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By: kriskurse, Christian Gage Downs
Feb 05 2014 1:00pm
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This week is going to be a little bit different. Unlike most weekends, this weekend we didn't have an event for me to cover as far as standard. What we did have, was the prerelease for the new set, Born of the Gods. This week's Topping the Charts will take a different view on things. Instead of reviewing events, we will take a look at the best decks and how certain cards released will affect it or cripple it. 

First let's take a look at my prerelease experience. Usually, I am the player who will attend a FNM right before the prerelease. Then once FNM is done battle until the wee hours of the morning and do somewhat decent. This weekend, I had a personal agenda involving me judging the event rather than playing. I wanted to see if judging was for me, and after judging for almost 24 hours straight I can say that I absolutely love it. I like being the one someone calls on to know the answers, and the one people go to if there is a problem. After this weekend, my goal is to become a higher level judge so I can judge Opens, GPs, etc. 

This prerelease, you only technically get 2 random packs of Born of the Gods. Sure, you get the seeded pack but you might not get anything of value from it since that pack is a little bit less random. So even though there were 2 different prereleases that I followed, I didn't see too many great Born of the Gods cards pulled. That being said, a few cards popped up more than others as far as rares. The first night, 4 separate people pulled Xenegos, God of Revels, and 3 got him the second one. Also Karametra, God of Harvest was pulled multiple times in both events. Other than that there was some sick Theros pulls, but I wasn't too impressed with Born of the Gods as a whole.

What we are gonna do now, is take a look at the top decks of the format that have been dominating for weeks and see what new cards could make it that much better. 

 

 

There's no denying that Mono Black Devotion has made a huge impact on the format since midway through our new standard. Since its first debut it has crushed the competition. At the same time, other decks needed to make changes to adapt to the Boogeyman's presence in standard. Every card in the deck is a threat. From Pack Rat to Desecration Demon it is all pretty scary, and for good reason. But will the release of new cards from Born of the Gods hinder or help it to thrive? 

Bile Blight

Bile Blight is one of the cards from Born of the Gods I am actually excited about. I love cards that have a Echoing Truth type feel, much like Detention Sphere. I believe this card will be a huge player in standard once Born of the Gods is legal. Pack Rat has been a huge threat for about as long as Mono Black Devotion has been present. Sometimes having 1 or 2 on the field can mean game over, because of how hard they are to get rid of. As long as they aren't too big, this can help get rid of a few of them. Have you ever been killed by just Mutavaults? I have. This answers Mutavault in a funny way. This makes animating multiple Mutavaults a risk, because once they are animated they are creatures with the same name as each other. Also, the -3/-3 is relevant against some of the match-ups you'd need it to be. It kills Nightveil Specter, Tidebinder Mage, and more.

Drown in Sorrow

Ever since Black Sun's Zenith rotated from standard, black needed a semi-boardwipe to make some decks playable. I am a Grixis man myself, and even though Theros gave us Anger of the Gods, it just wasn't enough. Basically Infest with Scry tacked on, this helps answer one of the archetypes I feel will be making a huge appearance alongside Brimaz, King of Oreskos. That archetype is White Weenies. Most of the creatures in White Weenies (without the help of Spear of Heliod) have a toughness of 2 or less. This can serve as a huge boardwipe against that matchup, and it also escapes Brave the Elements. Not only is it good against weenie decks, but also any deck running a lot of mana accelerators like Elvish Mystic and Voyaging Satyr. This is mostly a sideboard card though, because it wouldn't work against every deck.

With these new weapons I believe Mono Black will continue to be a presence in the room at most events. Of course that is probably true up until half of the deck rotates in the fall, because of how powerful it is. However; Black isn't the only color that got new toys to play with. White also got a few fun cards to make White Weenies a thing again. 

Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Since being spoiled every white weenie player has been drooling over the King of Oreskos. Unlike its counterpart Hero of Bladehold, you get a token for blocking with him too. Some may argue however that he is slightly weaker still, because he doesn't have battlecry. What he lacks in battlecry he makes up for with vigilance. The ability to attack, put a token on the battlefield attacking and still be around to block if needed is huge. Also he is also a bit cheaper and has the same power and toughness. Aside from that, you have a virtual 4/5 blocker out of this cat. 

Eidolon of Countless Battles

Hexproof decks have been around for quick some time. From standard to modern, there exists tons of enchantments that can help a creature deal insane amounts of damage in a short amount of time. Eidolon of Countless Battles not only fits in the White Weenie, but I believe he could be a real tool for those hexproof decks. I, myself have been testing a Junk Hexproof deck online for a few weeks and I'm loving how much fun it is. Once Born of the Gods is released online I'll be picking up a few of these to add to the deck. Not only do you get a buff for the amount of creatures you control, but you also get one for enchantment auras too. So he is a bigger version of Ethereal Armor, and gets better the more you enchant to your creatures. I expect to see him used, at least in one of those two archetypes. 

Searing Blood

Searing Blood is another card I believe will be used in the side if not in the mainboard. A lot of relevant creatures have 2 or less toughness. Not only that, but if you're running an aggro deck and they've blocked with a bigger creature this can help take out that creature and still get extra damage in. This card will make a huge impact for the same reason Pharika's Cure is used in mono black. It kills Mutavault. Even control decks today are using the manland, and this helps with taking them out so that they both can't attack you, or be used as a blocker. 

Xenegos's Influance

  

We all know that G/R players are drooling to smash face with the God of Revels. From the start even the planeswalker version has had a huge impact on standard. Not only is his new god a threat we will have to deal with in the future. He brought a few fans for us to enjoy also. Fanatic of Xenagos is an uncommon that I believe to have some constructed potential. Either a permanent 4/4 for 3 mana, or a 4/4 with haste for one turn. Unlike other tribute cards, this one makes you choose based on what you have at your disposal to remove it if needed. 

There are also a few cards that I believe are "too hyped". Thassa's Rebuff happens to be one of those cards. Sure with enough devotion to blue it can be a really good soft counter, but otherwise it's almost powerless. If you have no devotion at all then you counter a spell unless its controller pays 0. 

Another one of the over-hyped cards is Pain Seer. Sure, a Dark Confidant ability might be really good in some formats, but he is no Bob. First of all it needs to be tapped in order for you to benefit from its inspired ability. That means you'd either have to attack with it and risk it dying before it becomes relevant, or to dedicate a spell in your list just for tapping creatures. So unless you're that dedicated to becoming inspired, it will take a minimum of 2 full turns before you can use his ability. The only thing I see good about needing to become untapped to trigger his ability is the potential abuse of doing so, getting more and more cards in the process. 

Now it is time to look at an interaction I am excited to troll with at my local tournaments. Gorgon's Head is a new card that was released with Born of the Gods. An almost functional Basilisk Collar reprint, this artifact gives its wearer deathtouch. I remember seeing Basilisk Collar used in a few competitive decks back when Inferno Titan and the likes ruled the world. Remember Nightshade Peddler? Yeah. Izzet Staticaster can make a comeback with this card. While not as fast as the Nightshade Peddler / Izzet Staticaster interaction for Innistrad standard, it still packs a punch. Have an army of tokens to worry about? 1 damage and they are all dead. Pack Rat got you down? Not anymore. I am excited to give it a try out just because of how much potential it has. Like I said, it's mostly for trolling my friends. 

Conclusion: 

Next week we have the release of Born of the Gods, and the first standard tournament since its release. Honestly I've seen a trend in how adding sets to standard works, and I feel we will see this trend make a usual appearance. Usually players are too scared to branch out from what they are used to play (aka the decks Theros introduced) that we won't see a whole lot of changes to decks other than a spell or 2. It might take a few weeks for the new cards and archetypes to start showing up if they are even going to. Who knows, Mono Black could rule the world up until rotation. I for one love the deck, but want to find its kryptonite. 

Well thanks for joining me in this week's Topping the Charts! Next week we will be reviewing the first standard Open after the release of Born of the Gods. Who knows! I could be wrong about no one branching out and we could see some good brew decks to tinker with for this somewhat new standard. Until then, this is Gage signing out!

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