It’s been almost exactly a month since the idea of a new non-rotating format was pushed firmly into the spotlight.
Wizards’ announcement of their Modern test run more
or less coincided with
my announcement of Overextended, giving players a new world of Magic to explore and conquer, one definitely much more exciting than the stale Standard format around them.
So, where are we now?
Well, at this point it’s clear that a format, somewhere in the vein of these two, is going to happen. Yes, that’s right.
Stop using “if” and start using “when”—it’s happening.
The idea of Overextended/Modern was wildly popular before either format was announced. After they were announced, Wizards was on the prowl for
feedback on Modern. The feedback they received, by and large, was wildly positive. Though there was plenty of discussion on the correct starting point,
banned list, and so on, almost everyone seemed highly in favor of the idea behind the format and of its necessity. (Most of the people dissenting were
straying onto the reserve list argument; yes, we all hate it—even R&D—but sorry folks, you have to accept it’s here to stay.)
Likewise, I can tell you that the feedback on Overextended has also been wildly positive. People have been having a ton of fun with the format, and
many have told me it’s the most fun they’ve ever had playing Magic.
Internet Magic forums are full of Modern deck ideas, and the format’s display at the Community Cup was easily the most anticipated Magic event of
the week. In its very first week, Tuesday Night Overextended had three to four times as many players as any other Magic Online player run event, and
I’ve had so many people e-mail me articles just because they’re excited about playing the format that I’m able to run new content on
mtgoverextended.com every single weekday. People want to play these formats.
If Wizards was willing to consider a new, non-rotating format before the community response, there’s no way things could have possibly gone
downhill now. I might not be Jon Medina, but that doesn’t stop me from recommending you buy your playset of Ravnica dual lands now.
I’ll say it again:
this format is going to happen.
Now, there might be some tweaks. We might find ourselves starting at Mirrodin, Masques, Invasion, or elsewhere. The banned list will likely be modified
from what Wizards has right now. But it’s happening.
Before getting into the decklists, let’s look over some of the banned list changes that could potentially happen to this format that would shake
Most of all, I’m confident Hypergenesis is going to be banned based some on its performance at the Community Cup (5-1) but mostly on just how
absurd the deck is.
Multiple games of Hypergenesis I watched in the Community Cup had turn 2 kills (or virtual kills), some of which were backed up by Chancellor of the
Annex. That’s just not even remotely reasonable considering that the average combo turn of other decks in the format is about turn 4—and
that’s without free disruption like Chancellor to back it up!
Glimpse of Nature is also a card that might need to go. From watching countless matches of the deck in Overextended and Luis Scott-Vargas play it in
Modern, it’s probably one of the, if not the, best deck in the format(s) based on its average combo turn, resilience, and strong plan B.
Glimpse in particular, though, is what enables kills as early as turn 2. Even the hate isn’t enough. In Overextended, Chris Andersen and Ben
Swartz figured out to Buried Alive for triple Vengevine, and I have watched them beat multiple players with on-board Engineered Plagues that way. You
can’t play Buried Alive in current Modern—but you also can’t play Engineered Plague either.
It’s certainly not a for sure ban, but the resilience of the Elves deck combined with its speedy combo potential makes Glimpse a definite card to
watch. I know I am keeping a close eye on it, and I hope Wizards is too.
So far Stoneforge Mystic hasn’t been dominant in Overextended, but it’s certainly a card to watch to some degree. The Batterskull-Mystic
interaction has proven strong, but not overpowering. Overall, Mystic seems safe.
As for unbannings, Umezawa’s Jitte can safely be unbanned. I listed several reasons why in my original article on Overextended, and LSV even
noted in the Community Cup coverage that they had mostly forgotten it was banned and didn’t end up putting any in a single one of their decks. It
wasn’t until he considered it as a sideboard card in their U/W Stoneforge deck that it was brought up that it couldn’t be played with!
I would also consider unbanning the artifact lands. I talked about this at length in my last article, but Affinity just isn’t the threat it used
to be. A free 2/2 and a 4/4 on turn 3 is nothing compared to current creatures. After watching it play in my Tuesday Night Overextended events,
it’s certainly a good deck, but it’s by no means insane. It’s a contender, but, proportionate to the popularity of Affinity, its
overall percentage isn’t even that good. Out of 14 Affinity decks played among four events, it has only four finishes of note. Two of those
finishes were in week one, when decks were less refined.
If you want to ban a card, just ban Cranial Plating. (And Disciple as well, like in Overextended.) Almost all of the wins and absurd starts I’ve
seen the deck get are on the back of that card. Ravager probably takes Plating’s slot, but Ravager and its modular counters are a lot easier to
deal with (and a lot riskier to play) than the troublesome Equipment.
Dark Depths has been nothing but a phantom menace so far. Many players were incredulous about the card being unbanned in Overextended, but my
playtesting showed the card wasn’t as good as advertised. After three weeks of Tuesday events, Dark Depths has completely failed to put up any
results better than a pair of top 16 finishes.
While Dark Depths hasn’t been as heavily played in weeks two and three, I think it’s mostly because it’s just not good enough. Plenty of people in these events have been using top-dollar cards like fetches, duals, Tarmogoyfs, and Jaces so if
you’re going to claim it’s a card availability issue, that’s not it. It’s not lack of incentive either: I gave out over 100
tickets in prizes last week. It’s just that the metagame has plenty of answers for the deck when it’s not backed up by Thopter/Sword.
(Which, as I have argued extensively here, seemed to be the real thing that gave Thepths its staying
Some dredge enablers need to be banned; it’s just a matter of which. I went slightly overboard on the Overextended list, nixing Bridge from
Below, Narcomoeba, and Dread Return—a choice that, in retrospect, was likely a mistake. (I’ve stated elsewhere that Dread Return will be coming off the list on the next Overextended Banned and
Restricted Update.) On the other hand, it’s unclear if Golgari Grave-Troll is really enough.
We already saw Erik Lauer running a Dredge update at the Community Cup, and it’s
unclear how tuned that was. Golgari Grave-Troll doesn’t seem to nearly be the problem that Bridge From Below and Narcomoeba are. If you want to
cut off the Dredge deck, those are the cards to look at. Banning Golgari-Grave Troll is like… banning Seat of the Synod and Vault of Whispers but
not Ancient Den, Great Furnace, or Tree of Tales. It’s a strange position to take.
Chrome Mox’s fate completely depends on how Wizards wants the format to be played. In Overextended, I’ve been completely happy with it
existing, and I certainly don’t think it breaks anything. However, it certainly is above the curve for fast mana and a defining card for
many decks. It radically alters how decks in the format can be played—that’s something never to be taken lightly. There’s been a lot
of discussion as to whether it should come off or not, and in the end, it will likely depend on the consensus philosophy of the format.
Why is all of this banned list discussion important? Because of deckbuilding!
People are excited for new non-rotating formats and brewing for them, but without a crystal ball, it’s unclear exactly what changes Wizards is
going to make to the format before finalizing it and sending it out. If there are things you are unsure about, where do you start?
Well, today I want to take a look over some interesting new archetypes that function well in either format, regardless of whether the format is
Invasion or Mirrodin forward or what banned list changes happen.
Personally, I was a little disappointed in the decks played at the Community Cup. I understand why they were chosen, and I certainly don’t blame
them for choosing them. In an unknown format, in a tournament you’re trying to win, with little time to test, it’s better to play decks you
know are good rather than taking a risk on a new archetype. However, it’s important to keep in mind those decks are just the beginnings of what
Modern/Overextended has to offer…
Over the past three weeks of Tuesday Night Overextended events, I’ve been handed over 200 decklists. I’ve seen a lot of really cool ideas
pass by and noted a lot of interesting decisions in deckbuilding. I’ve watched well over a hundred matches, looking to see how the format takes
I also have followed most of the Modern discussion and closely looked over the Community Cup decklists and watched their games play out. There are
certainly tons of options available. Here are three of the ones that seem to have the most potential.
- 4 Time Warp
- 4 Thirst for Knowledge
- 2 Condescend
- 4 Chalice of the Void
- 4 Dimir Signet
- 3 Repeal
- 3 Damnation
- 2 Expedition Map
- 1 All Is Dust
- 2 Prophetic Prism
- 2 Condescend
- 4 Remand
- 2 Repeal
- 4 Simic Signet
- 4 Expedition Map
- 1 Into the Roil
- 4 Explore
- 4 Ancient Stirrings
- 2 Green Sun's Zenith
- 3 Triskelion
- 2 Sundering Titan
- 4 Oracle of Mul Daya
- 4 Lodestone Golem
- 4 Wurmcoil Engine
- 2 Platinum Emperion
Out of all the decks to not show at the Community Cup, this is the archetype I was most surprised people didn’t play.
Cloudpost is a decent card, but it has traditionally had enough of a drawback to make the Urzatron just better. When Vesuva was released, a few people
tried out Cloudpost with Vesuva, but it just wasn’t there yet. However, Glimmerpost is finally the nudge that puts this deck over the top.
Not only does Glimmerpost expand the Locus count to twelve, but its ability is incredibly relevant. Against all of the beatdown decks, your array of
Glimmerposts and Vesuvas can easily gain you 10+ life over the course of a game. That’s a huge difference, as the extra turn or two you buy pulls
you out of otherwise tight spots. Though Urzatron decks are traditionally a great matchup for red decks, I’ve watched many a red mage succumb to
the cascading life swings Glimmerpost enables.
But the engine is more than just life: it’s mana. And Cloudpost gives you lots of it.
On turn 2, Cloudpost is usually an “enters the battlefield tapped” Ancient Tomb. That’s pretty good. But it gets more insane from there. On turn 3, it’s not uncommon to just have access to 6-7 mana! That’s similar to the Urzatron nut draw… only far more consistent!
Needless to say, you can start churning out Eldrazi faster than you may have thought possible.
So how do you use this engine the best?
Havik917, Lemurite, and Zahori have all opted for the control route. Their lists are all straight from Tuesday Night Overextended results, and Lemurite
and Zahori’s decks are also completely Modern legal. (Note that they didn’t even play Chrome Mox despite it being allowed.)
The big separating factor between the two is Time Warp. Zahori and Lemurite can almost turn into a combo deck, chaining Time Warps together and playing
Loci before unloading with an Eldrazi or an artifact army. This gives them an approach different from Havik917’s, which used Moment’s Peace
as a pseudo Time Warp against beatdown. However, I promised you these decks would also be legal in Mirrodin forward and, since Moment’s Peace is
in Odyssey, that’s right out.
Losing Moment’s Peace hurts a lot, and it’s hard to make that up. While I love Havik917’s list, especially the Oracle of Mul
Daya, it’s hard to recommend it without the flashback Fog. Lemurite’s U/B list and Zahori’s Mono-Blue list are likely better because
they have access to sweepers and are, overall, a little more controlling.
However, if you change Moment’s Peace out for Explores and Oracle for Primeval Titan, you might have the start of something different. Instead of
being controlling, you start to be aggressive. And then you end up with something eerily similar to John Treviranus’s deck—a deck which
might be the one that makes the best use of the engine here.
Treviranus has been busy working on Overextended/Modern with his roommate, and this is the list he has come up with. It’s pretty crazy. An
average draw might look something like this.
Turn 1: Cloudpost
Turn 2: Breeding Pool untapped, Explore, play a Vesuva copying Cloudpost.
Turn 3: Forest, Primeval Titan for double Cloudpost.
Turn 4: Ancient Stirrings, cast Emrakul
Go take some goldfish draws for yourself. It’s fun to play, and the deck is capable of some truly insane starts, and you’d be amazed how
often it turn 4 or 5s Emrakul. Does the existence of Cloudpost make Emrakul too good? Treviranus definitely thinks so. How this deck does in the next
few weeks of Tuesday Night Overextended will tell for certain.
- 4 Troll Ascetic
- 4 Kavu Predator
- 4 Tarmogoyf
- 1 Gaddock Teeg
- 1 Qasali Pridemage
- 4 Bloodbraid Elf
- 4 Stoneforge Mystic
- 1 Thrun, the Last Troll
Kavu Predator is a nice little blast from the past.
We haven’t seen much of the innocuous “2/2” Kavu since Time Spiral block. But in Modern/Overextended, he might finally be poised to
make a comeback.
The Punishing Fire combo has put up pretty good results in Overextended so far. It keeps decks like Faeries, Merfolk, and, if the game goes long
enough, Elves under control. It can also just grind out control and Zoo decks over time. And Tarmogoyf is a pretty good card. So, why not just play more Tarmogoyfs?
Better yet, why not play more Tarmogoyfs that will eventually eat other Tarmogoyfs alive!
Kavu Predator serves that role nicely in this format. Plus, with people gaining life off cards like Glimmerpost in this format, it’s prone to get
a few random bumps here and there. And you never know… maybe you’ll play against a Martyr of Sands-based Soul Sisters deck!
You even see the little Kavu tag-teaming with his old Time Spiral block buddy, Fiery Justice. If Elves players thought Pyroclasm was bad, just wait
until some Justice is served and not only is their board wiped, but they’re facing down a 7/7 Kavu and the ever-present threat of Punishing Fire!
Now, the list Moseph played has two Fires of Yavimaya, and they seemed fairly strong in Overextended. If you come play the format, I’d recommend
them. But, if you’re designing decks for Mirrodin-forward, that’s not an option. Instead, the number one card I want to see in this deck is
Green Sun’s Zenith.
The singleton creatures seem to forecast Zenith in the list, but there aren’t any. Zenithing up a Tarmogoyf, Kavu Predator, or even Dryad Arbor
are all pretty strong plays. The main disincentive to playing Zenith here is Bloodbraid Elf, but if you play a couple Dryad Arbors, it still makes your
Elves live. You probably can’t afford to play the full four Zeniths, but I could certainly see trying a couple to see how big of a liability it
really is. Plus, Dryad Arbor is sweet with Equipment anyway.
The other card I really don’t like here is Troll Ascetic.
Hexproof is certainly strong alongside Equipment, and regenerating against bigger creatures is nice, but Knight of the Reliquary or Cunning Sparkmage
(with Basilisk Collar) both seem like better choices.
I love how this deck blends the old and the new so seamlessly. Though no piece on its own is incredibly innovative, the combination of them all
together feels so natural and flawless.
Speaking of blending the old and new, check out this deck. Just know that if you’re Mike Flores or Jonathon Loucks, you might want to sit down
Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
- 4 Vedalken Engineer
- 4 Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
- 4 Epochrasite
- 4 Master of Etherium
- 4 Wurmcoil Engine
- 4 Grand Architect
- 4 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 4 Myr Superion
This is, without a doubt, easily my favorite deck submitted so far.
Eric Weeden (Havik917 online) has been an Overextended trailblazer, constantly brewing Overextended decks and playing a new one each week. In week one
of Tuesday Night Overextended, he played Pyromancer’s Swath; week two he showed off his U/G Twelvepost deck; and in week three he brought this
concoction to the table.
By his own admission, the deck is unrefined and needs some work. The numbers aren’t tuned, and the perfect artifacts aren’t lined up yet.
(Myr Superion and Master of Etherium in particular might be getting too cute.) But the potential of this deck is incredible.
Imagine this. Turn 3, Grand Architect. Turn 4, Mishra, Artificer Prodigy. Tap them both for four colorless mana that can be spent on artifacts.
Epochrasite is clearly a sweet card to play, as the one you fetch is preset as a 4/4 thanks to the card’s wording. Phyrexian Metamorph might be
the true winner here, though. Play a Metamorph, which triggers Mishra. Both of them can enter as Grand Architects, not only netting you one mana in the
process, but creating a gigantic army of blue creatures.
Or, y’know, if that doesn’t work out you can just untap and find double Wurmcoil Engine.
There’s so much else you can do with this shell. Eric’s base is just the beginning. Gilded Lotus fetching Gilded Lotus? Solemn Simulacrum
fetching Solemn Simulacrum? Moltensteel Dragon fetching Moltensteel Dragon? Mindslaver fetching Mindslaver!?!? There’s so much you can
The one card I’m sure this deck is missing is Academy Ruins. Looping artifacts is certainly good, especially with Mishra around. Note that Mishra
can pull from your graveyard, so you can pull some particularly sick things with Spellbombs, Courier’s Capsule, and Executioner’s Capsule,
to name a few, if you also have Academy Ruins in play.
And of course, that’s assuming you want to stay the control route. Tezzeret is conveniently in the right colors to combo finish your opponent
with his ultimate. Throne of Geth finding Throne of Geth is even a possibility if you want to ultimate multiple times over a couple turns.
And that’s just the tip of the combo iceberg. Do you know how Mistvein Borderpost and Mishra, Artificer Prodigy interacts? Yeah, it works the way
you want it to. It’s certainly not hard to fuel a Time Sieve when you get to double up on all your artifacts! You can even double up on
Spellskite if you want to protect yourself from Maelstrom Pulse…
Mishra is certainly a card to watch. At 99 cents, it might be worth picking up a playset just in case…
Of course, that’s not nearly all of the cool decks that have premiered, just some of my favorites that also fit into a Mirrodin forward
framework. If you’re willing to look back toward Odyssey and Invasion, all kinds of interesting decks have popped up in Overextended. From Hive
Mind with Irrigation Ditch, to the two-card soft lock of the Delaying Shield/Phyrexian Unlife combo, to Tamanoa midrange, to Necrotic Ooze with Buried
Alive, all kinds of decks I never imagined have sprung to life.
If you haven’t been showing up to Tuesday Night Overextended, you definitely should be. There are two events, one at 5:30 pm PST for the US
audience and one at 9:30 am PST for the European audience, plus they’re only four rounds with a “daily event” style making sure that
they don’t go deep into the night. Whether you want to practice your Mirrodin-forward deck or brew something up with Invasion, it’s
free—so why not come play anyway?
Before closing, here are some key decklist resources I recommend you check out:
Community Cup Modern Decklists
Innovations: The New Modern Era
10 Places to Start in Overextended
Tuesday Night Overextended Week One Decklists
Tuesday Night Overextended Week Two Decklists
Tuesday Night Overextended Week Three Decklists
Additionally, if you’d like to see any other information or data, let me know via the forums, Twitter, or e-mail at gavintriesagain at gmail dot
com, and I’d be happy to provide whatever I can. I want to see this format be the best it can be, and even if my efforts do nothing more than
change a single card on Wizards’ banned list, it will have been for a good cause.
If anybody out there from Wizards of the Coast would like any specific information from my events or my observations to help inform their decisions
about bannings or otherwise, contact me, and I’d be more than happy to help you guys in any way possible.
This format is incredible. Regardless of where Wizards decides to set the starting point or banned list, it’s going to be awesome to play.
It’s only a matter of time until the final details are figured out and the first event is announced.
A new format is on its way. Get ready.
Rabon on Magic Online, @GavinVerhey on Twitter