It’s been an even slower week for Standard on Magic Online this week than it was last week! Mind you, it’s with good reason, as the Visions release events have started spamming themselves all over the system. I’m hoping it’s the lack of events that explain this week’s results, because they ain’t pretty… unless you like playing Hand in Hand, of course. Even then, you have to also enjoy mirror matches, but I say we put this anomaly down to a small sample pool. It’s really the percentages that are the most important figures here, and it seems that the inflated prices of Godless Shrines are no deterrent to those who want to tap for Black or White.
15 (11) Hand in Hand (Black/White Aggro Control with rat-like elements) 31.25% (19.64%)
5 (5) Izzetron (Blue/Red Urzatron) 10.41% (8.92%)
4 (9) Heartbeat Combo (The Heartbeat of Spring and Early Harvest Combo deck) 8.33% (16.07%)
4 (6) Magnivore (Blue/Red Magnivore and Wildfire and Sorceries oh my!) 8.33% (10.71%)
3 (2) Owling Mine (Blue/Red with Howling Mine and Ebony Owl Netsuke) 6.25% (3.57%)
2 (4) Orzhov Husk (Black/White Aggro with Nantuko Husk and Promise of Bunrei) 4.16% (7.14%)
2 (8) Zoo (Green/White/Red Aggro. Apes and Wolves and Burn oh yeah!) 4.16% (14.28%)
2 (2) Boros Deck Wins (White/Red Aggro) 4.16% (3.57%)
2 (0) Sea Stompy (Green/Red/Blue Aggro Control) 4.16% (0.00%)
2 (0) Greater Gifts (Greater Good Control Combo type thing, fueled by Gifts Ungiven) 4.16% (0.00%)
1 (3) Ghost Dad (Black/White Tallowisp, that some random Magic Online clan designed) 2.08% (5.35%)
1 (2) Gruul Beats (Red/Green Aggro, grrr!) 2.08% (3.57%)
1 (1) GhaziGood (Selesnya and Greater Good) 2.08% (1.78%)
1 (1) GhaziGlare (Selesnya and Glare of Subdual) 2.08% (1.78%)
1 (1) Hierarch Control (Green/White/Black Control) 2.08% (1.78%)
1 (0) Orzhov Control (Black/White Control) 2.08% (0.00%)
1 (0) Izzet Control (See below) 2.08% (0.00%)
0 (1) Angel/Weirding (Blue/White/Red Control with Zur’s Weirding) 0.00% (1.78%)
It seems that every other week I get to write “see below” about a deck that randomly makes Top 8. Of course, you’d be remiss to dismiss it as a fluke. Many good decks have appeared as a one-off, and then come back to haunt us. I mean, look – there are two copies of that Sea Stompy deck that appeared a couple of weeks ago. Does this mean that it will soon dominate Standard? Probably not, but I do remember saying the following about the early Mono Blue Tron deck almost exactly one year ago…
“…However, we have to assume it was the smaller field size that allowed a Blue/White Control deck, and a Blue/Black UrzaTron deck to also play along with the grown-ups in this Top 8. The UrzaTron deck was especially strange in that it didn’t really seem capable of doing much more than countering a few spells with Mana Leak and Condescend, while using Serum Visions and Thirst for Knowledge to help fire off a Mindslaver for the lose. Also seen skulking around in the back alleys of this deck were Triskelion, Staff of Domination, Solemn Simulacrum, Bribery, and Arcbound Reclaimer. It wasn’t pretty, but it sure was rogue, and that’s what matters to some people. So good on Nezard for coming away with some packs for his efforts, I guess.”
So listen to me at your own risk, but do listen to me. Apparently, the trick is to wade through the blister-nonsense and hope you find some stray tech that has somehow escaped being trampled in an all-out butchering of the written English language.
Anyway, this week’s token “see below” refers to a Red/Blue or Izzet Control deck. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it once or twice before in my wanderings, so it could be worth paying attention to as well. Basically, you take the Magnivore deck, and you take out the Magnivores. Of course, that’s gonna leave you with a base-Blue deck full of Sorceries, and that doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea when you’re playing with Islands. So take out those stinky Sorceries and replace them with hasty tasty Instants like Electrolyze and Hinder and, and… okay so Meloku and Keiga aren’t exactly quick off the mark, but they’re quick to the face so it’s all good.
Oh yeah, and Confiscate. I’m not joking.
Of course, you probably think I’m mad, and that I’ve just mistaken a regular run of the mill Izzetron deck for something new and interesting, but this deck had precisely zero lands featuring Urza’s in their title, and zero little Mana Artifact thingies. So that’s the rawest raw-doggedly raw Confiscates you’ll ever see… but if they steal you Yoseis, Rumbling Slums, and Magnivores, they can’t be totally awful. Hell, even grabbing a Burning-Tree Shaman verses Zoo or Gruul Beats could be devastating.
As far the prices go, I have decided to format the bolding a little differently this week, because I found my previous approach to be aesthetically displeasing to my eye. As you’ll see below, I have bolded the card if the price has changed. I haven’t yet found a way of distinguishing between cards that have gone up or down that takes my fancy, but one step at a time, eh?
OMG Jitte is dropping in price, I never thought it possible!
*dons tin-foil hat*
I have taken Phyrexian Arena out. It simply wasn’t moving and is no longer even seeing play, which makes me a Sad Panda, because I used to love playing with the Arena. There is a stunning new replacement for casual formats only however, in Vampiric Tutor. To date I haven’t bothered with cards outside of Standard, but for Vamp I’ll make an exception. You’re probably just as curious as I am about where this puppy could be heading. Maybe in the future I’ll look at other non-Standard cards prices too.
Keiga looks like it could be dropping in price a little. I know it doesn’t show here, being the same buy/sell price it’s been for the last month or two, but there are a few people beginning to offer only 2 for this Blue Dragon, instead of 3. It could just be a matter of time before we see an actual drop in price. Unless, of course, that Izzet Control deck up there takes off. *shrug*
A drop in price for every Green card listed. What is this, a Spring clearance sale?
Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] 6-7 (6-8)
Brushland 5-7 (5-7)
Llanowar Wastes 6-7 (5-7)
Shivan Reef 10-12 (10-12)
Underground River 4-7 (4-6)
Yavimaya Coast 7-9 (6-7)
Karplusan Forest 6-7 (6-8)
Caves of Koilos 9-10 (9-11)
Adarkar Wastes 6-8 (6-8)
Sulfurous Springs 5-7 (5-7)
As usual, the lands continue to fluctuate slightly. People seem to be buying up Yavimaya Coasts, which means those people who are soiling themselves with Dissension spoilers must know something I don’t, outside of the Guilds participating of course. It will be interesting to see what does and doesn’t start bouncing about in price after next week’s Prerelease though, so whoever it was that suggested we start keeping track of the unused Dual Lands ahead of schedule, here’s lookin’ at you, buddy.
To finish up, I just thought I’d share with you all a stream of consciousness I had with some of my internet homies today on the Ravnica Rare known as Hex. You know Hex… six mana to kill six guys? I’m sure most of you have been on the receiving end of it in some ill-fated Limited match. Apparently there were five of them in one of the drafts at the World Champs last year in Japan. One of the New Zealand National Team members was telling us about how he got two Hex in his draft, but another guy got three. I felt most sorry for the guy that got paired against both of them in a row and uttered the words:
Anyway, someone prompted the question, at which point would Hex become unplayable. Destroy seven creatures for seven mana? Eight creatures for eight mana? I countered that it should work in reverse. For seven mana, you get to kill only five creatures, which would be better than Hex I think, but startlingly unsuited to the name all of a sudden. Eight mana lets you kill only four, which would be more of a ridiculous bomb than Hex.
Going the other way brings you back to the original question in a way, without being limited to unplayability thanks to an unwieldy mana cost. Five mana makes you choose seven guys, and four mana makes you find a whopping eight recipients, forcing it even further in the direction of an unplayable Wrath of God.
The next question was, naturally, how many victims do you need to find to be allowed to play this for one mana? Going on the numbers so far, the answer is obviously eleven, which isn’t cute or funny in any way, and therefore lacks appeal. You could push the power level (lol) by dropping it to ten creatures for one mana, which is admittedly cooler and would cause young children to literally soil themselves upon tearing it out of a pack. Friends of said young children would even refuse to believe such a card could exist, and would find themselves in similarly soiled underpants when this spell finally hit the table with not so much a thwack as a cardboard-esque flicky noise. Would there be concerns that such a card, despite the fact that’s it’s still largely unplayable outside of the kitchen table, could cause casual players to up and quit for fear of ever getting molested by it?
The other concern I had, was that if the card cost only one mana, it would be stupidly splashable in Limited, simply because you wouldn’t be needing to play it until you found your off color anyway. The fix for that, while not being as blatantly cute as the one mana nuke, is to make it cost two mana, which happens to be just right for ten guys anyway. Someone then pointed out that a very cleaver binary joke could be made there, at which point we all realized just how geeky this all was getting and quickly discontinued the discussion in favor of much hurumping, coughing, and general peering at feet.
Destroy ten target creatures.
“Everybody but Mr. Toaster in the pool! I said everybody but Mr. Toas~kzk”
*peers at feet*
See you next week!