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Square 1 for the Honolulu PTQs: Blood Moon

December 29, 2008

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With 2009 and the oncoming PTQ season looming, it time to start to pay attention to the Extended format.

I’m not going to do a showcase of the top tier decks in the format, since there have already been a lot of articles about that topic. So before you continue to read this post I recommend that you go ahead and read at least one of the following articles:

The last time I worked on Extended was when I and my buddy Mattias playtested for Pro Tour Berlin. From our testing we thought Zoo, Affinity and Storm was the 3 best decks in the format. Mattias choose to play Zoo and I brought Affinity to the table and we buildt our deck more or less to beat those decks. And yeah, we were blown out of the water mostly because we missed the elf deck. Seriously thou’, we kind of knew about the elf deck when we sat on our flight to Berlin, but the versions we saw prior to Berlin were not very good and none of us liked the decks fundamentals so we didn’t bother trying making it better.

However, things has changed since Berlin. The (first) tide of elves has passed and Worlds left Extended as a wide-open format in my mind. There’s Elves, Faeries, All-in Red, Zoo, The Rock, Gifts, Swans, multiple kind of Tron… Heck, even the written-off deck Affinity manage to win the PTQ at Worlds! So how do you choose a deck for the upcoming season? Personally, I think Blood Moon is a very important card in the format. Thanks to the fetchlands and the shocklands, peoples manabases in Extended are getting crazier and crazier. There is a lot of games and matches that comes down to what Blood Moon does. And therefore I ask myself; how does the expected field look from a Blood Moon point of view?

First off, we have the decks that utilizes Blood Moon:

  • Swansbloodmoon_full
  • All-in Red

The decks that Blood Moon is really good against:

  • Zoo
  • Tron
  • Gifts

And finally we have the decks that are somewhere in between:

  • Elves
  • Faeries
  • Rock/Deathcloud
  • Affinity
  • Burn

The first 2 groups are kind of obvious, but the third need a little explanation. Elves is a deck that you might think is invurnable to Blood Moon, but many of the latest versions of Elves contain a lot of nonbasics to be able to support resistance cards such as Thoughtseize, Eathersworn Canonist, Orzhov Pontiff etc. So these days, a early Blood Moon can be really effective against Elves, specially if you have some other card that can dispatch some early elves. So that is also an advice for you elf players out there; make sure that you have enough basic lands!

Further on we have Faeries, which is really hard to judge as we speak. Worlds didn’t show us a definite Faerie deck so the definition “Faeries” is still a very broad archetype description. For example, Blood Moon is pretty good against the the Bitterblossom version, but its not that impressive against Nassif’s Faerie deck and etc. The jury is still out on this archetype so its hard to make a final call here whatever Blood Moon is good or not here. Next we have “ye old” Rock. Blood Moon is pretty good against the Deathcloud versions, BBB is kind of hard to assemble with just basics is a deck that also sports GG but on the other hand the more traditional version the we have seen can operate under a Blood Moon. I don’t think the Rock will be a very popular deck in the PTQ early on. Both Rock decks and Tron tends to pick up speed the longer the season goes (in Extended), because they need the blue decks to feed on.

Next, we have Affinity. Here is Blood Moon very mediocre. Blood Moon doesn’t change the supertypes of lands in play, so Seat of the Synod and co is still artifacts. Yeah sure, you can colorscrew them and you might mise shutting down a Blinkmouth Nexus but I don’t see that being relevant. Or at least not relevant enough to be worth playing moons. And at last we have Burn which Blood Moon doesn’t do a squat. Enough said.

So from our brief analysis I will make the claim that going into the PTQs next year, you either play Blood Moon, play a deck that doesn’t care about Blood Moon or at least you have to be prepared to face Blood Moon with your Zoo deck or whatever your playing. In the early PTQs I expect the most popular decks will be Zoo, Affinity and Elves with Faeries, All-in Red and some stray Rock decks behind the first 3. So if you ask me, one of the decks that I mentioned with Blood Moon seems like a fine deck to play early on. Since both All-in Red and Swans is otherwise decks that I like, I think I have narrowed down my choices to those 2. So expect more talk about Swans and All-in Red in the future.

And oh, don’t get blown out by Blood Moon!

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