It feels like there was a time when the uncanny ability to find the one card that no one else had considered was the hallmark of a great deckbuilder. Single card "tech" set tournament halls abuzz, and the bravest and boldest were rewarded for their larks. Think LSV's one-of Grapeshot in his Elves deck at Pro Tour Berlin 2008 or Gerry Thompson's Harvest Pyre to aim at his Boros Reckoner at Pro Tour Gatecrash.
While these flashy additions proved to be key components for tournament success, they were only valid inclusions because they were carefully considered and vetted. Magic discourse necessarily pointed out this fact, and, as this new and valuable lesson began to be repeated ad nauseam, it was destined to be carried too far. Slowly, fledgling deckbuilders had their will to experiment and innovate beaten out of them.
"Just focus on playing tight."
I know I've said all these phrases. I'm sure I was correct in doing so a lot of the time. But it does feel like the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of playing it safe.
In other games, finding flashy tech remains an art form practiced by the best in their games. A lot of this can be attributed to the 30-card deck size of Hearthstone, or the seemingly limitless free draw-sevens of the Pokemon TCG (it's more fun than it sounds). Either way, I think its time to get back in the habit of searching for that slightly off-kilter inclusion that can get us some significant percentage points if the metagame lines up correctly.
What follows is a collection of some of the best tech that I've spotted recently in both Modern and Standard. Hopefully you'll be able to find something here to give your favorite decks a shot in the arm just in time for the StarCityGames.com® Invitational at SCG CON Winter this weekend.