While I am 12,500 feet above a gorgeous California landscape I notice a couple things about myself:
1) I do not have wings
2) I do not have protection from White (ex. sunburn)
3) I might have haste
It’s either haste or I am falling way too fast towards the ground. Thankfully someone was fortunate enough to bring a parachute and give me some time to
think about the little things…like Stormbreath Dragon! I realized that I had left my dragon friend on the sideline for way too long and with the Season
Three Invitational in New Jersey coming up at the end of the month; it might be time to sleeve up my winged savior again.
Luckily enough for us dragon lovers out there, the time seems very ripe for a return of the winged menace. U/W Control and G/W Aggro are on the rise as
seen with multiple copies of each in the Top 8 of the Open Series in Syracuse, and Pro Tour Magic 2015 showed us a copy of both a G/W Aggro and Brave Naya
alongside another copy of U/W Control. All of this clearly lights up the runway for a dragon-only approach:
- 4 Scavenging Ooze
- 2 Ghor-Clan Rampager
- 4 Elvish Mystic
- 4 Polukranos, World Eater
- 4 Sylvan Caryatid
- 4 Stormbreath Dragon
- 3 Courser of Kruphix
This is the best place to start if you are feeling like smashing through some U/W decks. This feels like Born of the Gods Standard where the Dragon only
had to fear Celestial Flare. I highly advise against anyone changing cards in a deck like this before getting in a large volume of games. The balance of
threats and answers will vary based on a proposed metagame so making changes before understanding where cards are effective is a great way to end up dazed
and confused (well maybe no Dazes, but trust me about the confused part). Nothing closes out games quicker than Elvish Mystic and Stormbreath Dragon except
Billy and Jimmy cracking some heads together in a Power Corp base.
If you are wanting to keep your options open against the more aggressive red decks while staying well ahead of the Pack Rat decks, give your dragons a side
- 4 Frostburn Weird
- 4 Burning-Tree Emissary
- 4 Boros Reckoner
- 2 Purphoros, God of the Forge
- 4 Stormbreath Dragon
- 4 Fanatic of Mogis
- 4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
- 1 Soul of Shandalar
To me, this list gives you the explosive draws that Stormbreath Dragon thrives on. With the ability for you to play free spells with Burning-Tree Emissary
into Nykthos, the deck can just outrun most Pack Rat strategies. This strategy also gives you the ability to keep up with the rising popularity of Rabble
Red. Boros Reckoner and Burning-Tree Emissary let you clog up the ground until you can overload a Mizzium Mortars to close out the game. The sideboard is a
list of the usual suspects along with some harnesses in case your opponents decide to bring their own winged friends.
I’m considering Stain the Mind as a means of dealing with Supreme Verdict decks. Unfortunately, with Planar Cleansing becoming more popular, the ability to
cut off a sweeper might no longer be good enough for a sideboard slot.
While I could spend all day talking about the direction of the Dragon, I still have the issue of Legacy to solve. I like the format, I like the decks
available–I just don’t like having to pick one of them. I will probably lean back towards a BUG Delver list such as the one piloted by teammate Noah
Sadly, this deck is what I know the most about when it comes to Legacy. Why is it sad? Because I’m still lost most of the time while shuffling up the
complex interactions presented by this format. I really enjoy having to play every turn with a mind towards the next, but I just seem to lose focus when it
comes down to technical sequences. I wish I could say enough hours jamming the format will fix the issues I’m having, but I think I also need a huge shift
in mentality towards Legacy as a whole. I want to start slowing down my approach to games and slow myself in my actions. I think in something as complex as
Legacy, a simple deep breath and double-check would produce pretty good results in improving my decisions in the difficult parts of matches.
This will be new ground for me in regards to Magic. I have been fortunate enough to have a streak of good finishes without having to take too deep of a
look at the way I’m literally playing my cards. I’m probably way off in assuming a change in how fast I’m playing will provide me an instant benefit. I do
think slowing down my play will allow me to reassess any old habits and try to weed out the bad ones. The real question is should I stick with BUG Delver
due to comfort factor? Or will attempting this change while also sleeving up something like Sneak and Show provide better results? I would love to hear
everyone’s thoughts on re-learning old habits because at this point, any information is welcome.
These next few weeks are pretty exciting for me with testing picking up for the Season Three Invitational. While many people seem to keep expressing
dislike for Standard, I’m excited to get another chance to attack what I see as gaps in the format. I’m still searching for the best deck to attack both
Pack Rat and Sphinx’s Revelation. I completely understand it probably doesn’t exist in a perfect sense. Instead I’m hoping to find the list that will keep
me relevant against both while still staying flexible enough to handle to wide variety of aggro decks showing up in this format.
While all of this testing is going to require me to focus over the next couple weeks, I’m going to also work on having fun with the process. For those not
already in the know, testing is actually the best part of Magic. This is the time where you are playing simply to find that difficult situation and solve
Added Bonus: You get to do this with your best friends.
So basically testing is not only seeing how far you can push yourself mentally but also how well you can approach complex situations as a group. If you’re
still trying to tackle this game all alone, take this small bit of advice:
Find some people from your local game store and start to tackle the issues together. Reach out to friends on Facebook and find ways to share information.
All of these small things add up to the fantastic and frustrating process we refer to as testing. If you’re not having at least a little fun during your
testing troubles, take a deep breath and smile.
I promise you the struggle is real, the work is worth it, and the payoff is oh so sweet.