Alright, this is it! This is the last article I am going to write solely dedicated to Trading Post. I love the card, but I don't think Lauren Lee will continue to publish my articles if I keep on with this trend. I just really need to correct my wrongdoing from two weeks ago when I first started talking about this card. It's time for some redemption for one of my favorite cards ever printed.
The decks I talked about two weeks ago are bad. Like, really bad. I am ashamed that I'm the one that proclaimed my love for Trading Post, yet attempted to get you guys to play garbage like that. In my defense, I didn't know they were that bad since it was my initial brewing with the card. All I can say is what I know now is not what I knew then, and everything from this moment on is credible information about my beloved Trading Post. Let's get started!
One of my early mistakes in testing Trading Post was that I tried to center all of my decks on the card. It seems like this would be the best thing to do since the card needs so many artifacts to function, but it just isn't the case. Trading Post is actually a support card to help execute certain game plans. The card is very good at doing different things, but consistency becomes an issue when all of these things are trying to be done at the same time.
The best example of this is when playing Wellsprings and mana acceleration. Wellsprings are best when building around a control strategy. These cards help you gain card advantage and make land drops to help grind out an opponent when the game goes long. Mana acceleration helps speed up turns so that you will be able to play more powerful spells earlier in the game. These cards work great in a focused deck, but terribly together. You never want to draw mana acceleration in the late game when trying to play control. You also don't have time to waste trying to gain advantage through Wellsprings when you have a bunch of mana ramp in your deck.
This is the decklist I played against Gerry in one of our playtest videos going up next week. It is also very similar to a deck that was played at the SCG Standard Open in Las Vegas by Chris Higashi. What I learned from this decklist was that Trading Post only did work when the rest of my deck wasn't functioning. Consistency was a very big issue when running so many mana accelerants that when things were not going smoothly, I had to rely on Trading Post to pick up some of the slack. The Wellsprings and Trading Posts where trying to do one thing, while the Sphere of the Suns and Gilded Lotuses where trying to do another. This caused many of my draws to become very schizophrenic.
This taught me that Trading Post does not fit well inside a ramp strategy. Even though Gilded Lotus and Phyrexian Metamorph are amazing together as well as being artifacts does not automatically make them good with Trading Post. The reason for this is Trading Post does not have an immediate impact on the board, just like ramp spells. Traditionally, ramp decks want to ramp into some type of monstrous creature or powerful spell that can win the game all by itself. This isn't the case for Trading Post and causes you to have too many cards in the deck that do not interact with the opponent. The only cards a ramp deck runs are acceleration, interactive removal, and game ending spells. Trading Post is none of these.
Trading Post is, however, one of the most powerful attrition cards of all time. For one mana a turn, this card generates almost a card's worth of value each turn. You can compare this ability to a planeswalker, Phyrexian Arena, or any other controlling card, but it is far better than that. It has the ability to be flexible so that it can be used under a wide variety of situations. It gains life, gets back permanents, draws cards, and creates chump blockers. It doesn't have to be activated during a main phase, nor can it be attacked. This card will not kill you if you are one life during your upkeep. Its only downside is that there have to be artifacts in the deck to function.
I have tried countless different versions of Trading Post control decks, and this is my current build.
As you can see, this decklist is fairly different from most of the other ones floating around. It doesn't do anything special like Mindslaver an opponent out or Devastation Tide with a million mana open. It is a grinding control deck that wins by grinding the game out with card advantage and Wurmcoil Engines.
The reason this is good is because of what Delver does to the metagame. Delver is by far the most consistent deck in the format because it is able to run so many cantrips. This allows it to have a very low land count and yet always hit four lands to cast its biggest spells. It is so fast that it pushes most of the "over the top" control decks out of the format since they have a tough time interacting with such a cheap and flexible deck. What is left is very aggressive decks and control decks that become very inbred to stand a chance against both Delver and other beatdown strategies.
Most of the best beatdown decks are forced to run Birds of Paradise, Llanowar Elves, and Avacyn's Pilgrim to be able to compete with the tempo advantage Delver has. These decks also need consistency so they can keep a wider range of hands, so most are forced to run Borderland Ranger or Birthing Pod to be able to get Huntmaster of the Fells and Restoration Angel on the table in the first few turns of the game.
What this means is that Birds of Paradise style decks run roughly 34 sources of mana and have a very difficult time in the late game since their draw steps are so weak. Constantly blowing up the board in the early game causes decks like this to not have much firepower in the late game. The early game is where these decks want to win, and every card in their deck is working to do this.
Birthing Pod decks are doing things a bit slower to have a bit more consistency in the later game. The only problem with this is that they do not have many tools that interact with W/R/B Post. They still just have a bunch of creatures that die to mass removal.
Planeswalkers would be good against this deck, but it is very difficult to justify playing them. Delver of Secrets, Gravecrawler, and Avacyn's Pilgrim style decks force out all of the planeswalkers since they are just too difficult to protect. The games tend to play out too quickly for a player to gain enough advantage out of a planeswalker. Tapping out for anything outside of Gideon Jura is not something anyone is prepared to do in their maindeck.
I want to spend some time talking about notable cards in the deck since many of them deserve explanation.
There is a small chance that Mox Opal will be dead in a couple games. This is overshadowed by how amazing it can be on turn 3 when metalcraft is achieved. Almost every Mox Opal / Nihil Spellbomb draw allows for access to four mana on turn 3. This can be very beneficial when Wellsprings cost two and Phyrexia's Core costs two mana to activate. It also helps out when activating Trading Post on turn 4, making it easier to get the artifact into play since you can activate it right away.
Nihil Spellbomb was one of the most impressive cards when testing Mono-Black Post. It was so good that it was the only card I splash for in the maindeck. Nihil Spellbomb is good against almost every deck in the format, as well as helps turn on metalcraft in the early turns. It can cycle when it needs to, but you will find it can sit in play just waiting to gain value. Between Moorland Haunt, Snapcaster Mage, undying, Rancor, Sun Titan, Unburial Rites, and Trading Post, this card can have a big impact on the game. I find that I win a much higher percentage of games against Zombies and Delver whenever I draw this card as opposed to when I don't. Please do not just cut this card from the deck because it is the only reason to splash black. It is well worth it.
This combo is a new addition to the deck. I found early on that instant speed removal was important against Restoration Angel. Mono-Black had access to this, but the white version was lacking. I was trying Dispatch for a while to have some way to interact at instant speed. It was very good during the times when everything was running smoothly, but it was horrible in games that the draw wasn't coming together. It just wasn't good enough to justify a slot.
Tumble Magnet, however, was everything and more. It helped out when trying to get metalcraft as well as being a great outlet for Phyrexian Metamorph when there was nothing else worth copying. It is a proactive removal spell that can hit the board even before an opponent applies any pressure and also will force them to overcommit into mass removal since their one threat is getting locked down for too many turns.
It became very easy to see the potential of Gideon Jura once Tumble Magnet proved itself. Gideon and Tumble Magnet are true thunder buddies. Tumble Magnet can tap a creature at end of turn to allow Gideon Jura to pick it off when it comes into play. After this happens Gideon would be vulnerable to any other attacks, except for the fact that Tumble Magnet is there to protect it for another turn. This combo helps dismantle a board all by itself and gives you as much time as you need to do any of the durdling things you have to do with Trading Post and Buried Ruin.
The most recent change to the deck was the inclusion of this card. Being able to pick off creatures in the early turns is extremely important and something that Ratchet Bomb has trouble doing. This deck went from having a real problem with Geist of Saint Traft and Talrand, Sky Summoner to almost never losing to those cards. Whipflare also gives this deck seven board sweepers that help get almost every game into the late game where W/R/B Post should shine.
Splashing red isn't a problem since there are so many ways to produce the color. There also aren't many cards that force you to have colored mana, so an early Mycosynth Wellspring can easily just grab the needed Mountain. I haven't had too many issues with the mana base that would lead me to think three colors is even close to greedy.
Now I will go over the matchups that you will probably need to know most in the current Standard metagame.
The main goal against Delver is to just stay in the game. Inevitability lies in the control deck against the newest versions of Delver. Few versions run any Swords, which are the most powerful cards against us since we have no way to remove them in game 1. Tumble Magnet is somewhat of an answer, but it doesn't stop a Geist of Saint Traft when it's packing.
Trading Post shines brightest in this matchup since gaining life is effectively a Time Walk against their combat step. Nihil Spellbomb hinders most of their late game power, so make sure to never sacrifice one just for the card unless you are going to die to Talrand, Sky Summoner or Geist of Saint Traft.
Don't try to land a Wurmcoil Engine unless you are able to sacrifice it in some way. They will have Vapor Snags in hand since the game has lasted for at least six turns by now. Don't feel that an empty board is scary since they are the ones that have to find a way to kill you. Draw-go may seem scary, but it is only bad if you are flooding out.
Try to never make a Goat unless you are able to sacrifice it immediately. They have multiple Vapor Snags and Gut Shots in their maindeck that are just aching for something to do. Only use this ability once you have two Trading Posts available.
It depends on what version they are to determine what cards are powerful.
Boarding in Oblivion Ring is my way of hedging against planeswalkers. Planeswalkers are very powerful against this deck, and it is important to have at least a few ways to get them off the board once they resolve. Don't board them in if you know your opponent doesn't have planeswalkers or if you are up a game.
Delver with Geist
This matchup is a bit different since they have Restoration Angel and potentially equipment. They also tend to have more countermagic post-sideboard.
These matchups are very easy. Whipflare deals with early mana guys, which hinders their ability to get on the board in the early turns. Tumble Magnet and Gideon are all-stars in this matchup, stopping them from every getting any real damage in. Day of Judgment is, well, Day of Judgment. This matchup is a smashing and shouldn't even be close in game 1.
Not much changes after sideboard except Timely Reinforcements is a decent spell. Most of these decks will board out Bonfire, making the three tokens more relevant than they would be in a game 1. Torpor Orb is an absolute beating against all of the come into play effects these decks tend to have.
This the same as Naya decks in game 1. They have a tough time dealing with absolutely every card in the deck.
Their biggest threat is Blood Artist. This card can set up for some awkward board states, so don't be afraid to just take one out with a Whipflare. Tumble Magnet is a powerful way to help fight undying until you find a Nihil Spellbomb.
Timely Reinforcements shines brightest in this matchup. One of their strongest weapons is having so much potential reach. Timely Reinforcements helps stop this just as efficiently as it did against Mono Red decks in the past.
Game 1 is extremely easy. Trading Post is a much better card advantage engine than anything Solar Flare has, making it the most important card to resolve. Nihil Spellbomb is also extremely powerful in this matchup since most versions of Solar Flare revolve around killing with Sun Titan / Phantasmal Image. Just play fast because this matchup will go on for a very long time.
I think Spine of Ish Sah is the best thing we can be doing after sideboard. Karn Liberated is one of the go-to cards in Solar Flare's sideboard, making Spine of Ish Sah a great trump. Just make sure to save a Duress for when you want to start casting Spine so that you don't get it Dissipated.
Trading Post Brews
I feel that these matchups will be very difficult to win. Other Trading Post decks may be running more powerful cards that make them very tough to beat. Mindslaver, Gilded Lotus, and more Phyrexian Metamorphs are very powerful and can easily win games. Sideboarded games may be closer, but I find it will be almost impossible to beat them game 1 if they show you that they are playing Mindslaver as well as the ability to breathe in and out. Conceding early is not a bad move since sideboarded games may take a while.
The most important thing to do after sideboard is to keep them off Trading Post and Buried Ruin. These are the first targets for Oblivion Ring and Spine of Ish Sah. Just try to keep them off more mana than you if you can.
I don't feel like you should end up against a Trading Post deck like this since I have found it isn't good against the field. This makes me feel that anyone trying to play versions like this will simply lose early in the tournament. Just try and dodge them if you can. There will probably not be any out there anyway since it takes a true lunatic to play this deck.
If you end up trying out this deck, I would urge you to work on a few things. I am still not sure if the deck wants the fourth Tumble Magnet and the two Solemn Simulacrums. I also think the sideboard needs a bit of work, but this is as far as I got before my article was due. I hope all of this helps, and I really think this version of the deck is the strongest in the format. I will for sure be playing something very similar to this in Buffalo at the SCG Open Series this weekend, and I hope to see some of you Trading Post fans there! Until next week!