My Relationship With Every Constructed Format

They don’t get any more romantic than Shaun McLaren, and today, he wants to tell the truth about his relationships with all of Magic’s major formats. Whether you’re in the mood for Legacy at #SCGWOR’s main event, or you want to try either of the $5,000 Premier IQs, Shaun has something for you!

What a time to be alive. So much good Magic to be played and so many great formats, and yet so little time. It’s hard to be ahead of the curve in one
format, let alone all of them, but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered, from Vintage to Standard.

Today I’m going to take a look at the full spread Constructed has to offer and suggest my picks for the decks I’d want to be playing in each format. Not
every format boils down to a single best deck. You’ve got to play the field and figure out what works for you, so keep that in mind and remember these are
my picks. Still, I’ll give you my opinions and try to paint a picture of what I feel is good right now and what I feel isn’t so great.

Let’s play the field.


What I’d Play:

The Magic Online Championship provided some awesome high stakes Vintage
action. It’s interesting to see what innovation emerges from a high power format that isn’t touched as often as the others. The format orbits around a
certain set of ridiculously powerful cards, but there’s still room to come up with new takes on established strategies.

The Pyromancer Control list that Magnus Lantto (the eventual winner) and Olle Rade played looks great. It’s essentially a bundle of card draw and
disruption. The reason I’m drawn to the deck is because it looks like it adds a high level of consistency while not sacrificing too much raw power. Young
Pyromancer is such a great win condition since you can often run it out immediately, it’s a fast clock, and it usually gets value as soon as it hits the
board. When your whole deck is disruption and card draw, a cheap one-card win condition is great. Not to mention the synergy with Cabal Therapy.

The decks’ sideboard is also loaded with artifact hate against Workshops, the bogeyman of the format, which is exactly what I’d want to have as well. In
Vintage, you’re not going to find an easy deck to play, but this one isn’t off the charts in difficulty, which is an added plus.

Vintage is still a fun format, but it could use some support. A MOCS season finals in Vintage would be nice to crack the door open for the general public
to have incentive to play it.

My Relationship Status With Vintage: Stalking a Celebrity From the Bushes.

Vintage is the format you always see through rose-colored glasses. Beautiful happy people playing it

driving fast cars, living it up, having a wonderful time with fun interactive games. It’s easy to ignore the flaws of occasional turn 1 kills and
non-interactive games, and put it on a pedestal. You think the Average Joe is gonna have a shot with Vintage? Not bloody likely. But they can try and they
can dream. If you have the dedication, time, commitment, and *ahem* cash money, you can make it with Vintage, but for most, it’s a fantasy you won’t have
the time or skill for.

Vintage is amazing, fast-paced, dangerous, and elusive. Be careful devoting your life to chasing after that power, but once you have it, it’s a rush
playing. The Power Nine are selling for cheap online right now, so it’s a good time to dive in!


What I’d Play:

Wham, Bam, Thank You, Griselbrand. Eldritch Tentacle Monsters and Big Ugly Demons free to roam together at last.

This is what I would play at the SCG Open in Worcester this weekend. Simple, powerful, elegant. Gets the job done with no fuss and no muss. Sometimes your
opponent will stop you or you’ll just plain fizzle, but more often than not, you won’t be denied. It also puts a good deal of pressure on your opponent,
knowing precisely how to stop such an explosive deck and keeping up the correct answers is difficult.

Of course, the age old advice of “play what you know” holds very true in Legacy, so I recommend you do that before switching strategies. But if you aren’t
that confident with a particular deck or are rusty with the format in general, I’d suggest playing something proactive.

The deck I have the most experience with in Legacy is Miracles, but I don’t have any recent experience with it. I’m not confident I’d be fast enough, good
enough against the field, let alone the mirror, for such a reactive deck.

Solid advice to follow if you feel you are less prepared or outmatched is to do something powerful and proactive. Could be Burn, could be aggro, or could
be combo. I like the speed and power of Sneak and Show and its capability of occasionally delivering easy wins.

My Relationship Status With Legacy: Long Distance.

Legacy is fun to watch and think about, but we aren’t together as much as I’d like. When we’re together and on the same page, it’s bliss. Legacy demands I
put a lot of time and effort into the relationship. If you don’t work on it, the relationship will suffer. I’m just not always able to give it the
attention it deserves. I have a wandering eye and often stray to other formats.

Pick a deck and master it. Play what you know. If you’re not a master, do something powerful that doesn’t require intimate knowledge of every interaction
in the format.


What I’d Play:

There’s been a big surge of Collected Company decks in Modern, and I think this strategy works well against them. Having access to abundant removal and
counters seems like a winning combination. Of course, I’m going to be wanting to play Jeskai Control in Modern whatever the case may be, but I think there
are some other good options for blue mages.

I think Collected Company is here to stay in Modern, but it is over-represented right now and not too difficult to metagame against. The times you miss or
hit one card do add up, and it requires you to play a high density of cheap creatures. Enter Splinter Twin. Why not just kill them on turn 4? You’re more
consistent and fast, to boot. Splinter Twin is going to be a great choice in Modern as long as it’s legal, and I think it’s particularly potent right now.

My Relationship Status With Modern: It’s Complicated.

Modern is great to play when I’m looking for a good time. Every game is new, exciting, and wild. Modern knows exactly what I like – cheap removal, cheap
card draw, and manlands – and it delivers every time. Every time I play it, it leaves me wanting more, even though sometimes the metagame can be cold and
unforgiving. Should I be playing it non-stop or just for big events like Grand Prix Charlotte? I’m not sure I can give that sort of commitment to Modern to
play it exclusively. Too much of a good thing could ruin it.

While everyone is messing around with Collected Company, beat them with blue and red cards.


What I’d Play:

Yuuki Ichikawa won Grand Prix Shanghai this weekend with an Abzan Control list that looks real nice. It reminds me somewhat of the one I’ve been advocating, and I think it’s built in a
direction that’s better against the current metagame.

Satyr Wayfinder is not a card I’m in love with (or cards that can whiff in general like Collected Company), but it does a heck of a lot in this list. It
fuels Den Protector and Tasigur, the Golden Fang, it corrals Deathmist Raptors into the graveyard, it throws itself in front of Foul-Tongue Invocation, it
finds Temples in the lategame, and provides library manipulation with Courser of Kruphix.

I think the deck is in a great spot against the other two best decks of the format, Abzan Aggro and Esper Dragons, as it’s able to go a bit over the top of
Abzan Aggro and have resilient enough threats and answers to Dragonlord Ojutai from Esper Dragons. I would want to be damn sure I have a good matchup
against Abzan Aggro (or just be playing it) in the next Standard tournament I play in.

My Relationship Status With Standard: Committed & Long-Term.

My relationship with Standard is getting a second wind. The annoying repetitive things are becoming endearing again. We’ve worked to liven things up and
try new things. Standard hurt me in the past, but I feel like I can trust Standard again. Sometimes it can feel a little tedious and repetitive, but as a
whole, things are great and only getting better. We’re both willing to change. I feel validated and rewarded when I put the time into our relationship. We
have a great time together, but if I spend too much time playing Standard, I usually end up thinking about Modern. I think the future is bright.

Enjoy the format while it lasts. Perfection is impossible so don’t try and make it into something it’s not.


Relationship Status With Block: Separated

One day you remember Block. Sure it was a plain format, some might even call slow, but you had a good time together. You dated in high school and look up
Block on Facebook one day to see Block moved to farm in the middle of nowhere with chickens and horses, something you know Block would enjoy. You feel a
slight sting of pain, like a piece of you is missing that no one else quite appreciated, and for a moment, you imagine what could’ve been… until you
remember the other formats and forget about Block forever.

Maybe in an alternate universe, Block. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Signing Off

There you have it! That’s where my head is at with the major Constructed formats. If you want to see me tackle these formats and more, I’ve started streaming on Twitch, so come stop by and see some of these decks in
action (let’s be realistic and say I’m gonna be most likely playing Jeskai Control in Modern).

Now the question is, what are you going to play and what’s your relationship status with Magic and its formats?