Non-Magic Online Musings: Craig Made Me Write About States

Blisterguy takes a break from examining the online metagame to bring us some of the possible runners and riders for the Champs tournaments that loom on the horizon. He also brings us his deck of choice for the coming fight… if he doesn’t change his mind at the eleventh hour.

Woo! Change of pace, theme, and clothes this week. Young Craig, who what does edit this stuff, is on his way over to Pro Tour: Kobe and needs me to finish this up sooner rather than later. So much sooner that there is no point me recapping any Standard Premier events (at the time of writing, roughly one and a half events have played out since we last met). And no reason to even consider looking at the card prices (Jitte looks like it’s about to dr… oh nope, nothing).

So, what to talk about then? I know! State Champs! Every year around this time, coinciding with the release of a new Base Set, we have the State Champs. Actually, I think they’re officially called “Provincial Champs” these days, because there are no States where many people live, and yet they still have the tournaments. Anyway, the point is, it’s a brand new, quite considerably different format, and new formats are always of interest to me as someone with a creative bone in their body.

(It’s in my lower left leg, I think)

Last year, I won our local State Champs with a deck I “designed” the night before. I say “designed” because at 11pm I just kinda randomly threw together some stuff that I thought might work. Turn 2 Hypnotic Specters; Hokori, Dust Drinker with Ravnica Bounce Lands; and mana creatures, and so on. The key piece seemed to be Moldervine Cloak, which eventually saw some time in the limelight in the aggressive Gruul that came out of Pro Tour: Honolulu.

So State Champs is this coming weekend, and I’ll no doubt be once again be throwing something together, and yes quite probably randomly too. With no MTGO recap-age available to us this week, why not share in my train of thought approach to deckbuilding? What? Because people have in the past gone insane when subjected to such tortures? Unlucky!

I feel the best way to approach this would be to look at what we still have after Kamigawa Block wanders away from Standard for a little Extended rest and/or relaxation, and see what we could potentially be left with.

Satanic Sligh

The Red and Black aggro deck loses its key attacker, Genju of the Spires, and the little utilitarian Frostling. I’m sure the deck can continue without the Genju, but the arrival of Call of the Herd may also hurt it. What the deck does gain is Magus of the Scroll, Rift Bolt, and possibly Sudden Shock and Shadow Guildmage.

Solar Flare

White, Black, and Blue control with Dragons. Some people have suggested that the loss of the big 5/5s kills the deck, and while it will now be without the “Eat Kokusho with a Miren” kill, it’s far from dead. The deck gains Akroma, Angel of Wrath and Avatar of Woe, while keeping its card drawing and Wrath of God.

Hand in Hand
Black/White Aggro Control has come in several variants in the past, but only one can exist after the rotation with Promise of Bunrei and Tallowisp leaving the scene. Despite losing most of its creature base, it’s not like there has ever been a shortage of quality undersized Black or White men.

Selesnya Aggro Control
Green/White Aggro Control loses its Dragons as well, but doesn’t lose the Loxodon Hierarch and other friends from Ravnica that made it tick so well. Add Spike Feeder, Call of the Herd, and new and improved Wood Elves, and you’re off to the races.

Sea Stompy
While losing Ninja of the Deep Hours and Meloku at the back end, Sea Stompy still holds up strong with Thornscape Battlemage, Mystic Snake and (of course) Call of the Herd.

Simic Aggro Control
Sea Stompy’s cousin, Blue/Green Aggro Control, also fares well in much the same vein. The Snake version loses most of its Snakes, so don’t hold your breath on that one.

While the loss of Keiga and Meloku seems to leave Blue/Red Tron without (non-Demonfire) victory conditions, the deck still has its card drawing and uber-mana so I’m sure something can be done to make it work.

Counterbalance Control
With no Sensei’s Divining Top, go ahead and pronounce this combo dead.

It could still work, but with the loss of Eye of Nowhere the deck no longer has two-mana bounce spells five through eight. I’m not sure it has a place, but here is a list for reference anyway.

Well, it can’t be called “Heartbeat” anymore without Heartbeat of Spring, but the Early Harvest and Reiterate combo still does wonderful things if you get seven lands into play. By wonderful things, I mean infinite mana (obviously). Unfortunately, the key card that’s missing is Kodama’s Reach. Without that, getting to seven lands is going to pretty difficult against some decks, and for that reason I think it’s most likely dead too.

Green/Red/White Aggro loses Isamaru, which would technically be a Very Bad Thing if it weren’t for Magus of the Scroll. While he doesn’t exactly attack for as much damage as the Hound did, it does give you some late game gasoline. Might of Old Krosa works even better as a Lava Axe to the face, while still helping your men win combat where needed.

Azorius Enduring Ideal Control
Not without Enduring Ideal it won’t.

Simic Erayo Ninja

A Ninja deck without Ninjas? Or Erayo? Computer says no.

So what would I want to play this coming weekend? Well, here’s the idea I have been mulling over. I suspect it could be bad, but I’m sure I’ll find out again at around 11pm the night before.

Best of luck everyone. If you wanted the regular MTGO stuff, you can blame young Craig for making me write this up ahead of schedule. But on the same token, I’m thanking Craig for giving me a Tuesday evening to go to the movies with a couple of my ladyfriends. [Swiss? — Craig]

(suggestive eyebrow wiggling)