12/18/2008 TD: "... Almost Got There"

14 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I think the widespread adoption of the planeswalkers is pretty interesting, proving that they are inherently powerful.

The thing that I find disappointing is the widespread adoption of Bitterblossom.

Sure, started with Faeries, then moved on to token decks, Red Aggro and now Five Color Control decks.

The placement of Bitterblossom in the Five Color Control decks feels a bit like the Monowhite decks that sideboarded in Skullclamp just so they could draw cards off dead Eternal Dragons and Silver Knights.

Blech, well, although standard will be stagnant until Bitterblossom rotates, at least Extended looks like it will be once again exciting!
Legacy player here. Flores, if you're reading this...

In the Dreadstill deck: turn two Standstill can be bad, yes, but it's generally not an optimal play. Threshold decks of most splash colors (white, black, five color, Swans of Bryn Argoll with red) can just Brainstorm into it at the end of the Dreadstill player's turn to force him to discard. Plus, most blue-based Legacy decks run four Daze, four Force of Will at a minimum, so it can be downright deadly for the Dreadstill player to go turn-two Standstill into the opponent's Brainstorm, then basically lose when the opponent untaps and drops a Counterbalance of his own with counter backup (or get forced into racing if Goyf comes down...2/3 Goyf at minimum, likely 3/4 due to high density of fetchlands).

In the Stax deck (the white one): Going to time is the biggest drawback of white Stax - well, that and the lack of card drawing and library manipulation in a format packed with it. Most good mono-white Stax decks run Exalted Angel to speed up the clock. Also, if you think that deck is cool, there's a blue version that uses Tezzeret as its win with Mana Vortex as its 'Geddon analog.

In the Aggro-Loam deck: well, you hit that one on the head, but I'd add that some of those numbers are downright weird by Legacy standards...shocklands? 3 Wasteland? 2 Confidant? Odd.

In the last deck: That deck goes by "Team America," and it's the tempo-oriented evolution of black Threshold. Snuff Out sees zero play in this format outside of just this deck, so Tombstalker being impervious to it is rarely relevant. Most commonly played removal spells either can't touch it because of its size (burn spells, Smother, Pernicious Deed, Engineered Explosives, etc.), or sweep it out of the way without a problem (Swords to Plowshares, Vedalken Shackles, bounce). It's still a good creature regardless, I just though I'd point that out.

The presence of these four decks in particular is certainly interesting. I'd like to know who told Paul Cheon that Dreadstill is a good deck...it puts up the numbers, but it has a reputation of being a bit of a joke deck. It's kind of unfortunate that the Aggro Loam deck didn't get anywhere, though. I don't think Stax is good for it, but it generally does well against everything but combo. Then again, with shocklands and only two Bobs, I can see why it lost.

It's also interesting that there was no straight Threshold, just Team America. Threshold is the best deck in the format despite every deck having a 60% or better Threshold matchup, even Threshold decks.* I'd be interested to know where these guys did their research.

Also, it was incredibly refreshing to see Paul Cheon admit he knew nothing about Legacy personally, and to just discuss the deck instead of pretending to be an expert on the format. BDM's "lol wut legacy u r such a joke format" attitude is always depressing though. Thanks for not doing the same here!

Just chipping in. I know jack **** about Standard and Extended since I don't play those formats (though I hear Faeries is where it's at?).

*This is obviously false, despite what the non-Thresh decks' creators say.
Magma Spray is a great choice over any Shock variant against Finks. Not only does it kill the Finks, but for all intents and purposes it also went to the face, because the Finks don't come back for the extra two life, either.

Bitterblossom is a sick card. Oh yes, Ajani Vengeant is the best card in Standard. Look at all the decks he's in! Especially compared to Bitterblossom.

I am glad to see one very solid common, at least, in Blightning. I just hate how it feels like you need to spend so much to have a competitive deck these days.

Oh yeah, I had fun skimming through it too. One of the best articles all week.
Anyone else got sick from all the pro-USA stuff in this article, beginning with title?

Otherwise solid stuff as usual.
Anyone else got sick from all the pro-USA stuff in this article, beginning with title?

It seemed a bit over the top, but being from the USA, it didn't really bother me.

To be fair, there was similar stuff for Japan two years ago, when Japan swept Worlds (Individual, Team, and PoY). I don't think this was USA-related except insofar as that's the country that almost did it. (The pro-Finkel draft stuff, on the other hand, is typical Flores, and you shouldn't expect anything different at this point.)
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
The USA stuff is the story. It was pretty close to a sweep, they talked about it a lot during the coverage, and it's an interesting angle. He didn't spend that much space on it.

It's nice that Flores covered Takakuwa's Magus deck, but he probably should have mentioned that it didn't win a single game all tournament. Because of the format, he got carried to the semis by the other two decks and the individual play.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

Predator Dragon was the most popular kill in Berlin (assemble lots of Elves, Chord of Calling or Birchlore Rangers to make a Predator Dragon—which has both trample and haste—eat lots of little Elves and Insects, attack for ~200)



Predator Dragon

Creature - Dragon
Flying, haste
Devour 2 (As this comes into play, you may sacrifice any number of creatures. This creature comes into play with twice that many +1/+1 counters on it.)
4/4


Predator Dragon

Creature - Dragon
Flying, haste
Devour 2 (As this comes into play, you may sacrifice any number of creatures. This creature comes into play with twice that many +1/+1 counters on it.)
4/4

To be fair, I keep thinking that Hell's Thunder has trample too. It's just sort of something we've been trained to expect from hasty red dudes more so than flying.
Anyone else got sick from all the pro-USA stuff in this article, beginning with title?

Yes, but coming from Flores I wasn't a least bit surprised by it.

After the World Championships most writers would probably write a little bit more about... you know, the world champion. I guess Malin wasn't as interesting to him as an American or a Japanese player would have been. Or anyone a bit more "famous".
After the World Championships most writers would probably write a little bit more about... you know, the world champion. I guess Malin wasn't as interesting to him as an American or a Japanese player would have been. Or anyone a bit more "famous".

Maybe it's just me, but I would expect focus on a single person in the column that typically does interviews, rather than the column that typically focuses on a variety of decklists, when it's the week after a tri-Constructed-format tournament.

[butthurt Ameriboo damage control or relevant point? YOU decide!]

edit: Shocklands in Legacy provide safety against Wasteland-Extirpate oh god I wish I was joking I've seen that argument soooo many times
The UGB Tempo deck is called "Team America". Confusing, in the context, admittedly. =/

But there's nothing "control" about it. Look back at the list; there's not a single way to generate card advantage without the opponent doubling up on something like Stifle-Naught. Team America is pure Philosophy of Fire; Daze and Force of Will aren't there for control but to clear the way for big beats; no differently than Lightning Bolt and Incinerate in old Sligh.

Otherwise, good article. I didn't mind the hua-America bits, but I'm American, so. I do wish someone had covered more of the Legacy swiss, but oh well. 5-C is making me want to go back into Standard, though. Mmmm. Jund Charm.
Snuff Out sees zero play in this format outside of just this deck, so Tombstalker being impervious to it is rarely relevant.

Eva Green (Bg suicide) plays it too and I'm sure it's played in mono black suicide too, though that's not a very good deck.
edit: Shocklands in Legacy provide safety against Wasteland-Extirpate oh god I wish I was joking I've seen that argument soooo many times

There should be an equivalent of Godwin's Law for the Wasteland-Extirpate argument. Being paranoid of a two card combo, half of which sees little play, is no excuse for running a bad mana base.

Also, Jack, you're not banned here yet? I'm surprised.

I didn't realize that Snuff Out got played in Eva Green, probably because it's been so long since that deck had any impact on the format that I'd forgotten about it. But yes, some Suicide Black decks play it, but virtually nobody plays Suicide Black derivatives anymore.
Sign In to post comments