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Spoiler Spotlight – Beck // Call

I saw the spoiler for Beck // Call at an IHOP next to the ChannelFireball WMCQ site. To say I was excited would be a strong nomination for understatement of the century. In fact, I got so loud the table next to me had to tell me to quiet down. This card excites me.

I have Top 8’d more Grand Prix with [card]Glimpse of Nature[/card] in my deck than I have without it. Seeing it banned in Modern was a low blow. Costing a mana more is certainly significant, but Beck may just be the second coming of Glimpse. Today I’m going to look at Beck as a combo enabler in a few formats.

[draft]glimpse of nature[/draft]

First up is Legacy. I managed to Top 8 Grand Prix Denver with Natural Order Elves. Here’s the list I played:

[deck]Main Deck
1 Regal Force
4 Quirion Ranger
1 Priest of Titania
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Birchlore Rangers
4 Heritage Druid
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
4 Deathrite Shaman
3 Natural Order
4 Glimpse of Nature
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Forest
4 Windswept Heath
2 Verdant Catacombs
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Savannah
2 Bayou
1 Dryad Arbor
4 Gaea’s Cradle
Sideboard
1 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Sylvan Library
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Mindbreak Trap
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Progenitus
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Natural Order
4 Cabal Therapy[/deck]

Splashing blue in Elves for Beck probably means cutting one of the other splashes. Black is necessary for Deathrite and sideboard Therapies, so I guess Savannah has to go.

The next question is how many Becks we actually want. Drawing 3 or more Becks and Glimpses could actually get a bit clunky. I’m thinking the right number is 2 or 3.

Finding room for Beck in such a tight list isn’t easy. One potential slot can be made by cutting [card]Regal Force[/card]. I almost always got Craterhoof with [card]Natural Order[/card], and didn’t really feel a strong need for it. In addition, one Natural Order can probably get the axe since we are adding other gas spells.

[draft]priest of titania[/draft]

The last slot can come from [card]Priest of Titania[/card]. I boarded the card out almost every round, and didn’t find it much with [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card]. With those changes in mind, here’s an updated list:

[deck]Main Deck
4 Quirion Ranger
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Birchlore Rangers
4 Heritage Druid
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
4 Deathrite Shaman
3 Beck // Call
2 Natural Order
4 Glimpse of Nature
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Forest
4 Windswept Heath
1 Verdant Catacombs
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Tropical Island
2 Bayou
1 Dryad Arbor
4 Gaea’s Cradle
Sideboard
1 Thorn of Amethyst
2 Sylvan Library
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Mindbreak Trap
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Progenitus
2 Natural Order
4 Cabal Therapy[/deck]

Beck isn’t just extra copies of two-mana Glimpses. It has a nice little clause where it triggers on creatures entering the battlefield instead of being cast. This means that when you fetch for [card]Dryad Arbor[/card] you get to draw a card off Beck.

This will leave you with a tough decision every time you cast Beck with a fetch up: is the mana now or a card now more important? My guess is that more often than not the mana will be more important than the card, but obviously that can be determined on a case-by-case basis. In addition, Zenith’ing for a creature triggers Beck while it does not trigger Glimpse.

Speaking of decks that can abuse the enters-the-battlefield clause on Beck, next I’d like to talk about a Standard brew abusing it. Here’s the list:

[deck]4 Krenko’s Command
4 Goblin Electromancer
4 Thatcher’s Revolt
4 Faithless Looting
4 Beck // Call
4 Battle Hymn
4 Infernal Plunge
4 Desperate Ravings
3 Past in Flames
4 Steam Vents
4 Breeding Pool
4 Stomping Ground
4 Sulfur Falls
4 Hinterland Harbor
4 Rootbound Crag
1 Mountain[/deck]

Token storm decks like this one have been on the fringe of playability throughout [card]Battle Hymn[/card]’s term in Standard. My hope is that Beck will push decks like this over the top. Casting Beck on turn five with an Electromancer out and following up with a token creator and a Battle Hymn should lead to a kill that turn.

[draft]battle hymn[/draft]

This is obviously the type of deck that needs a ton of tuning, but I do think it has a ton of potential in a Junk-heavy Standard metagame. The two biggest concerns are in fixing the aggro matchups and simply making the deck function.

The last deck I want to touch on briefly is Modern Elves. There are a ton of interesting questions about how to build this deck. I’d guess that it should look pretty close to my Oakland deck, with Beck replacing Glimpse.

[draft]craterhoof behemoth[/draft]

The win condition—[card]Eternal Witness[/card] plus [card]Primal Command[/card]—can be changed to [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card].

[draft]dryad arbor[/draft]

The last question is whether to play a [card]Dryad Arbor[/card]. Without Zenith or Natural Order, Dryad Arbor loses a lot of its luster, but the interaction with fetchlands and Beck is quite enticing. My guess is that the risk of drawing Dryad Arbor is too high, but I could easily be wrong. I’m still not sure on a list for Modern Elves, but here’s hoping you’ll be able to see it in my Grand Prix Portland winning tournament report.

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