7/27/2011 BoaB: "A Shift in Standard"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Building on a Budget, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
It might not be the best deck he has ever done...but damn if it isnt creative looking enough to make me want to try it....
I like fun, but competitive decks. So I might not play what is optimal but they have normally been tested to have a 2/3 winrate.
It might not be the best deck he has ever done...but damn if it isnt creative looking enough to make me want to try it....



This.

Also, I feel like these decks have gotten better recently (more budget, more original).
Just one remaining gripe that I've seen shared by some other people reading this column - the format of playing 2 matches against 2 of the top decks, and giving a play-by-play of each game. Seems like it would be much more informative to play matches against maybe 5 decks and give a brief summary of each game.
"I'll still have countermagic for things like Grave Titan" who cares about grave titan when you are playing gravitional shift? a 4/6 that makes lots of 0/2 tiokens that can't chump block my flyers? In a colour that can't deal with enchantments.

seems really good vs argo/weanie decks as long as they don't fly. Squadron hawk could be a problem, what about surgical extraction in the board?
I'd be interested in seeing how this does against Tempered Steel and Valakut...
I like fun, but competitive decks. So I might not play what is optimal but they have normally been tested to have a 2/3 winrate.
I remember when budget was 30 tix or less on BoaB.

I feel the post should face 3 decks, with at least one of them being a top deck and always one against what seems to be a hard matchup. I also liked when the post ended with possible cards to add that put the deck above the budget limit.

As for this deck, I feel it is a great idea that seems to be missing something. I can't place it though.

My personal thoughts for this deck would be a blue/white version. Even though Vampire Nighthawk is probably the best cheap flyer in Standard, the card advantage of Squadron Hawk can be far more powerful. Especially when you add in white's cheap (and powerful) spot removal and decent flyers as support. And a small equipment package can boost any creature. 

MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green). He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one." I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago." ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** MaRo: During a playtest, I played a Reaper from the Abyss. I attacked each turn, while my opponent would chump block (he had a lot of fliers), and then I killed a second creature. This happened until he had only one creature left. I attack, he blocked, and then the following dialogue occurred: Him: Kill your demon. Me: What? Him: My guy died so you have to kill a creature. Me: Yeah, but why would a demon kill himself? Him: I don't know. He's depressed there's no one left to kill. Me: That doesn't make any sense. Him: I don't care. It's what the card says. I then take out my pen, and wrote "non-Demon" on it. Him: You can't do that. Me: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

Yes! Another Gravitational Shift article! I freakin' love the list, though I think U/W is much stronger. Emeria Angel > Vampire Nighthawk most of the time (and don't forget Squadron Hawk), although having access to Doom Blade, Go for the Throat, and Dismember is nice. Perhaps a UWB list might be good? I'll try playtesting that and see how I like it. Probably needs Spreading Seas in the side for Valakut and Spell Pierces and Negates would be good for the control matchup.
I think it is great that JVL has read the feedback and makes a conscious effort to keep the deck budget (the fact it is 40 tix rather than the old 30 makes no major difference).  I agree that more reports would be nice but we can't have everything. 

As for the deck, I think it is almost there but I agree it is missing something.  Obviously, out of budget it can be amazing but I can't think of a budget repair at the moment.
Great article. Even  though I don't play MTGO much at all anymore, this seems like the kind of deck I'd get irritated trying to beat at FNM.

I agree with greg9381... more matches with less detailed play-by-plays would be better. You just don't get a good feel for a deck from seeing four-six games. Perhaps play five matches and summarize four, giving a play-by-play only for the most interesting of the five.

Side note for anyone interested, my own budget deck for critique: 
www.outsydergaming.com/2011/07/budget-de...
I remember when budget was 30 tix or less on BoaB.

I feel the post should face 3 decks, with at least one of them being a top deck and always one against what seems to be a hard matchup. I also liked when the post ended with possible cards to add that put the deck above the budget limit.

As for this deck, I feel it is a great idea that seems to be missing something. I can't place it though.

My personal thoughts for this deck would be a blue/white version. Even though Vampire Nighthawk is probably the best cheap flyer in Standard, the card advantage of Squadron Hawk can be far more powerful. Especially when you add in white's cheap (and powerful) spot removal and decent flyers as support. And a small equipment package can boost any creature. 




This.

I think that in order to maximize the efficacy of Gravitational Shift, the deck needs to use sufficient flyers to make it work.  This is why the CawBlade v 2.0 decks use this, along with TrinketMage for 1cc equipment to help fill the gaps that the bannings created.  

Of course, copying that CawBlade deck would be uncreative while the blue/black version seems suboptimal.  I think the best version would probably be an UW list that was very aggressive, more aggressive than CawBlade or this list.  I think the majority of the deck should be flyers, to maximize the power of the enchantment.  The power of Gravitational Shift, in my view, is that it increases your clock versus combo and control while neutralizing opposing aggro decks.  UW fish/flyer style decks have traditionally done well versus combo and control but have lost to aggro due to lack of speed and defense.  Gravitational Shift completely shifts the aggro deck in your favor.  So it really needs to be more aggro-control than pure control to make it work, imo.  Control lists simply don't maximize the value of Gravitational Shift, the very card the deck was built around.   


I'm thinking Vault Skirge, Leonin Skyhunter, Squadron Hawk, Kor Aeronaut, Kor Skyfisher, Stormfront Pegasus, etc.  Some of those rare but relatively easy to obtain flyers like Emeria Angel in particular (makes other flyers), Indomitable Archangel, possibly some number of Linvala if you can obtain them, etc.  I would try to keep the curve 4 and below so that on turn 5, you can drop Gravitational Shift and bash for 15 or so.  Imo Vault Skirge is close to power level to Vampire Nighthawk (assuming you have Gravitational Shift out) and Emeria Angel is functionally close to Thopter Assembly, except it costs 4 mana instead of 6.  White Removal is close to black in this format, so I don't think black really adds anything significant.  Squadron Hawk is better with this than any creature black has to offer, so I think it's clear UW is the way to go.    
Am I the only one who saw this article as a great way to try and plug the Grav shift shell together with U/B infect/proliferate? Working on a list, not as many great fliers with infect in U/B but U/W might work too.


Also thinking that Shrine of Piercing Vision could help the deck, as could Vault Skirge.
I'll admit this a card I really haven't taken a look at.

I wonder if there is a U/W Metalcraft version of this using something like Squadron Hawks, Ornithopters and Pilgrims Eye's. Tempered Steel + Gravitational Shift.

Too many overlaps maybe?
According to everyone on these forums. You should only play the best decks in whatever format you want. You are a bad player and should just quit if you intend on using anything else.
Am I the only one who saw this article as a great way to try and plug the Grav shift shell together with U/B infect/proliferate? Working on a list, not as many great fliers with infect in U/B but U/W might work too.


Also thinking that Shrine of Piercing Vision could help the deck, as could Vault Skirge.



The best flying infecter is Inkmoth Nexus, which isn't very budget; the rest are mostly ground pounders like Phyrexian Crusader or Ichorclaw Myr, so I don't think that's the way to go. I really like Vault Skirge though.

I don't think Jacob's UB list works that well -- it seems like its creatures just aren't that good, and there aren't that many of them either. (They are neither numerous nor belligerent.) If I was going to put this list together, I'd run UW with a small Trinket Mage toolbox. UW picks up a ton of card advantage, and you can also put together Conundrum Sphinx and Sphinx of Jwar Isle for hilarious hijinks. Here's a rough draft:

23 lands (Plains/islands with Glacial Fortresses if you have 'em -- M12 has helped make them even cheaper. Seachrome Coast is a little more pricey, but they are probably worth the investment)

4 Squadron Hawk
3 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
4 Vault Skirge
2 Trinket Mage
3 Conundrum Sphinx
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle

1 Trusty Machete
1 Sylvok Lifestaff
4 Gravitational Shift
4 Mana Leak
3 Preordain
2 Dismember
1 Everflowing Chalice

Sideboard:
4 Flashfreeze
3 Refraction Trap
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Celestial Purge
2 Dismember

If you didn't love the sphinx pairing, you could replace Conundrum Sphinx with Argent Sphinx or Indomitable Archangel, and then run Sunblast Angel instead of Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Also, if you had a few extra bucks, you could add Marsh Flats + a swamp or two (and maybe some Drowned Catacombs), run Emeria Angel as your 4cc flyer, and splash some extra hand disruption/creature kill. Consecrated Sphinx is a great upgrade over Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Also... Inkmoth Nexus!

I know I'm a little late, but I had one main problem with this article: wasn't this a Gravitational Shift deck? All of the shifts were sideboarded out against Caw-Blade. I fully understand why, and it was probably for the better, but it left me with the worst feeling inside.

I guess I am a bit of a Timmy, and taking away the card that makes this a deck and not a blindfolded budgeted copy and paste from other decks. With the shift, it feels creative and rewarding; without the shift, it feels random and pointless.

Don't get me wrong, this was a great article made very well including that sideboard decision. But something just felt wrong down the line with this deck.



P.S. I totally want to use Gravitational Shift on an opponent who can't do anything about it. That looked awesome, fun, and MEAN. 

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