Stoneforged Sideburns In Memphis

Heading To Memphis for our StarCityGames.com Open Weekend? Glenn Jones has everything you need to know: a Standard/Legacy metagame wrap-up, how to run Time Spiral, all the sights, and all the sounds of the city of Elvis.

Edison, NJ
hosted an Open Series that few will soon forget. Caw-Blade had demonstrated a heretofore unprecedented domination of the Standard format, crushing the
Pro Tour in Paris and the world’s largest Standard Open in Washington, D.C. Most
expected that trend to continue in Edison, and they were right. The Edison Standard Open boasted close to 600 players, and 75% of the Top 8 was some
kind of Caw-Blade variant, with a lonely RUG player and an even lonelier red mage lurking in wait. While Jonathan Sukenik fell in the semifinals,
pyromancer Patrick Sullivan beloved Mountains carried him all the way to the trophy. The
red deck proved to be a great call for this event, combining spot removal with a very healthy clock and a stable mana base. Few Caw-Blade pilots were
prepared to play against the likes of Staggershock and Koth of the Hammer, and most had not even tested the matchup. Patrick, however, had been testing
for over a decade!

Caw-Blade destroyed the D.C. Open, but its performance in Edison might mislead you a little. If you’ll examine the

Top 16 from the weekend before

, you’ll see that Caw-Blade filled the Top 8 and the Top 16, with hardly anyone else squeaking a word in edgewise. In Edison,
Caw-Blade whiffed on 9-16 completely, which really just means the deck managed to edge its win-and-in rounds successfully. While impressive, and the
archetype is clearly not one to be ignored, players are adapting. By the end of March, I expect us to see Standard resuming a hierarchy with
significantly more balance.

PSulli already proved that there are angles of attack that Caw-Blade is not prepared for, and more will become apparent as the metagame develops. I’m
particularly interested in seeing Lead the Stampede and Vengevine develop—I think Lewis Laskin and his cohorts were very close with their Jumanji list from Edison.

The Caw-Blade list I liked the most from the same tournament came from
Gerard Fabiano and Ben Lundquist. They splashed Inquisition of Kozilek into the U/W shell as an answer to opposing Swords, with Doom Blade as the spot
removal of choice. Those cards are both effective counters to Stoneforge Mystic and Lotus Cobra, respectively, and Doom Blade can also handle the
suddenly popular Precursor Golem.

In addition to a strong Standard attendance and the metagame earthquake that followed, Edison featured a record-high Legacy Open at 296 players. Edison
broke the record set in D.C and also demonstrated a retention of over 50% between Standard and Legacy—a rare feat. Clearly, those kids in the northeast
love their dual lands and Aether Vials!

The talk of the tournament rapidly became Alix Hatfield’s dominating performance with a High Tide/Time Spiral deck that took the trophy in an epic final
match. After being on the receiving end of Eli Kassis many, many Hymns to Tourach, Alix shuffled his deck with a Ponder and flipped over one of two
remaining Time Spirals to take down a game that had appeared all but lost. The entire room shook when that 4UU sorcery tumbled off the top of his deck,
and even Alix couldn’t seem to believe he had caught his only out.


Top 8

featured plenty of Junk decks like Eli’s, in addition to Dredge, Ad Nauseam, and Affinity. Legacy is a real healthy format to be playing right now, and
the diversity has sent Counterbalance into hiding as Merfolk flees the Grim Lavamancers of Zoo. Check out our coverage for more Deck Techs and feature
matches on the Edison and D.C. Open Weekends if you’re looking for inspiration. My Too Much Information article for Legacy will either be up already or
posting soon, so keep an eye out for that as well.

I’d encourage you to read Alix’s variousfeature matches, as they will help you understand a few strategic lines and
which cards you may find yourself tutoring for. I’m hardly recreating these matches perfectly, but you should be looking to access every tool possible
if you’re interested in Time Spiral. Alix played some very careful Magic over those 12 rounds, and the deck is incredibly cerebral with a lot of math.
A mistake will often leave you irreparably beaten, so play very, very carefully. I’d advise plenty of practice before sleeving up Time Spiral, but you
may want to jump on the deck’s pieces now. Candelabra of Tawnos and Cunning Wish aren’t getting any cheaper, and stuff like Meditate is essential to
the operation of the archetype. Watching Alix shrug off Hymns with a quick Meditate was downright scary, and many Legacy decks simply fail to present
enough pressure to actually leverage the advantage an extra turn could give them. I can’t wait to see what happens to this format in Memphis!

Speaking of Memphis, this weekend will see the Open Series on the road once again.
I’ve been to Memphis exactly once in my life, but I’m looking forward to the return trip. The New Jersey Expo Center was fun and all, but I’m looking
forward to traveling a little closer to the Mason Dixon line over the next few weekends. Memphis is one of the best-known cities in Tennessee, and most
people associate it strongly with a potent music scene. There are always a number of live acts in downtown with a variety of genres, but I know what
you’re all thinking. White suits, trembling hips, and a mean coif all boil down to one word:


Elvis was a musical revolution of sorts, and even someone who doesn’t find the music appealing should be able to appreciate the history of the thing.
Our culture has changed many times in the past few centuries, and Graceland represents a catalyst for one such change. Missing out on Graceland is like
going to Paris and skipping the Louvre or to Seattle and avoiding the Space Needle. Well, the world’s first Starbucks might be a more appropriate
simile, but you get what I mean. Take a look, and at worst, you can spend the entire time making jokes. To say that whoever designed Graceland had an
eye for ornamentation would be understating the case by quite a bit. Do yourself a favor—take some time away from Magic and have some fun exploring a
one-of-a-kind attraction.

If you looked up the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium while in Kansas City, as I did, then you’ll be happy to know that Memphis boasts its own edition of the popular watering hole. It’s pretty much the same deal—a ton of different
beer and the challenge of trying as many as you can. Striking the delicate balance between a good time and fighting shape can be tough, but I tend to
err on the fun side. You only live once, etc. There will be other tournaments to win, but there will only be one March 12, 2011—unless you buy into the
physics argument of multiple realities on slightly scaling timelines, in which case there will be an infinite number of March 12, 2011 dates . . . but
that seems pretty unlikely. Of course, that would probably mean slightly less than infinite tournaments, anyway, solving the choice completely.

Ending tangent, moving right along . . .  south of the convention center you’ll eventually run into Beale Street, which essentially runs perpendicular
to the river and slices east into downtown. There are cafes and clubs galore, so a walk down that street will prove profitable if you’re looking for a
night on the town, barring the usual risk of rain and freezing cold. Spring is in the air, so I’d feel safe, but you may want to check on the weather
come Saturday.

I was going to move onto food next, as there are plenty of delicious noms and haumphs to be had on the mean streets of Memphis. I’ve tried a fair few,
and Yelp can fill in the rest . . . but I felt it would be far wiser to turn you over to a Star City alum on that count. Wizards

kidnap victim

employee Zac Hill wrote an excellent rundown of all the deliciousness a few years back when the Magic World Championships came to Memphis, and I’m
willing to admit that the former Memphis resident probably has a more informative and interesting analysis of the city’s restaurants and cafes then I
do. Rather than shamelessly crib a completely new article from his, I’ll do you the kindness of linking to his article with the caution that you may want to verify all
the selections he posted back then are all still open for business. Beyond that, bon appetit!

I’ll see you guys in Memphis, as I’m leaving in a few short hours. I’m a little bummed—I was sure I’d come up with a really good Blue Suede Shoes pun
once I got a thousand words into this beast, but oh well. I guess I’m just all shook up.

Glenn Jones

Coverage Content Manager