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By: jamuraa, Michael Janssen
Mar 12 2008 10:23am
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Well, there's not much for me to talk about this week.. There's no constructed PEs, just the Morningtide release events going on for at least another three weeks. I could talk a little about version 3, but the beta server is down until the release events are over too, so I guess I'll have to come up with something else to talk about. This week I was particularly busy and financially hardened, so I didn't even get to open or play with any MOR cards. I did buy some sets of singles though, which was nice.

Morningtide has finally come to Magic Online, and it is a glorious thing. It is a blast to draft, as I learned when drafting Winston and otherwise with my friends in Paper. Speaking of our cardboard-obsessed friends, they have had almost a month to play with this set before us online people got our grubby hands on it. I'd like to take my article space today talking about four deck types which have been gracing the top tables of the tournaments which were happening while we were lagging.

Red Deck Wins

The archetype which I am most excited to tell you about today is the Red Deck. There are really two distinct types of deck here. This is a evolution of the Red Deck Wins archetype. Red gets a couple great cards in Morningtide: Countryside Crusher and Shard Volley. They also have some great synergy. Volley has an extra "Put a +1/+1 counter on all Countryside Crushers in play." Of course there is the other nice thing about the Crusher, which is that you will never draw a land, although you might want to draw one of the Mutavaults which is getting play in most of these red decks.

Rocket Red Army
Standard-Morningtide Deck by Nik Nazru Iskandar
Creatures
4 Blood Knight
4 Countryside Crusher
3 Emberwilde Augur
4 Inner-Flame Acolyte
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Mogg Fanatic

Other Spells
4 Incinerate
4 Lash Out
4 Shock
3 Rift Bolt
Lands
4 Ghitu Encampment
14 Mountain
4 Mutavault

Countryside Crusher

Rocket Red Army just got fifth in the recent City Champ Trials in Kuala Lampur. This is the more Aggro-oriented build of the two that are shown here, with a set of Inner-Flame Acolyte and Blood Knight to bring the beats in. Efficient creatures and burn are the name of the game with these decks in general. One thing that had been the bane of red decks in the past was control players, once they got enough counters with extra gas to block anything you were putting down you were basically screwed. In this deck we have Ghitu Encampment and Mutavault as uncounterable creatures that can hit the board and start beating down. These high-value lands are also probably why the deck eshews the Shard Volley for more traditional burn.

Red Deck Wins is the more classic build of the archetype post-morningtide. One of the key cards to look at is the Greater Gargadonwhich also has synergy with the Crusher. Notice a trend here? The name of the game is called "Maximize the Crusher". This build also runs the four Shard Volley to get those last few points of damage through. Another important inclusion in this deck which is missing above is the Browbeat. This gets you gas when you need it to get those last few points of damage through, and it's five points of damage for three mana when you don't. It's win-win in my rulebook, and I would probably up the count to four and drop the Magus of the Scroll a bit, because it's less useful to have him in your opening hand. Speaking of our Magus friend, I think he is currently overlooked a bit. There are also a number of builds which are basically Red Deck Wins with a green splash for Tarmogoyf. Normally I would be all for this inclusion of the greatest creature, but I feel like it somehow weakens the deck, because you do have to up the land count in order to run the second color.

The way to play these decks is pretty simple. Play creatures. If at all possible, aim burn at the head. That's basically the way that Red Deck Wins rolls, and if you ask me it's good for the metagame. How well will these decks survive the online brutality that is the PE field? I am not sure. Personally I would be happy to see RDW come back, because it makes the format a lot more accessible. However, I am not thrilled about the mirror match, where it basically comes down to a coin toss and luck if you have two players of equally matched skill.

Reveillark Combo

Everyone and their sister (okay, maybe not their sister) are talking about Reveillark. The card is in a Morningtide precon deck so it has a upper limit on it's price at least, and the deck that is built around it does infinite things, or at least arbitrarily large number things. I think we might be seeeing a lot of the Tempo-Combo in the field as the weeks go by before Shadowmoor comes out. It is placing consistently in the Top decks of the paper events that I keep a track of, which means that even with the slower metagame it is starting to deal with the hate.

This is pretty much the standard build of the Combo. For people who haven't read the excellent summary by Arnnaria, the combo goes like this. Get Mirror Entity in play somehow either by copying it with Body Double or playing it out. You also need Body Double in the grave if you're just playing Reveillark from hand. Also have Mirror Entity in play. Activate Mirror Entity for 0.. a ton of times and put them all on the stack. When everything dies, bring back Body Double copying Reveillark and some useful creature like a Mulldrifter or a Venser, Shaper Savant or a Riftwing Cloudskate. After you have drawn cards, bounced permanents, and sometimes milled to your hearts desire, attack for the win with your creatures. Your opponent will not be able to recover from your advantage.

Of course, that's a three card combo, with an added half card for needing the utility creature in your grave or in play as well. The other downside is that you don't really have room in your deck for searching cards, although some of the decks are running Careful Consideration and Bonded Fetch in place of the Wrath of God and the Aven Riftwatchers. There are a number of utility creatures you can put in. Personally I like Salva's build because you get five gazillion life and you can't really mess up that can you. There's a basic weakness of this deck to Extirpate though, which brings us to our next archtype, which will probably be the natural foil of the Reveillark.

Rogues

Normally when I talk about rogues, I'm talking about decks that aren't really on the radar of the normal PE player, but this time it's the creature type. After all, the mothership had a whole week on Rogues and there is a significant new mechanic available in Morningtide for them, so I am not surprised that a deck has shown up.

This is the mono-black build that is pretty much new. It's core is made of at least two thirds Morningtide cards, and every single creature enables the Prowl mechanic, including the animated Mutavaults. The Prowl mechanic really drives this deck, which not only plays out creatures for cheap and makes you discard due to the counters given by Oona's Blackguard, but it also neuters your deck by using the excellent Earwig Squad which is seeing play not only in my precious Standard environment but also Extended, and I've seen one brave soul play him in Legacy.

I've already hinted on the basic premise of the deck, but it's basically aggro with some control elements based on the Prowling of Earwig Squad and the Morsel Theft. Having a six point swing for 1B is pretty decent, and it's not hard to start prowling things out on turn two given that you have eight one-drop Rogues. The Bad Moons just make the beats worse, but I think the star of the deck is Stinkdrinker Bandit, who is just insane when you have a lot of creatures on the board. He's more like a double Glorious Anthem. Bitterblossom is also great, proven excellent against control as it comes down turn two and starts building an army shortly after.

I'm not sure that Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is really needed in this build, because there are only three Mutavaults. Then again, the deck has such a low curve that it runs only twenty-one lands total, and you need every swamp you can get if you're siding in the Tendrils of Corruption for some creature removal. While I didn't mention it in the last section, you can also see here Sudden Spoiling which is Anti-Reveillark. Playing this card with a Mirror Entity for 0 activation on the stack basically says "all your creatures die and you can't bring them back". I'd look to see this deck show up in the PEs right away, if it's not showing up in the 8-mans as I write.

Warriors

Have you noticed a trend in the archetypes yet? They're all really enabled by Morningtide. This says something about the general quality of the cards which are in this new expansion. If you're planning on playing a gauntlet of decks in the new meta, you better be planning on buying a set of almost all the rares. Granted, there's not a card which screams this is the best card ever, most of the cards are of consistent quality and I really like that. There aren't a lot of wow, crap rare cards either which I heartily approve of. The next archetype is built around the Warriors, and while it hasn't been seeing a ton of play lately, I don't think that it's because the deck is bad.

It's another aggro deck, it made a splash right after the set hit the shelves, and it is capable of some pretty nuts turns. Here's the selling play of this deck: turn two Obsidian Battle-Axe, turn three Imperious Perfect, attach the Axe, tap to create an elf, attach the axe to that, swing with a token for four. Rinse and repeat on subsequent turns, or play out any of the other efficient Warriors. This build got second at a Grand Prix Trial in Shizuoka, and it's the most efficient that I have seen so far.

This deck also plays more pumpers in the form of Bramblewood Paragon. This man will help you get those points of damage through when you are facing down, say, an army of Kithkin through it's trample-granting, and it works well with the other big creature in the deck that you will be seeing a lot of in the future, I can guarantee. That creature is Chameleon Colossus. I featured this guy on my list of cards last week, and it's not surprising to me that he's included here, as well as in almost every other deck with green that you will see from here until the guy rotates out. As a late-game finisher, he can't be beat for the amount of pumpability when you have 8 mana free on the board, and the immunity to Shriekmaw is just perfect. I also love that the deck runs Radha, "Head in her hand"Heir to Keld - it works excellently as an accelerator as well as needed beatdown. Noted absent is Tarmogoyf again, but I am not surprised as it's not a Warrior, and this deck doesn't really maximize it at all with mostly creatures hitting the graveyard.

Expect to see a lot of builds which maximize some of the classes which are prevalent in Morningtide. I'm convinced that there is a good Wizard and Shaman deck waiting out there to be discovered. Soldiers already have their deck, but it isn't grazing the top tables as much as I would like to see to be included in this list. I had lots of hope for Kithkin to be more playable in the new standard game, but it doesn't look like they are getting there. Next week I am planning on building at least one of the decks and taking it through it's paces in the eight man queues, as well as documenting the all the decks that I've presented so far for easy retrieval. Until next time, Good luck in the.. uhm.. eight man queues?

0 Comments

Shamans by eotinb at Wed, 03/12/2008 - 15:42
eotinb's picture

I think you're right that there's a shaman deck waiting to be discovered. Rage Forger can be absolutely nuts in the right circumstances. And in multiples, he's simply brutal. The question is whether or not to try to align race as well -- the mostly mono-Red Elemental Shaman deck seems pretty good, but there are some pretty good Goblin Shamans in Black and Green gives you Wolf-Skull, Bosk Banneret and the Colossus. Decisions, decisions...

by jamuraa at Wed, 03/12/2008 - 16:42
jamuraa's picture

Yes, I am aware that the Mono-Black Rogue deck is mostly out of the meta right now, although you might still see some play of it online because the paper metagame is slow-moving and people are bringing their game online.  I can also see it being good or bad based on the appearance of the rest of the meta - against reveillark for example it comes out fast and has answers to the combo (and almost any combo, really).   I don't think it's necessarily a bad deck.  Also the blue-black Faeries deck is just going insane now, I am considering writing about it next week.

In regards to the Reveillark build, it's the popular build that I have seen being played, so I put it in the list.  There is also a decklist out there that is much more blink and control oriented, which your list is a decent example of.  It does make the deck much more resilient to combo-hate like Exitrpate which is a good thing.

Honestly, the RG Warriors deck isn't seeing a ton of play anymore either, people are just tooling some of the old Green-Black with some of the new good cards from Morningtide as well.  I wanted to present four decks that were fresh and different. 

by Evu at Wed, 03/12/2008 - 13:34
Evu's picture

It seems to me that the Reveillark deck is so helpless against Extirpate that I'm wondering if the burn decks could benefit from splashing it.  They're already running 4 or 7 goblins; change those Shocks into Tarfires and you could probably get away with running a set of Antie's Hovel main and four Extirpates in the side.  If you're worried about Tarfire powering up Tarmogoyf, you could always go with Sulfurous Springs instead.  Thoughts?

By the way, thanks for writing these articles, jamuraa.  I pretty much never play sanctioned Constructed, but I've been thinking about putting together a deck and joining an eight-man or two, so these are a big help.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 98.24.35.254 (not verified) at Wed, 03/12/2008 - 12:01
Anonymous (Unregistered) 98.24.35.254's picture

Um I'm not sure when this article was written but its definitely the first one ive seen mention mono black rogues...at least in a sense that they are still viable.  Also I think that Reveillark decklist is a very bad example as nowadays most Reveillark decks have appeared to switch from a combo focus to a more control-oriented build like this one:

4 Adarkar Wastes

8 Island

2 Mutavault

4 Nimbus Maze

6 Plains

3 Aven Riftwatcher

2 Body Double

1 Mirror Entity

4 Mulldrifter

4 Reveillark

4 Riftwing Clodskate

2 Sower of Temptation

1 Venser, Shaper Savant

2 Careful Consideration

4 Mind Stone

2 Momentary Blink

4 Rune Snag

3 Wrath of God

Sideboard

1 Aven Riftwatcher

2 Crovax, Ascendant Hero

2 Pact of Negation

3 Remove Soul

1 Sower of Temptation

3 Teferi's Moat

3 Wispmare

ok i dont why that is the only way this box can do a deck list but oh well