jamuraa's picture
By: jamuraa, Marie Janssen
Aug 07 2008 3:55pm
Login to post comments

I wasn't exactly on a roll before last week, but I thought I had the regular schedule and could get back to normal. Unfortunately I was also doing something quite important last week, and that was moving to a new apartment. I got moved over the weekend before last, so I didn't have an article for that week, or the meta to write the article on even. It's kindof hard to gather meta when your computer is unplugged for three of the busiest PE days. Anyway I am back this week and will be regular again. If not, I might consider getting more fiber. The new apartmentis great, and I am so thrilled that I moved to such a better place. If you're nice, I will take some pictures of my new awesome workspace and share them.

I'm mostly a one-man band here, gathering all of the meta by chatting people up and asking them what is going on, but there are people out there that have a big support group, or at least the semblance of one. I have quite a lot of interaction with them throughout the week, because they tend to do well. These people are part of a MTGO clan. To be fair, I'm actually a recent member of a clan, the PDC Planewalkers, and a former captain of one of the many PureMTGO branches. Clans are an important part of MTGO, because they really help the players themselves bring a sense of community to the program.

What, exactly, does being in a clan actually bring to the Spike player who wants to play in the Standard PEs and win them all, though? I'm not privy to the inner workings of some of the bigger and more competitive clans, but I have a pretty good idea. The main advantage of the group is that you always have someone to play competitive Magic with. This can be invaluable to someone who is trying to get a handle on a new deck, or size a deck against the competition. Sure, you can play in the Tournament Practice room, but that isn't very consistent, even if you ask for a specific deck to play against, you won't know the exact deck list and they might not be of the same caliber that you are.

This is somewhat analagous to the Magic: with pants organizations which are commonly referred to as playgroups, but it isn't exactly the same. Normally you need to schedule a time in order to get together and play against each other in real life, and it starts being quite the organizatonal hassle after you get above about 5 players. This is quite the opposite on Magic: pants optional -- you almost want more and more players in your clan, as there is more of a chance of someone being online and willing to play a deck against yours. Version Three brought us a higher limit on the clan than previously, which was set at a weakly low number. Why is there a limit at all? Well it's a point of prestige, because the top clans get displayed on the MTGO home page. Currently one of the most active clans in the Standard PEs, DRAGONQUEST is currently on the top of the standings. If there wasn't a limit, you could just put a ton of mediocre players in a clan, and it would end up at the top.

Speaking of DRAGONQUEST, they made quite the run on Standard PEs this week, getting a lot of top 8 spots. They were also quite friendly and nice to chat with. It's good to know that some of the best players on the game are reasonable -- and cooperative in my case, which helps quite a bit with bringing all of you the meta that you see here every week. I'd like to give a shout-out this week to members of the clan that helped out significantly this week or in the past: jhum, sneakattackkid, CavemanLawyer, BeatzMachine, Drago, gokhan, and go michigan2. I might be forgetting someone, but they're a good set of guys, and I wish them good luck in future PEs (not that they need it!).

Statistics for Standard PEs: 7/29/2008 to 8/05/2008

Just when we were getting back to a normal schedule, I screw things up again. Anyway we are back this week and next week with meta. There were the normal amount of scheduled events this week, and all 14 of them had a tournament start this time, and none of them bugged. A whole week of meta - there were 112 spots of meta to gather this week. I wasn't able to determine the deck of 18 of these players, or about 16 percent. This is double the last time I did this, but I expect the remaining 16 percent to follow about the same as the meta I did get. There was an average of 29 players this week. It's a lower average attendance than last week, but remember that one event had so low attendance that it wasn't held. I still think we're in good shape for having Eventide about a week away.

Colors Deck Name Placings Percentage
Demigod Red 19% (+8%)
/ Reveillark 13% (-1%)
Merfolk 12% (+3%)
Faeries 12% (nc)
Elves 9% (+1%)
Swans Combo 3% (nc)
Aggro 3% (new)
Empty Storm 1%
Rock 1% (new)
Quick 'N Toast <1% (-5%)
Big Mana <1% (-5%)
Control <1% (-2%)
  Other 2% (-5%)
  Unknown 16% (+8%)

Last time I wrote about the metagame, I was touting a five-cost flyer. Well, it's still a five-cost flier, but it's Demigod Red that is taking the top spot this week. This deck was probably bolstered a bit by a version of it winning the United States Nationals which was held over the weekend. I would expect to see a lot more of it because of this, and even more after Eventide as the deck becomes full-powered with Figure of Destiny. Reveillark and Mono-Red are playing a nifty tango in the top spots, so I might expect it to switch around, but who knows what will happen with the shakeup in the next few weeks. It is also the Big Gainer this week, chomping up almost ten percent of the meta for itself and stealing equally from the lower-tier decks it looks like.

The Big Loser is a tie this week, between the Big Mana deck and the Quick 'N Toast decks. They have all but disappeared from the meta this week, only having a couple spots and not even making the finals once. This isn't all that surprised, you don't see these decks being evolved and playing at the top tables in the paper tournaments that much lately either, so I don't really expect the decks to make the top tiers of online either. There are still the staunch defenders of the decks though, and they will peek through to the top 8 every once in a while out of luck or just meeting the right meta on the way to the top. Next week if they still only have one spot, they will be in the Others category.

There are only three decks in the Others category this week, and they aren't all that interesting at that. I talked about the black-green control deck in the last weeks, and it caught a spot in the Others section this time because it has been low in the ranks and lost even more ground this week - it only has one spot so it shows up here. The same is true for the black-red tokens deck which had a brief appearance in the second-tier meta a while back while some of the other types were in their infancy. The more interesting one is a mono-black control deck - you might remember that PureMTGO ran a contest though Pure Standard a while back to come up with a viable MBC deck in standard, and I'm happy to see that the spirit is alive and well.

Mode of the Week: Faeries

Standard-Morningtide Deck played by Andrew Pirschel
4 Mistbind Clique
4 Scion of Oona
3 Sower of Temptation
4 Spellstutter Sprite
15 cards

Other Spells
4 Cryptic Command
4 Rune Snag
4 Terror
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Bitterblossom
20 cards
4 Faerie Conclave
4 Island
4 Mutavault
1 Pendelhaven
4 River of Tears
4 Secluded Glen
4 Underground River
25 cards

4 Bottle Gnomes
2 Extirpate
2 Glen Elendra Archmage
3 Damnation
4 Thoughtseize
15 cards
Spellstutter Sprite

I've covered Faeries at least twice in this article, once in this top spot. It's a deck that is here to stay people. A variation of the standard deck with just a couple switches is basically dominating the Lorwyn-Shadowmoor Block qualifiers for PT Berlin, which means that the small number of standard cards which aren't going to stick around after the rotation aren't going to impact it THAT much. On the plus side, Eventide brings almost nothing for the deck. There are 2 missing cards from this sideboard, which are supposed to be Glen Elendra Archmage, but they don't work because we don't have the cards in MTGO here. This deck list was specifically played by Andrew Pirschel and was one of the top decks at Nationals, but didn't make Top 8.

Even though I've shown it before, I wanted everyone to take a look at the most recent incarnation and point out the differences in some of the decks that are making top 8 lately, as well as talk a but about the matchups. The main core of this deck, built around Cryptic Command, Mistbind Clique, and Bitterblossom is the same, countering the big spells which gives it a leg-up on the Reveillark decks which are out there, and tapping everything which gives them just that much more. It is probably the deck to play in the next week, as Reveillark is on the rise because of it's good matchup against Demigod Red. However, don't switch to it too early, because the matchup with Demigod Red for Faeries isn't exactly a cakewalk. You need to draw the right cards, and hope that your opponent doesn't draw two of the Demigod of Revenge which will still wreck you when coming into play from the grave. Don't look now, but the last half of the paragraph just defined a rock-paper-scissors metagame: Faeries beats Reveillark, Reveillark beats Demigod Red, Demigod Red beats Faeries. Look for this cycle to rotate around for a while as they wrangle for the top spot.

Outlier of the Week: Red-Green Aggro

Aggro (Predator)
Standard-Eventide Deck played by Carl Dillahay
4 Figure of Destiny
4 Kavu Predator
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Tarmogoyf
20 cards

Other Spells
3 Flame Javelin
4 Incinerate
3 Shard Volley
4 Tarfire
4 Rift Bolt
14 cards
4 Fire-Lit Thicket
3 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Karplusan Forest
8 Mountain
3 Mutavault
22 cards

4 Magus of the Moon
3 Krosan Grip
3 Firespout
2 Unwilling Recruit
3 Dragon's Claw
15 cards
Fire-Lit Thicket

Okay, so I continue giving you cards that you can't play. This deck is more for the next couple of weeks, when Eventide comes out. I can justify putting it here, because I have a pretty good indication that this is similar to the red-green aggro deck that I've been seeing hit the top eights of Premier Events online for a while now. Of course, it could be completely off base, but it's just too good to pass up. There are a couple of sets of cards which are missing from this deck if you want to play it online. The first isn't easily replacable because it's the best red (or white) one-drop to come to the game for a very long time: Figure of Destiny. In case you didn't know, this guy "levels up", adding power, toughness, and more at the last level for additional mana every time, finally becoming a monstrous 8/8 lifelink creature. Of course, it comes down on turn 1 as well.

However, let's talk a bit more about the rest of the deck, because it is actually playable on the client that we know and love today, and not the client that we have on the eleventh. This deck just uses the most efficient creatures in both red and green, and we see our famously awesome Tarmogoyf make an appearance in this deck. We're seeing less and less of the 'goyf lately, because he has very little tribal synergy. It is, however, still the best creature ever printed, and fits well while the deck fills the grave with creatures, instants, sorceries, and lands (with Shard Volley). This makes it a 4/5, and you don't even need to be lucky. We also haven't seen Kavu Predator much lately. It has much less synergy than the other two-drop green monster, but it still isn't bad with the Grove of the Burnwillows to power it up. This deck has some pretty good matchups against the field at this point, playing at about the level of the good Elves players - hitting enough of the right buttons to make top 8 consistently from a good player.

We're looking toward the future here at Standard Deviations, and it might just get a bit easier for me as I start coding some custom software to help me out in the next few weeks. I just learned that the new client has a "Daily Events" room waiting for us normal PE players to still play the regular schedule Standard events while Release Events are going on later. I think this is good news, but I have some bad news as well - my school work is starting to come to a big deadline, so Standard Deviations will be taking a short break after next week's article. With any luck, I'll end with the release of Eventide on Magic Online, and come back after Release Events are finishing. Next week we'll have another full week of meta hopefully anyway. Until next week, good luck in the PEs!


by MechtaK at Thu, 08/07/2008 - 21:37
MechtaK's picture

and he's ok, he works all night and he sleeps all day.

Couldn't help myself.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 08/07/2008 - 18:00
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

did anyone ever tell you that you look like a lumberjack