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By: iceage4life, Timothy Pskowski
Jan 16 2008 9:10pm
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The Oddball Roundup #9


Standard with Vanguard
Tribal Wars Standard

Classic Review




Welcome to another Oddball Roundup.  This week features some snazzy new graphics, hope you like them.  All four events fired this week with three of them breaking the thirty person mark, hopefully this momentum can be kept up into and after v3's release.  Not much else to say so lets get to it.


Standard with Vanguard 2x 1-12-08 24 Players
Placing Deck Vanguard
1* Mono Blue Control Dakkon Blackblade
2* GW Aggro Control Mirri the Cursed
4 UG Control Jhoira of the Ghitu
4 Mono Red Dragonstorm Squee, Goblin Nabob
8 UB Reanimator Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
8 Mono Black Control Ashling the Pilgrim
8 UG Aggro-Control Jhoira of the Ghitu
8 Doran Rock Dakkon Blackblade


The big news this week for anyone who follows Standard with Vanguard is the absence of Faeries and Heartwood Storyteller in the top eight.  Heartwood Faeries decks have taken one to three top eight slots in ever event post Lorwyn.  We see three pretty typical decks, MUC using Dakkon, GW using Mirri, and Mono Red Dragonstorm with Squee.  Also in the top eight we had a mono black take on Ashling control, a pair of Jhoira decks, a Doran rock deck ported from Standard using Dakkon Blackblade, and a UB reanimator deck using Momir to ditch the creatures.  This top eight featured three decks using a random effects avatar, the pair of Jhoiras and a Momir.  These decks are the kind that have a decent shot to beat any deck in the PE but also a decent shot to loose in any matchup.  Mirri and Dakkon again preformed the best.  If Mirri can keep Heartwood decks down Dakkon will continue to win events as the Mirri vs Dakkon matchup is pretty lopsided.  The Mirri decks that have done well recently are WG though it seems to me a Doran rock deck would love Mirri.  Below is a rough list of what  Mirri/Doran deck might look like.


GBW Doran Rock Mirri the Cursed Avatar
Lands - 23
3 Brushland
2 Caves of Koilos
4 Gemstone Mine
2 Snow-Covered Forest
4 Treetop Village
2 Horizon Canopy
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Llanowar Wastes
Other Spells - 8
2 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Thoughtseize
2 Profane Command
Creatures - 29
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Ornithopter
1 Deadwood Treefolk
4 Doran, the Siege Tower
4 Ohran Viper
4 Riftsweeper
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Treefolk Harbinger
Sideboard - 15
2 Cloudthresher
4 Damnation
2 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Heartwood Storyteller
2 Rootgrapple
4 Thorn of Amethyst











The mana base for this deck will look much better in  a month or so when we have the treefolk land from Morningtide.  The deck packs a variety of creatures that work well with both the Mirri Avatar and with Doran.  Thoughtseize and Riftsweeper are run maindeck as both are excellent versus two of the formats most popular decks, blue-based Dakkon control and mono red Dragonstorm with Squee.  The sideboard gives you four Thorn of Amethyst to further help the Dragonstorm matchup and I've found two to be useful versus Dakkon.  Garruk Wildspeaker is also for control matchups to give you a recurring threat.  Only two are run maindeck because the deck's creatures don't need much help to get big.  Damnation is the classic Mirri mirror-match tech.  Rootgrapple is a tutorable answer to enemy planeswalkers and Oblivion RingCloudthresher is in the deck to further improve the matchup with Heartwood Faeries and to fight Dragonstorm's Bogardan HellkitesHeartwood Storyteller I'm not sure on but is tutorable and very powerful in play against Dakkon decks. 

This deck will beat creature decks on the back of it's avatar so I've tried to improve its matchups versus the more controlling decks.  If decks like Ashling control, UG Jhoria, and Momir reanimator continue to show up this might not be the best deck but in a field of Dakkon, Heartwood, and Squee decks this should be a solid choice.  All that said, one idea I have for Mirri decks: (Thousand Year Elixer).



For the second week in a row a big Saturday crash killed the Singleton event.  Hope we can see one finish next week.  Thirty six players entered which was a great turnout, but ultimately irrelevant. 

Standard Wars Tribal 2x 1-13-08 33 Players
Placing Tribe Colors
1 Goblins BR
2 Elves GR
4 Faeries UB
4 Goblins BR
8 Elves GB
8 Angels UWR
8 Faeries UG
8 Faeries UB

Goblins took home the crown this week piloted by sMann who has made top eights with goblins in pretty much every format online.  If you want to know how to beat down with the little red and black men watch his replays.  The other deck to make the finals is a new comer to the top eight, green-red elves.  This deck abandons black for red adding in Incinerate, Stormbind, Thornscape Battlemage, Chandra Nalaar, and Radha, Heir to Keld.  This deck also packed the metagame focused Cloudthresher to wipe the skies of Faeries.  Faeries failed to make the finals but took three slots one with UG two with UB.  A more typical elf deck, GB made top eight and another goblin deck made t4 giving both tribes a pair of slots.  The real surprise to me was a return of one of the formats best decks circa three months ago.  Three color angel control made the top eight for the first time in a while.  While deck deck only lost Firemane Angel from its creature base due to the rotation it lost most of its mana base.  This version relied on Coalition Relic to fix its mana.  Running both Wrath of God and Sunscour it definity was pushing the control angel of the deck.  If this deck is a fluke or a compeditor we will not know for a week or two.

sMann's RB Goblins 1st
Lands - 24
9 Mountain
1 Pendelhaven
4 Sulfurous Springs
4 Swamp
4 Auntie's Hovel
2 Graven Cairns
Creatures - 29
4 Mogg Fanatic
3 Siege-Gang Commander
2 Greater Gargadon
4 Knucklebone Witch
1 Mad Auntie
3 Marsh Flitter
4 Mogg War Marshal
4 Mudbutton Torchrunner
4 Squeaking Pie Sneak
Other Spells - 7
3 Fodder Launch
4 Profane Command














This is clearly not your typical Goblin list.  sMann ran only one lord where most lists run four to eight, four three mana 1/1, and three faeries.  What the deck does very well is sacrifice goblins.  Be it to a Greater Gargadon, Fodder Launch, or Marsh Flitter.  This makes Knucklebone Witch amazingly powerful in this deck.  I saw many replays were the turn one or two Witch grew to 6/6 or 7/7, not bad for Marsh Flitter has the added bonus of being larger than most faeries run in the formats most popular deck.  An added benefit versus that deck is many ways to blank a Sower of Temptation by sacrificing it's target.  Mudbutton Torchrunner can hold off attacks by himself but really shines when combined with Fodder Launch or another sacrifice outlet.  I wouldn't recommend running this list blind, practice is important for knowing what order to play your goblins in and what to sacrifice when.





Classic 2x 1-13-08 40 Players
Placing Deck
1 GB Elves
2 Flash
4 UW Landstill
8 Flash
8 UW Tutorstill
8 UGR Threshold
8 Burn


Classic wins the popularity contest this week with 40 players.  Six months ago this is what an IPA qualifier brought so seeing 40 people for a regular 2x is great.  Now this was a surprising top eight.  Flash a deck that had seemed on life support the past few weeks took three slots.  Even more surprising an elves deck won the event.  The elf deck overwhelmed most of its opponents with card advantage from Dark Confidant and Skullclamp.  A deck that had also been dismissed UW Landstill, abandoned in favor of four color versions with Pernicious Deed made two appearances.  I listed them as two different decks because I think they are.  The Landstill deck in the top four was pretty traditional, lots of Standstills and Wrath effects.  The "Tutorstill" deck I'll talk about below.  Burn had one top eight slot.  It managed to win a game where Flash was unable to assemble it's combo by turn 11.  However a turn two Flash game one and a turn two Dreadnought game three were too much for burn to overcome.  The most surprising deck was a GB elf deck that won the event.  Essence Warden had been kicked around as a semi-joke answer to Flash but this deck ran it, plenty of other elves and Skullclamp.  Thanks to 1/1s for and broken equipment elves took home the top prize.  Personally I think this might be a fluke.  I've played against the elf deck one in the TP room and as expected Engineered Explosives demolishes it.



iceage4life's Tutorstill
Lands - 23
3 Hallowed Fountain
4 Flooded Strand
5 Island
4 Mishra's Factory
2 Plains
3 Polluted Delta
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Watery Grave
Other Spells - 35
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
1 Crucible of Worlds
2 Engineered Explosives
4 Enlightened Tutor
4 Force of Will
1 Moat
4 Sensei's Divining Top
2 Standstill
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Vedalken Shackles
4 Counterbalance
Creatures - 2
2 Eternal Dragon
Sideboard - 15
1 Arcane Laboratory
1 Aura of Silence
1 Circle of Protection: Green
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Engineered Explosives
3 Pulse of the Fields
1 Serenity
1 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Tormod's Crypt
3 Extirpate















This deck is based off the deck that Zvi Mowshowitz designed and played to a 4-1 record in the Legacy portion of the 2007 World Championships.  Star City Games premium members can read his thoughts on the deck here and about the legacy matches here.  The basic plan of the deck is to use Enlightened Tutor to find ether the half of the Counterbalance/Sensei's Divining Top combo you are missing or another backbreaking artifact/enchantment.  The main losses the deck when ported from Legacy to Classic are Seal of Cleansing and Wasteland.  The only other cards missing online are the original dual lands which are easily replaced with Ravnica's shocklands.  Game one you often win one of two ways ether with Moat or Counterbalance/Top.  An amazing number of decks just fold to Moat game one.  The deck's win conditions are four Mishra's Factories and two Eternal Dragons.  The dragons might seem out of place and I've had a ton of questions about them.  They work very well in the deck.  Unlike practically any other finisher they are not a dead card in the early game, you can cycle them away for a land often using that shuffle with a Top or Brainstorm.  The fact that they keep coming back from the graveyard is essential in a deck with as few win conditions as this.  Swords to Plowshares kills them but you rarely have to expose them to that spell.  You want a CounterTop down before you cast it making it easy to win with.  5/5 is also a good size for Classic.  It trades with a Tombstalker then comes back and beats pretty much everything but a large Tarmogoyf in combat.

The sideboard is nine singletons and a pair of 3x spells.  The singletons are all tutor targets aimed at hosing a specific deck or decks.  Pulse of the Fields is in the sideboard because it is the single hardest card for burn decks to beat.  They can cast Flames of the Blood Hand, they can mana burn, they can't beat a Pulse.  The fact that you also have CounterTop and Circle of Protection: Red make games two and three versus burn decks extremely easy.  Extirpate was a late addition to the deck.  It helps the dredge matchup as well as being useful in the control mirror.

In the tournament I went 4-1-1 in the Swiss.  I beat UGR Thresh, burn, and two UW Landstill decks.  I lost to Flash which this deck is clearly unprepared for.  Flash had not made a top eight in weeks so I figured reducing the hate for it and improving my matchup vs dredge was worth it.  I was wrong.  I finished the swiss in 3rd with amazing tiebreakers as four of my six opponents were in the top eight.  In the quarterfinals I faced a Landstill deck I had beaten in the swiss.  The deck was running Nevinyrral's Disk and Akroma's Vengeance those two cards while very slow for the format are great in the Landstill mirror.  I won game one on the back of a factory-heavy draw but lost the next two to his factories.  He lost the next round to the GB elf deck that won the event.  Engineered Explosives would have been alot more useful than Disk in that matchup.

I would strongly recommend this deck.  After the tournament I would make the following changes:
-1 Seat of the Synod
-1 Island
-1 Watery Grave
+1 Academy Ruins
+2 Faerie Conclave

-3 Extirpate
-1 Pulse of the Fields
+2 Extract
+2 Stifle

Those changes assume that Flash is on the rise and dredge is falling off.  The Conclaves are the help in the mirror match, you don't really need them other times. 


Classic Review

When we last checked in with Classic the top six decks were burn, Flash, UGR Thresh, 4c Landstill, RGB Aggro, and Goblins.  As you'll see below that has changed quite a bit.  We have four weeks of events below.  Keep in mind all the percents are rounded to the nearest whole number and that a red dot represents a finals appearance while black dots show non-finals top eight slots.


Deck Top 8s Pecent of Top 8 Slots Finals/Top 8 Ratio
Dredge 16% 40%
UGR Thresh 13% 25%
Flash 9% 33%
Stiflenought 9% 33%
UW Landstill 6% 0%
Deadguy Ale 6% 0%
Burn 6% 0%
Mono Black 6% 0%
UR(g) Aggrostill 6% 0%
Affinity 3% 100%
GB Elfclamp 3% 100%
Bomberman 3% 100%
Ideal Combo 3% 0%
5c Zoo 3% 0%
GBR Aggro 3% 0%
Unknown 3% 0%

The Classic metagame is still all over the place.  The most successful four decks make up just under hald of the metagame.  Of the top decks last time two are entirely absent and one has just a single top eight slot.  4 color Landstill and Goblins have not shown up in recent top eights.  GBR aggro and burn managed to put up a few top eights but are now far from the top of the charts.  UGR Threshold and Flash are the two decks that preformed well last review and this time.  Flash however was only in the top eight one week this time.  After three weeks without a top eight Flash put three decks into the top eight and one made the finals.  Dredge on the other hand dominated three weeks of competition before being absent this past Sunday.

What is clear from these results is that combo and aggro-control are the most popular and successful strategies.  Dredge and Flash are the two most successful combo decks with Stiflenought and UGR Thresh the most successful aggro-control decks.  The only control deck to make a top eight in the past four weeks is UW Landstill.  Burn, Affinity, and 5 color Zoo were the strait aggro decks to be seen.

If I had to recommend a deck I would say that UGR Thresh is probably the best deck if you want to pick something up and play it.  Some other decks like Stiflenought, UW Tutorstill, and Affinity are also good choices.  Personally I would avoid Flash and Dredge for at least a couple weeks as sideboards are gunning for them. 


That is it for this week.  Hope everyone picked up some new tech or at least got metagame data they were looking for.  As always feedback is appreciated as are decklists if you make a top eight.



Gaddock stops jhoira by renappel (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 01/22/2008 - 06:47
renappel (Unregistered)'s picture

well i have to disagree on the fact that gaddock stops jhoira, it surely slows ist down, but when they get gaddock down u just switch from sorceries to instants, which u then play either in their attack step (if they attack) or during their endstep, and there u have a lot of ways to get him off the board, allmost all blue instant critter bounce costs 3 or less, lots of banishing effects cost 3 or less and some burn will on occasion help too (right after he enters play)

Fair enough by walkerdog at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 17:37
walkerdog's picture

If a large amount of Countertop/shackles decks begin to show up, then it's probably time to move away from B/W, but until then, I feel like it's a very strong option. 

by iceage4life at Fri, 01/18/2008 - 00:21
iceage4life's picture

Yeah honestly I'm surprised they are not run more often.  Explosives is good versus most decks and blows some out of the water.  Countertop shuts down almost every deck in the format.  And Shackles is pretty solid too :)

by iceage4life at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 15:13
iceage4life's picture

RE Vanguard yeah I didn't see that in action vs Dragonstorm, pretty cool.

As far as Classic, burn was played by a decent number of players which didn't hurt Flash.  That said there was not burn at the top tables from what I saw.  One burn deck made top eight but it clearly was unprepared for what was in the top eight.

BW I think is an okay deck but honestly I'm not a huge fan. I really like all the cards it runs but I think it has a couple problems.  Cheif among them being Sensei's Divining Top, Counterbalance, Engineered Explosives, and Tarmogoyf.  A single one of those cards can trump half BW's spells.  I would expect a rise in Counterbalance decks in the near future and that will hurt BW.

That said it might just be personal bias because all the decks I play have Countertop and Explosives, and more often than not Shackles. 

by Umii at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 14:05
Umii's picture

For Vanguard, I think there are two keys to cwllc's WG Mirri deck.  First, Gaddock Teeg stops Damnation or Jhoira tricks.  Second, cwllc has Burrenton Forge-Tender and Pariah for a 2-card combo win vs Dragonstorm.  I will probably never play Mirri as long as Dragonstorm and Ashling are around, but cwllc's deck has more game against Dragonstorm than I realized.  Adding black for Doran may give Mirri more game against Ashling, although Ashling usually packs point removal for the few creatures the avatar can't gun down.

by Kaxon (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 02:41
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I think it would have been interesting to mention the makeup of the field overall, and the influence of last week's Building on a Budget column.  Specifically, the most common archetype last week was Burn after it had been dying down for a while.  I think this was part of the reason for Flash's resurgence.

by Kaxon (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 01/17/2008 - 02:42
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Also, I like the new section header images.

aww by walkerdog at Wed, 01/16/2008 - 23:57
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Dang no love/recommendations for BW Ale?  It's a very solid alternative to UGr thresh, although it definently does require more testing.  However, to be fair, Whiffy Penguin is one of the best thresh players out there, and he accounts for a decent amount of the t8s.