Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we've got some awesome footage from the StarCityGames.com Open in Atlanta, discuss the hot new decks that showed up there, and go over the the decks you will expect to see across tournament tables for the next few months. Let's go!
Rise of the Eldrazi Standard
This past weekend in Atlanta the Standard floodgates have been released, and finally, thankfully, Jund is no longer the deck to beat. The deck of the tournament, U/W/R Planeswalkers, was crushing people left and right. At one point, with three people playing the deck, it was 23-1. That's two 8-0 players, and one 7-1 player. Then, it goes on to win the tournament. Would you like to hear from Lewis Laskin and Ben Stark about their awesome deck and how it came about? Let's hear from em:
Yes, this deck, also being called Super Friends, is one hell of a midrange monster. It chews up midrange decks, that is, decks that slowly overwhelm you with monsters and card advantage like Jund, and it completely stomps U/W Control, the formidable control deck of the format. What does it not stop? The two decks that were incredibly underrepresented at the tournament: Red Deck Wins and Vampires. Both incredibly aggressive decks, and both decks that have issues beating Bloodbraid Elf. With so much Jund hating them out, the Planeswalker deck played Jund and U/W Control all day, quickly rising to the top. My favorite quote of the weekend was about Gideon Jura: He is the White Time Warp. He simply gives you time, turns, and a monster to bash with all in one. For those who doubted his power or his dominance, here is your proof.
Mythic Conscription also powered itself into the metagame, taking the existing Mythic deck and adding two powerful additions: Sovereigns of Lost Alara and Eldrazi Conscription. Now the former was a crap rare from Alara Reborn until players realized "Hey, the instant I drop this thing I can go fetch the most awesome Aura ever made... for free." You know what the best part is? At just eight mana, with Lotus Cobra, I saw many players simply hardcasting this backbreaking enchantment and doing quite well because of it.
As for Mythic and the Planeswalker deck's amazing success, also note their incredible price tags. Mythic Conscription was dueling with U/W Control for awhile for the title of Most Expensive Deck Ever, but U/W/R Planeswalkers has taken the cake. The retail value of this deck is somewhere in the realm of seven hundred dollars or more. Quite simply, it runs the best and most expensive cards you can get your hands on. Jace, the Mind Sculptor is currently seventy bucks and not getting any cheaper, folks. With this deck and a format this fall that doesn't include Jund cards, we could be looking at our first ever Standard card to reach a hundred dollars. Could it happen? Mutavault went to $35-$40 during Lorwyn block, and Tarmogoyf hit $45 before he rotated. But Jace is in a league all by himself, and we'll see just how far that financial rabbit hole goes.
But we're not done. Polymorph, the deck I told you would be building itself, has further proven a fantastic threat, using another card I was telling you to pick up, Awakening Zone, in order to make a ton of mana and chump blockers and guys to sacrifice to Polymorph. But another piece of technology has arisen to fight the Emrakul of the I Win Lols menace - Telemin Performance. Now that's a complete ass whoopin right there. Pay five mana, get a free 15/15? Nice. Deck.
Speaking of sideboard superstars, Pithing Needle is once again shining bright, stopping Planeswalkers of all sorts. If you can't purchase seventy dollar planeswalkers, why not stop them with a five dollar card instead? My suggestion for those who are looking for a budget solution to the format, the Red Deck is both affordable, powerful and fun, while Vampires are a bit more expensive but just as devastating to some of the most powerful decks in the format.
Lastly, there have been some awesome PTQ decks popping up. Check out Grixis Control by Thomas Ma that won in Denver:
Now this deck is sick. It uses the oft-forgotten but still powerful Sedraxis Specter, new spells like Staggershock, and the best Blue card in Standard: Spreading Seas. What, you thought I was going to say the four copies of Jace? Pfft, just wait until you catch a Jund player with their pants down with the double Spreading Seas draw - it is quite sick. Why is this card the best blue card? Because manlands are a huge force in Standard, and crippling powerful manafixing like Savage Lands is paramount. Lastly, it replaces itself. Spreading Seas wouldn't be near as powerful if it didn't draw a card - just look at how many people play Convincing Mirage and Contaminated Ground. Why are they unplayable? Because they don't cantrip. Look at this incredible deck from Chris "Doc" Lachmann, one half of the Pro Tour: San Diego 2007 Two-Headed Giant team:
Now that's a crazy deck. Rhox War Monk? Ardent Plea that will always hit Spreading Seas, effectively giving you eight copies of the best Blue card in Standard? Bloodbraid Elf, probably the best 'card', pound for pound, in Standard? And it still runs all the amazing Planeswalkers and Day of Judgment and Wall of Omens and Baneslayer Angel? This deck is like Standard's Greatest Hits and it almost got there for Doc. That is one crazy looking deck.
So that's your Standard environment, ladies and gentlemen. For those tired of the endless Jund matches, I think Rise of the Eldrazi has given us the tools to diversify and strategize in new ways, and that's never a bad thing as we look forward to the Grand Prix in Washington, DC and the subsequent block Pro Tour in San Juan at the end of the month.
Rise of the LOLDrazi
This past week we here at StarCityGames.com have been running a very interesting contest called Rise of the LOLDrazi. If you've been watching the show for any amount of time, you should be well versed in my love of internet memes. Yes, the silly, stupid and over-the-top jokes enrich my life and funny bone respectively, and we here at StarCityGames.com wanted you to get in on the fun. And boy, did you! We got hundreds of entries and expanded our prize pool to include five people instead of just three. You ready to see the winner, runners-up and some amazingly hilarious honorable mentions? Let's do it. 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
A few weeks ago I discussed the possibility of an "Overextended" format. This would allow you to play with cards from Mercadian Masques forward, with very few cards banned, in a "new" Legacy format that would be without the Reserve List that has slowly but surely caused its demise. In a few years, as the price of playing Legacy rises, it will suffer from the Vintage Syndrome and I'm afraid will become less of a force to be reckoned with.
So what was the response? Huge. Unbelievably huge. I had more emails, comments, and forum responses than ever in the history of the show. And the overwhelming verdict? YES! Almost every single response was positive. I'd say 95%? Maybe 97% of responses were positive. The fact is, the ability for Wizards of the Coast to reprint staples and classics in Overextended in From the Vault sets and future sets ensures that the format won't price itself out of existence and as a result can be a long-term sustaining format. I for one really hope Wizards of the Coast takes this feedback to heart: Many, many players are for this, want this, and have told me - and you - so.
As for reprinting Force of Will, I think it will be necessary for Mind's Desire to not get out of control, plus it will be really cool to see it in Standard after all these years. Otherwise only Daze and Mindbreak Trap will keep Storm combo in check, and is that good enough? Others question Wizards ever reprinting dual lands, even in they're in Snow Dual form, which simply means that Ravnica Shocklands will be the new standard manafixers. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but I played my first ever Legacy tournament last week in Atlanta and let me tell you: Playing with duals is nice. The sheer power, the ease in which you fix your mana, it's a hallmark of the format. Losing this I think will lessen the format for a time, but again, dual land prices are going up, and will only continue to do so.
So what happens now? We wait. Deep in the bowels of Wizards of the Coast, where those who influence your organized play in a variety of ways reside, they will have a long debate over this. Is it worth losing decks like Reanimator, who will lose Exhume? What about combo, that will lose Lotus Petal, or Charbelcher Combo that will lose Elvish Spirit Guide as well? But look at what you don't lose. Goblin decks, Zoo decks? Virtually unchanged. Countertop decks? Virtually unchanged.
Again, at the end of the day, no one plays Extended these days because they want to. I think the playerbase is just ripe for some sort of "Legacy"-esque format that is not only full of awesome and powerful cards, but can be played professionally at the Pro Tour and in PTQ seasons. How sick would it be to unleash such a format on a Pro Tour? Casting Brainstorms for $40,000, that's what I want to see. But as for now, we've said our peace and it's time to see what the boys in Renton do with it. Here's hoping they don't screw it up.