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By: Arnnaria, Sean Costales
Mar 13 2008 11:25am
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Welcome to Pure Standard!

Grand Prix Shizuoka has come and past and Morningtide has been officially added to Standard.  The Top 8 had three Reveillark decks, a Doran Rock Deck, two Elves! decks, and two Faerie decks.  Noticably absent were the G/R Big Mana Builds and Goblins.   Today I’m going to be looking at the Top Ten Morningtide cards in the Top 8 of the tournament.  There is one card missing from this Top Ten list.  Which one is it?  Read on and find out.  Without much further ado, here we go!

9.  Mind Shatter (1 instance)

Mind Shatter brings back stories of Magic’s past where a similar card, Mind Twist, could skew the game effectively in your favor.  Mind Twist is back but the extra black could certainly hurt it.  Think about it, for XBB you can play Profane Command.  Profane Command can do some insane things: drain away the last of your opponent’s life, give your army fear to deal the lethal damage, kill a creature and bring one back.  Profane Command wins games.  What does Mind Shtatter do?  Well, it gets rid of the options your opponent has.  But if your opponent is still winning on the board, it isn’t able to turn it around like Profane Command can.  I except to see Mind Shatters in the sideboard and only brought in on tough matchups.  One such matchup would be R/G big mana and G/W big mana, which spend their early turns setting up and then fall back on expensive fatties to win the game.

8. Wolf-Skull Shaman (2 instances)

In Fujimoto’s Elves! deck, he ran 16 elves and 4 changelings.  That’s a good third of the deck.  This means that about every three turns, Wolf-Skull Shaman guarantees a free 2/2 beater.  Combined with Wren’s Run Packmaster, which Fujimoto has in his sideboard, the wolves also get deathtouch.  Will we see more wolves to come?  I’m skeptical on this one.  Elves! is already so tightly packed for cards.  Fujimoto had to relegate his Shriekmaws to the sideboard.  I think people will test out Wolf-Skull Shaman to see if it plays well.  But I see people siding with Bramblewood Paragon, which made the list at number six, for the two drop instead.



7.  Notorious Throng (2 instances)

Notorious Throng led Olivier Ruel to win more than one matchup.  The combination of more faeries and an extra turn to beatdown is more than an average player can handle.  This card might be too expensive for the control-heavy formats at the Grand Prix level, but for Friday Night Magic and the casual room, this card will get through more often than not.  And when it does, it acts like two old school red cards: Mogg Infestation and Reletless Assault.  It’s even a better Relentless Assault, because you get to untap everything and get an extra draw.  The faeries are also rogues, which helps out with the next card.

6.  Oona’s Blackguard (4 instances)

When I first saw this card, I thought it was underpowered and would only see play in rogue Rogue builds.  (No, that’s not a typo.)  However, I underestimated how powerful this faerie can truly be alongside another powerful faerie card: Bitterblossom.  With Oona’s Blackguard out, every faerie made by the enchantment becomes a 2/2 with a Riptide Pilferer ability on the side.  Wizards hasn’t keyworded the ability just yet, but when it does you know Oona’s Blackguard will get the necessary errata.  Normally, a 2/2 with the Pilferer ability would be nothing to sneeze at, but the creature has flying.  These days, the skies aren’t as heavily populated as the ground, especially with Elves!, goblins, and merfolk running around.  This means that everytime you hit with a creature, your opponent is going to be losing cards and losing options.  Olivier Ruel came in second place and his deck showcased both Oona’s Blackguard and Notorious Throng.  Although Ruel said he would remove Oona’s Blackguard if he remade the deck, the card is still going to be something to be reckoned with in Standard, especially when it’s paired alongside Bitterblossom.



5. Bramblewood Paragon (4 instances)

Bramblewood Paragon affects warriors, but what you didn’t know is a lot of your elf friends are also warriors.  The turn two Wren’s Run Vanquisher is an elf and a warrior; your Imperious Perfect not only is an elf warrior, but he produces elf warrior tokens as well; Civic Wayfinder is an elf druid – and also a warrior; and the fatty Wren’s Run Packmaster is honored with warrior status as well.  Another card that surprisingly did not make the top ten list was Chameleon Colossus.  Chameleon Colossus, as a changeling, is also a warrior as well.  But for some reason not a single top eight deck played him.  This could be just because no G/R or G/W Big Mana decks made it into the top eight, but his omission is startling.  Has this card been overhyped like we’ve seen with cards in the past?  Ryohei Masuno could have easily cut out the risky Wren’s Run Packmaster’s for the more concrete Chameleon Colossus.  Was this a budgetary issue, people not having enough money the day of the event and substituting as necessary?  I would like to think that there is some logical omission as to the neglect to the card, but maybe it’s simpler than that.  Maybe the Pros didn’t think he was good enough to matter.


4.  Murmuring Bosk (4 instances)

Murmuring Bosk is the first good land to produce three colors of mana.  Regardless of the lands that tap for all five colors, such as Grand Coliseum and (City of Brass), there have only been two cycles of lands to attempt the three color threshold.  One of these cycles was in Homelands.  And like everything else in Homelands, they sucked.  (Sorry Autumn Willow and Serrated Arrows, no exceptions for you today.)  The other cycle was the Lairs from Planeshift.  Treva’s Ruins is an example of one of these guys.  While they could produce three colors, they also ruined your tempo and weren’t worth playing.  However, now we have Murmuring Bosk which is perfect for Doran builds.  Not only does it come into play untapped if you have a (Doran, the Siege Tower) in your hand, you can also trick it into coming into play untapped with a changeling like Nameless Inversion.  I expect the Bosk to rejuvenate Doran Rock decks that had to deal with a shaky manabase.  Now, the mana base is more reliable which means getting a turn two or turn three Siege Tower is all the more reasonable.


3.  Bitterblossom (12 instances)

There’s not much enchantment removal in Standard these days.  If there is enchantment removal, it’s relegated to the sideboard.  You can find a multitude of Seal of Primordiums, Wispmares, and Oblivion Rings in the sideboard of many players.  However, that means that there is not going to be much enchantment removal in game one.  This makes Bitterblossom’s job much easier.  This card would be playable if it gave you a random 1/1 every turn.  But the fact that this 1/1 has flying makes it insane.  Throw in the fact that the token counts as both a faerie and a rogue makes it game-winning in and of itself.  Expect to see some maindeck enchantment removal after this Grand Prix, because faeries are going to be showing up in spades.

2. Reveillarak (12 instances)

Reveillark sticks your opponents between a rock and a hard place.  On the one hand, they can try to deal with your 4/3 flyer every turn and hope they don’t get to far behind in the damage race.  On the other hand, they can destroy your 4/3 flyers and watch you get back two creatures: a Mulldrifter (a 2/2 flyer) and two cards, a Riftwing Cloudskate (a 2/2 flyer) and bouncing their best permanent, or even a Venser, Shaper Savant (a 2/2) and bouncing their best permanent or spell.  Of course, you could always cheat and Momentary Blink your own Reveillark, triggering the “leaves play” ability and getting back two creatures in the process.


1. Mutavault (18 instances)

What else is there to be said about Mutavault that hasn’t already been said?  It doesn’t slow down your tempo like the other man-lands by coming into play tapped.  It works in conjunction with your tribal enablers: Scion of Oona gives it +1/+1 and Shroud; Imperious Perfect turns it into a 3/3.  Mutavault is simply a necessary card in almost all decks; there is no reason not to include him.  Only two decks in the Top 8 decided not to run him.  One was the Doran Rock build, which makes some sense as the deck already has Treetop Villages and a mana-intensive curve.  The other deck was Akira Asahara’s Reveillark deck and I think did not include them because he was already running on a tight 23 lands.  Mutavault is a great Standard card and will be played in a limitless amount of decks before it rotates out.


Except for the absence of three cards, I think the deck is very through and should transfer to the online metagame as well.  The three cards missing are from decks that didn't place in the top eight.  I fully expect to see more Chameleon Colossus, Auntie's Snitch, and Earwig Squads in the Premier Events in the months to come.  However, the big question is what can stop the awesome power of faeries which placed second and first in the tournament.  Only time and testing will tell.  Thanks for reading!


Sean Costales

Arnnaria on Magic Online



Auntie's Snitch by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 03/23/2008 - 12:16
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I too pegged the snitch to be a big leader in rogue decks early on... infact, the weekend that morningtide came out i stocked up on 4 of them at a buck each, and recently bought 10 on ebay at something like .32 each.  Aunties snitch is free recursion, somewhere between Squee and Flashback.  I can definitally see it making t8's everywhere.  ESPECIALLY if shadowmoor includes a changeling direct damage spell.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 03/23/2008 - 12:18
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forget the DD comment... it says combat dmg.  its still good though.

Rev's by hamtastic at Fri, 03/14/2008 - 11:49
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I'm so glad they put rev's in a theme deck.  I have a feeling that it was a mistake though.  :p.  Bitterblossom is just ridiculous though.  That card does so much amazing stuff for a control deck.

Nice article!


by meshuganater at Fri, 03/14/2008 - 06:46
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Auntie's Snitch? Complete Garbage

by MirrorMage at Thu, 03/13/2008 - 16:14
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What? No Green/White aggro?! Blasphemy.

Just kidding, great article. I may throw up if Bitterblossom becomes widely played though. As a Timmy, I hate any blue/black player.

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