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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Aug 06 2007 9:53am
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The New Standard
 
In just a couple days, Standard changes completely. Phyrexian Arena, Persecute, Seething Song, Kird Ape, Mana Leak and the Urzatron all leave. Many Tier one decks die. Troll Ascetic, Mogg Fanatic, Seismic Assault and Crucible of Worlds come back to Standard. Many new decks are born. It’s all different, but this time the paper world can provide some guidance about what to expect come August 6th.
 
I’m just back from US Nationals. I got to watch many of these decks in play, and play a few.   The format looks quite varied, but it starts with a deck that has already been doing well online. Luis Scott-Vargas won US Nationals, piloting the following GUW build that abused Chord of Calling.   I love Toolbox decks, and this certainly qualifies.   Chord of calling gets what you need, when you need it.
 

G/U/W Chord - Luis Scott-Vargas

Yavimaya Coast
Breeding PoolHallowed Fountain
Temple Garden
Simic Growth Chamber
Calciform Pools
Nimbus Maze
Forest
Plains
Island

Wall of Roots
Loxodon Hierarch
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
Willbender
Mystic Snake
Brine Elemental
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Venser, Shaper Savant
Arcanis the Omnipotent
Crovax, Ascendant Hero

4  Rune Snag
Compulsive Research
Remand
Farseek
Chord of Calling

Sideboard
Indrik Stomphowler
Spell Snare
Riftsweeper
Aven Riftwatcher
Loxodon Hierarch
Calciform Pools
Brine Elemental
Serrated Arrows

This deck runs just one card that is not already standard legal – Arcanis the Omnipotent.  Casting Chord of Calling for Arcanis is a very solid answer to discard decks, or to control decks if you can get Chord to resolve. Against Aggro, this deck has the Hierarch and Wall of Roots. Against control, it can get Teferi. Against Glare, Slivers or anything else with a lot of x/1s, the deck has Crovax, a/k/a the one sided Wrath. And, against anything that taps out, it can maintain the Brine Elemental / Vesuvan Shapeshifter lock. 

This isn’t quite Glittering Wish Control, but it is about as close to my preferences as anything in the list (aside from Project X.) Since Project X does not work online, I will probably put this together and try it out. 

Like everyone else.

I don’t have a ton of playtest data for these decks, yet. However, this looks to be capable of handling most opposing decks. About the only thing this deck does not have is a good answer to Bridge decks – but maybe Loxodon Hierarch is enough. If not, the deck could always chord for a Withered Wretch.

Another major deck that has appeared first online, but is now common in the paper world as well uses AEthermage’s Touch and Momentary Blink.

 

Touch Blink – Thomas DrakeSteam Vents

Hallowed Fountain

Nimbus Maze

Boros Garrison

Sacred Foundry

Urza's Factory

Izzet Boilerworks

Adarkar Wastes

Shivan Reef

Island

1  Plains

Mountain



Court Hussar

Riftwing Cloudskate

Bogardan Hellkite

Grand Arbiter Augustin IV

Venser, Shaper Savant

Numot, the Devastator



Azorius Signet

Boros Signet



AEthermage's Touch

Lightning Helix

Momentary Blink



Sideboard

Lightning Angel

Teferi's Moat

Aven Riftwatcher

Detritivore

Avalanche Riders

Blinktouch decks are interesting in one respect – they are blue white red decks with no real control elements at all.   It runs no counterspells, no straight removal (e.g. Condemn) and no Wrath of Gods.   It is a tempo deck – it runs some bounce (in Riftwing Cloudskate), and the massively annoying Grand Arbiter Augustin IV.   

More importantly, it runs a number of cards with 187 effects (that’s comes into play effects.) Court Hussar is an Impulse. Cloudskate is Boomerang. Hellkite is a PyrotechnicsVenser, Shaper Savant is, well, Venser. If you have played with this guy, you know why he now casts 7 TIX. Most importantly, the deck can reuse all of these effects via Momentary Blink. 

The other signature card in the deck is AEthermage's Touch. The Touch lets you cheat out dragons, or even pop out a chump blocker.   Normally, Touch would kill the creature EoT. However, if the creature changes zones (e.g. via Momentary Blink), then Touch loses track of it and the creature survives. 

End of your turn, I cast AEthermage’s Touch, and produce a Bogardan Hellkite. Take 5. Still EoT, I Blink it. Take another 5. Now it’s my turn, and I have a 5/5 flier.   I swing for 5, after damage I flash back Blink on the dragon again, and you take another 5. GG.

When it works, this deck is nuts. It seems to be pretty consistent, but I don’t own any Touches, so I have only played against the deck. It has fizzled, on occasion, but that might be pilot error.

On to the next deck that can never win online – because as good as MODO is at some things, it just cannot implement some parts of the Magic rules very well at all.

Project X – Michael BennettTemple Garden
4  Overgrown Tomb
Gemstone Mine
Selesnya Sanctuary
Godless Shrine
Orzhov Basilica
Caves of Koilos
Llanowar Wastes
Brushland
Pendelhaven
Forest
Plains

Birds of Paradise
Wall of Roots
Loxodon Hierarch
Dark Confidant
Essence Warden
Saffi Eriksdotter
Crypt Champion
Elves of Deep Shadow
Harmonic Sliver
Ghost Council of Orzhova
Teneb, the Harvester
Withered Wretch
Glittering Wish
Castigate
Chord of Calling

Sideboard)
Slaughter Pact
Shimian Specter
Castigate
Mortify
Teysa, Orzhov Scion
Teneb, the Harvester
Extirpate
Congregation at Dawn
Putrefy
Glare of Subdual
Saffi Eriksdotter
 
In the paper world, if I create a loop that can repeat indefinitely, I simply state how many times I repeat it, and if the opponent does not interrupt, that happens.   With this deck, in paper, you can easily have a turn four that includes the following: “Repeat that 1.5 billion times. Gain 1.5 billion life. Make 1.5 billion guys. Leave Saffi in play. Pass the turn.”
 
Until MODO gets a macro language, that cannot happen. I saw someone try the combo, and manage to repeat it enough to gain about 60 times, while winding 18 minutes off his clock.
 
So, absolute powerhouse of a deck that cannot play on MODO, because MODO gets the rules wrong. (Yes, rules. Handling unbounded loops is straight out of the Magic Comp. Rules.)
 
Nothing more to say.

Mono-Green Aggro – Michael Jacob16 Forest
Treetop Village
Pendelhaven

Llanowar Elves
Boreal Druid
Silhana Ledgewalker
Scryb Ranger
Giant Solifuge
Troll Ascetic
Timbermare
Moldervine Cloak
Might of Old Krosa
Loxodon Warhammer
Stonewood Invocation

Sideboard
Viridian Shaman
Groundbreaker
Pithing Needle
Spectral Force
Serrated Arrows
 
I like seeing mono-green aggro come back.   Back when (Treetop Village was first printed, in Urza’s Saga block, late last century, Mono-green aggro was a competitive deck in the block format PTQs. Ingrid, my wife, rode that deck to some good finishes. 
(I played artifacts and Karn, but that’s irrelevant.)  
 
Ingrid’s deck had Treetop Village – and uncounterable 3/3 beater, and she “equipped” it with Rancor, a enchantment that gave the Village +2/+0 and trample for G.) More importantly, Rancor returned to your hand when put into a graveyard.  And it did – often, since once the Treetop Village stops being a creature, Auras fall off. If you can stick a Loxodon Warhammer, however, t can do the same thing: animate, equip, smash – turn after turn – and that can end the game quickly.
 
Loxodon Warhammer is also pretty good on the Troll. Untargettable, regenerating 6/2 trampling Spirit-linked guys for 1GG are playable, I hear. 
 
Treetop Village is going to be a 5 TIX uncommon, at least for a while.
 
Solar Flare – Craig KrempelsGodless Shrine
Watery Grave
River of Tears
Nimbus Maze
Hallowed Fountain
Dimir Aqueduct
Urza's Factory
Island
Plains
Swamp
Azorius Chancery
Court Hussar
Skeletal Vampire
Aeon Chronicler
Angel of Despair
Dimir Signet
Azorius Signet

Castigate
Damnation
Remand
4  Compulsive Research
Faith's Fetters

Sideboard
Disenchant
Slaughter Pact
Aven Riftwatcher
Extirpate
Mystical Teachings
Pull from Eternity
 
I honestly don’t know what to say about this deck.   Craig Krempels made T8 at US Nationals with it. On the other hand, Nationals had more rounds of draft than Standard, and Krempels lost in round one of the T8. My first impression is that this is simply the Standard deck he had the most experience with, so he played it. I’m not arguing that Solar Flare is not a good deck, but this deck has absolutely no Tenth Edition cards, and still uses Skeletal Vampire as a finisher. Personally, I would have tested at least one Faerie Conclave in place of an Urza’s Factory, and I would not be happy relying on Skeletal Vampire in a metagame full of Incinerates. Incinerate stop regeneration, and Solar Flare has nothing but Remand to fight it. Remand sux, here. Does anyone think that, by the time Skeletal Vampire is on the table, any opposing deck is going to have trouble casting Incinerate twice in a turn? Try Tombstalker, or even (Nilith) – almost anything seems better than Skeletal Vampire.

U/B Dralnu – Conrad Kolos
Watery Grave
River of Tears
Dreadship Reef
Tolaria West
Island
Urza's Factory
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Dimir Aqueduct
Faerie Conclave
Desert
Ghost Quarter
 
Dimir Signet

Rune Snag
Spell Snare
Remand
Remove Soul
Mystical Teachings
Tendrils of Corruption
Haunting Hymn
Careful Consideration
Damnation
Last Gasp
Slaughter Pact
Repeal

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Tombstalker
Skeletal Vampire
Brine Elemental
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
Draining Whelk
SideboardTormod's Crypt
Flashfreeze
Pact of Negation
Seize the Soul
Damnation
Extirpate
Bottle Gnomes
Haunting Hymn
Terror
Here’s the Dralnu deck. Surprisingly enough, I actually saw Dralnu in some versions at Nats, and in the Grinders.   The loss of Mana Leak and Rewind do not seem to have crippled the deck – but I have noticed that Rewind’s replacement - Discombobulate – is nowhere to be seen. Counterspells can be unplayable bad, if they cost enough and do nothing special. Even Cancel is missing from this build. 
 
Skeletal Vampire is here – but as a tutorable one off. It is just fine against decks that don’t run red. The one thing that I don’t understand, though, is the singleton Tormod’s Crypt. You cannot search for it, and drawing it seems random. Why not Withered Wretch? 
 
Then again, maybe that’s just showing my ignorance. I haven’t played this deck enough. Control decks take time to playtest, and most of my playtesting recently has been Time Spiral block constructed.
 
Let’s move on to something that you can playtest quickly: aggro.

Gruul – Thomas Huteson
Stomping Ground
Karplusan Forest
Pendelhaven
Treetop Village
Skarrg, the Rage Pits
9  Mountain

Tarmogoyf
Mogg Fanatic
Greater Gargadon
Mogg War Marshal
Sulfur Elemental
Tin Street Hooligan

Incinerate
Seal of Fire
Char
Rift Bolt
SideboardCryoclasm
Martyr of Ashes
Threaten
Pithing Needle
Ancient Grudge
This is basically how red/green will look in the near future. Mogg Fantastic is back, and it is a great card. He will be hard to get your hands on, since I don’t expect red mages to pass him in draft. (Okay, it’s not like Wrath of God, which will force you to play white, but red has some fine burn in Tenth Edition limited.)   The biggest change is the replacement of Scab-Clan Mauler with Tarmogoyf, an all together superior two drop. The deck also packs the Greater Gargadon engine – mainly as an answer to Tendrils of Corruption and Wrath of God.  
 
The concept of this deck is simple – beat, then burn.   And it works. These decks were everywhere in the grinders, as was the following deck.

Rakdos –Antonio De RosaSulfurous Springs
Blood Crypt
Pendelhaven
Kher Keep
9  Mountain
Swamp

Mogg War Marshal
Greater Gargadon
Epochrasite
Dark Confidant
Mogg Fanatic
Scorched Rusalka
Keldon Marauders
Nantuko Husk

Threaten
Fatal Frenzy
Char

Sideboard
Cryoclasm
Deathmark
Magus of the Moon
Slaughter Pact
Shattering Spree
Bottle Gnomes
Terror
Avalanche Riders
Rakdos is another straightforward beat and burn deck, but this particular version is short on burn. It does have the Greater Gargadon engine, and the joys of Threaten, which steals the opponent’s creatures, beats with them, then feeds them to Big Gargs. It can also do fun things with Epochrasite.
 
Most importantly, the deck has Dark Confidant.   Bob is a card advantage engine – which is nice, even if he will occasionally take a chunk out of your life total by revealing Gargadon. Yes, that can hurt – but the cards are worth it. Worst case, reveal Big Gargs, suspend it, feed Bob to the Gargadon.
 
Finally, here’s another aggro /. Gruul variant. This one carried Craig Jones to the UK Championship, and in the UK, they ran more standard than draft round. It has the Gargadon engine, plus Tarmogoyf, plus one of my favorite cards: Troll Ascetic. About all it’s missing t be a complete blast to play is Loxodon Warhammer – but that’s in the sideboard.

Craig Jones – Winner – UK NationalsKarplusan Forest
Stomping Ground
Treetop Village
Horizon Canopy
Gemstone Mine
Pendelhaven
5  Mountain
Forest

Char
Rift Bolt
Incinerate
Seal of Fire

Tarmogoyf
Troll Ascetic
Mogg War Marshal
Mogg Fanatic
Keldon Marauders
Greater Gargadon

Sideboard
Magus of the Moon
Tin Street Hooligan
Loxodon Warhammer
Pithing Needle
Greater Gargadon
Speaking of Loxodon Warhammer, I opened one in my sealed pool on the beta, and the finals are about to start. I’m going to wrap this up here. This should cover the decks that will see play early on. People will try Seismic Assault / Life from the Loam decks, and Dredge / Bridge from Below builds using the new Tenth cards, but those should take a while to perfect, and become common. For the first few weeks, or week, at least,  the metagame should revolve around the above decks.
 
Good luck.
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO
 
 

 

Breeding Pool
Hallowed Fountain
Temple Garden
Simic Growth Chamber
Calciform Pools
Nimbus Maze
Forest
Plains
Island

Wall of Roots
Loxodon Hierarch
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
Willbender
Mystic Snake
Brine Elemental

7 Comments

Kasom's picture

Hi there... I just wonder what the combo in Project X is exactly? I guess it has something to do with Saffi Eriksdotter kills Crypt Champion which gets Saffi Eriksdotter back?

- Hans

Kasom's picture

Hi there... I just wonder what the combo in Project X is exactly? I guess it has something to do with Saffi Eriksdotter kills Crypt Champion which gets Saffi Eriksdotter back?

- Hans

Kasom's picture

Hi there... I just wonder what the combo in Project X is exactly? I guess it has something to do with Saffi Eriksdotter kills Crypt Champion which gets Saffi Eriksdotter back?

- Hans

Touch Blink by Sinister (Unregistered) 194.120.140.122 (not verified) at Wed, 08/08/2007 - 08:45
Sinister (Unregistered) 194.120.140.122's picture

Aethermages Touch does not kill the creature, it makes it go back to the owners hand at end of turn. Crucial detail because he can sometimes get extra tricks out of this. (Flip Venser, bounce something, let venser return to hand. Cast him again, bounce something, blink him, bounce something, ...) Extra bounce. Same can go for Hellkite.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 72.47.82.9 (not verified) at Wed, 08/08/2007 - 19:49
Anonymous (Unregistered) 72.47.82.9's picture

Yeah, the touch doesn't trigger until the end of your turn, which means no matter when you cast it on your opponents turn you still get an attack step before you have to blink it. And as stated earlier, if you don't blink it, it doesn't die, it just gets returned to your hand. I made a casual deck with touch/angel of despair/skeletal vampire shortly after dissension came out
 and it was pretty good. Just funny to see what I deemed a strictly casual card making the top tables so long after it was introduced to the enviornment.

by JXClaytor at Mon, 08/06/2007 - 16:35
JXClaytor's picture

I think the solar flare list from Am Champs that did not run Remand seems to be a bit better off than the Nats version. 

I say this because you're always tapping out with flare, so why would you want to leave counter magic open?  It's nice to have, but maybe Remand is a bit of a crutch.

I'll never play the deck on MTGO though, I am salivating at the chance to put a warhammer on a troll and bashing for infinite!

Searching for Tormod's Crypt by Rakiston (Unregistered) 71.226.5.140 (not verified) at Mon, 08/06/2007 - 11:06
Rakiston (Unregistered) 71.226.5.140's picture

In the U/B Dralnu Deck, you can search for Tormod's Crypt with Tolaria West.