Normally, I am not a fan of decks that live and die by a single card. Today I am going to make an exception however, as the card in question is both unique and awesome. Heck, it was even restricted in Type 1 at some point, so why not try it in Ancient, right? Did you somehow ignore the title and are curious which card it is? Well then, let’s start talking about Underworld Tide.
When a deck relies on a certain card to win, three things then become crucial: finding it, playing it and protecting it. In this case, the card in question is Underworld Dreams. Quite frankly, relying on one card to win the game is not something that I generally recommend. There are several decks that do just that however, and some of them only contain 1-2 copies of their win condition. So how do we do these things?
Duress and Counterspell. Duress is a great turn 1 play that allows you to remove any threats to Underworld Dreams, while also granting a peek at your opponent’s hand as an added bonus. This information can be crucial to planning your next play (or even plays). Counterspell acts as another form of protection for Dreams, but because the deck contains several cards with double blue mana in their casting cost, they also raise the importance the Rituals in the deck.
Diminishing Returns and Time Spiral. Anyone who has ever played a High Tide deck knows how crucial the latter card is. The former might be a bit less known however, which I always thought was a bit strange. It’s a 4-mana spell that puts seven cards in your hand. Yes, you remove the top 10 cards of your library from the game, but that should very rarely matter outside of Vintage. Originally I had put in 4 of each, but I decided to remove 1 Returns for the Cabal Ritual.
Wheel and Deal. Ok ok, the card sort of sucks. Yes, I am aware. So why include it? As a 1-of, it can be used as a finisher with Underworld Dreams out in play. I do not recommend adding more copies. In fact, you might even want to remove it from the deck entirely. I decided to leave it in though, because it is easier to cast than Time Spiral or Diminishing Returns, as they each require 2 blue sources of mana to be cast. It’s also a pretty sweet homage to Wheel of Fortune.
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Not only can it help lock their mana, but it also helps limit the number of creatures (and thus threats) they have on the board. Slowing the game down so you can get your win condition(s) in hand and then on the board can be very important to the deck. Maze of Ith had also been considered, but I thought Tabernacle made it unnecessary, as you do not want a bunch of lands that do not create mana.
Originally the deck focused more on being a traditional Underworld Dreams deck, but the addition of the High Tide pieces really can offer the deck some added speed and combo-y goodness. How you choose to build your version is entirely on you. Happy Brewing!
4 Underground Sea
4 Underground River
7 Fetch lands
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
4 Underworld Dreams
4 Dark Ritual
1 Cabal Ritual
4 Force of Will
3 Diminishing Returns
4 Time Spiral
1 Wheel and Deal
4 High Tide
4 Tormod’s Crypt
4 Chain of Vapor
3 Hymn to Tourach