At The Gathering – As Worlds Turn

Claim your territory at The 2009's State and Provincial Championships!
Wednesday, November 25th – This past weekend, the Magic: the Gathering Worlds Championships were held in Rome, Italy. While there are a lot of stories and tech that is sure to come out of the event, I wanted to focus on a few innovative ideas that I saw perusing the top deck lists…

This past weekend, the Magic: the Gathering Worlds Championships were held in Rome, Italy. While there are a lot of stories and tech that is sure to come out of the event, I wanted to focus on a few innovative ideas that I saw perusing the top deck lists. While I’m sure we’ll get a large amount of tournament reports from the Pros, and some Karsten-esque data-mining as well, I’m going to showcase some of the tech that drew my eye .

I started out perusing the Standard deck lists, because the next major event on the horizon is the 2009 State/Provincial Championships here in the U.S. and Canada. If you haven’t checked out the event info, just guide your browser over here to check out all the awesome info for the event.

After Kali Anderson dominance of the StarCityGames.com $5000 Nashville Standard Open, Eldrazi Green was on the tournament players’ radar for decks to be watched. With the ability of Nissa Revane to create a sacrificial Elf to the Monument each turn, the cost to keep the Monument around became a lot less difficult to pay. This deck list from Oleksii Antonenko decided to abuse the Monument in a different manner.

I’m not sure about the power level of the Monument in this deck compared to the Mono-Green version, but the ability of a single landfall to bring back multiple Bloodghasts seems very powerful. Furthermore, you don’t have to keep a fragile Planeswalker alive for the effect to work.

Tendrils of Corruption is obviously very strong in a Mono- Black deck with a large number of Swamps. Mind Sludge also takes advantage of the large number of Swamps, making it almost always a hand cleaner.

The Vampires are your win condition, with Vampire Nocturnus and Malakir Bloodwitch being the end games. Malakir Bloodwitch also functions as a pseudo- Tendrils to give you some late game life-swings, or just the ability to stabilize.

Disfigure is solid removal, capable of changing the race in your favor. I really like the Marsh Casualties out of the sideboard to sweep away opposing blockers, or just vastly change the blocking landscape.

In playing around with the deck for a little bit, the one thing that I learned was to use your fetchlands wisely, which seems to be a continuing lesson in Standard. Boros Bushwhacker is also a deck that rewards proper utilization of your fetchlands.

Speaking of Boros Bushwhacker, our own Brian Kibler shuffled up 75 Red and White cards for Worlds. I goldfished the deck for a while before taking it to a second place finish at a 32-man FNM last week. Here’s the deck, as posted by Brian last week in his premium article.

I really like this deck, and have been heavily considering playing it at States. I love me some Baneslayer Angels, even if they are in the sideboard. Earthquake has been phenomenal in my experience, often being used after landfall shenanigans to wreck your opponent’s board, especially in the mirror or against Jund. Doubling as burn is just a nice bonus. I also like the Terramorphic Expanses over Teetering Peaks, as I found the fixing to be very important when it came time to end the game with a Ranger of Eos. Often I wanted WRR at the bare minimum, and sometimes there were even more restrictive color requirements. Having additional fetches that also pump your landfall guys on the backside more than made up for the ability of Teetering Peaks to pump my non-landfall guys.

Mark of Mutiny was a sideboard superstar not by casting it, but by showing it. I would pull out my full 75, with a singleton Mark of Mutiny showing on the front, and having opponents see it often caused them to re-consider how effective their Alpha strikes actually would be later in the match. I can’t say it won me any games, as I don’t know for sure, but it sure felt like my opponents were second guessing advantageous positions a lot.

Another Standard deck that rose to some prominence was a new Fog/Mill deck, dubbed “Jacerator” and played by Grand Prix: Barcelona champion Joel Calafell.

To be honest, I was more excited by the name than the actual deck list, but going 6-0 is no small feat at Worlds. This is the kind of deck that plays well against the Worlds meta, as the main deck Flashfreezes are pretty brutal against Jund, Boros, and Eldrazi Green.

The Sunspring Expeditions may seem out of place, but the late game life gain seems like it can be just enough to let you get those last few cards out of their library, or into your hand, in the case of your Fog effects.

Archive Trap is of course fantastic in a meta filled with infinite fetchlands, as well as Path to Exile. The ability to hamstring a deck on turn 1 with 1-2 Archive traps can definitely help swing a match in your favor. One card I was surprised not to see in the deck was Sejiri Refuge, as the fixing seems like it would be beneficial, as well as the life gain involved. Perhaps it slowed the deck down too much with 8 enters-the-battlefield-tapped lands, and the extra life from the Kabira Crossroads was better than the fixing provided by the Refuges.

There were a few Mono-White builds that looked like throwbacks to the Token deck of yesteryear (and by yesteryear, I mean earlier this year, naturally).

The next deck I want to discuss is one from the deck tech, and it’s not actually from the main event, but the PTQ event on site. Gerry Thompson was playing this deck, affectionately titled “Spread ‘Em,” to a 4-1 record in the PTQ at the time of the deck tech coverage.

This deck looks like it is probably very frustrating to play against, much like Michael J’s cascade deck that always hit a “discard two” spell.

“Man, you always hit a Land Destruction Spell!”

“Yeah, I do. How lucky.” [/sarcasm]

The sideboard is dedicated almost exclusively to the Boros matchup, designed to last long enough to be able to out power them with spells. Life gain is good against that matchup, allowing you to live out past their gassy start. Day of Judgment lets you reset the board, almost always in an advantageous manner, and Ajani Vengeant can keep their colored mana locked down as well. The Sphinxes serve as late game win conditions, allowing you to finish them, although the game has probably been decided long before you get to that point.

Finally, we must of course talk about the winning deck list, Naya Lightsaber. Andre Coimbra went 7-2 with the deck over the course of the tournament, but going undefeated when it mattered most.

Kyle Sanchez covered a good portion of what the deck does in his article yesterday, so I’ll just give a few small pieces of what I liked about the deck.

First of all, it runs Baneslayer Angel. That’s always a bonus in my book, as playing the best creature in the format seems like a strong idea.

The strength of the deck is pretty obvious, as each card is just a beating. From Nacatl all the way up to Baneslayer, the deck just keeps dropping threats. In the strong Jamie Wakefield tradition, it’s the first threat they can’t answer that finishes them.

Overall, I’m excited for States, as Worlds seems to have given us a fairly decent metagame. I’m still not sure what I want to run up there, but I can say that there is a good chance it will have Baneslayer Angel in it.

Until next time, this is Jeff Phillips, reminding you: Don’t make the Loser Choice.