Sphinx’s Tutelage VERSUS Constellation!

Sphinx's Tutelage
Sphinx’s Tutelage is the definition of “scissors” (as in rock-paper-scissors).
If you can get to the top tables with it, Sphinx’s Tutelage can lock up a tournament for you.

Recently on Twitter our own Patrick Chapin (aka @thepchapin) made a curious claim:

What did he mean by this?

What does that say about decks from the Pro Tour (like U/R Ensoul Artifact or Mono-Red beatdown), and how does it help inform go-forward metagame decisions in Standard?

Decks like Brian Kibler’s G/W Megamorph deck attacks particular opponents at advantageous angles:

G/W Kibler Megamorph by Loren Eakins

2 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
3 Dromoka’s Command
4 Fleecemane Lion

3 Boon Satyr
2 Courser of Kruphix
4 Deathmist Raptor
4 Den Protector
4 Elvish Mystic
3 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
2 Warden of the First Tree

2 Hidden Dragonslayer
3 Valorous Stance

1 Blossoming Sands
8 Forest
1 Mana Confluence
6 Plains
4 Temple of Plenty
4 Windswept Heath

sideboard:
4 Hangarback Walker
1 Dromoka’s Command
2 Evolutionary Leap
2 Unravel the Æther
2 Arashin Cleric
1 Glare of Heresy
2 Tragic Arrogance
1 Valorous Stance

  • This deck lines up against [the Pro Tour-winning] Mono-Red deck on the fundamentals: Its cards just line up well against the Red Deck’s cards.
  • This deck has great options against the [It! Girl! breakout] U/R Ensoul Artifact deck. Unravel the Aether, for example, doesn’t care how “indestructible” an artifact might be.
  • Even against up-and-coming decks like U/R Sphinx’s Tutelage, Kibler’s deck starts Dromoka’s Command (a source of enchantment hate)
  • Tragic Arrogance is a great catch-all… “You just make them sacrifice their stuff.”

How about that Sphinx’s Tutelage deck?

U/R Sphinx’s Tutelage by Michael Majors

1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Flooded Strand
4 Island
5 Mountain
4 Radiant Fountain
4 Shivan Reef
4 Swiftwater Cliffs
4 Temple of Epiphany

1 Alhammarret’s Archive

4 Anger of the Gods
4 Magmatic Insight
2 Roast
4 Tormenting Voice

1 Dig Through Time
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Monastery Siege
2 Send to Sleep
4 Sphinx’s Tutelage
4 Treasure Cruise
2 Whelming Wave

sideboard:
3 Annul
1 Disperse
1 Encase in Ice
4 Negate
1 Whelming Wave
4 Fiery Impulse
1 Seismic Rupture

Michael Majors won Grand Prix San Diego with a port of Andrew Cuneo’s U/R Sphinx’s Tutelage deck:

With Abzan Control and G/W Megamorph so successful, U/R Sphinx’s Tutelage was a great choice! The deck can strand the heavy creature removal of Abzan, and easily race its powerful-but-slow threats with Sphinx’s Tutelage itself.

While this deck is full of card drawing — and was designed by Andrew Cuneo — make no mistake: This is a VERY offensive deck. Those card drawing cards aren’t just there for filtering and card advantage… With Sphinx’s Tutelage, they are there to kill you.

The success of U/R Sphinx’s Tutelage — and its finals opponent Abzan Constellation — have put the bullseye on enchantments as a card type. We’ve already talked about how Dromoka’s Command and Unravel the Aether can be effective against the key cards of these decks. But consider…

Back to Nature wipes the floor with Constellation! Remember Back to Nature?

Tragic Arrogance doesn’t care how many enchantments you have… It blows up [almost] all of them. Tragic Arrogance is a card people are already playing, and [Grand Prix Top 4 competitor] Paul Rietzl even ported a Tragic Arrogance into a former End Hostilities slot of his Abzan Control deck.

Abzan Control by Paul Rietzl

1 Bile Blight
3 Hero’s Downfall
2 Languish
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
4 Thoughtseize
2 Ultimate Price

4 Abzan Charm
1 Dragonlord Dromoka
4 Siege Rhino

4 Courser of Kruphix
2 Den Protector
3 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

2 Caves of Koilos
4 Forest
2 Llanowar Wastes
1 Plains
4 Sandsteppe Citadel
4 Temple of Malady
4 Temple of Silence
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Windswept Heath

sideboard:
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
1 Bile Blight
1 Drown in Sorrow
2 Duress
2 Read the Bones
2 Dromoka’s Command
1 Unravel the Æther
2 Arashin Cleric
2 Hallowed Moonlight
1 Tragic Arrogance

(and more)

… all in “Sphinx’s Tutelage VERSUS Constellation”

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