WUBRG Cascade by Thomas Dodd

Thomas Dodd, aka @amistod is a friend I met on Twitter. Thomas and I conversed quite a bit about decks like the Rhox Meditant deck and most recently the Kitchen Finks-less inheritor to the Rhox Meditant deck. He was instrumental and influential in the development of those strategies and ran with the more recent version of the WUBRG Cascade deck at the Charlotte 5K. I am very happy to present his contributing blog post.


I wake up early at 6:30AM Sunday morning. I’m one QP away from season six MOCS champs, and I’ll gladly forgo my morning shut-eye for the 7:00AM Standard Daily and that necessary point. The usual suspects are represented, and I thankfully navigate around the quick aggro decks until round three. [Name withheld] is playing WW, and, after a quick win, I have a difficult decision during sideboarding. I realize the Kitchen Finks will not trade with his first strikers, so I remove them for Blightning. The early turns have me shredding his hand, and eventually he top-decks a Ranger of Eos with four lands in play. He tutors up two Figures of Destiny, which I EOT Esper Charm. I’m hooked. Over the next two days, I play in several Alara Block daily events, and I realize the loss of Finks is minor, especially when Captured Sunlight is used. That Wednesday night, I send @fivewithflores a tweet about the possibility of dropping Finks in standard. I wake up the next morning and see this list:

Cascade Control

1 Obelisk of Alara

4 Bituminous Blast
4 Blightning
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Captured Sunlight
1 Enigma Sphinx
4 Enlisted Wurm
4 Esper Charm

2 Primal Command

4 Baneslayer Angel

4 Exotic Orchard
1 Forest
1 Graven Cairns
1 Island
1 Mountain
2 Plains
4 Reflecting Pool
1 Swamp
4 Vivid Crag
4 Vivid Grove
4 Vivid Meadow
1 Wooded Bastion

sb:
3 Ajani Vengeant
4 Anathemancer
2 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Primal Command
4 Hallowed Burial

I immediately tweak my online list and start testing, as the SCG Charlotte 5k is only two days away. I remove the expensive Obelisk and Enigma Sphinx to reduce my chances of awkward opening hands. This is the list I register on Saturday:

Creatures
4 Baneslayer Angel
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Enlisted Wurm

Instants
4 Bituminous Blast
4 Esper Charm

Sorceries
4 Blightning
4 Captured Sunlight
2 Hallowed Burial
2 Primal Command

Basic Lands
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Mountain
2 Plains
1 Swamp

Lands
4 Exotic Orchard
1 Graven Cairns
4 Reflecting Pool
4 Vivid Crag
4 Vivid Grove
4 Vivid Meadow
1 Wooded Bastion

Sideboard:
4 Anathemancer
4 Great Sable Stag
2 Runed Halo
4 Volcanic Fallout
1 Identity Crisis

In Charlotte, I lose once each to Kithkin and Merfolk, weak matchups that I was hoping to avoid. The Runed Halo and Identity Crisis are concessions to Cruel Ultimatum, but I am not convinced they are better than Ajani. While losing to Forgetender and Harm’s Way – and watching Faeries get crushed all around me – I wish that my Fallouts were Infests. I feel awkward without Maelstrom Pulse, as the inability to actually kill something is slightly unnerving. I find that I have to race or trade more than usual. Overall, I am satisfied with the deck’s performance. I go 7-2 in the event, placing 12th.

The main issue I want to talk about with this deck is how powerful decision making is in Magic. Every spell in this deck ends with the opponent making an increasingly difficult decision. The ability to tilt your paper opponent with discard is profound… especially when you snipe their draw with a well timed “pause after your draw” Esper Charm. “You hit what, two Blightnings and three Esper Charms that game? Luck Sack.” I heard this during sideboarding all day long. Your opponent feels the need to explain to you – and to himself – that it was nothing you did, such as designing your deck to only hit discard, that caused the win. I find it interesting that people forget that Esper Charm can do this, and are confused when Esper Charm is used this way. People are not prepared for this much discard from a Bloodbraid deck. I also enjoyed watching people sideboard incorrectly against the deck. Cards boarded for the perceived 5cc matchup, such as Thought Hemorrhage and Identity Crisis, proved prohibitively expensive, as they were forcibly discarded before they could be cast.

Here is the adjusted deck list that I will be playing online until rotation:

Creatures
4 Baneslayer Angel
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Enlisted Wurm

Instants
4 Bituminous Blast
4 Esper Charm

Sorceries
4 Blightning
4 Captured Sunlight
2 Hallowed Burial
2 Primal Command

Basic Lands
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Mountain
2 Plains
1 Swamp

Lands
4 Exotic Orchard
1 Graven Cairns
4 Reflecting Pool
4 Vivid Crag
4 Vivid Grove
4 Vivid Meadow
1 Wooded Bastion

Sideboard:
3 Thoughtseize
4 Great Sable Stag
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Infest

With this adjusted board, I feel like I have a better chance against the more aggressive decks in the format. Dropping Anathemancer may seem crazy, but I only used him in the 5 color match up. Lightning Bolt should help with Wake Thrasher and Ramgang, as well as keeping true to the philosophy of never missing a cascade.

I really can’t say enough about Twitter. This tool has been invaluable in improving my Magic game. The ability to have a real time conversation with some of Magic’s most colorful characters is just too good to pass up. I invite all of you to add me and send me your contact information so that I can return the favor. I am always up for chatting about decks or testing online, so drop me a line sometime.

Currently Listening: 2009 Beatles Stereo Remasters

Thomas Dodd
amistod on Twitter / Mtgo

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5 comments ↓

#1 MTGBattlefield on 09.17.09 at 8:41 am

WUBRG Cascade by Thomas Dodd…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#2 tongonation on 09.17.09 at 12:57 pm

if you are one QP away, why not just go win an 8 man draft instead of bothering with a daily? you can run’em anytime (and get some sleep lol) and they should generally be markedly faster than trying to squeeze qps out of dailies. Like, if you needed three or sic, I would see the sunday at 7am thing, but for 1? I mean, all of mine this season came from draft, but I am not really a constructed mage, so this is not all that surprising.

#3 amistod on 09.18.09 at 8:39 am

I am concerned with getting the most bang for my buck on magic online. 6 ticket dailys blow away the 8man constructed. I get one more round of testing, and if i lose round 1, i can still 3-1 and get the point. Also, keep in mind you can earn byes with the extra points.

#4 Joe on 09.19.09 at 4:09 pm

So I’ll be the first to say it: Nice blog post! Very informative and I’d like to see more (either here or on a website of your own).

#5 Thestarkingtonpost » Blog Archive » Quiet Speculation 11 by Kelly Reid on 11.10.09 at 1:22 am

[…] deck, created by Michael J Flores and Thomas Dodd http://fivewithflores.com/2009/09/wubrg-cascade-by-thomas-dodd, leverages the power of cascade to ensure that every cascade ends in your opponent discarding two […]

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