Caw Blade (UW Aggro-Control Deck)

March 10, 2011 | Posted by Dee

The Blue/White Caw Blade deck has been tearing up the Standard tournament scene ever since Mirrodin Besieged was released. Four weekends ago, Ben Stark became a Pro Tour champion with the deck.

Two weekends ago, GerryT added red and took home the Starcitygames Standard Open trophy in Washington DC. The top eight in that tournament had four Caw Blade decks.

Last weekend, the top eight of the Starcitygames Standard Open at Edison had a whopping six Caw Blade decks! Out of the Caw Blade players, Mike Eisenhauer got the best result with a second place finish.

Here is his list.

Caw Blade
Creatures (9)
Spells (24)
Lands (27)
Sideboard (15)

Decklist Analysis

At first glance, Squadron Hawk doesn’t seem like a powerful card but it gains a lot of value when you combine it with Stoneforge Mystic and powerful equipment. Even if you don’t draw Mystic or equipment, flying 1/1s are solid in most matchups.

Against aggro, Squadron Hawk provides a bunch of chump blockers to stall until you clear the board with Day of Judgment. Since the birds are white and have flying, they make great chump blockers against creatures wielding Sword of Body and Mind or Sword of Feast and Famine.

Also, Hawks are great at protecting your planeswalkers. Their one power may not seem like a lot but they can still trade with some popular creatures like Pulse Tracker, Viscera Seer, and Lotus Cobra. They win battles versus Signal Pest.

Against control, Squadron Hawk is passable on its own because it provides a stream of evasion creatures to attack planeswalkers. For example, Jace TMS is a key card in many control matchups and Hawk does a good job of attacking the blue planeswalker.

The pre-Mirrodin Besieged version of this deck, Caw Go, did not have Stoneforge Mystic. Mystic was added to the deck because of the new equipment card in Mirrodin Besieged, Sword of Feast and Famine (SFF).
(Find a low price on Stoneforge Mystic at eBay.)

SFF fits the deck perfectly by providing card and mana advantage. Mana advantage in particular is huge because whoever spends the most mana in a game usually wins. SFF also provides protection from black and green, which makes your creatures unblockable against many creatures. The protection from black blanks the removal spells Doom Blade and Go for the Throat. The +2/+2 ability keeps your creatures out of range from burn spells.
(Buy Sword of Feast and Famine on eBay.)

The deck relies on equipment but don’t forget the other cards. Jace TMS is as good as always and Gideon Jura protects Jace so you can bury your opponent with card advantage. Gideon can also kill your opponent quickly if he doesn’t have removal and blockers.

Day of Judgment protects your planeswalkers and gives you a reset button against speedy aggro decks. Also, Gideon has a high loyalty so your opponent often has to overextend to kill it. That leaves him wide open to Day of Judgment. You usually don’t mind destroying your own creatures because you can find more creatures with Jace TMS and Hawk.

Baneslayer Angel is becoming relevant again because she can profitably block Hawks and Mystics equipped with SFF.

Spell Pierce is not very good against aggro decks but it provides a ton of value against control and combo (like the Valakut deck). Also, it fits the curve especially on turn three.

I played against Grixis Tezzeret yesterday and Spell Pierce just destroyed my opponent. In game one, I played a turn two Mystic. On turn three, he tapped out for Jace TMS. I countered with Spell Pierce and then used Mystic’s ability to put SFF onto the battlefield.

The next turn, I found another Spell Pierce with Preordain. I equipped Mystic, attacked, and then cast another Mystic. He cast Tezzeret and I countered it with Spell Pierce. On turn five, I attacked with a Mystic wielding two Swords. He scooped next turn when I Deprived his second Tezzeret.

In game two on the draw, I had Spell Pierce for his turn two Everflowing Chalice. That slowed him down and allowed me to Spell Pierce a Tezzeret later in the game when he only had five mana. Those two huge tempo boosts gave me time to set up my board and I was able to win the game with Hawks and Gideon.
(Find out how much this deck costs on eBay.)

Sideboard Plans

Here are a few sideboarding principles to keep in mind with Caw Blade.

The counterspells are mediocre against aggro so you should swap them for removal. Depending on how fast their deck is, you can take out some or all the Jaces.

Squadron Hawk is too slow against Valakut so you can trade them for counterspells.

If your opponent is bringing in artifact removal or even discard, you can bring in Sun Titan to return equipment from the graveyard to the battlefield. Also, Sun Titan allows you to reuse Tectonic Edge against Valakut decks.

On to specific decks…

Mirror / Caw Blade with Black

+3 Divine Offering
+1 Baneslayer
+1 Sun Titan

-4 DoJ
-1 Deprive

Caw Blade with Red

+3 Divine Offering
+1 Baneslayer
+1 Sun Titan

-3 Spell Pierce
-1 Deprive
-1 DoJ

Valakut Ramp

+4 Flashfreeze
+1 Sun Titan

-4 Hawk
-1 Baneslayer

If they have a lot of Lotus Cobras and Overgrown Battlements, you can add 3 Ousts and take out 1 Gideon and 2 DoJ.

Boros

+1 Divine Offering
+1 Baneslayer
+1 Sun Titan
+4 Oust

-3 Spell Pierce
-1 Mana Leak
-1 Deprive
-2 Jace

Vampires

+2 Ratchet Bomb
+4 Oust
+1 Sun Titan

-1 Deprive
-3 Mana Leak
-3 Spell Pierce

RUG Ramp Control

On the play:

+1 Sun Titan
+4 Flashfreeze
+2 Oust

-2 DoJ
-1 Gideon
-4 Squadron Hawk

On the draw:

+1 Sun Titan
+4 Flashfreeze
+4 Oust

-2 DoJ
-1 Spell Pierce
-1 Gideon
-1 Deprive
-4 Squadron Hawk

Red Deck Wins

+1 Baneslayer
+4 Oust
+3 Flashfreeze

-4 Jace
-3 Mana Leak
-1 Deprive

Kuldotha Red

+1 Baneslayer
+4 Oust
+1 Flashfreeze
+2 Ratchet Bomb

-4 Jace
-3 Mana Leak
-1 Deprive

Quest

+2 Ratchet Bomb
+3 Divine Offering
+4 Oust

-1 Deprive
-3 Spell Pierce
-3 Mana Leak
-2 Jace

Mono Green Eldrazi Ramp

+4 Flashfreeze
+1 Sun Titan
+4 Oust

-4 Hawk
-1 Baneslayer
-1 Gideon
-3 DoJ

Tezzeret

+1 Sun Titan
+1 Ratchet Bomb
+3 Divine Offering

-4 DoJ
-1 Baneslayer

Elves

+2 Ratchet Bomb
+1 Baneslayer
+1 Sun Titan
+1 Flashfreeze
+4 Oust

-3 Spell Pierce
-3 Mana Leak
-2 Jace
-1 Deprive

UB Control

+1 Sun Titan

-1 Baneslayer

12 Responses to “Caw Blade (UW Aggro-Control Deck)”

  1. The G on March 12th, 2011 5:58 am

    Hey dee which deck you think is better this caw or the caw with black in it? And is there a way to play this deck without Jace TMS? Thankyou

  2. Closed End Fund on March 12th, 2011 4:02 pm

    I’d say that Jace is pretty essentially to the deck unfortunately for my wallet.

  3. Dee on March 13th, 2011 4:16 am

    @ The G

    I’m not sure. I haven’t tested esper caw blade.

    You can play with small Jace instead. Obviously, Jace TMS is much better but small Jace may be good enough, depending on the strength of your metagame.

  4. JABluemage on March 14th, 2011 5:12 pm

    If I was doing a stoneforge concept without jace I’d go for a Knights or Quest build with the mystic/sword package included.

  5. Dee on March 15th, 2011 2:49 am

    Yeah, I like the quest idea if you own mystic and swords.

  6. Adam on March 16th, 2011 6:42 am

    What is the SB against tempered steel decks? Thanks!

  7. Dee on March 16th, 2011 7:58 am

    Tempered Steel

    +2 Ratchet Bomb
    +4 Oust
    +3 Divine Offering

    -1 Deprive
    -3 Mana Leak
    -3 Spell Pierce
    -2 Jace TMS

  8. Adam on March 18th, 2011 8:40 pm

    Hey Dee, what would you do against a u/b infect deck using phyrexian crusaders, doom blades, and go for the throats?

  9. Adam on March 18th, 2011 8:40 pm

    Oh, and alot of mana leaks/counterspell’s

  10. Dee on March 19th, 2011 5:44 am

    I would go with something like:

    +2 Ratchet Bomb

    -1 Baneslayer
    -1 Deprive

    Also, cut some counterspells for Oust and/or Divine Offering if they have a bunch of creatures (like necropede or vatmother) or artifacts (like Contagion Clasp).

  11. utama on March 28th, 2011 1:39 am

    hi i like ur sideboard plan.. and it works on my local tourney..

    but recently i main decked 3 leylines any thoughts on that? i took out the 3 spell pierce.

    and would it be an overkill if i have 4 gideon? seem to me any aggro just died if i have it all the time?
    thanks…

  12. Dee on March 28th, 2011 10:14 pm

    It depends on your metagame. Gideon is good against aggro. Leyline is only really good against Valakut and decks with a lot of discard.