Ojutai is a Midrange deck designed to win the game with evasive threats and control the game with problematic permanents.
We are a Midrange deck so our focus is to survive the early turns (1-3) to start turning the corner around turn 4-6.
We focus on playing cards that force our opponent to do something about our game plan
rather then using counter magic to react to their game plan
This deck is really good against Aggro and other Midrange decks. Decks like Affinity, Burn, Jund, Zoo, GDS are all favorable match-ups and require very minimal side-boarding against.
This deck is pretty weak to pure
Control decks and soft to a lot Combo decks. This is why our sideboard is dedicated entirely to fighting those strategies. Against some more linear combo decks we have three Runed Halo
main and to help our Control match-up game one we have Remand
and Glen Elendra Archmage
. However you'll likely be hard pressed to win game one against something like UW Control or Tron.
Against both of these strategies we assume the role of the beat down, always!
EARLY GAME (TURNS 1-2)
All of our early game cards are focused on disrupting our opponent by varies means. This can be either with spot removal, walls or protection spells. We should never keep an opening hand that doesn't have something to play by turn two.
An ideal line of play is turn 1 Temple of Enlightenment
, turn 2 Wall of Omens
against creatures strategies or Runed Halo
against Combo strategies.
MID GAME (TURNS 3-4)
Once you hit turns three and four we can start turning the corner, deploying threats or cleaning up problematic permanents/creatures.
An ideal line of play is turn three Kitchen Finks
(against Aggro/Midrange) or Vendilion Clique
(against Combo/Control) into Supreme Verdict
or Restoration Angel
LATE GAME (TURNS 5+)
The deck can fully turn the corner once we hit turn five deploying either Lyra Dawnbringer
or Dragonlord Ojutai
. Both of these large threats can quickly close a game out in the air or present a great blocker until we can draw into a more advantageous position.
From this point forward against a lot of decks you are favored and provided you didn't take to much damage in the earlier phases should win the match.
The current meta is very aggro heavy with Humans and B/R Hollow One
as the top two decks of the format. Both are pretty good match-ups for UW Angel
Ojutai as we have a lot of effective ways to stall the game long enough to out muscle both decks. Likewise Combo and Control are rather scarce in the present meta which is a major upside to the deck.
Card choices and why they work.
I run 26 lands for two reasons:
First, because the avg CMC of this deck is rather high (2.97). Frank Karstens recommendation for this CMC would be 25 but I also believe in having one land more then that recommendation.
Second, my mulligan strategy is if I don't have a play on turn one or two to mulligan the hand. Having the extra land helps make sure when I mulligan down looking for interaction that I'll have lands to go with it.
This does however mean we are more susceptible to mana flood
and so we need ways built into our deck to mitigate that risk. Certain land choices I've chosen are specifically to combat mana flood
and mana screw
- Helps keep Ojutai alive
against larger threats such as Thoughknot Seer, also keeps Lyra alive
against double bolt etc.
Geier Reach Sanitarium
- Part of the anti flooding package. With 26 lands you need a way to help filter out additional lands and cards that are bad in a matchup or just looking for gas.
- Another part of the anti flooding package. Farmland can be played if necessary in the early game but the deck only needs 5-6 lands to function, cycle the extra lands for more gas.
Minamo, School at Water's Edge
- This is mostly used to untap Ojutai in the event of a removal spell after she attacks. But it can also untap Geier Reach for more filtering or Lyra Dawnbringer
allowing her to attack and defend.
Temple of Enlightenment
- We purposely don't use Serum Visions
in the deck since it does nothing to advance your board state nor do we run Snapcaster Mage
. Temple's help smooth out your early and mid game draws instead.
- The deck is built on purpose to require a painless mana base so we can run a high number of basics to play against Bloodmoon and have a lot of early game untap lands with no caveats. Plains
is the higher count because we need a lot of white sources for a turn 2 Runed Halo
- We don't need a lot of fetch lands since our mana base is really easy but we do want a few for insurance. Playing fewer also helps our game vs aggro decks by taking bare minimum damage to ourselves.
Field of Ruin
- Great card to help fix our mana in the mid game. Save them for problematic lands such as man lands or utility lands like Gavony Township
. Also don't forget
the card says MUST search, not MAY. I've used this card many times to screw up an opponents scrys from Serum Visions
or similar cards that stack
your opponents deck.
- Added after several rounds of play testing, I felt like the deck needed just a little more insurance to be able to hit our color requirements and Mystic Gate
does that better then any other land.
- Part of our spot removal package but also gets rid of any problematic permanents such as Planeswalkers. Can often two for one or three for one your opponent.
Path to Exile
- The best spot removal card in Modern. Try not to play them early if you can help it since we don't really want to ramp our opponent early. Don't overlook pathing your own creatures to ramp yourself or color fix.
I'm sure people will think is an odd choice but it's in here for a few reasons. Primarily it's their to help us game one against control and combo decks. Specifically in counter magic heavy match-ups since we don't run a lot of counter magic ourselves, Remand
helps us save our spells and gives us card
advantage buying our spell back (it's can be a big deal causing your opponents Cryptic Command
to fizzle). It secondarily helps us gain some tempo in the early game against Aggro and Midrange decks by delaying our opponents aggressive plays such as delaying a turn 3 Mantis Rider
until our mid and late game threats can come online which are often better then theirs.
- Part of our early game protection package. At it's worst it's a two mana spot removal of EVERY copy of a card our opponent has in their deck (naming Death's Shadow
and Gurmag Angler
doesn't leave them much to win with). It's also part of our anti Combo package. Naming Valakut or Grapeshot
game 1 is often an automatic win game 1. Most decks don't have a way of dealing with this card game one and many have no answers game two and three either. If I could fit a fourth copy I would.
Settle the Wreckage
- With humans playing Meddling mage
we need to vary up our sweepers. Settle the Wreckage
is a great one of to not only vary up our sweepers but gives us a little more game against recursion decks like Dredge or Hallow
- Still one of the best sweepers in the format. We run two because the uncounterable clause is still really important in some matchup's.
- This is an updated inclusion to help shore up our game 1 against combo and control match up's. It's rarely 100% dead
(Humans and Merfolk) but can be game winning in the right situations.
- Ojutai is hard to kill, fly's and provides card advantage, everything we could ask for in a finisher.
- A great anti Aggro card and a reasonable clock against any deck. Kitchen Finks
buys you very valuable time in the Aggro and Midrange matchup's and persist being reset
by Restoration Angel
can break a deck like Burn.
- Our last big finisher. An upgraded Baneslayer angel
in this deck, it's really hard to lose the game when she hits the field against a lot of decks in Modern. Having Restoration Angel
on the field with her is an 18 point swing (9 dmg plus 9 life gain). She's a little more susceptible to spot removal so be
careful about that but her power is well worth the trouble of protecting her.
- She is pure
synergy with so much of the deck. Resetting persist creatures, gaining card advantage by blinking walls, flashing in to block creatures your opponent wasn't expecting, saving Ojutai from spot removal once he's untapped and a reasonable clock, she does it all.
- Our last anti control/combo card in the deck. Flash
is your best friend in these match-ups and being able to steal your opponents best card on a good clock can win you the game. However don't forget
taking one of your own dead
cards can be just as powerful (such as bottoming a path to exile
when a Chalice of the Void
is on one).
Wall of Omens
- A great anti creature card. At it's worst wall blocks a big threat and buys you more time (remember you drew a card so your at parity if it dies blocking a big threat) by saving your life total, pushing you into the mid and late game. At it's best it stone walls an opponents creature while you look for bigger and better threats. It can also be the right play to ramp yourself by Path to Exiling your own wall (which still keeps you at card parity with your opponent).
Our mainboard is very good against Aggro and other Midrange decks but can be rather soft to combo and control decks.
We take the stance of the beat down in those match-ups as we are not going to out control them. We run high numbers of our sideboard cards because without them we will often lose before we find them. We are also hedging against our opponent having answers to our sideboard cards so having a backup copy is seldom a bad thing. (Such as Tron removing Damping Sphere
and we play another one next turn).
Disdainful Storke - Our deck is pretty weak to Tron game one and we need a way to control the game long enough to win. Disdainful Storke helps us do that while also being relevant in a large number of other matchup's including Mardu Pyro, Jeskai/UW Control, Ad Nauseum and Storm.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
- I found the grindy matchups to be harder then I'd like and Gideon is here to shore those up. He's a quick clock when needed but more often he's going to flood
the board with 2/2 soldiers making decks that want to answer one for one struggle.
Glen Elendra Archmage
- Another anti control/combo card in the deck. She's a little expensive but playing her when you have five mana can be a real blow out against a lot of decks. Being able to reset
her persist counters with Restoration Angel
can really put the squeeze
on your opponent. She's also great and protection our permanents like Runed Halo
against anti enchantment hate or for protecting our larger threats against spot removal such as Path to Exile
Rest in Peace
- Our deck doesn't care about our Graveyard very much so boarding these in against a deck that does rely on it's Graveyard is often a good idea. Theirs also a lot of decks that simply fold to this coming down.
- Our last counter magic package. Spell Queller
helps us disrupt
our opponent while applying pressure similar to Vendilion Clique
. The fact that it exiles instead of counters is also very important as it allows us to stop spells like Supreme Verdict
and Abrupt Decay
. It also gets around Cavern of Souls
which can sometimes be relevant.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- Against Combo and Control we are trying to slow our opponent down and Thalia is about the best there is at doing that. She also pairs well with Spell Queller
since her +1 mana cost doesn't effect it.
Below are a list of cards people might think belong in the deck and I'd like to explain why they aren't.
- Cryptic is a great card but not for this deck. Trying to hit triple blue on turn four and double white on turn two is asking a lot of your mana base. It would require more fetchlands and non-basics which makes our aggro and Bloodmoon match-ups worse for not a lot of gain. We have plenty of ways to shut down aggo decks so tapping our opponents creatures for a turn is seldom relevant. We run three Detention Spheres so bouncing a permanent is seldom useful and counter drawing is powerful but it's not worth the investment and isn't very good in the Control match-ups since 4 mana is a lot.
- Another great card just not in this deck. We don't have a lot of spells for Snapcaster Mage
to flashback and it makes us more reliant on our Graveyard which hurts our sideboard choices.
- This is likely the biggest thing people will question and no it's not a budget choice. There's only so many tap land spots you want in your deck (I don't think you should play more then six) and decks that run Celestial Colonnade
have to build their deck around that choice. They choose to play a land as a threat/anti-flooding card and play spells for filtering/thinning their deck (usually Serum Visions
However Celestial Colonnade
isn't the powerhouse it was in Modern several years ago. A lot of new cards have been introduced into the format to make Celestial Colonnade
a much worse threat. Cards like fatal push
, Thought-Knot Seer
, Reality Smasher
, Death's Shadow
and Field of Ruin
to name a few.
The format is also faster then ever with games ending on turn three and tapping out five mana every turn to attack with your threat means your pushing for the late late game (turns 10+). This gives our opponents a LOT of time to recover
from any early disruption we might have had.
Lastly, from a tempo perspective Celestial Colonnade
is a very expensive threat. Paying five mana for four damage every turn quickly adds up as opposed to five mana for a threat like Ojutai or Lyra and that's it.
Not to say Celestial Colonnade
hasn't helped me win games, but I've had many more experiences where I wish Celestial Colonnade
was something that did something for me in the early and mid game or was something I could cycle for an answer or better threat.
No Planeswalkers - While the deck can easily protect a Planeswalker, there isn't really a Planeswalker that has a lot of synergy with the other pieces of the deck.
Also, unlike creatures, Planeswalkers can be attacked directly and you have no control over this during combat. With creature I can control whether I'm willing to lose the creature in combat that turn or not, Planeswalkers must be defended which can lead to you sacrificing creatures to defend them you might have wanted to keep around.
Lastly, there isn't a Plansewalker printed yet that will really help us in our Combo/Control match-ups. You could argue Jace, The Mind Sculptor
for the Control mirror but since we are more Midrange then Control we want to be the beat down in that match-up and Jace doesn't help us do that.
- It wouldn't be wrong to play Spreading Seas
in this list over the Remands and Glen Elendra. The reason I chose to not play Spreading Seas
is having played it a lot before, it doesn't help in a large number of match-ups and really only shines against Tron. Spreading Seas
is always a guessing game outside the Tron match-up as to what colors your opponent needs. Modern decks also have a tendency to require only one mana symbol to play their cards so shutting them off said color is usually pretty difficult (not that it can't be done but it usually requires multiple spreading seas