Initial Technology – New Extended (and a less Mystical Legacy)


I have to say, it wasn’t difficult to figure out an article topic for this week. Normally, I take a look at what sort of Magic I have been playing recently, and if I haven’t played in a tournament, maybe figure out some useful theory-type thing to talk about. This week, there really is no other option but to start to process the enormous changes that the latest Banned and Restricted List announcement brought us. For those that haven’t seen the announcement, it can be found HERE.

In a nutshell, Extended got cut in half, set-wise, and the last two good combo decks from last season got banned (Sword of the Meek and Hypergenesis). Legacy wasn’t spared either, as the banning of Mystical Tutor neatly eviscerates both the decks I was looking at playing in GP Columbus. Still, I’m not here to complain, since honestly I think the Extended changes are awesome, and while the Legacy change isn’t great for me, it still should be fine. I know that many people, myself definitely included, are facing the loss of quite a bit of value from their collections, since Ravnica shocklands, Dark Depths, Entombs, and many other cards are now going to drop, but anyone with an extensive collection should see gains among other cards. It might not balance out for a while, or even ever, but it isn’t ALL bad. Plus, there is certainly money to be made speculating on cards, though that isn’t really my area of expertise.

This change should lead to interesting times, which is never a bad thing. I was pretty sure some change was going to be announced before PT Amsterdam, since there was no way we were going to play the same Extended format from eight months prior. In fact, this is a conversation PV and I had literally 20 minutes before the B/R announcement:

(20:41) LSV: I remember at PT LA 2005, they rotated Extended early for the same reason. There is no way we are going to play the same format from last season. They will do something I bet
(20:42) PV: what are they gonna do without a new set coming out? Just do an early rotation or something?
(20:42) LSV: yea i dunno

Lo and behold, that is exactly what happened!

This change does leave a bunch of good cards in an awkward spot. Dark Confidant is good enough to make it in the big leagues (Legacy/Vintage), but Ravnica duals certainly aren’t, and Dark Depths is unlikely to. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a lead-in to the rumored Overextended format, since now there is a well-defined middle ground between the expansive Eternal formats and the much smaller New Extended, Standard, and Block formats. This seems like a perfect move towards splitting Extended into two formats, but what do I know?

The format we do have is going to be pretty sweet, even though it did lose much of the power that I formerly associated with Extended. Gone are the turn two and three kills, or the 20/20’s on turn two. Instead, we are going to play some pretty interactive Magic, which I am looking forward to. The power level of the format should be high enough to make Bloodbraid Elf and Bitterblossom not quite as dominating as they were/are in Standard, which hopefully will lead to some interesting games. I have yet to play the format, but I have high hopes.

Even though this is a new format, there are undoubtedly going to be many familiar faces. Extended is now Time Spiral-Lorwyn Standard + Shards-Zendikar Standard, which does reduce the power level of the format greatly. No longer are there decks quite as busted as Dark Depths or Dredge, and the easy manafixing of Ravnica duals plus fetchlands is gone. Most decks are going to be two colors, and this is particularly true of aggressive ones. In order to play three or more colors, you probably need to play either a painful manabase full of fetches and painlands, or one with a bunch of taplands, at which point Vivids plus Reflecting Pool (and five colors) is likely to be better. Two-color decks have plenty of options, since M10 duals, painlands, fetches, and manlands all help, though allied colors have an easier time of things.

Let’s start with some of the more obvious inclusions:




Ah, the winged menace is back. I was talking with PV on AIM as the announcement was made, and one of his first responses was “faeries =)”. I don’t think Faeries is necessarily going to dominate like it did in TSP-Lorwyn Standard, since we have a ton of new tools (Bloodbraid Elf, Great Sable Stag, Volcanic Fallout), but it is definitely a good place to start. In particular, Jace, the Mind Sculptor seems like a perfect fit, since Bitterblossom protects Jace quite well. I know that Jace was available last season, but he should be much better now, since the format will be slower.

(It has been pointed out that Mana Leak is in fact not going to be legal, so subtract those and add in some combination of spot removal and Deprive – LSV)

Losing Umezawa’s Jitte hurts, but that is really the only major loss. The mana is a bit worse, since fetchlands can’t get Watery Grave, but Secluded Glen is still pretty awesome. Smother is much less important, now that Dark Confidant isn’t a card, but I wanted a 5th spot removal spell (and Repeal is no longer an option). Agony Warp might be kind of cute, especially if aggressive red decks are popular. There is really nothing better than Warping a Ram-Gang and a Bloodbraid Elf after blocking the Elf with a Mutavault.

Faeries is sure to be a major player, even if there are plenty of cards that can presumably keep it in check. It is naturally favored against any sort of control deck, and unless people try very hard to beat it, it will dominate.

Red-Green Aggro


Bloodbraid Elf 

The natural heir to Zoo is likely going to contain Bloodbraid Elf, since there is really no reason not to. Without Ravnica lands, most aggro decks are going to be one or two colors, and red and green seem to be the most common combination. Burn spells, Bloodbraid Elf, and Tarmogoyf are a pretty strong incentive. Without Kird Ape, there aren’t too many options for attacking one-drops, which either could lead to a deck with mana elves or a deck with more taplands. Wild Nacatl is unlikely to be good enough in straight RG, though Arid Mesa may offer enough fixing for a light white splash. Goblin Guide also could lead a more burn splash Goyf/Bloodbraid approach, in conjunction with Keldon Marauders and Boggart Ram-Gang. I don’t want to speculate too much, since any list I could create would just be complete theory (as opposed to the Faeries deck, which looks enough like last season that I feel confident in putting it out there).

Windbrisk Heights


Windbrisk Heights 

Some may call this section “Kithkin” (ahem, Cedric), but I think that Windbrisk Heights is really the driving force behind aggressive-ish White decks. While not quite as aggro as red, these decks generally have a more resilient plan of attack, and fare much better against spot removal. Black-White tokens ala Kyoto is in this category, as is the Green-White brew that BenS won a PTQ with. Basically, any White/X aggressive deck that uses Spectral Procession to power Windbrisk is what I’m talking about. These decks, while being the dreaded midrange, do a fair job of adapting to what the opponent is doing. This new format is so much less powerful than old Extended, and I think a midrange deck can actually succeed now. Disruption in the form of Tidehollow Sculler, Gaddock Teeg, and even Qasali Pridemage might do the trick against the new versions of combo decks.

Living End


Living End 

I initially found it funny that Living End didn’t get the axe but Hypergenesis did, though it does make sense. Living End can be fought with any number of graveyard cards, which makes it much more beatable, whereas Hypergenesis demanded a counterspell, Meddling Mage, or Chalice of the Void (which isn’t legal anymore). All the cycling dudes are still around, so it would take very little to adapt Living End to the new format.

Five-Color Control


Reflecting Pool 

Cruel Ultimatum might be a little optimistic, but playing sweet spells from all five colors probably won’t be. Volcanic Fallout is still good against Faeries, and if it has enough utility against the rest of the field, it might make a good maindeck card. Jace is obviously in, and maybe Cryptic Command, along with cheaper spot removal and counterspells. Of course, the burden of proof is on 5-color to prove itself a better control deck than something like Fae, but the lessened vulnerability to red burn decks might be the angle it is looking for. [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] and [card]Firespout[/card] were good in Time Spiral-era Quick and Toast (Wafo-Tapa and Bucher’s original 5-cc deck), and both have at least some utility against Faeries. Planeswalkers also seem like a natural fit here, since [card elspeth, knight-errant]Elspeth[/card] and [card ajani vengeant]Ajani Vengeant[/card] would have fit pretty well in old 5-cc (and Ajani even saw a good bit of play in Lorwyn-Shards Standard 5-cc).



Savage Lands 

I can hear the collective groans now. I bet nobody wants Jund to be good, since we have just spent a year and a half battling it in Standard (and have six months to go), but it just might be. If R/G already lacks one-drops, then playing Raging Ravine, Savage Lands, and some filter lands might not be much of a problem. In return, you get access to Putrid Leech, black hand disruption spells, and Blightning. Bloodbraid into Blightning is now Extended caliber, as odd as that sounds.


Gauntlet of Might 

I think this is a pretty close approximation to the gauntlet I’ll be making, though I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed something. After all, it is called Initial Technology


Ah, Mystical Tutor, how you will be missed. I must say, I was 99% sure I was going to play Reanimator or ANT at GP Columbus, so the banning of Tutor definitely changes my plans. I don’t really think banning Mystical was necessary, just because ANT and Reanimator weren’t dominating most Legacy tournaments, though from a power level perspective they probably were too good. Their difficulty level limited their dominance pretty severely, which did balance things somewhat, but even I have to admit that they were just operating on another level than the other decks in the format. I do think that the skill level issue made them acceptable, but no use crying over spilt milk.

Banning Mystical doesn’t necessarily kill either deck, but they both will require vast reworking if they are to survive. You can’t just take Reanimator and cut the four Mysticals for some [card]Ponder[/card]s and [card]Personal Tutor[/card]s or whatever. The subsequent loss of speed will push Reanimator back to a Tier 1.5 or 2 deck is my guess, since it had a tough enough time against some of the other good decks as is. Whatever replaces Mystical will make it at least a turn slower on average, and make it much less consistent. The lack of consistency will also punish mulligans more, which it used to handle very well. I don’t have high hopes for Reanimator in the near future, though I wouldn’t rule it out completely. It was a pretty one-dimensional deck to begin with, but its blazing speed made that acceptable. Now that I am faced with going a little slower, I am not sure if it is worth accepting the vulnerabilities it has. ANT also needs work, but since I am less familiar with the deck, I can’t speculate too much on what the future holds for it.

Decks that had a tough time with Reanimator and ANT (Zoo in particular) will obviously get better, and Zoo already did pretty well for itself. Counterbalance lost one of its best matchups in ANT, and it already was declining in popularity. I don’t know what will emerge to take advantage of the new lack of super-fast combo, though something like Lands now has much less to worry about. “Fair” decks are vastly improved, which makes metagame decks like Merfolk much weaker. Once your opponent is no longer looking to Dark Ritual on turn two, and has a bunch of Swords to Plowshares and Jaces instead, cards like Cursecatcher get a lot weaker.

I’m looking forward to Amsterdam much more now, since New Extended is undiscovered territory, even though many of the decks won’t be. I’m less excited about the change to Legacy, but I’m sure I will figure out something sweet to play by Columbus.


98 thoughts on “Initial Technology – New Extended (and a less Mystical Legacy)”

  1. Not to pick nits, but your Faeries list is a bit off, since Mana Leak will not be legal in the new Extended.

    I think the changes are good, because the current format is awful. I wonder if Lark or Merfolk will be good enough. Probably not, but we’ll see.

  2. “I wouldn't be surprised if this is a lead-in to the rumored Overextended format”

    I agree.

  3. Sad to see no mention of Doran for Ext, seeing as that deck has the only fetchable multi land (Murmuring Bosk).

  4. I think an interesting UW LarkSlayer deck, like the ones that became popular at the end of the Lorwyn-Shards standard, might be pretty viable for the new extended. It gets WoG back in DoJ and some of the newer cards, such as Wall of Omens, already fit into the archtype perfectly. I remember the Fae matchup not being that great, which could hurt the deck if Fae becomes the big bad wolf again.

    Dunno, maybe my love for ‘larking back mulldrifters is too strong. =)

  5. GregAndThenSome

    I’m really hoping Eldrazi Monument makes it’s way into a Windbrisk Heights deck.

  6. Any thoughts on Emrakul with Heights or Spinerock Knoll? Perhaps imitating dragonstorm decks of standard past?

  7. Heh, fae was the first thing to pop to my mind as well. I hope fuentes has something prepared shortly, although an article with SELL SELL SELL is probably all that is needed.

  8. screw the dci, mystical decks werent problematic, and formats without combo decks are lame (a strange personal view, i admit)
    and now we get to deal with the extreme boredom of having lands as the best deck : (
    Also, dredge just got waaay better, blue decks are gonna start repping newjace, and i think i heard a distant whimper as merfolk died (no combo? fewer blue decks? more zoo? rough…)

    but, to be fair, im really jacked about the awesomeness of monored in extended…fetchlands, geopedes, guides figures, maguses? bauss!

  9. Faeries now has a full 12 thoughtsiezes they can board in to snag volcanic fallouts. Not much other decks can do in the way of hate, faeries has everything.

  10. Yeah, none of those other decks could run 12 Thoughtseizes, or any other hate cards against Faeries, lol. N00b.

  11. Without the Ravnica lands, I think Scapeshift just has too shaky of a mana situation to reliably do the stuff it wants to do, unless you make some kind of R/G aggro shell with Scapeshift backup, but even then, eh.

  12. The new format is going to be a blast to explore! If only WotC would let the new extended be a legitimate format for FNM =(

  13. Faeries loses Mana Leak. 10th is the newest base set that is legal, and even that is rotating with Scars.

  14. How much value is there examining a brand new format thats going to rotate in 4 months?

    What does Faeries replace Ancestral Visions with come the second rotation of this year?

    I think the biggest loss in this whole mess with Extended is that Goyf rotates in October.

  15. I like how wide open this makes extended you could play just about anything that was good in standard in the last few years and it would be viable at FNM level. This makes it the perfect time for wizards to try and push extended outside of PTQ season. I can play the standard decks I had the most FNM success with in extended with better mana bases and otherwise not much change. And who will be sad to see hexmage depths, thopter sword, hypergenesis, dredge, scapeshift and elf combo get destroyed. Now there are only 6 tier 1.5 combo decks not 6 tier 1 combo decks. Hive mind and Living End were already viable in extended and I think all they lose is seething song.

  16. I think a GWB Rock deck with Urborg for “Swamp Matters” cards could make a decent showing. I also think that Brave the Elements with Kithkin could do crazy things…Must go brew.

  17. Elf Combo is NOT destroyed in extended. Write that down. Obviously it’s losing what make extended elves work, but the standard combo elves deck picks up some pieces in the transition.

  18. They are really pushing planeswalkers. I’ve never been a combo player, but I always liked it when a metagame had a strong combo deck.

  19. I think that you forgot two important decks:
    Affinity – which has good match up against faeries, if iI remember correctly, and
    Scapeshift – another possible combo (sort off).

  20. Mirroden gone = no affinity. Scapeshift has already been discussed.

    Also, “red” decks have a lack of good one drops? Really? LSV are you forgetting that we have the following one drops all available in “New Extended?”

    Red: Goblin Guide
    White: Steppe Lynx, Elite Vanguard, Goldmeadow Stalwart
    Multicolor: Figure of Destiny, Tattermunge Maniac

    I mean, mono red has 4 Figure and 4 Goblin Guide, in addition to up to 4 Tattermunge Maniac. If that isn’t a decent start to an aggressive mono-red deck, then I don’t know what is. That’s not even getting into Boros decks that curve Steppe Lynx into Plated Geopede. No, beatdown will be a BIG part of the meta.

  21. I’m curious as to what combo decks are coming out of Extended.

    Ok, Desperate Ritual/Seething Song/Rite of Flame are coming out, so that cuts out Dragonstorm.

    Living End has been mentioned.

    Will the Pyromancer’s Swath deck return? We’ve gotten Lightning Bolt and Burst Lightning, so I think using Swath + Spinerock Knoll is a definite possibility.

    The main problem is Thoughtseize/Duress/Inquisition, but that’ll be more a meta issue.

    On another note, I want to see Coalition Relic do good things. 5CC Control is something I can see happening, especially with mana burn out now making it safe to charge the relic.

  22. Figure of Destiny looks to see a lot of play. Any love for Lark? I could see it in either a Merfolk shell or a more conventional Mulldrifter approach. It probably won’t be a big player if Faeries is, but don’t sleep on it if Faeries’ numbers fall.

  23. Maybe you missed the article from Brian David-Marshall from Friday because I think it says that Overextended will not happen in the near Future. He was talking about DCI Program Manager Scott Larabee who wanted to create a new format between Standard and Extended called “Double Standard”.

    I quote Scott BDMs article now:

    They quickly realized, however, that something else needed to happen once they looked at the attendance numbers and frequency of Extended events over the past few years.

    “It became clear that instead of creating a third format–Double Standard–let’s fix the one we have,” said Scott. “One of the things we noticed was that the Extended format was not doing very well. The Pro Tour Qualifier round we run every year in Extended is the lowest attended, it does not do very well on Magic Online, and that when we are not making people play Extended there is less Extended being run than Legacy.”

    I think the “let’s fix the formats we have before we create a new one” comment make it unlikely to see Overextended as lomg as it didn’t replace an used format like double-standard replaced 7 year Extended.

    But bye th way I think Overextended would have a greater chance to succeed as the new Extended then double Standard. I understand why they changed Extended but I think the Double Standard is a move in the wrong direction.

  24. Mystical was not the problem. Iona is the problem in Reanimator and LED is the problem in ANT. In my opinion, removing these 2 cards in place of Mystical would weaken both decks, but not kill them completely.

  25. what if they fix legacy and leave just vintage? 😛 then it happens as scott said 🙂

  26. don’t see how extended was dead. It’s also funny that suddenly ravnica duals, tarmogoyf, dark depths and many other extended staples will be useless outside of extended (and some of them completly useless). They could at least announced this before the extended season so people could havet he choice of holding the cards to play that season or selling/trading them while they’re still worth something.

    No, this won’t kill magic but it is a bad change and more than that an unnecessary change. Magic has enough players and is popular enough that they can toy with their players as they want without hurting themselves and actually gainning money but in any other TCG they couldn’t do all the crap they have been doing or else they would risk the game falling apart. Magic is still awsome but little by little they are making it less awsome.

    The reason they changed is very simple: extended doesn’t help selling new sets much. T2 is what makes the new sets sell. If cards hold significant value for less time (now it’s 4 years at most) people have to buy them more and more often. Some people were avoiding t2 or just playing a tier2 deck or some leftovers from their friends and still keep being competitive in extended. Now those days are over: if you wanna play competitive decks in every relevant constructed format for the next 4 years, prepare to spend hard on those jaces and any other powerful mythics they’re gonna print soon.

    To me it’s all clear now: all these recent changes have been thought for a long time but have been implemented one at a time. First the mythic rares. In shards of alara, besides the planeswalkers there aren’t any tournament staple. Tezzeret requires a specific deck, sarkhan is bad, ajani is good but it’s the pre release card and the only one that caused trouble and it took a while was Elspeth. Conflux and Alara Reborn have no really good mythics either.

    After this came M10 with its rules changes as a way to take the discussion away from mythics. They test the cards. And I’m pretty sure they knew Baneslayer would changed T2 but it wouldn’t be broken, after all it’s only a 5 mana creature that dies to most removal spells. So they managed to print a card that would have a huge impact in T2 but that wasn’t broken so it would never be banned and wouldn’t have much impact outside T2. And obv it had to be mythic. After this Zendikar brought a few non-busted planeswalkers and some decent mythics like monument and iona but most feel mythic and nothing really insane with one exception: lotus cobra, which should have been a rare. Mindbreak should be a rare too but it hasn’t caused any problems.

    With Worldwake the insanity began: a busted planeswalker changed every rule about standard cards prices. It was also put in the set that would be least drafted in the block. And they did this is a very clever way: usually the least drafted expansion is the 3rd one but they made us draft ZZW and RRR so that one RoE was out there would be very few WWK packs openned.

    Rise of Eldrazi has everything powerful on mythic. Gideon, Vengevines, Sarkhan, Kargan and even the good eldrazi. There are a few rares that can play a role in certain decks like Consuming Vapors and Devastating Summons but that’s it. Vengevine doesn’t feel mythic at all. There have been several cards that return from the graveyard, most are rare but they can be seen in common and uncommon too. Simply switching rarity with Drana would make Drana appear a few less times in draft and make Vengevine lower its price.

    And finally this announcement which makes people need the newest mythics much more for a bit longer and after a while they become useless.

  27. Combo decks that can win first round still exists in legacy after the banning of Mystical Tutor: Belcher, LED-Dredge, Spanish Inquisition. I am not sure if people are switching to them.

  28. Um, just curious, how is bloodbraid into blightning going to be good when both Wilt-Leaf Liege and Vengevine will be legal. I can’t imagine people not playing these if Jund is still going to be a competitive deck (it was one of the reasons Jund didn’t play blightning in the past)

  29. I don’t like the change, I thought extended was a great format last year.

    Mono Red should be really good in the new extended though. It’s a powerful deck in it’s own right, and it’s going to be really good against Fae, as it always was in the past.

  30. its new nickname is the same as the old nickname: “Extended”.

    the old extended doesn’t exist anymore. there’s no need to differentiate between that and the new one since they are mutually exclusive in time.

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  32. Gr8 Article!!! I am very upset with all of this (well, assuming that WotC dosent make an over – ext format) becuase as of now, WotC just literally ripped 1000’s of dollars out of my wallet and DESTROYED my FAVORITE format!!! Like i said, i am trying to b very optimistic and hope they make this over – ext, which would then b my new fav format. Also, had literally just bought the rest of the foiled cards to finish my ANT deck for GP Cbus, well, what an EFFIN WASTE of $ now.

    Jowever, doe any1 have any ideas for ANT w/o Tutor? Mayb burning wish and rites, seethjing songs and stuff? Still hard to find ur Ad Naus tho, what would b the most/best way to find an Ad naus now? (cuz tendrils would b easier to search out. b wish, personal tutor, etc…) it is finding the Ad Naus that is the issue i think. Let me know of any ideas u guys might have. also, u can email me to discuss further if ud like, [email protected]

  33. Sweet, now we finally get to see how oppressive jund was for standard, only this time in extended. Many people were saying how faeries could take it out easily and that it was way worse than jund was at it’s peak. They may be right, but I think jund has plenty of tools to deal with faeries. BBE, blightning, volcanic fallout, GSS and whatever other new tech is printed or discovered. Faeries loses its good 2 mana counterspells (at least by the time it’s played) and ancestral visions. It would be interesting to see which deck ends up on top (or if another will emerge as the best deck).

  34. Love the conspiracy theory TugaChamp. It is interesting to look at WoTC and all their moves as a business looking to maximize profits rather than a service provided or whatever.

  35. “"I wouldn't be surprised if this is a lead-in to the rumored Overextended format"

    I agree.

    Comment by SomeNoob – June 20, 2010 @ 9:18 pm”

    – I disagree entirely
    What possible advantage would this new format have for Wizards
    They’ve made it clear they are focusing on the casual sector of the market and the most recently released sets
    Don’t hold your breath for ‘overextended’

  36. hmm i think its possible to abuse 3 color’s decks!!! reflecting pool + filter’s are really good, or some tapped lands 🙂 I miss those times 😀

  37. WOTC just wants to kill all of the fun decks.

    Instead we get to relive faeries and jund(with tarmogoyf).

  38. Honestly the thing that frustrates me the most is not that my Ravinica dual lands have plummeted in value but rather the time that I invested in learning the Extended format last year is all wasted. To be competitive I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board and relearn all the decks and matchups and technical little things that go with that.

    I work two jobs and have a small child to care for and just don’t really have the time to do that again. Would have been nice for the upcoming Extended season to be a format that I was thoroughly familiar with… One that I could easily slide into and be competitive in without having to redo all that work. As it is now, I may not even play in it.

  39. Initial Rg beats:

    4xRaging Raving
    16-18 other lands

    4xGoblin Guide
    4xFigure of Destiny
    4xBloodbraid Elf
    4xHellspark Elemental

    4xLightning Bolt
    4xFlame Javelin
    4-6xMixture of burn (Forked Bolt/Staggershock/Searing Blaze all possibilities)

    Seems pretty solid/aggressive/consistent.

  40. Waaa, money … waaa, time … waaa! 🙂

    Seriously, I didn’t like the old Extended. Playing games is fun. Losing to turn-2 combos is not. Let Legacy and the hypothetical Over-Extended have the turn-2 kills, I’ll enjoy playing with my Magic cards.

  41. GregAndThenSome

    It seems to me that everyone is talking about this new Extended in terms of the Tier 1 decks of the last couple of years only, which is a little disappointing. Not to see that Faeries won’t be good, it probably will; but no one is mentioning any Tier 2 decks that might have gained some real power. And worst of all, I haven’t seen any musings on NEW decks that might pop up. I’m sure there’s a combo deck no one has thought of yet. Ad Nauseam should have SOME friends (Angel’s Grace?) and if Scars of Mirrodin is an artifact set Open the Vaults could be busted too.

    And I would bet my whole collection that Oversextended WILL be a format, but I’m not holding my breath for it to be announced any time soon. Who knows how long Wotc would take to bang out the logistics of a whole new format, with B&R list and schedules and whatnots?

  42. As a legacy player who has never piloted a combo deck, I really don’t understand the banning of mystical; it was not an oppressive card at all. If anything, reanimator made the format more interesting because, even though it was a fast combo deck that could cut you down pretty quickly, it wasn’t anywhere close to unbeatable, and it punished decks like Zoo that make the metagame difficult for control players. Reanimator made combo a highly visible tier 1 strategy, and that made stax a deck worth piloting in a developed meta. Landstill and other slower or slolitaire decks also got a boost in a reanimator meta. It’s interesting to me that people complain about legacy being a degenerate format that goes off on turn 2 when anyone who plays it knows that it’s simply not the case. You have to be prepared to fight all three archetypes when you go into a legacy tournament, but the fact that combo is viable doesn’t make it unfair, it makes the environment conducive to controllers who want the game to last awhile. Wizards has been giving all the love to creatures, creatures, creatures, and they’ve been nerfing spell-power, but that shouldn’t give standard and extended players the idea that the game of magic as one wherein a straight aggro deck with little or no disruption should always be a good option. Combo is the balancing point that keeps aggro from kicking control decks out of the game.

  43. Except that you have it backwards. It’s control that is strong against aggro, and combo that is strong against control.

  44. Cuban: it’s obvious they think all these changes are good for their business, or else they wouldn’t be doing them. I even mentioned it was clever to do them the way they did them. They implemented the M10 rules changes in between the 2 major changes and made the M10 changes seem like the big change, knowing it wouldn’t cost them almost any players while being a great way to get our attention away from the mythics. The first mythics followed what was promised as them not being just the sets’ most powerful cards, but slowly they started to “forget” that promise. Their only regret is not having mythics when they “slipped” tarmogoyf.

    This change in extended makes players have to buy the newest mythics for both extended and standard. This makes all 3 PTQ seasons use the latest cards. Yes, they’ll probably create this new overextended but there won’t be any PTQs for it. Maybe 1 or 2 GPs each year, nothing more.

    And like I said: no this won’t kill magic because it’s a very healthy game. Even after all these bad changes in the last few years, it’s very hard to ruin such a great game. But it’s certainly worse than it was those few years ago. It’s still in great shape because it has so many players, most of which won’t quit even if they disagree with these changes because of several reasons. Maybe Magic is too good and by making it worse they increase their profit without losing any significant number of players.

    But I think they’ll have to stop at some point or else it might backfire. If they keep these bad changes eventually it will cost them players. Also these bad changes might increase their profit right now, but in the long run it might just be worse for them. Who knows? I just hope they stop with the ridiculous changes know because I still love the game but it can eventually reach a point where it’s just too expensive to keep playing it.

    At least there will be always magic-league to play it for free.

  45. As someone who has been testing Stiflenought for the past few months, prepping for Columbus, the hit to ADN and Reanimator is a little rough on me, but I’m sure storm and graveyard based decks are still going to be played. I’ll just have to change the deck a few cards, just a few, like sixty.

  46. I’m going to play with larks, mulldrifter and cryptic commands no matter if the deck is good or not. 🙂

    Im totally excited about the new ext. especially because most players in my area picked up ext during lorwyn.

  47. Overextended doesn’t make sense. Wizards makes nothing from out of print cards being sold in the secondary market. The secondary market doesn’t even *really* want overextended, all the money cards are in Standard or are good enough to be in Legacy.

  48. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the banning of Mystical Tutor… I have a theory. It’s logical that R&D tests formats out to see what works and what doesn’t work, especially with M10 and Scars coming it. There may be a card coming up (probably mythic /:p) that Mystical Tutor could target, thereby making it to easy to use. Keep an eye out, they may be getting progressive instead of reactive with the bannings!

  49. @Jack:
    I agree, more interactive magic please! I am so sick and tired of decks not caring about what the other player is doing. I remember watching LSV win at Pro Tour Berlin, and while it was fun, it was basically two players goldfishing out a win a fast as possible. Last seasons extended was great and proved once again that zoo is where it’s at. Just take, say, a pre-Zen zoo list and fit awesome Lorwyn block cards in there, like Chameleon Colossus and friends.

    I think you have it wrong

  50. @JaketheLate
    What is more interactive Nacatl or Duress?

    Zoo decks, while powerful, tend to be simple and deterministic.

    Oh you choose to attack me with your 3/3? How novel.

  51. Someone said earlier that Faeries loses it’s 2 drop counterspell. Bitterblossom + unified will seems pretty strong to me.

  52. @ Giantspyder

    I didn’t mention Scapeshift because I don’t think it’s good. Having to play actual 9+ basic mountains makes the deck way too inconsistent, and even if it does end up being good I was only mentioning decks I know will show up. People do love their conspiracy theories though, so believe whatever you want

  53. @Lpettro

    Forget ye not the burns. A lot of decks can stop nacatls from turning sideways, but zoo altwins by burning out a control deck post-stabilization. It’s a sturdier aggro deck than merfolk because it has 2 ways to kill you, and the pilot has to make a decision as to which method to favor.

  54. Wow, the Pros are so Failboating this.

    What is the ONE play you hate right now in standard.
    Turn one: Mountain + Goblin Guide

    Back when you played Faeries, what was the card you most hated to see.

    Turn One: Mountain
    Nice bitterblossum, how do you like my Lighting Bolt?

    Mountain is the single most scary card in every standard format in the last 3 years. And now it has the best red cards to go along with it to fill in any gaps each deck had? You want a more controlling Red Deck? Try Magus of the Moon with Demigods or Dragonlords, or Avalanche Riders and Fulminator Mages and cryoclasm. You have combo decks with Storm, or Swath. You have Spinerock Knoll. You have Figure of Destiny. You have Bushwacker and Devestating Summons. And the best part is, I’m guessing people will have forgotten all the unique ways they had to come up with to stop all these outside the box red decks. Will you be running Murderous Redcaps on your Faeries board for Magus of the Moon?

    Like here’s a combo:
    Pyromancer’s Swath + Staggershock
    Take 8 (and boost my storm count!) Oh and no martyr of Sands to worry about.
    Red has never had it so good. This isn’t even doing stupid things like Pyromancer’s ascension or quest for the pure flame to turn on Spinerock knolls.

    What’s everyone think of the extended Zektar Shrine Expedition deck? Isn’t most of that deck still viable? No ghostquarters kind of sucks, but it could be another way to do this.

  55. G/W or B/W eldrazi tokens are going to be absurd.

    Also the stupidest turbo smog deck ever could be constructed seeing as how extirpate is the perfect answer to eldrazi, and there are so many howling mine effects spread out from those sets. Eeeeewwww.

    Should be an interesting format to say the least.

  56. Enchatress from Seattle 5k

    I think that Lim-Dul’s Vault can make a decent replacement for Mystical. Ive been testing it for a wile now and think its better than personal tutor.

  57. Enchatress from Seattle 5k

    also why cant fae just revert back to the aggro control deck it was in standard and just swap jaces?

  58. For now, I think that the Punishing fire – Grove of the Burnwillows combo is going to be Faerie’s biggest enemy. Unless Faeries hit multiple Mistbinds and go for the kill quickly, there’s nothing they can do to stop it once it is online. My guess is that a RG / x control deck is a good point to start looking for a Faerie-proof control deck.

  59. @JaketheLate

    Actually, I’m pretty sure you DO have it backwards.

    I don’t play Legacy, so maybe it wasn’t true for that format, but historically control tends to do well against combo as the control deck has so many answers and the combo deck expends too many resources to be able to recover once the control deck has taken control. Control decks tend to do worse against aggro decks as the aggro deck tends to have too many threats for the control deck to answer. And the combo decks tend to beat the aggro decks as the combo deck is usually faster and the aggro deck often has no way maindeck to interact with the combo.

    There are metagames that can buck these trends and sometimes there are decks (High Tide, maybe Affinity) that can be two different archetypes better than anyone else that can be either one, but that doesn’t happen too often.

  60. First of all, I must apologise for my bad English.

    Some of you aren’t paying attention to the fact that Time Spiral block and 10th are rotationg out by the time Extended season starts! I think you only have PT Amsterdam before the rotation, with a format that will change before you can play it again!
    There won’t be any Grove of the Burnwillows, Living Ends, Magus of the Moon, Blood Moon, Tarmogoyfs, Wrath of God, River of Tears, Ancestral Visions, Painlands, Shocklands… not even Incinerate is making the cut after the Scars of Mirrodin rotation!

    I don’t think that it will be a Fearies/Jund only format. I remember that MonoRed and GB Elves had a very nice game against them but used to be dead to Lark, that used to lose to Fearies, and so on. 5cc (vivids+pool) has the power to win agains all decks, but can also be dead to all of them, and the new planeswalkers will have a huge impact.

    All in all, I think it will be a diverse, fun to play Extended, but I’m deeply sad by WotC bad (rude/disrespectful) timmings and misdirections.

  61. Thinking of going back to Enchantress in Legacy? Seems like it could be in a good place. As for Tendrils, the more complex but powerful variants like Doomsday Tendrils (and Burning Wish-based Tendrils for that matter) will probably pick up more steam now; there was never really a need for people to learn to play them but given straight Ad Nauseams are a bit risky without Mystical, the fact that neither is really hurt bad by losing Myst probably increases the incentive for learning them.

  62. COMBO IS LAAAAAAME! It is not how the game was ever intended to play out it is not skill testing its just annoying. Thanx wotc!

  63. @Chromatone

    I like hat Aaron Forsythe said. Combo should be the clever rogue deck that wins out of no where and then disappears. I have a lot of respect for people who discover combo decks (eg Cascade Swans) but playing them is not that difficult.

  64. To those saying Scapeshift is a legit deck and is going to smash face. What? It loses the Rav Duals which makes the RUG combo possible in the first place. Any future iteration needs at least 9-10 legit Mountains to function, which is a major impasse. Now take into account it lost it’s best acceleration AND search cards for Scapeshift. Congrats you now have a slow, R/x combo deck with minimal defense and no good way to battle through a counter-wall.

  65. Musings:

    Thopter/Depths in Legacy? I mean, you get the same key cards… it CAN win on turn 3, and generally has a better tool box for adapting, plus it can go:

    Turn one: Urborg, Entomb Vampire Hexmage.
    Turn two: Unmask (pitch cost), Animate Dead or Exhume the Hexmage
    Turn three: Smash Face for lethal.

    It can be designed to get at the same combo pieces as old extended did… but in a much more consistent way.

    Mythic/Conscription or 4-color conscription in new extended?
    If the format ends up being just a carry over from the current standard (where people focus too heavily on advancing their own board positions and forsake answers to threats for a bunch of “questions”) what about just taking one of the best standard decks and just “oops”, I win there too? Your mana base is better in extended anyway!

    There’s always the other ugly combo decks that do exist in whole… Time Sieve is around in extended… and is arguably better there than in standard. Revilark and Runeflare/Turbo Trap decks are around too!

    LOL… it feels like any deck that popped up at the end of a standard season, or was slightly off the radar in the last five extended events is going to be there is droves.

  66. Mono White Control



    Solemn Offering / Kor Sanctifiers / Demystify (Pick your poison)



    Emeria, The Sky Ruin

    Wall of Omens


    Wall of Reverance

    Iona / Admonition Angel

    Varios Cheap Lifegain

    Kor Firewalker

    (I’m too tired to think of more.. but white control / lifegain poops on Red and aggro and with Jitte gone, what does Faeries do to a recurring baneslayer and 6 maindeck board whipes and 12-20 life gained by run 6?)

    w/e Else

    Also, the addition of Kozilek or Ulamog to 5CC is huge. I remember many many games where I had 10+ mana playing 5CC.. Cast Cruel.. Get Mulldrifter.. Hardcast it, pass turn = ) Baneslayer will Still Most likely get the Nod as the Finisher alongside Cruel but powerful 10 drops are powerful 10 drops.

    Wow, I’m tired.

  67. Yes, because those games where you cast cruel returning mulldrifter and then cast it on the same turn were definitely the ones you lost and now need Ulamog to win, right 😛

  68. The new extended format looks really interesting. I think it was a very good move. Its gonna be a standard with more power like I think extended was meant to be, not aggro decks which can play 4-5 colours and turn 3 wins.

    Seems to me like this formt will be better once scars comes in though,

    Personally I’m looking forward to playing boat brew with Stepp Lynx (replacing fanatic) and Geopede (replacing KotM) in it. Mixing a card advantage monster with the sheer speed of 4/5 and 5/5 on turn 2 and 3 just seems really good.

    I wonder what the major deck types are going to be. My guess is Cryptic/Jace decks vs bloodbraid decks vs Windbrisk Heights decks (with Goblin Guide apearing into either of the last 2).

  69. @Spanner

    STANDARD has aggro decks that can play 3+ colors and turn 4 wins right now…


  70. I maybe the only one who finds this unexciting due to the quick rotation following PT Amsterdam. It just seems slightly pointless to worry about the time spiral portion unless your going to the PT. Grim Monolith will make Legacy a little weird

  71. the new name to this format is extended standard…..aka…. Faries Vs. Jund Vs. … everything trying to beat faries and jund

  72. Lsv knew at the time of writing this. He just forgot that the general populous didnt. 😛

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