugan. Had he then decided to sac the Jugan, I would have gotten it. Sure, his Garami would have been a 9/9, but I’d get the counters from Jugan when I blocked with it. On the other hand, had I done that and he hadn’t sacrificed the Jugan, I could have simply taken it or traded the Garami for the Hussar.

Instead, I did nothing. He, of course, sacrificed the Jugan and put all of the counters on the Garami. I blocked with the Hussar and targeted it with the Valkyrie. Back came the Hussar, untapping my team. On my turn, I drew a Repeal that emboldened me to swing like I just didn’t care with everyone but the B-Squad. That dropped him to six. He drew a Glacial Ray, which dispatched my Squad… temporarily. Valkyrie brought it back. He saw the writing on the wall and swung. I Repealed the Garami, and that was the game. (1-0)

Game 2: I had to mulligan again. This time, I kept a Plains, an Island, two Ronom Unicorns, Remand, and a Ballista Squad. Going first allowed me to make a Unicorn while all he had on board was a tapped Frost Marsh. Soon, I saw lotsa Snow lands, including two Scrying Sheets. They were joined by a Coldsteel Heart. By the time I had four lands, I had a third Unicorn (two in hand) and a Bathe in Light to go with the Remand as well as the Unicorn on board.

Situation #4: Having dropped my opponent to fourteen with successive Unicorn attacks, should I have cast a second Unicorn?

What Romeo Did: I cast the second unicorn. I figured he’d either try to counter it – and, man, would that tell me something about his position – or it would hit, allowing me to potentially drop him to ten on my next combat.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: You tell me. Here’s what happened. He cast Remand on the Unicorn with plenty of mana to recast it if he needed to.

Situation #5: Should I have cast my own Remand or let this go?

What Romeo Did: I cast Remand… on my Unicorn. That meant he’d get nothing, a rarity for someone casting Remand, while I’d still have my Unicorn in hand and a replacement for my Remand.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: It seemed to be. I was no worse off other than having a land in place of the Remand, but he was down a Remand. His next turn, he just made more land. I dropped him to twelve and snuck the Unicorn through. He was now on a three-turn clock. He tried to Repeal one, which I Bathed in Light. After my next combat, he was at eight. On his turn, he tapped out to cast Simic Sky Swallower. This doesn’t even get any discussion. I Remanded it. On my turn, I dropped him to four and made the B-Squad. Obviously, all he could do was recast the Simic Sky Swallower because he offered "gg" and conceded. (2-0)

Game 3: This was the game that taught me to truly believe in the power of unicorns! My niece will be so happy. Anyway, on my second turn, I made a Unicorn. My opponent, playing Blue and Black and with a Dimir Guildmage on board at the time, untapped and promptly Last Gasped the Unicorn.

There’s a lot of information in a play like that. The problem is figuring out what the truth is. Ask yourself this. Why does someone cast Last Gasp on a Ronom Unicorn as soon as he possibly can? If I know that this person is a good player, I figure he has an Enchantment coming soon, an Enchantment that he wants to protect badly. If I don’t know my opponent (and I didn’t), I also have to consider the possibility that he is just a "bad" player. I put bad in quotation marks because most people would say that you wait to cast the Last Gasp since it’s an instant. Truthfully, I don’t think it was such a bad play for him. With me having Blue mana, he had to be wary of countermagic. He killed the Unicorn when he knew it would die. Putting all of this together, I figured he did it because he had some Enchantment coming up that he wanted to keep.

"Protecting a future Debtors’ Knell?" I asked him.

"Hmm… could be…" he wrote back.

It turned out that this was a U/B/w deck much like the one that Talen Lee used to beat Ben Goodman in his first Battle Royale victory. It featured Clutch of the Undercity and Consult the Necrosages. The twist was Hondens of the Stupid Card Drawing, Nasty Discards, and Too Much Lifegain variety.

So, that’s what he was protecting.

Situation #6: My opponent has a Honden of Seeing Winds (i.e. the Honden of Stupid Card Drawing), two Dimir Guildmages, and six land, all tapped, save for an Island (he cast the Honden that turn), on his side of the board. I draw into an Adarkar Valkyrie while holding a Unicorn and a land. I play the land and now have six lands open. What do I do?

What Romeo Did: I cast the Unicorn.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: It ended up being the right call, but that’s only because he didn’t have anything else later on. (I’ll explain in a minute.) You see, had I cast the Valkyrie, well, big whoop. She deals four damage. He drops a Honden of Cleansing Fire, and that’s nullified. What I needed was a way to kill the Hondens.

Of course, had he been holding Spell Snare… that was a bad call. Other than Disrupting Shoal, he had no way to counter the Valkyrie. But he could have killed it.

Why the Unicorn first, then? So that, if it hit, I could follow with the Valkyrie and do Silly Valkyrie tricks. Granted, it took two turns to get that trick going, but, if it didn’t get going, say, because he killed the Angel, I’d still be able to kill one Honden. On his turn, he drew his extra card, played no land, and dropped the Honden of Cleansing Fire. Back to my turn, I cast the Valkyrie. No Mana Leak. No Rune Snag. No nothing. Did I sac the Unicorn just then? No. Why? So that I could do it twice later on.

He gained four life and drew two extra cards. Not a great idea, but I wanted to maximize the Unicorn. He dropped a land and passed the turn. On my turn, I attacked with the Valkyrie and the Unicorn. Whaaa…? The Unicorn, too? Sure. If he blocked with a Guildmage, I was going to kill it. If not, two more damage. After combat, I targeted the Unicorn with the Valkyrie. Then, I popped off the Unicorn to kill the Blue Honden.

Remember: Target the Unicorn first. Since sacrificing it is part of the cost of its ability, you won’t be able to do that later.

The Unicorn came back.

On his turn, he dropped a land and killed the Valkyrie. That was okay because he didn’t make any more Hondens, either. On my turn, I drew a Sky Hussar. I wanted to hold it to draw cards, but he did have Dimir Guildmages. So, I cast him. He hit. The race was on. Thanks to the Unicorn, I won the race. He got the Black Honden into play. I was in topdeck mode, so I didn’t care about it. I cared about the lifegain. I popped the White Honden, and started flying over for four. Another Valkyrie soon joined the fight. Game over. (3-0)

We played a rematch, which I also won. I won’t count that in the results here. It was more of the same. Unicorns to the rescue!

Game 4: I don’t think this deck will do very well against Mono-Black Control. Against Mono-Black Beats, though, it was pretty good. Apparently, he didn’t want to lose his Villainous Ogre to a Unicorn. So, he didn’t swing when he could. Obviously, he was waiting for a Demon. That was when he got a Scourge of Numai. I Repealed that at the end of his turn. (I had gained four life off an Azorius Herald (Enhanced!) on my previous turn.) That drew me a Sky Hussar.

Situation #7: Facing down two Villainous Ogres with a Scourge about to drop, should I have tapped down my guys to draw a card with the Hussar?

What Romeo Did: I drew the extra card.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: You see, if he had Hideous Laughter, I didn’t want to be at too much of a disadvantage. The card drawing negated that a bit, if it ever happened. It did leave me pretty wide open for an attack. So, I dropped the Hussar. That, of course, untapped my guys. I also left a Quicksand untapped. That li’l ole land seemed to have made all of the difference. He swung with both of his Ogres after dropping the Scourge. One died to the Quicksand. The other, I let through. If he had Laughter, so be it. He must not have had it. On my next turn, I swung for six and then cast a Ballista Squad. It took a while for this to resolve, so I’m thinking he’d forgotten about it, too. He clearly had no creature kill (or not enough, anyway) because nothing of mine died to any spells. The one time he did have something (Chill to the Bone), I was holding Remand. Not that it would have mattered. By that point, what he really wanted dead was a Valkyrie, something the Chill can’t touch. (4-0)

Game 5: Christmas in August! This was a Snow deck, and it looked to be pretty good. Scrying Sheets, Mouth of Ronom, Snow basic lands, Stalking Yeti, Ohran Viper, and Resize to do Silly Yeti Tricks.

Oh, and by the way, I’d like to say again that Skred is simply St00p!d. That’s a capital "S," two zeros, and an exclamation point. If you’re playing Red; or if you like Red; or heck, if the letters R, E, and D are in your alphabet, you need to make sure that you have four of those ready to go at any time. Remember, even if you have no Snow creature, Snow Artifacts, or Snow Enchantments in your deck, you can always run all of your basic lands as Snow lands.

Geez. I’m sorry. I forgot. You’re running one of those decks with the four-hundred dollar manabases, one of those that doesn’t have any basic lands in it. Well, except for those three. Yeah, Skred’s not for you.

I’m talking to the people who aren’t playing Solar Flare and the like. To you, I say, get as many Snow basic lands as you can, and, if you’re playing Red, make sure you have Skred in your deck.

The game? Oh. That. Yeah. Sorry. Just a sec.

He quickly had Snow all over the place. Snow-Covered Forest, Boreal Druid, Mouth of Ronom, Snow-Covered Mountain, and Scrying Sheets (off an Into the North). We traded one damage at a time, me with Suntail Hawk and he with his Druid. He was the first person to recognize the power of Ballista Squad right off the bat, and he dispatched it immediately with a five-point Skred. This was when I drew Faith’s Fetters.

Situation #8: As significant permanents at the time I drew Faith’s Fetters, my opponent had Boreal Druid, Mouth of Ronom, and Scrying Sheets? Should I have Enchanted one of those or held the Fetters?

What Romeo Did: I cast the Fetters on the Scrying Sheets.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: There may have been something worse coming along at some point, but it was probably going to be Snow. The Sheets would allow him to get to that card that much faster. And, yes, the Mouth could kill anything I had other than the Valkyrie. Again, though, the Sheets would allow him to get another Mouth more quickly.

Since I didn’t see another Scrying Sheets all game, things looked pretty good. Until he got a second Red source from Highland Weald. That was when the Stalking Yeti hit. Ugh. Yet another Red card that takes out everything in my deck but the Valkyrie. Of course, he was also packing Resize, so the Yeti could actually take out the Valkyrie:

How Stalking Yeti Can Take Out Creatures With Toughness Greater Than Three: Stalking Yeti has been compared (not usually favorably) to Flametongue Kavu. I mean, the Kavu deals four damage to a creature when it comes into play. The Yeti only deals three.

Wrong. The Yeti deals damage equal to its power. While its power is normally three, you can pump that up. For example, with the Yeti’s triggered ability on the stack, let’s say you cast Resize on it. Now, when the Yeti deals damage equal to its power, its power is much higher. Enough, in fact, to take down an Adarkar Valkyrie.

Fortunately for me, that only happened once. I was able to use Bathe in Light to save the Valkyrie the second time. After that, the fliers did their jobs while the Ballista Squad kept his ground troops in order. (5-0)

Game 6: I’m gonna make this one short and sweet. My opponent was playing a U/B/r control deck that didn’t have enough control for me. I got out Suntail Hawks on turns 1 and 2 while holding Sky Hussar.

Situation #9: Against what is obviously a control deck, should I have attacked with the Hawks or used the Hussar’s ability on turn 3?

What Romeo Did: I drew the cards.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: While I could have been beating down for two each turn, instead I was out-drawing a control deck. I hope I made the right call. It felt like it since I was able to force creatures through the counters and protect them once they hit. (6-0)

At six wins and no losses, I felt like it was time to leave the Casual Decks room and see what it was like in the Tourney Practice room. First, though, I’d need a sideboard.

Situation #10: What would you put in a sideboard for this?

What Romeo Did: I figured I needed something against more aggressive decks, so I used Condemn. Guardian of the Guildpact went in for those decks and anything based on Wildfire. I picked Train of Thought for use against control decks because I needed to draw even more cards. Finally, artifacts might show up. So, I had Terashi’s Grasp. For those of you who like lists:

4 Condemn
4 Train of Thought
4 Guardian of the Guildpact
3 Terashi’s Grasp

Match #1: Well, this is what you test for. My first match was a Wildfire deck. At least, it took him thirteen turns to beat me in game 1.

Situation #11: How should you sideboard for this?

What Romeo Did: No way was I ever going to get a Valkyrie through even if I could get to six mana. In addition, Ballista Squad wasn’t very helpful. Believe it or not, neither was Faith’s Fetters. Gaining four life against a deck that throws a 13/13 at you is like asking for an umbrella in a hurricane. So, out went those three slots. In came the Condmens, Train of Thoughts, and the Guardians.

Was Romeo’s Call Any Good?: Considering that I had to mulligan to five just to get two lands and then cast three Train of Thoughts in the second through fifth turns without getting a third land in play, it’s hard for me to tell. I don’t see what I could have done differently that would have been better. I was able to resolve two Condemns, and, even with my problems, it was again turn thirteen before I was dead. Still, I lost 0-2. (0-1, 0-2)

Match #2: It’s been a long time since I played against Gruul Beats. I felt great because I won game 1. I took some early damage, but Faith’s Fetters helped me stabilize. After that, the Hussar got the card drawing going, and the advantage gave me the win. I didn’t sideboard for game 2 since I had done so well in game 1. That was probably a bad idea. I should have brought in Condemn. He was able to simply overrun my guys. For game 3, I did bring in Condemn in place of the Faith’s Fetters since I was finally (duh) scared of Flames of the Blood Hand. I ended up mulliganing to five and had to keep a two-land hand with no creatures. None were forthcoming. (0-2,1-4)

At this point, I realized that I didn’t have a very good defense against three-toughness creatures. My three-drop was a 2/1 that gained me four life and couldn’t be blocked. It takes two of them to stop a Kird Ape or Scab-Clan Mauler, and both of mine die.

That’s when I decided to swap out the Heralds for Jotun Owl Keepers. Not only could they trade with Watchwolf and Scab-Clan Mauler, they killed Kird Ape outright. Moreover, later in the game, they leave behind fliers when they die. Take that, Lightning Helix.

Match #3: After he got a slow start, he conceded to my weenie beatdown and Remands.

Match #4: See Match #3.

Given how little these guys tried, I’m not counting these matches. In real life, no one would have conceded the entire match like these guys did. A game? Maybe. The entire match? No way, Josie.

Match #5: I faced Zoo in full effect mode in this match, and both Jotun Owl Keeper and Ballista Squad did their jobs. My first Owl Keeper gave up the ghost to stop a Scab-Clan Mauler. The second stopped a Watchwolf, leaving me with two tokens. Meanwhile, Ballista Squad was holding off a Dryad Sophisticate. In fact, it bothered him so much that he used Char to kill the Squad. It didn’t matter, though, because, by that time, he was in topdeck mode while I was drawing cards with the Hussar.

For game 2, I switched in Condemn for the Remands (Remanding a one-mana spell is pointless) and Guardian of the Guildpact for Ronom Unicorns (since I’d seen no Enchantments I could kill) since only the Lightning Helix, Watchwolf, and Scab-Clan Mauler can kill the Guardian. To put it another way, since Volcanic Hammer, Char, Kird Ape, Isamaru, et al, couldn’t kill the Guardian, he felt like a better call that the Unicorn. I thought about bringing in Terashi’s Grasp in case the Jitte showed up, but Fetters could handle those.

Sure enough, they did. Repeals held off the early beats before my Owl Keeper and Guardian could come to the game. Ballista Squad pretty much ground everything to a halt until three (yes, three) of them got Charred away. Once the Angel hit with a Fetters keeping the Jitte in check, that was it. (1-2, 3-4)

Match #6: During this one, I kept thinking of the article "Who’s the Beatdown?”. Since his was a U/W Control deck, I was the beatdown. In addition, I kept up the pace by drawing almost as many cards as he did. I won game 1 without him ever doing anything more aggressive than casting a Wrath of God that killed two Unicorns.

For game 2, I figured that Condemn and Train of Thought would be the cards to bring in. He had to have something like Keiga in there at which I could point Condemn, and I wanted to draw about sixteen more cards than him. Thus, the Trains. I though about dropping the Unicorns since I’d seen no Enchantments, but the Ballista Squad seemed to be less useful. Besides, what if he had his own Fetters? For the Trains, Repeals came out since it didn’t look like it was going to do much more than bounce one of my own guys.

Things didn’t quite work out that way in game 2, though. Again, the Trains were cast early (starting on turn 3) and often (three of them) without getting me a land. (I had again kept a two-land hand.) My fears were confirmed, though. I saw Keiga.

I got a roaring start in game 3, with two Suntail Hawks powering my Hussar. After my opponent Wrathed them away (yeah, think about that one), I dropped a Jotun Owl Keeper with both Remand and Bathe in Light backup. When it finally died to a Keiga (yup, I ran it right into the thing), I got five tokens. Keiga was then Fettered. (I won the counter wars.) More hilarity ensured as two Hussars joined the fun. (2-2, 5-4)

Match #7: I hated for this to be the last match since I was finally having fun with the deck. However, a deadline loomed, and this article was already long enough. So, what did I face next? An Eye of the Storm deck. Yup, the Red and Blue deck that wants to take multiple turns with Stick in Time. Thank goodness for maindeck Unicorns.

For game 2, I dropped Repeals since they’re useless under Eye of the Storm. (The X is always zero. Unless there’s a token to target, it can’t be played.) Instead, I brought in the three Terashi’s Grasps and a Guardian of the Guildpact. He fought valiantly, but, as has been happening thanks to the Hussar, I outdrew him. Plus, the Eyes only stayed around as long as I wanted them to. (3-2, 7-4)

Wow. Here I was on a three-match winning streak. Heck, I hadn’t lost a game!

I should learn to shut up.

Match #8: Short and sweet again: Heartbeat of Spring and not one Unicorn in two games. Not. One. Unicorn. (3-3, 7-6)

What I Learned: Wildfire (‘Vore, U/R Wildfire Control, whatever) and Heartbeat of Spring are still the best decks around. Other than that, this deck seems to have some game. I’d also change the sideboard. Train of Thought wasn’t nearly what I’d hoped it would be against control decks. Yes, that seemed in part to be because I had to cast three of them between turns 2 and 4, drawing only one card, not a good use of the Train. However, I’m not sure it would have helped as much as Spell Snare. That’s what will be replacing it in the sideboard. The Snare would allow me to do things like cast Guardian of the Guildpact on turn 5 against a U/R Wildfire deck by using the Snare to counter the Mana Leak or other two-mana counterspell. Which means the finished deck will look like this:

As usual, you’ve been a great audience. Have fun in the Snow!

Chris Romeo