The Magic Show #54 — The New Face of Standard

Watch Evan Erwin every Friday... on StarCityGames.com!Hello, everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to take a look at the Top 8 Standard decklists from the Kentucky Open, what’s impacting us the most in Tenth Edition, as well as a little thing I like to call This Week In Magic.

Hello, everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to take a look at the Top 8 Standard decklists from the Kentucky Open, what’s impacting us the most in Tenth Edition, as well as a little thing I like to call This Week In Magic.

The New Face of Standard

In this week’s title segment, we investigate the Top 8 Kentucky Open decks, as they tell us the most about what we may or may not be seeing in tomorrow’s U.S Nationals event.

As for my performance, my first round I played Solar Flare, and in three long games I was a mere turn or two from winning when we ran out of time and extra turns. I had the creature advantage, and Loxodon Warhammer ready to bash face, but the time advantage was not mine. So let it be said that the draw bracket is not where you want to take Glare Bear.

My second round I played NarcoBridge, which completely ran me over as I drew zero Chord of Callings, Saffi Eriksdotter, or Loaming Shamans game one, then in Game two I drew none of those cards or the three Tormod’s Crypts from the sideboard. ‘Twas very sad as he made oodles of Zombie tokens and killed me in about five turns both games.

In my final matchup I played Project X, also known as Completely Unwinnable For Glare… unless I get some disruption. My Chord of Calling’d Saffi Erikdotter cut off the combo in all three games, but my inability to play anything but Green mana game 1, and what felt like nothing but lands in game 3, stopped me from actually winning with it. This was my worst matchup and I wasn’t expecting a win, but I’m glad it went to three games and I did my best.

If I were to do it again I’d just go whole hog and replay a version of my Glittering Wish Control, which is very similar to Glare Bear. Basically you get more disruption, you get a Wrath of God in whichever color you like best, and you still get to play with Loxodon Hierarch, Teneb, and Troll Ascetic if you please.

As for those who did do well, one thing to note is that Gabe Walls actually conceded his victory to the winner Chase Lamm somewhere around 2am for more cash instead of the trophy. This time frame also explains why there is no video coverage of the event. While it’s great to get Top 8 coverage, being there until 4am is not my kind of party. At least, not when I can just report on what’s important here.

In this Top 8, the most prevalent card from Tenth Edition is Treetop Village. Turns out uncounterable trampling 3/3’s are still good. Look for this guy to be extremely expensive on Magic Online, who’ve never seen an Urza man-land before.

Second, StarCityGames’ own Chris Woltereck battled to the Top 4 with two Loxodon Warhammers main and another in the sideboard. Trust me when I say that is some powerful, impacting equipment. He also ran Manabarbs in his sideboard, which is an absolute beating for a deck like Solar Flare. I hope you got plenty of Signets, Mr. Solar Flare, because you’re going to need them.

A very interesting “Sleepless Slivers” aggro deck made Top 8, while my bud Christian Valenti did very well with Rakdos. I personally think it’s great to not only see so many aggressive decks in the Top 8, but also confirmation that Dragonstorm is dead. Gruul will always be around, in some form or another, as Red/Green decks have been since the dawn of Magic. But combo decks live and die on their card quality, and though there were a few doubters, it’s nice to bury this Standard menace next to such platinum hits as Tooth & Nail and Heartbeat of Spring. Also known as the combo decks that are still annoying the hell out of Extended players.

Based on the analysis so far, people are expecting big things from both Assault Loam and Rakdos, the two decks that are easily the most exciting. And, who’d a thunk it, there were four fat Tarmogoyfs in both the first and second place decks. While I love how Wizards has finally given Green the best creature in Standard, I wonder just how long Tarmogoyf is going to take people to first place before the nerf herd begins calling. You know what herd I’m talking about too. The ones who don’t like anything to dominate, let alone a creature who dies to virtually any removal and who is trumped by Withered Wretch, of all things.

A few notables that were missing from the Top 8 were Platinum Angel, Razormane Masticore, and Crucible of Worlds. These are cards that aren’t just thrown into any deck, so you rest assured they’ll begin showing up before long, particularly in a tournament like U.S. or UK Nationals this weekend, where the mad technology comes out to play.

This Week In Magic

Welcome back to my favorite Magic Show segment, where I get to highlight what’s going on in the community. This week it’s all about the Master’s Edition, which is 195 cards that will be reprinted from sets before Mirage. They chose everything before Mirage because, well, most of it sucked. I don’t see anyone clamoring for Ice Age drafts or Legends sealed decks, and there’s a reason. Those sets weren’t designed for Limited, and it shows. Hell, in modern terms those sets were barely designed, period. Only Nixon could go to China, and only in Ice Age could a three mana 2/2 protection from Blue guy be rare.

The question is, however, why is this Master’s Edition coming into existence? For that you’ll need to take a look at the World’s schedule. For the first time ever they’re dropping the day of Extended for a day of Legacy. That’s right, Legacy. That wacky format that brought you Flash Hulk and Iggy Pop.

But Legacy can’t be played online, because they don’t have anything older than Mirage and Visions. Hell, they haven’t even released Weatherlight yet, and how long ago was that promised?

Another thing to consider is that they will most likely not be reprinting any Power 9 cards, so keep those Mox and Lotus dreams to yourself. Vintage needs cards like Tinker and Yawgmoth’s Will to be played as a legitimate format online, and since this is pre-Mirage only you can forget that noise.

This is another question that makes me wonder: There are a lot of cards from popular Legacy decks that weren’t printed until Urza’s Saga or Mercadian Masques. However, these sets look to be years off for the online world, so who exactly is this Master’s Edition for? I mean, are you ready for some half-ass Legacy with none of the powerful cards to back it up? Or are there enough bombs in these packs to make Legacy, or what they would call “Classic” on MTGO, a viable format?

So far we’ve been told that Force of Will, Juzam Djinn, and Armageddon are coming back. And that’s great. All of those are fun, powerful cards. Well, okay, Juzam Djinn isn’t quite the ass-kicker he once was, but Force of Will is a card that keeps its formats in check. You can’t expect a huge format like Legacy, Vintage, Classic or whatever you want to call it to not have a sort of stop-gap for overpowering plays.

However, decks like Goblins won’t have Goblin Lackey. Decks like Iggy Pop won’t have Ill-Gotten Gains. According to the guidelines set out by the Master’s Edition design team, we won’t even have Wasteland until the end of next year, and that’s assuming publishing Tempest online is something they’re really interested in doing. And this is how they’re going to push Legacy online? Jigga what?

Don’t even get me started on the train wreck that is MTGO 3.0 Beta. You want a good cry, download it and try to find a game. It’s like bobbing for apples in a bucket full of razorblades and rubbing alcohol.

So call me a skeptic on the Master’s Edition. These cards better be getting a whole lot more interesting or I just don’t think it’s going to be worth purchasing. Sure it’s nice to play with the real Juzam Djinn, but there are only so many pre-Mirage cards that you want to play with, and many of them are banned in Legacy, meaning they won’t be worthwhile for testing.

It will be great to have spells such as Lim-Dul’s Vault online. But I’ve also heard that cards like Phelddagrif are coming back. Yawn much?

Finally, I wanted to highlight our own Zac “tight” Hill, who wrote an article this week called Proud. What does it mean to be proud to play Magic? How do you describe Magic to someone who has no idea what it is? Do you compare it to Pokemon? Do you try to explain the different colors, the sets, the formats, the playstyles?

Richard Feldman wrote in the forums it’s like trying to explain basketball to someone who’s never heard of it. I’d say that’s about right. Whenever I’m asked, I always answer it’s like chess with 10,000 pieces. A game that is infinitely interesting and infinitely growing. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty damn proud to be playing such a skill-intensive game with such a fantastic community. I love what I do here at StarCityGames.com, and hope to do so for some time. And if nobody else gets it, then it’s their loss.

Moving on, some people may have worried about the lack of real “Future Sights” in Future Sight, but with Lorwyn coming you can bet we’ll see something totally different.

Lorwyn is going to have two two-set blocks instead of one three-set or four-set block. This means you’ll have Lorywn-Lorywn-Morningtide drafts that will never incorporate a third pack. This saddens me greatly, as the third pack was generally the most powerful in Limited, such as Dissension with its Grafty goodness, and this third pack also impacted archetypes the most. For example, until Future Sight came along, Blue/Red decks were clearly the ones to draft if you had your druthers. Now there’s a whole host of drafting archetype options, each of them with their own merits. This option is now gone.

There is also the idea that these two blocks are connected but in a unique way. Could we be seeing the first sign of “Light” spells and “Dark” spells? Are we going to delve into more subsets of permanents, ala Arcane spells from Kamigawa?

The first preview card is Shriekmaw, which debuts the mechanic Evoke. Evoke is the sorcery-esque mechanic that Legions should have had, but didn’t. This allows creatures to be spells and vice versa. The most important thing to remember with this mechanic is that you cannot respond to the sacrifice trigger once it’s in play. You can’t Evoke Shriekmaw and then Momentary Blink it once it’s in play. It’s like the Flash ruling: Once the spell begins resolving, there’s no stopping it. Once Evoke begins, ah, “evoking,” you’d better watch out, because it’s happening whether you like it not.

Now the question remains just how powerful Evoke spells can be, and what they may be used for. The ability to put a high-cost creature into play for cheap gives all of the Johnnies something to do with Pandemonium, and man, what wonderful creatures you could come up with when thinking of Evoke. The skies are the limit, and I like this card a lot. It’s certainly a bomb in Draft, and should be rocking Richard Hoaen’s decklists come October.

And that’s another Magic Show everybody. I’d love to talk about the Block PTQ I attended, but I don’t have the Top 8 nor do I have any interesting tales. U/B Teachings is the most unforgiving deck in the format, and two small mistakes meant certain doom for yours truly. Blue mana emo tear, for sure.

So until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin, tapping the cards so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin

dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com

Music Credits:
Title – “Stay Don’t Go” by Spoon
New Face of Standard – “W.A.N.D” by The Flaming Lips
This Week in Magic – “Undertow” by Tool