#SCGWOR has come to an end, and I have to say that I had an amazing time, yet again, doing commentary with Andrew Boswell on SCGLive®. The cast was great, the players were great, and Legacy is awesome.
There were some really sweet decks that were able to make it into the elimination rounds, and we got to witness Joe Lossett claim Open Top 8 number 21 with his own trademark take on Miracles.
I mentioned during the cast that Miracles has been one of the best-performing Legacy decks for quite some time, and Joe has been one of the best-performing players with that archetype, yet always with a build that is significantly different than everyone else.
I'm curious to see when the rest of the Miracles community is going to catch up to where Joe is, and just why that hasn't happened yet.
I am not a Miracles master. I really haven't put much work into the deck and have only played it in one event while following whatever Brian Braun-Duin decided to play for that weekend. I can, however, see the differences between the different builds, and while I see the allure to cards like Monastery Mentor and the like, Joe has been jamming his Venser, Shaper Savants and Vendilion Cliques for quite some time now and has been absurdly successful with them.
Legacy is great, but I've got something a little more exciting on my plate than trying to figure out just why kids love the taste of Miracles.
Eldritch Moon is coming and with bringing along a whole slew of awesome cards that have the potential to make an impact on the Standard format. There is a lot of information to digest and thankfully we have the prerelease this weekend before we have to be ready to battle it out in Ohio at #SCGCOL.
What I want to start with now that we have the full spoiler are groups of cards that have been standing out in my mind, and where I want to start looking at them for applications.
The first thing that comes to mind when I start looking through the Eldritch Moon spoilers is that Spirits as a tribe seem to be incredibly pushed. The Human deck from Shadows over Innistrad Standard was a smash hit and will likely continue to be good, but there really hasn't been much tribal synergy that's taken off in Standard.
Dragons were all right during the G/R Dragons days, but the Elves that were pushed in Magic Origins flopped pretty hard, and while there were some tribal synergies in the Theros/Return to Ravnica Standard, it was mostly cards with lots of colored pips in their casting cost for the devotion mechanic that really mattered.
Zombies from the original Innistrad days is really the last time that I can think that tribal synergies have actually played a big role in Standard, but with the advent of the new Spirit creatures in Eldritch Moon I think that we're going to have a dedicated U/W Spirits deck ready to go.
The big winner is Rattlechains, but just take a look at all these great Spirits!
All of these brand-new Spirits seem playable, but when we add in Rattlechains they become very good and there are even a few cards and other Spirits that we can add into the deck. I'm sure this is going to be the Level 1 deck for most brewers and people who are testing for the first week of Eldritch Moon Standard, so here is where I plan on starting.
I have seen lists similar to this floating around online, and on Premium Patrick Chapin goes in depth about the different ways that you can build a U/W Spirits deck. It is a very good read.
I think that whatever the route is that ends up being the best, the main synergy of the deck is going to come from Rattlechains giving us the ability to save another Spirit from targeted removal and being able to play other Spirits at instant speed.
This combined with Mausoleum Wanderer gives us another way to interact with our opponents that we really didn't have before. This is further compounded with Spell Queller. A 2/3 flier with flash for 1WU is a great Limited uncommon, but when we add on the ability to counter a spell, albeit temporarily, it becomes very good.
Spell Queller already has flash, so it's not going to benefit from that bonus that Rattlechains gives us, but the ability to use Rattlechains to save a Spell Queller from a removal spell is awesome. Selfless Spirit also does this.
I think that the real gas in this deck though is taking Essence Flux all the way up to four copies. Outside of the +1/+1 counter that gets left behind on a Spirit, just flickering for only one mana is going to be huge in this deck.
Essence Flux my Rattlechains to save a Spirit from a removal spell. Essence Flux my Reflector Mage to re-bounce your creature so that I can continue to attack you. Essence Flux my Spell Queller to counter whatever spell you are playing now that's more important than what I had already countered.
There really are many uses for Essence Flux in this deck, and at only one mana it's quite the bargain.
Is Red Back?
Red is one of my favorite colors. Generally, red is going to have Dragons, which I love, and burn spells, which I also love. Red has greatly been overshadowed by how powerful white has been over the last couple of sets, but there are a lot of awesome red spells in Eldritch Moon and I'm pretty excited to start trying them out.
Incendiary Flow, Collective Defiance, and Mirrorwing Dragon in particular are cards that I think have a lot of potential, and here is something that came up with this weekend in Worcester when I couldn't sleep after how exciting Day 1 was.
The idea here is that we have eight red removal spells that also deal damage to our opponent. This incidental damage combined with Thunderbreak Regent dealing damage while targeted will often leave our opponents close to dead. This was used with lots of success in G/R Dragons, and now that we have a playable five-drop Dragon in Mirrorwing Dragon, we can go back to using Draconic Roar.
I like Galvanic Bombardment as it feels like quite the step up from Fiery Impulse. Being able to get four or five damage to a creature out of only one mana seems like it has the potential to be really great, and re-casting them with Jace, Telepath Unbound is also just gravy.
But let's be honest. Re-casting anything with Jace, Telepath Unbound is gravy.
I like where Hanweir Garrison sits too. It's a Goblin Rabblemaster-type threat that can take the game over all by itself, and we even get to dip into some meld action with Hanweir Battlements. That's not the only thing we get from the Battlements, though. As Michael Majors already pointed out in his Select-side article a few weeks ago, the ability to give Jace, Vryn's Prodigy haste and flip him right away is extremely powerful. Hanweir Battlements also turns our Dragons into haste monsters, and can make our Garrison's beefy monsters in the mid- and late-game too.
I am pretty high on Hanweir Battlements right now, if you couldn't tell.
- 4 Hedron Crawler
- 4 Goblin Dark-Dwellers
- 4 Hanweir Garrison
- 4 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
- 3 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Here we lose the power of Draconic Roar, but we gain Goblin Dark-Dwellers as a way to recast our burn spells. If we have any additional mana, we can even escalate Collective Defiance. In this build Hanweir Battlements doesn't have the benefit of hitting our Dragons in the late-game, but hitting a Dark-Dwellers isn't all that bad, and the addition of Hedron Crawler and ramping into an early Pia and Kiran Nalaar seems pretty nice.
It's possible to try out another color, but as a full-on burn-style deck I like having access to blue the best for Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and sideboard cards like Negate and Dispel to combat Collected Company and the like.
It's also possible to go a more Pyromancer's Goggles route too. With so many awesome burn spells that are available, it feels like there has to be a deck that can take advantage of them.
The last spot that I am eager to try out Mirrorwing Dragon is in a G/R Dragons style of deck. Here is one that I have been combing over and plan on trying out once we have a gauntlet established.
- 1 Den Protector
- 3 Hanweir Garrison
- 4 Mirrorwing Dragon
- 4 Sylvan Advocate
- 4 Thunderbreak Regent
- 2 Tireless Tracker
- 4 Ulvenwald Captive
- 1 Dragonlord Atarka
- 1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Here we have a lot of the same elements that we previously had with G/R Dragons. The biggest miss is Xenagos, the Reveler, but not having a two-drop accelerant that can give us red mana is also a bit of an issue. Thankfully though, we do have two very good dual lands that we get to run along with a Haven of the Spirit Dragon.
Now that we have Mirrorwing Dragon turning on Draconic Roar, we can focus on playing efficient creatures at the different casting costs and fill out the rest with burn, removal, and ways to go over the top. Thinking about how awesome Hanweir Battlements is with creatures like Hanweir Garrison, Thunderbreak Regent, and Mirrorwing Dragon. I am equally excited to try out Arlinn Kord with our newfound friends.
She really hasn't found a home yet, but I think that this type of deck might just be the spot for her.
One concern is that if the Humans strategies continue to be extremely popular, it may be in our best interest to play some more one-mana forms of interaction rather than hoping to catch up in the mid-game, especially when we are on the draw. I like having a lot of copies of Rending Volley in sideboards, since Humans and Spirits will all be vulnerable, but it may prove to not be enough.
With Eldritch Moon coming, all I know is that I'm super-excited to try out these new red cards and see just what kind of damage I can do with them.
There are some other extremely powerful cards in the set. Thalia, Heretic Cathar seems like it can completely control the tempo of the game. Gisela, the Broken Blade and Bruna, the Fading Light can meld into what seems like an unstoppable monster. Grim Flayer feels Tarmogoyf-esque and may help fuel a delirium-themed deck that takes us all by surprise.
Comments from Last Week
What do you think about Vampires in Standard? With Eldritch Moon, we get Stromkirk Condemned and Stromkirk Occultist. By the way, Indulgent Aristocrat and Olivia's Bloodsworn are the best Vampires so far in the deck.
– Gabe Bunnyhoppe
I think that Vampires in Standard isn't quite there yet. We do get a few more toys from Eldritch Moon, but without a big payoff card or a super-efficient engine, I don't see much hope for the tribe. Olivia, Mobilized for War and Drana, Liberator of Malakir just aren't going to pull their weight. I think that if a Vampire deck does take off in Standard, it'll be on the back of Stromkirk Condemned.
The only thing wrong with this Innistrad story arc is that it's not a feature-length animated film!! We need to see some cartoon Vampires fighting things, and a giant Emrakul on the horizon!
– Damian Fielding
Damian, I agree with you wholeheartedly! It's interesting to see just how polarized most people seem to be on the storyline. They either love it, like me, or are super-critical about it and think that it's drab and boring and that, since we had Eldrazi as the enemies in the last block, it shouldn't be the same here on Innistrad.
I see it more as a continuation of the story. Battle for Zendikar was about the actual battle to save the plane of Zendikar, but then Oath of the Gatewatch started something much more and needed another block to finish. Emrakul is so emracool that she needed another block to finish up what was happening with her, and I really enjoyed what they did with Innistrad.
Good luck to everyone battling in their local Prerelease this weekend. Please feel free to share your awesome pulls and neat interactions. I would love to have some nice stories to highlight in next week's “Comments from Last Week” section!