Through the Looking Glass: UG Omni-Tell with Aldrich Saplan

Rich Cali

Special Guest

A few words on Aldrich Saplan

(Twitter: @Dopedafi | MTGO: Dopedafi | Instagram: drizz_707)

Aldrich Saplan is a longtime MTG competitor from the Bay Area in California where he grew up and has lived his whole life. He’s been playing since Ice Age and loves to play aggressive tempo decks. Saplan has a SCG Draft Open win, a PTQ finals appearance, and a Mox tournament win when he was younger. Although most of his competitions these days reside on Magic Online, he still enjoys and pursues the paper Grand Prix/Magic Fest grind.

How do you feel about UG Omni-Tell in the current metagame? What are your thoughts about the matchup with The EPIC Storm?

UG Omni-Tell is a great deck in the current metagame as it can be built in different ways. With copies of [[Lotus Petal]], the deck can be more explosive with turn-one kills. Opting for copies of [[Ice-Fang Coatl]] instead enables the deck to play a midrange-style game, similar to the [[Splinter Twin]] decks of old. While the deck to beat currently in the metagame is Snowko, UG Omni-Tell has a good matchup against it due to playing 3-4 copies of [[Veil of Summer]] in the mainboard.

The matchup against The EPIC Storm can be swingy at times. They’re a bit of a faster combo deck due to their fast mana sources. My best answers against it are [[Force of Will]] and [[Veil of Summer]] which can stop the [[Tendrils of Agony]] combo kill. This matchup can also be a game of cat and mouse. My usual rule of thumb is, the first person who goes for it “loses.” In this case, postboard games usually require a lot of strategy whether to be the combo player or the control player. Overall, the die roll is very relevant as if I am on the play, [[Veil of Summer]] will be more potent than it would be if I was on the draw. Having played this matchup many times in the past, the games tend to be very close as it is a matchup of resources to the very end.

With the effective banning of different Companion Decks, Snowko decks have seen a large increase in play and success — How does this affect the UG Omni-Tell deck?

It helps this deck if the meta is fair blue control decks such as Snowko. Having [[Veil of Summer]] plus other countermagic to help counteract and make room for your combo is a path for this deck to be successful. They have a very slow clock and prey on mostly fair decks in the meta like Delver, Death & Taxes, Esper Vial etc. The funny thing I have been hearing lately is that Legacy is becoming a “rotating” format with the power creep in newer magic cards and new sets. Even with the recent bannings and changes in the rules of Companions, control decks will always be hovering around in the metagame.

What sort of interaction do UG Omni-Tell decks have before sideboarding? What should The EPIC Storm be on the look-out for?

What makes this deck different from Sneak & Show and other [[Show and Tell]] decks is that it has access to the sideboard in pre-boarded games with [[Cunning Wish]] maindeck. It’s one of the main cards that The EPIC Storm should keep an eye out for since we can have access to graveyard hate or bounce spells/[[Disenchant]] effects. Some, but not all [[Cunning Wish]] decks can have access to an ultimate hate card versus Storm such as [[Mindbreak Trap]]. This card is especially unique because of the “Exile” effect, meaning it gets around a resolved [[Veil of Summer]].

How likely are you to keep a hand with your combo but without disruption and protection? Should we expect our opponent to have mulliganed for a [[Show and Tell]] and [[Omniscience]] over counterspells?

I’ll keep an opening hand without Force of Will or [[Veil of Summer]] if it includes combo pieces such as [[Show and Tell]], [[Omniscience]], or multiple cantrip cards and tutor effects like [[Ponder]], [[Brainstorm]], and [[Cunning Wish]]. I don’t always mulligan for protection spells especially if I am on the play. The main card to have against The EPIC Storm is [[Veil of Summer]] since it’s at a low cost of one mana. [[Force of Will]] can be costly because sometimes pitching combo pieces like [[Show and Tell]] will weaken the resource count. In the later turns, we will be too far behind in the game.

How effective do you think [[Empty the Warrens]] is in the matchup? Is it a card that you generally worry about coming from The EPIC Storm?

I am not usually afraid of that card unless it can come down in the earlier parts of the games, mainly, turn one or two. Having access to my sideboard with [[Cunning Wish]] makes it a bit easier for me to have answers like [[Echoing Truth]]. In the post board games, I have 1-2 copies of [[Engineered Explosives]], giving me even more answers to an [[Empty the Warrens]].

Does the inclusion of [[Veil of Summer]] and [[Pyroblast]] in The EPIC Storm affect your gameplan?

Most definitely it does. There are some awkward points in a game whereas to a [[Veil of Summer]] sub-game of when it’s cast. What I noticed specifically in Storm decks is they will cast [[Veil of Summer]] as a “shield” before they can chain their spells safely into opposing countermagic. Their best trick is a [[Wishclaw Talisman]] activation to tutor for [[Veil of Summer]] while spells are on the stack. As far as [[Pyroblast]], I rarely play around it and just hope to have [[Force of Will]] backup or [[Veil of Summer]].

What other disruption pieces do you look at utilizing in this matchup? Are cards like [[Echoing Truth]], [[Force of Negation]], or even [[Flusterstorm]] in your list?

Out of those specific cards, I only run [[Echoing Truth]] from the sideboard. [[Flusterstorm]] is no longer necessary in the metagame due to [[Veil of Summer]] existing. As far as [[Force of Negation]], it’s actually not good in this build because it can’t be cast freely to protect the combo. I’ve also experimented with a lot of different [[Cunning Wish]] targets, and the most effective cards would be [[Mindbreak Trap]] or a [[Return to Nature]].

How aggressively do you mulligan for a hand that contains disruption/protection/counter-magic?

It depends if I am on the play or on the draw. I will tend to mulligan more defensively on the draw for a [[Veil of Summer]] or a [[Force of Will]]. If I am on the play, I will mulligan less as long as I have cantrips or combo pieces. I have been playing Magic a long time, and the more you mulligan, the more you’re losing.

How do you typically sideboard against The EPIC Storm?

I take out slower cards such as [[Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath]], [[Drawn from Dreams]], 1-2 [[Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn]], and sometimes a land. I bring in [[Grafdigger’s Cage]], 1-2 [[Engineered Explosives]], and sometimes the [[Carpet of Flowers]]. The EPIC Storm is very resilient to graveyard hate as it doesn’t really rely on their graveyard. They also have an [[Echo of Eons]] which is very difficult to interact with outside of countermagic.

I never sideboard the same in any given match as specific players play differently and sideboard differently. The beauty of this game and why I have been playing for a very long time is the strategy used to succeed to win a match regardless of the format. If a Modern player only plays Modern or if a Limited player only plays Limited, they will not know specific strategies outside of that format, in which case this is a disadvantage against most Magic players they play against.

How do you value cards such as [[Carpet of Flowers]] or [[Veil of Summer]] against The EPIC Storm?

[[Veil of Summer]] is the best and most effective card against The EPIC Storm. [[Carpet of Flowers]] on the other hand is at best medium. If I plan to play a long game against them, then I would bring it in on the draw. Most players play around it especially if it comes out early in the game. Since I already have access to the sideboard in all of my games, I try not to over sideboard in this specific matchup. There are games where I accidentally sideboarded a card that I tried to Cunning Wish for which has cost me in the past. This is where sideboard strategy and memory come into play so I can do my best to minimize those mistakes.

What is the biggest mistake you see The EPIC Storm players make against UG Omni-Tell? What is the biggest mistake you see UG Omni-Tell players make against The EPIC Storm?

The biggest mistake I have seen The EPIC Storm players make is either trying to combo off too early or having a resolved [[Ad Nauseam]] kill themselves. This actually happens more often than I would think because most of the time I do not know the contents of their hand. The biggest mistake I can make is the [[Cunning Wish]] sideboard issue or playing right into a counterspell such as [[Flusterstorm]] or [[Pyroblast]]. I play more defensively on the draw and more aggressively on the play. In this specific matchup, I am the control player. If I tap out, I could die at any moment the following turn.

How do you think The EPIC Storm matchup compares to other [[Dark Ritual]] combo decks such as Ad Nauseam Tendrils or [[Doomsday]]?

The EPIC Storm plays well against graveyard hate while [[Ad Nauseam]] Tendrils or [[Doomsday]] are more graveyard reliant. [[Thoughtseize]] and other discard spells can easily be interacted with via [[Veil of Summer]] or a defensive [[Brainstorm]]. Find which version of a deck a player is on. Knowing the difference with a UG Omni-Tell player having [[Lotus Petal]]s or [[Ice-Fang Coatl]]s is a huge advantage.

Do you have any additional insight to share about the matchup? Any tips or tricks for either side?

The best way to beat combo decks in general is permanent-based hate. [[Null Rod]], [[Collector Ouphe]]s, [[Trinisphere]] are some of the best ways to beat The EPIC Storm. The same goes for the other side as [[Meddling Mage]], [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]], and [[Sanctum Prelate]] are the best ways to beat UG Omni-Tell. I learned so many things while playing this deck, and the card most players worry about the least is [[Intuition]]. There’s a neat [[Intuition]] trick where if a player casts a [[Surgical Extraction]] on the stack targeting one of my cards in the graveyard, I can respond by casting [[Intuition]] grabbing at least two copies of [[Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn]] in the pile of three cards. The [[Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn]] shuffle trigger will then resolve, shuffling all the cards in your library and fizzling [[Surgical Extraction]].

Any shout-outs, plugs, or anything else you would like to mention?

I would like to note plan B post board game strategy with cards such as [[Oko, Thief of Crowns]] and [[Shifting Ceratops]]. Since most players will mostly focus on the [[Show and Tell]]/[[Omniscience]] combo after game one, I tend to utilize a plan B strategy by grinding out the game with [[Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath]] and [[Oko, Thief of Crowns]].

I am also going to apologize as I don’t stream on Magic Online as this game already takes enough of my brain power. I would consider doing match recordings in the near future. I play other formats such as Limited, Modern, and Pioneer, but Legacy is by far the best :D. Most of my skill set has been from playing Limited by optimal deckbuilding and learning how to utilize old/newer strategies in each match. A big thank you to Manahandler (David M.) as we give each other strategy/card ideas for this deck build. Thank you for allowing me to do this website interview for The EPIC Storm.

Huge thank you to Aldrich Saplan for joining Through the Looking Glass and providing some outstanding insights on UG Omni-Tell and its matchup with The EPIC Storm.