Osyp on Astral Slide

Hello, my name is Osyp and Mike asked me to guest host his blog.

One of the more awkward requests I’ve gotten, but Mike’s a friend so I was more than happy to oblige.

I suppose the only relevant thing to this blog I can write about, since I don’t like Liz Phair or obscure graphic novels, is my recent PTQ win.

I played GWR Slide at the PTQ in Edison this past weekend and went 7-1 in the swiss. I actually build Slide every season and hope that it’s good; thankfully this time around it’s actually quite good in this current environment.

3 Engineered Explosives
4 Spark Spray
3 Path to Exile
3 Life from the Loam
3 Edge of Autumn
3 Lightning Rift
3 Astral Slide
2 Wrath of God

4 Kitchen Finks
2 Loxodon Hierarch
2 Cloudthresher

4 Tranquil Thicket
4 Secluded Steppe
3 Forgotten Cave
3 Windswept Heath
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Ghost Quarter
2 Flagstones of Trokair
2 Forests
2 Plains
1 Mountain
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Temple Garden
1 Stomping Ground

4 Lightning Helix
3 Duegar Hedge Mage
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Eternal Witness
2 Ajani Vengeant
1 Path to Exile
1 Cloudthresher

The best deck in the format is Faeries, and Slide just happens to be very good against it. This was the matchup I tested the most prior to the PTQ and as long as you’re patient and play correctly it’s difficult to lose. They really don’t have an effective way to beat you, and you have several threats that they can’t really answer. That being said, Faeries can be difficult depending on what build they’re playing. If they’re playing Herbey’s deck from the GP (main deck Trinket mage package and Shackles) than the matchup can actually be difficult, as you have no main deck answer to shackles and they can tutor a relic to break up your loam engine. However that version is surprisingly unpopular and most either play Owen’s UB build or a more standard Mono U version with Glen Elendra and Sowers and no Shackles!

You’re also very good against the best aggressive deck in the format, Affinity, and have a very strong matchup against GB Loam. Game 1 they can’t answer your enchantments, and after board any plan they may have against you (Extirpate, Krosan Grip) can just get trumped by Ajani Vengeant, which will always win the game.

Red decks are also favorable for you, although Vortex gives them a good shot game 1 of stealing a win. However I still feel like your favorable against any red deck as in testing I very rarely lost a best of 3.

Then there’s combo. Elves is a reasonable matchup because unless they draw multiple Glimpse they can’t keep up with your removal and you’ll eventually wear them down. TEPS on the other hand is unwinnable. I knew this going in and didn’t even bother with any sideboard slots as it won’t make any difference, you cannot win. This did not scare me away mainly because I don’t think TEPS is a very consistent deck, it’s probably the least consistent in the entire field (including All-in Red). I don’t think the deck has a real shot of winning a PTQ and I stand by that comment. If you also look at the PTQ results, it rarely makes T8 and even scanning the room at a PTQ, you won’t see many at the top tables. That being said, that doesn’t mean people won’t play it, but the odds are you will only have to play it once, and you can afford to take a loss given your strength against the rest of the field.

With all that said, I don’t think that Slide is the most powerful deck in the format, however the main reason I played it was that I knew I could play it well and wouldn’t make many mistakes. That’s really all you can ask when you’re deciding what to play. If you’re not planning on playing Faeries, you need to ask yourself “Can I play this deck well enough to give myself an edge over less prepared opponents?” Because the truth is 90% of the people you play at a PTQ are not well prepared, and the other 10% is where the luck factor is going to need to come in.

My matchups were as follows:

Rd 1: Faeries 2-0
Rd 2: Naya Burn 2-1
Rd 3: TEPS 0-2
Rd 4: Affinity 2-1
Rd 5: Gifts/Loam 2-0
Rd 6: Elves 2-1
Rd 7: Elves 2-0
Rd 8: Affinity 2-0

In the T8 I actually lost to my good friend Gerard playing Herbey’s version of Fae which I mentioned earlier, however he was already qualified and conceded. I then beat Kithkin 2-0 in T4 and Josh Ravitz playing UB Faeries in the finals 2-0.

I think the deck is a real contender and would recommend it if you expect a lot of Faeries and Affinity at your PTQ. Just don’t be scared off by TEPS and practice a lot, because there are a handful of decisions you need to make each turn (particularly turn 1-3) and the wrong one will drastically change the outcome.

For instance, against Fae post board you need to be careful with your cycling lands and loam. Let’s say your opening hand is a Windswept Heath, Ghost Quarter, Tranquil Thicket and Life from the Loam. Game 1 you would probably sacrifice the heath for a stomping ground, cycle the thicket and untap and play loam. However after board Fae is likely to bring in Relic, therefore that sequence would be terrible for you if they Spell Snare’d your Loam and then played a Relic. A smart Fae player would never play turn 1 Relic for that reason alone. If they do they give you too much information and allow you to make the correct play which is to play the Thicket turn 1. Post board the best way to play around Relic is to just make your land drops and not worry about it until later in the game when you draw an Ancient Grudge. The game will go long, so don’t feel rushed to cycle and dig for cards because there’s no need.

[Thanks Osyp! -mf]

facebook comments:


#1 Joe on 02.25.09 at 10:51 pm

A very nice report. You should start some sort of blog. Then I can read two reports every few days!

#2 GRat on 02.25.09 at 10:59 pm

Nice job =)

#3 TinderWall on 02.25.09 at 11:47 pm

Almost makes me want to play slide

#4 mtgxman on 02.26.09 at 7:03 am

I haven’t really played Slide since it was standard. I’m thinking………….. Maybe.

#5 GRat on 02.26.09 at 10:25 am

I remember having a Slide list together back in November, I took it apart thinking it would have been looked upon as a joke. Guess not!

#6 Lucksak on 02.26.09 at 5:27 pm

Nice article Osyp, good to see you back in the game and congrats on the PTQ win. I was curious if you could give some general thoughts/tips on sideboarding with the deck. As it is something I am possibly interested in playing, as I’ve been able to Top8 with Naya Zoo this year, but I just feel like I can’t get the blue envelope with the deck.

#7 Patrick Sullivan on 02.26.09 at 8:31 pm

I’m sure you did fine against the local clowns playing Burn, but I would have left you in a smoldering heap. You’re lucky I don’t live out there anymore.

In related news, I’m coming home at the end of March. Let’s get something going.


#8 admin on 02.27.09 at 10:51 am

@Patrick Sullivan
I would talk some sh!t to you but the only time we have ever played I forgot to pay upkeep on my Masticore and you beat me with a bunch of 2/1s so I would look like a jackass. As for March, sure!

#9 ToddScott on 03.08.09 at 11:47 pm

I feel like I’m in the same boat as you. I’ve spent the last 3 extended seasons trying to play slide, including the dreg-atog season where I top 8ed 3 ptqs but completely choked in all of them, because I’m a donkey.

That aside, I don’t know if you’re monitoring this, but I’m in VA and the field seems at least moderately heavy with desire so far this year. Is there anything to help the matchup? I had runed halo which auto wins game 1 if it sticks, and gilded light, but with no real clock; game 2 and 3 seem unwinnable when echoing truth comes in. Is angel’s grace an option?

Also, I understand most of the sideboard, but what do the 2 witnesses come in against, and why?

Thanks if you have any time to help,

#10 oscar_leibowitz on 03.12.09 at 11:13 am


I thought about the TEPS matchup a lot (before ultimatly giving up on it.)

There is one plan I had come up with but hadn’t really tested. It involved the card BitterOrdeal. Basically I would sideboard 1 Swamp and 4 Bitter Ordeal and add one Godless Shrine to the main deck. The idea being you hold off on your sac lands and/or Ghost Quarters and Edge of Autumns until turn 3 and cast a Bitter Ordeal for hopefully 2-3. The fact that it has storm and is only 3 mana make it an optimal play before they can realistically go off. It gets arouns remand and it’s a proactive card that can steal wins from them.

That being said, it requires a lot of sideboard space and won’t always work so it really depends on how much desire is in your area and how commited you are to playing Slide.

Witness is great against GB Loam and Bant decks

#11 Five With Flores » Audible - The Legendary 3am Deck on 03.13.09 at 8:21 pm

[…] case you didn’t read Osyp’s PTQ winning report, here is the […]

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