First up in the intellectual exercise is Psychatog – which seems to have clambered successfully to the top of the Standard heap over the last eight months, so why not put it first? Now there are two mainstream flavors of Psychatog; this week’s KaiAtog, and last weeks Zevatog. For the purposes of keep up to date, I’ll focus on KaiAtog – and not just because Zevatog could almost be described as a localized New York phenomenon that refused to die, and KaiAtog is supported by Cassias Kai/Mohamed Kai-ee.
So what does Judgment bring blue-based control decks? The obvious answer is Cunning Wish… And playing as distant runner-ups are Grip of Amnesia, Flash of Insight, Spelljack, Mental Note, and Laquatus’s Disdain.
To me, the Grip just doesn’t. It may very well be mad gas, old-person style, versus a deck that depends on its graveyard – like Quiet Speculation decks, anything with an Incarnation or two, and perhaps even a Psychatog variant… But other decks will probably just laugh heartily at the wasted deck slots you used to house the Grip.
Spelljack is cute, and perhaps worth wishing for, but looks very slow as far as the standard metagame is concerned. Laquatus’s Disdain is nought more than a sideboard card (if that), and Mental Note can go hang out with Predict for all I care. Flash of Insight may prove interesting…
But the main winner is clearly Cunning Wish.
(And the main loser is clearly Wormfang Newt. <—– Canary cage liner style…)
(Did you know my canary is called Oscar?)
(And in complete contrast, she knows nothing about Type 1.)
While I’m loathe to list Magical cards in an article and furnish them with explanations – because that’s just sooo newbie writer – here are a few cards worth Wishing for and why.
A no-brainer that practically everyone on this interweb thing has mentioned in conjunction with cunning wish, Opportunity makes a great additional card drawing spell in a control on control matchup. Anyone who hollers "fill ‘er up!" when they cast this will be shot. Survivors will be punched, and then shot again.
Already well established as a Psychatog sideboard card for forcing through Upheavals, it can now be cut down to one copy to make room for other Wish targets, without diminishing its performance.
A nice all-purpose bounce spell that’s great for targeting land with… As long as that land has a Squirrel Nest on it of course. However, it’s not quite as good at getting Basking Rootwalla or an Arrogant Wurm off the table – but why would you get Recoil, when you could get…?
…Which would work much better, and would get all the other green creatures off the table too. Unfortunately, it’s not so good at dealing with Wild Mongrel, and I hear that there could be other creatures about who aren’t actually green, so…
When you absolutely, positively, have to bounce every last "mofo" in the room: Accept no substitutes.
I mean, do I have to tell you what this is for? To Ctrl+S you bacon, that’s what it’s for.
Think about it; not a bad Wish target on turn 3 after a turn 2 Familiar if you’re short on land, especially seeing as I’m looking to run 24 land over the usual 25. Or maybe you want to dig a bit for as little mana as possible. But if you do have the mana, why not dig further with…
If you need an Upheaval, and you need it now, I think this is probably the best way to do it. Nothing can look as deep as this in one go in standard right now.
All of this assembles to create Ultra-Mega-Mega-Man!… er, Ultra… Mega, um, Mega…Tog?
4 Nightscape Familiar
1 Possessed Aven
4 Memory Lapse
3 Circular Logic
4 Cunning Wish
3 Fact or Fiction
1 Flash of Insight
4 Salt Marsh
4 Underground River
1 Darkwater Catacombs
1 Circular Logic
1 Mana Short
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Flash of Insight
So in one week, or perhaps even less, Psychatog may begin to look like that. How does that effect black control – the deck described by Sean McKeown as Psychatog’s bane? Well, not much, in my opinion. I feel the only reason Psychatog is allowed to almost reign supreme is that not enough people have put their faith in black control. But that worries me not, really. Did I tell you about the time I was testing Psychatog-on-black control, where I could only beat black control with Zevatog if I was Haunting Echoed first? A strange anomaly, I’m sure. But it had me puzzled somewhat. In the end however, I realized I knew a fluke when I saw it.
Psychatog wasn’t a problem for black control before Judgment, and it still isn’t now. All it’s gained is a few tricks that may help it gain back some card advantage in the mid-game, but it needs more than a few tricks to survive a black control beating.
Next up, we’ll look at the daft, the ridiculous, the insidious, the insane, the overpowered, the uncommon… The Quiet Speculation. And we’ll try not to trip over a swath of 6/6s on the way.
Good night, and sleep tight.