It’s been just over a week since a major ban announcement shook up Pioneer and Modern. In Pioneer, Discover combo took a huge hit, while mono-green Devotion has fallen by the wayside. Meanwhile, the unbanning of Smuggler’s Copter has prove to be an interesting choice, as the card continues to dominate.
In Modern, players are no longer able to Cascade into Up the Beanstalk or use Fury in their Scam decks. Ironically, Scam still seems to be performing relatively well, which is perhaps a bit unexpected. For those interested in generating absurd amounts of card advantage with Up the Beanstalk, though, you will need to look elsewhere.
That being said, Up the Beanstalk is so powerful that it seems to be making its presence felt in Eternal formats as well. This past weekend, a playset of the powerful Enchantment was featured in the winning decklist of an event at Eternal Weekend with nearly 1,000 players! The Wilds of Eldraine uncommon continues to prove just how incredible it truly is. In Legacy, there are even more awesome cards with mana value five or greater that can be played for cheap, making it quite easy to abuse Up the Beanstalk.
Maximizing Up the Beanstalk as a Control Deck
Up the Beanstalk is an excellent card. It’s efficient, provides card advantage, and works well in multiples. The key is building a deck that can cast enough spells with mana value five or greater. Typically, when Modern decks have featured Up the Beanstalk, it’s been quite common to pair the two-drop Enchantment with Evoke Elementals like Solitude that could be cast for free. By contrast, there are no Elementals to be found in this Legacy decklist. Instead, this deck makes use of another five-mana card that can be cast for free by pitching a card from your hand: Force of Will.
In order to enable Force of Will, this deck has a relatively high blue spell count, making it tough to incorporate Solitude into the mix. Additionally, this style of deck with a lot of control elements doesn’t want to play too many cards that require pitching other cards from hand to make work. Besides, this deck has access to cards like Swords to Plowshares to fill the void quite nicely and efficiently.
As a multi-color deck with a control subtheme, it’s not surprising to see Leyline Binding as another excellent payoff alongside Up the Beanstalk. Leyline Binding is an excellent catch-all answer alongside Force of Will to opposing cards that could otherwise be problematic, such as Chalice of the Void.
Unsurprisingly, as a blue control deck, there are plenty of cantrips in this list. Brainstorm and Ponder do a great job digging for Up the Beanstalk. Having access to these powerful cantrips means that you get to make great use of Murktide Regent as a finisher, which triggers Up the Beanstalk all the same.
A Miracle Subtheme
As good as Brainstorm is at fueling Murktide Regent and digging for your most powerful cards, it also serves another purpose in this deck: enabling Miracle. The goal of this deck, besides simply generating tons of value, is to land massive threats ahead of schedule. Obviously, Murktide fits the bill. However, having access to Brainstorm as a way to put cards back on top of your library allows you to set up expensive cards with cheap Miracle abilities relatively reliably.
Thanks to the Warhammer Universes Beyond set, there’s a premier Creature to cast for cheap via Miracle. This card is none other than Triumph of Saint Katherine. Once again, it triggers Up the Beanstalk when cast, but thanks to a Miracle cost of two, can be cast for cheap. As a 5/5 with Lifelink, it’s a scary card that can be somewhat difficult to kill. Even if you do manage to remove it, unless you exile it, it’s going to end up somewhere in the top six cards of your library, ready to be cast again in short order.
Unique Decklist Choices
What’s interesting about this winning decklist in particular is that many Up the Beanstalk control decklists in Legacy haven’t utilized these massive Creatures that can be cast on the cheap. Most decklists up to this point have been focused on playing a more dedicated control plan. Rather than playing big Creatures ahead of schedule that individually don’t generate card advantage, most players have made use of Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Orcish Bowmasters as the only Creatures in the maindeck.
With less Creatures in the mix, cards like Terminus were more appealing and typically showed up in larger numbers. Making use of Murktide Regent and Triumph of Saint Katherine is a unique form of innovation that can help in a handful of matchups. Against combo decks like Doomsday or Painter’s Servant combo, being able to execute a more tempo-oriented gameplan by sticking a large threat and backing it up with Force of Will and force of Negation is a solid strategy.
Similarly, both Murktide Regent and Triumph of Saint Katherine are quite difficult for Delver of Secrets decks to kill. Running these cards is certainly an enticing metagame call, and it looks like it paid off.
Strengths and Weaknesses
As a deck built around card advantage and interaction, this deck does a great job playing a grindy game. Up the Beanstalk is excellent against opposing control decks, while Leyline Binding and Swords to Plowshares help keep Creature decks in check. Meanwhile, while slower versions of the deck utilizing Uro could run into trouble providing enough pressure against Dark Depths decks and other combo strategies, the additions of Murtkide Regent and Triumph of Saint Katherine add a much faster clock.
This deck essentially has game against every deck in the format, making it a very strong choice. That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t some weaknesses associated with this strategy. As a multi-color deck, Wasteland can be a bit of a pain, especially when backed up by Daze out of the Delver decks.
While adding big Creatures to aid in pressuring the opponent definitely helps against combo decks, drawing a good mix of counter magic and Creatures is important. As good as your Dark Depths combo matchup may look on paper, the addition of Legolas’s Quick Reflexes makes interacting with Marit Lage a lot harder.
Interestingly, after this immense victory, more players will likely look towards this archetype. The reality is, cards like Murktide Regent and Triumph of Saint Katherine are pretty weak in the mirror when compared to Uro and Forth Eorlingas!, so it’ll be interesting to see how players adjust. If Up the Beanstalk mirrors grow more popular in Legacy, it may be worth utilizing Yorion, Sky Nomad as a Companion.
Having access to Yorion is quite valuable in a long, grindy game, and ironically, playing 80 cards may be a blessing in disguise given the overwhelming amount of card advantage this deck can generate. Only time will tell exactly how players adjust, but one thing is for certain: Up the Beanstalk is an unbelievably powerful uncommon.