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By: jamuraa, Marie Janssen
Apr 16 2008 12:09pm
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Well, this week was completely encompassed by the great MTGO blackout of the Transition. I think that I was having withdrawl symptoms at about the time I tried to login and found no button to do so. I played on the trial server a couple times, with those mad beatz such as Pariah on Cho-Manno, Revolutionary, and casting Tidings. I got tired really quick - the play skill isn't really up there with my Standard fare.

This leaves me in somewhat of a pickle because I like to play Magic a lot and after last week's last hurrah I don't really have any new material for this week. Of course, I can't just wreck my streak of articles every week so I will be presenting you with the second installment of the deck-o-pedia. This week's article will cover all of those Tier Two decks that you might come across in Premier Events or even the eight man queues, and most definitely in the tournament practice room.

Goblins? Yes, it's Goblins yet again. They just keep coming back to the Standard metagame, like Squee, Goblin Nabob comes back to your hand. We have two different builds here that you might come up against. The first is the regular, linear goblins build - it wants to play goblins quickly, with the help of Frogtosser Banneret. This build made it in the Phillipines City Champs, and looks a lot like a evolution of a Block deck to me. I would personally switch out the Boggart Shenanigans for some Shared Animosity, which is a beating if you have a bunch of gobbos hanging around. The basic idea for winning is the same though, just like most of the decks that are here: play creatures. Attack for the win.

The second build is the more interesting new build for Goblins. It's almost not enough to call it a Goblin deck anymore, but it still has lots of the Goblins. This deck is more control-combo than it is a straight aggro deck. The combo comes from the insane amount of goblins that you can get into play with the token generators Mogg War Marshal and Siege-Gang Commander, and the sticking of Nantuko Husk. If you have a Grave Pact in play, you can easily sweep the other side's board before you swing for ten or more damage by sacrificing everything. As an alternate strategy, you can suspend Greater Gargadon and sacrifice those tokens that way. Even the manabase gets into the token-generating action with Kher Keep. I particularly like the inclusion of Shriekmaw in this deck as an early game kill spell and late game swinger with evasion. Lots of people are replacing the Liliana Vess with a trio of Bitterblossom for even more token generating shenanigans. Speaking of Bitterblossom...

I've talked about this mono black deck before, so I won't cover it much here. I've still been coming up against this in the practice room - or at least I was when MODO was up. It wants to maximize the Prowl effects, and the Rogues. With eight one-drops, the beats on turn two make the deck drop one of it's other twenty-eight virtual two casting cost spells with almost absolute certainty. Stinkdrinker Bandit makes all of your guys beat that much harder, and combined with Bad Moon there are a bunch of pseudo-anthem effects. Nothing like hitting on turn three for nine damage. This deck really needs to get out fast and kill you by turn six, or the other side has probably stabilized.

Elves has an interesting variant that is still out there and hanging on - the Warriors build. This build intends to maximize not only one of it's two classes, and it's out to get you. The allure of this deck is that it's pretty decent and also pretty cheap, being that it has ten rares, and none of them are Tarmogoyf. Our old friend Obsidian Battle-Axe comes into play on turn two, and makes everything on turn three that much eviller. The selling point of this deck is: turn one mana elf, turn two Obsidian Battle-Axe, turn three Imperious Perfect, make an elf, attack for four. This doesn't look as good as mono-black rogues "selling turn three" but it is quite consistent with the beats on turn three, with almost every creature getting in for three or more. Some builds of this deck run Wolf-Skull Shaman in order to make lots of wolfie tokens which along with Wren's Run Packmaster are deathy-touchy.

Standard-Morningtide Deck by Bill Stark
4 Boreal Druid
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Heritage Druid
4 Bramblewood Paragon

Other Spells
4 Gilt-Leaf Ambush
4 Hunting Triad
4 Elvish Promenade
4 Overrun
4 Coat of Arms
19 Forest
1 Pendelhaven
4 Mutavault

Coat of Arms

Speaking of Elves, MirrorMage will be happy to see this deck in my rundown this week. Bill Stark turned a lot of people on to this deck with a couple of articles over on StarCityGames. He played a tournament in my home state of Iowa (aside: how come I'm learning about all the good Magic players living in Iowa six years after I've moved away?). This deck is aggro. No, you don't understand how aggro this deck is. This deck attacks for the win on turn four about half of the time. It has amazing token generating ability through Gilt-Leaf Ambush and Hunting Triad, and every single creature you make is tappable for mana with the major enabler Heritage Druid. The Bramblewood Paragon is sometimes replaced by Imperious Perfect for more token shenanigans, but I like this build better because it is a lot more consistent. Also, there's nothing like the feeling of sticking a Coat of Arms and attacking for twenty plus damage with a single "puny" elf on turn four. You don't need that though, you can just as easily use Overrun and trample all over their butts. There are a couple of things you need to know about playing this deck, and the first is that Big Mana will crush your puny elf tokens with it's Pyroclasms and Molten Disasters, but it can't crush your big elves, so you should strive to stick that Coat of Arms as soon as possible in those matchups. The other card you need to watch out for is Wrath of God, played in Reveillark and available on turn three or four. Either play around it, or decide to go all-in. If they don't have it turn four you basically win, and if they do, you need to be able to rebuild.

Standard-Morningtide Deck by Adrian Sullivan
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Merfolk Looter
4 Merrow Reejerey
4 Mothdust Changeling
4 Silvergill Adept
4 Stonybrook Banneret
4 Surgespanner
3 Voidmage Prodigy

Other Spells
4 Rune Snag
19 Island
2 Faerie Conclave
4 Mutavault

3 Guile
4 Flashfreeze
Lord of Atlantis

About the time everyone and their dog were playing Faeries in Standard, and everyone else was playing Reveillark, someone noticed that there was a whole tribe of creatures in Lorwyn-Morningtide which had Islandwalk. This led to about a whole week of articles all on Merfolk. The basic premise of all of these decks is to pump your own fishies, and swing for the win with unblockable creatures. Some builds, like the first one, are more aggro, and some builds are more control. Every deck that I've seen crack a top eight runs Cryptic Command though, so take that in context. I was confused by the manabase of Gerry Thompson's deck, but then someone noted that it's less susceptible to the mirror than running more basic Islands. It's definitely viable.

Something similar to this deck has taken a couple of top spots, from my understanding, so it definitely deserves a look. It's all about keeping your opponent's creatures off the board, which tends to work pretty good in this standard since it's so creature-based. There are a lot of counterspells in this deck too, which still is working well against most of the new Big Mana builds. After you have a bunch of board advantage over the opponent, you just start attacking for the win with your spells-on-a-stick. Oh, and you have Tarmogoyf to beat down too.

I covered a white weenie deck in last week's article, so I won't talk too much about this, except to note some differences. The main difference you see here is the inclusion of (Field Marshall) from coldsnap, pumping all of your creatures that much more and giving them first strike basically reducing most of the blocking potential to zero. Also to note is the Icatian Javelineers, which have a pretty good chance of puncturing one of those flying beasts that are annoying everyone right now. Also, I personally think that Cenn's Tactician is quite the evil one-drop. It gets in for one in the early turns before your opponent has stabilized, and pumps your creatures that do get through later. It is just a shame that Knight of Meadowgrain isn't a Soldier.

Crazy Blue
Standard-Morningtide Deck that noone admits to creating
2 Brine Elemental
3 Vesuvan Shapeshifter
2 Venser, Shaper Savant
3 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

Other Spells
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Think Twice
4 Cryptic Command
4 Cancel
4 Rune Snag
4 Remove Soul
4 Desert
18 Island
4 Dreadship Reef
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

Okay, this deck isn't really viable in Standard at all, it's probably third or fourth tier at the moment. However, a old school control player can dream, can't he? Okay. Maybe not. Hopefully tomorrow Magic Online will come online again this Thursday, and Premier Events will start again.. and replays will be turned on and working. I would love that. Until next week, try not to go crazy without the PEs!


by Shardfenix (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 04/17/2008 - 13:43
Shardfenix (Unregistered)'s picture

if no one else will claim it ill take credit for the Mono-blue deck just in case it gets good..lol

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 04/17/2008 - 05:48
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Still no UG Platinum Control deck thingy :(

by underpaidslave (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 04/17/2008 - 06:01
underpaidslave (Unregistered)'s picture

Great article.

Its nice to see one on tier 2 decks for a change.  I'm so used to being inundated with top 8 lists...I'm a little bit more interested in these because they are a bit more affordable (not all the time though )  

I feel you on the MTGO withdrawls..hopefully in a few hours we'll all be able to get our fix :)

by MirrorMage at Thu, 04/17/2008 - 07:00
MirrorMage's picture

Hey... that MGA deck it tier one. I don't know what it's doing in this article... you made a very big mistake that harms your credibility as an expert of "standard" (Thanks for the shout out though.)