jamuraa's picture
By: jamuraa, Marie Janssen
Mar 26 2008 12:08pm
Login to post comments

Well, the Premier Events are back on Magic Online and I couldn't be happier! Morningtide became legal for tournaments on February 1, and the first constructed sanctioned Premier Events on MTGO started last Thursday. That's fifty days of lag, and it was almost unbearable. At least there were release events and testing to get me throuh it. I was debating whether to do a full metagame breakdown this week or wait until we had a full week to analyze, but we have about 2/3 the normal amount of events, and that seemed like enough for me.

The new tournaments had great turnout this week, and the Sunday 3pm CST event was one of the biggest, with 68 players, the first tournament with seven rounds of swiss that wasn't a special week tournament since I started this column (There were some 3x and 4x tourneys with plenty of players). I decided to capitalize on the fact that I didn't really have anything else to do right when the tournament started, but I couldn't really play for the whole tournament because of some prior committments. Serendipity and synchronicity also helped out a little, as last weekend the replays were turned on as well, so I hung around and watched replays to my heart's content. Of course, I'm a fiend, so I ended up getting a breakdown of the entire field of play that day:

Colors Deck Name Placings Percentage
Faeries 32%
Big Mana 14%
Elves 13%
Crusher Deck Wins 13%
Reveillark 5%
Knoll Storm 2%
Goblins 2%
Doran Shamans 2%
  Other 11%

Lots of different decks are here, but let's take a look at some of the obvious ones. Faeries takes almost a third of the field, and rightfully so - they are the top deck this week, and also the Mode. I was more interested in the decks that were showing up at the lower levels of play that weren't making it through the swiss rounds to the top eight. Elves and Big Mana are taking a good portion of the players in the event. I was surprised by the lack of Reveillark decks, because they have a relatively low amount of new Morningtide cards to get, only Reveillark and Mutavault, in order to complete the deck from someone with a decent standard collection before Morningtide came around.

I also like to spot the Rogue decks, and there are a lot more of them here before they get weeded out. The "other" category above includes a copy of the red-green warriors deck which I covered a couple weeks ago. There were also two takes on variants to the Crusher Deck Wins archetype, one which splashed white that I actually liked a lot - it abused Boom/Bust which totally wrecks any deck which actually relies on it's land, and pumps the Countryside Crusher about as much as possible. There was also a green splashed variant which Djinn_ alerted me that he was playing after I initially categorized it as a normal Crusher deck because I saw exactly no green in the first round - that deck variant went on to get to the top eight later this week with a different pilot and is the Outlier this week. Others abused Boom/Bust as well, but they were playing an "artifact sources" type and was much more controlling, including both Wrath of God and Austere Command and a full compliment of Coalition Relic to allow fast recovery after everyone's lands go to the bin. I heartily approve of these LD methods, as most of the decks are playing as few lands as possible right now. Magus of the Moon also showed in this tournament at least once.

Just for more percentages goodness, the most popular color in the tournament was black, which showed up in almost 60% of decks. Next was blue, at almost half the decks. White is the color which is struggling the most, showing up in only 9 of the 68 decks (13%).

The top eight of this PE was the most Faeries-heavy of the entire week, with six of the eight spots. The rest of the prize-garnering spots were Elves and Doran. Now, you may be thinking "great, all I need to do is beat Faeries consistently". I would caution against that, because one thing that the tables that I present to you every week don't include is trending, and this PE was about the high point for the Faeries this week - the Fae started losing spots as article time drew closer, with the most recent one only having a couple in the top spots. If I was going to make a bet, I would say that Big Mana is on the rise again, using some of the cards available to red-green that trump the Faeries cards to start to regain some share in this game. Next week we will see the trends because we will have at least two weeks worth of data - but on to the stats for this week!

Statistics for Standard PEs: 3/18/2008 to 3/25/2008

In the triumphant return week of Premier Events, there were eleven for standard on Magic Online. I have deck information for all eighty-eight spots. They were all still plain tourneys, offering nothing more than 2x for the entrants. Turnout was totally awesome in this week, with a couple of the tournaments going 7 rounds instead of the more common 6, and an average turnout of 50 players!  That's a marked improvement over the lackluster 35 players the last time we had stats. Nine of the eleven tournaments split at the final table this week.

Winner - Split - Second - Semifinals - Quarterfinals

Colors Deck Name Placings Percentage
Faeries 36%
Big Mana 11%
Elves 10%
Reveillark 10%
Crusher Deck Wins 9%
Merfolk 3%
Big Void 3%
Goblins 3%
Doran Shamans 2%
Primal Mannequin 1%
Wild Blink 1%
Kithkin 1%
Crushin' with Goyf 1%
  Other 4%
  Inactivity 1%

Faeries? Holy crap, Faeries. The one hundred percent faeries finals at Grand Prix Shizouka made an impact on this first week of the game, and in a big way. Faeries blew out the top spot this week, taking on average three of the top eight, and that's a lot of splits and quarterfinals. Next up is Big Mana, which is split between Big Mana and Big Void. They differ mostly by the inclusion of black for the cards Void and Extirpate which give them a big advantage over the Reveillark deck. Speaking of Reveillark, it made an impressive first week showing taking away quite a few spots. Decks which use the Countryside Crusher and lots of red burn are in there too. Merfolk also show up in small numbers, probably owing in part to their islandwalking abilities which make them unblockable to a majority of the field. We also see some of the old favorites battle to the top tables despite the new metagame, including a top table for Primal Mannequin, some Doran updates using some new Shamans, and Wild Blink. I'm excited about this new metagame, because it seems pretty wide open at the moment. Faeries is sure to get toppled soon enough, or at least there will be a major contender. There are no big gainers / big losers this week due to it being week 1 of the Morningtide "season".

There were four decks in the Rogue category this week. One was blue, green, and white, and didn't seem to setup a solid game before it lost in the quarterfinals, so I couldn't really judge it - the cards I did see were Wall of Roots, Harmonize, and Mulldrifter. There was also a heavy-blue control deck with Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and a bunch of Faeries which have 187 effects - it worked pretty good except that it was up against a very quick Faeries deck, and Bitterblossom is a control player's nightmare. Another control deck also graced the top eight this week, with a return of the Snow Control type that I covered way back in the first deviations. Rounding out the Rogues was a copy of Knoll Storm that played Sulfurous Blast in order to mini-wrath Faeries and survive for the combo to go off.

Mode of the Week: Faeries

What? Faeries? No way! Well, I can't really ignore it with how many spots it took this week. I'm not going to regail you with more stuff about how awesome this deck archetype is, because the statistics should talk for themselves on that matter. These are the top two decks from Grand Prix Shizouka, but they are showing some of the flexibility and range that the Faeries archetype can have. You might think that Ruel's deck takes a more aggro approach, with the maindeck Oona's Blackguard which makes the tokens from Bitterblossom into mini-hippies, instead of the more controlling Sower of Temptation that Takahashi was playing. However, Ruel has 11 counter effects to Takahashi's 8, who opts for the creature-control Nameless Inversion instead. Newer builds go more creature-full, playing a full contingent of 20 or even 24.

The jist of it is that you have a lot of choices in order to swing this deck in one way or another. The super-aggro build might have Oona's Prowlers in the deck, giving a great evasive beater on just the second turn if you don't have a blossom to drop. You can go with more creatures, with at least ten playable Faerie creatures. Will you use the Sprite Noble in the mirror to give you the edge? There's no telling. If you decide that you would like to be more controllish, blue and black are the colors that you want to be in - you can creature-kill with black while gaining life against your Bitterblossom with Tendrils of Corruption. Or you could go mega-control with Remove Soul which is excellent in standard right now with almost every deck playing a large contingent of creatures. One thing is clear. The core of this deck is pretty rock solid - Scion of Oona, Pestermite, Spellstutter Sprite, Bitterblossom, Mistbind Clique. You have at least 15 cards of leeway, given how many lands you have around. It would be interesting to see some wacky builds - there's still a lot of undiscovered territory, we haven't even touched on the Prowl cards. In any case, this deck is sure to have a lot of variants, and I expect it to last at least until Shadowmoor.

Outlier of the week: Crushin' with Goyf

Crushin' with Goyf
Standard deck proposed by Michael Janssen
4 Countryside Crusher
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Tarmogoyf

Other Spells
4 Incinerate
4 Lash Out
3 Shard Volley
3 Harmonize
4 Sulfurous Blast
4 Rift Bolt
4 Karplusan Forest
2 Horizon Canopy
10 Mountain
4 Forest
4 Mutavault

Goyf. It's the bane of any budget player in the format, and it will still be until the best Grizzly Bears replacement in the history of the game rotates out later this year. Even then it will probably persist in Extended until it rotates there in 2012 now, and eternal formats will be playing it until something else is brought out which is crazy enough to be better. Yes, it just attacks and blocks, but it's surprising how many of the decks which were at PE top eights this week didn't play the best creature ever. Some of the new Elves builds are not including the baddie, and they run green as one of their main colors. This week's outlier is a little deck which decided that the Crusher Deck Wins archetype left plenty of room for Tarmogoyf.

This splash was in some ways bound to happen when the online metagame finally included the burn archetype again. I saw the archetype a total of two times in the week, once in the sunday PE that I have full statistics for above, and again in the quarterfinals. This deck plays basically the same as a normal Crusher Deck Wins deck, dropping creatures and turning them sideways. The deck has the ever-so-crucial four Sulfurous Blast against faeries, which is a total blowout. It also can get more gas because of the Harmonize, which is a little iffy because of the manabase that you have. Some people will play Grove of the Burnwillows instead of some of the Mountains, making it much easier to cast the deck, but I've found that the eight green sources are enough to cast Harmonize when it matter's most, that is, when your hand is empty and you are hurting to burn for those last damage. I was initially worried about the Crusher milling away too many land to be practical, but I've found that in most games Ross Perot with a chain whip comes with a nice big bullseye attached to his head.

As for variation, this deck can vary to more or less burn - you can add in Greater Gargadons if you think you need to pump your Crusher some more, or you can use the always-good Browbeat for even more card draw or efficient burn, opponent's choice of course. I have a hope that this deck will make it to more top eight spots, but it's game is weakened to some of the other matchups, particularly what used to be the mirror match of Crusher Deck Wins.

Well, this week I wasn't able to play in any PEs in the new meta myself, but I have all of the essential cards, and I'm just waiting on the time at this point. With any luck, you can find me in a Thursday or Saturday PE this week battling it out. I'll be watching the metagame just as close as usual, but now that my collection is basically up to snuff, I will be switching my focus of buying from cards to tickets. I'm also finally getting my own set of Tarmogoyfs, slowly, instead of borrowing them from people who I don't thank enough. It is the best creature ever, but it's also the most expensive creature ever at the moment. I feel like I should be putting it on layaway or something. Hopefully next week we won't have such a mono-culture metagame. Until next time, Good luck in the PEs!


Crusher Deck by Twoduckcubed at Thu, 03/27/2008 - 13:56
Twoduckcubed's picture

Great article. As far as your crusher deck, I have been playing a similar deck to much success in the 8 man queues. My name for the deck is "Crush and Burn", which I like a lot (much more exciting than crusher deck wins). Can you help me make this catch on?