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By: ricklongo, Rick Longo
Nov 14 2011 1:52pm
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Hello and welcome to my first Constructed event video article!

As just about any Magic-playing friend of mine will tell you, I have never been exactly an aggro player at heart. Or a combo player, for that matter. Ever since I got my first Magic deck back in 1998 (featuring all stars such as D'Avenant Archer and Wind Spirit), my play style lent itself more towards slow, grinding controlling strategies.


If there's one thing that I've learned about competitive Magic, though, is that limiting yourself to colors and archetypes isn't exactly a great way to get better. Which is why, over the years, I've always tried to be open-minded for the possibility of having to give up on my beloved Plains and Islands for a given season.


Standard with Innistrad proved a nice such opportunity. The thing is, I don't think control is in a good position right now. As much as I'd like to play something like Solar Flare (or even UB Control), I don't think people have found a build that can reasonably deal with the plethora of aggressive strategies we have in the MTGO gauntlet.


Luckily for me, passing on control doesn't mean I need to pass on UW this time around. My first week of new Standard playtesting saw me trying my hand at one of the more successful archetypes on MTGO daily events: White-blue humans.


So, without further ado, here is my first attempt at recording a Standard daily event.



White-Blue Humans
a Standard deck by Rick Longo
4 Grand Abolisher
4 Mirran Crusader
4 Hero of Bladehold
12 cards

Other Spells
3 Moorland Haunt
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Doomed Traveler
3 Fiend Hunter
2 Geist of Saint Traft
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Mana Leak
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Sword of War and Peace
2 Angelic Destiny
12 cards

12 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Glacial Fortress
20 cards

Mirran Crusader



Deck commentary



Round 1

Here is a good example of why I am avoiding control for the time being. I simply don't think control is well-equipped to deal with the very potent early rush current aggro decks can muster. Also, even though it didn't come up in this first round, Moorland Haunt is a big beating against wraths, and either way people don't even seem to be packing sweepers right now.



Round 2

Gavony Township decks are a very scary prospect right now in my opinion. I think they generally have a good match against us but, without Mana Leak, Moorland Haunt, and Doomed Traveler, they seem much more vulnerable to Day of Judgment, which likely makes the deck a bit worse against control. Either way, it is by no means an unwinnable matchup for us if we manage to get a good mixture of early pressure and removal cards. I certainly stumbled a bit on my mulligan plans there, so that's something to keep in mind.



Round 3

Even though the match was close, I must say I am not very scared of Solar Flare. Our deck is resilient to wraths and removal in general, and our aggro starts just mean that we're bashing his face while he's busy digging through his deck. And when he finally finds his big plays, chances are we will be ready with Mana Leak or Fiend Hunter / Oblivion Ring. This was probably the most difficult Solar Flare match I've played thus far with Humans, and I am yet to lose one such matchup.


Round 4

His build was very different from mine, but this is the closest we got this daily to a mirror match. I think I like my version better, since it wastes no valuable maindeck space playing defensive cards such as Spellskite. I also do not like Gitaxian Probe here – it's a very good card in decks like old Standard's Splinter Twin, where you really need to both cycle through your deck and know what answers your opponent has lying around, but here it will often just tie your mana up or lose you valuable life points against opposing aggro decks.


Some important hindsight points:

  • The Geist of Saint Traft / Angelic Destiny combo is very good when it gets going, but I don't think it should be a main course of action, since both cards are underwhelming by themselves. I've seen decks playing four of each maindeck, which I think is just relying too much on the combo. I am happy with my 2x of each.

  • (Leonin Relic-Warder) is a lot better than I initially gave it credit for. There are just a lot of very good artifacts and enchantments in the metagame, and he comes in against a lot of stuff. I especially like him against Wurmcoil Engine, which is a very big problem for us if it sticks.

  • While playing 2-man queues, I faced a lot of monoblack infect decks. The three Dismembers on the sideboard are mainly against that deck, since we can't otherwise deal with Phyrexian Crusader and (Inkmoth Nexus). These decks have proved to be less numerous in actual dailies, so I think it is safe to take a Dismember out for another Day of Judgment, which is very important against the GW match.

  • Mirran Crusader is very unfair, but Hero of Bladehold manages to be even more impressive. I wouldn't even think of playing less than four of each.


Well, this was it. Hope you enjoyed this first adventure into Standard territory. I have already started tweaking the deck to account for some metagame needs, but this is talk for next time.



Nice by apaulogy at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 15:04
apaulogy's picture

I like watching you play.

I would like to test Standard with someone here. I will add buddy you and see where that takes me.

R1G2: Opponent casts Wurmcoil Engine. RL:"Oh, yea! This guy? I am Mana Leaking"

I lol'd.

M2G2(GW Humans/tokens in general)- You sided in Arbiter because you feared Primeval Titan. This deck never runs Titans, or anything that searches for that matter. Like the top of their curve is either Elspeth, Garruk 2 or 3, and Geist-Honored Monk. The Arbiter is relatively useless ATM except against the Wolf Run decks. I realize some of the Wolf-Runners are running it GWr and I understand your fear of Titans, but Blade Splicer and Hero give the deck away (these are not typically in the Wolf Run decks)...now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Just FYI

Nice work.

Thanks! I do realize that by ricklongo at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 20:37
ricklongo's picture

Thanks! I do realize that now. This was my second Daily with the deck, and I had faced a GW Pod deck with token stuff like Geist-Honored Monk in my first, so I was afraid. Either way, I would say the Arbiters are kinda so-so overall.

Thanks for the reply by apaulogy at Wed, 11/16/2011 - 13:20
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I forget about Pod decks because I kind of dismiss them (they are better than I give them credit for), but I would say that Arbiter is definitely legit against those.

RE: Richard Longo-

I work with a gentleman called Richard Gross....

Your name is Dick Longo...... by menace13 at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 16:44
menace13's picture

Your name is Dick Longo......

^ hilarious by greyes3 at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 17:16
greyes3's picture

^ hilarious

I've listened a fair amount by ricklongo at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 20:39
ricklongo's picture

I've listened a fair amount of jokes on my last name throughout my life, and that's coming from a country where "Ricardo" itself doesn't remotely lend itself to double entendres! One can only imagine what would happen to some poor American chap named Richard Longo. :P

? by ScionOfJustice at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 17:22
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Why are Champion of the Parish, Doomed Traveler, Fiend Hunter, and Geist of Saint Traft "other" spells as opposed to creatures?

They are not yet in the MTGO by laughinman at Wed, 11/16/2011 - 11:05
laughinman's picture

They are not yet in the MTGO traders database.