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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Mar 03 2008 12:02am
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Morningtide is here!  Well, not yet, considering this article will be posted at Midnight Eastern time, but it is close enough!  The Extended format has been shaken up a little bit by the addition of Morningtide to the PTQ circuit, but really, I feel like the set has not been explored enough in format.  We are only seeing a very very small percentage of the cards being played.  In fact in the top eight of Grand Prix: Vancouver, there was a grand total of ZERO Morningtide cards.  If you look at the top sixty four decks, we'll see some Morningtide cards, but the effects of the set were pretty much some sideboard cards (Offalsnout comes to mind, or a silver bullet in some Goblin decks. (Earwig Squad would be that bullet.)  Sadly it seems that the established decks do not need many spells from the set.  Next Level Blue has better tools for graveyard hate than the pig elemental.  Could you tell me that TEPS and Ideal could use something out of this set to win it's matches?  No, they really can not use anything from the set.  Neither could Next Level Blue, or Red Deck wins.  The one card that could have really impacted Extended with the creation of Bubble Hulk was no where to be found in the second day.  Yeah, there really was more Mind Shatters being played than copies of Reveillark.  Yeah, it was a 1-0 victory in favor of the sorcery.  Let's take a look at the cards played in Grand Prix: Vancouver that were from Morningtide. 

Colors Card Name Instances in Decks Percentage
  Mutavault 27%
Offalsnout 18%
Earwig Squad 16%
Shard Volley 12%
  Murmuring Bosk 7%
Countryside Crusher 6%
Mothdust Changeling 3%
Chameleon Colossus 3%
Boldwyr Heavyweights 1%
Mind Shatter 0%

Yeah, that really is ten unique cards from the newest set.  I know that Grand Prix Vancouver is a one of, and the format was still relativly new, so here is to hoping that next Extended Grand Prix sees a lot more of Morningtide!

Besides the release of Morningtide, the other big news of week was the release of the Banned and Restricted list.  Nothing in Extended changed, and that could be argued, but I really feel like the DCI made the right choice.  People were clammoring for Tarmogoyf to get the axe, but why?  Yes he costs about as much as a trip to a Major League Baseball game, but monetary concerns should never be a consideration when banning a card.  He's powerful, that is for sure, but there are just way too many answers for him.  He's not format warping much like Arcbound Ravager was, but he is annoying.  However, as long as there is a diverse field of decks that have answers for the little Lhurgoyf, I think he is going to be safe. 


Is this card as annoying to play against as this next one? 
Other cards that I heard getting hit was either Counterbalance or Sensei's Divining Top.  Top makes rounds last longer, between each activation of the artifact, and the shuffling from fetch lands and stuff.  Slow rounds should not be a big deal as long as PTQ rounds are lasting two hours each.  The last I have heard they are not!  Counterbalance on the other hand, is just plan unfun to play against.  I see Counterbalance in the same light as Stasis.  Both created a soft lock to where your opponent could not do anything, and both were just unfun to play against.  However, because the field is so diverse, Counterbalance could be let off the hook this time.  I could see this card getting banned if the metagame becomes a lot of anti Counter Counterbalance decks, but right now, we are seeing how to beat the enchantment now, with plenty of different mana costs!  

The other call for banning was something out of Dredge.  I hate having to start every new Extended deck with the graveyard based combo deck in mind.  Leyline of the Void, Tormod's Crypt and Offalsnout are all pretty much the beginnings of my sideboard.  Dredge may have warped the format too much, and had the deck seen a lot of success in the recent Grand Prix, I think bannings would have happened.  However, with most of the deck key cards leaving format in October, I think we will just have to keep the deck in mind until then.  However if I had to ban anything in the deck, I think it would have been between (Bridge from Below or Narcomeoba.  Those two cards make Dread Return, and in essence the combo work.  Without them, you're forced to play without the combo, which suddenly makes Dredge a run of the mill reanimation deck. 

The other big news in the world of Extended is a change to the rotation policy.  You see this year we are going to be losing everything before Onslaught.  Starting this year though, we'll be losing a years worth of sets with each passing year. We'll lose Onslaught in 2009, Mirrodin in 2010 and so on.  I like how the rotations sync up now with the Standard format.  That makes it easier to keep up with both formats!   

Let's get down to business now.  I am sure everyone is interested in seeing the results from the month of February in regards to Extended.  Now, I need to add a small disclaimer here.  Some results may be wrong.  I had been calling all versions of Previous Level Blue Next Level Blue.  I had no idea PLB exsisted until the Grand Prix, but I had heard a rumbling of Next Level Blue decks running Rude Awakening since a recent PTQ in Columbus.  Because of this, Next Level Blue will have higher numbers.  I could not go back and re check these results, because well, most of the early month results have already been wiped from the system.  I'm also missing two full top eights, which occured during a weekend.  Since replays are off most weekends, I was unable to see those sixteen decks.  Take these results with a small grain of salt. 

First though, let's take a look at the top five decks of last month. 

1.  Dredge:  One of the quickest combo decks in the field.  It can win on turn two, and does so often.  It plays well with the graveyard, and it should, as it abuses the Dredge mechanic to dump your entire library into the yard and flashback a Dread Return targeting Flame Kin Zealot.  You sacrifice Narcomoeba to get Zombie tokens from Bridge from Below and a whole host of hasty undead because of the Zealot.

2.  Next Level Blue: 
Pat Chapins Blue Green Counterbalancedeck.  It's unreal.  Lots of synergy, and some versions run a Trinket Mage toolbox to shore up some bad matchups.  Other versions of the deck stay true to Mr. Chapins original list, and run a Living Wish toolbox.

3.  Zoo: 
This is the beatdown deck of choice.  It has cheap men, like Grim Lavamancer, Mogg Fanatic and in some cases Gaddock Teeg.  Teeg is insane against most of the combo decks in the field, as he shuts off the key cards.  Enduring Ideal, Mind's Desire, and Dread Return are unplayable with him in play.  These dorks are backed up with solid burn like Tribal Flames, Lightning Helix, and Firebolt.

4.  Doran: 
Doran Junk has become the Black White Green deck of choice in this Extended format.  Not only is it starting to become more of a factor online, but it is showing up in large numbers in Pro Tour Qualifiers as well.

5.  Affinity: 
It's a powerful deck with main deck tools against Dredge (Tormod's Crypt and Arcbound Ravager can ruin this decks day.)  It has a good matchup with Zoo because it has large men that come out quickly (Think Myr Enforcer.)  and can win games out of no whereon the back of Cranial Plating.  This deck is cheap when compared to other Extended decks, and should be a player in the format for time to come. 

It may have been second place last month, but did it finally knock off Dredge?

I think we've all seen enough of last month (Well two months ago.) Let's take a look at the top eights that made up February's results.  I have the results from twenty seven events here in this table. 

Colors Deck Name Placings Percentage
Next Level Blue 16%
Dredge 12%
  Affinity 9%
Red Deck Wins 8%
Ideal 7%
Goblins 6%
Doran 6%
Simic Tron 4%
Death Cloud 4%
Burn Deck Wins 4%
Zoo 3%
Teps 2%
Haterater 1%
Heartbeat 1%
Dragonstorm 0%
Tooth and Nail 0%
Mono Blue Control 0%
Previous Level Blue 0%
Tog 0%
Spice Storm 0%
Flow Rock 0%
Aggro Loam 0%
Cephalid Breakfast 0%
  KCI 0%
  Unknown 1%

Next Level Blue and its' variants have taken over, at least for February.  Dredge came really close to overtaking it near the end of the month, but there were just too few events for the graveyard deck to come back and over throw it.  What does this mean?  Well, I am not too sure, as I may have, as already stated, messed up on the results.  I think Next Level Blue is still going to be the deck to beat for March, while the hot new models of TEPS and UG Tron will continue to see play.  If I were going to play in any Extended events, I would look heavily into Next Level Blue. 

Before I leave I have one message that I want to pass out.  Congrats to my real life team mate Daniel Neeley for finally winning a slot to the Pro Tour!  He won in Nashville this past weekend, piloting UG tron to the win.  Congrats friend! 

Finally here are two more combo decks for you all to look at.  Enjoy these, and I'll see you next time in the final installment of the Deckopedia (Control decks coming up.) and after the release events, when Extended gets to play with it's new friends in Morningtide! 



by HydraLord at Mon, 03/03/2008 - 15:04
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Hellkite targets, meaning that it can't get around Solitary Confinement. Kokusho is also two mana cheaper, which helps sometimes.

I do kind of worry about getting shafted by Leyline though. 

dragonscum by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 03/03/2008 - 11:13
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whats the point of not running hellkites

by dolemiteX (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 03/03/2008 - 03:09
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I tried the SpiceStorm deck in the casual tourney room last week after seeing it in the mtg.com article and I gave up after 3 matches...it just seemed awful.

by runeliger at Mon, 03/03/2008 - 06:24
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I don't know about some of the card choices in Spicestorm, but I definitely played against a similar deck in the Extended 8 mans, and I have to say it was quite the beast.  

There is a need to hush. As by wannareset1990 at Tue, 07/11/2017 - 08:07
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There is a need to hush. As long as the game is getting hard. - Steven C Wyer

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