Blue/White/Red Geist of Saint Traft Deck with 6 Counterspells
October 20, 2012 | Posted by Dee
Geist of Saint Traft is one of those cards that’s been forgotten by much of the Standard player base. It was a key card in the last Standard season but it sunk in popularity because its supporting cards either left the format (Mana Leak, Vapor Snag) or became less powerful (Delver of Secrets).
However, it seems like the card is due to a resurgence because someone found a way to use it effectively for this Standard format.
Last weekend, Hironobu Takeda won a high profile Japanese tournament with a Blue/White/Red (UWR) Geist of Saint Traft Midrange deck.
The deck has counterspells, cheap removal, and Snapcaster Mage to clear the way of blockers for Geist to attack without dying in combat.
I played the deck for a few matches and it feels similar to the old Delver decks, but not as powerful (thankfully!). Yet, it does not play any Delver of Secrets.
Check out the decklist below.
|UWR Geist of Saint Traft|
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The deck has a lot of control elements but it’s definitely not a control deck. In most games, you want to drop a Geist or Restoration Angel in the early or mid game and just start attacking right away.
Versus aggro, you’ll probably have to clear the board first to stay alive but once you stop their initial rush, you should launch a counterattack. The deck is pretty good at racing aggro decks as long as you’ve dealt with the first early threats.
Pillar of Flame, Searing Spear, Azorius Charm, and Izzet Charm are solid cards for dealing with aggro creatures in the first three turns. Then, you can start gaining a little bit of card advantage by flashing them back with Snapcaster Mage.
Against midrange and control decks, the counterspells are huge. Oftentimes you can just drop Geist on turn three on an empty board and just protect it with counterspells while it kills your opponent in a few hits.
For example, casting Essence Scatter on Huntmaster of the Fells or Dissipating a Thragtusk is just devastating.
Even if your opponent has blockers, you have many ways to get rid of them. For example, Pillar of Flame and Snapcaster Mage takes out both creatures of Huntmaster of the Fells for only three mana while leaving you with a 2/1 attacker.
Six counterspells may not seem like a lot, but it feels like you have more copies because of 4 Snapcaster Mage.
The counterspells have definitely gained value because Cavern of Souls has gone down in popularity. Some aggro decks are cutting copies of the land.
Plus, many players are switching from aggro decks to midrange or control decks. These two types of decks generally cannot afford to play Cavern of Souls because they need mana fixing for non-creature spells.
The deck has a seven burn spells and 4 Snapcaster Mage so you don’t have to attack your opponent for 20 damage to win. One common way of winning is swinging with Geist three times and then casting Pillar of Flame to deal the last two points of damage.
You won’t always draw Geist but Restoration Angel and Thundermaw Hellkite are decent secondary win conditions.
Restoration Angel doesn’t die to Abrupt Decay, Pillar of Flame, and Searing Spear. Her flying ability is useful because there are not too many creatures in the format that can block her.
Also, she has flash, which is relevant against sorcery speed removal spells like Dreadbore, Detention Sphere, and Mizzium Mortars. Sometimes you can cast her at the end of your opponent’s turn, keep her from dying to these removal spells by countering them, and deal a lot of damage by attacking with her a couple of times.
Thundermaw Hellkite is a great finisher for the deck. It doesn’t cost that much and it has haste, which both surprises your opponent (especially since the card is underplayed) and kills him more quickly. Also, haste goes well with the burn spells. Destroying all your opponent’s Spirit tokens from Lingering Souls is just icing on the cake.
In some games, you can even rely Snapcaster Mage as your first primary threat. I’ve played in games where the best play was casting Snapcaster Mage on turn two without using its flashback ability so I could start attacking on turn three.
Changes to the Deck
I wasn’t too impressed with the 2 Moorland Haunt. It sometimes hurt me when I needed colored mana and having 1/1 Spirit tokens didn’t seem that powerful.
Therefore, I would make these changes:
-2 Moorland Haunt
In the sideboard, I don’t think Thalia fits the deck because it has so many non-creature spells. I would cut them for other cards.
Maybe something like the following:
-4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
+1 Izzet Staticaster
+1 Knight of Glory
+1 Pithing Needle
I think the deck has enough control hate so I added Izzet Staticaster and Knight Glory to shore up the Tokens and Zombies matchups.