Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #156: Wisconsin States Metagame Breakdown

Peter brings us the complete rundown of the top decks appearing at the Wisconsin Champs Tournament 2006. There’s the Top 8 decks, of course… that’s a given. Beyond that, however, there’s plenty of innovation to be found. Green/Black beats, Locket of Yesterdays, and infinite turns in Standard? All are represented by decklists here!

The skinny on the Wisconsin State Champs: the breakdown of all 226 decks, the interesting stuff, and some reactions. Plus lots of decklists!

First, my “story of the tournament.” I was going to play if the turnout was sparse, and judge if needed. I pretty much expected to judge, since it was Ingrid (L3), Jason and me (L2s), plus a couple trainee judgelings. In the end, we got Jordan to judge — but we also had 226 players.

After eight rounds and Top 8, the results were:

Levi Stenz — Fader

Second Place
Pat Fehling – Angels Hangin’ w/ Niv-Mizzet (not his name for the deck)

3rd – 4th
Tim Laubach — BWR Firemane Control
Stephen Neal — Dragonstorm

4th – 8th
Mike Hron — Squeebind Redux
Milton Deer — Fader
Christopher Holdren – Solar Flare
Kevin Guilbault — Black Rack

Complete decklists follow, but first, let’s look at everything that was played. The metagame was pretty diverse. It looks really healthy.

Metagame Breakdown

Combo Decks
Dragonstorm: 12
Locket of Yesterdays: 7
Mono-White Martyr of Sands: 4
TurboLand Redux: 1
Niv-Mizzet w/ Ocular Halo: 2
Enduring Renewal: 1

Control Decks
Solar Flare: 3
Solar Pox: 8
Fader: 4
Firemane Control: 7
U/W Control: 7
U/W/g Control w/ SSS: 3
R/U/G Control: 4
U/R Control: 4
Magnivore / Wildfire: 2
U/R/g Simic Sky Swallower: 2
U/G Simic Sky Swallower Control: 2
Beach House (G/B/W) variants: 5
Beach House splashing for Firemane Angel: 1
U/W Martyr of Sands: 2

Aggro-Control Decks
Angels.dec (Lightning Angel, Akroma, Serra Avenger, etc.): 3
G/W Glare: 11
U/G Aggro: 11
B/G Aggro Control: 4
R/G LD: 7
Mono Black Rack: 10
B/W Shrieking Grotesque Rack : 6
R/B Rack: 1

Aggro Decks
G/W Aggro: 6
R/G Aggro: 11
Zoo: 8
Boros: 12
Boros w/ Lightning Angel: 1
Bad Moon: 4
U/B Aggro: 2
R/W Firemane Aggro: 2
U/W Aggro fliers: 5
Mono Green: 2
Orzhov / Teysa: 3
B/W/R Aggro: 2

The Kitchen Sink:
Thallids w/ Doubling Season: 3
Everything I Own.dec : lots
Mill / Scepter / Glimpse: 3
Battle of Wits: 1
Rakdos, Slivers, Zombies, Tamanoa, Hunted Horror, etc.: 1 each etc.

Other Interesting Decks

According to rumors on this website, Brian Kowal gave Mike Flores a decklist, and Mike went on to win New York States with a deck called “This Girl.” Brian Kowal is from Madison, and he played a version of that deck here in Wisconsin, as did Ben Dempsey. Brian finished 71st. Ben finished 18th.

Adrian Sullivan had — as always — a radically new archetype. Adrian was playing a Locket of Yesterdays control deck. Adrian always has some interesting twists. Sometimes his decks are amazing, and win it all (e.g. Annex / Wildfire.)Sometimes not. This time he was in contention until his round 7 loss to Pat Fehling, and he lost again in round 8. He finished 30th.

Another player who was in contention until the last couple of rounds was Paul Pankonin. I deck-checked him round 2, and again round 4. Luck of the draw — the table numbers were chosen randomly. Paul’s deck was built around Nether Traitor, and it just beat down.

Mono-White Martyr was one of the more amusing decks I built and played online — and one of the few I had enough cards to play “competitively.” I clearly have a soft spot in my head for playing in my heart for the deck, so I was amused to see the following variant, which couples Martyr of Sands and Zur’s Weirding. I’ll have to try this sometime, although I think the manabase could be improved and I’m ambivalent about the Chronosavants. I believe the player dropped early — I didn’t find him in the final standings.

Jim Hustad is a Five-Color god. He has been the Five-Color World Champion a couple of times, usually via Time Walk abuse – to the point that we banned Time Walk in Five-Color mainly because of him. In Standard, he again created a deck that can take infinite turns. Unfortunately, he was often reduced to taking all the extra turns at the end of match — and drawing by going to time too often does not get you into the Top 8.

Interesting Plays

During the Swiss rounds, we judges usually only watch the ends of matches — those going to time. I watched a couple of Firemane Control mirror matches. When both players have life totals of 50+, plenty of mana and Sacred Mesas in play, they are usually headed towards a draw. I did see one end, however, when one player cast Compulsive Research and two Careful Considerations, all targeting the opponent, to exactly mill him out on extra turn number 3.

The most exciting ending, however, had to be Adrian Sullivan verses Pat Fehling. It was the second to last round, at the win-and-draw-in-point, in game three as time expired. Pat was at seventeen, Adrian at nine. Adrian was playing Locket, Pat Angels & Niv-Mizzet. On turn 1 of extra turns, Pat baited some counters from Adrian’s hand and said go. Adrian ripped Akroma, and Pat Remanded it. Adrian had Rewind, so Pat Remanded his Remand, let that resolve, then cast the returned Remand at Akroma. Adrian recast Akroma, beat for six and passed. Pat dropped Niv-Mizzet, and it stuck, but had nothing but land in hand. Adrian beat, and passed. Pat drew for the turn — land, but a Niv-Mizzet ping dropped Adrian to eight. Pat tapped Niv-Mizzet to draw a card — and ripped Compulsive Research. He cast it (knocking Adrian to 4 life) and drew:

Land …


Careful Consideration!

For the win, thanks to Niv-Mizzet!

The crowd liked that one.

I watched a couple of Dragonstorm players get their storm count up with mana spells and Sleight of Hands, then cast Dragonstorm. The opponent let the triggers resolve, then cast Shadow of Doubt. Some of the Dragonstorm players — the ones that did not make Top 8 — slumped in their seats. The one that made Top 8 faced the same situation, and countered the Shadow of Doubt with Spell Snare.

I also watched Fader, with Peace of Mind, destroy Mike Hron’s Stormbind deck in the quarterfinals. Peace of Mind is such a beating. I have always though the card was okay — but watching it destroy aggro decks all day has really increased my respect for it.

Judge Calls

Deck Reviews
I, and the two trainees, with later help from Jordan, did decklist reviews round 1. It wasn’t too bad. Only two people played Kamigawa block cards — and one other played a single Seal of Cleansing. One player had a 74-card deck and four-card sideboard. The only problem was getting through all 226 decklists before round 1 ended. One of the trainees was primarily a Vintage player, and didn’t know what cards were — and were not — legal, so he had lots of questions. That, and we all had to fight the constant urge to share the amusing decklists. (Example: a R/B “aggro” decklist with two Avatars of Discord and — a singleton Warp World?)

Timeshifted Players
We had a couple of players who still didn’t know about the Stack, or the rest of post-Sixth Edition rules. Sixth was a long time ago, but we still get a few every big event.

I also had one player ask “If I block a Grizzly Bear with two Llanowar Elves, only one can die — right? That is, unless the Grizzly Bear had trample?” Which is yet another example of why you don’t ask your friends to explain the rules.

Any late round deck check always involves worn sleeves. These sleeves, however, were far worse than average. I told Jordan, a fellow judge, that it looked like Marked Major (a game loss level offense) to me. Jordan declined to comment, saying that the player in question was his roommate. It turns out that Jordan had also loaned his roommate the deck — and the sleeves. Jordan should know better. (After talking to the player, I gave a Marked Minor caution, and not because of Jordan. I didn’t find out whose sleeve they were until much later.)

Legendary Mountains
I had a couple of players ask about the interaction of Blood Moon and Flagstones of Trokair. Blood Moon changes the lands to Mountains and removes the “fetch a plains” ability, but does not remove the Legendary supertype. In other words, play two and they just die. Despite the questions, however, I never saw a Blood Moon in play all day.

Having a Great Time
We got to DQ a little kid. And make him cry. The kid was cheating, no question, but I still felt like I was kicking a puppy.


Despite what you may have read beforehand, U/G was a less than dominant. Not only did U/G decks not beat everything, U/G wasn’t really beating much of anything around here. It had a great matchup against Every Good Card I Own.dec, but otherwise it finished, generally, in the lower end of the competitive range. So did the Battle of Wits deck.

The Rack, on the other hand, may be for real. Several Rack decks hovered around tables 5-10 all day, and one made Top 8.

Skred did not really define the metagame. Or, if it did, it did so very early in playtesting. I didn’t see one cast all day. Aren’t pundits great?

Speaking of metagame predictions, here’s a good one: “between LD and counters, the day of seven and eight mana spells is over.” That statement is just totally wrong — seven of the Top 8 decks were casting big spells.

(Yeah, that last statement was mine.)

In closing, I, and some other writers, have ranted a bit recently about how bad Green is, and how broken the other colors are. Green is definitely in trouble now. Green is the creature color, and the most commonly played spell in the Top 8 is Wrath of God. That’s not a combo. However, it’s not Blue that’s defining the metagame — it’s probably White.

At least, that’s the view from Wisconsin.


pete {dot} jahn {at} Verizon {dot} com