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FFfreaky Friday – Extended Excitement

It seems like every week something new happens to the game we all love. This week it was the Banned and Restricted list turning our lives up side down. The night this happened, many people commented on how much they disliked this change. This has been a trend for many Magic players over the years. They realize Wizards of the Coast is changing the game once again and instantly hate the idea. Not the idea that the game is going to get better, but the idea that they themselves have to change.

Over the last year Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) has made many changes to this game. Every time they change something they say it is for the best interest of the game, but many people take this as a way for WOTC to make a quick buck. This could definitely be true if Wizards was not run by intelligent people. Why would a company make a change to the game to only impact the short-term economics of the game? It is in their best interests to make the game better to keep it growing.

Is this not what they have been doing all along? If it weren’t for them constantly perfecting the way they run this game I would not be writing this article. You would not be reading this article nor would you be heading out to play Friday Night Magic tonight. There is no way they would make a change this big without thorough research.

I know changing Extended will not make everyone happy. There are players that did like last year’s Extended format. For those players this change does suck. Losing multiple years to play with cards you enjoy is something I would not be happy about.

I was all ready to go over the pros and cons of the new Extended until I realized something: there is only one negative aspect of this change. So I guess I’ll talk about this one thing and then go into why it is an amazing change.

Con: Card Value

This problem is a true one. The value of cards that are in the sets that got cut prematurely will go down in value. This is something that a player can complain about until they are blue in the face and I still will not care. It is not Wizards of the Coast’s responsibility to keep us happy in the secondary market. I am not sure and I am not about to go look this up tonight so correct me in the comments if I am wrong, but I think it is illegal for WOTC to make decisions intended only to influence the secondary market.

The funny thing about this is that every decision they make will have a big impact on the market. Why have the prices of multiple cards jumped in the last year? It is because Wizards is making a healthier game and attracting so many more players into it. The decisions they made two years ago and implemented just last year is the reason this game is so successful. It is the reason why we have so many 5Ks and Open Series events. The game is so popular right now that the game can support multiple WOTC and non-WOTC run events.

So I will apologize if I have sounded like a Wizards rep for the beginning of this article. No, they did not brainwash me when I was at the Community Cup. These are feelings I have had ever since the M10 changes. When those first came out I did not like any of them. I did not want the game I have grown to love change in a single way. I had the feeling like it would have a different feel to it and I might not want to play anymore. These were idiotic feelings since it is still the same game and the people who create it are just trying to make it better. After a month of playing with the new M10 rules I learned to love every one of them. That is when I started to have faith in every decision they make.

Speaking of the Community Cup, I have a good story for you guys. The first night we were in town, Gavin and I started an argument at dinner. This was in front of Mike Turian and Lee Sharpe. The argument was about the Extended format. We argued for 20 minutes at the table and this carried outside until it was time to part ways. At the time I found it very strange that no Wizards employee had anything to say about the argument Gavin and I were having over the health of the Extended format.

Gavin said Extended was a good, skill-intensive format. There was room to break the format wide open if you worked hard enough. I agree with him completely since it was the masters of the game breaking the format. No one can argue that Gerry Thompson created the powerhouse deck of the format and given enough time there would be more decks like that one.

For the most part I agreed with everything Gavin had to say. I agree that it was skill intensive. It has been a long time since I felt that metagaming was as important as it was in this format. This meant you could win or lose before the tournament started. I like this feeling of low variance. The problem with this is the game is not designed for the masters. WoTC does not make decisions based on if LSV will win more matches because of it.

After I said that to Gavin, I didn’t even know what it meant. I played an Extended Pro Tour and a Grand Prix and did terribly at both events. In my opinion the format felt like a crapshoot. There were four combo decks rotating back and forth and Zoo that was trying to steal some wins. There were more decks in the format that were not created by the masses, but perfected by the masters. I do not like formats like this. Keeping specific hate hands was more important then being able to outplay your opponent on that crucial turn. Magic isn’t fun at that level.

I had more emails about how difficult it was to prepare/play in a PTQ during that season. It seemed like people just didn’t know what the right things to do were. There were too many combo decks to hate out and players were not able to make the decisions that had to be made to be successful. These are the conditions in which Magic fails: when players can no longer enjoy the games they are playing. Many people just played Extended because they had to if they wanted on the Pro Tour. This is a bad reason to play a format.

Extended should never have been as big as it was. The more sets you introduce to a format the higher chance it will be able to be degenerate. It had all the pieces it needed to have some of the most busted decks playable, but not enough generic answers to keep those decks in check. If Extended had a card like [card]Force of Will[/card] everything would have been a lot better.

Extended did not feel like Magic to me. I was surprised that more people did not have a strong distaste for the format like me. When Faeries was in Standard everyone seemed to hate that deck. I don’t think it was as powerful as Dark Depths/Thopter was in Extended, but no one seemed to complain about that deck. I think it comes down to how you lose to the decks. Players tend to want to either lose now or win. So when a player knows they are going to lose to Faeries on turn 4 but have to play it out to make sure until turn 8, they get discouraged. It didn’t take much thought to know that a 20/20 was going to kill you.

Players hate inevitability. It’s why Stone Rain and Counterspell are among the most hated cards by casual players. They don’t want to know their fate so early in the game.

That brings me to another point about why I disliked Extended. It had a 20/20 in the format. 20/20s should not exist in Magic. It makes no sense that a person can win on turn 3 by attacking with a creature of that size. How was that fun? How about not being able to deal with your opponent putting Progenitus into play on the first turn? This was not fun, people!

Changing this format will give us the opportunity to play with cards that we would never get to because of how big Extended was. It’s funny how it seems that the bigger a format is, the fewer cards you get to play with in that format and still stay competitive. Since the new format is much smaller and the problem cards have been taken care of, we will see Extended become the amazing format it should be.

Reveillark

The first deck that will be legal is one of my favorites. A few years ago my brother played in his first Pro Tour – he qualified for the PT before I did. It was Pro Tour Hollywood and we had a lot of fun because it was our first real Magic trip. I worked hard on getting him a list we were happy with and he did finish in the money and right outside Top 50. The great thing about this event was that someone created a great combo deck for the format. I think this deck might have some potential in Extended.

It is centered on Body Double, Reveillark, and Greater Gargadon. If you add a creature like Venser, Shaper Savant or Riftwing Cloudskate you get to create infinite come into play triggers of those creatures. The best part about this deck is it was not just combo-oriented. It also played out like a control deck.

Reveillark is a powerful creature that just didn’t have the ability to shine in old Extended. You will find this with many of the cards in this format. I just can’t wait to play some four and five drops in Extended rather than only Jace, the Mind Sculptor all the time.

Baneslayer Angel > Kird Ape

The next combo is an oldie but a goodie. From the Dragon Master himself comes Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows. I know it’s not too innovative now, but this combo will be a powerhouse in the new format. For everyone that thinks Faeries will be dominating new Extended, I think they forgot about the Punishing Fire/Grove combo. Not much disrupts this and it will do a good job at controlling some of the problem decks of the format.

There was a tournament on magic-league where this deck won the first new Extended tournament:

This deck needs quite a bit of work, but it does look very good for the first wave of deck lists. This deck makes me so excited for what can happen in this new format. When a format does not have to deal with degenerate combos, decks get to look like this.

 

Hive Mind 

Some of the old combo decks from last season will get a chance to shine as well. Hivemind + Pacts should still have enough tools to be competitive. We have seen how a deck that loses the enablers but still has all the combo pieces can still shine when we look at Dredge. This deck was more on the casual and funny side of the metagame, but should be able to pull out to be one of the better combos of the format.

 

Scapeshift 

Scapeshift might be able to see some play. I don’t know what will happen to this deck since the Ravnica shock lands are now gone, but it still has enough functioning pieces to possibly work. I guess we will have to phone a friend like Ben Stark to see if this deck will be the powerhouse it once was.

 

Doran, the siege tower 

I am very excited to know what people will do with Murmuring Bosk. Before the shock lands rotated this land was not powerful enough to be played. Now that it is the only dual land that is fetchable, we might see resurgence in Doran. The tools are still there for the deck and it has enough guys and removal to be a powerful deck. The only problem with this deck is how vulnerable it was to Faeries whenever the two decks went toe to toe.

 

Bitterblossom 

I know this is the default deck for many players. I on the other hand do not think this deck will be as powerful as the majority. Faeries was a very powerful deck when it was in Standard and was able to hold its own in Extended. The key difference, however, is that it no longer has Jitte to help it fight the good fight. The other problem is that the format will be more aggressive with a higher percentage of decks attacking. You might see some fun Splinter Twin/Pestermite action going on, but that might be too over the top to actually be good.

I know a lot of what I have been rambling about is random. I just am trying to show you guys that this format will be very exciting and a nice change of pace from the power packed format that was old Extended. This change has made me get invested into playing Extended once it rotates on the 1st. Any format that can make me get away from Block Constructed is probably a good one.

Brad Nelson
FffreaK on MTGO
[email protected]

36 thoughts on “FFfreaky Friday – Extended Excitement”

  1. Pingback: Twitted by LuisScottVargas

  2. grove rotates after the protour, so if faeries is held in check it might not be for long

  3. “Any format that can get me away from Block constructed is probably a good one”

    Hehe, 100 % agree.

  4. i dont think punishing fire will really keep faeries in check for a couple of reasons. 1. It does not kill mistbind clique 2. once they get double scion its pretty much a blank 3. it is too mana intensive. Faeries is a pretty fast deck and resolving spells against it is often difficult enough that paying 3 mana per removal will either not be fast enough or countered if it is targeting something relevant. Plus, if enough people are trying to abuse punishing fire/reveillark/makeshift mannequin graveyard hate will be around somewhat.

    Last, faerie trickery.

  5. I liked the article a lot, and I’m definitely looking forward to the new extended as well. In terms of the “con” you mentioned, the only reason these cards have value to lose is because wizards does such a good job keeping formats healthy and players interested in the game. Sure, some cards will decline and some people are going to lose some money. But other cards are going to go up, and all told, cards will be, in general, more valuable if more people are interested and playing. So I think this is a good thing for everyone, even collectors, if only in the long run.

  6. Every player not playing in Amsterdam for the PTQ however is not concerned in the slightest about the extended season brought about by M11, but rather the rotation caused from Scars. Decks that need Goyf, or Groves, or whatever will simply not exist.

  7. For me personally my problem with the change to extended is that I feel it took a format that had lots of options and plenty of good decks and changes it to a format that while not being standard feels like standard.
    As the new format feels like standard I dont see the point in choosing to play it instead of standard.
    My last complaint is the short notice that they gave us, where I play tournaments at I would have requested to play an extended before the rotation (one last fling) but now we cannot.

  8. I think this article hits the nail on the head for alot of players. Yes, some of us have collections, but most of us actually never plan to sell those collections, so talking about value loss is kind of silly. Dealers have more to worry about, but realistically most of those people aren’t competitive players, just people making a profit of them. Plus this is gonna be a great format. and will be a stable enjoyable format for years to come. So on as a parting comment I say in a my best Jamaican accent, “New Extended! Its Magic! Hurray Magic!”

  9. A deck that I do not see anyone talking about is the Merfolk and I think it’s a very good deck. I see him play in this new format

  10. e. nonee moose

    “It is not Wizards of the Coast's responsibility to keep us happy in the secondary market.”

    It’s a collectible card game… Or it was…

  11. The first card that came on my mind after the anouncement was Reveillark, one of my fav card of all time.

    agree with everything you say here, even more about Reveillark.

  12. "It is not Wizards of the Coast's responsibility to keep us happy in the secondary market."

    Unless “us” refers to those who have 100 dual lands and still want more…

    Seriously, that’s my biggest problem with all of this. First they tighten up the Reserved List to protect collectors and make Legacy even harder to enter, and then they screw over all the rest of us with this change. If they’re going to protect “investments” of collectors, then I want my “investments” protected too. If they’re going to screw me over, then I want my dual lands at $15 each so I can play a good format and not Standard.

  13. @yodaflame – Completely uncalled for. I hate reading stuff like this, it truly angers me. While I don’t know Brad IRL and probably never will, it’s always enjoyable to get to know someone vicariously through their articles. And then to read something like that, just completely tilts me towards never understanding how people can be like that.

    @Brad – Keep up the good work mate, was fun watching your excitement at San Juan and DC 🙂 Stay true to your love of the game.

  14. I was thinking about starting to play Extended this upcoming season and now that it’s been completely changed I think this is truely the best time to get into it. No more degenerate combos (at least until some are discovered). =p

    The value on lots of new staples is rather low and now is the time to stock up. If you recently lost value on the forced rotation now is the time to look for new opportunities.

  15. “It is not Wizards of the Coast’s responsibility to keep up happy in the secondary market.”

    This is strictly untrue. If it were true, then there would have been no need for the creation of the Reserved List. If company policy had changed, and they no longer considered it to be true, then there would be no need for their recent decision to further cement said policy.

    The secondary market is clearly important to them. This implies that in their mind at least, the responsibility lies with them. That said, it is ultimately their opinion that matters the most, since they are the decision makers here..

  16. dowjonzechemical

    That Punishing Fire thing will only be good for PT-Amsterdam (Aka the dutch rudder). Thes TSP goes bye-bye…

    I am amazed at how many articles among pros are just inconsistent in their speculations of the new format, based on the fact that they are analyzing it in a 3 month window.

    Unless you are a pro/going to PT Dutch Rudder, you don’t care about the TSP block in extended anymore. Goyf is as good as dead in this format.

  17. dowjonzechemical

    That goes for Lark decks too…

    It is gonna suck without Body Double, Cloudskate, and Venser

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  19. Desengañado.

    What a pathetical try to justify the greedy WotC. (Clearly yous are not going to bite the hand that provides your bucks). Please, save yourself to write this kind of shit.

  20. I’m sure there’s room in your analysis for thinking of better ways to have wizards communicate such changes — no matter how good — in a more reasonable fashion.

  21. @ e. nonee mouse

    That’s correct, a collectible card game, not a trading-for-profit card game. I don’t know any (true) collectors that were bummed by this, because the were never planning on selling. Just like stocks: You have to look in the mirror and ask if you were holding it to make money, or actually just wanted the paper. I know people want the best of both worlds, but that’s not the way it works most of the time.

  22. No mention of 5cc? as LSV said, casting Cruel may be a bit of a stretch, but i’ve brewed up some Cruel-less 5cc lists with Jace, The mind Sculptor and BS angel as the main win conditions, and the deck has done very well in my testing. Maybe it’s just my love for that deck cause i played it all throughout Lorwyn/Alara standard, but it seems like it still is very good.

  23. Third turn EOT, tap down your blue land. Fourth Turn Splinter Twin, win. With the ability to use Guttural Response, Firespout, and Mana Leak? Sounds like a deck that might actually work. Play like a control deck and win out of nowhere. It’s certainly possible, if there’s any tutoring ability.

  24. Thanks for the article. I strongly agree with most of what you say about the new Extended format. I only played one Extended event, but it wasn’t much fun, except for the games that I was actually playing to win. Otherwise it was trying to out-race Hypergenesis and hoping that Thopter/Depths got bad draws. I think I’ve mentioned before, but I’ll mention again, the most fun I had at that event was playing against a (mostly Lorwyn-era) Faeries deck in a game that wasn’t decided on turn 2.

    And hey, for the profiteers out there, maybe your Cryptic Commands will be worth something again. =)

  25. Please, a round of applause for my long lost friend and welcome back to competitive play, anathemancer!!

  26. You know its funny when people complain about wizards being greedy. For one, hey looks its a company, with employees to pay and profits to make. Its not a group of hippies trying to make the world a commune. And honestly its insane to me that people complain that their collections are worthless, or whatever because that is just showing you are, hey look, just as greedy as wizards, since all you care about his how much you can make off your cards in the secondary market, rather than being a solid enough player to just make your money playing the game. Honestly its sad that anyone is pissed off they ever lost money on cards, you didn’t start playing this game to make money, so just shut up and play.

  27. @justsomeguy

    Your analysis of Punsihing Fire/Grove is not logical.
    1) Mistbind Clique is not an issue if they have nothing to champion(You’ve already ‘fired’ their tokens.
    2)Double scion is also not an issue, since their first one will die to the combo(most decks don’t even run that card).
    3)Statement is erroneous, Faeries is a slow/reactive deck, if they counter it, you simple bounce it back with Grove.
    4) Graveyard hate is easy to play around
    Faerie Trickery, see (3)

  28. when yoda said that i choice to be upset as well because brad is a fun loving good guy who deserves respect and love. We all deserve respect and love of one another.

    Keep on keepin on brad.

    Lifes a Garden dig it… Look what Im really sayin is be a ho! 🙂

    To everyone else, Rock on! 🙂

    2 words… Collectible Criteria!

  29. CONS

    The issue is not about value loss. What is INSULTING is give TWO WEEKS notice before an (unexpected) change that will cause competitive players maintaining an Extended collection such a loss.

    If Wizards would have announced this change with reasonable advance, I would not have had any problems about it. This is insulting. They will not reprint the Reserved List to “protect” our investment, then they behave like this.

    In a time of economic crisis, this was such a huge hit for me. Sorry, but I’m considering quitting the game.

  30. Here’s a question: If an ‘overextended’ eternal format that stretches back to Masques does arise – are shocklands going to be its primary duals? If so, they should stay in demand and the economic ‘hit’ that extended players are taking shouldn’t be such a big deal. It’s odd to me, though, if they’ve been planning something like that all along why they wouldn’t just announce it at the same time. Regardless, if you’ve been playing this game for a while you really should have come to the realization that your collection is NOT an investment, and you’re lucky to get 25% of what you spend on the game back. The only people I know who would disagree with that spend more time and energy trading than they do playing.

  31. @spock

    Have you met a card named bitterblossom? You can’t burn bitterblossom, no matter how hard you try. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Also, did you bother to read fearie trickery? Go ahead, try to bounce that punishing fire back from the graveyard it never gets to. Again, I’ll wait. My final point has to do with bitterblossom again, since it’s clear to me at this point you haven’t read any of these cards. Mistbind clique needs to champion a faerie… bitterblossom is a faerie. Back in standard I lost many games to faeries in spite of hitting them with a fallout in response to the clique because you just can’t kill all of their threats. Faeries looks terrifying to me with the addition of two more sets to dick around with, and a hilarious rogue combo for the more adventurous players. People who don’t fear faeries are people who haven’t had experience with the deck.

  32. urzassedatives

    @Claudio
    Except it isn’t really 2 weeks notice because there aren’t any large extended events going on right now.
    The next would be the pro tour in about 2 months.
    They announced this now instead of earlier, as I said on another post here, because announcing it BEFORE a season would result in MEASURABLY LESS people playing that extended season, as people might rush off to sell their decks, and new players would not be very interested in amassing extended cards to use them for one season.
    WoTC made this change to get more people to play Extended. There is no reason to write an article about something like this either. WoTC made it so, so talk about how things are. Why waste time in ‘ifs’? Complete waste.

    And to many posters here, WoTC does NOT care about the secondary market. The Reserve list has no cards printed in the last 10 years on it. When Chronicles came out, there was a much different dynamic in the game as compared to what there is now.
    However, since WoTC did make a promise vis a vis the reserve list, they didn’t want to just say “this is dumb and we don’t care about it anymore”, so they called in some people who knew more about the secondary market to talk about abolishing it. They got the support to scale it back, seemingly, but then later announced they were following the reserve list COMPLETELY. When pressed for details, RnD members said only ‘This isnt Hasbro, but I cant talk about it’, implying some sort of lawsuit or other nonsense.

    Once more amazing M11 cards are revealed, people will cool their jets about extended.

  33. Loved the article. It hits the spot on many levels. However, some of it is not really relevant except for the Pro Tour (which, I guess, is even better for the Pro players who are actually good at this game :P).

    I’m personally looking forward to how the format will be broken. Before this article I was convinced it would involve Bitterblossom and Cryptic Command. Now I feel like Reveillark might have a shot, too. The rest? meh, not so much. Some variations of Zoo will find it to the top8 100%, Tarmogoyf is just such a good card.

    Manabases will take the most hit, I guess, which will of course slow the format down some.

    Also, all the people who were complaining about the shock duals falling in price, think again. On MCM the price of shock duals has just been going up. Might be a temporary thing, but I don’t really see them going down in any of the online stores, either.

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