The Oddball Roundup #3
Standard with Vanguard
Tribal Wars Standard
This week we saw all four events fire with two breaking the thirty player threshold. This is I think a very positive change after just two events firing last week. Two of the events were OLS qualifiers which didn't hurt. Replays were off until Wednesday by which time the only event still showing up was Tribal. Because of this I must apologize for Standard Vanguard and Singleton where I'm missing a total of three decks.
Standard with Vanguard
11/24/07 2x OLS Qualifier 32 Players
We're missing two decks but even without them we can see the clear winner is Heartwood Storyteller. Three differnent archetypes made top eight using him. Prodigal Sorcerer shows up with a mono blue snow control deck smoothing draws and helping out Scrying Sheets. Heartwood decks have a very good matchup versus the other two avatars that made top eight, Chronatog and Dakkon Blackblade. I chatted with the Chronatog player about his deck and he doesn't think there is any way he can beat a Heartwood deck.
This is not Ace of Draft's exact list but he said it should be close. The Heartwood Avatar pairs up nicely with Blue Black Mannequin lists, making all the creatures cost one less. The Heartwood Avatar's second ability is also very powerful. It slows down any control based deck and completely shuts off the Chronatog "Freestuff" deck. The Mannequin deck is not great versus super fast aggro decks but Heartwood giving the deck a turn of mana acceleration and seven extra life solve that problem. You can open with: Turn one Epochrasite, Turn two Phyrexian Ironfoot, Turn three Venser. Both control decks and aggro decks will have a hard time beating an opening like that. Bottle-Gnome reclusion out of the sideboard give it some extra edge against aggro decks.
This is a "mono blue" pickles deck after Kenji Tsumura's model, it runs black. But only for Damnations, to be played off an Urborg. This is a very well designed deck. One of the problems seen with Dakkon decks after Ravnica is they lost the "karros" from that block. With them you could lay down a late game finisher as a land then bounce it back to your hand to play later. Chili Boy solved this with Fathom Seer. Play a Guile face down turn one, turn seven or eight play a Fathom Seer and get your Guile back. Dakkon also solves the problem that sometimes comes up with Fathom Seer where you will end up with half a dozen Island in hand but no spells. With Dakkon you'll always have the right amount of mana and spells. This deck of course has the pickles lock, Vesuvan Shapeshifter combined with Brine Elemental ensures your opponent will never uptap again. Chili Boy is typically a Tribal player so he forgot that Vangaurd allows sideboards. Making it all the way to the semi finals without a sideboard is pretty impressive.
11/24/07 2x 25 Players
|Placing ||Deck |
|1 ||UB Control |
|2 ||UB Control |
|4 ||UG Aggro-Control |
|4 ||GBW Midrange |
|8 ||RGb Goblins |
|8 ||UW Mindslaver Tron |
|8 ||RB Goblins |
|8 ||N/A |
The Singleton results have a strong showing from the format's most consistently successful deck, Blue Black Control along with a variety of other decks. Most surprising to me was the pair of goblin decks in the top eight. These decks offer something lacking in most Singleton decks, synergy. Most successful Singleton decks are not a focused deck like Blue Green Madness or Dragonstorm but a collection of very good cards that all work towards the same goal. With Lorwyn's addition there are now many choices for a goblin deck. By running a critical mass of goblins and cards like Goblin Piledriver and Goblin Recruiter these decks make up for their lack of raw card quality with synergy. It will take time to see if goblins are a fluke or if they are here to stay on the singleton scene. Two green-based decks also made the top eight, one running blue for counters and the other white and black for midrange control cards. The top eight is rounded out by an unknown deck, thank you no replays.
This is a fairly typical Blue Black control list. It aims to counter or kill any early spells by the opponent then control the long game. Typically it will win with Meloku of Psychatog beating down. The sideboard is split between discard for control and combo matchups and lifegain and creature kill for aggro matchups. The most interesting card choices are Arcane Denial and Nevinyrral's Disk. Blue Black control is always a good deck choice for Singleton as it beats most random decks and at least holds its own versus the other most popular decks.
This is a deck that would not exist without Lorwyn. You can see a Red Green Goblins list from my first article here. That was from just before Lorwyn's online release. This deck runs just red and black though sMann the designer of the Red Green list made top eight this week with a Red Green black list. This deck relies on getting a critical mass of goblins into play with a card like Goblin Piledriver or Mad Auntie. Squee, Goblin Nabob is a card more often seen in combo deck than in aggro goblin decks but he has some powerful synergies. He can be sacrificed to a Clickslither or Facevaulter turn after turn. The deck also has a few late game options once attacking is no longer profitable. Wort, Boggart Auntie canuse Tarfire each turn or Goblin Grenade can go to your opponent's face for five damage. Patriarch's Bidding is also in the deck recalling the Goblin Bidding decks that were common a while ago. Returning a graveyard full of Goblins to play is a pretty powerful move. The sideboard packs in plenty of mana denial for muti colored control decks along with a few goblins.
If you find yourself playing against this deck I have a couple pieces of advice. First, not all goblins are created equal. Goblin Warchief, Goblin Piledriver, Wort, Boggart Auntie, Goblin King, and Mad Auntie are all must kill cards, some of the others it depends on the situation. Board wipers are of course good but goblins can come back from them with nearly half a dozen goblins that can fetch a friend be it from the graveyard or the rest of the deck. One last note, if your deck doesn't run counterspells and your opponent plays a Goblin Recruiter you're pretty much done. He can grab a Goblin Ringleader and stack the deck to draw four goblins. You'll often die to a very large, hasted Goblin Piledriver.
Tribal Wars Standard
11/25/07 2x 38 Players
|Placing ||Tribe ||Colors ||Notes |
|1 ||Faeries ||UB || |
|2 ||Faeries ||UG || |
|4 ||Giants ||WR ||List below |
|4 ||Goblins ||BR || |
|8 ||Humans ||WR ||Control |
|8 ||Goblins ||BR || |
|8 ||Goblins ||BR || |
|8 ||Elves ||BG || |
Tribal's attendance numbers post Lorwyn continue to be very strong. Wizards probably should have made this event an OLS Qualifier as people are clearly interested in the format right now. This top eight screams Lorwyn, seven of eight slots are taken up by Lorwyn tribes. Humans take only one slot this week and seem to be on the decline. Faeries of the Blue Black and Blue Green persuasions continue to do very well taking both finals slots. Goblins were the most numerous tribe in the top eight with three decks all Black Red. The real surprise is a Red White giants deck making the semifinals. Tribal players it seems are a tight-lipped bunch. I was only able to get in touch with a pair of players from this top eight and both were holding their decklists close aiming for another top 8eight next week. I was promised that if Giants top eight again next week I can have the decklist, so lets all root for them because I'm interested to see that list.
Lucky for me when replays came back up the Tribal event was still in the system. Because of this I was able to find out most of what the giants deck was packing. A Psionic Blast induced tie in game three of the semi finals gave me six games to watch and without sideboards that really shows you what a deck looks like. The following list is my best guess but don't come crying to me if it is wrong, it probably is. The cards below were the only ones I saw which works out to be everything as a four of deck with twenty four lands (twenty five or twenty six would probably be a good thing in this deck). It's possible some of these were not four ofs and he had more than twenty four lands or some one or two of spells I never saw.
This deck has sixteen board wipers! Twelve these leave you with creature(s) alive! Pyroclasm and Thundercloud Shaman are hell on any deck relying on x/1s or x/2s. If you look at the rest of the top eight every other deck was doing exactly that. The semi finals match did goto four games versus U/B faeries. Giants lost game two to Faerie Conclaves with no way to kill them and only four cards in the deck that can block them. Game three faeries cast Psionic Blast when on one life for the tie. Giants was stuck on two lands for most of game four and never in it. I think this is a very good deck for the wennie dominated metagame and expect to see more than one person playing it next week. Adding in Incinerate, Lash Out, or Oblivion Ring might not be a bad idea to combat Faerie Conclave as it is a very popular card right now.
11/25/07 2x OLS Qualifer 26 Players
|Placing ||Deck |
|1 ||Goblins |
|2 ||UGR Threshold |
|4 ||Flash |
|4 ||Flash |
|8 ||Countertop Nought |
|8 ||Landstill |
|8 ||Dark Boros (WRB Aggro) |
|8 ||BR Dragons |
This is a very strait forward Flash list. It maximizes it's chances of getting Flash+Hulk in hand by turn two. It also brings three Stifles for the backup plan of Phyrexian Dreadnought beatdown. The sideboard uses some cards that are effective but not often seen. Necromancy lets you go off with Flash removed from the game, or a Hulk in your graveyard. Slaughter Pact is included to kill creatures like Meddling Mage or Samurai of the Pale Curtain. Contagion has been run in this slot though I think Winston Smith's choice of Slaughter Pact is superior as you won't always have a black card to spare.
Well this brings us to the end of another week of top eights. I would like to thank Rozia for tribal top eight info along with all those who compiled the top eight info for Classic. Also thanks to those who provided me with decklists. Hope people make it to as many events as they can be nice for all four to fire a second week in a row. Hope you learned something from this article or a decklist caught your eye. Next week I'll touch on how expensive each format can be and some budget options for each. As always feedback and suggestions are welcome and feel free to message me in game with any questions.