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By: iceage4life, Timothy Pskowski
Dec 06 2007 11:40am
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The Oddball Roundup #4

Standard with Vanguard
Tribal Wars Standard


Welcome to another addition of the Oddball Roundup.  #3 didn't go up too long ago but hopefully starting with this article we'll be on track to come out each week BEFORE the weekend's events.  All four events fired this week and MTGO also saw an update to the B&R list from Wizards.  Replays were turned on Monday but due to the disappearance of two events the data on Singleton was lost this week.  Don't have much else to say so lets to it.

Standard with Vanguard

12/01/07 2x 25 Players
Placing  Deck Avatar
8 Pickles Dakkon Blackblade
8 Pickles Dakkon Blackblade
8 RG Aggro Oni of Wild Places
8 Tamanoa Control Ashling the Pilgrim
8 GBR Rock Dakkon Blackblade
8 Fearies Heartwood Storyteller
8 Merfolk Akroma, Angel of Wrath
8 Pyromancer's Swath Combo Chronotog
The Vanguard event had already disappeared from the system when I went to look at replays Monday.  The above was taken from Umii's excellent article here.  Check it out for more coverage and decklists.  Heartwood and Dakkon traded places from last week with Dakkon taking three slots and Heartwood one.  Several new decks showed up and it will be interesting to see which ones stick around and which ones got lucky.




12/01/07 2x 24 Players


Unfortunately I have no top 8 or any other information on this event.  Like Vanguard the PE had disappeared from the system by Monday, if anyone knows some of what made t8 please post it to the comments.  As I have nothing better to talk about here I might as well talk about the December 1st B&R update from Wizards.  You can find it here though I'll be quoting most of the relevant parts.  There were also some very brief explanations given by Mike Turian here.
Standard, Extended, Vintage, Legacy, Lorwyn Block Constructed, Two-Headed Giant Constructed
No changes

This is unsurprising most people would say that all the paper formats are healthy right now and didn't need changes.

Brainspoil is banned
Clutch of the Undercity is banned
Diabolic Intent is banned
Dimir House Guard is banned
Dimir Infiltrator is banned
Dimir Machinations is banned
Dizzy Spell is banned
Drift of Phantasms is banned
Ethereal Usher is banned
Grozoth is banned
Muddle the Mixture is banned
Netherborn Phalanx is banned
Perplex is banned
Shred Memory is banned
Tolaria West is banned

Tribal Wars, Freeform, Classic, Vanguard
No changes

More on Prismatic another time and with the other online formats I think most people agree nothing was needed.
Flash is banned
Umezawa's Jitte is banned
Upheaval is banned

This was the big surprise.  Anyone who has been following the past three articles I did or the format before them can see that Singleton had no dominant deck.  It had an arguable "best deck" in UB control but UB control was far from a dominant force in the metagame.  What would also be clear is that combo is pretty much absent from the t8 of Singleton events.  So lets now look at the banned cards, why they would be banned, and what effect we will see.  I'm going to go in reverse order from how they are listed above.

Upheaval - If you forced me to ban one card from Singleton this would be it.  That said you'd have to force me.  It is a very good card used in the best deck in the format, UB Control.  However it is also a six mana sorcery that requires setup and does not say "I win the game."  UpheavalLightning Bolt or Damnation.  Now Turian commented directly on why this was banned:
decides many games in Singleton but so do Upheaval becomes banned for similar reasons to it being banned from Prismatic. When it is cast, it is almost a guaranteed win. This power level is not desirable in a primarily casual format so we decided to remove it. Huh?  Did Upheaval get banned for not being casual enough?  In constructed formats your six mana cards are in your deck because they are almost a guaranteed win!

Umezawa's Jitte - At least nine out of ten aggro decks run this, it is the second best equip after the banned Skullclamp.  However an aggro deck made t8 last week without it, you can see the decklist in my last article.  Lets check what MT had to say:  Umezawa's Jitte has proven itself to powerful in the Singleton format. Games that involve Jitte revolve too much around the card. All four of the banned cards in the Singleton format have been removed because they are too game deciding.

The problem seems to be that games revolve around the card.  However I don't think that is an accurate assessment.  Artifacts tend to die in Singleton, Uktabi Orangutan sees maindeck play as does Seal of Primordium.  Now if this was all because of Jitte then we could say it should be banned for warping the format.  However there are plenty of problem cards such as (Valdalken Shackles) that warrant this main deck artifact removal.  Furthermore, the the decks that run Jitte are by no means dominating the tournament scene.

Flash - This is the real head-scracher.  It has not made t8, not many people play it, and the best combos based around Flash and Protean Hulk do not work in Singleton.  Why was it banned?

Flash was restricted in Online Classic and banned in Prismatic during the September announcement. It has proven to be a problem in Singleton as well. Strong tutors have made this combo card too consistently powerful to remain in the Singleton format.

"Problamatic in Singleton?"  That is news to me.  I can only account for this ban in two ways.  First someone at Wizards built a broken Singleton Flash deck and is kicking the other WOTC people around with it.  I think this is possible but if that is the case wait for someone outside WOTC to find a broken Flash deck before banning it.  The other reason is laziness and fear.  Flash is a very broken card, after being unerrataed it was banned from Legacy, restricted in Classic, and one of the most popular decks in Vintage.  Wizards figures it must be broken in Singleton as well and bans it.

We will hopefully learn more when this Thursday Gamer Radio Zer0 has Mike Turian on to answer questions from this thread.  But I guess its time to give you guys some content, or at least some content I didn't steal from Umii.

Tribal Wars Standard

12/02/07 2x 24 Players
Placing Tribe Colors Notes
1 Zombies Mono Black  
2 Fearies UG  
4 Elementals UBG  
4 Fearies UG  
8 Goblins RB  
8 Elves GB  
8 Construct Mono Red Stuffy Doll/Skred
8 Fearies UG  

Well we can see a big shift in the metagame.  UG Fearies shuts out it's black doppleganger and take three top 8 slots.  Zombies make there first post Lorwyn showing ending up on top.  Elementals and Constructs also make t8 for first time.  Elves and Goblins each manage to hold onto a slot but don't make it past the quarter finals.  Finally humans did not make the top 8 for possibly the first time ever but don't quote me on that.  This event had a low player count.  The post Lorwyn environment allows easy ports of Standard decks to Tribal Wars with the previous two weeks seeing attendance in the mid thirties.  This week however the event almost did not fire.  The only reason I can think for this would be the 4x Championship event that was starting later but with a three hour delay you wouldn't think it would keep that many away.

Personally I went 1-2 with a Giants deck similar to the list I showed you last week.  Round one I faced the UBG Elementals deck that made the semi finals, we both agreed there is pretty much no way for Giants to win that matchup.  My only card advantage comes from Wrath effects but he really only needs one creature in play at a time.  Round two Treefolk went down without much trouble.  Round three I lost to the UG Faries list that lost in the quarter finals.  Want to know what card killed me?  Faerie Conclave, the exact card I warned Giants players about last week.  I had ignored my own advice and brought no way to deal with it.  I think Pithing Needle might be a very good card for this metagame.  Many decks have man lands or planeswalkers both of which can be shut down by Needle.  It also stops the activated abilities of many lords which is a smaller benefit but still helpful.


12/02/07 2x 24 Players
Placing Deck
1 Erratic Explosion/Draco Combo
2 UGR Threshold
4 Burn.dec
4 BRG Aggro
8 Ideal
8 UW Stiflenought
8 UGB Tog
We see many unfamiliar decks this week.  At the top of the pile is an Erratic Explosion/Draco combo deck.  Using this pair of cards to deal sixteen damage.  The other four damage can come from that  players own mana base, Fireblast, or a pair of Fire/Ice.  Honestly I'm pretty surprised to see it do this well considering it usually won on turn five, regarded as too slow by many for a Classic combo deck.  Speaking of combo speed Flash did not show up in this top 8 though Enduring Ideal did.  MUC (Mono Blue Control) made top eight for the first time ever with the expected abundance of counterspells.  Familiar faces like burn.dec, BRG Aggro, Stiflenought, Tog, and Threshold round out the top 8.
Raddman's UW Stiflenought - 8th
Lands - 19
3 Polluted Delta
3 Mishra's Factory
3 Flooded Strand
2 Watery Grave
2 Island
2 Hallowed Fountain
1 Swamp
1 Plains
1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Academy Ruins
Other Spells - 31
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Counterspell
4 Brainstorm
3 Stifle
3 Spell Snare
2 Trickbind
2 Ponder
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Vedalken Shackles
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Pithing Needle
4 Force of Will
Creatures - 10
4 Meddling Mage
3 Trinket Mage
3 Phyrexian Dreadnought
Sideboard - 15
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Sphere of Law
3 Threads of Disloyalty
3 Kataki, War's Wage
1 Pithing Needle

This is a Stiflenought build that skips black for Dark Confidant and cut out the Counterbalance combo.  I might even call this StifleFish for it's resemblance to a Fish deck.  The deck wants to control the game with counterspells and removal then drop a Phyrexian Dreadnought and StifleLeyline of the Void that can not be cast.  This goes double when the deck is packing Trinket Mage without a Tormod's Crypt to be seen.  I think Stiflenought decks will continue to do well based on a solid blue base and a 12/12 for 1U. it's comes into play ablity.  The list looks very good though I am never a fan of

Reqsamurai's BRG Aggro - 4th
Lands - 20
2 Windswept Heath
2 Bloodstained Mire
2 Polluted Delta
2 Wooded Foothills
3 Overgrown Tomb
2 Blood Crypt
2 Stomping Ground
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Barbarian Ring
1 Swamp
1 Mountain
1 Forest
Other Spells - 21
4 Dark Ritual
4 Duress
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Seal of Fire
2 Umezawa's Jitte
Creatures - 19
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Kird Ape
4 Mogg Fanatic
3 Hypnotic Specter
Sideboard - 15
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Engineered Plague
3 Armadillo Cloak
3 Terminate
2 Cabal Therapy
This deck is split between what would be expected in an R/G beatdown deck and black discard based aggro.  The combination means it has a quick clock and can put pressure on combo while it beats down.  This deck also made t8 last week showing it not a fluke.  The side board does seem a little odd to me with Engineered Plague but no answer to Affinity.  While goblins have put up some t8 results Affinity is a more common Classic deck and far more powerful without adequate hate.  Beyond that it has no answers to any artifacts or enchantments if it can't hit them with discard.  I think these three colors work together well for an aggro deck and expect to see this archetype show up fairly often.

Both Classic decks taken from Classic Quarter's deck database.  Check it out and be sure to post your list if you make t8.
Well replays returned this week making my life easier though a pair of events disappearing in under 48 hours is a bit annoying.  The latest B&R update focused entirely on Magic Online formats.  The Singleton metagame shouldn't be shaken up too much but UB control will miss Upheaval.  Having all four events fire for the second week in a row is nice, hope that keeps up for a while.

I will wait until a Prismatic event is on the schedual is on the schedule before talking about the additions to that format's ban list.  Worth has said that there will be a few Prismatic events coming up.  Part of that formats absence might be due to Wizards thinking that several recent 2x events had not fired.  I pointed out to them there have been no 2x events in at least six months.  So who knows, maybe we'll have a five format article sometime soon.

I know this issue was a little short on content but look for next week to more than make up for it.  I will compile five weeks worth of events for a deeper look at the metagame.  We also see Weatherlight released online next week which should bring a few new cards to Classic and Singleton.



by Tarmotog at Thu, 12/06/2007 - 20:57
Tarmotog's picture

Nice article. I too don't see a need to ban the cards in singleton barring flash. I have a very strong build that can protect and get the combo pieces very easily. With the whole deck revolving around 2 cards, it's very tough to lose. Especially if u see how easy it is to set up. As for why it doesn't perform, I have no idea but one fact is that it is quite easy to play around it. However, u can burn the combo pieces or remove hulk from the yard. Both are rather integral in any singleton deck. The only thing u can't hope to do is to counter flash. The biggest problem is that by the time u identify the deck as flash, u'll probably have lost the game 1 already.

As for upheaval and jitte, I have absolutely no idea why they did what they did. Upheaval is no doubt good but is definitely not at a level where u have to ban it. It's like saying ban obliterate cos once u obliterate ub will just die. If ur opponent is playing ub and has a ton of mana, u're most likely to lose whichever win condition he chooses. The deck that most benefits from an upheaval is ug and it doesn't just win all the time.

Jitte is good but we have all learnt to play with it in play with technology like greater gargadon or plain artifact removal. Decks can kill the creatures or bounce stuff. Yes it is powerful. Sick to an extend. Yet we adapted to its presence and it's no longer that big a problem. Seriously, Jitte takes time to do what it does.

Skullclamp ruled games. These have yet to warp the whole format. (Though flash has the highest tendency to) I do hope wizards will give singleton the prestege of having all cards (minus clamp and the banned mox) legal unlike other formats.