Video Daily Digest: You’re A Wizard, Harlan

Wizard’s Lightning scored its first big Modern finish at SCG Regionals! Ross Merriam highlights the deck…but not before gently roasting Ryan Overturf!

StarCiyGames.com’s own Ryan Overturf put on his brewing cap recently and busted out a sweet-looking U/R Wizards deck at his hometown Open in Minneapolis. Unfortunately for Ryan, he didnt have a great day and left early to go take a nap. (I can relate!)

Compounding Ryan’s misfortune is the fact that I have some standards over here at the Daily Digest (seriously, I do), and without a solid finish, I couldn’t feature his sweet, sweet deck in this space. Enter hero of the hour Harlan Firer, who took an updated list of the deck to Regionals and put up a third-place finish.

Whether you call it U/R Wizards or U/R Prowess, the deck is trying to do the same thing, and that’s get the opponent dead. The only tribal payoff here is Wizard’s Lightning, but getting to play copies 5-8 of Lightning Bolt, one of the defining cards of the Modern format, is quite the payoff to have, and you’re not sacrificing much on creature quality to do it.

Stormchaser Mage and Soul-Scar Mage are the weakest of the bunch, but both are serviceable, either as evasive attackers or ways to help manage larger threats like Tarmogoyf and Gurmag Angler. The other parts of the creature base — Snapcaster Mage, Monastery Swiftspear, and Grim Lavamancer — are Modern staples, so you don’t have to worry about your cards standing on their own.

Snapcaster Mage, in particular, is an important aspect of the deck because it gives you some much-needed versatility. Sometimes it’s just another burn spell pointed at your opponent’s face, but other times it will help you manage your opponent’s creatures. Pro Tip: getting them dead is trivial when all their stuff is dead.

Unfortunately, when you play that long-game strategy in a deck of all one- and two-mana spells, you run the risk of flooding, especially with a high density of cantrips. That’s where Faithless Looting comes in, letting you throw away useless lands for more sweet Bolts and cantrips. Be patient with your Lootings and they will reward you.

“Efficient creatures and burn spells” is an old combination in Magic, but it’s an effective one and that isn’t changing here. The addition of four more Lightning Bolts more than makes up for the downgrade in creature quality, so there’s a lot to like here for the aggressive-minded among us. If this deck stays around, at least Ryan can take solace in the fact that his bad day in Minneapolis was not in vain.