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By: thewoof2, Christopher Gallon
Feb 13 2014 1:00pm
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Classic Restrictions

"Am I reading this correctly" I said to myself last week when I found out WOTC decided to restrict both Lodestone Golem and Sphere of Resistance in classic.  As you know, I was reading it correctly and in doing so WOTC has shaken up the classic format in a major way.  Before jumping into the impact, I think this is yet another move that has to be questioned.  As I have said before, I did not think WOTC should have restricted any cards.  But let's not rehash that whole discussion, it's a waste of time.  One thing I do feel is important to mention is I am amazed that WOTC is so influenced by certain vocal players.  It is clear to me that the reason WOTC made this decision was based on input from certain vocal users.  This is not the way to make decisions, players will inherently be biased to some degree no matter what they say and therefore WOTC needs to make independent decisions based on the data they collect and know (which is more than players).

With that let me try to lay-out many of my issues with these restrictions:

1.  The Timing:  Classic is ending with vintage which is scheduled just a few months away.  Why make such a change at this time.

2.  Destroying an Archetype:  STAX is dead, no two ways around it, the mana denial STAX deck lost two key pieces of the deck.  Why decide to restrict two cards in the deck?  If you decide you need to restrict a card, pick one card and that will have a significant impact.  But hitting two destroys the deck.

3.  Explain the Decision:  WOTC says mana-denial cards are "dominating the format" but where is the statistical proof to their rational, show us the numbers that back the claim that a deck is unfair.  Recently besides one player (Montolio), STAX has not dominated from my experiences and in fact STAX looks to be faltering.

So one last item to discuss, many people are discussing the restrictions to affinity.  In my experiences, this is a big blow to affinity, Lodestone Golem is your "late" game answer to many hate cards.  Whether it is Energy Flux, Seeds of Innocence or Peacekeeper, dropping a Lodestone Golem is a huge finisher and a larger creature for the deck with a 5/3 power/toughness.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying affinity is done like STAX, this hurts but isn't a knockout punch.  In fact, if people start to remove their artifact hate cards from their sideboard this could actually help affinity.

2/8 Daily Event

The 2/8 Daily Event figured to be the last event before the restrictions, because of that I decided white trash would be a good deck because I thought I would face many STAX decks.  I also thought there would be other white trash decks but little to no dredge decks, so I decided to remove my dredge hate and pack some more hate.  Let's look at the deck:

MATCH #1 vs FishyFellow

Key Commentary:

·         I figured this match-up would be long and a battle of attrition, so I wanted to play quickly to save time.

  • Game 1 I had a significant advantage getting an active sky hussar but his peacekeeper kept me back.  I got lucky by killing his lands and making him unable to pay the upkeep cost.
  • Game 2 was just as I had envisioned, battle of time.  In the end, neither one of us could do anything and so I win by timing him out.... fun stuff.

MATCH #2 vs Cronin

Key Commentary:

  • Game 1 I felt like I was in a good position but nothing I could do after he got the time vault combo.
  • Game 2 I was in the driver seat until he played toxic deluge, ouch, after that it was over.  This deck does not expect to face mass kill and is ill-prepared to do so. 

MATCH #3 vs XShockWave

Key Commentary:

  • Game 1 I slow played him with the standstill out and my deck has enough LD to kill off his man lands.
  • Game 2 I had some mana issues but stabilized only to get hit with a pyroclasm, again the mass kill hurts me badly.
  • Game 3 it was engineered explosives followed up with a crucible of worlds to kill my lands.

So after winning match 1, I lost to mass kill.  Thinking I would run into a lot of Mishra's Workshop decks I brought white trash but ended up not facing any! 

Classic League Week 1 versus FishyFellow

For what looks to be the final classic league where lodestone golem is playable I have decided to use my try and true affinity build.  My first opponent is versus FishyFellow on a similar white trash deck I ran above.  Should be a tough match, here it is:

Key Commentary:

So I win my week 1 of the Classic League!  Doubling back on the impact of restricting Lodestone Golem for affinity, in game 2 in this match if I did not have Lodestone Golem I would have lost game 2 most assuredly for what it's worth.