This will be the final part of this series about the Legacy combo deck that abuses High Tide to make oodles of mana and generate an insane storm count. If you have not already, I suggest that you read Part I of the series, which can be found here. This week’s archetype will be Spring Tide, which is my personal favorite High Tide variant. Spring Tide is very versatile; it can be built on a budget for High Tide funsies at the “I’m interested, but I’m not ready to drop the bug bucks for Time Spirals and Candelabras of Tawnos” level. It can then be modified with, you guessed it, fetch lands and Force of Will for a more competitive feel.
Spring Tide abuses the untapping powers of the notorious Pauper fiend Cloud of Faeries and its counterpart, the awesome Snap. The latter is normally used to bounce Cloud of Faeries after High Tide has been cast, although it is equally happy to bounce an opposing Ethersworn Canonist. Spring Tide still has access to all of the key High Tide components, since it operates at sorcery speed. Let’s take a look at my current list that I use, then break it down into the benefits and setbacks of the epic Spring Tide!
Spring Tide, My Personal Current Build
4 Cloud of Faeries
3 Cunning Wish
4 High Tide
4 Ideas Unbound
4 Merchant Scroll
4 Spell Pierce
1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
2 Brain Freeze
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Pact of Negation
1 Wipe Away
Spring Tide uses Cloud of Faeries and Snap in conjunction with Turnabout to untap lands. The fact that the two former only cost two mana apiece is very relevant. It is, albeit EXTREMELY unlikely, possible to win with two Islands in play. There is only a 5-7% chance of winning with two lands, and any disruption makes it nearly impossible to win with so few. However, I have pulled off quite a few wins with only 3 lands, which is exceedingly difficult to do with most other High Tide variants. The odds of winning with three lands are not good; I estimate the win percentage at approximately 40% if one attempts to win with three lands. Fortunately, there is an exponential increase in win percentage when 4 lands are in play. With 4 lands, there is a 94+% chance of just goldfishing the opponent. If the opponent lets you get to seven lands, there is a .001% chance that you will lose due to mana constraint. All those statistics are trying to say is that low casting cost untappers are very efficient at winning games faster than other slower variants.
As good as Solidarity is, some of the best elements of High Tide decks come from sorceries. Spring Tide loves Merchant Scroll for finding another High Tide, a Zenith that has been re-shuffled, a Turnabout for mana… So many options! It makes the deck run incredibly smoothly. Spring Tide also has all of the best cantrips. Ponder and Preordain sculpt beautiful combo hands early in the game, and Brainstorm is, as always, along for the ride. Ideas Unbound is another sorcery-speed all-star that gives an efficient 3 cards for 2 mana. It is an okay setup card if played correctly in the early turns. I almost never use it for this purpose, though, as I usually botch my discards in some way.
Spring Tide is also more efficient at generating storm than the other variants. Snap targeting Cloud of Faeries generates very fast mana and storm as this effectively makes Snap add two to storm each time. Although nothing can be “recycled” through a Time Spiral-like effect, that is often irrelevant due to the sheer number of cards drawn in any given turn through Ideas Unbound and friends. These numerous draw cards also up the storm count very quickly. Spring Tide also packs a nifty little trick in the board. I use this in my variant, but some others do not. The singleton Capsize may seem odd in a board full of other bounce effects that are more efficient. However, it lends itself to an infinite combo for both storm count and blue mana. While not necessary for a win, the combo can make it very easy to guarantee one.
Firstly, all four High Tides in the deck must have resolved. This is not always possible, but Merchant Scroll coupled with draw effects can make this easier than expected. Secondly, there must be a Cloud of Faeries in play with at least eight mana available. Cast the Capsize with buyback targeting Cloud of Faeries, thus bouncing it to hand. Re-cast the Faeries to untap two lands and tap the lands for ten blue mana. Each time this is repeated, it will net two storm and two blue mana. This can be used for a lethal Blue Sun’s Zenith or Brain Freeze, whichever is more appropriate.
There are a LOT of things going for Spring Tide… However, there are a few key drawbacks from which the deck suffers, the most obvious of which, at least from my build, is the budget nature. Spell Pierce is nothing compared to Force of Will, and the thinning and Brainstorm-fixing power of fetches is non-existent. Fortunately, those are the only two real money cards in the deck. Flusterstorm is another probable inclusion, at least in the board, that could better the deck.
Also, this is the only High Tide deck that must fear creature removal. A well-timed Swords to Plowshares in response to a Snap will wreck the deck. When both fizzle, if that was the last hope of generating mana, it is game over. Some opponents are savvy enough to pick up on this, but a few not-so-well versed opponents may remove their removal thinking it to be worthless. Creature removal also stops the infinite combo.
The only other real drawback is the reliance on Meditate and Ideas Unbound to hit relevant cards. These two are necessary gambles to win the game, but sometimes, just as with Time Spiral, they hit nothing relevant. Other than that, this deck is a smooth operator that will give many opponents a glazed-over look by the time they are dead from a little Faerie and some running water!
Spring Tide is a deck that can be improved upon, unlike some other variants that are (almost) set in stone. I have been experimenting with Retraced Image as a possible inclusion for turning excess lands in hand into more mana that couples well with other untap effects.
I have also contemplated adding a fourth Cunning Wish, given that this deck may be using up 2 or more in any given game if one is needed A) for the kill, B) for the infinite combo, and C) for some other need to save the deck’s butt mid combo. There may be two instances of a C scenario, which might mandate a fourth Wish. This would couple well with 3 Retraced Image if I were to remove, say, four Preordain. In an aggro/burn/something without counterspells meta, the Spell Pierces could be removed for these four.
Also, I’m not 100% sure about Disrupt in the board. I may want it main decked. It rocks against Force of Will on a tapped out opponent, and it stops Thoughtseize from ripping apart the hand early on. However, it is pointless as soon as the opponent accumulates some extra mana to burn. It could be removed entirely from the ‘board in favor of more protection such as Defense Grid.
Decks are constantly evolving, and this is no different. If you try out the deck and have some suggestions, please post some comments! I will hopefully be adding a video to this article soon, so you may want to check this page again in the next week or so for a deck tech. I hope you enjoyed the conclusion to the High Tide series! I hope to see you next week for more eternal craziness!