Standard UW Embalm
With the format being so full of Midrange and value decks right now, why not make your opponent kill everything twice? It sounds great, and trust me it is.
So if you enjoy playing Midrange but don’t want to splash out for The Scarab God, then this is the deck for you.
This deck is looking to survive the early game, then take over the board later on. To help us get there we have three copies of Sacred Cat, plus four copies of both Adorned Pouncer and Trueheart Duelist. While Sacred Cat may look great at first, it doesn’t help us very much in the later turns, hence why we're only running three copies.
Trueheart Duelist meanwhile is the ultimate chump blocker. It trades for one attacker and fogs another… then comes back the following turn to do it all over again. You can’t ask much more of a two drop. Finally, Adorned Pouncer is a powerhouse against Aggro decks, and becomes a game winner once Eternalized. You’d be ridiculous to run any less than four copies of this cat.
Moving up the curve we have three copies of both Champion of Wits and Sunscourge Champion. Champion of Wits helps smooth our draws and hit land drops. As soon as the opportunity comes along to trade it off during combat, take it every time. It’s already done its job. The only reason he isn’t a four of is that the Eternalize cost is just too high. We don’t want a graveyard full of seven drops.
As our other three drop, Sunscourge Champion is another roadblock against Aggro decks, and in the late game discarding a land really isn’t that big of a deal to activate Eternalize.
At four mana we have a range of options dependent on how the game is going. Ixalan’s Binding is our removal of choice, mainly because once a God has been hit with it there ain’t no more of them coming anytime soon. The two copies of Anointed Procession, while costing four mana, aren't there to played on turn four. We can just be under too much pressure at this stage of the game, so if there's another option or play line you should always take it.
The real all-star here is Vizier of the Anointed. This card is a value engine and then some. Not only can we tutor with it, but it also draws us cards for doing everything we already want to be doing. The most common use of the tutor is Adorned Pouncer, but there is an option for almost any scenario. Finally, the two copies of Aven Wind Guide are in here just to close out games when we need to. It's not great on curve, and where possible we just want to vizier these into our graveyard.
At the very top of the curve we have three copies of both Angel of Sanctions and Fumigate. The Angel is always good, acting as copies five through seven of Ixalan’s Binding. I started off with a full playset of Angel of Sanctions, but it just clogs up your hand too much, and you can always go get it with the Vizier anyways. Meanwhile, Fumigate excels against any creature based decks. My big piece of advice here though is to Fumigate before you start using Embalm and Eternalize, then you get the maximum value out of the card.
For lands there is just a little bit of spice with Ipnu Rivulet. If we're running out of gas it allows us to get a couple of dudes in the yard and then we can start the party all over again. To further push the Rivulet synergies, Hostile Desert finds a slot. There are, however, lots of utility lands you could play in this slot. I’d be open to Field of Ruin, amongst others.
Next, let's take a look at some common matchups and how to play and sideboard for them;
This matchup should be in our favour game one. Trade creatures off early and keep your life total at a reasonable number. Normally six is the threshold but if Path of Mettle is there I tend to keep my life total above ten where possible.
This can be a tight game, and you've got about a 50:50 chance in game one. Don’t Chump too early as there will be bigger fish to be eaten by later on. Angel of Sanctions should often be the target for a Vizier of the Anointed, but try not to use it on a Verdurous Gearhulk if possible.
With all of our life gain this match should favour us, and while Sideboarding is minimal, it is necessary. Authority of the Consuls can come in if it you're facing a particularly aggressive build, but is not an auto include.
It's important to be the aggressor in this matchup, and even then it’s not great for us. With an Anointed Procession or Ixalan’s Binding we have a chance, but be sure to save the removal for the Gift itself.
Baring a catastrophe, this should favour us every single time. The level of recurrence in our deck is too much and it only increases after Sideboarding. The only thing to watch is that you don’t play into a Settle the Wreckage, as that will be devastating.
Obviously there will be exceptions to this Sideboarding guide, but it’s a good place to start. As a general rule try to take out weak cards not bring in strong ones, with a few exceptions. The most obvious one being Silent Gravestone.
Finally a little bit of general advice when playing the deck;
- Block early, just don't die. The late game is almost always in our favour.
- Use your removal sparingly. If it won't kill you, don't kill it.
- Aven Wind Guide and Anointed Procession are not turn four plays in most situations, use them as finishers.
- Unless there is obvious graveyard hate from your opponent or curving out seems more important, deploy your hand first, then your graveyard.
Anyway I hope you guys enjoyed this article. If you did be sure to check in each week for a new snapshot of Standard, and also follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DavisMTG/). I’ll see you guys next time.