How to Build Sultai Whip (Fate Reforged Standard)
February 10, 2015 | Posted by Dee
72% win rate in 40 matches with this one (results).
It’s based off of Troy Bishop’s 17th place list from the first Standard Open of the Fate Reforged season. I made the following main deck changes.
-3 Sylvan Caryatid
+3 Rakshasa Deathdealer
This is the most important main deck change and it changes everything. With 3 Deathdealer, now you have an extra beatdown angle.
Deathdealer just makes the deck more flexible. It dodges most removal if you have two mana open and it’s a great Whip target late in the game unlike Sylvan. Sometimes you’ll just Whip back Deathdealer, pump it up a couple times, and gain a bunch of life.
Deathdealer is amazing with Torrent. The blue flyer clears the way of blockers so Deathdealer can deal a ton of damage.
With Whip extending the game through lifegain and the lands from Courser and Wayfinder, you usually have a lot of mana each game, which is perfect for Deathdealer.
I only play 3 Deathdealer because he is not that good in multiples early in the game when you don’t have a lot of mana. He needs a lot of mana to be fully effective.
Plus, keeping 1 Sylvan has been solid. It’s better than the 25th land because you want creatures for Sidisi and Sylvan gives you ramp.
So, at this point, you’re probably wondering, but don’t you need the mana from the 3 Sylvan that you removed?
Actually, the problem with 4 Sylvan instead of 3 Deathdealer and 1 Sylvan is that the deck has too much mana. 24 lands, 4 Sylvan, and 4 Satyr Wayfinder is just asking to get mana flooded.
Everytime I played Deathdealer, I asked myself if it was better if it was Sylvan. The vast majority of the time Sylvan would’ve been a worse card.
You don’t need that much mana to operate the deck. It’s not a ramp deck. Sure, you have 3 Hornet Queen but much of the time, you don’t even cast them. Instead, you Whip them into play.
Plus, you still have 4 Wayfinder and 4 Courser to help you hit seven mana if you do have to cast Hornet Queen. With Whip’s lifegain, you can extend the game until you hit seven land drops. Deathdealer is also an early drop that can buy you time by trading with cheap aggro dudes.
+2 Hero’s Downfall
With Whip’s lifegain and Torrent’s recursion, this deck wants to go long in most matchups. In longer games, I like Downfall better than Thoughtseize.
The discard spell fits better in aggro decks where you want to take away their best card and then kill them quickly before they draw another good card.
I’ve had games where my opponent drops Ugin and clears the board. It feels like they’ve stabilized but I just Downfall it and drop a Hornet Queen or Whip and win comfortably from there.
Also, Ashiok is one of the best cards against you so it’s nice to have Downfall to deal with that threat. And extra removal for Anafenza is always welcome.
-1 Windswept Heath
+2 Temple of Malady
With Hero’s Downfall, Bile Blight, and Drown in Sorrow, and only one Sylvan Caryatid, I thought it was better to have two more black sources than an extra fetchland.
Troy played 15 one-ofs in his sideboard. That seemed highly ambitious to me so I scrapped it and played something more conventional.
Why is This Deck So Good?
The main reason is the new card set. Fate Reforged gives us Tasigur and Torrent, which not only have a lot of synergy with the deck but they add new angles of attack.
For instance, Whip decks of old would sometimes struggle versus Rhino because it’s bigger and has trample. Well, Tasigur blocks Rhino all day and in this deck, you can easily cast him for one mana early in the game. Plus, while Tasigur is keeping Rhino at bay, he can give you card advantage and fill your graveyard with Whip targets with his activated ability.
As a one mana 4/5, Tasigur just makes your backup beatdown plan much better. Sometimes you just go Deathdealer and Tasigur early and smash their face for 8+ damage each turn. And Tasigur’s four power is very hard to race when you have a Whip out.
Torrent gives the deck a lot of inevitability. You cast it. They kill it. You exile it with delve. You bring it back from exile. They kill it a second time. You Whip it. It goes to exile. You bring it back. They kill it a third time. You Whip it again. It goes back to exile. You bring it back. Etc.
Also, Perilous Vault, Ugin, and Ashiok all exile so Torrent gives you added value against those cards.
Torrent’s tap ability gives you yet another angle of attack. Now you can go from defense to offense instantly. Need to kill a walker? Attack with Torrent and even some lowly Wayfinders to take the walker down. Did you just draw Whip? Time to break the creature stalemate on the board and race with unblockable lifelink creatures and just end the game.
Think about all the token creatures you make with Sidisi and Hornet Queen. Think about the high power of Deathdealer and Tasigur. With Torrent, they are all unblockable.
Plus, Torrent has a surprise factor going for it. It’s a new card that uses an unfamiliar game zone so people are much more likely to make mistakes playing against it. I’ve had multiple players try to counter Torrent when I used its activated ability. One person targeted it with Banishing Light.
Two Torrents may not feel like it could make a big difference but it feels like four copies. You’re basically drawing the card whenever you mill it with Wayfinder, Commune, or Sidisi. Then, you simply exile Torrent from the grave with Whip or the delve ability of Tasigur or Murderous Cut.
Tricky Deck to Play
While the deck is very good, you will probably need to practice because the interactions between different matchups can be tricky especially versus control decks. Also, the interactions between Torrent, Whip, and the delve cards may require some getting used to to play optimally.
This is not a straightforward deck. By midgame, there are usually many different options to consider.
For example, don’t forget Sidisi’s Zombies whenever you cast or Whip out Wayfinder. But then, there are those times where you shouldn’t cast Wayfinder because you really like the card on top being revealed by Courser. And also, not only do you have to worry about revealed top cards, Sidisi triggers, and your graveyard (for Whip and delve cards), you have to keep track of the activated abilities of Deathdealer and Tasigur and the exile game zone for Torrent.
I had one cool play where I cast Murderous Cut on my own Wayfinder at the end of his turn to delve both Torrents into exile. This play won me the game because I was able to turn Cut into card advantage instead of being a dead card against my control opponent with zero creatures.