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Budget Magic: $82 (25 tix) Standard UW Clue Flash


Hafa Adai, Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week we are heading back to Standard for a deck that I'm super excited about: UW Clue Flash! Over the last couple of weeks I've gotten a bunch of requests and questions about the Blue's Clues deck that's been making its way around Standard, so I started off by playing a couple of matches with a build of the deck. Unfortunately, while the deck was sweet, there were some aspects of it that I really didn't like. For one thing, I often ended up with more Clue tokens than I could crack, which felt like a waste, and secondly, the deck had a really hard time generating pressure. It felt like if an opponent resolved a planeswalker, I was pretty much guaranteed to lose. So UW Clue Flash is my reworking of the archetype, with the idea being to fix those problems.

Let's get to the videos, then I'll talk more about UW Clue Flash. A quick reminder: if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

UW Clue Flash: Deck Tech

UW Clue Flash vs Sultai Midrange

UW Clue Flash vs Mono-White Humans

UW Clue Flash vs Naya Midrange

UW Clue Flash vs Sultai Seasons Past

UW Clue Flash vs Mono-U Spidersilk

The Deck

I mentioned in the intro that the two things I especially dislike about other Clue decks is that they were bad at pressuring planeswalkers and often didn't have a chance to cash in Clue tokens for cards; UW Clue Flash solves both of those problems. First off, we get to play a bunch of evasive flash creatures which are really good at pressuring Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Chandra, Flamecaller, other planeswalkers, and our opponent's life total. Secondly, since these creatures have flash. We get to play primarily on our opponent's turn, which means we can pass with all of our mana up, and depending on what our opponent does, either cast a creature with flash, counter something, or crack Clue tokens to refill our hand. Plus we get to play a Bitterblossom that draws us cards in Thopter Spy Network!

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Thopter Spy Network is a super powerful card; getting a free evasive creature every turn is great, it's hard to interact with, and it generates card advantage. Last summer, while Darksteel Citadel was in the format, it was close to a Standard staple. Then rotation happened and having an artifact around to activate Thopter Spy Network became much more difficult, but this changed with the printing of Clue tokens in Shadows over Innistrad. Thraben Inspector in specific provides a really easy way to get a Clue on the battlefield early to make sure that we start generating advantage with Thopter Spy Network right away. Sure, its 1/2 body isn't exciting, but it is a great chump blocker, plus after we get Thopter Spy Network going we can cash in the Clue token for a fresh card, which makes Thraben Inspector quite good in our deck. 

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This package of efficient fliers is key to our deck, allowing us to pressure our opponent (and whatever planeswalker they may have), while generating more Clue tokens thanks to Bygone Bishop, and allowing us to very rarely tap mana on our own turn thanks to flash. 

Bygone Bishop is one of the more underrated cards in Shadows over Innistrad, especially in our deck which values Clue tokens more than most because we need them to turn on Thopter Spy Network. As a 2/3 flier, it provides a reasonable clock, but more importantly, it's good on defense, blocking things like Sylvan Advocate, Duskwatch Recruiter, Reflector Mage and pretty much anything in Humans or Company decks. Plus, over the course of a long game, all of the extra cards we get from Clue tokens add up to a nearly insurmountable advantage. 

Rattlechains is amazing with Bygone Bishop. If we cast it early, it allows us to flash in Bygone Bishop at the end of our opponent's turn, not only dodging sorcery speed removal, but also allowing us to leave up countermagic. If we cast Rattlechains after we have a Bygone Bishop on the battlefield, we can use the hexproof ability to fizzle a removal spell while also getting another Clue token. Plus, the Standard format is fairly weak to efficient fliers at the moment. Apart from Archangel Avacyn, most of the interaction is taking place on the ground—you'd be amazed how many decks have a really difficult time beating a few two-powered fliers. 

Dimensional Infiltrator is essentially a bad Rattlechains since it doesn't have nearly as much synergy with Bygone Bishop (although it still gets us a Clue tokens). This said, it's still really important to our deck because we need a critical mass of flash creatures to support our plan of not tapping mana on our turn. Bygone Bishop aside, Dimensional Infiltrator is essentially the same card as Rattlechains, being another efficient, evasive threat to help us pressure our opponent. 

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The next piece of the puzzle is our abundance of counterspells. These cards are the reason we don't want to tap out on our turn. One of the downsides of playing a counter-heavy strategy is that if the opponent is playing around a counter, we run the risk of Time Walking ourselves by passing our turn and doing nothing. However, in our deck we not only have a bunch of flash creatures, but lots of Clue tokens, so we can pass our turn, leave up countermagic, and if our opponent decides to skip their turn to play around a counter, we still get to generate value by casting Rattlechains/Dimensional Infiltrator, or by cracking some Clues to refill our hand. 

The other benefit to this plan is that we always leave our opponent guessing. When we pass our turn and leave up all of our mana, our opponent will have no idea what we might have. It could be that we are leaving up a counter, it could be that we are planning on flashing in a creature or two, or it could be that our hand is full of blanks and we are looking to draw some cards with our Clues. Because of this, it makes it really difficult for our opponent to make the optimal play. 

While most of our counters are interchangable, Ojutai's Command is especially good in our deck. Not only can it counter a creature spell, but it can also get back a Rattlechains/Dimensional Infiltrator to get in some damage, or even a Thraben Inspector to get us the artifact we need to turn on Thopter Spy Network.

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The final piece of our "do everything on our opponent's end step" puzzle is Stasis Snare and a couple of lands. In all honesty, Stasis Snare isn't all that great in Standard at the moment, mostly because it tends to get blown out by Nahiri, the Harbinger, but I think it's a necessary evil. We really need an instant speed, unconditional removal spell in the deck, and Stasis Snare is the best option without splashing for an additional color. 

Meanwhile, Westvale Abbey and Foundry of the Consuls give us another way to generate value after leaving up countermagic. Foundry of the Consuls also has some synergy with Thopter Spy Network, making artifacts that either turn on the enchantment, or allows us to draw cards when the 1/1 flying Thopter tokens attack. As for Westvale Abbey, it actually works pretty well with our flash creatures. There are definitely instances where we can flash in a couple of Rattlechains/Dimensional Infiltrators at the end of our opponent's turn to get up to five creatures, untap, transform into Ormendahl, and win the game on the spot.

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The final card in the main deck is Ongoing Investigation, and I'm still torn on whether or not it deserves a spot in the list. We do need to make sure we have enough Clue producers to make Thopter Spy Network good, and Ongoing Investigation does make Clues pretty consistently thanks to all of our evasive creatures, but it's really, really bad on an empty board. Basically, I think this slot needs to be dedicated to something that makes Clue tokens, and right now Ongoing Investigation seems like the best option, although the fact that the card is such high variance can be frustrating. 

Ultra-Budget UW Clue Flash

The ultra-budget version of UW Clue Flash is very similar to the one in the videos. The main downgrade is the manabase, but as a two-color deck, losing dual lands like Port Town and Prairie Stream isn't really a big deal. While our lands will come into play tapped slightly more often thanks to Evolving Wilds and Meandering River, I don't think this is a deal breaker. Otherwise, we lose a couple of sideboard cards that are good in certain matchups like Hallowed Moonlight and Silkwrap, but overall I think the ultra-budget build is quite playable. 

Non-Budget UW Clue Flash

Not a lot of changes to the non-budget build either, but the few changes we did make seem very impactful. First, we get Archangel Avacyn, clearly the most powerful flash creature in Standard and another great way to pressure an opponent after leaving up a counter. Second, we get to up the number of Westvale Abbeys, which was super impressive every time we drew it in our matches. Otherwise, we make room for a couple of Declaration in Stone as additional removal spells, and add some pieces to the sideboard like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Really though, the deck is very similar to the version played in the videos, and while I'm especially excited about Archangel Avacyn, I'm not sure it's necessary to run out and spend $30 a copy to play UW Clue Flash. If you already have them in your collection, toss them in, otherwise, I'd just run with the build in the videos. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. All in all we went 4-1 in the videos, and I felt like we were pretty close to being 5-0 (Dragonlord Atarka is quite the card). I had a blast playing the deck and plan to continue messing around with it because it feels like it's in a decent spot in the current Standard metagame. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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