The pre-release is still fresh on your mind, but the spoilers are finally complete. One hundred and sixty-five new cards are guaranteed to rearrange the puzzle pieces of the Standard environment. How much it’s going to change remains to be seen, but it’s time to start putting it all together.
A deck that I’ve enjoyed playing lately is MWC. While the build I took to a fourteenth place finish at Regionals was not standard by any means, it was competitive. I hope that it can remain so with the advent of the new set, so I’m taking a look at what, if anything, the deck gains from Fifth Dawn.
The pre-Fifth Dawn metagame was cornered by a trio of Ravager Affinity, Goblin Bidding, and Tooth and Nail (honorable mention to LD Beasts, but I’m not considering it for the purposes of this article). Those three decks aren’t going anywhere until the next rotation, but will undoubtedly evolve with the new environment. While other writers will be focusing on updated versions of these decks later in the week, I’m going to take a look at what MWC gains from the new set and deliver a modified build of the deck that’s hopefully ready to compete in the new environment.
I’ll start with the most standard build I can find in the StarCityGames.com database of Regionals top 8 decks. If you want to read about the tweaked version I took to Regionals, you can do so here. This version was taken to a first place finish by Tony Gregg at Washington DC Regional Champs:
The general idea is to use your ten board sweepers to maintain control of the table and use Damping Matrix, Pulse of the Fields, and Renewed Faith to stay alive. Ramp up your mana through Eternal Dragon recursion, Simulacrums, and the smorgasbord of land contained in your maindeck until you can do something really nasty with Mindslaver or Decree of Justice. It’s rather straightforward, as far as control decks go; kill everything that moves until you can smash a lot of face.
Here are the cards that I see as possible inclusions, or why a card that looks good should not be placed in your build.
Beacon of Immortality
Anything that reads”Double target player’s life total” should be worth a shot, right? The problem with the White Beacon is that there is already a strictly better card included maindeck – Pulse of the Fields. The arguments for Pulse are numerous: it’s much cheaper, once you get it, you can continue to use it rather than shuffling it away, when you shuffle in the Beacon you might draw it when it’s useless and you desperately need that Wrath. The environment is very fast right now, meaning you will generally gain more life off a Pulse than a Beacon, and wasting a turn tapping out to gain ten life at the most isn’t appealing.
Circle of Protection: Artifacts
The Affinity matchup often comes down to one thing: whether you can cast Akroma’s Vengeance before they can kill you. COP: Artifacts can help you do just that. MWC has oodles of mana and this enchantment will put it to good use.
This card is a powerful card, and I can’t decide whether it will make it into the deck. Once again, it comes down to a card that already has a spot. Wing Shards is cheaper by one mana, but it doesn’t kill Goblin Sharpshooter. Wing Shards is also important in the Tooth and Nail matchup, to stop Darksteel Colossuses from smashing your brain in.
This card seems made for MWC. This card is very aggressively costed for its effect – not only does it stop most of your opponent’s creatures from attacking, but it provides a nice 1/5 body to stop whatever they’re shoving at you. The drawback of only having one attacking critter yourself is not much of a drawback, considering the low threat count in the deck; furthermore, the creatures that you use to bash skull are of the 4/5 and 5/5 flying variety. Bear in mind, though, that he can’t stop Gobbos from comboing out with Sharpshooter, and ditto for Arcbound Ravager / Disciple of the Vault tricks.
Staff of Domination
This is another card that is on the fence. It’s costly, but effective; it can tap their biggest critter, gain life if you don’t have anything else to do, untap your Angels and Dragons, and draw cards. That’s good right? The huge amounts of mana that MWC accelerates into makes this card one to experiment with.
This guy is a beast. He is a great way to clear an opponent’s board, and once you get Dragon recursion going you can always discard a land. With ten board sweepers already maindecked, he may not be necessary, but keep an eye on this guy.
Bringer of the White Dawn
Can you say recurring Mindslavers? If you have a ‘Slaver in the yard and this guy hits the table, he better deal with it or kill you that turn because otherwise you’ll be playing by yourself for the rest of the game. This two-card combo represents a hard-lock that is impossible to break, and the nine mana cost is no problem in a deck with twenty-six mana sources, many of which produce more than one mana.
So, now the conclusion… Is MWC still playable or not? The answer is, of course it’s playable. It will take time to find the correct tech to solve the new problems it will face, but anything with ten board sweepers is going to stick around for a while. Considering the new card pool, here is a preliminary decklist for MWC.
This build takes advantage of Silent Arbiter to stall the board until you can start smashing face with Dragons. I also found spots for a full compliment of Mindslavers; this is, in my opinion, one of the top three cards in Standard right now, especially in a metagame defined by the three decks listed above. Mindslaver can single-handedly wreck any of these three and gives you more of an”I win!” factor. I think it’s possible that infinite Mindslavers may turn out to be a more sexy option, and that people will want to run more Bringers instead of the Arbiters, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one. I really wanted to put in two Staff of Domination, but they are awful in concert with Damping Matrix, and I felt it was the more important card.
Well folks, here is where I wrap it up. Thanks for sticking with me through this brief examination of new Standard, and I hope I’ve provided something for both experienced MWC players and people that just started to play it. One last thing before I go – consider this your bonus section. Here is the 5-color land that should have been in this set:
Mox Mine – Land
When Mox Mine comes into play, put 5 counters on it.
Tap, Remove a counter from Mox Mine: add one mana of any color to your mana pool. You may use this ability only once each turn and once for each color or mana. When there are no counters on Mox Mine, bury it.
Only the Dwarves know the secret of the Moxen; they dig and they dig, but they bury the truth.
John Matthew Upton
I like back, feed me!
Jmumoo AT yahoo DOT com