Jace, the Mind Sculptor Planeswalker Duel Deck

It’s time for everyone’s favorite Blue powerhouse of a planeswalker!

Before War of the Spark and the F.I.R.E. Planeswalkers came out, Jace, the Mind Sculptor was universally acknowledged as the GOAT. I remember when it first came out, when Bloodbraid Elf and Blightning were powerhouses in Standard, Legacy events were still something of a novelty, and Modern wasn’t even a format yet. People were excited about Jace, but was he even that good? 

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Double Masters | Mythic

Jace, the Mind Sculptor - Double Masters - magic

Market Price: $34.54

Over the next few months, the doubters were laughed out of the room and Jace was the second coming of Tarmogoyf (a card in Standard that reached fifty whole dollars!). It was played in every format and preemptively banned in Modern, where it remained for many years until finally getting released back into the wild. And oh yeah, it still slaps. 

This is all to say that I recognize that JTMS is special, and as such I wanted to do something special for this deck, as a nod of respect. 

Let’s see what we’ve got cooked up…

Freeform (Casual)

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Market Price:$92.74

Maindeck·60 cards

Creature (17)

  • 1Academy Drake
  • 1Callous Deceiver
  • 1Cloud Djinn
  • 1Diamond Mare
  • 1Djinn of Wishes
  • 1Ghost Ship
  • 1Graxiplon
  • 1Man-o’-War
  • 1Mirozel
  • 1Morphling
  • 1Paperfin Rascal
  • 1Pondering Mage
  • 2Riverwise Augur
  • 1Shoal Serpent
  • 1Sindbad
  • 1Trinket Mage

Planeswalker (1)

  • 1Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Instant (11)

  • 1Brainstorm
  • 1Erratic Mutation
  • 1Evacuation
  • 1Expel from Orazca
  • 1Hieroglyphic Illumination
  • 1Long-Term Plans
  • 1Memory Lapse
  • 1Predict
  • 1Rewind
  • 1Spin into Myth
  • 1Whirlpool Whelm

Artifact (4)

  • 1Aether Spellbomb
  • 1Codex Shredder
  • 1Sky Diamond
  • 1Tormod’s Crypt

Enchantment (3)

  • 1Counterbalance
  • 1Future Sight
  • 1Medomai’s Prophecy

Land (24)

  • 1Coral Atoll
  • 1Faerie Conclave
  • 1Field of Ruin
  • 20Island
  • 1Mage-Ring Network

The Game Plan

Because we’re very likely to be using the Brainstorm ability with Jace when we get him in play, the goal here is to make use of effects that take advantage of the top of our library. Counterbalance is the big one here, and is the first of our budget busters. (I had a couple cards laying around that I badly wanted to play in this deck, so I slotted them in even if they’re a bit expensive for the general constraints. You rule the roost for as long as JTMS did, you get some special privileges!) 

We don’t have Top (I actually did have one of those laying around too, but I hadn’t realized they they’re worth almost as much as Jace himself! The times, they are a-changin), and we only have 1 copy of Brainstorm proper, so we’ll have to think carefully when we have Counterbalance active, but it still provides us with the opportunity to get and stay wayyyy ahead. Free counterspells are great. Long-Term Plans can essentially function as an instant-speed Demonic Tutor when you can just Brainstorm the target into your hand at the next opportunity, and we’ll have a better opportunity to win our clashes when we can manipulate or generally be aware of what’s on top. Sindbad suddenly becomes a 2-mana Archivist when we always put a land back on top for him; Codex Shredder gives us a similar effect for library manipulation. 

Because this isn’t Legacy and we can’t just jam-pack our deck with fetchlands to reset the top of the deck, we’ll need to be more judicious with our shuffle effects. Trinket Mage is the All-Star here, providing us with a small package to tutor for (Crypt, Spellbomb, Shredder) that can be bounced with Jace’s minus ability for future shuffles. Field of Ruin can shuffle us up in a pinch and maybe even get to hit a valuable nonbasic on the other side. Long-Term Plans and Pondering Mage are the other workhorses here, and the Mage can also be redeployed at the cost of just a bit of loyalty in a pinch. 

Because this deck has a couple outstanding bomb rares (not to mention constructed studs like Counterbalance), I wanted to fill out the creature base with some of my favorite weird Blue creatures. Ghost Ship was a favorite of mine when I started playing in the mid-90s (I loved the art and nobody explained to me that ‘bury’ prevented regeneration, so Ghost Ship just lived forever), Mirozel and Graxiplon have two of my favorite names (I wish they would go back to some of these incredibly weird names for incredibly weird creatures), and Mirozel and Cloud Djinn have incredible art. Diamond Mare is an early drop that allows us to stem some bleeding against early aggression. Riverwise Augur has a crappy body, but the Brainstorm effect is valuable. 

Removal here is not great, but if we can put things back on top of libraries and then get them with Counterbalance games will go in our favor. Spin into Myth provides us with a spell that actually has the text ‘Fateseal’ —often referred to when Jace’s plus ability gets activated, since the effects are similar even if the keyword isn’t evoked. 

The Rares


Urza’s Saga | Rare

Morphling - Urza's Saga - magic

Market Price: $12.26

Just like Jace was once the consensus on Best Planeswalker of All Time, Morphling had its time as the Best Creature. Granted, when Morphling was wrecking everyone, combat damage used the stack, so its stats could change to really mess up attempts to kill him, and it protected itself well. By the time I actually owned copies myself, its time had passed. But I tell you, in a format like this, Morphling can relive the glory days and take over a game by itself. (BTW, Morphling is another Budget Buster. Why is this $10!?!? Who in their right mind is still playing it?)

Djinn of Wishes

Commander 2018 | Rare

Djinn of Wishes - Commander 2018 - magic

Market Price: $0.09

Air Elemental is already a fine card in a format like this, and when we’re actively taking steps to manipulate the top of our library the Djinn can recruit quite a few bangers and put you well ahead on cards. Don’t forget during games that although the ability is really awesome, we get a 4/4 flying beatstick out of the deal! Djinn is a flavor homerun and a very fun card to play with. 

Future Sight

Modern Horizons | Rare

Future Sight - Modern Horizons - magic

Market Price: $0.24

Hard to think of a Rare I’d be more excited to play in a deck that’s concerned with manipulating the top of the library! It’s especially exciting when you shatter your opponent’s hope with Future Sight/Counterbalance. 


Commander 2016 | Rare

Evacuation - Commander 2016 - magic

Market Price: $4.16

Blue doesn’t really get reset buttons, per se, and I’m not playing Upheaval in these lists because even though I love the art and the card in general, it is absurdly unfun. But Evacuation comes close, and I wanted to make sure Jace just had some more good stuff. TRGR. 

Unsung Hero

Pondering Mage

Modern Horizons | Common

Pondering Mage - Modern Horizons - magic

Market Price: $0.03

I absolutely loved Modern Horizons. Part of it was due to the nostalgia; I thought it was a great look at what a present day Time Spiral would be, with plenty of weird and accidentally broken cards. But a huge part of the set was that its commons and uncommons were largely very neat, flavorful cards that weren’t tied down to a specific set, plane’s themes, or mechanics—just a pile of bangers. Pondering Mage is especially neat. It presents a pretty sizable (if slightly expensive) body that offers a classic and recognizable element of card selection. In this deck, it’s a fantastic fit: we’re grateful for the size of the creature, the information about the top of the library OR a valuable shuffle effect, and occasionally the casting cost matters as well. This deck has some extremely powerful effects, but they all require some forethought. Prepare to ponder!