Would anyone like to set the line on the number of people that asked me why I didn’t write an article last week?
Here’s a hint: No matter what it was, take the under.
GLAD TO KNOW I WAS MISSED GUYS!
Zendikar Standard? Sure, I guess that’s what I’ll talk about this week. I just did three 2v2 drafts, which I guess qualifies me to talk about Limited, but we didn’t play out any of the games. I did draft Blue 100% of the time, and all of my decks looked pretty awesome, but there were definitely some green spiders that made me a little nervous.
Still, I definitely don’t feel like I’m an expert by any means. Each limited format has its own little quirks that you get used to once you play the format a bit, and this one doesn’t seem like it’s any different. For now, I’ll refrain from talking about it, but you can guarantee at some point I will write an article on sealed deck, as I consider myself an expert in that format.
While I haven’t played a game of Zendikar Standard, I do spend a lot of my spare time brewing decks and trolling forums, so at least I have a good idea of what’s out there, and what’s going on. I’m nothing short of appalled at how little discussion there is of a Chapin style, PT Hawaii-era 5cc control deck.
I know that the majority of people didn’t play Shards block constructed, and for good reason, but Chapin wrote some articles, and I wrote some articles. Maybe Luis wrote an article, I don’t remember. Either way, we all wrote articles on a “dead” format because we knew it was going to be relevant.
This deck is legit! We knew it was legit, and then they went and printed Baneslayer Angel.
My deadline is generally Monday, but it’s Tuesday at 6 AM and I’m finally getting around to writing this article while reading some other sites, and obviously Chapin, rat bastard that he is, wrote about the same stuff I was going to. I don’t know if it’s the whole “great minds” thing (although clearly his mind is bigger than mine, before any of you decide to share your two cents), or if it’s just because he’s always just one step ahead of me (and everyone else in general), but he pre-emotively stole whatever thunder I could have possibly had.
This would be the time for the observant reader to point out that maybe I should have written this article a week ago, rather than take time off, and that reader would be correct.
Here’s Patrick’s list, for reference:
The list I made was a little different, but here it is:
I’m still a fan of my creature base from the Dallas 5K, but I could definitely see going with a less creature oriented approach. There are a few reasons for this.
Have you SEEN Isamaru, Hound of Konda? Do you remember when that was by far the biggest creature you could play on turn one? It was a LEGEND! Now every single color has a 1cc 2 power guy. This is ushering in a new, yet old school era of Magic where decks like monor, monob, and monow are viable, rather than which crappy 5c deck will you play against? 5c Merfolk, 5c Faeries, 5cc, 5c Tokens, 5c Lark, or 5cc “good stuff” creatures with Doran and Rhox War Monk?
There are going to be different decks, with different strategies, and the slight difference in cards choices, and whether or not you have that week’s tech, is going to help determine whether you win or lose. Who drew Vivid Creek + Reflecting Pool? CONGRATULATIONS, you can cast your spells!
This upcoming Standard format looks great. To me, this is Magic. This is how I remember it, and how I always will. I truly feel badly for those who started in Lorwyn block, or those who have never experienced Extended during Kai’s era.
Shards and Shadowmoor/Lorwyn were both fairly miserable draft formats. Instead of the majority of games being based on skill, those limited formats were basically about who got the closest to their nut draws.
Kithkin horde plus removal plus Wizened Cenn was probably game over. Faeries and Merfolk were even more unfair.
Turn two Smokebraider, turn four Vigor? Yeah ok. Intimidator Initiate, Mudbrawler Cohort, Boggart Ram-Gang? Come on man, at least let me win a game. Oh, you still had all those Jaws of Stones? That’s nice.
Forest, Plains, Mountain, Wooly Thoctar? And I’m mana screwed? Yeah, this is fun.
But I digress.
My point is that creatures are going to be everywhere. Whether it’s because of Goblin Guide or Baneslayer Angel, your creatures will not be long for this world. I can definitely see a creature-light or creature-less control deck being better positioned than my above list, at least eventually. Also, that means that Cruel Ultimatum may no longer be necessary. Yay!
Also, because of all the creatures in the format, I want to play a literal ton of creature removal, and those removal spells take up valuable slots. In theory, Rhox War Monk, Bloodbraid Elf, and Baneslayer all double as removal at times, and even card advantage and virtual card advantage. However, when every deck has FTKs and six spot removal spells, those cards start to become less good. Groundbreaking, I know right!
If it gets to the point where I need six Terrors and eight Wraths to beat aggro decks, then so be it. I am not attached to those creatures by any means. However, Baneslayer was still the nut high last season, and that might not change anytime soon. Rhox War Monk is like Baneslayer-lite, and did you see those Jund Charms? They just aren’t for Pyroclasm-ing.
The cascade cards are stupid good and do wonders when you’re at a tempo disadvantage. They are what allow you to play things like Rupture Spire and still be competitive. Day of Judgment doesn’t hurt either.
Naturally, I would run the same Blightning plan in the sideboard, but Pat went so far as to play his maindeck. I’m not as confident that those are going to be good in this metagame, at least not in the beginning.
Likewise, I wouldn’t play Traumatic Visions unless I knew there would be a lot of mirrors. I think you gain a lot just by playing an extra land anyway, and Traumatic Visions is almost always a land against aggro decks, since you almost never have time to cast it. It’s also a poor fixer because it actually ruins your mana base. Forest and Plains in your Cruel Ultimatum deck? I mean, I have the Plains, but that’s only because I’d rather have more fetchlands than the alternatives, and my current list has a lot of White cards, especially double White.
Day of Judgment does play a little awkwardly with your creatures at times, but generally, you try to use War Monk or Baneslayer to force them to over-commit. Sometimes this doesn’t work out, and you end up breaking even on the exchange, or even lose a card, but it’s probably worse than losing.
I’ve definitely had that sort of problem in Limited where I have some sort of Wrath effect, and I don’t want to telegraph it by not playing anything, but at the same time I don’t want to just not play my two drop. After all, what if they just have nothing and that Grizzly Bear gets in for eight damage? Sometimes you think that you’re money, and you’re going to be able to run the “I Still Had All These Wrath of Gods” at the end of the game, only for them to play their dragon, and you look stupid when you have to pull the trigger on your sweeper.
However, those moments don’t happen often, especially in Constructed, especially against weenie decks. There is generally nothing they can do that that is going to outclass you, so your games always end up textbook style. I Bolt your first guy, play a War Monk, force you to play out three guys, gain three life by suiciding my guy into yours, and then even end up a card after Wrathing.
Kathari Remnant works “well” with Day of Judgment, at least in Magical Christmas Land. This format should end up being relatively fast, or I’m just very afraid of Vampire Lacerators and Goblin Guides. Remnant on turn four isn’t even close to the stopper that Bloodbraid Elf is. I am more than fine with trading Bloodbraid on turn four, whereas having to keep open a black every turn for Remnant doesn’t seem very appealing to me.
Depending on how you want to build your deck, UB is easier on your manabase than RG, but I think that everyone is overestimating how devastating a blow losing the Vivid lands was. 5c worked in block, and while Exotic Orchard, the deck’s primary fixer, has been neutered, the non-basics are there. You can make it happen.
I know some of you guys don’t like 28 lands, but I’m fine with 28/61, as long as there isn’t some insane card that you absolutely need to draw to win. Also, take into account your sideboard when building above 60. I know the States that I played 66 cards (and made t8 before conceding to my friend, ding!), I didn’t even bother to notice that it would be much harder to draw Bottle Gnomes vs. RG with my giant deck.
All of the cards in this deck are either card drawing or pseudo-removal though, so who cares? Play 68 and 4 Cruel Ultimatums if you want.
Chapin’s “Jwar Jwar” Sphinx (that HAD to be on purpose) is cute, but there’s an Edict on a stick that’s legal! It seems like a cruel joke, all around. Tapping out for that guy against any non-Black deck, non-White deck, and non-seven-mana-Edict deck does seem pretty sweet though.
A win condition that doesn’t suffer splash damage from their Doom Blades is definitely something I can get behind. If I could just play a dragon and have that be game every time, I would probably do that, but until that’s the case and my win conditions always live, I will probably focus on going creature-less.
Honestly, the differences in Chapin’s and my lists are all semantics. Play whatever you think will be good. If you know there will be some token decks, play some [card]Maelstrom Pulse[/card]s, but personally, I don’t want to cascade into that garbage, so they can sit in my binder.
This article is running a little short, so I’ll give you a rundown on Extended.
Faeries: You suck, especially if you’re not playing Tarmogoyf.
Zoo: You suck, unless you’re playing Black.
Hypergenesis: If you have Vendilion Clique and Riftwing Cloudskate, you’re where you need to be, but you still suck. If you have Magister Sphinx in your deck, don’t even bother signing up for the tournament.
Tron: HA! Are you kidding me? YOU SUCK!
Dredge: You got some sweet new toys, but you still suck. The Extended versions I’m seeing might be able to top eight a Standard FNM.
Affinity: You still suck.
Elves: You are much better than people think you are, but you still probably suck.
Doran/Rock/Death Cloud: 1/3 of you is almost playable, and that’s only because you resemble a Zoo deck. Cut your Birds of Paradise for Wild Nacatl and then you might be onto something.
PS: Does anyone have a deck for PT Austin that they want to sell me?