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 Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard

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workshoptelescope

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PostSubject: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:38 pm

The king is dead, long live the king. Given the bannings and pending core set, RDW, Valakut, U/W Control, and Splinter Twin are the horses everyone is betting on (with particular emphasis on Valakut and Splinter Twin).
Chinese Nationals just happened and there are a few decks no one really saw coming, however.
I'll get to those in a minute.

First, the decks everyone is betting on. RDW didn't post any lists in the Chinese top 8s and will change substantially with the release of M12 . However, I don't really know what a list will look like but I suspect the deck's already low curve will probably drop even more with the printing of Incinerate, Shock, and Grim Lavamancer. Not being a Red player, I haven't really spent much time thinking about it. Just know it might be able to kill you on turn 3 or 4 (that I know from experience, thanks Alex).

Valakut hasn't been able to make up its mind, of late. The two lists that made top 8 in China were dramatically different decks.
Valakut (5th Place) Valakut (6th Place)
1 Avenger of Zendikar
4 Chancellor of the Tangle
1 Joraga Treespeaker
4 Lotus Cobra
4 Overgrown Battlement
4 Primeval Titan
Creatures [18]
4 Explore
3 Green Sun's Zenith
3 Harrow
3 Khalni Heart Expedition
2 Summoning Trap
Spells [15]
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Forest
2 Misty Rainforest
11 Mountain
2 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Lands [27]
SIDEBOARD
1 Artisan of Kozilek
1 Dismember
1 Gaea's Revenge
3 Nature's Claim
2 Obstinate Baloth
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
2 Pyroclasm
3 Slagstorm
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
4 Inferno Titan
4 Primeval Titan
2 Urabrask the Hidden
Creatures [10]
3 Cultivate
4 Explore
4 Harrow
4 Khalni Heart Expedition
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Summoning Trap
Spells [22]
2 Evolving Wilds
5 Forest
11 Mountain
2 Raging Ravine
2 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
2 Verdant Catacombs
Lands [28]
SIDEBOARD
2 Act of Aggression
2 Karn Liberated
3 Nature's Claim
3 Obstinate Baloth
2 Pyroclasm
3 Tunnel Ignus

The 5th place list is basically the same old Valakut we've all come to know and love. Does its damnedest to Molten Pinnacle you to death and if that doesn't work, it drops Avenger to solve the problem. The 6th place one, on the other hand, is actually more focused on assembling and killing with Valakut. Urabrask provides a bit of acceleration on the whole affair allowing Titans to be decisively lethal almost the turn they come down. As for which is more correct, I have no way of telling. The first list looks like a stock Valakut list, while the second seems a more meta-gamed deck, focused on addressing the specific concerns of the tournament (e.g. the lack of mana acceleration in the form of creatures).

U/W Control had a fun time before everyone stuffed swords in their decks and called that a control strategy. Well, it's back and it looks a bit like the old Super Friends lists.
U/W Control (2nd Place)
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Sea Gate Oracle
1 Sun Titan
2 Wall of Omens
Creatures [5]
1 Elspeth Tirel
2 Gideon Jura
2 Jace Beleren
1 Karn Liberated
1 Venser, the Sojourner
Planeswalkers [7]
1 Cancel
1 Condemn
3 Day of Judgment
1 Deprive
1 Dismember
1 Into the Roil
3 Leyline of Sanctity
4 Mana Leak
2 Mental Misstep
2 Spell Pierce
4 Spreading Seas
Spells [23]
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Island
1 Mystifying Maze
5 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Tectonic Edge
Lands [26]
SIDEBOARD
2 Celestial Purge
1 Day of Judgment
3 Flashfreeze
2 Luminarch Ascension
3 Surgical Extraction
3 Torpor Orb
1 Wurmcoil Engine

ZOMFG! SEVEN PLANESWALKIES! This list is as close to a pile of metagamed cardboard as you can get. If you pick up a list like this, know that the core is the planeswalkers, land and creatures. Everything else is completely negotiable. Main-decked Leylines make for hilarious game 1s again Valakut or U/B. Also, Day of Judgment is no longer a shit card and should you think about sleeving up a control list, you'll probably want them in some number. Suspiciously absent is Tumble Magnet. That, oddly enough, is a less good card these days (sorry, Randy) as it looks a bit awkward against 1000 Deceiver Exarches or a face-full of fire.

Speaking of Exarches, suspiciously absent from the top 8 was anything remotely Splinter Twin-y. The loss of Jace the Intentionally Blundered actually hurt the list a bit. However, Ponder is back and that's basically what it needed. So, yeah, stay tuned for more of it in weeks to come.

Now, to the surprises. We've essentially gone back to the standard environment from about 11 months ago. U/B control posted four top 8 lists in China. Two were the exact same list and the other two were effectively variations on a theme.
U/B Control (1st Place) U/B Control (3rd Place) U/B Control (4th & 7th Place)
2 Abyssal Persecutor
2 Grave Titan
1 Wurmcoil Engine
Creatures [5]
4 Jace Beleren
2 Liliana Vess
Planeswalkers [6]
1 Black Sun's Zenith
1 Despise
4 Go for the Throat
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Into the Roil
4 Mana Leak
4 Preordain
4 Spreading Seas
Spells [23]
4 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Drowned Catacomb
5 Island
5 Swamp
4 Tectonic Edge
Lands [26]
SIDEBOARD
2 Calcite Snapper
4 Disfigure
2 Flashfreeze
1 Into the Roil
1 Life's Finale
2 Memoricide
1 Stoic Rebuttal
1 Volition Reins
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Frost Titan
1 Grave Titan
1 Wurmcoil Engine
Creatures [3]
3 Jace Beleren
1 Liliana Vess
Planeswalkers [4]
2 Dismember
1 Duress
3 Go for the Throat
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Into the Roil
1 Jace's Ingenuity
4 Mana Leak
4 Preordain
2 Spell Pierce
4 Spreading Seas
2 Stoic Rebuttal
Spells [27]
4 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
4 Swamp
4 Tectonic Edge
Lands [26]
SIDEBOARD
1 Black Sun's Zenith
3 Calcite Snapper
1 Consume the Meek
2 Disfigure
2 Flashfreeze
1 Jace's Ingenuity
1 Ratchet Bomb
2 Spellskite
1 Volition Reins
1 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Grave Titan
Creatures [2]
3 Jace Beleren
1 Karn Liberated
1 Liliana Vess
Planeswalkers [5]
1 Batterskull
1 Black Sun's Zenith
1 Despise
1 Duress
4 Go for the Throat
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Into the Roil
3 Mana Leak
4 Preordain
4 Spreading Seas
2 Stoic Rebuttal
1 Surgical Extraction
Spells [27]
4 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Drowned Catacomb
5 Island
5 Swamp
4 Tectonic Edge
Lands [26]
SIDEBOARD
1 Black Sun's Zenith
3 Disfigure
2 Flashfreeze
1 Jace Beleren
1 Memoricide
3 Peace Strider
2 Precursor Golem
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1 Surgical Extraction

These decks are all doing the same thing U/B Control has always done. Jace the Dramatically Worse than He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is being played extensively in control lists and, with aggro decks collapsing under the insurmountable weight of "combo" (Valakut and Splinter Twin), he's actually pretty good right now. He makes an easy sideboard slot when you do run across the adorably optimistic non-red aggro deck and makes for basically the same race you had with JTMS (First one to a stupid blue planeswalker wins). Batterskull is still a dramatic beating and provides U/B something it rarely has access to in the "lifelink" clause. Persecutor in the 1st place list provides some interesting tempo but I still don't buy the "now that JTMS is gone, he's incredible" nonsense. If he wasn't a world-ending, game-winning creature before a four-drop planeswalker (where there was also incredible amounts of very-specifically-good-at-killing-abyssal-persecutor-removal) then he will continue to be an underwhelming but occasionally effective beater (because, notably, WOTC still didn't ban any of those other spells that still kill him). Titans are back in a big way, which I feel everyone anticipated. Spreading Seas is also a card that is a meta-game card that maindecking is a matter of your prudent judgement. It looks stupid against a deck that doesn't care but is easily sided out.
Also, Karn is good. I've been playing it maindeck since it came out. He can provide some insurmountable board presence.

The other surprising list is U/B Tezzeret. I tried a list nearly exactly the same as this and found myself a bit frustrated but that's probably largely due to unfamiliarity and low skill level. This list seems to have won the Chinese LCQ.
Forgemaster, Agent of Bolas
1 Blightsteel Colossus
4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
4 Spellskite
2 Wurmcoil Engine
Creatures [11]
4 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Planeswalkers [4]
2 Despise
4 Everflowing Chalice
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Mindslaver
1 Mox Opal
4 Sphere of the Suns
4 Torpor Orb
3 Tumble Magnet
Spells [21]
2 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Inkmoth Nexus
5 Island
5 Swamp
Lands [24]
SIDEBOARD
3 Batterskull
4 Disfigure
1 Dispel
2 Duress
1 Jace Beleren
2 Memoricide
2 Stoic Rebuttal

The list I built also maindecked Spellskites and Torpor Orbs. If you are thinking about a deck like this, you must absolutely do the same. Orb inadvertently hurts nearly everything. Titans are half-gimped by it. Exarch is nuked until they draw the bounce. Acidic Slime/Viridian Corrupter. Sylvan Ranger. Manic Vandal. Leonin Relic-Warder. On and on... And Spellskite protects the Forgemaster really well. The deck did feel a little soft against the random midrange decks rattling around (I'm looking at you, Buck, and your damned Birthing Pod deck). I really like the deck but that's mostly because I really like things like this.

Welcome to your new meta.
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:25 pm

good job andrew! I found this to be much more informative and entertaining then Flores' article
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:02 pm

I always look forward to your meta game summaries. You really have a talent for writing and your humor brings a smile to my face (ingested margaritas or no).

Can't wait to make a deck for 1 week of std play before the meta completely shifts again for M12 release. Try to guess what colors I'm gonna play Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:12 pm

Thanks for the post. I really think Swiftfoot Boots are going to be constructed playable in any sort of titan heavy deck. Even though they aren't Lightning Greaves, the fact that they exist in an environment with titans is going to be very interesting. I also think Master Thief is going to be playable for control out of the side, especially since it gives you a free creature to equip a sword to. I anticipate the two mana clone to be really bomb and absolutely constructed playable (as it's renewable with Sun Titan). My two cents.
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:42 pm

Inez wrote:
Thanks for the post. I really think Swiftfoot Boots are going to be constructed playable in any sort of titan heavy deck. Even though they aren't Lightning Greaves, the fact that they exist in an environment with titans is going to be very interesting. I also think Master Thief is going to be playable for control out of the side, especially since it gives you a free creature to equip a sword to. I anticipate the two mana clone to be really bomb and absolutely constructed playable (as it's renewable with Sun Titan). My two cents.

I like your thinking on these, especially Master Thief. I was wondering where he might go and that sounds like that is a good juke.

I thought about it and I don't know whether Pyromancer's Ascension will be playable but I like the idea of new Chandra in that deck as it provides a weird kind of board presence and effectively serves as extra copies of Ascension (especially with Call to Mind).
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:00 pm

Also, holy shit. This guy Adam Yurchick wrote nearly the same article.
All the decks are in the same order... WTF?!!?

http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?ID=9786


It's especially weird because I wrote mine this morning after looking over the Chinese Nationals results. He appears to have written his before then. How unbelievably weird.
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:41 pm

Also, also...
every free article i've read about the new metagame has heralded U/B control as the Second Coming. As both a relatively religious person and a not completely idiotic MtG player, this seems ridiculous (Seriously, that old dude out in California couldn't guess when it was gonna happen, I doubt anyone else is getting it right). Good deck? Probably. The definitive control deck of the format? Methinks not.
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:15 am

I think swiftboots + titans was their thinking towards making 7mana drops playable. Elesh norn doesn't look as bad, 4/7 with abilities that make her kill titans... expect frost tits.
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:36 am

I went undefeated last night with almost that exact W/U list, it's no joke. That said it's a blast to play, there's so many different hands you can get and every draw is exciting. Karn is a 7 mana vindicate every time, and you're never sad about it. Elspeths carried me on her back more than once. And I surprisingly ate agro decks for lunch. I think this is going to morph into the deck to beat, maybe adding jace to allow you to power up the new ancestral recall ( I ran 2, taking out 2 md lay lines). Surgical extraction is so good I sided in 3 every game.
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:04 am

No Blade splicer?
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PostSubject: Re: Blah, Blah, Blah, New Standard   Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:14 am

Knepps wrote:
No Blade splicer?

Nope. I feels he's kinda overrated.
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