Jace vs Vraska duel decks are released. This article will explore each deck’s potential.
For a control mill deck it sure does have a lot of creatures at a total count of 20. 20 is usually the number for beatdown decks. It has its share of spells but nowhere near the level of Jace’s deck back in Jace vs Chandra.
At first I’m not really sure what this deck wants to do. There’s part of a mill strategy, control and illusion beatdown. The best bet is to stall until you’ve assembled enough to settle on one strategy.
There are some worthy cards in Jace’s deck such as Body Double, Control Magic, Remand and Memory Lapse. The spells in this deck can go hand in hand with each other but not really with Jace himself. Perhaps the best card other than Jace is Future Sight which is basically a hand extension that seems tailor made for this deck because it always seem to need access to that one extra card.
As I said, this deck seems to go all over the place without a set strategy. Not only that but the cards given doesn’t exactly fulfill any important roles nor are you given key cards. Counterspell’s return would’ve been nice, Capsize would’ve worked seeing that it is a tempo heavy deck, and Lord of the Unreal and Phantasmal Image are definitely must haves for illusion tribal.
Ways to improve this deck is to either go mono blue control or Illusion tribal. Using Jace, it is easier to build a control deck around this set. Use draw cards like Jace’s Ingenuity to fuel your hand with counterspells. Counterspell, Mana Leak and Dissipate are very good counterspells. Force of Will and Mana Drain are even better if you have access to older cards. Meanwhile Jace will soften the damage when you’re getting hit. In a deck with a high spell count, Delver of Secrets is perfect for the deck coming in at 1 mana and boosts its chance to transform into a 3/2 flier. Lastly, Cryptic Command is every monoblue player’s toolbox.
When fighting Vraska, it’s not a good idea to mill the opponent seeing that Vraska is Golgari colored and is capable of graveyard shenanigans. That is until you realize hardly any of Vraska’s cards involve graveyard interactions. To be safe, go for stall and save the counterspells for late game. The damage from smaller creatures can be softened by Jace or easily bounced away. Unfortunately there is no way around the life loss effects other than countering the spell.
Vraska’s deck is actually a very generic black green deck without utilizing any Golgari or reanimation spells. Instead it intends to be a typical black green deck focusing on removal, life loss and sacrifices. Vraska’s deck have even more creatures than Jace’s deck but at least the land roster is better.
I am surprised that Vraska’s deck doesn’t feature more Gorgons – the only one being Reaper of the Wilds. Instead, we get plenty of snakes but not the ones I prefer like Ambush Viper or Wasteland Viper.
Speaking of which, there are lot of deathtouching creatures which is surprisingly practical against Jace’s many non-flying creatures. Vraska’s deck is filled with destruction and removal. Deathtouch creatures are just scratching the surface. Nekrataal, Consume Strength, and Tragic Slip are among the best removal source in the deck. Tainted Wood is the best land of this set and is a really good dual land reprint. Compared with Jace, Vraska is also hard to hit and comes with high loyalty.
Vraska’s deck is generally good but doesn’t really provide a win condition other than using Vraska herself. The lack of graveyard interaction which happens to be black green’s strength is a missed opportunity and should be taken advantage of to some extent. The deck is overall slow and can actually be rushed by Jace’s army of low costed creatures.
There are different routes Vraska’s deck can take. Midrange with evasion effects is best if the deck relies on Vraska as the primary win condition. As mentioned, black green reanimator is possible. Golgari dredge and scavenge is also possible. In any case, Deathrite Shaman, Liliana of the Veil and Tarmogoyf are good choices where the format allows.
You can easily overpower Jace’s deck if you maintain stable defenses. Pick off the stronger fliers first when playing removal spells. The illusions are weak enough that they die by being targeted. You may bait out Jace’s counterspells but some counters like Memory Lapse allow you to play them again by next turn the latest.