Video Daily Digest: Meddling With Mages

Meddling Mage is Modern-legal, but it hasn’t had a time to shine until now! Ross Merriam showcases a U/W tempo deck that locks out the opponent’s best card and never lets up!

Meddling Mage has made its mark in competitive formats largely on the back of its power coming out of the sideboard against combo decks. Cutting them off a key element of their engine while at the same time establishing a modest clock is the best one-two punch you can have against linear strategies, whereas fairer decks have a wide enough array of cards that naming only one of them is a minor impediment at best.

But this deck takes Meddling Mage to another level, a level Chris Pikula would be proud of. Between Remand; Reflector Mage; Venser, Shaper Savant; Vendilion Clique; and Peek, you’ll almost always know some part of their hand, so Meddling Mage will always have an impact.

Of course, eventually your opponent will draw answers for your Meddling Mages, thus unlocking their hand, so the advantage it grants is ephemeral. So in order to take advantage of it, you need to end the game quickly after stunting your opponent’s development, the classic tempo strategy.

There’s no better color pairing for tempo than U/W, and the cards above that work so well with Meddling Mage slot right in. Spell Queller and Restoration Angel fill out the creature suite, with the former being an excellent new addition to the archetype and the latter a longtime staple. Tempo decks need the flexibility of flash creatures to let you sequence your counterspells optimally and unsurprisingly, the bulk of the creatures here have flash.

It’s likely no surprise to see Cryptic Command here, but it’s important to note just how powerful the card is in creature strategies. Tapping your opponent’s creatures becomes more than a Fog; it can set up a lethal alpha strike after some pokes in the air. The Boomerang mode also puts in good work here, catching you up from behind and setting you up to turn the corner very quickly. Simply put, in an archetype that wins on versatility, Cryptic Command is a monster.

U/W midrange or tempo decks used to be a staple of Modern in its early days, but you don’t see them around much anymore. But with some new tools and the Meddling Mage package, it might be time to return it to its former glory.