Originally, I had planned to submit a report for GP Atlanta. But I went 1-3 in that tournament and thus don’t have much to write on that particular
subject. So instead, I offer you my first thoughts on Mirrodin Besieged’s effect on Limited and Standard.
GP Atlanta Report :
I played a Faeries list with three Time Warps as the only notable change to the stock list. The idea behind playing Time Warp in Faeries is that the
card is better than a removal spell against control and better than a disruptive response against aggressive decks.
Well, I still think that my list was good but not the best, alas. I should’ve played Wafo’s deck…
Which is exactly what I say to myself anytime I don’t play his brew. After so many years of doing this, I should’ve learned by now that he’s right, all
As for the tournament itself, I don’t think I played very well. I probably punted the whole fourth round by not taking enough mulligans. And I
surely misplayed somewhere during the third round. But overall, I basically got owned by karma; I deserve it a bit after my run at Worlds. On the plus
side, it’s better to have that happen during a GP than during a PT…
A little list of cool things that happened to me while I was in Atlanta:
- On Saturday, I met Brian Kibler in the hall. He congratulated me on my finish in Worlds then said: “You
know, I’m glad that you’ve won something in Magic; now I’m not the only person to have won major tournaments in two different games.” To which I
replied: “You know, mine were both World Championships, not Pro Tours.” I won that argument.
- Got to hang out with the American crew on Saturday and Sunday evening. That was fun. I got to see Brad Nelson in
a new light and now have some good stories that would not feel at all out of place in a Mark Herberholz article.
- On Sunday, I got to comment on GGsLive for the first time. That was quite a blast to do, and hopefully I’ll be
able to do it every time that I punt an event.
- Yuuya Watanabe missed Day Two as well. We played our first draft with Calosso Fuentes as our third. He found us
Floridian opponents. When the guy asked who Calosso’s teammates were, he replied: “two guys who I met in the hall and asked me to be their
third.” Which is true. Then the guy turned around and saw Yuuya and me waving our hands…
- I teamed with Shuuhei and Yuuya for the second draft of the day. Against a powerful team of Mark Herberholz, Paul
Rietzl, and Jamie Parke. We won 6-0…
And that was pretty much the entire tournament for me. Overall, it didn’t cost me too much (being Level 8 is nice), so I’ll try to play in as many GPs
in the US as possible this year.
Now, let’s get down to business. I’m not going to play a single game of Extended for the next six months or so, so I don’t have much to say on
that matter. But I’m going to play Standard and Limited with Mirrodin Besieged for the PT and the GP in Paris next weekend…
Mirrodin Besieged in Sealed
I don’t have too much experience playing MBS Sealed yet; I’ve only played in two Sealed events at my local store’s Prerelease.
Anyway, Prereleases aren’t that easy at home when you have to fight against Antoine Ruel. I didn’t lose a single round in either of my pods. I
went Phyrexia both times and put together a U/B and a W/R deck.
Yes, W/R with Phyrexia, awkward.
The Sealed format doesn’t seem to have changed much with the introduction of Mirrodin Besieged. That is to say the format is very swingy, and
games are often determined by bombs. However, both players usually have about the same number of bombs, so playing correctly makes a pretty big
This Sealed format is slow. People will rarely kill you before you’ve had a chance to play ten turns. So you really have to build your deck with
that parameter in mind. If you want to have an edge on your opponent in long games, there are two easy things to do. First, you have to incorporate as
many bombs as you can into your deck. This is really pool dependent, so I won’t really linger much on that point.
The second point is almost as important and is a lot easier to work on even if you don’t open an amazing pool: You have to play as many card
advantage sources as possible.
To earn card advantage in Sealed, the easiest thing to do is to play 2-for-1 effects. There are some effects of that type hidden in Mirrodin Besieged
you might have not identified as such.
That’s the case for living weapons; every one of them (except Flayer Husk) offers you a good body and then a good piece of equipment. You should play
every single living weapon you open. Myr Sire, Viridian Emissary, Blisterstick Shaman, and Oculus are sources for easy card advantage. Sure, they all
have a small body, but even a small body tends to be relevant in the early game (particularly if you’re playing against infect). And with some
equipment, even a small body can perform in the late game.
And finally, there is Vivisection. This card is really good. Good enough to push you into blue if you have some copies of it in your pool. The
sacrifice cost can often be turned into an advantage! I seriously love this card.
There’s still one more way to get some card advantage into your deck. Well, sort of.
This is a simple point, but it’s an easy one to overlook. You shouldn’t play cards that are only good during the early game. Should you draw
those cards in the midgame, you will be left with some duds in your hand.
So, not playing that stuff translates into virtual card advantage – which tends to be just as important as real card advantage. For Mirrodin 2.0
Sealed, that means that you should not play small guys that are only good on turn 2.
Exhibit A: Not playing Oxidda Daredevil.
But I don’t like mana Myrs either. Seriously, why are you still playing those? The format is slow; you don’t need the mana boost. The format is bomb
driven, and those cost mana. Why would you play a fragile Myr over a land? Seeing your Myr die could possibly delay your bomb by a lot more than one
turn, which is a lot more decisive than possibly accelerating it by one.
Mirrodin Besieged in Draft
Because factions packs were given as prizes at the Prerelease, I haven’t had the opportunity to draft the real format for PT Paris yet.
In triple Scars draft, I tended to favor midrange green decks and avoid white cards like the plague. These things probably won’t change for me
even with Mirrodin Besieged in the mix. I still don’t like white in Besieged, judging from the list. And I really like green commons like Blightwidow
and Viridian Emissary.
Midrange decks seem to be better with Mirrodin Besieged in the mix. I believe that aggressive poison decks are weakened greatly by Mirrodin Besieged,
since there aren’t any good two-drops with infect at common in the set. This will change the face of poison decks a lot. Poison decks will be forced to
go midrange too.
I’ll surely have more to write on the matter as the drafts pile up for me.
Mirrodin Besieged in Standard
Disclaimer: most of the decklists I’m sharing with you today are untested, early drafts of future decks. This is what I’m beginning my PT Paris testing
with, not what I expect to play or face against at the Pro Tour.
With some testing, these lists will probably evolve greatly. So don’t take whatever I write in this section for granted. And I won’t have sideboards
for these lists, since I’m still in the earlier stages of testing for PT Paris.
Anyway, here are some ideas for you:
Goblins is one of the first things I wanted to build and test. With Goblin Wardriver and Hero of Oxid Ridge from Besieged, we now have three
“lord” effects for our Goblins. Despite what a lot of other people have claimed, I still don’t think that Kuldotha Rebirth is the way to go
for Goblins. Besieged doesn’t offer any good artifact for the deck, and playing around fifteen “bad” artifacts doesn’t do good things for
an aggressive deck.
Green Sun’s Zenith is one of the best cards (if not the best) to come out of MBS. It will get played extensively in every single possible green deck.
There are probably two ways to play this in creature decks. The first possibility would be in an Eldrazi Monument Elves deck as in the one played by Pierre Canali at Worlds. There, the inclusion is
fairly easy and doesn’t require a deck to be built around it.
The other possibility is to go for another color while keeping green as the main color for Zenith purposes. I want to try white in there for Hero of
Bladehold (which seems to be an easy fit for an Eldrazi Monument deck). That guy seems really good against about every non-control deck. And for the
control matchup, you still have the Vengevines.
I want to try some silver bullets for the Green Sun’s Zenith, but I’m not sure which of them deserve maindeck slots. Acidic Slime seems to be
mandatory. I probably missed some possible bullets; anyway, those will reveal themselves with more testing.
- 1 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 1 Avenger of Zendikar
- 1 Stoneforge Mystic
- 1 Joraga Treespeaker
- 4 Vengevine
- 4 Fauna Shaman
- 4 Squadron Hawk
- 1 Sylvan Ranger
- 4 Hero of Bladehold
- 1 Phyrexian Revoker
Infect seems to be quite viable with Besieged in the mix. We have a nice manland and good midrange creatures in mono-black.
Adding another color(s) seems to be quite unnecessary. If you really need a creature boost, there is still no need for green – Adventuring Gear
and Vampiric Bite are enough for what you want to do.
For starters, I suggest something like this:
- 2 Ichorclaw Myr
- 4 Plague Stinger
- 2 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
- 4 Phyrexian Crusader
- 4 Phyrexian Vatmother
- 4 Plague Myr
Combo and Ramp Decks:
With Mirrodin Besieged, the Valakut deck is a lot harder to build than it was before. There are now two distinctly different ways to build the deck:
One with Summoning Trap and enough big monsters for it to be good. And one build that eschews that to go for Green Sun’s Zenith and more reliable draws
but (probably) a worse matchup against permissive control decks.
Overgrown Battlement is one of the most interesting cards to pair with Green Sun’s Zenith. Having multiples will not be an easy task. A single Birds of
Paradise turns all your Zeniths into pseudo-Rampant Growth, which is interesting too. And obviously what you want the most with the Zenith are the
Primeval Titans number 5 to 8…
A list is worth a thousand words, so here it is:
- 1 Birds of Paradise
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 2 Oracle of Mul Daya
- 1 Avenger of Zendikar
- 1 Terastodon
- 4 Overgrown Battlement
- 4 Primeval Titan
What do you want to do with Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas?
You probably don’t want to play a dedicated control deck, since you need around 15-18 artifacts for Tezz to perform well. With that many artifacts in
the mix, you would dilute your control deck too much. And we still have Jace, the Mind Sculptor to go control.
Going the aggressive way is also unlikely. There aren’t enough good artifact creatures in Standard for that to be possible.
No, Tezzeret will create is own archetypes. Here are some ideas for you:
That’s basically a classic U/B Control worked a little bit to incorporate some Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Is Tezz good enough for that to be better than
the stock list? I don’t know, but I do know that it’s worth trying.
That one probably won’t work. But I’ll try it anyway. With Prophetic Prism, Sphere of the Suns, and Mox Opal, you can aim for the five colors in a
dedicated Tezzeret Deck. Genesis Wave might still be too much, but that seems sexy with Tezzeret and Throne of Geth, so I have to try it anyway
(activating Tezz’s ultimate on the turn that it comes into play is so hot).
The Inkmoth Nexus is in there because of the interaction with Tezz. A 5/5 flying infect beater seems to be enough to kill even without any support.
The mana base is a sketch; that will probably change a lot with some testing.
Sorry, I don’t build those. Wafo is due to test with me for Paris, and he will be the one working on control decks. And he will do better in that area
than I could ever possibly do.
For U/W, White Sun’s Zenith seems to be about on the same power level as Grave Titan. I want White Sun’s Zenith to be my kill card if I decide to
go U/W. It’s nice to finally have an instant kill card for permissive decks in Standard. I also really like Spine of Ish Sah if Venser is played in
For U/B, Grave Titan is now vulnerable to Go for the Throat. That will change the way we build that deck a lot. Grave Titan might even be cut from the
deck. Black Sun’s Zenith seems to be an easy fit in the deck, surely better than Consume the Meek. However, that will pose a problem where you don’t
want your kill condition to be diminished by your own Black Sun’s Zenith. Maybe Myr Turbine will be good enough for a kill; I’ll try it at least.
RUG could try Green Sun’s Zenith as a two-of. That would require more green creatures than in the stock list, but four Lotus Cobras, one Oracle of Mul
Daya, one Acidic Slime, and one Avenger of Zendikar seems to be enough to warrant a pair. And Thrun, the Last Troll might be a good enough sideboard
card to make RUG the top dog in control mirrors. That’s probably the only deck where Thrun fits easily. With Lotus Cobra to accelerate him and Mana
Leak to respond to the opponent’s solutions, he seems good.