Innovations – G/W in Standard Regardless of Who You Are

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Monday, May 12th – It appears that Patrick “The Innovator” Chapin has finally gone mad. Today’s Innovations is a definite break from the norm. Of course, Patrick wouldn’t be Patrick without some fresh spin on the Constructed metagame, and today’s spin is eerily similar to a StarCityGames $5000 Standard open Top 8 decklist…

“Green… White…?”

Where am I?

This place, it feels familiar, but I am disoriented. A man is staring at me. His white beard and unassuming glasses hide a piercing gaze that seems to look through me. He knows me, but I don’t know him. Is he talking to me?

He isn’t moving. He just stares at me. Things are becoming clearer. That man… it’s actually a statue. Why does this suggest “colonel” to me? This guy doesn’t look like he was in the army. Why is it here? Where is “here,” anyway?

There is a typewriter in front of me. Wait… no, it is a bucket of fried chicken. There is also a small pile of bones to my left. An obnoxiously large Mt. Dew sits, half drunk, to my right. Someone has used many napkins, though I appear to be the only one at the table. I recognized the Forests and Plains laid out in front of me, but why are they in the same deck?

I feel like I must be missing something, something important. There must be some clue hidden in the chaos that surrounds me.


Then it hit me. Who am I?

Everything seemed to warp for a second, one of those terrible seconds that seems to hang on and not let the next one take its place, like when you somehow end up laying next to your ex-girlfriend, and she is kissing you at 10am, while all you can think about is trying to find a way to remove yourself from this disaster.

It was bad enough that I didn’t know where I was being held, or why I was surrounded by Forests, Fried Chicken, and Plains. Now I had to address the small matter of determining my identity.

Everything was a blur, and I nearly lost my balance trying to stand. There were clearly other people in this room, though they seemed to be moving in double time and their words made no sense. I stumbled to the mirror and gazed into myself. I turned on the sink. This is strange. Was I really so young? Was I really melting?

I felt my face, and the disorientation began again. I could feel stubble, but the image staring back at me was clean shaven, looking incapable of growing things such as hair.

It wasn’t a mirror. Reality started pulling itself together (as reality is wont to do). There was no running water. I was at a register. Someone was trying to take my order. What kind of a place was this?

Then I saw, lined behind him… rows upon rows of fried chicken.

So I ran.

I ran back to where I had first regained consciousness. The fried chicken was waiting for me there, but I kept my cool, grabbed the Magic cards, and made to the door. I took 3 steps and realized my error. I doubled back for the Mt. Dew then departed with due haste.

After running face first into the door that apparently opens inwards, I managed to escape from this fiendish shop of horrors. The sun blinded me, but only for a moment.

Why did I not remember the sun being this bright? And who in the Oversoul’s name was I? I needed answers.

I sprinted to the sidewalk and ran two blocks until I was safely away from the madness emanating from my point of origin. I had to stop a moment, if only to collect my thoughts.

I drank the remainder of my soda and entered a gas station. I needed answers, and my mind was clearly not operating efficiently. At least I could figure out the solution to this situation.

I checked to see if I had a wallet, and found a $1000 bill and a scribbled out decklist. I purchased a Mt. Dew Amp. For some reason, as yet unclear, the gas station attendant (whose name tag read “MichaelJ”) asked me if I was ready for meds. He handed me some of the over-the-counter medication with my Amp and walked away. I was confused; I left the aspirin and took a seat, examining the decklist while drinking some Amp.

So, my name is Edwordo? Edwordo what? And why am I playing Green-White? I can’t remember why, but there is one type of place grinding the back of my mind like a stone that just seems to paint everything blue, rather than serve it.

Blast it! Why can’t I remember?!

This decklist I have looks built to punish tribal and Red strategies, which is interesting. I may not remember who I am, but I do remember that Lorwyn has corrupted the entire Standard format. Between Faeries, Elves, Doran, Merfolk, Red/x aggro – and even lesser played options such as Rogues, Kithkin, and so on – such a dedicated anti-aggro strategy has a home.

This is especially true when you factor that control proper has no real place in this format as it is so terrible against Blue aggro decks, not to mention not being that exciting versus Red or Green aggro.

Combo would surely beat up on this sort of a deck, but it remains to be seen if there is actually a true combo deck in this format that can live up to the hate supplied by way of Cryptic Command, Mistbind Clique, Extirpate, Faerie Macabre, Riftsweeper, Thoughtseize, Krosan Grip, Wheel of Sun and Moon, Sudden Death, Fulminator Mage, and so on.

If such a deck does take off, it would not be too hard to add Wheel of Sun and Moon to the sideboard for graveyard hate, or perhaps Krosan Grip for Seismic Assaults or Enchanted Evenings, or Riftsweepers for Gargadons (and Visions), or even Faerie Macabre to slow down Reveillark, Swans, and 420.5n.

Regardless, in the current format, this strategy is formidable, as it has many of the same strong board control elements as R/G Mana Ramp, but with deadlier threats. Most of the creatures speak for themselves in this list, but the Oversoul is particularly noteworthy. A 5/5 for five is no joke, and protection from just about everything is crazy.

The sideboard is obviously geared at defeating a Faerie-loaded field. Personally, I would be surprised if Faeries is as highly played in Hollywood as it is in the highly inbred online metagame, but we shall see. I do know that a lot of people have Faeries as their back-up, in case they can’t come up with anything good on their own. At least if they play Faeries, they know their deck will be solid. Then they just have to roll the dice and hope that they don’t face enough people willing to do what it takes to beat Faeries.

It was at this point that I realized there was writing on the back of the decklist. I turned it over. It read:

“Trust Flores. Tell The Innovator to work on this”

Flores? Who was that? Could I really trust him? Maybe he could help me. The Innovator? Could he or she have the answers I sought? And what kind of a name is “The Innovator”…? Kind of pretentious, am I right?

This list looked interesting, but why do I need to ask the Innovator to “work” on this? Why should I care what he has to say about the deck? I may not remember much, but I certainly don’t remember all good decks coming from one person.

I put my Amp down a moment and survey the landscape. The people walking about no longer seemed to be formless blobs with melting faces as I gazed upon them. That seemed like a positive step, a step in the right direction.

The car at the pump in front of me had a Michigan license plate. Okay, so I was most likely in Michigan. Where could I find this Innovator?

It was at this moment that someone walking out of the store while talking on a cellphone tripped over, causing me to knock over my Amp.

Obviously expletives followed, and I tried drying myself off. I took off the hoody I was wearing, and found that I was wearing a black t-shirt. Black hoody? Black t-shirt? Black jeans? Black Shoes? Man, it was 70 degrees out. Whoever I am, I need to fire my stylist.

… There was writing on my left arm…

“You are The Innovator.”

This was awkward.

This was disconcerting. First, why did I (?) write that on my arm? Did I know that I was going to forget? Was it even true? Second, what does that even mean? I regained consciousness buried in so much fried chicken, and now I am the freaking Innovator? How was this supposed to help me figure out what is going on? I don’t want to Innovate, Jack (or Kate, or Sawyer)… I just want some answers.

Couldn’t I just be “The Aware?”

I guess that’s the dream though, isn’t it?

I needed more to go on. I flipped through the stack of cards that had been laying in front of me when this madness first began. It was clearly a Shadowmoor draft deck, though everything in front of me appeared to sway. At least now I was stimulated enough to be able to read good.

Wilt-leaf Cavalier? Wilt-leaf Liege? Kitchen Fink? Shield of the Oversoul?

Oversoul of Dusk!

Okay, yeah, this deck is pretty nice, as I have some removal, and strong creatures to create a position on the board. Maybe I should build a Standard deck around these guys, while I am on the topic of Forests and Plains.

I am just brainstorming, mind you. For all I know, this might be weaker than straight up Kithkin, but that is the price of building new decks. A lot of the rough drafts will be rough. I don’t know how you guys do it, but for me, in order to find new archetypes, I do a lot of brewing where I sketch out ideas based on concepts that intrigue me. Then I play around with them and see what aspects I liked, and which decks underperformed.

Some weeks I focus on concepts like Next Level Blue which are well oiled machines, highly crafted weapons used to dominate metagames. Much of the time, though, I try to come up with new concepts to see what sticks. If one deck out of ten is a success, then I am way ahead.

Green-White aggro is hardly a brand new concept, but this is the first build of post-Shadowmoor G/W aggro that I have attempted, and believe it or not, the way I build most decks is not by doing a search for decks made by people that play in FNM or MTGO. I very well could be missing something obvious, and if I am, I sincerely hope that readers point it out in the forums (such as Manamorphose in Swans).

It is very easy to find tournament results online, so they are not as precious a commodity as new, innovative concepts. As such, I think I will stick with continuing to bring the cutting edge technology that us SCG’ers are known for.

I put the pen down. Then I realized that, alongside the decklist, I had written all those paragraphs out too. Why was I writing all that?

It was then I noticed that the pen I had dropped did not appear to be anywhere in sight. Startled, I dropped the sheet of paper, and as it fell to the ground, I look around, growing increasingly aware of a screaming, piercing noise in my ears.

I turned, but as I spun, the world seemed to spin twice as fast. Why did everything look so flat?

My depth perception was totally out of whack. The cup of water next to me was in 3D, but the buildings in the background, the trees, the sky… all flat, like they were painted onto a wall, a ceiling.

The cup of water? I thought I was drinking Mt. Dew Amp.

I shivered from the apparent a/c and went to grab my hoody. Where was it? This was messed up. I stood up and noticed that I was now attired completely in white.

This was not cool. Things spun for a moment, and I saw that the car with a Michigan pump almost looked like a bed from this angle. Why was there a typewriter on top of it? Nausea washed over me. Dozens upon dozens of penguins began walking across the street, all wearing yellow hats.

This could not be good.

Wait, this doesn’t make any sense. Why would there be penguins in this climate?

I tried asking the gas station attendant why there were so many penguins. My speech came out slow and slurred. What was wrong with me?

My mind was racing at 100 miles an hour, but my body couldn’t respond fast enough. Everything around me was happening the wrong speed.

I tried again to stammer out words.

“Why… are… penguins… coming… toward… me?”

The gas station attendant said something clearly in English, but comprised entirely of words I could not comprehend. With a disapproving shake of the head, he handed me the aspirin and another Mt. Dew Amp.

It was then I realized that I couldn’t actually read the words on the can of Mt. Dew Amp. They seemed to be in Japanese. I took the Aspirin and downed it, though this Amp certainly tasted flat.

The gas station attendant opened a window, in much the same way that you might open a door. He calmly walked out, shutting it behind him, the whole time acting as though this was a perfectly normal thing to do.

I tried to follow him, but the window was locked. I looked out through the bars and could see him walking down the street. I turned and ran to the door at the front of the gas station, only to find it was also locked.

What? Not gonna lie, at this point I grew more than a little anxious. It was bad enough forgetting who I was, but to be trapped in gas station without a grip on reality?

Things started slowing down.

I walked around the gas station, and every time I picked something up, it fell apart in my hands. Clearly, things were not as they appeared to be.

The lights went out, and I was left in the shadows created by the faint light coming in through the window bars.

I walked back to the window. What happened to the street? All I could see was a hallway…

I looked around the gas station. There were no drinks, there was no food. The gas station was now an empty room, with only a toilet, a shower, and a bed.

On top of the bed was a typewriter.

I walked over to the bed and found a small handheld light. I turned it on and discovered a half-written article typed out on the typewriter. It seemed to detail sideboarding strategies for the super secret Red/X aggro deck that Heezy, Nassif, and I had built.

There was also a handwritten note saying “Trust Flores. Have the Innovator work on this.”

Had I written this? It did not appear to be my handwriting. I walked to the shower and disrobed. I needed to clear my head. Upon taking off my shirt, I found that I had, indeed, written another note to myself, on my chest.

This one said:

“Flores lies. Don’t take the meds. Play Fulminator Mage.”

Patrick Chapin
“The Innovator”