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FFfreaky Friday – Post Rise Gauntlet and the Community Cup

It has been a couple crazy weeks. Rise of the Eldrazi just came out and it was such a breath of fresh air. This set is giving us a new Limited format, a fresh take on constructed, and some crazy Eldrazi creatures that many don’t know how to evaluate just yet. This week I have a few Standard decks straight out of my testing gauntlet and a chance for you guys to help me out! Let’s get started!

So this week I took a break from testing Block and decided to get down and dirty with Standard. This format looks interesting because no one really knows how good Polymorph decks are really going to be. They have new toys that help smooth the deck out but in early testing the decks are underperforming.

On the other side of the spectrum is Fireball Blue (Tap out UW Control). This deck has been tearing up pre-Rise Standard online and took the first two online Pro Tour Qualifiers. This deck also gets some new toys to play with. It will definitely see some play and might even edge Jund as the most popular deck in the format.

That’s right: Jund is not going anywhere. The new set is not powerful enough to take the bogeyman away. Personally, I think Jund is not getting the numbers it should to merit play, but people still like the deck and will continue to play it. They might learn their lesson if Fireball Blue is good enough to take over the format.

In my eyes, Polymorph is not where it needs to be. It might be a great deck, but if my group doesn’t play it in the testing we have done so far, then I don’t think the general population will discover it before May 1 either. May 1 is the date of many PTQs, a 5k, and a Midwest Masters – a very important week in Standard.

So what deck can sneak in if Fireball Blue and Jund are the top decks being played? Well I have that answer for you. It might not be too much fun to play but it definitely holds its own against these matchups:

UW Turbo Fog

This is very similar to the list Joel Calafell played at Worlds last year. There are some big changes to the deck and only one inclusion from the new set. This is actually the exact 75 I would play in a PTQ, whether it was old Standard or new Standard. I would just replace the Walls with Spreading Seas.

I talked my brother into playing this deck on Tuesday for the Magic Online PTQ. We didn’t have the correct sideboard and it caused him both of his losses. He ended up beating every deck in the format except Mono-Red once and Polymorph. I didn’t have Into the Roils in the sideboard for the Morph matchup. That alone doesn’t make it a winning matchup, but it does help make it better then 5 percent.

I tested this decklist against Jund and UW and crushed. Jund really doesn’t stand a chance against Time Warps and Silences. One of the most powerful plays against Jund is to cast a Font of Mythos and follow it up with a Silence on the next upkeep. Jund doesn’t have much of an answer to that play, which can easily win the game.

This deck also can barely lose a game to Fireball Blue. Once they sideboard, the matchup gets a bit closer, but you can almost guarantee that as long as Fog has a fair hand, the game will go in its favor. They just have too many irrelevant cards against you. Jace, the Mind Sculptor doesn’t do much since you are giving them so many cards. Their Wrath effects have to be turned into aggressive weapons getting no card advantage. Some don’t even play Baneslayer Angels anymore. Even if they do pressure you they can’t deal with multiple Mines and Fog effects. They can’t counter your Archive Traps and Time Warps.

The sideboard might not be right. I am trying it without Kor Firewalkers since I think No Rest for the Weary and Wall of Denial are more powerful against Mono Red. Wall of Denial is really good in the Jund matchup since Day of Judgment is particularly weak against Jund. Into the Roil is to beat up on [card iona, shield of emeria]Ionas[/card] and other problematic permanents.

I really do think as long as people are not putting big Eldrazi creatures on the battlefield, this deck will shine in the next few weeks until someone wins with it. Until then people will be unprepared for it and players taking this opportunity to play with Turbo Fog will reap all of those benefits.

B-Lightning Bolt Wins

This does not look like a finished list. That is because it is not. Like I said, these decks are coming out of my test gauntlet and are not fully polished. If they where completely finished decks, I probably wouldn’t be sharing them. Since I have not put a deck into lockdown yet, I will just share all of my findings so far.

Do you know what I found? Kargan Dragonlord is really, really good. It is a bit outside the box of a normal suicide red creature, but even though it lacks in early damage it makes up in yet another must kill creature. In the last few years almost every creature that was tagged with “must kill” has been phenomenal. Right away everyone kept saying that Baneslayer just dies to everything. What happens when they don’t have anything to kill her?

Kargan works the same way. You can look at him as if he was a 2/2 for RR, or that he is an 8/8 for RRRRR with Echo. Anyway you justify its potential is fine. Just remember that no matter how good you think he is, he will exceed your expectations. He is the real deal.

For the rest of the deck I decided to cut back on the number of mana-intense two-drops. Hellspark Elemental cannot get through a Wall of Omens so I cut a few from the main. I still have the third in the sideboard since it is good in other matchups. Kargan is at three since drawing two can get very awkward.

I might be wrong here and please correct me in the comments if I am, but why isn’t every red deck playing Plated Geopede? He hits for so much damage I can’t see running the deck without him. I have already won many games where if it where any other two-drop I would have lost. If he isn’t correct please let me know so I don’t look like a fool, but until someone has a great argument I think he is the most important two-drop in the deck.

The sideboard is a little different then most, but I think too many people are not thinking outside the box. Siege-Gang Commander is there for the grind-them-out green matchups, and Runeflare Trap is to beat up on Jace and Mind Springs. It could be a list of other spells, but I think it is the most powerful against decks trying to drown you in card advantage.

The best thing this deck has going for it is that it is a new format. Whenever a new format comes around I tend to see two very different types of players: those that want to play and win with crazy Eldrazi Polymorph/Summoners Trap decks, and those who want to prey on those people. I am the later and anyone picking up Red Deck Wins is as well.

This deck is here to stomp weak lists. Even if people are on the right path, this deck will punish anyone that has a small hiccup on the path to victory.

Machine Head

The last deck I have to talk about today is a new version of a deck I talked about a few weeks ago. I got the rough list off of Magic-League.com this week and have been toying around with it.

This deck is fun. It takes out all of the land denial in the main for some beefy dudes. I thought Nyxathid was just a cute card until I got to play my first game with him. On about turn 5 that guy comes down and hits very hard. With so many must-deal-with-guys and Blightnings, he isn’t too difficult to get big. He isn’t the only fat in the deck. If there has ever been a deck for Abyssal Persecutor, it’s this one.

Not only does this deck love its Sarkhan the Mad since you always have random irrelevant guys, but it can take out your Persecutor when you are done with it. Sarkhan fits like a glove in this deck.

The biggest problem I am finding with this deck is its manabase. I would like to play Creeping Tar Pit, but there’s no way to put another enters the battlefield tapped land into the deck. It is also harder to get the extra blue mana to activate it. Lavaclaw Reaches has to do the job then. I’m not saying that’s bad, but which one is better depends on what your matchups are. I think it is Lavaclaw, but that could change in a few weeks.

If you pick this deck up, make sure you keep tweaking it. I know this is not a sold list yet, but has a lot of potential to be something great. I will keep testing it and probably be playing it at the Midwest Masters in Iowa next weekend.

2010 Community Cup

That’s right. This week I was picked to be part of the 2010 Magic Online Community Cup Challenge. You couldn’t imagine how honored I am to be apart of this. To be chosen by other Magic players to face off against Wizards R&D for the title is very exciting. Thanks to everyone who helped me get on the ballot!

This tournament doesn’t just affect me though. This is a community challenge after all. There are some crazy formats that the team and I will have to play in. That is why I am going to be looking towards you guys for help.

All of the information about the tournament is right here:
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/other/04202010e

For the last year and a half, Channelfireball has been bringing some of the greatest Magic strategy the internet has to offer. Many of the writers at this site have become close friends and I can truly see the determination to be the best pour out of every pore on their bodies. We strive to become the best and bring our readers along for the journey.

No scrub is along for that journey either. From reading the comments on most of the articles on the site, I have found that there are some very smart people out there listening. Sometimes it scares me when I write about something I don’t have mastered yet, like today’s article about Standard, for example. These are three of my most promising lists I am working on, but I can guarantee some of you will have deeper insight into what we’ve have discovered because this site has some sick readers.

That’s why I need your help. I’ll need to put in a lot of preparation for this tournament. The only problem with this is I don’t want you to give me advice on these tournaments only under my comments. This tournament is a total of eight people deep and it wouldn’t be fair to the team to have information only in my comments. Forums have already been set up for this tournament:
http://community.wizards.com/magiconline/go/forum/view/76117/136553/general_group_discussion

We have about 6 weeks to prepare for this event so time is ticking. Anyone interested in helping me out please go check this information out. The more you guys help the harder I work each week to get you guys the best material I can find. I don’t know what else I could do for you.

“What’s that, Luis? Give them free stuff?”

Ok well how about this. If the Community ends up taking the title once again I am going to give the top two ChannelFireball contributors $25 each in store credit.

That doesn’t seem too bad now does it? Any time you post in the Community Cup comments on Magicthegathering.com they want you to put your Magic Online account name. Wizards is already giving away fun prizes to the participants. So just put a CF below your modo name when you type it.

MTGO: FFfreaK
CF

Just like this.

It would help me out so much for your guys support getting ready for this tournament. With your help I will be able to focus more on Grand Prix D.C. and Pro Tour San Juan. The after I get back from the PT I will be on my way to defend our title! Good luck brewing!

Brad Nelson
FFfreaK on MTGO
[email protected]

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