A Bitter Reunion with Sam Black

Bitter Reunion

Bitter Reunion from The Brothers’ War

As far as I can tell, Sam Black has retaken the title of Magic’s strongest active deck builder. If you’ve been following his exploits in Premodern, you know that Sam just won the latest Misty Mountain tournament with a deck of his own design… A very different take on the dominant Land Tax family that — at a minimum — owns a tremendous edge in that slow mirror.

But not everyone even cares about Premodern! I know, I know! (they should)

Sam remains an innovative and important deck builder in contemporary, competitive, Magic as well. There is no better example than his recent “Boros” take on White Control… Essentially the current standard-Standard White Control splashing red for Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Bitter Reunion.

This is the version that he posted on his YouTube channel about a week ago, before the Regional Championships in San Diego:

Sam Boros Control v 1.0

4 Lay Down Arms

2 Ambitious Farmhand
4 Ossification
2 Spirited Companion
3 Bitter Reunion
3 Reckoner Bankbuster

2 Loran of the Third Path
2 The Restoration of Eiganjo
3 Wedding Announcement
4 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

3 Serra Paragon
1 The Wandering Emperor

1 Espeth Resplendent

2 Sanctuary Warden
1 The Eternal Wanderer

4 Cabaretti Courtyard
9 Plains
4 Jetmir’s Garden
1 Mountain
4 Sundown Pass
1 Roadside Reliquary


2 Destroy Evil
1 Reckoner Bankbuster
2 Urza’s Sylex
1 Wedding Announcement
2 Archangel of Wrath
1 The Stone Brain
2 Depopulate
2 Farewell
1 Unlicensed Hearse
1 The Mightstone and the Weakstone

Bitter Reunion Makes the Difference

While Sam’s deck shares a lot of DNA with other white control decks, its “difference that makes the difference” is Bitter Reunion. Alongside Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Bitter Reunion is the essential justification for a red splash.

What’s going on with that card?

First of all, Bitter Reunion is just an upgrade to a card like Tormenting Voice, that was already good enough to make Top 8 of a Constructed Pro Tour. You get Tormenting Voice’s effect for Tormenting Voice’s cost… but get to keep a permanent.

That permanent status allows you to give serious oomph to cards like Reflection of Kiki-Jiki that the opponent might not expect. Attacking with Sanctuary Warden the turn it hits the battlefield or even Serra Paragon — when you’ve bought the Bitter Reunion back from the graveyard — are features that the standard-Standard White Control simply doesn’t have.

I’ll write more about this deck and its descendant later this week on CoolStuffInc (check out my CoolStuffInc archive!) but I just wanted to give some context to a new video I made for YouTube.

I haven’t updated this blog in years, but you might remember it started out as mostly my Magic blog and kind of sister site to my YouTube channel. I’m going to make a go of bringing both back. Thanks for coming along for the ride.


Oh, here’s the video:

I hope you think it’s sweet!

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