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By: jamuraa, Michael Janssen
Nov 26 2008 12:05pm
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It's almost Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful for a pretty healthy online standard metagame. This week we have a good contingent of lots of decks, including the infusion of decks from states into the online meta, although most of them ended up as one-ofs this week. I've got quite a bit of non-MTGO work to do this week andthe big Turkey day in the US, so I won't be able to do the playing I normally do.

As the shopping season looms upon us, I don't know about you, but I tend to start looking at my pocketbook and looking for some Christmas goodies. Magic is always pretty high on my list, although there's not really a way for my family to purchase anything FOR me. It would be nifty if there was some kind of gift certificate that they could buy. '4 drafts for $50' or something, as a gift. I don't really like to draft, though, so I start looking at the price of some of my shiny wants for Standard. I've done an article on the price of standard before, but a lot has changed since then, since it was published shortly after Lorwyn, and Tarmogoyf was the top costed card, coming in at almost $40 a piece. Nowadays the best creature ever is going for a much more reasonable $13, although it would be competitive with the top priced cards if it was legal.

Speaking of the top priced cards, Gus from MTGOTraders was kind enough to tell me the most pricey cards in the standard format at the moment. If you've been following the top decks and what has been played (you are reading this article right?) these won't be much of a surprise to you:

  Card Name Price (tix)
1 Figure of Destiny 31.50
2 Bitterblossom 2l.00
3 Mutavault 18.50
4 Wrath of God (10th ed) 17.50
5 Elspeth, Knight-Errant 15.75

Figure of Destiny topping out the list is practically expected, but I was gasping at the high price of the one-mana upgradable powerhouse. The price online is currently about double what you would pay for a real-life version of the card. This could be because the Eventide release card was a foily one of these, but it's starting to get out of control if you ask me. Next up is the Faeries powerhouse Bitterblossom, which is seeing a lot of play in non-faerie decks lately - last week I featured a deck which had a playset and I'm sure I'll show another soon. Mutavault has been expensive since it was previewed - I think it is probably a contender for the hall of fame of cash cards. Wrath of God is also a perennial favorite in this category. Our lone contender from the newest set is the totally crazy Elspeth, Knight-Errant which is not only Mythic, but pretty damn good. Nothing like a free Angelic Blessing every turn on your way to indestructibility.

Considering these card prices is one thing, but there's something to be said for whole deck pricing as well, so I might as well give you an idea of what you would be paying if you started from scratch. Here's all of the decks which I've featured since the Alara rotation in current tix:

  Deck Price (tix)
  Faeries 367.33
  BW Tokenize 311.59
  Cruel Control 266.47
  Painter's Backlash 250.35
  Demigod Red 187.12
  Violent Control 150.48

What's surprising to me is that the deck which is second, and definitely a force in the metagame, is second to last on the cheap scale around here. The main reason behind this I think is that beyond the Figure of Destiny which makes up 120 tix of that deck, the rest is fairly cheap. It's also the only monocolor deck in the listso far, and because it has basic Mountain instead of fancy expensive manabases with Reflecting Pool or Secluded Glen. The manabase makes up so much of a deck's price recently, and it seems like it's been that way since the start of this column back when cards like River of Tears were the most expensive lands. I guess if there is something that I would make sure to get a playset of, it's the non-basic lands in any set. Either they willbe cheap, and it won't matter, or they will be staples like the filter lands or Reflecting Pool, which has held it's price pretty constant (although it is dropping some now).

Statistics for Standard PEs: 11/12/2008 to 11/17/2008

This week we have a good strong metagame to analyze, with 11 events full of top 8, giving us 88 decks to take a look at and analyze. We still have a strong player count, with the sampling putting us at just under 30 players on average per event which fired. This week we had mostly tournaments which can qualify you for an OLS tourney later in the week so I believe that drove up the attendance a little, but there is never any way to tell. I can say that the queues are firing pretty rapidly lately, which is a good sign for events in general. If it's worth 4 tix for a con8q, it might be worth 6 for a PE if you're testing - you're guaranteed 5 rounds of play which is nice and the competition is definitely higher than in the Tournament Practice room.

For those unfamiliar with the graphic, I'll direct you to this article which explains it in full. This week we have a new addition - the up, down, no change, and new icons. Cramming even more information into your graph.

Well, Faeries are still on top, although they aren't dominating the metagame as much as they were last week. They can stick to be the ruler of the meta, but as predicted Demigod Red is coming up on them, making some strong showings. It's still somewhat dissapointing that Faeries has more wins than all the other decks have in the finals showings at all. There were a couple double faeries finals, which I'm sure were a pleasure for the players involved. Demigod is making a strong showing and growing strong, we might see a new top dog next week.

New in the metagame this week is Token Elves, which is a deck very much like the combo elves which won PT Berlin but ported to standard. This deck uses Regal Force and Commune with Nature for it's drawing but focuses more on attacking for the win with a bunch of pumpers in full playsets of Imperious Perfect, Elvish Champion and Bramblewood Paragon. Some also include Coat of Arms but that is less common. Jund Ramp also makes a new appearance, using Broodmate Dragon at the top of a mana acceleration which includes Fertile Ground and Rampant Growth. This deck looks similar to the Violent Control deck which I featured in my first Alara article, but it definitely has Broodmate Dragon a.k.a. Double Dragon at the top of the highly-accelerated curve. Tokens of FURY is a mutation of the Torrent Fury decks from Lorwyn-Shadowmoor standard season, with a few changes in order to make it more competitive in the current standard.

The 'rogue' category made a strong showing this week, mostly riding on the backs of states, which brings a lot of craziness to the format by showing all the decks that can make top eight in various states when every state has a tournament all at once. This week we have almost ten entries, with three decks which won outright. A green-white Elves variant which is similar but not exactly like some of the Naya Aggro decks which were at States this year took down one of the tourneys, and two Boros decks, one Reveillark and one which was very Windbrisk Weenie-like were the other winners. The rest of the rogue field was taken by a a BW Tokenize deck, a Fellowship of the Ring deck, Elves with a Sigil of Distinction for some crazy pump, Quillspike Combo, and a couple more Boros decks. There was also a deck which used Endless Horizons, which I never thought I would see in a MTGO standard top eight.

Mode of the Week: Windbrisk Weenie

Windbrisk Weenie is what I'm now calling Kithkin Weenie, mostly because I am more often seeing a lot more non-kithkin in the decks recently. However, one thing which stays pretty constant in all the lists is the inclusion of Windbrisk Heights. In the pants-ful version in States, there was a Windbrisk Weenie with 20 Knights in the deck, which I totally approve of. This version of the deck was piloted to a win this week bynone other than 1FLY, who has been doing quite well in the PEs lately.There isn't much to be said about this deck that I haven't said before, but I'll try to hilight some of the new innovations in the deck since the new Alara cards came into the format.

One card which I am seeing a lot more in these decks is Knight of the White Orchid. This guy works as a mana accelerant for two white mana, which is pretty awesome on turn two when you are on the draw, or even on the play if you play your cards right. Attaching the mini-tithe to a first striking body isn't bad at all either. I'm wondering if we are going to see less land in these decks because of this guy, but it's probably not a great idea. The other big inclusion from Alara is Ranger of Eos, which was Antoine Ruel's invitational card - this guy is a beast in the mid to late game, which is more like turn five or six when you're playing with weenie decks. Consider that for four mana, you basically get to draw two cards that you are guaranteed to be able to lay on the table next turn, and one of them can be Burrenton Forge-Tender which will make it pretty easy to survive a Bant Charm or a Firespout.

Unmake is quite the awesome common, more than twice the price of Swords to Plowshares but we don't get that kind of removal anymore. Elspeth, Knight-Errant, while being one of the most expensive planeswalkers, makes a good appearance in this deck, lofting up tokens that she can make herself to get in for 4 and put most decks on a 5 turn or less clock. Ajani's less raging form also makes an appearance and pumps the team when required or gains a couple crucial points of life when you're racing against a Demigod Red clock. One more card which I would like to mention before we go on to the outlier this week is the Stillmoon Cavalier. This man is just a beating against most other white decks, which makes it an easy-in against the mirror. It's the all-doing Order of Leitbur and Order of the Ebon Hand put into one. This card is definitely on the rise, and I'm seeing it's use in more decks lately. At any rate, Windbrisk Weenie is definitely going to stay at least tier two for the rest of Alara.

Outlier of the Week: Boros Reveillark

Reveillark is not a deck archetype which I have been talking a lot about lately, because I haven't seen a large number of decks which are taking advantage of the pretty highly-costed elemental. Reveillark just may have seen it's hayday already, but don't tell Dao_Phu that, because he took this red-white version to a first place win at a PE just recently. This deck has a lot of fun stuff in it, including some broken-ness that you just don't expect from a deck nowadays.

First of all, it benefits from the fact that it chose both of it's colors in order to match the colors of Figure of Destiny which means it gets a one-drop that you can count on to make the opponent worry about. Add to this the four Fulminator Mage, and you can give yourself a hand for making your matchup just that much better against the manabase craziness of Cruel Control and the like. The card I was just fawning over however is Order of Whiteclay, which can bring back so many of the cards in this deck in order to do a second sacrifice for the team. This can be a big thing if you get aforementioned Fulminator Mage blowing up a land every turn, or even if you can bring back a Burrenton Forge-Tender for a second nulling of a sweeper spell. It also uses the Ranger of Eos like Windbrisk Weenie, but has a much larger toolbox to choose from. Combine this with a top-of-the-curve Siege-Gang Commander and you are in for one fun time. Believe it or not, this goblin-tosser is just 2 power, and can be returned by a Reveillark which is going to the grave for one reason or another, bringing another three guys to fling at whatever you please. This deck looks like a blast to play, and I'm going to test it as soon as I can.

Well that's it for this week's standard metagame analysis. Next week we will bring you some more ranting, more decks, and more statistics than you can shake a stick at. Just a reminder that if you want to take a look at some of these events decklists a little more closely, tthis article's lists are available on the Decks of the Week daily activity. Have a good thanksgiving, and until next week, good luck in the PEs!


by Anonymous(Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 12/09/2008 - 08:05
Anonymous(Unregistered)'s picture

Does this article come out on a weekly basis?  By far the most useful bit of info more MTGO players.  Hope you keep it up. 

lark deck by xiko(Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 11/26/2008 - 21:08
xiko(Unregistered)'s picture

Heh im the dao_phu user. I was testing some ideas with the lark, unfortunatelly you still lose to faeries =(

cant edit by xiko(Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 11/26/2008 - 21:09
xiko(Unregistered)'s picture

and by the way, the orders were great to be sideboarded out, it was the worse card in the deck.,