The Truth About Jeskai Ascendancy

To open, Mike “goes deep” (a la Patrick) to talk about THE TRUTH.

What is true? What does it mean to be true in Magic? Useful? … A philosophy of Magic (and life) to start a discussion of this transformational Magic: The Gathering card —

Jeskai Ascendancy
Jeskai Ascendancy
Just how good is Jeskai Ascendancy? Mike has it — at least possibly — as the Number One Card in all of Standard Magic: The Gathering.

Can Jeskai Ascendancy crack Patrick’s Top 10 for Standard? Top five? Was this a miss for episode one (advocating Siege Rhino) or episode three (saying Mantis Rider was THE reason to play Jeskai colors in Standard)?

Well I guess you’ll just have to listen to find out!

Over the course of this epic hour-and-a-half Patrick and Mike talk about Dylan Donegan’s domination of the Standard portion of the recent Star City Games Invitational in Seattle (with Jeskai Ascendancy)… As well as Patrick’s Pantheon teammate Sam Black and his utilization of Jeskai Ascendancy in the Legacy portion of the same tournament.

What would Mike cut from the Standard Jeskai Ascendancy deck?

Why did Sam play Wind Zendikon in a Constructed deck… Let alone in the massive Legacy format?

You’re still going to have to listen to find out.

Dylan Donegan’s Standard Jeskai Ascendancy Deck:

4 Treasure Cruise

2 Jeskai Charm
4 Jeskai Ascendancy

2 Chandra, Pyromaster
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Hordeling Outburst
4 Lightning Strike
4 Stoke the Flames

4 Raise the Alarm
4 Seeker of the Way

3 Battlefield Forge
3 Flooded Strand
1 Island
2 Mountain
4 Mystic Monastery
2 Plains
1 Temple of Epiphany
4 Shivan Reef
4 Temple of Triumph

4 Disdainful Stroke
1 Negate
3 Arc Lightning
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
2 Erase
2 Glare of Heresy
2 Hushwing Gryff

Sam Black’s Legacy Jeskai Ascendancy Combo Deck:

1 Chrome Mox
4 Lotus Petal

4 Brainstorm
2 Dig Through Time
4 Fatestitcher
4 Force of Will
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Mental Note
3 Pact of Negation
4 Thought Scour
4 Treasure Cruise
2 Wind Zendikon

4 Jeskai Ascendancy

2 Gut Shot

1 Flooded Strand
1 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
1 Scalding Tarn
3 Tundra
3 Volcanic Island

2 Pithing Needle
1 Echoing Truth
1 Flusterstorm
1 Hydroblast
1 Forked Bolt
2 Lightning Bolt
3 Pyroblast
1 Sulfur Elemental
3 Swords to Plowshares

… All this plus a couple of Jonny Magic stories and mad appreciation (and more props) for the beloved godfather of card advantage, Brian Weissman in:


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Treasure Cruise and the Definitively Best Deck in Modern

Two-time World Championship Finalist Patrick Chapin joins Michael Flores to talk about Treasure Cruise and his utterly dominant Izzet deck from the Modern portion of this year’s World Championship.

“I guess everybody loses to Shahar in the finals of Worlds these days.”
-Patrick Chapin

The most popular question our listeners have been asking us has not been why we didn’t include Gnarled Mass in last week’s discussion of 3/3 for thre mana creatures or to devote all future episodes to Mono-Black Control…

… But to get the RSS feed live!

If you have been desperate for a Top Level Podcast RSS feed, or to set up Top Level Podcast on iTunes, we’ve got you covered.

Patrick and Michael discuss some old cards like Brainstorm and Serra Avenger that didn’t see a lot of Standard play but are played in larger formats today.

A real-life Next Level Deckbuilding fight between our hosts… Team Mike Donais v. Team Alan Comer… Who is the granddaddy of Aggro-Control?

“Bizarrely,” the best deck in Legacy is legal in Modern!

Our own Patrick Chapin “only” finished second in the 2014 World Championship, but he had an absolutely dominating outing in the Modern portion.

This episode of Top Level Podcast focuses on the amazing card Treasure Cruise across multiple formats — Legacy, now Standard, but most importantly Modern. Patrick played the only undefeated deck in this year’s Modern portion.

This is definitively the best deck in Modern right now:

Patrick Chapin’s Izzet Delver

4 Delver of Secrets
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Mana Leak
1 Remand
4 Serum Visions
1 Snapcaster Mage
2 Spell Snare
3 Thought Scour
4 Treasure Cruise
2 Vapor Snag

1 Izzet Charm
1 Electrolyze

2 Forked Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Young Pyromancer

1 Arid Mesa
4 Flooded Strand
4 Island
1 Mountain
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls

2 Dispel
1 Negate
2 Spell Pierce
1 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Izzet Staticaster
2 Blood Moon
1 Bonfire of the Damned
1 Electrickery
1 Harvest Pyre
1 Magma Spray
2 Smash to Smithereens

Treasure Cruise itself was absolutely dominant for Patrick, but he would make some changes to his deck if he played it again. What was his weakest card? His strongest cantrip?

Learn the sweet way you can turn Vapor Snag into “real” removal and against which opponents you should sideboard out Gitaxian Probe.

Patrick and Michael spend most of the podcast on Izzet Delver in Modern but also touch on Gareth Aye’s Standard deck from the Top 8 of Grand Prix San Antonio.

Izzet Aggro by Gareth Aye

3 Treasure Cruise

4 Fated Conflagration
4 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Hordeling Outburst
4 Lightning Strike
4 Magma Jet
4 Monastery Swiftspear
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
4 Stoke the Flames

4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Island
6 Mountain
1 Polluted Delta
4 Shivan Reef
1 Swiftwater Cliffs
4 Temple of Epiphany
1 Wooded Foothills

3 Disdainful Stroke
3 Negate
2 Keranos, God of Storms
3 Anger of the Gods
3 Chandra, Pyromaster
1 Swiftwater Cliffs

Love Top Level Podcast? Check out the books by our hosts!

Patrick’s Magic: The Gathering Books

Michael’s Magic: The Gathering Books

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You Don’t Want to Utter End a Mantis Rider

Before we get started with Mantis Rider and this week’s episode, some general stuff…

Yes! Patrick has made the Top 4 of the World Championship! More on this at the Mother Ship.

Pretty much everything you have asked for is now up and running. So if you want to follow Top Level Podcast on iTunes or another RSS feed… You can!

We’d love if you’d follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

Okay! Now onto Mantis Rider…

Mantis Rider is a leader in the Standard card pool, not only on “rate” but context.

Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Hall of Famer Patrick Chapin and Michael J Flores discuss some historical 3/3 creatures with haste for three mana; and contextualize Mantis Rider among this pantheon of performers. What gives Mantis Rider such a good “rate”?

What is rate anyway? Our hosts talk about ROI principles in not just deck design, but game design!

Most players can look at a Mantis Rider and realize that it should be an efficient card for its mana cost… But what makes it such a good option contextually? We’ll give you a hint… You don’t want to Utter End a Mantis Rider! … Not only does Mantis Rider ride its own efficiencies, but it can take advantage of inefficiencies elsewhere in the Standard environment to not just perform, but over-perform.

“There are more good cards than you can play in your deck.”

How can you determine what cards you actually should play? Figure out what cards are good to begin with, contextualize how they are positioned in the metagame, and predict the perceptions of others to improve your skills. [How]

A discussion of “Leveling” in deck design, and leveling in general. How do you get to the fabled next level [let alone our own “top” level]?

“You have to metagame against the winners’ circle”.

Finally, Next Level Magic is back! Check out Patrick’s first book, remastered and back in print (along with all of Patrick and Michael’s Magic: The Gathering books) via the links below:

Patrick’s Magic: The Gathering Books

Michael’s Magic: The Gathering Books

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