Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's going to be...wait for it...

LEGEND...I hope you're not lactose intolerant...

NPH has finally dropped. Ever since the God-book spoiled all of us Magic players, we are finally able to rock the set in formats.

I didn't get a chance to play in any Standard FNMs nor the SCG Orlando. Sad face. Here is some backstory: I had a chance to rock at least two FNMs since the last time I played with Tezzeret Deck Wins. But I decided to just chill with my son, Phoenix, instead. Its infinitely more awesome hanging out with the kid then a bunch of sweaty-stinky nerds (actually, a lot of them are pretty cool but the D-bags know who they are). And SCG Orlando was a pipe dream because here is the realization: I'm never going to be a professional Magic player so why bother. I made a run back in the day during the days of Ernham Djinn's dominance. I even made some Top 8s and a 2nd place finish to qualify for a PT. But I was young, still in school, wasn't married or have kids, which are infinitely more important to me these days. PTQ grinding is not a priority and wasting time and money at an SCG event, although probably would have been cool, wasn't a good idea. I honestly hate the rooms filled with all those guys that take this game WAAAAAY to seriously. In my opinion, unless you're a qualified pro and Magic is your livelyhood like Gerry T, AJ Sacher, Edgar Flores, LSV, etc. doing all the traveling and competing is a pipe dream. I understand that. So my dreams of taking RDW to a Top 8 finish of an SCG event is just that, a dream. Plus, I never really test anymore or have anyone to play with to any degree of consistency so I'm sure I would have had my ass handed to me, went 0-4 and dropped. Instead I hung out with the wife and kid. Had some sushi and chilled.

Rant over, back to some Magic talk...

So why do I keep blogging about this dumb game that I'm never going to go professional at, nor have the time to play?


Okay, Neil Patrick Harris is now legal in Magic. What have all the pros gleaned from this fact?

The obvious answers that must be prepared for are as follows:
1. Splinter Twin/Deciever Exarch is legit. If your deck cannot deal with the EOT Flash monster into turn 4 you're dead? Then your deck has no business in Standard.

2. Mental Mistep is the big news for Legacy and it has made a splash in SCG Orlando. Plenty of the Top 16 decks rocked a playset because it stops SOOOO many of the important spells in Legacy. Since the curve in the format is so low and the format is so fast, 1-drops are abundant. Mistep stops some important cards such as: Thoughtseize, Brainstorm, Sensei's Divining Top, Swords to Plowshares, High Tide, Candelabra of Twanos, Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Goblin Lackey, etc.

3. Spellskite is also a bomb card. For a 2cc 0/4 blocker and its ability to redirect spells AND abilities to it changes the way the game is played. There are plenty of articles and podcasts that get into it so I won't. But the card is good. I need to finish a playset because I think it can be Legacy playable.

In Standard every deck needs to deal with the Turn 4 kill you combo that is Splinter/Exarch. Here are some of the concoctions I'm thinking about:

Naya Vengeine
Big Red One
Aggro Valakut
Eldrazi Green

I'll run down a few of the lists with the new cards from Neil Patrick Harris and talk about why I think the decks could be good. Here we go!

The implications of Caw-Blade's dominance and the rise of Splinter Twin/Exarch combo has changed the way Standard looks. Valakut is completely a dead format, although still good, just cannot beat Caw-Blade. The same goes for Vengevine strategies. Caw-Blade is basically a mid-range deck that can go aggro when need be or control versus the aggressor. It wins off the back of a ton of card advantage. Every card is either a cantrip or more. So how can you beat that strategy and not be Caw-Blade? Let's face it, I'm probably not going to buy into Jace until he is gone why down in price and only to play him in Legacy and upcoming Extended or God willing Over-Extended format (fingers crossed on that one). So I really just refuse to go get a playset of Jace (I could, I just don't. Not really my playstyle). 

In order to beat the sea of card advantage you must be just as equal in card advantage or better and play a similar game. If I'm not Caw-Blade then what am I?

Squadron Hawk x 4
Stoneforge Mystics x 4
Inferno Titan x 2
Cunning Sparkmage x 3
Koth of the Hammer x 4
Chandra Nalaar x 3
Lightning Bolt x 4
Volt Charge x 3
Tezzerets Gambit x 4
Sword of Feast and Famine x 1
Sword of War and Peace x 1
Batterskull x 1
Basilisk Collar x 1
Arid Mesa x 4
Scalding Tarn x 3
Marsh Flats x 2
Plains x 7
Mountains x 9

I have been known to play some blue spells but if you're playing Standard and not playing Jace the Mindsculptor then you are playing wrong. Since I am more of an aggro player and have a lust for Lightning Bolt I figured I'd try to mash-up a couple of different strategies, mainly the aggro side of Boros and card advantage side of Caw-Blade.

Squadron Hawk/Stoneforge/Sword Package: This package is also relevant in both strategies as it is your main card advantage engine. I decided to cut SoBoM in lieu of Basilisk Collar to equip with my red dudes. Squad Hawk is good as an aggressor as well as a defender. Stoneforge is a great tutor engine that gets you all of your bombs, especially the newest and sickest equipment, Batterskull.

Red Dudes: The Inferno Titan and Cunning Sparkmage package can act as a renewable source of card advantage. They can continually assassinate creatures on board or nug opponents' life total. Combo'd with Basilisk collar, most creatures are not safe on board. Also, Sparkmage and Collar is a good renewable way to deal with Spellskite and if you can get the jump it can beat Splinter Twin/Exarch combo as long as they don't have a Spellskite already in play.

Planeswalkers: Instead of the blue of Cawblade in Jace and Gideon I turned to their red "equals" if you will: Koth of the Hammer and Chandra Nalaar. Since day 1 of his spoiling and reading Mike Flores's article, I have been crazy for some Koth. He just does so many awesome things: he's a renewable source of 4 damage, can help you ramp if need be, and if his ultimate is turned on, you should probably win that game. Chandra may seem a bit questionable because of her high casting cost but Gideon is also a 5cc and sees a lot of play. Her pinging ability isn't her greatest asset, its her pinpoint sniper ability that does it for me. She can either trade with a Titan at six or start assassinating dudes on board but the fact she is a re-useable source or creature kill she can generate card advantage.

Spells: I'm sure you can guess from the list that there is a small proliferate sub-theme in the deck in Volt Charge and Tezzeret's Gambit. Volt Charge can kill a dude and power-up Koth and Chandra. Gambit will draw you two and power-up. It is something I want to test and think could be solid if you can set up that line of play. I just want to drop Koth and swing for 4/4 mountain then follow it up next turn with Volt Charge and have Koth at ultimate already. Seems like it could be good. I dunno yet. And of course Lightning Bolt maindeck seems good too.

Here are just a couple of other deck ideas I've had since NPH Godbook dropped. For some reason I'm in love with Volt Charge and Beast Within.

Inferno Titan x 3
Kuldotha Phoenix x 3
Tumble Magnet x 4
Everflowing Chalice x 3
Sphere of the Suns x 3
Lightning Bolt x 4
Galvanic Blast x 4
Volt Charge x 4
Tezzerets gambit x 4
Shrine of the burning rage x 2
Mox Opal x 3
Contagion Clasp x 1
Ratchet Bomb x 1
Tectonic Edge x 3
Valakut Molten Pinnacle x 4
Mountains x 14

Basilisk collar x 1
Batterskull x 1
Sword of feast and famine x 1
Sword of war and peace x 1
Lightning bolt x 4
Beast from within x 2
Stoneforge mystic x 4
Birds of paradise x 4
Llanowar elves x 2
Nest invader x 2
Vengevine x 4
Fauna shaman x 4
Baneslayer angel x 1
Acidic slime x 1
Inferno titan x 2
Cunning sparkmage x 3
Stirring wildwood x 3
Raging ravine x 3
Razorverge thicket x 4
Copperline gorge x 4
Sunpetal grove x 1
Rootbound crag x 1
Arid mesa x 2
Verdant catacombs x 2
Plains x 1
Mountain x 1
Forests x 2

I'll build, test at FNM and see what happens.

I also am looking to finally try and build some Legacy decks I've been talking about for months. Crazy Talk podcast has really gotten me back on the bandwagon for Legacy. We'll see what happens there.

Peace out bitches!!!


No comments:

Post a Comment