Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’ll take a closer look at Eventide and detail its impact on Standard and Block, cover my own Top 16 performance at last weekend’s Kentucky Open, and get ready for the upcoming PTQs, Nationals, and more. Let’s go!
* Text Only Data Recovery Update! *
Most of the footage has been recovered! Woohoo! I don’t know how much of it is damaged, but it appears I’ll be getting 50GB of data to sift through soon, and much of it is intact. I’m super duper excited and should have something to show for it soon. I don’t know the final charge for said services (I’m scared, though), but we’ll see what they say. More on this next week!
Here Comes the Evantide
First up this week is my 12th place performance in Kentucky over the weekend. For this tournament I took The Rock, also known as the Black/Green deck, which generally plays huge monsters and lots of removal spells. Here was my list:
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 3 Civic Wayfinder
- 2 Boreal Druid
- 4 Imperious Perfect
- 4 Wren's Run Vanquisher
- 3 Chameleon Colossus
Due to card availability problems, I was forced to use Bitterblossoms instead of Tarmogoyfs, which absolutely wrecked my Faerie opponent in Round 4 but was substandard everywhere else. The Shriekmaws were put in for Squall Lines, and they served their purpose well. I heard there was a lot of Merfolk and Mana Ramp in the room, and I wasn’t disappointed. They were all stars all day long.
The most painful omission from the sideboard were the two Krosan Grip. These are essential, absolutely vital, to winning certain matchups. For example, without a Shriekmaw or Mutavault, you are completely cold to a Teferi’s Moat. I lived most of the day in fear of that card, and the one time it did appear, he was forced to name Black due to Shriekmaw’s Fear and I then played Green dudes and bashed him with them.
As you can guess, in a field that had more Merfolk decks than any other, I mopped up quite handily. My only losses were in Round 3 where I mulliganed to 4 on the draw, and in Round 8 where I played for Top 8 and lost to Daniel Neeley’s G/R Mana Ramp.
Here’s the part where you get to play at home – in Game 3 versus Mana Ramp, I mulligan to three lands, two Thoughtseize, and a Chameleon Colossus. I Thoughtseize him on turn 1 and see the following:
Grove of the Burnwillows
Ouch. You remember what I said earlier, about having to cut the Krosan Grips? That stings a little. Now I’m stuck, knowing I’m going to have to take the Warhammer, and then the Primal Command. All things equal, I think I’ll be okay.
On Turn 2, I Thoughtseize him again. However, he rips like a champ and now has Chameleon Colossus in addition to the previous cards. Now I’m really stuck. Colossus advantage is everything in this matchup. He has Skred to kill mine as well as Firespout to bring additional damage. I have absolutely no way to kill his Chameleon Colossus except through combat damage.
But… but… Primal Command. Oh man, is that bad news for me. He can simply wreck me with that card. Putting a land on top and getting Chameleon Colossus can shut me out of the game completely if I take Colossus and he draws any other threat. I didn’t draw a land that turn and I don’t want him gaining 7 life and finding anything either. This super Time Walk is enough to put me out of range of winning at all. I have to swarm him before he Firespouts my team to bits. Which, of course, he also has.
So the question is: What’s the play? Do you take Chameleon Colossus because you can’t remove it without combat damage, or Primal Command because you will have very little chance of winning if it resolves? My answer to this one at the end of the show.
The next day a PTQ occurred at Louisville, with Elementals taking the prize but our own Reuben Bresler enjoying second place with Kithkin. This makes the second week in a row that StarCityGames “casual” columnists Top 8’d a PTQ, meaning hell has frozen over or we may actually be pretty good at this game. However, both Reuben and I were playing Kithkin, a.k.a. play dudes and bash your face, so make your own judgments there. Either way, congrats to Reuben on his performance, making it all the way to second place and almost getting himself to Germany.
Also in Block news, for those not aware, Faeries is still stupidly good and overpowering. It currently holds a mere 54.55% first place percentage, also known as un-freaking-heard of in terms of deck performance. No deck in recent memory, at least not stretching all the way into such horrors as combo winter, has had this dominating a presence. While I would love to be wrong on this one, all of the data I can gather confirms this – not even Affinity has crushed the way that Faeries has. And that’s saying something.
However, with the emergence of Elementals decks and their assortment of tutorable answers to problems like Bitterblossom, are we seeing the tide shift? What about Eventide? Aren’t there any good answers in there?
In a word, no. There doesn’t appear to be any particularly anti-Faeries technology in Eventide, but perhaps there is enough variance and possibility that Faeries won’t be as strong in the upcoming metagame.
Oh, oh man, sorry about that. Phew. That was tough. Last week. Josh Silvestri dropped a bomb in his article as he proclaimed that Eventide is the worst set since Legions or perhaps even Saviors of Kamigawa. This is not the kind of set comparisons you wish to make in Magic. Legions was so bereft of Constructed playable cards it was just embarrassing, and Saviors of Kamigawa was so bad you could just puke in your soup if you pulled another thirty-seven mana do-nothing spell in the rare slot.
So what about Eventide? Is it empty and hollow? Do we have Figure of Destiny, Stigma Lasher, Unmake, and junk? Is the Patrick Chapin-approved Soul Snuffers good enough to take out the Kithkin militia, and is my own preview card, Creakwood Liege, going to be included in your final sixty?
As for me, testing has shown that the best common is not in fact Unmake, but Snakeform. Snakeform is the ultimate answer to one of the format’s best monsters, Chameleon Colossus. This allows the Faeries player to trade Chameleon Colossus with a Bitterblossom token, while at the same time allows those fighting the Fae to blank Mistbind Clique’s land-tapping ability. The more I’ve played with the card the better it’s gotten, and I expect to see it everywhere. From Elementals to Elves to Faeries to Merfolk, this is a wonderfully versatile card that shuts down Lord bonuses, leaves play triggers from Reveillark, and still draws you a card! Now that’s efficient. I expect this guy to impact both Block play and Standard, as its ability is just too good.
Do note, however, an important rules interaction that I messed up a few weeks ago. If you Mirrorweave a juicy target – let’s say Wizened Cenn – and it is Snakeformed in response, what happens? All other creatures will still become Wizened Cenns, while the Snakeformed target will remain a 1/1 Snake with no abilities. Just a friendly Magic Show FYI.
With that said, little else in the set is exciting me right now. I’m trying to see the silver lining, but it’s tough. Over at Magic-League they recently held a Block tournament with Eventide, and Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa unveiled a kick ass U/G Merfolk deck thanks to the power of Flooded Grove, the U/G filter land. His third place finisher featured the best Merfolk ever printed, Chameleon Colossus, and also ran Black for Nameless Inversion. It was also packed the freshly minted Wake Thrasher, who looks so damn scary but usually dies before it can get a hit in.
In Rumor News, the latest is that States is returning this fall. Yes, States. You remember, that awesome tournament that was incredibly popular with casual players and well attended throughout most of North America that was inexorably cancelled for reasons unknown and led to the shortage of what would easily be the most impacting Extended art foil in the past five years? Yeah, that. Supposed to be coming back. I certainly hope so.
It was also revealed this week that Brion Stoutarm is the new Wal-Mart promo pack foil, replacing the previously included Jaya Ballard. The funniest thing to me about this is not the foil choices, but rather that each promo contains one Saviors of Kamigawa pack among its respected peers of Lorwyn and Guildpact. Trust me, you know a set is bad when they’re dumping it on the Wal-Mart crowd. Pee-eww.
Finally in rumor news, someone got an early peek at a Planeswalker’s Guide to Shards of Alara, and has revealed a few juicy concepts. Firstly, there is no shared theme in the set, and each color, that would be each â€˜shard’, has its own theme . Each shard also has a name. So this fall you can look forward to us going in-depth with Bant, Esper, Grixis, Jund, and Naya. I’ll be bringing you more on this as it develops.
Moving on, Nationals is coming up in two weeks, and it’s now time for everyone to get comfortable with those wonderful Faerie mirrors. Yes, I know it’s tough deciding whether to maindeck Thoughtseize or Vendilion Clique, and it appears that other than Snakeform there won’t be a single card from Eventide that makes it into the deck. It has the mana, the dudes, and the power. However, I suspect that many will be playing Merfolk instead, which still allows them to play with the blue Wrath of God while masquerading as an aggro deck. While the U/G version may not make its way in Standard, the filter lands are certainly not hurting its chances.
That said, The Rock will definitely be there, as Twilight Grove gave you the mana fixing the deck was looking for, and while Talara’s Battalion is certainly appealing, we all know the best two-drop remains Wren’s Run Vanquisher.
Red/White decks could come out in force, as Balefire Liege remains the best creature you’re not playing with. I don’t know about you, but when my Flame Jabs deal you four damage, that seems pretty solid to me. Figure of Destiny, Lightning Helix you? Getcha.
Lastly, there’s always the Seismic Swans decklist. This past weekend the Patrick Chapin-esque Seismic Swans deck won Australian Nationals, despite the presence of Bitterblossom, despite the presence of Extirpate, and in the face of “better decks.” It’s smart, slick, and well designed by Kuan-Kuan Tian, Garry Wong, and James Pirie. An example of smart deckbuilding, good metagaming, and a powerful strategy to get Aaron Nicastri and the boys all the way to Memphis in December.
So to finish up with that Kentucky Open story, here’s what I did:
I end up taking the Primal Command and feel quite bad about it two turns later as I didn’t draw my fourth land and he threw down his Colossus. Now I’m behind a turn, play my own Colossus the following turn, but can’t block his because I’ll be chumping at that point. Long story short, he drew removal and Wall of Roots to block and so I lost due to his late game advantage.
The moral of the story is, I’m pretty sure I should’ve taken the Colossus there. But how was I going to defeat Primal Command? We’ll leave that one for the feedback.
I thank you for watching and hope to catch you here next week as we prepare for our departure to Chicago where we’ll watch the best in the U.S. duke it out. Until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards…so you don’t have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
Why so serious?