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:

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:

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.


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]

49 thoughts on “FFfreaky Friday – Post <i>Rise</i> Gauntlet and the Community Cup”

  1. Not in the least. With just one Howling Mine or Font of Mythos, you’ll be forced to draw a second card. Unless Wild Mongrel made its way back into Standard, I think that you will lose if not then but eventually.

  2. @Chris maybe you don’t know how howling mine/font of mythos work but you draw extra cards. so one eldrazi card doesn’t actually do anything.

  3. The Legendary Eldrazi have a Gaea’s Blessing effect though, not just a Darksteel Collossus effect. They shuffle your whole graveyard back in. But that said, it’s not at all clear that any deck is actually going to be running them.

  4. Nice article, good progressive material. Grade B +
    Keep bringing us great FREE material, I love you guys CHANNELFIREBALL RULES THE MAGIC UNIVERSE!!

  5. @Tim B Doesn’t it do though? I mean unless you’re so unlucky that it’s the last card in the deck don’t you just discard it along with many other cards during one of your cleanup phases and shuffle your graveyard back into your library?
    That said I do agree with Brad that this deck can steal a few wins in the coming weeks seeing as most decks probably won’t be sideboarding any Eldrazis to ruin this deck.

    Because of you Brad I might just have to stick an Eldrazi in my side just so I don’t get crushed by this deck. Thanks a bunch for encouraging people. 😉

  6. Chris is saying that you can draw up to 8 then discard Emrakul, Kozilek, or Ulamog to Gaea’s Blessing. This is probably not a big concern unless the fog deck gets popular though. Just because someone could be gunning for you doesn’t mean that they will or that it is correct to do so. It is the same way that a lot of people treat dredge; they ignore it because it isn’t worth the amount of work to beat it that is necessary given its small number of players.

  7. I believe you have to read those eldrazi cards again both Tim and Tim. They say that you have to shuffle your entire graveyard back into your library. As long as you don’t leave your eldrazi as the last card you discard, you can just shuffle it all back and go again.

  8. RE: Machine Head deck

    I’ve been playing something similar in standard to mess around lately (after Gerry T mentioned wanting to build something involving Jace, Abyssal Persecutor, and Sedraxis Specter). I’m probably not working on evolving this list any farther, so I’ll toss it up here for comparison to the Machine Head list. I’ve had fair results with it, but I’m pretty sure it’s not optimal. Also, it hasn’t been changed for post-ROE standard (or any of the recent changes to standard). For instance, it’s still running Earthquake, which I’m more and more convinced is just not the right card for the deck (especially since adding Slavering Nulls). Regardless, here’s the list:

    3 Crumbling Necropolis
    3 Creeping Tar Pit
    4 Lavaclaw Reaches
    3 Scalding Tarn
    1 Mountain
    2 Island
    9 Swamp

    3 Lightning Bolt
    2 Earthquake
    3 Terminate
    4 Spreading Seas
    4 Slavering Nulls
    4 Sedraxis Specter
    4 Blightning
    3 Gatekeeper of Malakir
    2 Vampire Nighthawk (this guy gets worse and worse)
    3 Abyssal Persecutor
    3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    4 Deathmark
    4 Flashfreeze
    3 Goblin Ruinblaster
    2 Into the Roil
    2 Malakir Bloodwitch

    It’s probable that I should be getting rid of the Malakir Bloodwitches and Into the Roils, along with the Vampire Nighthawks, although I’m not certain what the correct replacements are at the moment.

  9. 8 dragonskull summits. NICE. TECH.

    try it without geopede. it’s been the worst topdeck so far. and also, that rebound shock spell is super tasty. been running it over hell’s thunder, and i must say, i missed flame javellin. i keep nailing baneslayers with it on the rebound + searingblaze or bolt.

    it’s 3 mana for 4 damage, and so far splitting the damage has been pretty much better than 4 in one blow.

  10. Well I WAS going to roll my ptq with turbo fog… Now I get to play jund mirrors all day! Yay!

    What I mean is, … um… turbo fog is awful. Yeah, that’s it! It is so awful you don’t even have to have a sb for it. I promise!

  11. The bad thing about this article is that everyone and their little brother is going to be playing turbofog now.

  12. I’ve been playing that sedraxis deck a lot in various incarnations; the Gatekeepers and Nulls were really not doing it for me, they’re just too small and I scoop to Thrinax. I went for almost no red, more mana denial and Jace, and 4 Persecutor. With Consuming Vapors I think it will be a legit deck, although the U/W matchup is iffy.

  13. Oh, Cunning Sparkmage/Blood Cultist are also interesting in the SB, especially if Polymorph becomes more popular.

  14. Re: Machine Head-the problem with Nyx and Persecutor is that they’re easily nullified single targets. The deck needs more immediate board impact.

    @pv: have you considered Repel the Darkness in turbofog? It’s basically cantrip fog, right?

  15. I realize you don’t really go through the polymorph deck, but I think it has real potential. I have been testing it and I can make a version that crushes ever deck I have tested against (Jund, Tap out UW Control, RDW, vampires). Only probably is that I can’t get it down to 75 cards that crush all of the decks and there are some simple SB cards that can crush polymorph decks (Telemin Performance). However, Emrakul turn 4 or 5 is a lot of fun. Polymorph might not see play on the pro tour, but I’m sure it will at FNM.

  16. FF Freat , thanks for posting my Machine Head list in your article! I was working hard for a couple of days to rebuild the 2001 World Chamion Van De Logt list in his standard variant. It was more of a nostalgic experiment but it run well in one of the ML Trials and I’m glad that people finally noticed it. Just for comparison:

    6 [IN] Mountain
    4 [7E] Sulfurous Springs
    6 [IN] Swamp
    4 [IN] Urborg Volcano
    4 [MM] Rishadan Port

    2 [IN] Crypt Angel – (Sarkhan the Mad)
    3 [IN] Skizzik – (Nyxathid)
    4 [IN] Plague Spitter – (Slavering Nulls)
    2 [PS] Flametongue Kavu – (Gatekeeper of Malakir)
    4 [IN] Blazing Specter – (Sedraxis Specter)
    3 [PS] Phyrexian Scuta -(Abyssal Persecutor)

    3 [IN] Urza’s Rage – (Lightning Bolt)
    4 [PS] Terminate – (Terminate)
    3 [MM] Vendetta – (Vendetta)
    4 [MM] Dark Ritual – (no counterpart)
    4 [7E] Duress – (Blightning, better obviously)

    The resulting list needs a little bit of improvement to adjust for the current standard environment and I didn’t stop tweaking it in the past few days to end up in a slightly different version. If you want to discuss it or to hear my suggestions on it, feel free to find me on my e-mail ([email protected])

  17. Ggeopede turn 2 into sacland on turn 3 means u can cast your ball lightning even if they have the mana open for removal. Also geopede helps alot in the RDW mirrors on defense and offense

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  19. Isn’t mill an awful Idea when people start adding some random 1 off Eldrazis in their deck (Polymorph, UW control, Ramp, homebrew)

  20. Geez, Earthquake must be crazy important in that Blightning deck, considering you’re playing 30 land including 8 Dragonskull Summits and 8 Arid Mesas.

  21. Nice article man. Not too sure about that fog deck as other here have stated as soon I (and all my friends) saw the Kozilek/Ulamog we already planned on buying one just to have in our boards for fog decks. Its too easy a win not to. I do really wanna try out sarkhan the mad in a deck though, he looks like fun.

    Totally agree about that dragonlord. That card is gonna surprise people.

    Side note: I played you the other day in a mtgo draft. Remember the guy with the 80 card deck you destroyed? Hey at least I whittled it down to 52 before the second game. Yea gotta love mtgo glitches where you don’t get to draft your deck. 😛

    I’ll be ready for you next time man!! ^_-

    Just so all you cats know this guy is really cool. Not pompous or uppity. We chatted during our match and he was crackin jokes and havin a good time just like another regular magic player. Nice guy really.

    I’ll let some of my friends know about your deck discussion threads. Unlike me they are quite good @ this game.

  22. I’ve been playing the grixis deck for a little while, and it’s got game, but the first card I cut was slavering nulls…I was never happy to see that card, it most often just ended up chumping. Now black knight is a different story, especially with these pesky walls of omens around…

  23. @ Tim B …. i know how the font and mine work….but with all the extra cards i draw it wont be hard to discard one of the legendary eldrazi at the end of turn….agaisnt turbo fog its not like i have to put alot of pressure on them….mill is the only way that deck can beat you. as long as i keep dropping my eldrazi in the grave i wont ever get milled out and the turbo fog will evenually just deck itself with time. That doesnt even account for the fact that i would be atacking with other creatures to put pressure on them……turbo fog is just too easy to hate out…1 sideboard card to make that match a bye

  24. Man, everyone beat me to it. Emrakul just wrecks turbo fog. Discard to clean up step and when the game drags on to the opp getting 15 mana, they just cast it and you lose in 2-3 attack steps. So thanks for the heads up as I now need to devote one sideboard slot. Couple that with telemin performance and my mythic bant sovereigns/conscription deck can beat uw, morph, and tfog with 10 slots left for other decks. Awesome!

  25. I have a simple answer to Emrakul: Relic of Progenitus. Put big boy’s trigger on the stack and RFG everything.

  26. Day of Judgment is particularly weak against Jund.

    Have fun losing to Siege Gang Commander

  27. It’s not the decks that the pros talk about that are going be played on the pro tour and other events. They are keeping the lists they are actually going to play to themsleves. I haven’t heard anything but a passing remark about Junk or Boss since RoE came out and both decks look extremely strong right now. I’ve heard a lot about UW but haven’t seen an actual list yet. Fog will never be above tier 2.5 and polymorph has too many weaknesses. RDW and varients will cave to any white deck that wants to beat them.

    It’s a conspiracy, I tell you. A CONSPIRACY!! (end rant)

  28. If fireball blue is playing just one kozilek there is no way they can lose to fog"¦

    Comment by oyzar – April 23, 2010 @ 11:29 am

    why? By the time you can actually cast it your library is probably running low on cards and the draw 4 is a draw back. Fog can probably absorb one attack as by that time they should have about 4 extra lands.

    iIf you are saying the gaea’s blessing affect will prevent fog from winning, having 1 card to gaea’s blessing back into your deck once or twice a game is not going to save you from getting milled out by jace.

  29. I have been playing turbofog/jacerator for the past 2 months now and day of judgment is actually better against jund than wall of denial, at least in my metagame, all the jund players have 4 great sable stags, some even main deck a few, so they completely nullify wall of denial, especially now with siege gang commanders running a muck. As with what a few people have been saying about the new Legendary rise creatures, I was thinking the same thing about relic of progentis, but for my metagame I can’t devout 3 spots of my sideboard, as they are pretty solid right now, so I was thinking about including possibly 1 or 2 of the Emarkul in my main, I don’t think it would be too hard to find 1 or 2 spots and it is nice food for a blightning, pitch that and another card and shuffle your graveyard into your library, plus it is an alternate win con if you happen to need to cast it, which might happen if other people start siding in their own against you. It was just a thought and I might try it out tonight, plus adding in the 4 wall of omen for a nice extra card draw and a 0/4 creature for 2 mana. Anyway, those were just my thoughts on the subject which are based on my own metagame however.

  30. Machine Head looks interesting. Have you thought about dropping the blue entirely, replacing Sedraxis with Hypnotic Specter? The random discard seems better. You do lose the nice unearth synergy with Sarkhan, and your hopes of running Creeping Tarpit will be entirely dashed, but the mana should be a lot more stable.

    How important are the Spreading Seas in the board? What are you bringing them in for?

  31. one emrakul in the sideboard of any deck and tubofog auto loses. You can’t archive trap them, you can’t jace ultimate them, and you have to hope they are milled out before they draw it; because when they do – they will have 8 cards and they will discard it.

  32. Has anyone given thought to Jacerator running an Eldrazi card?

    1) It shuffles all your effects back into the deck, and getting 8 or more cards in hand doesn’t seem too hard

    2) it gives the deck an alternate win condition as it shouldn’t be too hard getting the mana for them

  33. Turbo Fog is pretty terrible, and I’m not sure how Wall of blossoms is going to change that much.

    When a hall of famer like Olivier Ruel has scrubbed out of several consecutive premiere events with a deck, it’s probably time to admit the deck is bad.

  34. big change in the Turbo fog list since ROE came out,looks like the list i ran pre-ROE minus the wall

  35. @ Jim Varney,,agree btw,,,deck cant beat jund when there drawing tons of blightnings and pulses

  36. @ Nicol Bolas
    Boss naya and junk are currently bad because the top 2 decks are u/w fireball and jund, Boss naya has a hard time with current jund lists, and basicly folds to u/w fireball’s wrath effects. I dont know how good junk is against these two but junk just seems worse than naya for similar reasons.

  37. Good article turbo fog seems viable if it switches to the mind sculptor as a win condition which exiles libraries.One deck that seems to be under the radar that got some decent tools back is Time Seive/Open the Vaults.I think polymorph is for real now but the versions that rely solely on its namesake are not utilizing its potiental.Also Naya does not fold to tap out blue white in the slightest they are playing ajani vegeant ,ranger,blood braid, manabarbs post board and now maybe vengevine too.This is looking ro be a really diverse format now expect top 8’s with at least 5 different decks from hear on out!

  38. @ Brad: I think the reason people haven’t been playing geopede is because it makes wrath better against the deck. Also, it doesn’t really do anything the turn it hits play. That all have to change now to support dragonlord though, so geopede should be a sure inclusion from here on.
    Not sure I agree with cutting hellsparks over a 3-drop and the lack of staggershock though. It’s 4 damage for 3 mana man!

    Anyway, I also have some questions regarding UW: What would you cut from the tap-out UW decks to support wall of omens and see beyond (which both look really sick) and how many DoJs and martial coups would you run? I was really surprised that the lists that won the online PTQs ran so few coups!

  39. @Summa: How did you get the lists for those already? I’m friends with both of the ptq winners and I can’t even find the lists haha.

  40. For the grixis deck, it seems that the only reason you have blue involved is for the sedraxis specters and the spreading seas in the sideboard. Why not run the hypnotic specter and the new black spreading seas instead? This way its a red/black deck, and makes your lands a non-issue.

    Also, although it does seem that Sarkhan is good, why not use Lilliana? Her discard fits perfectly, and she can always tutor up removal for the Persecutor, making her just as good as Sarkhan.

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