Blue-Red Flyers with Tamoharu Saito

Posted in Event Coverage on May 29, 2016

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Standard is wildly diverse these days. Over twenty unique archetypes were represented in the top 100 decks coming into Day 2 here at Grand Prix Minneapolis and the format continues to widen with each passing week.

One of the most interesting decks to show up this weekend was a Blue-Red Flyers deck designed and played by Tamoharu Saito. Saito saw that versions of the deck had gone undefeated in Standard leagues on Magic Online. Excited by the opportunity to play something new, Saito went to work and changed the deck so that it matched up well against his expected metagame.

Tamoharu Saito

The concept is simple: Stick an inexpensive flyer, start attacking, and counter every important spell the opponent plays.

I sat down with Saito to discuss his Blue-Red flyers deck and how it matches up against the current Standard metagame.

Saito was forthcoming with his deck's greatest weakness, “Humans is very bad. I want to play against slower decks. When the other deck's cards cost less mana it can be very hard to win.”

The general strategy of a deck with a lot of countermagic is inherently weak to more aggressive decks. It makes sense that Saito's Blue-Red Flyers deck would struggle in these situations.

“Control is very good. Ramp is also very good. Midrange decks and Green-White Tokens are fair games.”

By sticking an early threat and countering all the big spells from opponents, Saito's deck is tailor-made to destroy decks that lean on cards that cost a lot of mana. Fevered Visions further pushes these matchups in his favor.

I wanted to know about Goldnight Castigator. A new mythic rare that has yet to see a lot of play.

Goldnight Castigator is [a] very underated card. I tried it in many decks. It is good against planeswalkers. Probably better than the dragon [Thunderbreak Regent] because all my damage is even. Two or Four. It wins very fast. It is bad against Humans. The deck is already bad against humans.”

Saito was just eliminated from Top 8 contention in round 13. His deck gives us an excellent new angle of attack for the Standard format, especially if things continue to become more controlling and less aggressive. This deck could make some big waves in the coming weeks if it's able to play against the right matchups.

Tomoharu Saito's Blue-Red Flyers

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