The Great Champs Experiment: Part 5

In the fifth installment of his entertaining series, Joshua brings us a rundown of the Champions-free Ravnica Block Constructed decks that may see play in some form at the coming Standard Champs tournaments. Next week, JXC moves onto deck ideas and archetypes involving Time Spiral cards… stay tuned!

It’s been a fairly busy week here in the Claytor household. I had a lot of tests to prepare for, and other things popped up… something about getting married on September 22nd, and finding out that I am going to be a father in May.

Did I mention I had a lot of tests this week?

The prerelease for Time Spiral is over. We have the full spoiler in our hands now, and the coming Standard is going to be something special.

Innovation will be key to breaking the Champs format, and with the work that has already taken place we have a little over five weeks to do so.

I know a lot of people have doubted the entire premise of these articles, and that is fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and thankfully, the work that I have been able to do has been very helpful to me. I’ve learned a lot of things just playing the skeleton decks on MTGO (thanks again to Brandon Burks for access to his account), and, surprisingly, some of these skeleton decks are very competitive in the current Champions-based Standard format.

Here are some of the things I think about these skeleton decks.

1. Snow-based control decks are very good, very powerful, and very consistent. You have one of the best card advantage engines in Scrying Sheets, and the deck looks to get stronger with the inclusion of Time Spiral. The amount of success I have had with the U/W skeleton is nothing short of astounding, and there have been some massive changes to the deck. Let me show you what I am looking at right now.

Waiting for MTGO to load.

Windreaver has been the stone nuts all throughout testing. Cancel is more than likely going to end up in the deck, as I want a hard counter and sometimes the situational counters like Mana Leak and Rune Snag are just not good enough. This deck has been very good to me.

2. Lifegain is very good in this format. We have Loxodon Hierarch, Faith’s Fetters, and Firemane Angel to make life hard for the aggressive decks. Sometimes these decks have a hard time dealing twenty… so asking them to deal thirty-two to forty can be almost impossible. With Spike Feeder being a Timeshifted card, that gives us another four life and another solid body. Where is Flames of the Blood Hand when you need it?

3. Combat situations have been to be more skill-intensive, with the lack of Jitte and other quality combat tricks.

4. Control seems really good, and not just traditional counter-control decks (Although having Whispers of the Muse at our disposal is some kind of nice). Wrath-based control decks have been performing well for me too.

5. Tron is possibly overrated.

6. Demonfire may be one of the more important cards in the new format.

7. Dark Confidant may be one of the best creatures in the new format. No surprises there.

8. I’m pretty sure Scrying Sheets is the best land in the format.

Okay, that is about enough of that rambling for today. Now I am going to do is show off a few Ravnica block decks from the team season. These decks are here to familiarize yourself with a format that never was.

It’s a shame too, because there was a ridiculous amount of room for innovation in this past Block Constructed format. I am not going to suggest many changes, because the next article is going to hit hard and heavy with Time Spiral, and I want to look at as many of those cards as possible.

Here we go.

Firemane Enchantment Control

Why it is important: It gives us another look at a Firemane strategy. This one is heavy on land-stealing enchantments, and I bet a deck like this could benefit from some hot Wildfire action. This deck reminds me a lot of Eminent Domain.

Cards to Consider: Annex, Wildfire, Confiscate

Firemane Control (No Enchantment)

This is another look at what is sure to be a popular strategy. I could see some of these decks running Searing Meditation.

Blue/White splash Black Aggro

A little-used strategy that has not seen much play since French Nationals. That deck was hit hard by Champions rotating out, so this one could be nice to look at.

Critical Mass

This was one of the more successful decks from the team Pro Tour that took advantage of the great Green and Blue Cards. Maybe Mystic Snake can find a home here (where else is he going to live? Black/Red?)

Simic Control splash Red

One of my favorite decks of the tour, this one is what I wanted the U/G Urzatron deck to look like.

Leyline of the Meek Deck

This does look like a fun Green/White beatdown deck. However, is it good enough to hang with Zoo, Gruul, Orzhov, and Sea Stompy?

Sunforger Aggro

This is the typical Zoo deck with Sunforger in it. This Equipment is going to be insane!

Red/White/Black Burn

Much like Snow Burn, this one looks to offset the life loss with Lightning Helix.

The last deck is a Four-Color Good Stuff deck.

Sorry for the brief article, but with Time Spiral information being fully available now, my time (heh) has been caught up with that… As for me, I have a wife that is asleep, and I bet she wants to have me laying down next to her.

Thanks for reading. Join me next time for Time Spiral goodness.