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By: iceage4life, Timothy Pskowski
Nov 08 2007 1:07pm
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The Oddball Roundup #1

Standard with Vanguard
Tribal Wars Standard


Hi this is iceage4life and welcome to the first Oddball Roundup.  Each week I will report on the top 8 of Premiere Events in Magic Online only formats.  This means I will cover the weekly PEs for Singleton, Standard Tribal Wars, Standard Vanguard and Classic.  If Wizards holds a Prismatic event or anything else you can be sure I'll also cover that.  With the demise of online tech keeping up with MTGO formats has become harder.  Plenty of sites cover Standard and Extended but I think that having a place you can goto to read about MTGO only formats will help them grow.

I will do my best to get deck lists from players in the top 8 of events to post here.  I will also be linking decks to a stock list in the MTGO Traders database so if you want to know what a particular deck is like simply click on its name.  If you happen to top 8 one of these events please send me a message in game at iceage4life so I can get your list posted.

First some catchup, the weekend of October 20th and 21st saw Singleton, Standard Tribal Wars, and Classic events fire.  The Singleton event however disappeared from the database before I could write down the winners.  I do know there were two UGw decks in the top four along with a reanimator deck.  I won't post the Tribal and Classic results here but add them to the appropriate sections.  We are also about to start Lorwyn release events which means we will go a couple weeks without constructed events.  I hope to cover some Lorwyn sealed Premiere Events during that time.  When constructed events are back on schedule you can expect to see Roundup #2.  Before I start there is some good and some bad news.  The good news is this is much longer then most of my columns will be.  The bad news is this is much longer than most of my columns will be.  With the release of Lorwyn both Standard with Vanguard and Tribal Wars Standard are getting a shake up.  In an effort to give you as much information as I could on these changes this article ended up being epic in length. Due to this being the first article it has taken longer to put together then I hoped and I will try and make sure future articles are finished earlier in the week. So, put on the coffee, make sure your chair is comfy, and enjoy.

As has happened several times recently the Standard with Vanguard 2x on the 27th did not reach the 24 players needed to start.  Vanguard has been a format surrounded in controversy recently.  Over the summer it was dominated by two decks one using the Mirri the Curesd Avatar and the other, Oni of Wild Places.  Other decks were played but these two were the most popular and hated.  On August 30th Wizards announced changes to the Vanguard format which may be found here.  The Mirri avatar is still regarded as overpowered by many despite Wizards attempting to nerf it.  However the format is always changing partly with the addition of new avatars.  When Master's Edition was released online it only had one avatar but it is a good one.  Dakkon Bladeblade fundamentally changes the way you build your deck.  He makes it possible to play narrow sideboard cards in your maindeck as they can just be played face down as land when not needed.  I hope Lorwyn shakes things up enough that Vanguard again becomes popular and the events can fire.

Lorwyn is not only going to shake up the cardpool for this format but will also introduce two new avatars.  Everyone that joins a league or release PE will get a copy of Ashling the Pilgrim.  A 5-0 record in a league or a top 8 in a PE will snag you Mirror Entity.  Nether of these jumps out at me as an overpowered avatar but they both present some intresting deckbuild choices. 
Ashling the Pilgrim lives a dual life, her ablity to burn all creatures is a strong board control function but the fact that it also hits playersruns counter to this.  Her incresed life total does balance this out to some extent.  I can see three uses for her.  First, a burn deck where she can keep your opponent's creatures off the board and if you ever run out of gas she can help you burn your opponent out.  She could be used in a normal aggro deck as an anti-control measure.  Get your opponent low on life then use her uncounterable ablity to finish them off.  Last she could be used in a midrange deck with creatures fat enough to survive her ablity.  I think the first two options are underpowered.  Both would probably do well against a control deck but get beaten by aggro decks.  Part of the problem is her ablity is very expensive, to kill a Call of the Herd token takes six mana.  I will attempt to build a deck based around the third option, fat creatures and Ashling.  Now the creature I think would be perfect for this deck is Loxodon Hierarch sadly, he is no longer with us.
This deck really misses Ravnica powered manabases.  The Edge of Autumn/Flagstones of Trokair combo becomes much weaker without Temple Garden and Godless Shrine to fetch.  Most Doran decks run Birds of Paradise though that would clearly not work well in this deck.  Crib Swap on the other hand is amazing, RFG any of their creatures then pay two mana to kill it.  I don't think this deck will ever be very good for Standard Vanguard PEs.  It is extremely "fair" which is something the best decks in the format are not.

The Mirror Entity avatar interests me more.  My first thought on seeing him was of the GR token decks that have gained some popularity in standard.  They use cards like Gaea's Anthem and Overrun to pump tokens made by Scatter the Seeds, Siege-Gang Commander, and others.  Using Mirror Entity in the deck lets you cut Overrun and Gaea's Anthem saving the deck seven slots.  However I had to see if the deck was viable without Ravnica.  Pulling up a stock list I see that it has only lands, Scatter the Seeds, and Fists of Ironwood from Ravnica block.  Replacing the two token generators shouldn't be too hard, the lands will be missed but a two color mana base should not be a problem.

Mirror Entity Tokens
Lands - 23

7 Forest
4 Karplusan Forest
6 Mountain
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Pendelhaven
1 Kher Keep
Creatures - 26

4 Birds of Paradise
2 Boreal Druid
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Mogg War Marshal
4 Thelonite Hermit
4 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Greater Gargadon
Other Spells - 11

4 Boom/Bust
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Gilt-Leaf Ambush

Sideboard - 15

4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Threaten
3 Ancient Grudge
4 Eyes of the Wisent

Thelonite Hermit and Gilt-Leaf Ambush have to pick up some of the token generating slack.  Garruk Wildspeaker makes an appearance as it seems he does in every deck with green, all three of his ablities are useful for the deck.  Cutting Overrun and Anthem means Greater Gargadon and Boom/Bust can be run as 4x in the main deck.  The deck has a large weakness against Mirri the Cursed decks.  Outside of that matchup the deck should be pretty good.  This shows the problem with the Mirri Avatar, it completely shuts down any creature based stragegy.


We had a 2x Singleton event on the 28th.  I took time during the first round to check out every deck being played to give you a more complete look at the metagame in addition to the top eight.  Below is the list of all decks played followed by the top eight decks.

Number of Players Archetype
6 UGw Aggro Control
5 UB Control
4 RG Aggro
3 Zoo
2 GBW Midrange (Rock)
2 5 Color Goodstuff
1 WW
1 WB control
1 WG Landstill
1 GB Mid Aggro
1 UGB Aggro Control
1 URW Aggro Control

Archetpye Placeing
UGW Aggro Control  1
RG Goblins 2
  UB Control 4
 UGW Aggro Control 4
UB Control  8
UGW Aggro Control  8
UGW Aggro Control 8
Zoo  8












UGW was the big winner from this event putting four of six decks in the top eight.  In the quarterfinals the four UGW decks were paired up so it is possible that if the pairings were different it could have done even better.  UB was the second most successful deck putting two of five decks into the top eight.  Zoo and RG aggro rounded out the top 8.  I'm light on lists for the Singleton decks but I will be adding more in the weeks to come.  Below are the decklists from the two finalists and the most successful UB control deck of the event (4th).  Thanks to the three players who shared their lists with me. 

MituliakV's UGw Aggro Control

Lands - 23

Flooded Strand
4 Forest
4 Island
Krosan Verge
Nantuko Monastery
Polluted Delta
Selesnya Sanctuary
Temple Garden
Treetop Village
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Yavimaya Coast
Breeding Pool
Hallowed Fountain
Simic Growth Chamber

Other spells - 21

Arcane Denial
Call of the Herd
Chrome Mox
Decree of Justice
Fact or Fiction
Force of Will
Gifts Ungiven
Kodama's Reach
Living Wish
Mana Leak
Swords to Plowshares
Sword of Fire and Ice
Umezawa's Jitte
Vedalken Shackles

Creatures - 16

Anurid Brushhopper
Birds of Paradise
Eternal Witness
Fyndhorn Elves
Llanowar Elves
Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Mystic Snake
Phantom Centaur
Ravenous Baloth
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Solemn Simulacrum
Troll Ascetic
Wild Mongrel
Venser, Shaper Savant

Sideboard - 15

Deep Analysis
Etched Oracle
Loxodon Hierarch
Mind Harness
Mystic Enforcer
Azorius Chancery
Harmonic Sliver

BernilPL's UB Control
Lands - 24

Dimir Aqueduct
11 Island
Salt Marsh
Seat of the Synod
Stalking Stones
2 Swamp
Underground River
Vault of Whispers
Academy Ruins
Dreadship Reef
Frost Marsh
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Urza's Factory

Other spells - 31

Dimir Signet
Fact or Fiction
Flash of Insight
Gifts Ungiven
Mana Leak
Mind Stone
Remove Soul
Seize the Soul
Sensei's Divining Top
Thirst for Knowledge
Vedalken Shackles
Ancestral Vision
Mystical Teachings
Spell Snare
Sudden Death
Think Twice

Creatures - 6

Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Skeletal Vampire
Aeon Chronicler
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Venser, Shaper Savant

Sideboard - 14

Consult the Necrosages
Ghastly Demise
Nightmare Void
Ribbons of Night
Scrabbling Claws
Sundering Titan
Riptide Pilferer

sMann's Rg Goblins

Lands - 23

Gruul Turf
Karplusan Forest
Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
3 Snow-Covered Forest
12 Snow-Covered Mountain
Stomping Ground
Wooded Foothills
Blinkmoth Nexus
Bloodstained Mire

Other spells - 7

Seal of Fire
Sword of Fire and Ice
Umezawa's Jitte
Call of the Herd
Chrome Mox
Elephant Guide

Creatures - 29

Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Sharpshooter
Goblin Sledder
Goblin Warchief
Hearth Kami
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Mogg Fanatic
Siege-Gang Commander
Skirk Prospector
Thornscape Familiar
Tin Street Hooligan
Uktabi Orangutan
Viridian Shaman
Wild Mongrel
Zo-Zu the Punisher
Mogg War Marshal
Stalking Yeti
Dwarven Blastminer
Dwarven Miner
Flametongue Kavu
Frenzied Goblin
Gempalm Incinerator
Goblin Grappler
Goblin King
Goblin Matron

Sideboard - 15

Boiling Seas
Goblin Charbelcher
Jinxed Choker
Molten Rain
Sulfuric Vortex
Thoughts of Ruin
Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician
Indrik Stomphowler
Seal of Primordium



Singleton at the moment is a pretty wide open format.  I think UGW is the best deck right now but clearly you have many other options for a compdetive deck.  The more aggressive builds of it will probably adopt Gaddock Teeg which can cause issues for the format's control decks.  Those control decks however do get Shierkmaw so that will probably balance out.  The plainswalkers are still a pretty unknown quantity at this point.  One thing that is clear is Garrak Wildspeaker is going to be insane.  Pretty much every green deck that did well in US states was running him.  Expect to see plenty of him in the months to come. 

Tribal Wars Standard

I am covering the swan song of the current Standard Tribal Wars format (from here on, Tribal).  The event on the 28th was the last before Ravnica rotates and Lorwyn is added to the mix, more on that later.  I didn't both making up decklists as most of these decks will die or greatly change by the time we have the next tribal event.  First the results from the event on the 21st.  I don't have info which decks were in top four so below are the decks that split the finals and the rest of the top 8 competitors. 

Tribal Wars Standard 2x 10-21-07
Place Tribe Colors Type
1.5* Angel UWR Control
1.5* Human UW Control
t8 Angel UWR Control
t8 Wizard UB Control
t8 Human R Aggro
t8 Human R Aggro
t8 Human R Aggro
t8 Human UW Control
*Split finals
Tribal Wars Standard 2x 10-28-07
Place           Tribe                  Colors             Type
1.5* Goblins RG Aggro
1.5* Humans RW Aggro Control
4 Elves GWR Mid Range
4 Humans UW Control
8 Humans B Aggro Control
8 Slivers WRB Aggro
8 Humans UW Aggro Control
8 Slivers WRB Aggro
 *Split finals 

We have two events and one deck that shows up in both.  Three color angels and mono red humans the big winners on 10-21 were absent from the top eight a week later.  As the event on the 28th was the last time this format will be played I did not make decklists for these decks.  After release events end and we see what is still being played and what new decks are out there I will get decklists up.

Lorwyn will shake up the tribal meta game to a great degree.  It is a tribal themed set which means any of the tribes in it will now become competitors in Tribal.  Possibly more important then that is the fact it has zero humans.  Well that is not true it has 19.  Wizards has not yet announced any special rulings on Tribal related to Changeling.  If all the Changeling cards are allowed and count towards your tribal requirement the format will look radically different.  Part of this is tribal, non-creature spells.  Black white control decks will look much more appealing with 4x Crib Swap and four Nameless Inversion cutting their creature count down to tweleve.  In addition to tribal shakeups there is also the loss of Ravnica dual lands and signets.  Honestly I think it is too early to say what the format will look like a month from now.  For now I'll just leave you with one decklist.

                                                             Mono Black Zombie Control


Nameless Inversion less you cheat on your number of creatures.  As long as you're running Inversion might as well run the Hakkon combo with it.  I was disappointed to learn that Haakon was a "Zombie Knight" not a "Human Knight".  After deciding to abandon white and Crib Swap this mono black deck pretty much built itself.  The lack of sideboards in Tribal Wars protects your Hakkon combo, making them rely on what graveyard hate and RFG cards they have maindeck.  The life loss from Thoughtseize could be a problem in a creature heavy format.  However this deck should do pretty well against creatures with Damnation, Smallpox, and the Haakon machine gun.  Graveborn Muse also hurts you so there might need to be room made for some life gain.

Personally I'm a fan of Changeling spells in Tribal Wars and hope Wizards leaves them as is.  They make control decks less creature focused which is nice as you can pack in  more relevant spells.  The UWR angel decks would have been happy to trim four or eight angels off their list in favor of more spells.


I played in the Classic event on the 21st.  I decided at the last minute to bring a GW midrange deck and finished a disappointing 3-2.  Not playing Islands in a deck clearly doesn't agree with me as this was the first 2x I played in and did not top eight.  But enough about my failures onto the top 8.

Classic 2x IPA Qualifier 10-21-07
Place Deck Type
1.5* Dredge Combo
1.5* Mono Red Vial Goblins Aggro
4 UGbw Tarmogoyf Aggro-control
4 RGB Aggro Aggro
8 1x Flash Combo
8 Affinity with Berserk Aggro
8 UGbw Tarmogoyf Aggro-control
8 unknown  
*Split finals

Well we have here what looks like a pretty healthy metagame.  A pair of combo and aggro-control decks and three aggro decks.  We also have six archetypes in seven decks which is impressive.  There is however a complete lack of control decks.

Classic 2x 10-28-07
Place Deck Type
1 Mono Red Burn Aggro?
2 4 Color Landstill Control
4 UGR Thresh Aggro Control
4 RGB Aggro Aggro
8 Mono Red Vial Goblins Aggro
8 Desire Combo
8 Enduring Ideal Combo
8 RGB Aggro Aggro

The big news is mono red burn finally getting there.  Mono red is a deck that is extremely popular in the tournament practice room but usually only gets four or five players in premier events.  It has made top eight once or twice before but this was the first time it had won an event.  We also see four color Landstill making its first finals appearance (congrats to my clan mate Moranl, on his first top eight!).  I didn't get a chance to ask the winner for his decklist to post but it was pretty close to the one I listed.

The other thing evident in these two top eights is a lessening of Threshold's dominance.  In weeks prior to these two events three to five Threshold decks were making the top 8.  I wouldn't count the deck out however as it is very adaptable and runs some of the format's best cards.

Classic is the format were Lorwyn cards will have the hardest time making an impact.  Access to every card online and not being forced to search for playable cards like Singleton is means it will be hard to make an impact.  Garruk Wildspeaker, Gaddock TeegThorn of Amethyst, Eyes of the Wisent, Thoughtseize, and Tarfire seem to have the best shot.  If someone comes up with a solid RB goblins list for Extended using cards from Lorwyn that probably will be ported over to Classic and show up in events.


That about wraps things up for what I hope to be the first of many Oddball Roundups.  Release events for the next two weekends so we will be without constructed events to look at.  While we wait I might write about a Lorwyn sealed event and if not I'll see you after constructed events are back on.  Last, please let me know what you thought of this.  What do you want to see in future weeks.  More decklists, walkthroughs of matchups between popular decks?  Feel free to comment here or contact me in game at iceage4life.


by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 11/26/2007 - 10:01
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Great article - Id like to comment about the UGw Singleton deck.  I find it odd that Etched Oracle is in the SB when there is no possibility to sunburst 4 - hence benefiting from the draw option.  At best this will be a 3/3 Vanilla Creature! Is this an error in the decklist or am i missing a trick?

Great job! by RogueDesigner at Fri, 11/23/2007 - 11:42
RogueDesigner's picture

Great job!  Please keep it up.  I am though glad that tribal continues to require 20 creatures.  I hate combo decks and tribal is my refuge.  Relaxing the 20-creature requirement would have ruined the format for me.  And I am a regular PE player.


Fantastic stuff by JXClaytor at Sat, 11/10/2007 - 02:16
JXClaytor's picture

I find this kind of coverage fantastic, and I hope we can make it a weekly feature here at

It is in depth, very well written, and does a great job of bringing these formats to life.  

moonkhan's picture

I hope your readership grows with this type of fantastic coverage of the dark corners of MTGO! This reminds me of what Menendian and the like have done for the Vintage format and as a result of their hard work, SCG readership grew and so did the Vintage format.

Keep up the good work,


EXCELLENT ARTICLE by Under_The_Hammer (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 11/08/2007 - 14:52
Under_The_Hammer (Unregistered)'s picture

Fantastic Job well written and knowledgable.  I look forward to reading future articles in this series. Its good to see the alternative formats getting some coverage which will surely help them to grow. 

Great Article! by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 11/08/2007 - 16:43
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Tremendous amount of info here.  I especially love the singleton metagame breakdown and deck lists...hope to see more of those in the future!

My mistake by iceage4life at Thu, 11/08/2007 - 16:53
iceage4life's picture

It turns out that tribal spells DO NOT count.  Changelings can be used wherever but adding a tribal spell does not count for your minimum.  I think it might have been interesting to see where format went with tribal spells but I think is fine ether way.

Glad to hear people like this, will be happy to bring the next installment when constructed events resume.

Nods Head With Others by The Pink Floyd (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 11/09/2007 - 06:56
The Pink Floyd (Unregistered)'s picture

Enjoyed reading this article, though I am not a tourny player it's interesting to see the cards that make the grade. So the decklists were fantastic and very helpful.



about changelings by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 11/08/2007 - 14:08
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I disagree with allowing tribal spells as part of the requisite 1/3 tribe constraint.  Tribal should be about creatures and knowing your opponent is playing with the same thematic restrictions.  Allowing the tribal spells to count as 1/3 of your TRIBE I could live with, but reducing the 1/3 total creatures fundamentally alters the format.

-Jed R

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dungdung's picture

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