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Initial Technology – Hits and Misses in Sideboarding

With a much larger card pool than Standard, Extended has all sorts of options for sideboard cards. Most decks have a pretty tight maindeck at this point, and fitting random situational cards in just isn’t feasible, but there is plenty of room for sweet cards in the sideboard. I feel that many decks under-utilize their sideboard space, especially considering how many cards are in this format. In Standard, you have to settle for slight upgrades, and possibly a mild hoser or two. The URW Control deck I played last week is a good example: it gets to bring in Essence Scatter and Negate, which basically just replace Flashfreeze in the matchups that Flashfreeze misses, but don’t really add much to the deck. The only truly powerful card I was bringing in was Luminarch Ascension, and even that was narrow and easily disrupted (although obviously insane under the right circumstances). However, you don’t have to settle for that in Extended! Extended still reaches back far enough that there are plenty of pretty sick cards, so today I want to highlight some particularly effective sideboard cards I have come across, as well as taking cheap shots at ones I dislike.

Starting with the hits:

Cards that hit narrow strategies

In this case, “narrow strategies” basically means combo, but really can be applied to any deck that relies heavily on a particular card or combination of cards, even if the deck itself isn’t of any particular archetype.

 

Cranial Extraction 

This old favorite used to be worth 20 dollars, although I always thought it overpriced. It has started to see more play recently, mainly because of Scapeshift. Hitting Scapeshift with Cranial usually cripples the Scapeshift deck, although wins with Vendilion Clique and Sakura-Tribe Elder aren’t unheard of. What makes Cranial interesting is the rise of decks that are soft to it; not only Scapeshift, but Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek decks, Hypergenesis, and even Martyr of Sands decks have trouble with a resolved Cranial. Any deck that has great difficulty winning once you strip a card from it is a candidate to get wrecked by Cranial, although don’t go overboard. Yes, Cranialing Vampire Hexmage in the Dark Depths matchup would be good, except that by the time you hit Cranial mana they either have comboed or disrupted you to the point that you can’t cast Cranial. I think the concentration of decks that are vulnerable to Cranial is high enough that I have been very happy with Cranial in the sideboard of multiple different decks, although having access to mana acceleration like Mox or Green ramp is a nice bonus.

 

Extirpate 

Much like Cranial, Extirpate is a card that I never liked. All the cards like this are commonly put into decks “for value”, and that is just not the right way to look at them. Now I think might be Extirpate’s opportunity to shine, since there are a few good decks that really don’t want to see Extirpate. It is the best answer to the Thopter FoundrySword of the Meek combo, since there is no way to combo without putting Sword in the bin, and really no way to play around Extirpate (save hand disruption or Chalice, neither of which is common in Sword decks). Extirpate also gets Punishing Fire, which is a big problem for some decks, like UB Faeries (just be aware that they can return Fire in response to Extirpate with Grove of the Burnwillows; that isn’t a big problem as long as you make sure to Extirpate in response to the trigger when they don’t have any Groves untapped). Plus, Extirpate does double duty by being a Dredge hoser, albeit not enough by itself. Don’t get too frisky though; the reason I like Extirpate in the above scenarios is that all you have to do is have the Extirpate, and the opponent does the rest by putting the offending card in the graveyard. Siding in Extirpate because you plan on Duressing Hypergenesis and then Extirpating it is exactly the kind of thinking that leads people to misusing the card.

 

Shadow of Doubt 

Another good answer to Scapeshift, Shadow isn’t stopped by Boseiju at all. Normally Shadow is way too narrow itself, but because it is good against Tezzeret (stops Gifts, Transmute, Tezzeret searches, and fetchlands) and Dark Depths (with its Beseeches and 8 Transmute cards), it is a card worth considering.

Gaddock Teeg

Teeglesworth doesn’t hose any particular card as much as it hoses entire decks. Even against a fast deck like Dark Depths, having Teeg shut off Repeal, Engineered Explosives, Beseech the Queen, and Chalice of the Void is quite annoying, to say nothing of what it does to Tezzeret or Scapeshift. Teeg even gets to beat down some, which is pretty sweet. It is important to realize that Teeg isn’t as much a lock piece as a temporary disruption; he fits well into aggressive decks that try and end the game soon, since even the decks most annoyed by Teeg will invariably find a way to remove him, given enough time. Don’t think that Teeg is just game, since that is just asking to get wrecked by a random Path to Exile or Into the Roil. Being both two colors and well-suited for beatdown, Teeg doesn’t fit in most decks, but let me be the first to tell you that Teeg is one of the cards I like to see least when playing, well, just about any deck that I would be glad to play.

Pulse of the Fields

This seems like an odd place for Pulse, since I am talking about narrow strategies, but really, what is more narrow than the straight burn plan? Pulse even just got an upgrade with the removal of mana burn, since the evil Red mage can no longer burn himself low enough that your Pulse won’t return! I think you would beat Burn more often than you would lose if all you did is start casting Pulse on turn three, which is exactly the kind of power I look for in a sideboard card. Still, Pulse is a pretty narrow card in its own right; the only deck I would side in Pulse against is Burn, since even against Tribal Zoo I don’t think it quite pulls its weight. It does a fantastic job of hosing spell-based damage, but once they start hitting you with Nacatl and co. every turn, you would much rather have a real spell. As many have said, Burn is quite a popular deck this season, and Pulse does a good job of beating it.

Circle of Protection: Red

Much like Pulse, COP: Red is really only applicable when your opponent is packing 14 Mountains in his deck. I like Pulse more overall, but a mix of the two is effective, especially since drawing multiple Circles is bad news. My Tezzeret configuration is two Pulse, one Circle, which has been doing well for me. One disturbing trend to be aware of is the rise in decks siding Everlasting Torment, which conveniently enough stops both of the cards I like to board in. So far it is nowhere near universal, but keep Torment in mind. It still costs three and doesn’t directly deal damage, but it can win some games that no other card would.

Unbeatable Value!

Ok, maybe “unbeatable” is a little harsh, but when I talk about value, I mean cards that aren’t as specifically targeted as the more narrow hosers. Of course, the more narrow the card the more powerful, and the more flexible the less powerful (at least generally). That’s why a card like Kitchen Finks often gets the nod over something like Pulse of the Fields. Finks is worse than Pulse in the Burn matchup, at least in my testing, but has more broad applications. Even if Finks is worse in any given matchup than another card, it helps overall more because it is good against more decks. This is pretty obvious, but it is worth explaining, since you want a mix of both types of card in your sideboard, and getting the mix right is the trick. The only time where you really can afford to play all super-targeted sideboard cards is when you have a dead-on read of the metagame, and that is extremely rare. If you are good enough to predict two Affinity pairings in your future, feel free and sleeve up three Katakis, but in this format that would be a really bad call. Affinity isn’t prevalent enough that you can afford to use three slots just for that matchup, and you will be better off settling for Wraths or Paths that are decent against Affinity and actually relevant elsewhere.

 

Spell Pierce 

Originally found in Nassif’s deck from Worlds, I was very impressed with Spell Pierce when I tried it. It isn’t a card I would play too many of; two seems to be a good number. What Spell Pierce does is just completely blow out the opponent, since nobody ever plays around it. When you cast Thirst with a Blue up in the Tezzeret mirror, they play around Spell Snare and use Cryptic Command instead of Mana Leak, leading to a pretty sick Spell Pierce. It also is absurd against Hypergenesis, and one of the few outs to their “turn two on the play, thanks” draws. Its value goes down pretty sharply as the game progresses, especially when the opponent is aware of it, but it does so much early that I have been quite happy with it. Sadly, if UB Faeries starts to cut down on generic Blue-type decks, Spell Pierce may not have a chance to shine, since it doesn’t do a whole lot against Spellstutter Sprite and Mistbind Clique.

Celestial Purge

This is just barely broad enough to make it out of the narrow category, but it legitimately does come in against a variety of decks, and definitely isn’t a typical hoser. Purge actually seems like the exact kind of card I warned about at the beginning of the article: all it does is trade 1 for 1 against a Black or Red permanent, which doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of enemies. The reason I kind of like Purge is that it does an unexpected effect at instant speed, and a pretty useful one at that. Most White decks can’t kill a Dark Depths token instantly except for with Path, so a Depths player with a Chalice for one out is almost assuredly just going to pop Depths at end of turn, at which point you wreck them with Purge. Even if they know you have Purge, they have to have Muddle or Thoughtseize, since Chalice doesn’t do anything. Purge also nukes Blood Moon, which is a difficult permanent to get rid of, and deals with Everlasting Torment, which I mentioned earlier. I would warn against bringing it in against Faeries though, since a spell for 1W that says “destroy target Bitterblossom  wasn’t good enough in Standard and isn’t good enough now.

Meloku, the Clouded Mirror

Yes, Meloku costs a whole five mana, but you get a pretty good return on that. There is a reason Meloku was probably the most feared creature in Standard a few years back, and a one-of Meloku is pretty sweet in some decks right now. Siding in one creature in a mostly creatureless deck can take people by surprise, and Meloku is certainly capable of winning games on his own, especially once they have taken out their removal. Having an alternate win condition is good in narrow decks, and Meloku is one of the best.

And on to the misses…

Leave these in the binder

What is a good list without a bad list? Here I get to tell you why some pretty commonly played sideboard (and even maindeck) cards are terrible, or at least unimpressive.

Meddling Mage

The most egregious offender is none other than Pikula himself (at least if you spring for the Planeshift versions). I haven’t thought Meddling Mage was good for five years, and that includes just about any format where he was legal. The problem with Mage is that even the decks that he “hoses”, like Scapeshift or the like, have plenty of answers, and if you start Maging the answers to Mage, they can just ignore him and play their crucial spell. But wait, what if you have multiple Mages? Ok, let’s say you have multiple Mages against Scapeshift, one of the matchups where Mage is at his best. Your first Mage names Firespout, and your second names Scapeshift, even assuming further that they both resolve unhindered. One Into the Roil later, and you have nothing. It isn’t like you have their actual decklist in hand, either. Most of the time you won’t know if they play Into the Roil, Firespout, Repeal, or a combination of the three (most commonly Into the Roil and Firespout, but some have Magma Jet too). My point is that Meddling Mage is rarely as back-breaking as people seem to think, and often just flat out misses. Naming Thopter Foundry against Tezzeret (everyone always brings in Mages against Tezz) is laughable at best, since they have 4 or 5 ways minimum to remove it, and can still Tezzeret into Foundry. The only time I have really like Mage is against Hypergenesis, and they still have Firespout and Putrefy and Wipe Away. The reason I think that Teeg is awesome and Mage sucks is that Teeg actually disrupts the opposing gameplan. Teeg not only stops the Tezzeret, he also stops the Cryptic and Gifts which dig for cards, and the Explosives and Wraths that threaten him. Against Scapeshift he is about the same as Mage, although older lists with Repeal sure got hosed. Of course, I haven’t even gotten into the aggro matchups, which are plentiful, and Mage is pretty much Grizzly Bears there. I haven’t like Mage for quite a while, and would recommend against playing it now.

Chalice of the Void

This mainly shows up in Dark Depths, but a number of other decks seem to like sideboarding it. Chalice isn’t pulling its weight nowadays, especially with the downswing in Hypergenesis. Boarding it in against Zoo or Burn is pretty mediocre if you are playing a deck with any number of relevant maindeck artifacts. They typically will have Smash to Smithereens, Ancient Grudge, or Qasali Pridemage, and even if they don’t it can be hard to play Chalice when it is still relevant. If they play a Goblin Guide and you play a Chalice, assuming you are on the play, they can easily just follow up with Keldon Marauders and Hellspark Elemental, which is almost enough right there. Chalice was good for a time, but I would stay away from sideboarding it now. I think it is fine in the Dark Depths maindeck, although I have been trying to retool the deck, which I might have more info on in the future, depending on how it goes.

Glen Elendra Archmage

Before you scroll up, let me assure that this is in fact the “miss” section. Despite Archmage being a core member of most of my Blue sideboards for the last year (in multiple formats), I have begun to like it less and less. The decks it is good against are adapting, and even just becoming fewer. Scapeshift often has Boseiju, and it isn’t like it is easy to resolve a four-mana spell to begin with. Faeries can mostly ignore it, since all of their non-creature spells come out earlier than the Mage, and it is pretty slow against Hypergenesis. It might be nearly game-over if it comes out in time, but delaying Hypergenesis that long requires other hate cards, which might as well just do the job themselves. The only matchup where it is really awesome is the Tezzeret mirror, and this Extended format is way too open for that to be a big concern. My foil Archmages are sitting in a box, as they have been for weeks, and I don’t anticipate grabbing them anytime soon.

Where are all the Red and Green cards?

Well, when I start playing Red and Green decks, maybe I’ll let you know! I did include Gaddock Teeg, in the good section no less, so there is at least one Green card in the lists. Obviously most of these cards fit in the Esper Shard, but by no means does that mean they are only good for Control/Combo decks. Granted, I have mostly been playing with UW Control, Tezzeret, Scapeshift, Dark Depths, Martyr (a little ill-fated, but maybe Ben got it right today, since his list certainly looks better than mine), and Faeries, but the impressions I have gotten of these cards is applicable for other decks. The mana is so good in this format, and splashing Extirpate or Cranial isn’t much of a stretch. The White cards in particular could be very effective in Zoo, which typically has a tough time against Burn decks. Ideally this look into the underplayed (and overplayed) sideboard cards gives you a bit more to work off of when you are constructing your own sideboard, and feel free to recommend more cards in the comments. There are plenty of hidden gems yet to be discovered, and some of them might even have Red mana in the casting cost!

LSV

52 thoughts on “Initial Technology – Hits and Misses in Sideboarding”

  1. I just have one question.
    If you were to have to play in a PTQ tomorrow, what deck and what exact list would you play?

  2. You sure seemed to like Meddling mage here.

    http://strategy.channelfireball.com/featured-articles/initial-technology-desperately-seeking-tezzeret/

    So by not liking it it in a long time you mean a little over a month? I wouldnt normally be so upset over something like this but i think your a great player and really liked your sideboard plan from that article so i bought the whole deck including the mages. And now you tell me, ”I haven't thought Meddling Mage was good for five years, and that includes just about any format where he was legal”, six weeks after you endorse it. I still like the sb plan and can decide own my own if i like it or not but dont be so wishy washy. This is a strategy article. So dont play ” This is what i would sb” and then a few weeks later say ”i havent liked this card in 5 years”

  3. @ bob

    That tezzeret list is one of the few times I’ve played Mages, and they were primarily for Hypergenesis. Now I wouldn’t sideboard them at all. I’m sorry you feel like im being wishy-washy, but they were decent before and I don’t feel that they are good now, and it isn’t a card I like very much either way. I felt they were the choice at the time, which is why I said that, and now I wouldn’t play them. Maybe I exaggerated, since clearly mage has been playable in the last 5 years, but I certainly didn’t lie either when I wrote the tezzeret article or now, and I don’t believe that changing my mind on whether to run them or not is flip-flopping. I straight up say in this article that I dont like Cranial or Extirpate, yet I honestly think they have their uses now, much like Mage had its uses then.

  4. GoblinLackeyIsBlue

    LSV, would you consider Mage to be a good option against their hate targetting your deck. I know it sounds awkward, but Mage on Cranial Extraction or Extirpate seems decent in Tezzeret.

  5. @ LSV

    Point taken. So with losing so much sideboard reach with both mages and people starting to play extirpate and the like do you still have faith in the Tezz deck?

  6. @goblinlackey

    I think without knowing exactly what they are boarding in, boarding in mage is kind of a crapshoot, which is really what I didn’t like about the card to begin with.

    @ bob

    Tezz just won the MODO ptq today, which is a good sign for the deck. I think it might need some adjustment, but overall I wouldn’t worry overmuch about Cranial/Extirpate, since people aren’t playing them at the level which would make me not want to play foundry (although my article today certainly won’t help i suppose!)

  7. Thoughts on Faeries as a deck? What is the best way to improve the matchups against Fast Zoo and Burn? Sun Droplet? Praying?

  8. @ BOB
    Tell him how it is. Don’t hold anything back.

    @LSV
    Cranial extraction good? Chalice and Glen Elendra bad?
    What card game are you playing?? Both chalice and Glen Elendra will be big players in a lot of decks. Cranial Extraction might get sleeved up but it won’t be in my deck.

  9. @ yo yo

    This is LSV not Miss Cleo. He is a Great Player giving his opinion, not some fortune teller telling you the 75 you have to play to win a PTQ. Don’t give you guy crap because you have a different play style and don’t want to play the cards he suggests. I wouldn’t play a card i’m not sure how to play correctly in a PTQ no matter how tells me to play it.

    @LSV

    Thanks for the article. What would your opinion be of playing Chandra Ablaze in All-in-Red? The discard you hand (draw 3) turn 1/2/3 seems fun. Am I dreaming or is this something you think is worth spending time on?

  10. @ yo yo: You should alweays evaluate cards for the current state of a format, not some generic baseline that you have in your head. Chalice and Archmage aren’t exactly stellar in the current metagame (that might change), whereas Extripate and Cranial are both very good at crippling a couple of the “better” decks, and hence have a higher weighted value. That’s basically all this article is about, whats currently good as opposed to what is commonly thought to be good(rightly or wrongly).

  11. Hi LSV,

    Thanks for the nice article. As a standard (and limited) player I would appreciate it if you would do something like this for standard. We do get a lot of decklists including sideboards, but some kind of an overview like this would be great.

    Still I feel that even though I don’t play the older formats, it’s still usefull for my overall magic skills to here your thoughts on those formats. So keep up the good work!

    thanks,

  12. @ kyle smith
    Are you dyslexic? I believe you were trying to make a point but most of what you said was unreadable.
    “Don't give YOU guy crap… ” and “…no matter HOW tells me to play it” both are very confusing statements that you made. Perhaps if you can re-post what you were trying to waste my time telling me, I could respond with why you are wrong and I am right.

  13. Only time I liked mage was back in the old extended days, in Grow.
    The mage was very effective at hosing Trix since all they had to remove it was capsize, and later on fire/ice.

    A “bear” was also much more decent board presence when there weren’t 3/3s for 1 and 3/4, 4/5s for 2.

  14. @ yo yo

    I think the whole point of this article was to try and point out some underplayed and undervalued potential sideboard cards as well as some overplayed ones. While Chalice and Glen Elendra might seem to be better cards in a vacuum, they lose value in the current extended metagame, while Extirpate and Cranial Extraction gain some value with many of the decks relying on a combo finish (Thopter, Scapeshift, Dark Depths).

  15. @ yoyo:

    Your last comment was completely unnecessary. The truth is that LSV is a very, very good player and that he makes a good living by playing Magic the Gathering. If you do not believe that his choices are correct then you can say so, but bear in mind the status which he has within the Magic community. I do not know what level you play at or how good you are, but if you are going to slam anyone's comments then please at least add an explanation underlining your reasoning based on the current Meta-Game. I believe the discussion above regarding Meddling Mage highlights what I just said. Remember if you cannot be constructive in your criticism then be quiet.

  16. Pingback: MTGBattlefield

  17. @LSV:
    I’ve been looking to find a way to reincarnate your Swans list from worlds 08, but haven’t found any replacement for chain of plasma (for reference, here’s the list http://www.deckcheck.net/deck.php?id=21982). The only thing I’ve come up with that actually works is Niv-Mizzet, and that just seems mediocre at best.
    I really like that the deck can do t1 bloodmoon in this format and this seemed like a great way to do it without going all-in-red.

    Do you think it could be viable to rebuild this without the 2-card combo, with something like seismic assault?

  18. @yo yo
    First off, attacking someone based on typos and/or grammatical errors is pretty scummy to begin with. You don’t know if the guy is a foreigner reading LSV’s article or if he actually might be dyslexic. Just to clue you in, replace the word “you” with the word “the” in the first sentence, and the word “how” with the word “who” and they magically become very readable. At least that was what I figured out after using an ounce of effort/intelligence.

    About GEA/Chalice vs Cranial. Maybe if you actually read what LSV said about the cards you might actually understand why he feels this way about them. If you’re not inclined to do so I’ll reiterate. On GEA: The decks where this superstar faerie are good have answers nowadays. Against Scapeshift (where it seems to be the best in abstract), they have the hard to answer Boseiju. Not to mention, trying to resolve a 4cc sorcery against a deck with remand can be a little bit dicy. For the same cost and speed you can actually remove the threat of Scapeshift resolving for the rest of the game (read: not having to worry about bounce/burn spells/gigadrowse) Sure, resolving it against Tezz mirrors is fine but you would likely have received the same swing from a simple Negate, all the while playing the mana game better. On Chalice: The card is too slow for what it does. Again (as LSV said) it is a fine card for Depths to play as they need answers to Path and its 1cc bretheren. Otherwise, the decks where it is good are either to diverse in their threats/answers, OR better cards exist against these same strategies.

    TL;DR: Chalice/GEA are weak. Cranial does what it does better.

  19. I would love to see this sort of thing done for Legacy, which is very relevant this year. Even if not, I feel like I gained some insight reading this article. I can think of a few specific examples of times when I “sided for value”.

  20. @ yo yo: I’m not always the most tactful person myself, but “Are you dyslexic?” is just completely offensive. What if he is dyslexic? Are you trying to make fun of him for having a developmental disorder? I don’t mind being a dick, but being a bigot is just uncalled for.

    @LSV: It’s interesting to see you change your stance on these! I’m in full agreement; I’ve always thought Cranial Extraction was pretty terrible, but it (and its big brother Thought Hemorrhage) are pretty effective against a couple of top decks right now as mentioned in the article. What do you think of Cryoclasm?

  21. Grow up children…oh wait, we’re talking about strategy related to playing a game right??? Never mind then. Proceed with all your childish bickering.

    LSV, I have a question not related to the subject you covered today. What is it like to be considered one of the very best at Magic? I’m good at alot of things in life, but I’ve never been the best at anything. I’ve also never solely focused on one thing. Would you say that the most dominate thing in your life is Magic? Feel free to just email me, I would have asked you privately if I had your contact info. Keep up the good work.

    [email protected]

  22. I really liked the reason you gave for each of the cards, but Shadow of a Doubt still feels too iffy for me. I’m not entirely sure what deck it belongs in. Maybe Merfolk or in Dark Depths?

  23. LSV – Congrats on your SCG win. I’ve been working on a Grixis control deck for about two months now and can’t seem to get it over the top. The URW control seems to work smoother thanks mostly to A. Vengeant. Also, PLEASE post some more matchup MODO videos and more MODO draft videos. I can’t get enough of those! Some extended matchup MODO videos would be awesome or more standard too even. This article was great as usual as well. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  24. I don’t play extended, but I do follow the format, and Shadow of a Doubt seems like a huge tempo advantage in a format where people are constantly fetching something from their library. Hell, I would take it in Standard and stick it in Grixis Control for the tempo advantage against everything that wants to fetch lands. Imagine it in Spreading Seas.dec, it’s an answer to their otherwise impossible to lock-out at instant speed fetch lands.

    I understand it can be very dead late, but at least it cycles, and at instant speed. In addition, it seems like a blowout against Scapeshift, as in that MU it can be used early for tempo or late as another copy of a counter.

  25. @ LSV – We need more draft videos and more matchup videos as well (standard and extended)!! Great article too by the way.

  26. LSV, would you be willing to share your latest Tezzeret list? Also, i am having trouble with the scapeshift matchup, any advice there? what is your plan without meddling mage, he’s the only chance i seem to have in that matchup.

  27. @ LSV & whomever else, about meddling mage…
    I think meddling mage gains value in multiple matchups. Sure it dies to path and co, but so does tarmo and any other crit… but when mage hits the board and u name a key part of ur opponents deck(ie a combo piece or important tech), it forces ur opponent to deal w/ it. knowing that mage needs to go away for them to win, changes the opponents style of play to a degree and can give you insight into their deck/hand. it works in a similar fashion to pithing needle. also who i noticed was not mentioned…
    just my opinion

  28. So, LSV, if you removed GEA and Meddling from your Tezzeretor list, wich card is now in to cover that 5 slots?

  29. LSV,

    What would your board look like for tribal zoo right now? Currently mine is: 3 Ancient Grudge, 4 Chalice of the Void, 3 Kitchen Finks, 3 Tormod’s Crypt, 2 Yixlid Jailer. Thanks, Recon

  30. Why would they respond by returning punishing fire? If they returned the punishing fire in response to the extirpate wouldn’t it just get removed from their hand?

  31. C’mon, for red cards what about Blood Moon? Sometimes it can take an opponent out of the game before they even get started.

  32. @LSV:

    Hi,

    I found this article really interesting. I’m playing Bant and I tried and still use most of the cards you spoke about.It’s true that meddling mage is not so good, i finally reduce the number of it maindeck.
    As a contribution, I want to submit few cards to your attention and know your point of view on it (especially for Bant deck):
    -Aven Mindcensor: against scapeshift it’s near the same as shadow of doubt but 2/1 and permanent.That’s also good against Tezzeret for gift, fetch, Tezzeret and Cie and also against Dark Depths against muddle and beseech the queen. playing aven + gaddock Main seems to be a good idea, what do you think about that?
    -Runed halo: again against scapeshift,but it seems to be less effective, that can be a correct one slot fort Tezzeret to search with muddle.

    Again, thxs for your article and please give me your view on Aven and runed halo 😉

  33. Another thing for Celestial Purge to kill is Thopter Foundry, as it has that black in its CC that no one seems to remember.

  34. @ Chris B

    It’s a real deck NOW, after I won the tournament with a deck that can’t beat it, a tournament which made UWR and Grixis way more popular than previously. If the t8 of SCG LA didn’t have me, jeff, or sperling, then I doubt Vampires would have enough good matchups in the metagame to exist, which is exactly where it was before SCG LA. When I said vampires isn’t a real deck, it really wasn’t, and partially because of me, now it is. My statement was right then, and now the metagame has shifted and it isn’t, so I’m not sure how I was “dead wrong”. If you expect statements about decks/metagames to be correct indefinitely, you are bound to be disappointed.

  35. @ Xan

    Aven Mindcensor seems pretty sick actually, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more people end up running it.

    Runed Halo is a little narrower, and kind of suffers from the same things Mage does: it is purely defensive, and unlike something like Cranial, just sits there until they remove it. I could see it be useful in aggressive decks, but scapeshift is always going to keep into the roil in anyway, so might as well be attacking with meddling mage and teeg

  36. OK LSV…. Here’s the very close to right Marytr List… & its Revilark

    Been Working on this one a While

    Gifts of the Lark Martyr by V John Baker

    4xMartyr of Sands
    4xPath to Exile
    4xSakura Tribe Elder
    1xRuned Halo
    1xLife From the Loam
    1xSword of Light & Shadow
    2xEternal Witness
    1xProclamation of Rebirth
    1xRanger of Eos
    1xMakeshift Mannequin
    2xGifts Ungiven
    1xElspeth Knight-Errant
    1xWrath of God
    1XDay of Judgement
    4xMulldrifter
    3xReveilark
    1xBody Double
    1xRude Awakening
    1xYosei, the Morning Star
    1xEnginered Explosives
    1xMiren , the Moaning Well
    1xEmeria, the Sky Ruin
    1xGodless Shrine
    4xTemple Garden
    4xHallowed Fountain
    4xArid Mesa
    4xPlains
    3xIslands
    2xForest

    Sideboard
    3xGlen-Elendra Archmage
    1xGhost Quarter
    1xIvory Mask
    1xRuned Halo
    1xPithing Needle
    1xRavenous Trap
    1xYixid Jailor
    1xEthersworn Cannonist
    1xQasali Pridemage
    1xKitaki, War' Wage
    1xFracturing Gust
    1xCranial Extraction
    1xExtirpate

  37. Hey man, can you post some sealed videos before the prerelease? I’m really under experienced with sealed and would really value some videos of it.

  38. Pingback: In Development - Wishing for Gifts | ChannelFireball.com

  39. @LSV
    I agree that you helped make vampires more played. The dead wrong statement was just a bad pun.

  40. Hi everybody,

    What online zines do you read and would recommend? I am a die hard fan of ska.

    For all you punkrock people out there I recommend The Enough Fanzine. It is one of the first ska zines on the web.

    They have throusands of interviews from the most underground bands all over the world. Check them out online: http://www.enoughfanzine.com

    Best of it all, they are 100% non-profit …

    Looking forward to your recommendations.

    Regards!

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