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Top Decks of 2008, part 1

December 26, 2008

Before I start with the topic, I hope everyone has had a good Christmas. I certainly have and I’m now looking forward for new years next weekend.

2008 has been a good year overall for magic if you ask me. Yeah, sure, there were only 3 Pro Tours this year, there was a major cut back for the folks on the gravy train and the people over in the US were almost robbed of States. But on the bright side, both Lorwyn and Shadowmoor block were very well designed and the Pro Tours we had proved to be very… refreshing and exciting. Now I will do a quick showcase of some of the top decks of 2008 in classic Teddy Cardgame style:

Previous Level Blue by Mateusz Kopec. Grand Prix Vienna, 16. Mar 2008

3 Vedalken Shackles
1 Tormod’s Crypt
3 Spell Snare
3 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Rude Awakening
3 Force Spike
2 Engineered Explosives
4 Cryptic Command
4 Counterspell
3 Counterbalance
4 Ancestral Vision
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Watery Grave
2 Tolaria West
1 Steam Vents
7 Snow-Covered Island
4 Polluted Delta
1 Miren, the Moaning Well
4 Flooded Strand
2 Breeding Pool
1 Academy Ruins

Sideboard:

2 Ancient Grudge
2 Extirpate
4 Leyline of the Void
1 Sower of Temptation
3 Stifle
3 Threads of Disloyalty

The year started of with a Extended season. The last major event with Extended before the Extended winter season was Pro Tour Valencia (2007) which kind of set the stage of the season. Remi Fortier won in Valencia with a deck very similar to the one above, and the archetype proved to one of the strongest through out the season. Even thou’ the blue deck took many different shapes during the season (Next Level Blue, Previous Level Blue etc.), the thing that tied them all together was the combo of Counterbalance and Sensei’s Divining Top, a combo so strong (and mostly degenerating) that Sensei’s Divining Top would receive the banhammer to next season.

Dredge by Tomoharu Saitou. Grand Prix Vienna, 16. Mar 2008

3 Dread Return
2 Darkblast
4 Careful Study
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Bridge from Below
4 Breakthrough
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Putrid Imp
4 Narcomoeba
3 Ichorid
1 Golgari Thug
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
1 Flame-Kin Zealot
1 Cephalid Sage
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
4 Watery Grave
3 Polluted Delta
1 Island
3 Flooded Strand
4 Cephalid Coliseum
2 Tolarian Winds

Sideboard:

1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
1 Cabal Therapy
4 Chain of Vapor
1 Darkblast
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Pithing Needle

In the middle of this years Extended season, the Innovator Patrick Chapin said something that’s now a know famous quote; “In this format, you either play a deck with Sensei’s Divining Top or Bridge from Below”. In retrospect, you can’t deny that he had a good point. Dredge was the big boogieman coming into Valencia, but everybody has learned the lesson from Canali’s Columbus in 2005 and came with the necessary hate for the deck. Even if the deck failed to make a big splash in the Pro Tour, many scalps were taken by Dredge in the Extended season in 2008. The deck abuses the broken dredge mechanic to load your graveyard with goodies, and then flashbacks Dread Return for a Flame-Kin Zealot for the kill. Dredge was probably the strongest deck of the winter season in a vacuum, with averaging kills on turn 2/3. However the deck was very fragile to different kind of graveyard housers (like Leyline of the Void), which kept the deck in check during the winter.

Quick n’ Toast by Guillaume Wafo-Tapa. Pro Tour Hollywood, 24. May 2008

2 Slaughter Pact
3 Makeshift Mannequin
4 Cryptic Command
4 Careful Consideration
4 Wall of Roots
1 Oona, Queen of the Fae
4 Mulldrifter
4 Kitchen Finks
3 Cloudthresher
4 Yavimaya Coast
4 Vivid Grove
4 Vivid Creek
2 Sunken Ruins
1 Grove of the Burnwillows
2 Fungal Reaches
4 Rune Snag
3 Firespout
4 Reflecting Pool
2 Mystic Gate
1 Dreadship Reef

Sideboard:

1 Cloudthresher
1 Detritivore
3 Mind Shatter
1 Murderous Redcap
2 Primal Command
1 Shriekmaw
3 Teferi’s Moat
3 Wispmare

One of the most innovative design of the year was the 5cc control deck that Manuel Bucher (along with the Ruels and Wafo-Tapa) came up with for the Pro Tour. The deck is a pretty straight forward control deck, except for the fact in runs all the 5 colors of Magic! Thanks to the re-print of Reflecting Pool, Manuel Bucher showed of how greedy you can be with your mana thanks to combo of vivid lands and Reflecting Pool. Even thou’ the deck didn’t manage to take a place in the top8 in Hollywood, the concept of the deck would live on and thrive throughout the rest of the year.

Faeries by Paulo Vitor Damo de Rosa. Pro Tour Hollywood, 24. May 2008

2 Faerie Conclave
4 Island
4 Mutavault
2 Pendelhaven
3 River of Tears
4 Secluded Glen
2 Sunken Ruins
4 Underground River
4 Mistbind Clique
4 Scion of Oona
4 Spellstutter Sprite
3 Vendilion Clique
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Bitterblossom
4 Cryptic Command
4 Rune Snag
4 Terror

Sideboard:

3 Bottle Gnomes
3 Damnation
2 Murderous Redcap
3 Razormane Masticore
4 Thoughtseize

The big deck coming into the Pro Tour was Faeries. Ever since the Morningtide release, Faeries have more or less ruled Standard. Thanks to Bitterblossom, a never ending stream of 1/1 Faerie tokens comes out without you having to do a nickel. This allowed the Faerie players to play a aggro-controlish game so strong that many players considered the deck was unbeatable for a while. While that was not the case, Faeries is a very strong deck and the results of the past year proves this. The block version of the deck was probably the strongest deck in the format and the new generation of the Standard version was good enough to allow Anti Malin win Worlds with it. And with 2009 looming, it is very possible that we will have another year of Faerie dominance.

To be continued…

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