I feel a bit overwhelmed. Standard is at its fullest. The most cards are available. The most strategies and synergies are available—but not for long. This is summer, and summer always has to end.
It could be the return of Green Summer. I would love that. I could be championing Izzet Blitz. I could be revamping FogDoor. I could be exploring [card]Young Pyromancer[/card]. But I have a limited amount of time, and I have to choose.
See, as little time is left, I want to break the format. I don’t mean break the format like build the most played deck. I want to break the format by building a deck that is so different and attacks the format from such a strange and unique angle that people scratch their hands.
I mean, green creature decks are on top again. As a green creature player, this is awesome. But what are these decks doing exactly? They are playing creatures and attacking of course! But where are the crazy synergies and interactions?
Sure, having a linear deck like Affinity or Faeries is really constricting on the actual number of playable cards. These decks tend to lock in to a 60 or 75. But these non-linear creature decks just blend together to me. The creature mix might change and it’s a whole new deck, but it kind of looks the same.
It’s okay. Creatures are fun and people are happy. But my work is cut out. There isn’t much time left and I’m looking for an Affinity or Faeries this summer before Theros. Maybe we can dance just one time.
Sometimes people wonder why I build casual decks. Why don’t I spend all my time on competitive decks? This is a reasonable question. Competitive decks will make a bigger impact and are thus a better use of my time, so why build casual decks at all?
Well, when I am building a deck I don’t know whether it will be a Living End or a Green Eggs and Spam. It starts off as just an idea in my head. I put it together. Ten hours later, it might win a lot, it might win a little, but I am invested either way. I might continue playing either way. I might write about it either way. I will for sure learn and improve either way.
I am on a quest—to shake up the metagame. To find something alien and crazy and wild that dominates in a new way. That’s no easy task and I often find myself in dead ends. That’s the nature of what I do. For my friends, fans, and foes, not every deck I make will be top tier competitive, and not every deck I make will be low-tier casual. It’s all part of the quest.
Adventures in Young Pyromancer
I have been calling this card the red [card]Tarmogoyf[/card], [card]Dark Confidant[/card], [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card], and [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]. It’s still unclear whether this was a hit or miss, which is good. If there’s even any doubt about it, maybe it is.
The card is crazy and it’s picking up steam in Legacy. Modern isn’t the rage right now, but it’s easy to imagine it finding a home there. Where Young Pyro isn’t making a huge splash is actually Standard. Maybe it will take a rotation or maybe there are too many [card bonfire of the damned]Bonfires[/card]. Or maybe it’s somewhere, there, waiting.
I, like many others, have been experimenting with various [card]Young Pyromancer[/card] combo decks. It feels good to blast the opponent in the face with a 100-point [card]Burn at the Stake[/card].
I found the deck to be wild and fun, but it wasn’t winning quite enough to keep hanging on to. It didn’t feel like tweaking would solve the problem. I mean, the deck was fine. It won some. But I am still out here looking for something that can really take over.
I wish I could bring you something to dominate Standard this week. I have something okay, fun, and different. It has its weaknesses and it has its strengths. It’s been fun so far.
The idea is to use [card]Ogre Battledriver[/card] with [card]Young Pyromancer[/card].
Ogre Battledriver is a sweet new M14 rare that no one is talking about. It’s weak to cards like [card]Searing Spear[/card] and [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card], but if you untap with this guy, OH BOY. Cast and flashback a [card]Lingering Souls[/card] and that is a LOT of damage. It’s like a slow, punchy [card]Hellrider[/card], and it looks like it would play well with [card]Young Pyromancer[/card], so I decided to see how that would work:
[deck]4 Blood Crypt
2 Dragonskull Summit
2 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Sacred Foundry
1 Slayer’s Stronghold
4 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Krenko’s Command
4 Intangible Virtue
4 Young Pyromancer
4 Lingering Souls
3 Ogre Battledriver
3 Burn at the Stake
3 Faithless Looting
3 Pillar of Flame[/deck]
[draft]Gather the Townsfolk
We have the ability to produce a LOT of creatures.
Burn at the Stake[/draft]
And we can turn those creatures into massive amounts of damage.
[draft]Pillar of Flame[/draft]
One of the main weaknesses of the current version of the deck is its reliance on 2- and 4-mana spells. This leaves a hole at 1 and 3 mana, and can leave us disadvantaged if we miss our 4th land drop. [card]Pillar of Flame[/card] is a nice interactive card that allows us to keep pace by using our spare 1st or 3rd turn mana.
I am in love with this card. Sure, there will be times where it simply leaves us down a card. There will also be times where this card simply allows us to play Magic when ordinarily we wouldn’t. It saves us from mulligans, mana screw, and mana flood. I think it’s worth playing, because disadvantaged Magic is better than no Magic at all.
The card also plays awesome with [card]Young Pyromancer[/card] and [card]Lingering Souls[/card].
I still haven’t built a sideboard. I don’t build sideboards on deadline. I play games, think about what cards I’d like to cut, and think about what cards I’d like to have. That takes time. If I throw together a 15 I might find myself drastically oversideboarding or getting attached to cards that rot in my board.
I am down to talk about building a sideboard because I have played enough matches to have an idea.
First of all, [card]Pillar of Flame[/card] isn’t great against creature light decks. The extra 2 damage can be nice, but it can obviously be weak.
[card]Burn at the Stake[/card] is also on the weaker end against decks with tons of sweepers. If we can’t keep our guys in play, we would rather have a big monster to top out our curve.
When boarding these out we want cards that increase our threat density, and it seems like we could play about 6 of them.
What about [card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/card], [card]Sorin, Lord of Innistrad[/card], or [card]Boros Charm[/card]? These cards are solid against sweepers. It might also make sense to have an extra [card]Mutavault[/card] if we are going to upgrade our curve a bit.
We’d also like something to deal with these:
Curse of Death’s Hold[/draft]
[card]Intangible Virtue[/card] helps against curse, but it would be nice to have something like [card]War Priest of Thune[/card]. Reactive sideboard cards aren’t my favorite, but these cards can be a huge wrecking and it’s nice to have something.
I was also thinking it would be nice to have extra removal against token creature decks, even if it isn’t obvious what to cut. Something like the 4th Pillar of Flame and some Electrickery.
So here is what I am thinking to start for sideboard.
3 [card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/card]
1 [card]Boros Charm[/card]
1 [card]Sorin, Lord of Innistrad[/card]
2 [card]War Priest of Thune[/card]
1 [card]Pillar of Flame[/card]
It will take more work to find out. What do you think?
The Future of Pyrodriver
The deck packs a lot of punch and can hang with top tier decks, but it feels slightly underpowered, just like the combo versions I’ve been testing before. It’s still been a good use of time, and I play the deck knowing this is a good use of time. I know there are a lot of you out there who are looking for someone to champion Ogre Battledriver, and I will be that guy. The card is really insane and there are few better feelings than untapping with it with a grip full of token makers.
Questions!! Comments!! Think there’s something I forgot?!
P.S. This is how you draft M14 Limited: