I drafted a pretty fun deck recently at a team draft meet up in Brooklyn. Although I used the same pair of colors featured in the last Exploring Born of the God’s Draft, this deck had a much different style than the previous Phenax, God of Deception deck. UB tempo is an archetype that I frequently gravitate toward since it rewards high BNG picks such as Bile Blight and Vortex Elemental with quality late THS picks such as Shipwreck Singer and Pharika’s Cure.

Bile Blight and Vortex Elemental were my P1P1 and P1P2 choices. I forced the rest of my picks (a method that I often switch out of when both colors are cleared cut), and quickly realized that I was in a good seat for blue with late picks like Divination and Sudden Storm, but in a very poor seat for black–only picking up a Servant of Tymaret. I was rewarded pack two where my picks were Voyage’s End, Shipwreck Singer, Nimbus Naiad, Shipwreck Singer, followed by Pharika’s Cure—a welcome consecutive barrage of cards that strengthened the deck significantly. Pack three provided me with some decent last minute removal in Lash of the Whip and Sip of Hemlock, as well as some much needed ground stall with Returned Phalanx and Returned Centaur.

Here’s what I ended up with.

UB Tempo

Creatures (14)
Vortex Elemental
Deepwater Hypnotist
Returned Phalanx
Shipwreck Singer
Blood-Toll Harpy
Felhide Minotaur
Nimbus Naiad
Triton Fortune Hunter
Servant of Tymaret
Returned Centaur
Floodtide Serpent
Sealock Monster
Horizon Scholar

Spells (9)
Bile Blight
Pharika's Cure
Voyage's End
Sudden Storm
Lash of the Whip
Sip of Hemlock
Lands (17)

I plan on giving you all an idea of how each card fared as a role player in this UB Tempo build by pretty much showing you the emotion I felt when I encountered each card. I will be using the following range of faces to help illustrate the point:

Ranking 1  Ranking 2  Ranking 3  Ranking 4  Ranking 5

Off we go!

Ranking 5
This card was wonderful and very important to this build since this deck’s game plan is to attack in the air while holding off both early and late game threats. This card did a great job at both early and late control as a lure effect.


Ranking 2

This card was a late include to the deck used to smooth out my curve a bit. At best it got in 4 damage early game then chumped of simply chumped late game. I typically sided it out against any deck with trample creatures.


Ranking 3

Returned Phalanx was my ideal turn two play against most decks. It shuts down all early ground advances short of combat tricks (which I was glad to get out of their hand) and weak fliers (which I soon killed/outclassed).


Ranking 5
I was very happy with the way this little card controlled games. It made combat very tricky once I got up to four to six mana, and became a must answer threat in multiples. I was sure to consider detrimental removal such as Bile Blight and Drown in Sorrow when I was up against black decks.


Ranking 3
As unassuming as it is, this card is a part of my overall win condition. I pretty much pecked away with him for as much damage as possible while protecting my life total, creatures, and trying to keep the overall board balance in my favor.


Ranking 3
Another late include but this one was a much better fit in my game plan than Deepwater Hypnotist. This was a decent turn three spell on the play and fine on the draw. Either way it was usually just big enough of a road block to slow down my opponents.


Ranking 4
A 2/2 flier for three is decent on its own but the added bonus of bestow sends this card way above average in this deck. Just picture the damage a turn three Felhide Minotaur, turn five 4/5 flier with the added ability of “when this creature dies, put a 2/2 non-token enchantment creature on the battle field” can do. This card is excellent for its cost and a critical part of the gameplan.


Ranking 1 This card didn’t belong in this deck. I think I was blinded by how highly I pick it for its use in a Heroic style build, that I blindly auto-included this card in my deck even though its essentially a 2/2 for three. I sided him out often and was almost never happy to see it in my opening hand or as a top deck, unless I needed a chump blocker to buy me one more turn.


Ranking 1
Never did this card have much of an impact on the game state. He was fine against big R/G to slow down some of those large midgame threats, but most of the time I wanted to use my mana to cast a spell rather than regenerating a relatively weak creature.  I think this card was at its best with a Nimbus Naiad strapped on since a 3/5 flier that produces an additional two point life swing when it untaps isn’t too shabby.


Ranking 3
There is a lot of three or less power in this format. Returned Centaur did a great job of slowing things down just enough for me to prepare my position for later plays.


Ranking 1

This card was pretty much a 4/4 defender for five every game. No thanks.

Ranking 3


Sealock Monster was a fine midgame road block which doubled as a threat once we approached the late game. I liked the fact that in most cases, he was a must answer threat once montrous-ed.


Ranking 3

I enjoyed having a 4 power flier as a finisher since, with the exception of heroic creatures, most of the fliers in this format have a power of two or three.  This made Horizon Scholar a hard to deal threat which generally reduced my opponents clock by a turn or two.


Ranking 5

I love this removal spell. At worst it was generally a one for one, but having the option to trade this spell for 2-3 cards was a huge upside. One game, I used this card to respond to the heroic triggers caused by a Dauntless Onslaught, putting me way ahead on board.


Ranking 5

This card was great at shutting off heroic strategies, resetting pesky bestow creatures (especially anything big with a Hopeful Eidolon strapped to it), or responding to monstrous activations. It was very helpful at all points of the game and was always a sight for sore eyes.


Ranking 3
Even though this deck was fairly black heavy during the early turns of the game, I never worried about being able to cast dissolve since I almost always held it until I was really pressed up against the wall (i.e. to protect a win condition, to protect my life, or to prevent a creature to which I don’t have answers from resolving).


Ranking 3
Having reasonably priced card draw is always welcome in my deck.


Ranking 4

A lot of times, this card won games a turn or two after being cast. If not, it caused a huge enough tempo swing where this deck maintained full command of the remainder of the game.


Ranking 3

I’ve come to really like playing a one to one split of these removal spells in tempo builds. I rarely feel that I need more.


I finished the draft 3-0 with this beauty. If I attempt this archetype again, I’ll be sure to stay away from those few highlighted cards and even throw a Vaporkin/Chorus of the Tides or two in their place. Additional creatures helping to shorten my opponent’s clock is exactly what this deck needed to send it over the top. Fliers are slowly becoming one of my favorite Born of the Gods draft archetypes and I’m sure I’ll be visiting this style of deck soon.

Feel free to share your views in the comments section below and as always, thanks for reading!


Monique Garraud is a Brooklyn native who started playing Magic in 2011. “Grinding It Out” is her weekly take on the trials, tribulations, and joys of being a competitive tournament player.

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