James is a resident of Bath, UK and a self-confessed Magic addict. In his spare time he builds and plays rogue decks, reads books and comics, and designs and builds websites. He's attended the UK Nationals since 1998.
Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of running one of the first English Nationals Qualifiers in the country. The turnout was lower than expected, so only forty-nine players sat down in round one, giving the lucky top six players a chance to go to the English this year. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit I have to share with you from this qualifier is that not a single Ravager deck qualified in Bath. It was hated right out of the game.
I missed the boat with this build, I really did. Lumengrid Warden? Lumengrid Sentinel? What was I playing at? I figured that the 1/3 guys would slow my opponent down a little to enable me to get to the late game, where my Mirror Golem, Vorrac and Grab the Reins would rule supreme! So how in the world did I make the Top 8?
I put a lot of effort into testing for Champs this year and chose to play B/W Control. I found it capable of dealing with Goblins and random creature decks, and still able to compete against control decks. So why did things go horribly wrong, and what’s the real problem with B/W Control that I didn’t consider?
In order to keep the abusive”Chrome Mox, Scepter, imprint Boomerang” lock in the deck, we’re going to have to play Blue. I’m fairly sure that Blue won’t be good enough on it’s own as it has no mass removal, and can’t really deal with threats apart from bouncing them. Given the spells we can use, I’m going to outline three decks: U/W, U/R, and U/B. We’ll test each build against Goblins and Mono Black Control to see whether each can handle aggro and control….
The problem with using Proteus Staff in U/W is that I’ve taken a standard, nothing-special U/W Control deck and bolted the Proteus Staff onto it to get a creature. U/W Control doesn’t traditionally worry about putting creatures into play until it’s in control anyway, and so the Staff is really just wasted slots. Even so, there’s something special about being able to stack your deck, so I’m going to test the interaction between the Staff and another new Mirrodin card: Goblin Charbelcher.
Last week, Jim showed you his gauntlet for Standard, which he’s using to prepare for Champs. This week, he updates you on how his gauntlet has altered in the course of playtesting… And brings in a new deck to test against it! How will Mono Red Land Destruction fare against The Gauntlet?
With only a handful of weeks to go before we all wave goodbye to Wild Mongrel, Deep Analysis, and Mirari’s Wake, and say a very big”Hello” to Skyhunters, Bonesplitters, and Spikeshot Goblins, I’ve started to put a test gauntlet together for Champs. To help out, I’ve put a gauntlet together to test the new Mirrodin-based decks against.
When a card like Savannah Lions – an icon from times past! – is bought back from the wilderness, I always wonder: Is it any good these days? If Mogg Fanatic came back, would we play it (of course – it’s a goblin)? If Serra Angel came back, would we play her? Oh, hang on. She is back… And she doesn’t see much airtime. So is White Weenie any good right now? I took my new White Weenie deck through three iterations, constantly trying to find a way to beat Wake…
As you can see only half of the top eight went 5-0 or better in Standard, something you might expect in a tournament based on two formats. Depressingly for those of us who like to see a little innovation, R/G Beats is by far the most consistent deck, even taking into account the huge number of people who chose to play it. Slide and Wake did very well given the lower, but still high, numbers that started playing them on day one.
Surprisingly only one player managed to win all six rounds with his Standard deck and it was one of the new breed of decks: Zombies.
Jonny Chapman’s OBC Pirates! deck was aimed at beating a very focused metagame. It has aggro elements that MBC and ‘Tog can’t really cope with – and lots of ways to kill or control green creatures, without with U/G has a real problem winning. So what, you ask? Well, have you looked at Standard lately?
Well, Legions is Standard-legal and things are going to change… or are they? Last Saturday, I ran a Legions-legal Standard tournament where the usually-strong Welsh contingent showed, as well as a handful of one-off Pro Tour attendees… So what decks showed up, and what changed?
After a week or two, Chris and I had played pretty much all of the decks and came to the conclusion that there was really only one deck to play. There really were only two decks that had a”just win” opening hand, and only one of them that could put a fight up against all the others.
For those that don’t know, you need an Enchantress or Enchantress’ Presence in play and a couple of one casting-cost Enchantments out along with a Words of Wind. You play an enchantment and trigger the card drawing, then pay one to turn it into a bounce instead of drawing a card. But Deep Dog had a very hard time of losing if they got a Wild Mongrel on the table and a Basking Rootwalla in their hand….
Writing about a tournament where you win or nearly win is easy. Each game is a triumphant record of card choices, each match a tribute to your playing and deck building skill. Writing about a tourney where you come twelfth of sixteen is a hell of a lot more difficult. I’ll give it a go, though, as I know some of you out there want to know how three rounds of Standard, three rounds of Peasant Magic and a knockout 5-Color magic tournament works out.
Each colour has at least five cards that cycle for colorless mana. Pick any four and two of the fifth and you satisfy the eight cards of one colour minimum but don’t need to play any land of that colour. This means you can, effectively, play mono-color decks in 5-color Magic. So why not?