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Reasons Why Inquisition Of Kozilek Is So Good

Thursday, March 17 – Pro player Ben Lundquist explains why U/W/B Caw-Blade is the superior deck to play this weekend at Dallas/Fort Worth’s SCG Open, and he does it in chunks of three – for easy consumption!

3thingstoknow about me

1)   I’ve been qualified for every Pro Tour since Honolulu in 2006 (excluding this year’s in Paris). In my recent feature match against GerryT, Glenn
Jones called me an “occasional pro,” and it stung. I may not have the best performances at the actual PTs, but you can’t call me an occasional pro. A
has-been pro, sure. A want-to-be pro, sure. A grinder, I guess. An occasional pro, nuh uh.

2)   I’ve grown very rusty at this game. Over the past year, I’ve only participated in a handful of live events, and it has shown in my play. I play
only on MTGO, so I find I take a lot of things for granted. My opponent gained life? Do I want to return Punishing Fire to my hand…? Yeah I’ll pay a
red for that. Well, I didn’t get that reminder at the PT while still in great shape for making Top 8. And yeah, my opponent won the match at two life.
I even noticed I was nervous when I played GerryT in that feature match. That’s not something that has happened to me in years.

3)   I’ll be back on the Pro Tour in time for Philly.

3thingstoknow about Caw-Blade

1)   The U/W/R version gave up some edge — Tectonic Edge — to Valakut in order to be well positioned against U/W.

2)   The U/B/W version has a mana base that’s weak to Tectonic Edge but does so knowing that there are less Tectonic Edges in people’s decklists than
there were weeks before. It also addresses the U/W/R version’s weakness to Valakut by playing Memoricide in the sideboard.

3)   U/W with Tectonic Edge is the best way to fight the new U/B/W list. This is because the upsides to black become limited to only Inquisition,
rather than Inquisition and Creeping Tar Pit. Not only can they kill the manland, they also make it a liability when you need three different colors of
mana.

3thingstoknow about Spell Pierce

1)   It’s a dead draw against Boros and Vampires. Decks this aggressive don’t give you many turns to sculpt a hand or board state, so it’s important to
make sure that all of the cards you draw interact with the opponent. One dead draw against a beatdown deck is not as forgiving as a dead draw against a
deck that goes long, where you get a chance to shuffle them away with Jace.

2)   Though it’s good at fighting Jace, it’s not always good at fighting the Jace war. First of all, I should’ve made this a 3thingstoknow, but I
needed to give you more content than just a straight three statements every time. Second, it doesn’t stop their three-powered attack by three Hawks or
Stoneforge plus equipment. This leaves you in the awkward position of having to tap out and only get a Brainstorm or having to +2 the Jace while your
opponent is ahead on board. Third, black is actually better at fighting Jace. Spell Pierce can counter their Jace, but it’s not going to help you
resolve your own. Inquisition will allow you to know whether or not to play around counters or just straight up take the counter. Inquisition also
prevents them from having three power by taking either a Sword, a Stoneforge, or the first Hawk. In addition, black has Creeping Tar Pit. This attacks
the same turn Jace comes down and for the perfect amount of damage.

3)   This has become a little bit more about “why I like black” and less about why I don’t like Spell Pierce, but they sort of go hand in hand. Spell
Pierce is not a live draw off the top of your deck, while Inquisition still is. Much like the combo of Jace’s bounce combined with Sword of Feast and
Famine’s discard, Inquisition can work similarly, just on a smaller scale. Also, Inquisition gives you a one-turn window to draw it after the opponent
plays Stoneforge Mystic, which cannot be said for Spell Pierce ever.

3thingstoknow about playing with Inquisition of Kozilek

1)   Turn 1 Inquisition does a number of things that will help better sculpt the game for you. You’ll have additional information regarding what sword
to search out on turn 2. This is a pretty big bonus in my book because after playing with the deck, I found out that there isn’t necessarily a
particular sword that you want in each matchup. It’s all dependent on what they have and what you have. When you know both sides of the equation, it
makes sculpting the game in your favor a whole lot easier.

2)   If you’re on the play and have the turn 1 Inquisition of Kozilek, you can follow up the next turn with playing a Squadron Hawk and searching out
all the remaining copies. This isn’t a huge bonus, but there were a few times I’d leave a Hawk or two in the deck only to find them in my hand on the
next couple draw steps.

3)    It’s often right to hold it for as long as possible in the mid-late game. When you topdeck it, it may be tempting to take a look at what’s going
on and maybe snag a Mana Leak, but just consider first the chances of their drawing a Stoneforge Mystic in the next few turns and how important it is
for you to keep them from getting that sword into play. Also, just like the discard spells of old, if you save them for a turn when you want to resolve
a Jace and can make sure they don’t have that Mana Leak until that turn, you cut off additional draw steps to find an answer.

3thingstoknow about U/B/W Caw-Blade’s worst matchup, RUG

1)   In my experience, RUG is a very rough matchup. I may think it’s harder than it actually is because three out of the six games I played, they
started with Lotus Cobra into Jace on the play; regardless, it’s something that deck can do, and it’s a nightmare to have to deal with. Their best
hands beat you. Period.

2)   You have to keep hands that are very similar to what you’d keep against Boros. Slow hands will not do the trick; you need an early Inquisition or
removal spell to take care of their Lotus Cobra. Cards like Mana Leak are all right, but hands where you’re tapping out for Squadron Hawks and Jaces
just aren’t going to do the trick. You need reactive cards to win this matchup.

3)   It’s extremely difficult to sideboard here. I still don’t know the best plan, but just take a look at the potential sideboard cards. Duress is
good against barely any of their deck, but it’s a card that’s important to fight Jace. Flashfreeze doesn’t fight their Jace or Precursor Golem, but
it’s good against the rest of their deck. Condemn is pretty bad here, and Disfigure only fights their Lotus Cobra and potentially Oracle of Mul Daya.
The sideboard games are very similar to pre-board games from old Standard, where decks were trying to fight U/W and Jund at the same time. You end up
with awkward cards that are only good half the time, and you have to hope that you draw them when you need them. I recommend playing as many Doom
Blades as you can for this matchup. More people will have Creeping Tar Pit in coming weeks, which puts you in a predicament of how to kill both
Precursor Golem and the black manland.

3thingstoknow about the differences in my and GerryT’s decks

1)   I played four Days of Judgment. This is clearly wrong and for multiple reasons. First, Day is only particularly relevant against Boros. They,
however, are adopting more Heroes, so that calls for more instant-speed removal. I addressed this with four sideboard Disfigures, but, regardless, four
DOJ is just too many. The second reason is Inquisition of Kozilek. With this card, you’re stripping away their early game, and thus it takes away from
all the value you’d get out of DOJ. With their having less creatures, it’s better to keep picking them off rather than take a few additional hits and
get the card advantage out of the sweeper. The other reason to shave the amount of Days is to clear up the mana issues. If you cut down on the number
of WW cards in the deck, you become less vulnerable to your own mana and also opposing Tectonic Edges.

2)   I played a Grave Titan over the third Gideon. One reason I did this was to prevent potential mana issues and hands full of cards that cost WW, and
another reason was I wanted a good answer to Hero of Oxid Ridge. See, Gideon is a decent answer, but he needs help. You aren’t going to get many +2s
out of your planeswalker when they’re swinging for so much damage. I then figured out that Grave Titan would not only be a Gideon that stayed in play,
but it also would put a clock on them while I stabilized. Another good reason to play the Titan was to get around Spell Pierce, but with the continuing
shifts in the metagame, it’s hard to tell where it’s going next.

3)   GerryT played Sun Titan in the sideboard, and I played Geth. I think he made this switch in spite of my saying how good Geth is, but I don’t feel
like asking him, so I can only make that assumption. So you want to know why I think Geth is better? All right, you asked for it.

3thingstoknow about why Geth is better than Sun Titan

1)   It’s unblockable. In the mirror, Squadron Hawk gets in a little damage and then reverts to chumping a sworded creature turn after turn. When you
have a heavy hitter that can’t be blocked, you have an advantage in not just the race, but the sword fight. Your sworded creatures can’t be blocked,
and theirs can.

2)   I want a card that’s good when my opponent draws better than I do. If I don’t get a sword early, then I need a way to take advantage of an
opponent who has. With the amount of discard and Divine Offerings that I played, it was more likely for me to put a sword into their grave than for one
to end up in my own. U/W and U/W/R only have Divine Offerings to kill my Swords and not many ways to kill my Stoneforge Mystics or Squadron Hawks
either. Since I plan on being the one messing with their spells, it seems pretty logical as to why I prefer Geth.

3)   My Sun Titan isn’t as good as your Sun Titan. That’s right; I’m killing your Swords and making you discard your Stoneforges, which means your Sun
Titan will be better than mine. If you have Sun Titan advantage, I want something that can change how good yours is. In comes Geth. He will take the
card your Sun Titan targets and put it into play under my control. Oh, and mana cost three or less? I want your Baneslayers and Sun Titans over here,
so give them to me. The milling with Sword of Body and Mind is even more relevant than it was before!

3thingstoknow about how Geth can be worse that Sun Titan

1)   Gideon can come down and kill it the turn after it attacks. I don’t find this particularly problematic since you got an untap with Geth and a
five-point swing, so you probably are up on the exchange.

2)   Jace can bounce him and not give you any value, while Sun Titan could potentially return a Sword or Hawk. This is the better argument and one that
I can’t really argue. I think the upsides to Geth outweigh the downsides, but pick your own poison.

3)   With Tectonic Edge gaining popularity in the upcoming week, which is what I think will happen, returning Creeping Tar Pit with Sun Titan doesn’t
appear to be out of the question. For the event I played, I think Geth was a stronger card, but make sure to keep this in mind when building for the
upcoming week: there may be in an uptick in Tectonic Edge.

No matter what direction you take, Caw-Blade is a very good deck and will perform well regardless. I suggest playing either straight U/W or U/B/W for
this week’s upcoming Dallas/Fort Worth StarCityGames.com Open, as the U/W/R list isn’t well positioned for a format of U/B/W Caw-Blade and Valakut.
Those two will become more popular based on results from Memphis, so make sure you make changes to your deck accordingly.

For additional 3thingstoknow on everyday life please visit Gerard Fabiano website www.3thingstoknow.com.