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At the Heights of it’s Powers

February 14, 2009

I’m back with a follow up to my last entry last weekend. As promised, I will be doing a deeper SWOT-style analysis of the Windbrisk Heights archetypes. But first I want to make an little add to a thing I said in my last entry. I think I exaggerate my statements on the red decks a bit. They have plenty more game then I give them credit for, but I still think they are poorly positioned in the meta game right now. Goblin Outlander might have something to say in against the white decks, we will see. With that out of my system, lets go on with the analysis.

Strengths (in general for the Heights’ archetype):

For the first time (in magic history really) we have aggressive decks that are built around card advantage. Windbrisk Heights supplies the decks with additional spells at no real cost. And the decks continues on with the card advantage. Spectral Procession is really a incremental three-for-one (working nice with Windbrisk Heights by the way), Bitterblossom spits out a consistent stream of tokens. And it doesn’t end there. Siege-Gang Commander, Cloudgoat Ranger, Ranger of Eos, Reveillark and even Marsh Flitter all represents a incremental card advantage forcing the control opponent trading Wrath of God and what nod 1-for-1. Really taking the fight to their level. And along with these card advantage cards the decks supply either the lightning fast Kithkin base, RW midrange cards or a more controlling approach with a touch of black.

Weaknesses:

By investing in tokens and small creature you will be (since the dawn of Magic) be greatly exposed to sweepers, such as Wrath of God or the new Conflux card, Volcanic Fallout. Even when the decks are built to suppress the effect of sweepers, it can’t be denied that the sweepers does still hurt.

Opportunities:

The Windbrisk Heights decks has plenty of game in the meta game right now. The aggressive nature along with the bits of card advantage here and there made the deck strong of enough to have an edge against the boogie man of the format, Faeries. Further on, compared with your “normal” aggro deck, the decks has plenty of game against control as well. Cards such Spectral Procession, Ranger of Eos, Reveillark etc. makes the deck actually to fight sort of a card advantage battle. The decks has also a very nice matchup against the red decks of the format. The token approach is very strong against cards such as Ashenmoor Gouger and Demigod of Revenge and having access to the pro-red all star Burrenton Forge-Tender is just gravy.

Threats:

I have already addressed the “sweeper” problem, but it can’t be overstated. These deck is and will always have to fight against many kind of sweepers. Further on, there is assembling a lot of protection from white-creatures in the format right now. Stillmoon Cavalier, Voice of All and now also Goblin Outlander all propose serious problem if they gets online early against all of the Heights’ decks (specially Kithkins). They are often very hard to deal with and things can get out of hand pretty quickly. And there is in my opinion another threatening problem right now if you bring a Heights’ deck to a tournament tomorrow. And the problem is other Heights’ decks. From all the playing I have in the decks, the most frustrating deck to play right now is another Heights’ deck. It’s really hard to outplay your opponent in the mirror. And there’s is not no real good sideboard plan either (or yet discovered). So the there is very high risk that you will be just outdrawn in the mirror (or pseudo-mirrors).

Okay, there was the SWOT-analysis for the archetype in general. What is the difference between Boat Brew, BW and Kithkins? Here’s a short summary:

Kithkin:

+ The fastest of the trio.

+ Best (and/or simplest) manabase of the trio.

– Lack of the really good long game that Boat Brew and BW have.

Boat Brew:

+ Best real card advantage engine of the trio.

+ Best backup against cards such as Stillmoon Cavalier, Voice of All and Goblin Outlander.

– Worst mana of the trio.

– High risk of “clunky” draws.

BW Tokens:

+ Access to Bitterblossom.

+ Access to disruption (Thoughtseize and Tidehollow Sculler, with more access after sideboarding.

– Stretched manabase (better than Boat Brew thou’).

For more on the subject, I highly recommend you to read Gerry Thompsons article on Star City Games he had earlier this week. That was all for today, I hoped you enjoyed it.

Until next time…

Bonus Section:

As a little extra treat for today, I have a decklist for you! If your going to play Kithkin in a near future, this is the maindeck I would recommend you to play.

    4 Windbrisk Heights
    4 Rustic Clachan
    4 Rugged Prairie
    4 Battlefield Forge
    9 Plains
    4 Wizened Cenn
    4 Knight of Meadowgrain
    4 Goldmeadow Stalwart
    4 Figure of Destiny
    1 Burrenton Forge-Tender
    3 Cloudgoat Ranger
    4 Ajani Vengeant
    2 Ranger of Eos
    4 Spectral Procession
    2 Unmake
    3 Path to Exile

I really think that Ajani Vengeant is worth touching red for in Kithkin. He is not so impressive against other Height’s decks, but he is really good against all the “bad” matchup, supplying with mana denial and reach against control decks. I haven’t yet figured out a sideboard at this point, so I leave that up to you for now.

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