Having returned to the ranks of Magic players, Mike Mason is rediscovering
the game through the eyes of a newcomer. A long-time Featured Writer known
for delving into the philosophy behind Magic, he shares his experiences both
in and out of the game.
This week, your Premium writers will be commenting on the upcoming Pro Tour event, with analyses of what decks to see, how the format will shape up, and updated revisions of existing powerhouses. We kick off with Mike Mason’s excellent run-down of the both the existing and approaching metagame. All the current contenders examined, with forthright commentary on strengths, weaknesses, and card choices.
So far, we’ve taken a look at Bloodthirst and Replicate, two of the three mechanics introduced with the latest expansion, Guildpact. The last mechanic, Haunt, is the one that many analysts can’t quite seem to figure out yet. We should have known Orzhov wouldn’t make it easy on us – after all, they’re the ones in charge, not us, and if they wanted us to be able to easily figure out their secrets, they’d tell us.
Last article, I examined one of the three Guildpact mechanics: Bloodthirst. While I thought it was an inventive mechanic, I didn’t feel it lived up to its potential. The second mechanic I want to examine is my favorite from Guildpact: Replicate.
The post-Christmas lull has lifted, and it’s time to start building decks again. In the first of a three-part series, Mike examines the most violent of the Guildpact mechanics: Bloodthirst. With card evaluation, decklists, and more, this series promises to be a valuable tool in the evolving metagame.
When I left off two articles ago, I had thrown together an Extended deck predicated on disruption. Despite the fact it had little or no testing, I wanted to create a starting point. Sure enough, it was – but it’s far from an end point. Today I’ll take what we started with, test it, tweak it, and see if we can end up with something good and quite rogue.
My efforts to break Thoughtpicker Witch have failed utterly. So instead of unveiling my uber Thoughtpicker Witch deck, therefore, I am revealing the process of failure. Remember, everything is a learning process — and sometimes, you can learn more about the format from the way a deck doesn’t succeed. And sometimes, you might pick up one heck of an idea for Extended along the way.
Back when I was a regular on the tournament scene, you’d see people show up with decks like that one that they peeled off a Pro Tour deck listing, and yet didn’t put in the requisite test drives. Believe it or not, no deck really drives itself, no matter how good the engine is. It may seem like it, but it just can’t, and people who say it does are really underestimating player ability as a deciding factor in deck creation and performance.
Battle of Wits? No, seriously. Battle of Wits? The other day, I was perusing magic-league.com, and I saw a Battle of Wits deck. I remarked to myself, “Hmm, looks like someone messed up and put the deck in Standard by accident. Ah, well.” I chuckled amusedly and didn’t give it a second thought. Imagine my quirked eyebrow and short bark of laughter, therefore, upon seeing that it had done so well at Minnesota Champs.
Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the Metagame Clock. Anyone? Bueller? The Metagame Clock is what’ll help me get a grip on things. Maybe it’ll help you as well, as some last-minute reading that puts things in perspective.
“What the hell is that?” You’d be surprised how often those five words have scrolled across my mental marquee in the last few weeks. As a rough estimate, I’d say four thousand. That’s slightly less than the amount of years it feels like I’ve been in the land of the Magic dead.