Can Anything Beat Urza At SCG Knoxville?

After Urza decks’ performance at SCG Columbus, should you beat him or join him for SCG Knoxville? Five SCG personalities weigh in!

Urza, Lord High Artificer, illustrated by Grzegorz Rutkowski

Welcome to What We'd Play! With SCG Knoxville this weekend, many are unsure what they’d play in such a high-profile tournament. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this last-minute advice aids in your decision making! Be sure to vote for who you agree with in the poll at the end!

Corey Baumeister – Temur Urza

Fresh off a Top 4 finish at SCG Columbus with the same archetype, I didn’t really feel the need to change my strategy all that much. Temur Urza was so much better for me than the Sultai version, all because of some key red cards. Experimental Frenzy was almost always a game-winner against any spot removal deck or mirror matches, Blood Moon really got the job done against Primeval Titan decks, and Galvanic Blast and Anger of the Gods were cleaning up pesky creatures all weekend! 

Urza decks already have their main 53 cards set, so it is all about those seven flex slots as a way to gain an edge against the field. With a lot of decks bringing in Veil of Summer and Mystical Dispute, I don’t want to have expensive blue cards like Cryptic Command in the deck in sideboard games. With that logic, I decided to just get rid of them altogether.

Temur Urza is the best Urza list out there right now and you’ve not lived until you have had Urza on the battlefield alongside Experimental Frenzy!

Sam Black – Simic Urza

As always, I believe that Urza is the best archetype in Modern. It makes the best use of all the best cards, and generates critical mana and speed advantages against every other Oko deck.

I believe this more controlling build of Urza is basically better across the board than other midrange Urza decks and I’ve loved both Archmage’s Charm and Ice-Fang Coatl. I know VTCLA won the Modern MOCS with a version of this that used Emry and fewer Archmage’s Charms, but I prefer the full set because I think it’s important for fighting Oko mirrors by stealing Elks, and I like to have enough copies to chain them together.

I wouldn’t change more than two to three spells in the maindeck from the list above, but I’m less attached to the sideboard. I like to sideboard very sparingly with the deck, so if there’s a really high-impact bullet you like, I’d encourage adding it.

I think there are a handful of archetypes that are competitive with this deck, but I think it’s the best choice and consider Modern pretty close to solved with the current card pool.

Shaheen Soorani – Whirza

At this stage in the game, it’s very difficult to choose a deck that doesn’t harness the power of Oko, Thief of Crowns in Modern.  There’s no way that this mistake of a planeswalker isn’t getting banned in the future, so the world should take advantage of playing competitive tournaments while it can.  If you’re fortunate enough to find a deck that uses Oko and Urza, Lord High Artificer, that’s the jackpot.

I’m a Stoneforge Mystic fanatic but even I have my limits.  This version of Whirza is right up my ally, as it dips into one of my wheelhouse combo decks of old.  Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek provided me comfort when I played it in a control shell and Whirza can operate similarly.  There are obvious busted draws that make the game unwinnable for the opponent by Turn 3, but there are many long games where Whirza can easily take its time to win.  This deck, along with any other that employs both broken cards I mentioned, needs to be your deck of choice moving forward.

Ari Lax – Simic Urza

You can argue about minutiae, like whether another Emry, Lurker of the Loch or a Teferi, Time Raveler is better than the last Ice-Fang Coatl. Or whether you need a third Mystic Sanctuary. Or how many Engineered Explosives you want to leave in for a given matchup. Or whether Ceremonious Rejection is better than Disdainful Stroke or some other counterspell. Or whether you splash Path to Exile out of the sideboard.

But if you aren’t showing up with four Oko, Thief of Crowns; four Urza, Lord High Artificer; and four Mox Opal while all those cards are still legal in Modern, you’re making a massive mistake. The other 48 cards in the deck are also broken, but those ones are exceptionally so.

(For those playing the 2019 card count game at home, this one is 30/55 spells, and if you count reprints, every mana-producing land as well).

Andrew Elenbogen – Sultai Urza

Urza is the best deck in Modern. At the moment, I believe Sultai Urza is best build because it has the edge in the mirror. Every card in Urza is amazing, which makes me prefer to play three copies of Emry, as it is legendary and whatever card I’m drawing instead of it will not be much worse.

The ability to suddenly change gears, tap the opponent’s team a few times, and win the game out of nowhere has come up constantly for me. As a result, I feel the third Cryptic Command is mandatory and I’m happy to shave on Archmage’s Charm to make space. I also have included a single Metallic Rebuke because I was impressed by that card’s ability to win counter wars in the mirror.

If you want a deeper dive into many Urza-related decisions, check out my article today.