Selecting 10th Edition – Earthquake!

Yes folks, it’s that time again… 10th Edition looms large on the horizon, and it’s time to cast your votes for the marquee cards to be included in the Next Base Set! Today’s dilemma is a seemingly simple one… Earthquake or Hurricane? Teddy Card Game votes for the Old Red Standby…

How can it possibly be time for Selecting 10th Edition? It seems like just yesterday that I was arguing with crazy Ben Bleiweiss about Glorious Anthem versus Shared Triumph, Blackmail versus Addle, and the one vote that changed the Standard format more than any other: Weird Harvest versus Animal Magnetism. You think I’m kidding, but where would Heartbeat of Spring combo decks be if they were stuck with freaking Animal Magnetism in the card pool? The correct answer to this question is “nowhere.” The shocking fact of this entire “Selecting Nth Edition” parade is that no matter how goofy they may seem at the time, these votes really do matter.

What that in mind, Master Bleiweiss and I have chosen to once again do battle over the choices arrayed in front of you. Those of you who were around when we did this in 2004 will be pleased to know that, though we had to briefly admit Ben into a home for the mentally unstable, he is now on the road to full recovery and interacts quite well with the public provided he gets his two helpings of green jello per day. This means that you can expect particularly lucid and cogent arguments from his section of the peanut gallery, which should be more than enough to keep me on my toes.

Earthquake versus Hurricane
When I think of Earthquake, I think of a classic card from Magic’s days of yore. Not only could it take care of the vast majority of ground pounders any opponent would lay before you, it also acted as a finisher, provided you were ahead on life. Versatile and efficient, Earthquake satisfies almost every need a Red mage could have short of offing a Silver Knight or Paladin en-Vec, which is all you can ask for from a mass removal spell. Featured prominently in a host of decks from Magic’s inception right into the new millennium, Earthquake is a proven rare that is almost guaranteed to see play in tournament Magic.

Now, when I think of Hurricane, I think of a man wrongly imprisoned, Bob Dylan songs, and storms named Armando and Floyd that demolish New Orleans and always seem to leave Antonino De Rosa homeless. Oh, and I also think of a goofy Green direct damage spell that is extremely narrow in its usage and makes about as much sense in terms of the color pie as Scryb Sprites, which is to say “not a whole helluva lot.” Green direct damage? What is this, 1993? You might as well go whole hog on this one and vote Storm Seeker in there while you are at it. (Though I have to admit, I do still love the art on the Legends Storm Seeker.) I mean… Hurricane’s not a bad spell, and sure, there are times where it would be nice to have it around, but the truth of the matter is that this particular design space is one that allows R&D to produce great Green creatures that do the job instead. Think of how much you love Arashi or Silklash Spider, and then tell me whether you’d rather have them to play or Hurricane? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

Additionally, though we probably all still have Meloku and Kamigawa dragons on the brain, by the time this set rotates in, those will be just a faint memory. Answering those complaints a year too late with a narrow sideboard card is just silly, and since you obviously clicked on my article and are therefore my readers, I expect you are smarter than that. Regardless of what Bleiweiss has to say, and I’m sure he’s doing some razzle-dazzle and spectacular soft shoe in his article to try and pull the wool over your eyes, Earthquake is the right choice here, so get out the vote and make sure the weak-willed don’t win this one.

Still not convinced? Let me put this another way: Yer not going to vote Squallmonger into 10th Edition, so why would you bother voting something silly like Hurricane in, unless your only desires in life are to screw up the color pie and make Green fatties even worse than they already are?

Two Regionals Decks You May Have Missed
I didn’t do a post-Regionals roundup this year because I got busy during that period of the time, the decklists were a week late in coming out, and by the time I was ready to write my version of the article, it had already been published three times. I do have to say that I love the Standard format, and once again, I feel that it still has a lot of potential, with a host of viable decks available for almost every type of player. Pithing Needle seems like an absolute must-have in maindecks or sideboards now, but the other 71 cards you want to run are completely up to you.

With that in mind, I’ve kind of shied away from playing everything that was really popular before Regionals, including my own Four by Four build. I did this not because it’s bad – it qualified numerous people both in the U.S. and Canada, including a number of places that you don’t see on the decklists page because apparently the TOs there didn’t submit their lists as required – but because I wanted to try out some cool stuff other people came up with. Here are two Blue/White decks that take the color combination in completely different directions, but somehow still manage to be enjoyable to play.

These decks are reasonably self-explanatory. One is a pure aggro deck in the traditional Fish style that uses versatile White and Blue weenies to beat down, while keeping the opponent off-balance with a smattering of countermagic. This is the type of deck that people have been trying to work for the last six months, typically with ninjas and undercosted White men, but unsurprisingly, it never really came together until we received our bounty of Azorius goodies. The second deck is the exact opposite – an old-style U/W Control and countermagic build that uses my favorite man in the format right now (Court Hussar) to shut down aggro decks, and finally gives a worthwhile outlet for people who have been jonesing to play Wrath of God for the last three years. I don’t even have many changes right now except that once again, I think Pithing Needle is now mandatory as a four-of in sideboards.

I was going to write much more detail about a Rakdos deck that Ben Peebles-Mundy designed and Jim Ferraiolo played to a near miss at Mid-Atlantic Regionals, but it seems that one of them has finally gotten off their lazy asses and started writing about it, so you should expect to see said article on a computer screen near you sometime next week.

Other Stuff
I know I have been quiet here lately, but that’s in large part because I’ve been neck-deep in writing about the World Cup at a site I like to call Football kNuts (Google will show you the way). For those of you interested in the World Cup, or just looking for more of my writing, there’s a lot of it there, so stop by and check it out.

I’ve also been working on a special project for MagictheGathering.com that will debut sometime later this year, and in about 12 hours, I’ll be on a flight to Charleston to cover the Team Block Constructed Pro Tour, so while you might not have seen much of my recently, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been my busy little beaver self. I’m also looking forward to competing in the inaugural Limited Champs next weekend, and with every competitive format seemingly one of the best and most diverse that we’ve had in years, I suspect it will be a great summer for Magic players around the world.

Teddy Card Game
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