It’s called a changeover. The reels change and the movie goes on and nobody is the wiser.
Wait, wait. I’ve gone and got confused with the movie itself. It’s called a changeover. The available sets change and the format goes on and nobody is the wiser.
At least that’s the way it seems. The weekend’s excitement was provided by the Team Constructed Pro Tour. With the name players busting out their Badest and Bestest Block technology, and everyone bustling to see what is actually going to be good in the years to come, you’d be mistaken for thinking that good ol’ Standard was sitting around waiting for everyone to be ready to move on. But apparently, the Premier Events were happily plodding on ahead with a fresh garnish of Dissension to taste.
Judging from this week’s results, which will soon follow, it appears that people were mostly unwilling to stray from their comfort zones established with Guildpact Standard and opted to play with the decks they already owned and knew. This is possibly in part because to play something fresh, new and interesting happens to involve buying up many new and expensive cards, most of which probably need lands that tap for two colors of mana, and those will also have to be factored into any costs.
This doesn’t mean that everyone was tentative in his or her toe-dipping in this brand new paddling pool, both familiar and foreign to the last one! There are people who have decided to unveil new ideas. Some of which are more interesting or adventurous than the others, but we’ll get to those in a minute. Of the eight Top 8 playoffs this week, there were 64 possible spots to be taken up by individual decks. The number next to the decks below shows how many times certain archetype took up one of those slots. Also note that in the past I included all kinds of useless statistics with this information, and in my opinion it only cluttered up already cluttered info, so I’m trying to simplify things a little by leaving it out.
7 Izzetron (Blue/Red Urzatron Control)
7 Magnivore (Blue/Red Land Destruction Control)
4 Heartbeat (Heartbeat of Spring/Early Harvest Combo)
4 Ninja Stompy (Green/Red/Blue Aggro Control)
3 Orzhov Husk (Black/White Aggro)
3 GhaziChord (Green/White/Black Aggro Control)
2 Izzet Control (Blue/Red Control)
2 Zoo (Green/White/Red Aggro)
2 Blue/Black/White Reanimator
2 Hand in Hand (Black/White Aggro Control)
2 Firemane Control (Blue/White/Red Control)
2 Hierarch Control (Green/White/Black Control)
2 Selesnya Aggro Control (Green/White Aggro Control)
1 Blue/Black/White Control
1 Green/Black Aggro Control
1 Dimir Control (Blue/Black Control)
1 Owling Mine (Blue/Red Anti-Control)
1 Boros Deck Wins (Red/White Aggro)
So from that we can see that Breeding Pool has added some consistency to Ninja Stompy – allowing more people to avoid a messy mana death at its hands – and that the Izzet are still dominating the top tables, which should surprise practically nobody. So that’s 47 of those 64 spots… the last 17 are taken up by the new school, the innovative and daring.
5 Blue/Red/Green Urzatron
3 Green/Blue Snake Aggro Control
3 Four Color Hierarch Control
2 White Weenie
2 Green/White/Blue Glare of Subdual
1 Green/Red Ponza
1 Blue/White Control
Oh look, more Breeding Pools and more Izzetron, and to be quite honest, still no surprises there. If you’re wondering why a deck that runs at least 12 colorless lands would want to sully their mana base with a third color, look no further than the triple S threat, Mr. Simic Sky Swallower. That man is a Be-ea-ting. The Four Color Hierarch Control decks were all different, in as much as they seemed to be splashing different cards (and in one case, even splashing different colors), demonstrating the versatility of Ravnica’s variety of mana options.
The White Weenie decks didn’t appear to be splashing for anything. They were at least running Azorius Guildmages for their Tap ability, but for some reason not splashing Blue for the “inconvenience Heartbeat decks ability,” also known as the horrible “rape-the-Casual-Momir-Basic-Format ability.” Here is a quote, with names hidden to protect the innocent, from a match where one of these White Weenie lists lost to a Hierarch Control deck. The White Weenie player is Player 1, who either has a great understanding of irony, or has somehow missed seeing the countless Hierarch Control decks that have been soldiering away at Standard over the last few months.
Player 1: WOW
Player 1: how did i lose to your awful pile
Player 2: I dunno… you must be terrible.
Player 1: apparently for you to draw perfectly like that
By the way, the “perfect draw” involved the Hierarch player getting a bunch of mana, two Loxodon Hierarchs and two Chord of Callings. The first Chord fetched out an Arashi, the Sky Asunder to take out the pestering Flyers, followed by an Indrik Stomphowler to remove the Faiths Fetters from the aforementioned Arashi. Good Game I guess.
And last but not least – quite the opposite really, in that I wanted to save the coolest one until last – lastly, the Green/Blue Snake deck. Much like the Ghost Dad deck from the recent Guildpact Standard, the Snake deck, which no doubt has a clever name that I am currently unaware of, draws from both Ravnica Block and its predecessor, Kamigawa Block. This means that those lads up at Wizards Haitch Queue in Renton, Washington are no doubt breaking out the bubbly (soda) and fine cheese (Doritos) at yet another example of inter-block synergy success. Basically, you come out early and build up your buttercup with Sakura-Tribe Elder and the new and saucy Coiling Oracle, follow up with a little hot Patagia Viper action, and then crush all with a Seshiro the Anointed to the cake hole.
Yeah, Seshiro turns the Patagia Viper into a couple of 3/3 Snakes and a 4/3 flyering Snake, all of which let you draw a card if they can crack your erstwhile opponent on the jaw. Supplement that with a Mana Leak here and a Remand there, and you got yourself a couple of seats in the playoffs.
I know I’m not alone in being keen to see how this Standard format shapes up, as there are many people out there who have their National Champs coming up before Coldsnap manages to complicate things even further. Then of course there’s always us Internet addicts who are out there running the Premier Events and Eight Man Queues too, so stay tuned while we watch this format gradually mold itself into a metagame in its own right.
(Warning: blatant segue ahead.)
Of course, now that the Block Constructed Pro Tour has played out, the results may inspire players to try something different in the deck department again too. Not only that, but it should help solidify some of the card prices.
The numbers shown, for instance, as 2-4, are the price at which people are buying the card, followed by the price at which people are selling the card. The prices shown in parenthesis, like this (2-4), are the prices from last week. If a card and its prices have been bolded, it’s because there has been a change in price from the week before to help you differentiate those cards from the others that are a little more… static in their movements. Card prices are in Tickets, because that’s what most people buy and sell with on Magic Online. Also note that prices can fluctuate based on the time of day, depending on just how many people are online selling at the time. Due to my uniquely antipodean location down here in the Pacific, and my tendency to hold down a regular nine-to-five job, the prices below end up being more of a general indication of what’s going on than an exact science.
Dissension cards, which will get integrated into the main list next week:
Simic Sky Swallower 7-8 (6-7)
Voidslime 6-7 (5-7)
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV 3-5 (3-5)
Dovescape 1-3 (2-4)
Cytoplast Root-Kin 3-4 (3-4)
Demonfire 3-5 (3-4)
Blood Crypt 8-10 (8-10)
Breeding Pool 14-15 (12-15)
Hallowed Fountain 11-12 (10-12)
Breeding Pool is, of course, climbing a little, thanks to everyone wanting to play it, and yet not enough of them getting opened in drafts and leagues. And now for the rest of the cards:
Pithing Needle 16-18 (16-19)
Umezawa’s Jitte 7-8 (7-9)
Vampiric Tutor 18-23 (18-27)
Cranial Extraction 5-6 (6-7)
Dark Confidant 3-4 (2-4)
Meloku the Clouded Mirror 3-6 (4-5)
Keiga, the Tide Star 4-5 (4-5)
Ghost Council of Orzhova 4-5 (4-6)
Loxodon Hierarch 3-5 (4-5)
Giant Solifuge 3-5 (3-5)
Burning-Tree Shaman 3-5 (3-5)
Heartbeat of Spring 3-5 (3-5)
Early Harvest 3-5 (3-5)
Birds of Paradise 3-5 (3-5)
Wildfire 3-4 (3-4)
Magnivore 2-4 (2-4)
Wrath of God 8-10 (8-10)
Paladin en-Vec 5-7 (5-7)
Yosei, the Morning Star 3-5 (4-5)
Shivan Reef 8-10 (8-10)
Caves of Koilos 7-8 (8-10)
Yavimaya Coast 7-9 (7-8)
Adarkar Wastes 5-7 (5-7)
Sulfurous Springs 4-6 (4-6)
Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] 4-6 (4-6)
Llanowar Wastes 4-6 (4-6)
Karplusan Forest 4-6 (4-6)
Underground River 4-6 (4-6)
Brushland 4-5 (4-5)
Steam Vents 9-11 (9-11)
Godless Shrine 8-10 (8-10)
Stomping Ground 7-9 (8-9)
Temple Garden 5-7 (5-7)
Overgrown Tomb 5-6 (5-6)
Sacred Foundry 4-6 (4-6)
Watery Grave 5-6 (5-6)
The rest of the prices are still slightly on the low side with everyone trying to turn their excess cards into Breeding Pools, Draft Sets, and by the looks of things, more Breeding Pools. As always, being the tight Scotsman I am (by descent only, truth be told) I tend to hold off buying the new cards until they come down in price somewhat. So with any luck you might find me talking a little about draft in the near future, until such time as I can finally trade some magic beans for a playset of Dual Lands!
That’s fair warning obviously, because anyone silly enough to listen to my draft advice is clearly looking to lose. Mind you, you’ll all see that soon enough when I force Magemark.dec again.
Bonus Momir Basic Factoid
Scalpelexis is an excellent five-drop, especially if your opponent has focused his land base somewhat, to avoid things like Island for instance. Also, as pointed out by some guy in the forums who likes Green things, Momir Basic is bringing in the revenue for Wizards just fine. There have been something like 26 Momir Basic Premier Events held in the last five or six days, and each of those events had a six ticket entry fee, so uhh, grats Wizards on the phat loots!
Until next week, keep your eyes on the skies and your thighs on the, err, seat I guess. Damn, that doesn’t rhyme particularly well.