Hey everyone! It's been a while since I've written as I've just spent the last two weeks relocating to Washington State. No, I did not leave Star City Games® completely and will still be writing weekly articles with the occasional side projects here and there. I just needed a little break, since moving is always more difficult than I think it'll be. That's not to say that Amber and I didn't have a blast on our cross-country travels because it was a very fun experience overall.
The plan for today is to catch up on War of the Spark Standard and take a look at the metagame with a more holistic approach. I had to just jump into an already-evolving format thanks to Mythic Championship London being Modern and the move up here, so my usual biases towards midrange didn't really take hold last week when I played my first match of Standard. In fact, I played Azorius Aggro in my first MPL Weekly match.
Before we get started though, I wanted to touch on some of the hot topics from the past couple of weeks. I didn't get a chance to comment on the London Mulligan rule or Open Decklists at MC London, but I was able to listen to pretty much every Magic-related podcast and read most articles as we spent many hours in cars or hotel rooms. I guess I'm just eager to get into the discussion. I don't think my opinions are that revolutionary, but also different enough for me to justify discussing them.
As most of you should be aware, MC London was Wizards of the Coast's first attempt at an open-decklist tournament larger than a Magic Online Championship Series or Worlds. Nine of the ten rounds, I got to know what my opponent was playing, which changes a lot. Many specific opinions came out about how open decklists help control decks, or themselves personally as a player, but that's not really what we should be looking at.
Open decklists does many unique things to a tournament structure. From a broadcast perspective, I think the decision they made to keep Round 4 hidden was a mistake. The execution in London felt like a hedge to keep tournament integrity as much as possible. They only did that because once feature matches happened, those players would be at a disadvantage in the following rounds as their lists were public, thanks to the decklist extension on Twitch.
Instead of hiding this information until the last possible moment, they should just open it up sooner. This would allow players to hype their choices and also for WotC to do unlimited deck techs on Thursday with some of the game's biggest players. It's been a long time since I've seen Reid Duke talk about Jund on camera and I would be very excited to see that content.
From a player's perspective, things get way more interesting. Open decklists aren't about what players have but what they don't have. Think about Minesweeper. You know there are bombs in some squares, but not in others. If your opponent has answers to all your strategies except for one, the match all of a sudden becomes about that thing. This doesn't mean the debate is about linear or nonlinear strategies getting an advantage. What players should be thinking about is powerful versus non-powerful effects.