New Standard & Elspeth vs Tezzeret Goodies!
So this past weekend we saw some really interesting decks come out of the StarCityGames Denver Open along with US Nationals.
Let’s begin with the biggie Soul Sisters courtesy of former StarCityGames.com writer Kyle Sanchez and perfected by deckbuilding guru Conley Woods:
Now THIS is crazy exciting. I love this deck I don’t know about you. Have you seen Ajani’s Pridemate in this deck? It’s been dubbed the “White Tarmogoyf” in this deck and for good reason: With a Soul’s Attendant and/or Soul Warden in play he’s a 3/3 for two mana. Play another creature? He’s a 4/4 or 5/5. In my playtesting I’ve seen plenty of players forced to chump block with the impressive Primeval Titan because well this guy is much much bigger. It’s not unheard of to have a 10/10 or 12/12 smashing into the red zone in just a few turns of you and your opponent playing creatures.
This is one of those awesome decks that will live in Standard for a very short time due to the upcoming rotation of M10 from the format. That said I feel like this is a deck that is easily defeated by a few Doom Blades or Wrath of Gods but it’s also a deck that can really sneak up on your local metagame as you gain more and more life and Serra Ascendants grow out of control.
The key to this deck is that you have a way to break stalemates which is where Brave the Elements comes in. This card is obviously amazing in response to a Pyroclasm-esque effect but I believe it is primarily used for an Alpha Strike. Get that Ajani’s Pridemate to absurd levels give him protection from your opponent’s team bash.
One of the questions I always had was: Why isn’t Felidar Sovereign in here? Well I have a classic comic panel that tells the whole story:
You see when no one was looking Felidar Sovereign needed 40 life. He needed 40 life to win the game. That’s as many as four tens. And that’s terrible.
Essentially you’d be surprised by how easy it is to get to 30 life but how 40 life is sometimes out of reach. That said this deck is brilliant and a ton of to play.
Speaking of brilliant decks have you seen Chris Higashi’s 4-Color Control?
Now this is some exciting stuff. We’re talking 4x Sedraxis Specter in a time when Obstinate Baloth is not only a card but an often-played one at that. We also see another favorite of mine Sea Gate Oracle getting some more love. This card hasn’t seen serious play since the Patrick Chapin brainchild of Next Level Bant and I’m really glad it’s getting some play.
Another amazing card in this deck is Deny Reality. Often this card was given really strange looks but when you think of how this deck works it’s brilliant. Essentially this card goes in the Bituminous Blast slot and when you’re facing down a Primeval Titan or Baneslayer Angel Bituminous Blast isn’t going to get it done. Instead Deny Reality not only gets rid of your problem creature for the turn it also gives you a free spell sometimes leading to the sick cascade flip of Bloodbraid Elf into Maelstrom Pulse for maximum wreckage. And hey if you have to use the Maelstrom Pulse on their monster instead of ultimately bouncing it the Deny Reality did even more than you wanted it to: instead of just one turn without this monster it’s dead from here on out. Also thanks to Lotus Cobra you can power out a Deny Reality on Turn 3 leading to serious swings in tempo depending on what cascade provides you. Certainly a card not to be underestimated.
Lastly you can’t not talk about Nicol Bolas Planeswalker in this deck. The most powerful Planeswalker by far this guy is often difficult to cast but that’s where our friend Lotus Cobra comes in. Either you power it out early thanks to a Cobra and Fetchlands or you bust it out on Turn 8 when they’ve tapped out for a random monster like Primeval Titan. Why sure I’ll take your best monster and have a land-slash-planeswalker eating machine on my side of the board. Easily one of the best surprise cards in Standard no one sees it coming. If you wanted to try something awesome and fun in Standard I think this deck and Soul Sisters are awesome places to start.
But how about that Elspeth vs Tezzeret? Oh man do we have one sick Duel Deck on our hands. Now it’s not enough that a foil Elspeth is currently fifty bucks now you get a foil Elspeth and a foil Tezzeret and the amazing cards spoiled with new artwork just this week. You ready? Let’s check em out.
On Elspeth’s side we begin with Crusade a card that has since been upgraded to Honor of the Pure but should do excellent things for Elspeth’s mono white army. The really exciting card from her deck is Swords to Plowshares which the deck comes with two copies. This card alone will be worth three dollars plus and how nice is that artwork? Total badass.
For Tezzeret we’ve got some sickness and then we’ve got some sickness. This comes from Thirst for Knowledge a fantastic card that was once the best card draw in Extended now with sweet Tezzy-filled artwork. Next and far more exciting is the new Mishra’s Factory artwork. Just look at it! Oh man so fantastic. Now the original Mishra’s Factory had four different pieces of artwork all of them amazing and the favorite of which has to be Winter which is just gorgeous. That said Mishra’s Factory is now in the new frame and looks fantastic. This will be a $5+ card out of the gate and in addition to the other new artworks are sure to keep pushing the value of this set.
Like Jace vs. Chandra before it I believe this set will only grow in value. Finding a Jace vs Chandra is rare these days as that set is $90+ if you find it and someday I think Elspeth vs. Tezzeret will be just as lauded. Now you can say I work for StarCityGames and I’m just trying to sell copies or whatever but I’m telling you right now one day you’ll look back and wish you had purchased one of these early before their value began to climb. And with foil Planeswalkers a new Swords to Plowshares and the amazing new Mishra’s Factory artwork this is one value-added bundle.
So that’s it for this week folks. Next week we’ll be barrelling toward Pro Tour: Amsterdam where I’ll be flying across the pond and talking with the biggest names in the business. Until next time Magic players this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards...so you don’t have to!
Evan “misterorange” Erwin
Community Manager StarCityGames.com