Lately, it feels like I’ve just been stepping on other writers’ toes. Last week, I wrote an article about Jace, the Mind Sculptor a day before Kibler’s
article went up on the same topic. This week, I worked on Block Constructed and later found that Chapin already beat me to it. Maybeâ€”just maybeâ€”I’ll
talk about something no one else is for once.
Patrick Chapin already wrote a very good guideline about the format. I had started to do the same until I realized he’d already done so. Instead of
just repeating him, I recommend you go read his article
before you go further into this article. I’m going to go straight into my decklist, but it will make more sense if you get an understanding of the
It might seem like a weird time to be talking about Block Constructed when the new set is right around the corner. Why not just wait for the new set?
The reason is that Block Constructed will pick up on MTGO (Magic Online) after the third set is released. It’s relatively cheap to get into, compared
to Standard, Extended, and Legacy, so people will start picking up the cards and playing. These cards also won’t rotate for over a year, so people will
start building their collections by investing in Block.
Learning the format in advance can really help you be ahead of the curve when the third set releases on MTGO. It’s not about the decklists but about
learning the interactions between the cards. It’s especially important in smaller formats because the same scenarios come up more often. Hell, I
switched decks the night before Pro Tour San Juan, which is usually a suboptimal plan, but because I played so much Zendikar/Worldwake Block, I was
able to pick up the deck and find all the lines of play.
At the beginning of the week, I didn’t know very much about this format. I thought it would be interesting to record my initial thoughts when discovering a new format, but the
videos weren’t very informative. Tomorrow’s videos will be different!
I played against U/B/W Tezzeret Control in the last round of the video series and got smashed. The deck looked interesting, and I really wanted to play
it. I soon found that the white splash for Venser, the Sojourner was not needed. The mana base could support a third color, however, so I started
looking into red. This is what my current list looks like.
Tezzeret strategies are very interesting in this format. Some games are over in the blink of an eye because the walker hits the board and starts
pumping out 5/5s as soon as turn 3.
Other games can go very long. They become attrition wars for board position, and this deck isn’t very good at grinding out an advantage. A number of
its permanents, like Tumble Magnet and Sphere of the Suns, will run out of counters as the game runs its course and become useless. This is why Red
Sun’s Zenith is so important in this deck.
The splash for Red Sun’s Zenith may seem a bit out of place, but this card is the real deal. It kills everything and everyone. It’s one of the best
answers to opposing planeswalkers, which are the hardest things to kill in the format. The walkers are fast and aggressive because there aren’t that
many decks attacking in the early turns.
Argent Sphinx was a card I didn’t think would be that good initially, but with metalcraft, this guy is unreal. It can attack, block, and finish up
games very quickly. The deck is very threat light, and he fills a much-needed role.
Some plays in the deck aren’t immediately obvious. Inkmoth Nexus, for instance, can help you get to metalcraft by simply being tapped for mana to
activate itself. With Mox Opal in play, you can filter that colorless mana into any color of mana and also cast a Stoic Rebuttal with a single blue source, Inkmoth Nexus, and Mox Opal.
The sideboard might look a bit off, but there are a few decks that just kill every artifact they see, since so many decks run them. This makes Tezzeret
much worse in sideboarded games. Phyrexian Vatmother and Consecrated Sphinx help by reducing the deck’s reliance on artifacts to kill people.
Phyrexian Vatmother is amazing for what you need him for. Thrun, the Last Troll is a real problem for this deck, since decks running Thrun will also be
able to kill the 5/5 artifact creatures you spit out. Vatmother trumps Thrun and is also a three-turn clock on offense. Not many cards beat him in the
format. Some players are starting to board in Sword of Feast and Famine just because of this guy, but for now, he’s a great choice. Things may not be
the same next week, however.
That’s the great thing about Block: since the pool of cards is so small, it’s easy to hate out the popular decks. Adapting and evolving are crucial to
winning consistently. You can’t just grind out the same 70—75 like you can in other formats. I’m looking at you, Valakut and Caw-Blade!
Consecrated Sphinx is a very powerful card but only in certain situations. It’s great post-board when each deck boards in better removal. The games go
longer and are more based on attrition, so the Sphinx should stick around for a turn or two. Even after just one turn of having it in play, you gain a
few cards and a turn, since they have to spend one killing him.
(As I said earlier, the decklists I’m referring to are in
Chapin’s article from yesterday.)
The one deck that attacks early is White Weenie, by far the most popular deck in the format right now. It’s the cheapest and still has a decent win
percentage. It’s just like any other white aggro deck in that it has no reach. If you stop the army, the battle is won.
Game one can be a bit rough. We don’t have any board sweepers in the main deck and very few removal spells. It just depends on their starting hand.
They have the ability to explode out of the gates, and we’ll usually lose those games where they do.
Glint Hawk Idol is one of the scariest cards in those situations. Not only does it fly while being invulnerable to Red Sun’s Zenith, but it gets pumped
by Tempered Steel. Most of the time, a game-one Tempered Steel is bad news, but it’s much worse when they have this card.
The best game plan for game one is to get metalcraft and hopefully draw a couple Argent Sphinxes. This guy does a good job of holding the fort as well
as beating down.
Although it makes sense to hold back the first 5/5 to defend a Tezzeret, they have a higher number of artifact removal spells than we have in game one.
Thus, being aggressive and getting in the five damage can sometimes be better because it allows Red Sun’s Zenith to steal games that would otherwise be
unwinnable. I wouldn’t always take this route, but it is a strategy you should be prepared to deploy. Know your role early and stick to it. As long as
you evaluate the situation correctly, it will usually be the best plan.
Stoic Rebuttal is too slow for this matchup. Once sideboarded, we do not need to rely on Ardent Sphinx to win games.
Oxidda Scrapmelter helps us get to the late game by gaining card advantage and board presence. It’s very difficult for them to come back after the game
Hold removal spells for Hero of Bladehold; it’s one of the only cards that can get them back in a game you have control of. Most of your cards deal
with him, so just don’t go on a killing spree without reason, and you should be able to deal with it.
Mox Opal is more of a liability, since they’ll be able to legend out the artifact. Our Mox Opal is much more important to us than theirs is to them, so
it would be better to just have another spell and let them have more mana.
I feel Mono Red is a good matchup as long as you play it correctly; just save your spells, and get to the late game.
Both decks have a very powerful planeswalker, and one will almost always be able to kill the another, so timing these spells properly becomes very
important. I’ve won many games by just waiting a turn before casting Tezzeret. Getting lots of value out of your Tezzeret is important, since he tends
not to stick around for very long.
They have a very tough time dealing with an active Argent Sphinx but will always be able to kill one without metalcraft. It’s very important to save
these guys for the late game or until after your board is covered in metal.
Some games come down to mana screw, since both decks are very mana intensive and have “dead” cards. Perilous Myr is a very awkward card in both decks
but can sometimes help take out a walker. Otherwise, they just kill each other, and each player goes to eighteen.
(On the draw)
Consecrated Sphinx is also insane here, since they can’t kill it before it triggers.
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas is not that amazing unless used to kill off a Koth of the Hammer. It just dies in a turn or two and doesn’t really help swing
games. Mono Red has enough removal to keep the 5/5 artifacts at bay.
I almost always just counter a spell when I have the chance against Mono Red unless I’m dead to a Red Sun’s Zenith. It’s important to gain board
presence, since both players have haymakers. They’ll either have to one up your threat or kill it, so holding counters for something “better” is rarely
going to be profitable.
U/B is a true a control deck that has some very good cards in the late game. The only thing they can’t really deal with is a fast Tezzeret. This card
will almost always kill them if it enters the battlefield.
Neurok Commando is not as big of a problem as one would think. One of the first mistakes I made was taking out Perilous Myr when playing this matchup,
but it’s one of the only cards that can protect you from this guy.
These games are difficult to figure out how to play. You don’t want to run all of your spells into their counters, but you can’t let games go too long
either. Their Blue Sun’s Zeniths help them pull ahead in lands, which then lets them counter multiple spells per turn or land a threat and protect it.
They don’t have many answers to Inkmoth Nexus besides bouncing it. Attacking early with it will force them to take action, which they can’t really do.
I’ve had my land bounced on turn 2 and still won by just attacking with Inkmoth Nexus. It’s a gaping hole in their strategy.
Tumble Magnet does nothing in this matchup. If they board in more creatures, you can bring it in for game three but should otherwise stay out.
Having extra guys helps you slam threats until one sticks. Don’t be afraid of their counterspells in the early game. Only Memoricide punishes you, but
that’s a hard card to counter regardless.
You’re the aggro deck in this matchup, so don’t forget: Be aggressive; be be aggressive!
Game one can easily come down to the die roll and/or the power of the opening hands. We have less dead cards in our main than most, which helps a ton.
It’s still hard to beat their Tezzeret, just as ours is for them.
Using Tumble Magnets correctly is key to this matchup. Tumble Magnet can be used on artifact mana to stop them from playing spells early and can be
used to boost tempo by tapping down their Magnets and serving in for damage.
(On the draw)
(On the play)
Stoic Rebuttal loses so much value on the draw. It’s easier for them to play threats that need answering, which will leave you tapped out, and you
don’t want dead counterspells in your hand all game.
On the play, it’s much easier to take a role depending on board position. I’m not saying Perilous Myr is a great card, but it does help you achieve
metalcraft earlier as well as protect you from the opponent’s first Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas.
Anti-Artifact Green decks
There’s an entire world of these decks out there. Green can be paired with white, red, or black. These decks exist simply to prey on artifact decks.
They aren’t cold to other decks but are incredible against ones with metal.
I’m not going to lieâ€”these matchups are tough. There’s no standard way to play these matchups, since everyone likes different cards. It just depends on
what they’re playing. Don’t be afraid to just pull out the Tezzerets against some of these decks.
Colored creatures are very important here. You need threats that deal with Thrun, the Last Troll and get around their hate cards.
I really like this deck and will be working on it for a while. I’ll even try to post some updates in my next video as well as in the forums. I haven’t
given Block a fair chance, but it’s very refreshing to play in a format without Valakut and Jace. I encourage you to take a crack at it. It really is a
ton of fun.