The Online Outlook #17 — A Glance at Block Constructed

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Today’s Online Outlook takes a peek at five recent Time Spiral Block Constructed 2x Premier Events. Each one qualified its respective Top 8 for the upcoming IPA event, and thus the turnout for each either placed in the top half of two figures or the bottom half of three. Many decks, strong fields, and an accurate look at the evolving metagame.

First up, apologies for the delay of this article.

Thing is, I’m being evicted.

I’ve done nothing wrong, mind. Sure, sometimes my rent is fashionably late, and my two cats are nominally forbidden in the tenancy agreement… but that’s small fry. My landlord gave my apartment to his wife in their recent divorce settlement, and she’s selling up and moving on. It’s her right, of course… but I still face a homeless future. Thus, instead of penning witty and intricate articles on the Electronic Time Spiral Bock Constructed Metagame, I’ve been house-hunting. So far? No dice. Unless I want to move to the Leeds equivalent of Beirut.

Another spanner in the works is the sad fact that I no longer care about Time Spiral Block Constructed. Sorry folks, but it’s true.

I’m one of the lucky few that has already qualified for Pro Tour: Valencia. Therefore, all this jibber-jabber about Poison Slivers and optimal Goyf decks and the exact listing of U/B Teachings isn’t for me. Couple this with the fact that UK Nationals starts this Friday, and you’ll see that my Magical leanings have been drifting south to Standard climes.

Yeah, I know… I’m qualified, so screw you. I’m not proud of my apathy.

Still, Block Constructed is still insanely relevant for those planning to attend PTQs any time soon… so I’ve a duty to report on my findings.

Today’s Online Outlook takes a peek at five recent Time Spiral Block Constructed 2x Premier Events. Each one qualified its respective Top 8 for the upcoming IPA event, and thus the turnout for each either placed in the top half of two figures or the bottom half of three. Many decks, strong fields, and an accurate look at the evolving metagame.

So, without further ado, here’s the rundown of what’s hot, and what’s not. Pay attention, I may be asking questions later…

TSP Block Constructed 2x IPA QT – #1001826 – 85 players

1 – ST4KZ – U/B Teachings
2 – lordrandom01 – U/R/G Madness
3 – sandydogmtg – G/U Tempo Goyf
4 – D e n T z – G/W Goyf
5 – Lucindo – G/U Tempo Goyf
6 – wearelegion – G/W/R Goyf
7 – Bard_Taliesin – G/U Tempo Goyf
8 – dadadad – Rites of Flourishing Tempo

First up, we have the Tarmogoyf Invitational.

I mean, look at it! Five Tarmogoyf decks clogging up the burly midriff of this rather peculiar final table. It seems that the Blue/Green versions of the Tarmogoyf decks are in ascendance, probably because they add a little disruptive cheese to go with the usual beatdown wine. And while I didn’t see any, I presume the U/R/G Madness deck had Tarmogoyf too… the Green’s gotta be for something

The inestimable dadadad played an interesting-looking deck into the Top 8… it included Rites of Flourishing, and had the usual beatdown and tempo cards we’ve come to know and love, such as Riftwing Cloudskate and (of course) the Goyf. Sadly, I wasn’t sure what the Rites actually achieved — I presume it was there as part of a wider-reaching plan, but the games won were largely on the back of beats and little else.

The Madness deck looked pretty funky. Looter il-Kor, Gathan Raiders, and hits such as Reckless Wurm. Nice Draft.

And in the face of all this creature carnage, what finished as King Turd of Crap Mountain (to coin a phrase)? Blue/Black Teachings Control.


TSP Block Constructed 2x IPA QT – #1001827 – 100 players

1 – kogamo – G/U Tempo Goyf
2 – KSARUS – U/B Teachings w/ Coalition Relic
3 – Azazel314 – G/W Goyf
4 – England_87 – G/U Tempo Goyf
5 – Wheelofconfusion – U/B Pickles (or Kenji Blue)
6 – chuyiyo5 – U/R/B Coalition Relic Control
7 – himanchu – G/W Goyf
8 – MadDwarf – G/W Goyf

For this next Top 8, we see business as usual. One, two, three, four, five little Tarmogoyfs. It seems that the heavyweight clash between Mr T and Big Daddy Korlash has been strictly won by Clubber Lang himself. Of course, I’m have my reservations about calling Tarmogoyf “Mr T,” as his usual path to victory involves taking to the skies via Griffin Guide… and we all know Mr T ain’t getting’ on no plane.

Coming in with a strong fifth-place finish, we have Wheelofconfusion running the ever-popular Mono-Blue (or Blue/Black) Brine Elemental Pickles combo, a.k.a. Kenji Blue. This deck picked up a fair few decent finishes this past week, and has been piloted by a number of MTGO luminaries whose names you may well recognise.

The winning spoils went to one of the disruptive U/G Goyf decks, and this time it managed to hold off the challenge from U/B Teachings and their unfair “kill a guy, gain eighteen life” spells. Good for kogamo! While I like the U/B Teachings deck (and the U/B/R version that placed 6th), smashing face with big men while Delaying key removal is a plan I can happily endorse.

Wait a minute… where the hell are the Poison Sliver decks? Aren’t they supposed to be running wild in the aisles?

TSP Block Constructed 2x IPA QT – #1001828 – 65 players

1 – Min Shin – Mono-Red
2 – Dish – Poison Slivers
3 – gelgep – G/U Tempo Goyf
4 – masanori – G/U Tempo Goyf
5 – _LondoMolari_ – U/W Maelstrom Djinn Blink
6 – Biggest oots – Mono-Blue Pickles (Kenji Blue)
7 – Rei_ – Mono-Blue Pickles (Kenji Blue)
8 – shiven djinn – Mono-Blue Pickles (Kenji Blue)

Ah, there’s the Poison Sliver deck! Right up there in second place.

Surprisingly, the Mono-Red deck of Min Shin took top honors here. As we know from Craig “the Professor” Jones’s article from yesterday, it seems that positioning yourself with Mono-Red may be quite the value if you expect the room to be slithering with Slivers. Besting Dish in the final seems rather inevitable.

Looking deeper into this Top 8, we can see that the natural enemy of Mono-Red — G/W Goyf — is absent. Instead there’s the slightly more tricksy G/U Tempo Goyf decks, which aren’t quite as crushing as their Selesnyan equivalents. And there’s also a lack of the natural prey for Slivers: U/B Teachings. So maybe it’s not so surprising to see these guys at the top of the dung-heap…

In the bottom half of the eight, we have three Kenji Blue players, including possibly the Biggest Oots I’ve ever seen. And rounding out, we’ve a more fringe strategy in U/W Blink, incorporating Maelstrom Djinn. While this deck obviously placed well here, I can’t see this being more than a Tier 2 player at best.

TSP Block Constructed 2x IPA QT – #1001829 – 102 players – Split Final

1 – _operator_ – G/W Goyf
2 – Hadzis_cz – U/B/w Teachings
3 – lukis – U/B Pickles (or Kenji Blue)
4 – RogierMaaten – Mono-Blue Pickles (Kenji Blue)
5 – Dau_Phu – Mono-Green Aggro
6 – ForeX – U/W Tempo
7 – Kengur – U/B Teachings
8 – Scott_Poganski – G/W Goyf

Moving swiftly on, this next Top 8 goes back to business as usual. Green/White Goyf is King Ralph, while U/B/w Teachings is Queen Latifah. A pair of Kenji Blue players represent the Two Princes in positions three and four, and the remaining four players come in as Count Duckula, Baron Samedi, the Thin White Duke, and… erm… Abraham Lincoln.

The two decks of note here are ForeX with U/W Tempo, which I again believe to be a fringe strategy at best, and Dan_Phu with a nice little Mono-Green Aggro deck that harnesses the synergy of Primal Forcemage and Groundbreaker. It also runs Might of Old Krosa, which I believe to be an underrated pump spell. Whether the deck has the consistency and power to trouble the major players on a regular basis remains to be seen… but making a 9/3 hates trampler on turn 4 seems good times.

TSP Block Constructed 2x IPA QT – #1001829 – 92 players

1 – C R I S I S – U/B Teachings
2 – CvK – Mono-Blue Pickles (Kenji Blue)
3 – AProsak – R/U/B Gargadon Bridge Reanimator (?!)
4 – Pickareta – U/B Teachings
5 – Bajka – U/G/w Tempo Goyf
6 – Dao_Phu – Mono-Green Aggro
7 – MeMeAndMe – U/B/R Control
8 – piso – Mono-Red

This final event finished literally minutes ago (at the time of writing), and it threw up one deck in particular that caused a cheeky raised eyebrow. But I’ll get to that in my own sweet mystical time.

This Top 8 continues the decline of the Goyf decks in popularity and/or success. The first tournament showcased had seven decks that packed the Little Lhurgoyf That Could, the second had five, the third and fourth mustered two, and the final event managed a measly one! Are the Goyf decks on the decline, or are people simply tiring of the beatdown?

Two U/B Teachings decks placed well here, and there was a third U/B/x Control deck placing well. The Top 8 saw the eventual winner casting Damnations and Tendrils hand over fist. Mono-Red had another day in the sun, albeit on the shadier side of the street, and there was another strong performance from the Kenji Blue deck. Mono-Green Aggro posted another fine performance, which leaves one final deck:

R/U/B Gargadon Bridge Reanimator.


AProsak (yes, that AProsak) threw this deck at all comers and managed an exciting third-place finish. The deck looks mucho fun to play, so go check it out if you’re looking for something a little different.


Well, ladies and gents, we’re reached the part of the show we like to call “Misguided Analysis.” In this segment, I’ll attempt to look back on the tournaments we’ve seen today and make some broad and frankly ill-conceived generalizations concerning the current state of the metagame. So buckle up, polish your fox, comb your eyes, and prepare for the Brass Hand of Terrance Stamp!

Poison Slivers is sh**
Yeah, I went there.

Let’s face it, one Top 8 appearance, in a tournament in which it seems the stars aligned perfectly, does not an Affinity deck make. With some judicious removal, and canny play, this deck becomes just another Bad Aggro Build. I don’t care if you are going one-drop two-drop one-drop one-drop, you’re monsters are anaemic and you’re a disgrace to the game.

You just watch. We’ll have the Sliver equivalent of Ben Goodman or CromulantKeith bleating away in the forums in no time.

Tarmogoyf — don’t leave home without him
As I mentioned above, it seems Korlash has lost out in the Battle of the Future Sight Big Guns. Shame, really… I love that four-mana madman! Goyf decks are all over the place, in many different flavors and colors. While the current fashion pairs the Goyf with the Blue spells, I wouldn’t be surprised to see GargaGoyf or KorlashGoyf decks springing up to kick our asses. For now, however, it seems that Delay and Cloudskate play well with this block’s Wild Mongrel.

If you’re a Big Cheese, try Kenji Blue
This deck is rapidly growing in popularity. Just take a look at some of the names playing the deck to high finishes… names such as Biggest oots (Rasmus Sibast), RogierMaaten (Rogier Maaten), and CvK (erm… Abraham Lincoln) all endorse this service and/or product. And it made a Top 8 of a Grand Prix when piloted by Kenji Freaking Tsumura. Yeah, the deck has pedigree.

That’s it from me this week. I should be back on track by Monday, when I hope to bring you my UK Nationals and M-Fest report. I made my deck choice, bar the usual last-minute tweaks, and I’m looking to repeat my triumph of last year and come home (to wherever I may live) as UK National Champion.

It’s gotta be better than letting a dirty Scotsman win, amirite?

Until next week, remember… you can’t stop the signal.

Craig Stevenson
Scouseboy on MTGO
Mail us at https://sales.starcitygames.com/contactus/contactform.php?emailid=2

If you’re not at U/S Nationals this year, and you’re in England (or Europe… or hell, anywhere in the world), you could do worse than attend the exciting M-Fest, a four-day festival of Magic running from the 226th to the 29th July. Ideally located for both national and international travel, it’s running a stupendous amount of tournaments, including UK Nationals, Grand Prix Trials, and three — count ’em, three – Pro Tour: Valencia Qualifiers.

The link is above. If you’re going, I’ll see you there!

Ungrateful Dead
Today’s instalment of the Ghostly Musician webcomic sees Tim Tyler, goaded by the Ghost of Freddie Mercury, put himself through a vigorous (and rather graphic) vocal audition.

Luckily, Freddie is in a particularly accommodating mood…

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