Oh great. So like, after three Solar Flare decks (being the name given by the creators, so I guess it wins over Reanimator Control) made the Top 4 at the Australian Nationals (don’t ask me, I have no idea when the coverage is going up), the same thing happened again in America. Thanks guys, just thanks. Those of us in Canada, and most importantly New Zealand (lol, represent!), have rather a lot to look forward to this weekend. If only they’d post decklists from the Italian and English Nationals, we might see something more interesting this weekend. As it is, the price of Persecutes on the ground will probably go through the roof.
So without the results from those other events, I am left turning to the Magic Online Premier Events room. However, they have been pretty much bang-on when it comes to what is hot and what is not, so I could certainly do a whole heap worse.
(Let’s just not list all of the ways I could do worse and pretend that I did, okay?)
Well, Craig could always give us a tournament report or something from the English Nats… that would be awesome too.
[There’s one in the pipeline, fella… – Craig, still smiling.]
Anyway, there were eleven Standard events held this week, which is so ridiculous, it’s not even funny. You see, there were eleven? Which is one higher than ten?
(Muffled question from an interviewer)
No, you don’t understand, eleven is one higher than ten.
(ahem again obv)
Right, enough Spinal Tapisms, on to the results themselves.
15 (14) Solar Flare (Blue/Black/White Control)
15 (5) Hand in Hand (Black/White Aggro Control)
8 (5) Magnivore (Blue/Red Land Destruction Control)
7 (13) Izzetron (Blue/Red Urzatron Control)
5 (9) Simic Aggro Control (Blue/Green)
5 (4) Boros Deck Wins (Red/White Aggro)
5 (3) Sea Stompy (Green/Red/Blue Aggro Control)
4 (3) White Weenie splash Blue
3 (6) Blue/Red/Green Urzatron
3 (3) Heartbeat (Heartbeat of Spring/Early Harvest Combo)
3 (1) Simic Aggro, splash Red (Green/Blue Aggro with Char)
2 (0) Dimirtron (Blue/Black Urzatron, with Tidespout Tyrant no less!)
2 (0) Azorius Control (Blue/White Control)
2 (0) Selesnya Aggro Control (Green/White Aggro Control)
1 (2) Zoo (Green/White/Red Aggro)
1 (2) Unknown 🙁
1 (2) Ghost Dad (Black/White Tallowisp Aggro)
1 (1) Simic Snake Aggro Control (Green/Blue)
1 (0) Hierarch Control (Green/White/Black Control)
1 (0) Izzet Control (Blue/Red Control)
1 (0) Blue/White/Black Aggro Control
1 (0) Four Color Control
1 (0) Mono Green (Yes really, even Hunted Wumpus)
0 (1) Orzhov Husk (Black/White Aggro)
0 (1) Dimir Control (Blue/Black Control)
0 (1) Gruul Beats (Green/Red Aggro)
0 (1) BorosTron (Godo/Wrath)
0 (1) Simic Aggro, splash Black (Green/Blue Aggro with Putrefy)
0 (1) Orzhov Control
0 (1) Green/Red/White Control
Solar Flare is still holding strong, but after what really amounts to a “week off”, Hand in Hand is back up the top as well. It seems that with the steady popularity of the Black/White/Blue Control deck makes a great target for cheap and nasty Castigates, followed up by a little Orzhov Aggression. Izzetron and Magnivore have swapped places a little, but no doubt they will continue to dance back and forth in the ranks, ensuring a steady value in Steam Vents and Shivan Reefs be maintained.
Of interest this week was the Dimirtron decks, basically casting aside the Red cards of Izzetron in favor of some Black goodness. The loss of the “p.s. Demonfire you” play might be a little much in my opinion, even if it is replaced with Flavor of the Week: Persecute. But then again, if Izzetron can splash Green for Simic Sky Swallower, then why can’t Dimirtron splash for Demonfire? Gosh, it’s getting all very incestuous. Ravnica Block has really made it’s mark when a deck playing twelve to thirteen lands that tap for colorless can still support three colors happily.
The other thing these Dimirtron players were doing was dropping a Tidespout Tyrant, and then proceeding to annihilate their opponent’s board with Sensei’s Divining Top, bouncing anything and everything within arms reach. It’s a little cute though, and it’s something that regular Izzetron can do anyway, and for the most part elects not to, when they can just drop the more mana-friendly Keiga, the Tide Star.
So what does this all mean for me and my Nationals this weekend? Sadly, I have no idea, other than that I need to have a plan in place for Solar Flare, or at least be really good at mirror matches. From what I saw in Australia though, Solar Flare mirror matches can be somewhat mind numbing, coma inducing, similar to a triathlon and in some rare cases, resulting in death by natural causes.
Here is a picture of me doing the coverage of one of the Top 4 matches at the Australian National Champs, between eventual victor Tim He on the right and Anthony Purdom on the left, who ended up as the team alternate.
Please note that in this picture, Anthony is actually in a coma, and Tim is examining the edges of his cards to see if any of them are sharp enough to allow him to end it all now. The people in the background are not actually spectators, but distant descendants of spectators, who have no idea what’s going on, but have also never seen the outside world and therefore have no idea what they’re missing. Also note that I have never owned a hand-held gaming device, such as a sexy little white PSP, nor am I playing Wipeout Pure on one in this picture. To sum up, untimed Top 8 playoffs for the lose and Wipeout Pure on the PSP for the win.
And of course, we now move on to the ever-fluctuating (some more or less than others) prices of the key cards played in Standard on Magic Online.
The numbers shown, for instance, as 2-4, are the price people are buying the card for, followed by the price people are selling the card for. 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 as well, 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.
Just to make a point, while the price of real life Persecutes may go up, they have been dirt cheap on Magic Online for what seems like forever. I’ll monitor it for a week or two, but I’m willing to bet that there’s enough out there that it won’t change much from the good ol’ 1-2.
The Heartbeat Combo cards, while still part of an active deck, have stayed the same price for quite some time. I think it’s time we presented them with a cheap gold watch and a wee cake and retired them from this thread.
Breeding Pool 13-14 (14-15)
Hallowed Fountain 10-11 (10-11)
Shivan Reef 8-10 (8-10)
Steam Vents 8-10 (8-10)
Blood Crypt 7-9 (8-9)
Godless Shrine 7-9 (7-9)
Stomping Ground 7-8 (7-8)
Caves of Koilos 6-7 (6-7)
Yavimaya Coast 5-7 (6-7)
Temple Garden 5-7 (5-6)
Watery Grave 5-6 (5-6)
Overgrown Tomb 5-6 (5-6)
Sacred Foundry 5-6 (5-6)
Adarkar Wastes 4-6 (4-6)
Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] 4-6 (4-6)
Karplusan Forest 3-5 (4-5)
Llanowar Wastes 3-5 (3-5)
Brushland 3-5 (3-5)
Underground River 3-5 (3-5)
Sulfurous Springs 3-5 (3-5)
While Solar Flare’s widespread presence indicates that Hallowed Fountain should tower over Breeding Pool in the value stakes, it seems that the opposite is true. This is most likely because Solar Flare can run anywhere between one and four Hallowed Fountains, maybe even zero of them in some manabases, thanks to the use of Azorius Chanceries and Signets. Any Green/Blue deck however, is likely to run a full grip of Breeding Pools. Not only that, but people who play Extended are probably either over the moon about the fact that they can improve their Green splash in Psychatog decks, or are exceedingly frustrated that Psychatog players once again get their manabases buffed.
Anyway, it’s probably time I went and did a wee bit more playtesting before this weekend, all the while making more and more additions to the list of cards I need to buy tomorrow from Tall Mike before we drive out on Thursday. Man, I swear that guy is mere moments away from retirement in the Bahamas at this point with the number of cards I have purchased from him this week. All because I seem to change my mind on what I want to play every fifteen minutes. If I only I had been prepared enough in advance, I could have saved a heap ordering them from this here website. Oh well, maybe I’ll get it right next year.
Now, one last thing before I go. Some of you may remember that I did okay at last year’s New Zealand National Champs, finishing in fourth place and getting to clown it up with everyone else at the World Champs in Japan. The odds are pretty high that I won’t be able to repeat last year’s performance again this year, so let me just set this out now. If I do well, you’ll hear about it obviously (probably more than you’d like too rofl). But if it somehow transpires that I don’t mention the tournament at all in next week’s column, it’s reasonably safe to assume that I probably should have done a great deal more practice than I actually did.