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Czech Mate – Everything You Need to Know About Standard

I’ve played a lot of Standard lately. And by “a lot” I mean probably as much time as I usually spend drafting (which is alot.

I think I have a very good understanding of the current metagame, and while I don’t really like articles with just a bunch of decklists and not a lot of something the author actually came up with, I did spend a lot of time playing all of these decks and therefore can provide you with useful information should you choose to play one.

I follow the Starcitygames Open series pretty much every week and I have to say that watching Gerry win every single one of them is very impressive (but more about that later). It’s very clear in my mind that the best deck is some combination of [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card], [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card], removal and countermagic. I personally prefer the black version because [card inquisition of kozilek]Inquisition[/card] into Mystic is very close to going [card]Thoughtseize[/card] into [card]Bitterblossom[/card] in Extended. But, as I said last time, I dont really like playing the same deck as everyone else and I’m also very stubborn, so during the last month I tried a lot of different strategies.

It all started when Lukas built a UR counterburn deck and started doing pretty well online.

 

[deck]4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Koth of the Hammer
1 Frost Titan
2 Inferno Titan
2 Burst Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Mana Leak
4 Preordain
1 Slagstorm
4 Spell Pierce
3 Staggershock
1 Tumble Magnet
3 Evolving Wilds
7 Island
7 Mountain
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Tectonic Edge
3 Terramorphic Expanse
Sideboard
4 Flashfreeze
1 Frost Titan
1 Pyroclasm
3 Ratchet Bomb
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Tumble Magnet
2 Wall of Tanglecord
2 Wurmcoil Engine[/deck]

This deck is pretty sweet but I enjoyed watching it more than actually playing it. My problem was that sometimes you just draw the wrong cards; burn is bad against Valakut, [card]Spell Pierce[/card] is a dead card against aggro, etc. What I did like was [card]Staggershock[/card] and especially [card]Koth of the Hammer[/card]. Not only is it a great answer to turn 4 Jace but you can ultimate in 2 turns which is a pretty big game. Lukas eventually dropped the deck because of its bad matchup against Vampires and Valakut.

During this time Luis was doing the daily gauntlet series with Tezzeret and it struck me again how good [card]Tumble Magnet[/card] with Planeswalkers was. I kinda wanted to make Tezzeret good again by adjusting it to this metagame but it was quite obvious that playing Forgemaster probably wasnt a great idea anymore because of all the [card]Acidic Slime[/card]s, [card]Nature’s Claim[/card]s, [card]Manic Vandal[/card]s and [card]Divine Offering[/card]s in everyones sideboard. Without the Forgemaster package it was basically just a Planeswalker deck with discard, which actually sounded pretty good. So I took a different approach and built this:

Destructive Friends

[deck]4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 Inferno Titan
1 Frost Titan
2 Wurmcoil Engine
4 Sphere of the Suns
3 Everflowing Chalice
3 Destructive Force
4 Preordain
3 Tumble Magnet
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Jaces Ingenuity
2 Go for the Throat
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Mountain
3 Island
4 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Drowned Catacomb
3 Swamp
3 Dragonskull Summit
Sideboard
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Mana Leak
2 Black Suns Zenith
3 Dragons Claw
3 Wall of Tanglecord
4 Flashfreeze[/deck]

At first I wanted acceleration into Planeswalkers into [card]Destructive Force[/card]. I started with both [card liliana vess]Liliana[/card] and [card]Sorin Markov[/card] in the deck but eventually just cut both because they don’t really do enough, and replaced them with Titans and Engines. Tezzeret is still good in this deck even with just 12 artifacts because it’s a good answer for Jace, but Destructive Force was pretty disappointing. Often my opponent would just resolve a Titan and it would become a dead card. Trying to outrace Valakut in ramping to 7 mana is quite a hard thing to do and if you want to play counterspells you have to cut something else, but I’m not really sure what, or if I even want them.

I suppose you could just cut the red entirely and play UB like Wafo did in Barcelona. The deck was ok; it was something new, it was cool, but it was still just a grind. I didnt want to play close games, I wanted to do big things, have the feeling that I controlled the game the entire time and not just hope my opponent doesnt play a Titan on turn 5.

So naturally I tried RUG next.

Owen’s list

[deck]4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Mana Leak
4 Explore
4 Preordain
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Inferno Titan
3 Precursor Golem
4 Lotus Cobra
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Avenger of Zendikar
4 Raging Ravine
3 Copperline Gorge
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Halimar Depths
4 Misty Rainforest
5 Island
3 Forest
2 Mountain
Sideboard
1 Burst Lightning
2 Obstinate Baloth
2 Spell Pierce
4 Pyroclasm
3 Flashfreeze
2 Acidic Slime
1 Arc Trail[/deck]

I read an article where the author said he went like 7-0 against Cawblade in one of the 5k’s, which sounded pretty good. I was ecstatic about crushing Cawblade and going nuts with Cobras and Explores and Titans on turn 3. Then I lost 8 straight games against Vampires, Monored, Valakut and Boros. I’m not necessarily saying those matchups are bad or that this deck isn’t good, but I just didnt like it. I feel like it’s pretty random, and while [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] on turn 2 is awesome, your only really big game is Jace. Getting your [card]Inferno Titan[/card] or Golems stolen by [card]Mark of Mutiny[/card] isnt the best feeling in the world either.

I realize that this deck is not exactly played in the same numbers as Cawblade or Valakut but the only two people in the world that seem to win with it are Owen and Alex Bertoncini.

The next deck I tried was Monored. Not only did all the biggest grinders mention that it’s probably the worst matchup for Cawblade, I really liked both Koth and Mark of Mutiny in this metagame.

[deck]4 Goblin Guide
4 Spikeshot Elder
4 Ember Hauler
4 Plated Geopede
4 Koth of the Hammer
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Searing Blaze
3 Staggershock
3 Burst Lightning
2 Mark of Mutiny
4 Teetering Peaks
4 Arid Mesa
4 Scalding Tarn
12 Mountain
Sideboard
2 Brittle Effigy
2 Ratchet Bomb
2 Arc Trail
1 Staggershock
2 Molten-Tail Masticore
1 Mark of Mutiny
2 Traitorous Instinct
3 Cunning Sparkmage[/deck]

Except for some cards in the sideboard, this is how I would play a red deck in Dallas. Koth is pretty awsome and very effective against the current Cawblade sideboard full of spot removal and Condemns, and Valakut and RUG have a very hard time beating [card]Mark of Mutiny[/card]. That should give you a good matchup against the top 3 decks but don’t get excited just yet; this deck has two big problems.

First, it needs another good one-drop to be really good ([card]Spikeshot Elder[/card] isnt very impressive but there just isnt anything better).

Second, every time your opponent plays [card]Kor Firewalker[/card] on turn 2 you are going to want to kill yourself.

Actually three, in all the games where we both mulliganed and I started with [card]Goblin Guide[/card] and started giving my opponent free lands I wanted to kill myself too.

Petr Brozek (also known as “burn guy”) played Mono-red in GP Barcelona two weeks ago (shocking) and his version had both [card]Zektar Shrine Expedition[/card] and [card]Elemental Appeal[/card]. While I agree that Expedition could be quite good right now, I think Koth is just much better than Appeal and actually the reason why this deck is good.

If you expect mostly Darkblades then you don’t really have to be afraid of Firewalkers because it’s a little too narrow for a deck that has access to 3 colors, but lately it seems that people have started leaning towards UW and they usually have them. Fortunately, no one is playing [card]Celestial Purge[/card], which is one of the few answers to both creatures and Koth, while also being very good against Vampires as it gets rid of [card]Bloodghast[/card].

I haven’t played any games with Boros, so I can’t tell you much about it. I really like Gideon in the sideboard, which should give you the edge against other creature decks and kind of catch by surprise the Cawblade players thinking they are safe with Gideon in play. You do get to play [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] and [card]Steppe Lynx[/card] but you sacrifice some speed, and ultimating Koth with 2 Mountains in play isn’t nearly as exciting as in the monored deck.

I think this deck is a fine choice if you enjoy playing an aggro deck or if you dont happen to own 4 Jaces. The other successful Jace-less deck is obviously Valakut.

[deck]4 Primeval Titan
4 Overgrown Battlement
2 Inferno Titan
2 Avenger of Zendikar
2 Sphere of the Suns
2 Tumble Magnet
4 Explore
3 Cultivate
3 Harrow
2 Lightning Bolt
1 Green Suns Zenith
3 Summoning Trap
4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
1 Raging Ravine
3 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Evolving Wilds
12 Mountain
1 Verdant Catacombs
4 Forest
Sideboard
2 Koth of the Hammer
3 Obstinate Baloth
2 Natures Claim
4 Pyroclasm
1 Summoning Trap
3 Traitorous Instinct[/deck]

This was the version I had after trying out a bunch of cards. [card]Growth Spasm[/card] seemed good at first because it ramps you to a turn 4 Titan alone but it was only really good on paper because the token will often just get bounced by Jace or simply killed, so I’d rather play it safe and resolve a [card]Cultivate[/card].

I think [card]Sphere of the Suns[/card] is quite good because not only does it let you run less Forests, it also lets you keep hands without a green source which you otherwise always have to mulligan. You cant really run more than 2 though, because its a completely dead card in the late game.

The thing I dont like about this deck is that the game often comes down to whether or not you hit with [card]Summoning Trap[/card]. While it’s true that it’s not something you can control you can at least play it right. Most people make the mistake of playing the Titan first; it gets countered and then they play the Trap and hope to hit another one. It’s usually better to just pass and play the Trap first at the end of their turn. Now they have to counter because if it was your only big spell and they let it resolve then their counterspells would be useless. Whether or not it resolves, next turn you can usually safely play your Titan without having to worry about having it countered and then missing on the Trap.

I do like [card]Tumble Magnet[/card] a lot and I think if you plan on playing 4 Bolts you should definitely split it into 2 and 2 Magnets. It gives you the edge in the mirror and holds off a guy with Sword long enough that it doesn’t matter anymore. Right now I think it’s better to play the version with 4 [card]Lotus Cobra[/card], which is also good against both Cawblade and in the mirror (surprisingly, both are decks that can’t kill it). That, combined with Harrow, Fetchlands or Expedition, gives you some very explosive draws but it does have the drawback of running too many Forests and green Fetchlands which are the worst possible draw in the late game as you never really want more than 2.

I really like the [card]Traitorous Instinct[/card]s in the board, which are for the mirror, and I don’t understand why people play [card]Mark of Mutiny[/card] instead. If you do the math then you realize that Titan deals 6+1, fetching two Mountains, which usually deal 12, and that equals 19 damage. For one extra mana you get one extra point of damage and in a world where both players start with 20 I think thats a pretty good deal. Koth in the board is once again against decks with Jace, which usually comes down on turn 4, and even if they +2 it you still have a Koth on board against their hand full of counterspells so they either have to play something to attack it (which means they usually tap out) or let you ultimate it.

I liked Valakut the best out of all the decks so far and had the best results with it too, but seeing how Lukas was 4-0ing every single daily event on Magic Online with Darkblade I decided to just give up and play that in Barcelona. Gerry shipped me a list that he would use that Saturday in the 5k which definitely helped and we settled on this list:

[deck]4 Darkslick Shores
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Creeping Tar Pit
2 Glacial Fortress
4 Marsh Flats
4 Plains
2 Island
2 Swamp
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Squadron Hawk
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Gideon Jura
4 Preordain
3 Mana Leak
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Duress
2 Day of Judgment
2 Doom Blade
1 Go for the Throat
1 Sword of Body and Mind
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
Sideboard
4 Flashfreeze
1 Sun Titan
1 Sylvok Lifestaff
1 Mortarpod
3 Condemn
1 Celestial Purge
1 Duress
1 Jace Beleren
1 Baneslayer Angel
1 Memoricide[/deck]

I played a second Baneslayer in the board over the [card]Memoricide[/card] because it’s a card that can win the game on its own and can be sideboarded against a lot of decks.

Lukas started 9-0 and eventually finished in the top 12 while I also made day 2 but went 1-3 against Valakut, lost against RUG and punted a match against mono-red where I had to choose if I wanted to use [card]Celestial Purge[/card] or [card]Flashfreeze[/card] at some point, chose the wrong one and at the end of the game missed the other, so I didn’t even make the money. The deck was very good though, and finally I felt like I was doing more than my opponents. The games with Valakut seemed pretty random and I often found myself on the wrong end of a turn 4 [card]Primeval Titan[/card] with 3 extra mana to spare for a [card]Mana Leak[/card] that I didn’t even have.

I’m not really sure about the Sword split; when you draw it naturally [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] is much better but it doesn’t do much later in the game and that’s when you will appreciate having access to the other one. Enough has been written about this deck though, so I’ll just leave it with saying that we probably had too many cards in the board against creatures and for Dallas I’d suggest more cards for the mirror. I especially like Gerry’s latest plan for the mirror which is 1 [card]Tectonic Edge[/card] and 1 [card]Jace Beleren[/card] main + another 1 of each in the board and 2 [card]Sun Titan[/card]s. Sometimes you just have a Jace and Gideon in play, feeling you can’t really lose the game and then a Sun Titan comes down, brings back little Jace destroying yours, and turns the game around. That with Tectonic Edges should give you the edge in the mirror.

I dont have much experience with straight UW but I feel that the loss of Inquisition is bigger than having a better manabase with 4 Edges so I think Im going to stick with Darkblade.

I talked to Raphael Levy after the GP and he was pretty happy about the deck he played to a 20th place finish. This guy has a pretty impressive skill of always choosing a great deck for every tournament with actually playtesting much so I listened very closely. I wrote down the list of his Eldrazi green and started playing it online the second we got back to the appartment on Sunday.

[deck]4 Eldrazi Temple
1 Eye of Ugin
12 Forest
3 Khalni Garden
2 Mystifying Maze
4 Tectonic Edge
4 Joraga Treespeaker
4 Overgrown Battlement
4 Primeval Titan
2 Wall of Tanglecord
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
3 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
1 Viridian Corrupter
4 Explore
2 Green Suns Zenith
4 Growth Spasm
4 Summoning Trap
Sideboard
2 Mindslaver
1 Mystifying Maze
4 Obstinate Baloth
2 Terastodon
3 Tumble Magnet
3 Wurmcoil Engine[/deck]

I loved this deck at first but the more I played it the more I came to realize that it’s just not what you want to be doing right now. You can’t really lose against any of the aggro decks, since after board you have so much life gain and so many walls that there’s really not much they can do. But that’s pretty much it; the matchup against Valakut is quite bad, and if they play first and keep a solid 7 then you are pretty much dead. The only way to win that matchup is hitting one of the Eldrazi in a Trap before they attack with [card]Primeval Titan[/card]. I changed the sideboard a little and added [card]Mindslaver[/card]s and the second [card]Terastodon[/card] but they are still one turn faster.

It was also very frustrating to play against Jace and [card]Day of Judgment[/card]. Surprisingly, a monogreen deck cant do anything about Jace, so unless you already have Trap mana or a Titan in play you are just dead to both. Add to that that two UB Control decks with [card]Spreading Seas[/card] that Top 8ed Barcelona are horrible matchup and you will find out that besides being a cool deck and crushing the aggro decks it doesnt really have much else going for it.

Those are about all the decks I played, so to summarize:

– If you are playing red, make sure you have access to 4 Koth between maindeck and sideboard.

– The current Valakut decks with all Titans and no Avengers and RUG lose pretty badly to [card]Mark of Mutiny[/card].

– Even though Gerry’s latest lists only have 3, I think Darkblade wants 4 [card]Darkslick Shores[/card]. Playing Inquisition on turn 1 is just so important that you want to make sure you have an untapped black source in your hand.

– If you play Vampires, you should have [card]Demon of Death’s Gate[/card] in the board to have a shot against Valakut. Even though [card]Tumble Magnet[/card] is quite popular right now, people aren’t going to board it against you (at least not before you show them the Demon) and you can’t really beat Valakut or Eldrazi without it. Another card that has started seeing play in Vampires lately is [card]Bonehoard[/card].

– Having a couple of [card]Celestial Purge[/card]s is probably better than 4 [card]Condemn[/card]s because you want to be able to deal with Koth and its also randomly good against [card]Pyromancer Ascension[/card].

– Monowhite is absolutely horrible (as always) and cant possibly beat Jace.

– If you play Boros, you should have a couple Gideons in your sideboard.

– The default right now is that UW plays [card]Spell Pierce[/card] and Darkblade doesn’t.

– It’s usually correct to play Summoning Trap first and then play the Titan.

– Whatever you play make sure you can beat Jace and have a good plan against Cawblade.

– GW decks with [card]Fauna Shaman[/card] or Elves etc may have a good matchup against Cawblade but cannot possibly beat Valakut.

– If you want to keep both cards from [card]Preordain[/card] make sure you keep the one that could be taken with Inquisition on the top of your deck.

– You should play a deck that you enjoy playing and know it inside out.

Every time there is a deck like Faeries or Jund I try to play something else, and every time afterwards I tell myself that from now on I will just play the best deck instead of wasting my time trying to find the Holy Grail. Look at how Cawblade is doing right now; in every Top 8 there are at least like 5 of them! It’s hard to argue with the results. Don’t waste your time trying to break the format that’s already broken.

Bonus Section: Why Gerry Wins and You Don’t

The thing is, most people are doing it wrong. They look at the results from last week’s tournament and copy someone’s deck and run it next week, and get crushed by Gerry. Why? Because he changes his deck every week. He’s playing the metagame. One week you will find him playing with 3 [card]Day of Judgment[/card] and next time there won’t be any in his 75. You will play around [card]Spell Pierce[/card] which is not even in his deck anymore. While you are playing last week’s tech, he already has something new. One week it’s Cawblade, then Sparkblade, and next week its Darkblade, the week after that he has Edges and Sun Titans for the mirror. You have to be prepared for what’s coming. PV mentioned an interesting fact about Saito’s Elves deck from the Top 8 in Berlin. Not only did he figure out Elves was the best deck, he also predicted he wouldnt be the only one and that in order to succeed he would have to beat other people playing Elves. You need to be that guy, you need to be one step ahead.

So to make it simple, play the best deck, be ready for the mirror and try to surprise people with a sweet tech that most of them wont see coming.

Thanks for reading and see you next time.

35 thoughts on “Czech Mate – Everything You Need to Know About Standard”

  1. Gerry wins because he is a really good player. Some of his deck choices have been clearly suboptimal but he wins anyway.

    The funny part is that a lot of people are now playing suboptimal decks mostly because Gerry did. Oops.

  2. +1 William Spaniel

    It’s simply ridiculous how people try to copy Gerry’s decks. UWb or UWr being better than UW is not why he’s been winning. You’re much better off just playing UW.

  3. What did GerryT do that was suboptimal? It is weird that the metagame warps around what HE plays.

  4. I can see why Petr played appeal over koth, appeal is more burny, and he loves him some burn. Nice to see an article from you Mr. Juza, I’ve missed that since you left blackborder.

  5. Nice article, but what exactly do you want to say with “play the trap first, then the titan”.

    i can imagine what you mean, but don’t know exactly why it is correct xD

    greetz

  6. Good article!
    I think this topic could be an column
    Analysis the latest evolution of T2 decks.

  7. Great writing though I have a couple of questions about your Valakut list. Accepting that Valakut is essentially a combo deck (all the components are focussed on getting 2-3 specific permanents into play and winning either directly or during your next attack phase), why are Lotus Cobra and Khalni Heart Expedition no longer featuring on Valakut lists?

    We’ve seen that, as Valakut decks try to “keep up” with the metagame changes by diversifying its answers, it’s slowly slipping down the rankings. In a Valakut mirror, speed wins over the cute control additions being listed in current decks. In every other match-up you’re presenting a clock that requires the opposing deck to control you adequatly within the time frame you’ve set up or they lose. As the newer versions are as soft to all the control elements as a build based purely on speeding out the combo, why would you diversify? You’re just being “differently soft” rather than strictly better. The lists that focus on Valakut rather than whatever the opponent is doing retain the explosive “hurp-durp” wins thus granting you edges in a metagame that’s besoming more and more focused elsewhere.

  8. thelaughingman

    Great article, I just have one problem with your final analysis. Elves’ valakut matchup isn’t nearly as bad as people seem to think it is. Game one they can’t be an eldrazi monument (I’ve literally never seen it happen) and elves is often a turn faster even without monument. Post board it often takes multiple pyroclasms unless the elves player decides to be terrible and over commit and the valakut player still has to hope to draw a way to deal with monument. GW on the other hand pretty much just folds to it. It’s just not fast enough and doesn’t have monument.

    @Holzi: What he means is that when you hit 6 mana you should not auto-play your titan. You should wait until the end of the control players turn then play the trap. If they have a counterspell they have to use it there or they will just die if you hit a titan or avenger. If they do counter it you should get to untap and play the titan that you have in hand without fear of it being countered.

  9. Is the two Sphere of the Suns _really_ worth the one extra mountain you can fit into the deck? You give a reasoning that it helps your nonForest hands mulligan easier, but with only 2 in the deck, your chance of drawing it in an opener is slim, and (as you mentioned) the card is completely dead in the mid to late game.

    Can you give a little more reasoning as to why you think it is correct? I just don’t understand how the numbers fit together on this one.

  10. Yohan DUDOGNON

    If you don’t like RUG because of Mark of Mutiny, maybe you should think outside the box, and tweak the deck postside not to be affected by this card.

    Anyway, thank you for this article, it was quite instructive.

  11. This is one of the best strategy articles I’ve read in a while: how to approach a metagame, how to choose a deck, how to stay a step ahead, etc. As long as the cards/decks update to reflect the metagame, it will always be relevant.

  12. Great article, I was hoping to see more of your opinion on vampires — I read an article saying that it’s as much as 10% of the metagame right now.

  13. If you are losing to mark of mutiny then it means you are not playing magnets, which in this meta seems just wrong. Im playing Valakut with 2 magnets Main and 2 in the board and i always side in the 2 magnets against decks that i know will be bringing the marks. Also, if you keep the traps against those decks you can just play those at end of their turn, get a Titan, then kill them. Avenger is def not necessary

  14. Lol.
    GerryT wins because hes Pro tour level player ( although he doesnt attend a lot of them) while all the noobs he faces are FNM players and are making constant misplays in camera it makes you wonder how they even have a good record.
    That and also what you said about him changing the deck.

  15. @ Juza

    My buddy built a version of your destructive friends deck.

    He wasn’t looking to play Tezz though.

    Koth’s the guy you want. You already love him in the other decks, why not in a UR deck?

    The best thing he does in this deck is ramp into destructive force. You can get destructive force out on turn 4. if you hit the right draw.

  16. Playing ST at their EOT only works if they only leave 2 untapped mana. If they have 3 or more open they could pierce ST and then leak your titan. If the leak the ST then you know that they dont have pierce and that you can not play your titan. You could also play ST when they tap out before their combat step (hopefully you hit something relevant).

    Because Valakut and blade decks make a majority of the meta MD tumble magnets are the nuts!

  17. This was mostly a great article with very good insights. The only thing I didn’t like was some of the final comments introduced without giving reasons. “Monowhite is horrible (as always)” for example. Why is it horrible and why can’t it possibly beat Jace? Not saying it can or it isn’t horrible, but blanket statements introduced in a conclusion without support are not beneficial to anyone who may be leaning towards playing that deck. My advice would be to cut statements such as those during your final edit. Still, I appreciate the article and 99% of the content. Keep it up.

  18. @mrpeach32

    Love the pic. The player has actually been crashing less on me lately though! =P
    Also, great article, as everyone else has been saying. Keep ’em coming!

  19. Mono-white isn’t a complete waste of time v. Jace. Four Sun Titans and four Tectonic Edges was the shell of the build, with the Emeria, the Sky Ruin ramp engine slammed in. It crushed UWB because of the land D.

    Emeria Angel was also just insane.

  20. Spaniel: the pundit that insists being correct, even if it goes against what players who actually get envelopes say.

    Keep up the good work, Billy.

  21. Also: Gerry’s lists aren’t getting copied because he is some sort of mtg god/Finkel…his lists are being copied because they are performing well consistently.

    UWr may currently suck, but against carbon copies of Paris UW, it was a beast. It is pretty well-known that people need to have 75s for the tournament that they are playing it in, rather than some sort of imaginary universal metagame.

  22. great article, really nice to see a comprehensive article like this, there is always some metagame analysis to be found, but i love getting a loot at the whole picture from a pro’s eyes.

    loved the why Gerry wins, even at the FNM level I am never playing the exact same list two weeks in a row, the people who copy lists off tourament results without giving any thoug to the metagame are always easy to beat, their sideboards are usually packed with cards they dont play all night, and their lists are uned to beat decks nobody is playing.

    It’s not that hard to follow a metagame, and anybody who really wants to win should do so.

  23. Spaniel: Actually, I’m pretty terrible. That, along with my “suboptimal” deck choices, and it’s a wonder I ever win!

  24. It’s so refreshing to see someone else who doesn’t like “decklist” articles. I really appreciate your clear effort to provide real content in addition to the decklists. GerryT is clearly on a tear right now, and I can see why so many people are coveting his success. Obviously the Caw-Blade deck is dominant, just like his last format-definer.

    What people fail to realize is that the more your deck forces others to interact, the bigger of an advantage you have. That’s what Esper Blade does so well. Even a deck like Pyromancer Ascension has to play Magic against you once you Inquistion that Ascension away. All of a sudden, their hand is burn spells and card draw, which forces you to decide what line of play you want to take. Valakut is much the same. You use Inquisition to strip away some of the Ramp, and the deck seems to be much less threatening, and you get plenty of time to set up a Sworded guy to beat them to death with.

    I think people need to quit whining about how they aren’t winning, and focus on WHY they aren’t. To achieve better results, you clearly need to fix something, so don’t blame the other guy. Fix what YOU have control over, then when you’re actually playing at the top of your game, and you lose, you can legitimately blame the opponent.

  25. I’ve been playing a ton of Mono-red. I enjoy it; however, it does suck to sit across from a Kor Firewalker or a Phyrexian Crusader. I switched to Goblins because Goblin Ruinblaster with Tectonic Edge is sick good. It’s also nice because Goblin Chieftain makes your 2/2 out of death’s reach versus Kor Firewalker. I’m more than happy to race Phyrexian Crusader because I’m confident I can do 20 damage before my opponent can give me 10 poison counters.

    Goblin Ruinblaster and Tectonic Edge are poised to do well because they are good answers for Caw-Blade, Valakut, Vampires, and U/B Control. Keeping Caw-Blade away from Gideon Jura mana is awesome. The advantage over Valakut is self-explanatory. Vampires are hungry for mana so the land d helps too. U/B Control has to get to six because its win condition is Grave Titan so you can get there.

    That’s my case for Goblins! I’m just sad there’s no room for Koth of the Hammer.

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