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By: KaraZorEl, Winter Trabex
Oct 03 2011 11:37pm
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 When I first assumed the responsibilities of hosting the Heirloom format back in June of this year, control and combo/aggro were the dominant decks. Three banned cards later, we have a metagame where any deck can beat another on any given week. However, I'll introduce a quirky version of mono black control that (as far as I know) is unique to Heirloom. The deck was originally designed by aset91 and tweaked by taqo to the point where it has become a regular in the top 4 every week.

 

The deck keeps an unusual tempo. It wants to control the game state until it gets a Beetle or a Banshee. Quest for the Gravelord is the newest addition to the deck and it provides a strong interaction here. The biggest challenge opponents to the deck face is that Go for the Throat and Dismember are both outside the legality list for Heirloom, which is based on price rather than time of release.

The release of M12 provided us all with some new lands. The ally color land cycle in the last three core sets has allowed more flexibility for multi-colored strategies; it also reminded everyone what they already knew while Alara was legal in standard- Sprouting Thrinax is a bit too powerful as an uncommon.

 

This is one way in which the metagame has adapted. The Thrinax is a creature which is meant to die, and as such, he is an easy choice whenever a Fleshbag Marauder hits the field. This deck also utilizes Tajuru Preserver in an effort to stop that from happening. Thought Hemorrhage is surprisingly good- and better than Memoricide- as it can take a card out of your hand after a Duress. The main purpose of spells like that is not to grab someone's win condition but to take it out of their hand. Most decks have such varied win conditions and don't rely on one card alone to win.

Another mono black control deck involved another Quest- Quest for the Nihil Stone. The deck played through with Dusk Urchins (which was not legal at the time) but when the player sideboarded it out, it still lost in the finals anyway.

 

DarkestNight's Quest for the Nihil Stone
 
Creatures
4 Dusk Urchins
4 Gorgon Recluse
4 Oona's Prowler
4 Nyxathid
16 cards

Other Spells
3 Quest for the Nihil Stone
4 Wrench Mind
2 Diabolic Servitude
1 Dream Salvage
4 Doom Blade
4 Chain of Smog
2 Tendrils of Corruption
4 Sign in Blood
24 cards
Lands
20 Swamp
20 cards

Sideboard
3 Memoricide
4 Infest
4 Expunge
4 Duress
15 cards
Chain of Smog

 

Chain of Smog is another unconventional card that has its uses in Heirloom. Ideally, the Quest will already be on the board when it is cast. This will force an opponent not to use its ability to target its caster but just sit there and discard two cards (which is more powerful than Wrench Mind and easier to cast in multi-color decks). Doom Blade is also a choice based on the idea of not seeing mono black. This deck, like many others, posits a Pyroclasm effect due to the strong role of many aggro decks in the format. It is cards like Infest that win games for players.

Of course, no metagame would be complete without a Goblin deck.

 

The main threat here is the Goblin Chieftan as the Mogg War Marshal and his tokens will get haste as soon as they come in. The shell of this deck is likely something Pauper plays have seen and been annoyed at- it's a red deck that brings out creatures fast and makes them do interesting things. Pyroclasm is its own worst enemy but that card is mainly meant for any deck that gets ahead of it and/or controls better. This deck's biggest problem is lifegain as there are no real beaters and sacrificing mountains to make 1/1 Goblins doesn't work when your opponent has 70 life or more.

 

Every week that Owain came, he would play the same Merfolk deck and win. However, when Meerow Reejerey got the ax, he struggled to find a deck that had enough consistency to succeed in Heirloom. His 4 Color Control is a result of that. Bloodhall Ooze is a turn 1 drop that gets bigger. A possible turn 2 drop is Jund Hackblade. Despite having 16 non-creature spells (and 11 in the sideboard), Ancient Ziggurat is a strong card for this deck. As before, Sprouting Thrinax and Putrid Leech are hard to get rid of. The deck doesn't have a sideboard for MBC's sacrifice triggers because it figures it will always have more creatures than you (thus, Unified Will). You can tell what the metagame looks like given that this is another deck that runs Pyroclasm.

Comicalflop had an interesting idea. Let's make infinite Elf Warrior tokens!

 

 

 The combo here is attaching presence of Gond to Sunstrike Legionnaire. The Legionnaire untaps whenever a creature comes into play. It's another Splinter Twin-ish kind of combo. Totem Guide Hartebeest and Three Dreams provide the consistency to find the enchantments and Congregation at Dawn will find the creature. Story Circle is a card that's meant to stall the game until the combo is found. Blinding Angel is surprisingly good as there is not a great deal of fliers in the current metagame. Defense Grid was a choice that I introduced into the metagame to deal with control decks, but control has not been played as of late, possibly due to how long it takes for a control deck to seal the win.

And now, my take on Shamans.

 

 

 If the deck appears to be missing something, it's Wolf-Skull Shaman and Leaf-Crowned Elder. I tried to use Hua Tuo, Honored Physician as my recursion, but with his toughness at two, he too is vulnerable to the Pyroclasm effects running around. I chose to have Tajuru Preserver in the main board rather than the sideboard as it is a Shaman as well and relevant to the metagame. Were I to play this deck again, I would use Leyline of Vitality to increase everyone's toughness. The burn spells I used often finished the game. I had an opponent at nine life and had 3 Bolts in hand. I wanted to use something better than Shock, but Incinerate was not legal.

Our other tournament winners from this past month were:

Five Color Cascade- A deck that uses all five colors to generate card advantage. Enlisted Wurm is completely viable.

Restore Balance/March of the Machines- Restore Balance has always been a deck lurking out there in the shadows of our metagame, but the addition of March of the Machines allowed the Borderposts to attack, thus improving the deck's tempo. Previously, the win condition was to suspend creatures and take forever at it.

That's all for this month! Heirloom fires every Sunday at 1:30 PM EST in the /Heirloom room. After next week's event, we (may) have another price rotation! Hope to see you there!