Glare Force One – A Colorado Champs Report *T8*

While I was scrambling for a deck, several of my testing partners were making a big fuss about Glare being good again. As I had seen the Glare list before and liked it, I figured it had some merit and I had enough cards to at least try it, so I worked with their list that already had Spectral Force/Scryb Ranger and tested it against the gauntlet to very positive results.

When I first saw the Time Spiral spoiler, a few cards popped out immediately. Dragonstorm and Enduring Renewal were cards I wanted to start testing, and I figured maybe I’d find something that would work well with Reiterate or Walk of the Eons. Pretty early on everyone knew the Renewal/Wild Cantor/Grapeshot combo, and people saw Bogardan Hellkite and Lotus Bloom. Reiterate even got some noise with Early Harvest, but most of these decks seemed too slow or inconsistent.

I liked Dragonstorm the most, though, so I picked up a list at the MTGSalvation forums, added Gigadrowses and started testing. It went undefeated in the initial testing run in a field full of Tron, U/W, and various Psionic Blast decks. After testing for a month, I arrived at this list:

4 Dragonstorm
4 Bogardan Hellkite
2 Hunted Dragon
4 Seething Song
4 Rite of Flame
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Gigadrowse
4 Remand
4 Telling Time
4 Sleight of Hand
1 Dreadship Reef
1 Calciform Pools
4 Steam Vents
4 Shivan Reef
4 Gemstone Mine
8 Island

4 Mana Leak
4 Defense Grid
2 Grozoth
3 Dizzy Spell
1 Dreadship Reef
1 Calciform Pools

This list is very good, but the winning finish of Solar Pox revived a lot of Black deck strategies and for some reason everyone assumed Dragonstorm would be everywhere, adding in Persecutes, Castigates, and Ivory Mask all over the internet. Dragonstorm was decent enough, but between this surge in anti-Dragonstorm metagaming and the potential clunky draws of the deck itself, I opted to find something else.

Tsubasa Kai’s winning list of Glare was a great start, but there were several cool decks that played Spectral Force/Scryb Ranger. While I was scrambling for a deck, several of my testing partners were making a big fuss about Glare being good again. As I had seen the Glare list before and liked it, I figured it had some merit and I had enough cards to at least try it, so I worked with their list that already had Spectral Force/Scryb Ranger and tested it against the gauntlet to very positive results. Here is the build I finally decided on for Champs, which is based on Frank Bowker’s build that helped Jeremy Burt win:

Although this deck is Ghazi Glare, I hereby dub my version “You Forgot Poland.”

Here is a quick match report that helps explain some complex plays and the basics of the deck before I go into discussing the deck further.

Round 1: Brock Strand – U/G aggro

Game 1: I play out a pretty average curve, but I have turn 4 Glare after he taps out for a creature. He can’t answer it.

In: 1 Spectral Force
Out: 1 Stonewood Invocation

Game 2: This time he counters my turn 3 Glare, but I have turn 4 Spectral Force to seal the deal, while he only beats for two a turn with a flier.


Round 2: Chad Juarez – U/W Mesa control

Game 1: I play a fairly powerful opening with Elf and Guildmage, but only get him to fifteen before he Wraths. I drop a Hierarch, which he tries to Condemn, but I have the Stonewood Invocation to bring him to six. He takes another four before Wrathing, then plays Fetters on my Glare. I play a Thelonite Hermit morphed the next turn, but he Wraths again and drops Akroma, while I can’t manage to draw anything after he plays another Fetters on my other Glare.

In: 4 Giant Solifuge, 1 Spectral Force
Out: 3 Scryb Ranger, 2 Glare of Subdual

Game 2: I make a turn 3 Call of the Herd, which brings him to fourteen before he Wraths. I make a Saproling with Vitu-Ghazi at end of turn and bring him to thirteen. I make another token and bring him to eleven. He Wraths and I make another Saproling at end of turn. I attack with the Saproling, he Condemns, so I Stonewood Invocation it and bring him to five. I attack him for one the next turn, and he drops Sacred Mesa. I play Thelonite Hermit morphed and attack him to four, he makes a token, sacrifices it on his turn and Wraths. I play Spectral Force and Selesnya Guildmage, but he Wraths again with plenty of mana open to block my Solifuge. I don’t draw any more Hermits, Spectral Forces, or lands, so Solifuge and Vitu-Ghazi get me nowhere and I lose.


Round 3: Steve Golenda – Solar Pox

Game 1: Turn 2 Selesnya Guildmage brings him to sixteen. He Wraths, then a Vitu-Ghazi-made Saproling plinks away, along with a Yavimaya Dryad, to get him to thirteen before he drops Akroma. I can only get him to three before Akroma deals exactly lethal, as I didn’t draw Stonewood Invocation, Loxodon Hierarch, or Glare of Subdual.

In: 1 Spectral Force
Out: 1 Scryb Ranger

Game 2: Turn 5 Spectral Force attacks into Condemn, but Stonewood Invocation saves it and drops him to seven. He Wraths and I drop a Thelonite Hermit. I attack for two and flip it at his end of turn for the win.

Game 3: Turn 3 Yavimaya Dryad drops him to fourteen. I bring out Thelonite Hermit (morphed) and a Call token. He reanimates Akroma. I play Selesnya Guildmage. He attacks me to six and drops Skeletal Vampire, and I flip Hermit. I drop Hierarch and attack with four tokens, Dryad, Call token, and Guildmage. He kills Guildmage and a Call token in combat, letting through two of the tokens (two bats blocked two Saprolings, Vampire blocked Guildmage, and Akroma blocked Call token) and going to ten. I play another Call from hand. He attacks me to 4, plays Compulsive Research, then Court Hussar and another Court Hussar. I play Thelonite Hermit unmorphed and attack with everything. I knew no matter how he blocked I would deal exactly ten damage, as his best blocks were either Akroma on Hermit (to kill it before the Saprolings got to deal damage, turning them into 2/2s again) or block all the biggest guys, and either way he took ten or more damage. We let damage resolve and I let him know he’s dead, but he thinks he had fourteen life still, as he forgot to mark the life lost from the previous attack with the tokens. Several spectators remind him about that, and it’s over.


Round 4: Nate – Mono-Green Snow

Luckily for me I had tested against Nate for nearly a month when I played Dragonstorm, so I knew how fast his deck is and that he had few answers to Glare (and none maindeck).

Game 1: I get a quick Glare and tap him down attacking for six per turn, going to eighteen only from a Temple Garden.

In: 1 Spectral Force
Out: 1 Scryb Ranger

Game 2: He makes a turn 1 Allosaurus Riders and I have a slower start, but I have a Spectral Force and some small creatures that block the Riders before it could grow bigger than the 12/12 it already became with two Moldervine Cloaks. He drops a Spectral Force and I have a Spectral Force of my own, but he keeps dropping the Cloaks on it, so I have to make lots of smaller creatures to force a stalemate. Fortunately I get Thelonite Hermit and Selesnya Guildmage active before he draws into a Blanchwood Armor or Stonewood Invocation, so I’m able to quickly turn the game around at one life.


Round 5: U/G aggro

Game 1: I cast turn 1 Elf, turn 2 Scryb Sprite, turn 3 Glare. He has no answers maindeck, so he never gets damage through.


Game 2: I get a somewhat slow draw, but turn 5 I manage to force through the Glare I’d been holding after he counters two Hierarchs. I unmorph a Hermit soon after and win.


Round 6: U/R Hellkite Tron

Game 1: I drop some early creatures in Llanowar Elves and Yavimaya Dryad, but he gets a Serrated Arrows to take both down. He’s already down to fourteen, so an unmorphed Hermit wins in two turns.

In: 1 Spectral Force, 4 Giant Solifuge
Out: 4 Thelonite Hermit, 1 Scryb Sprite

Game 2: He casts turn 2 Signet, turn 3 compulsive Research, and assembles a turn 4 Tron. I drop Spectral Force. My opponent then makes an end of turn Bogardan Hellkite, untaps, and attacks for five. I drop Glare and pass, but he drops another Hellkite.

Game 3: I keep dropping creatures and dealing two or three damage per turn, while he gets Pyroclasm, Sulfurous Blast, Sulfurous Blast, and finally Wildfire. He’s at one life after the Wildfire and I have five mana for a backbreaking Spectral Force.


Round 7: Josh Napper – Kobe Glare

Game 1: I play turn 1 Elf, turn 2 Yavimaya Dryad, turn 3 Glare, and turn 4 Hierarch. He concedes while I have an active Vitu-Ghazi in play.

In: 2 Indrik Stomphowler
Out: 2 Stonewood Invocation

Game 2: I drop double Glare early, while he kills both with Stomphowlers, but I maintain an advantage thanks to Thelonite Hermit and Selesnya Guildmage.


Round 8: Matthew Guzzo – MUC splashing black for Last Gasp

We check our breakers and they’re good enough, so we ID.

Top 8: Matt Rubio – U/G aggro

Game 1: He makes turn 1 Elf, turn 2 Ohran Viper, turn 3 Elf and Bird, turn 4 Cloak and Remand my Hierarch, turn 5 Remand my Hierarch, and three Psionic Blasts. Obviously I can’t compete.

In: 3 Spike Feeder
Out: 3 Stonewood Invocation

Game 2: I get turn 3 Glare and turn 4 Spectral Force through as he plays Call of the Herd and flashes it back, so I quickly win.

Game 3: He drops turn 2 Looter, followed by turns 3, 4, and 5 Moldervine Cloak. I have Loxodon Hierarch and Spike Feeder, but I’m just a few damage short from killing him and I don’t draw a Glare.


The maindeck was great during the entire tournament, but the sideboard was certainly showing the signs of misevaluation. Worship proved to be a great card for the mirror match as well as the Dragonstorm matchup, based on other players I observed at Champs and my testing on Magic Online. Indrik Stomphowler deserved the full amount of slots and some of the cards proved overkill in the matchups they were to be used against, namely Thrill of the Hunt and Spike Feeder. The Zoo and Gruul matchups are already favorable and Worship works better while being great in many other matchups, so the switch was obvious. Giant Solifuge has been great against control decks, though it could potentially be cut to make room for other cards.

Some problems that are beginning to come up now that Champs results have been absorbed include Fortune Thief and Snow White (i.e. Martyr/Proclamation of Rebirth). Magus of the Scroll is a decent answer to Fortune Thief and Biorhythm is the old standby against Life decks, though I haven’t encountered Snow White much, so that option will have to remain out of the deck until it is necessary.

Other options to consider are the Demonfire Red-Glare lists that were popular in Japan, and the Black splashes that play Mortify/Putrefy, as these splashes don’t hurt the manabase much and potentially offer good answers to Fortune Thief and other problems. I don’t believe these splashes are workable without Birds of Paradise, so that would push this deck in a different direction than I believe is optimal. Spectral Force and Scryb Ranger would have to be removed, slowing the deck down without enough gains to be worthwhile.

That’s all I have for Champs and Glare, though I’d like to share the fruits of all that tuning of Dragonstorm. Brian Eaton was given my list by a friend of his and slightly modified the sideboard to compensate for the high amount of discard in the format:

Apparently these changes enabled Brian Eaton to turn out an impressive undefeated record through to a prize split in the finals at Arizona Champs.

Mike Flores informed us all about his deck naming troubles in his Champs report and I knew I could help this poor patriot. This Girl? No. Star Spangled blah? Boring! No, clearly this is a time of much needed innovation in deck naming. I believe this deck deserves to be named after its Flagship Role-player Superstar card. Try this on for size:

Winner Winner Flores Dinner

Finally, here is the mandatory “article soundtrack” section, but with a twist. If your ears aren’t too sensitive, check it out.

This soundtrack includes 20 remixes of various songs all with high volume and various Bush quotes mixed around. It’s only fitting, right? I got a link into my last article, after all. Anyway, that’s it for this article. I’ll be testing a Lotus Bloom/Desire deck for Extended in anticipation of next year’s PTQ season, so hopefully if that proves viable I’ll have an in-depth article.

Until next time,

Ryan Cimera
BubbleTape on MiseTings