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Easter Break Playtesting

April 10, 2009

Thanks to a couple of days off from school I have been able to get my butt down and really play some magic. I set up 2 goals at the beginning of this week that I wanted to accomplish with my play this week. First, I wanted to trim my extended list for the last PTQ this Sunday and second, I wanted to try out today’s Standard enviroment and get an idea of I might want to play in the Nationals Qualifiers later this spring.

Starting off with Standard, before I go on talking about decks etc. I want to tell you how I see the Standard format right now and what decks in the format are relevant. To me, the “tier 1” in the format as we speak is Windbrisk Heights.dec and 5cc. With saying Windbrisk Heights.dec I mean Boat Brew, BW Tokens and RW Kithkins, with Boat Brew making out the majority of that group. Further down in “tier 2” we have Blightning, UR Swans, Dark Bant and Faeries (quite remarkable that Faeries is not at the top layer in the Standard at the moment, if I would have read this 3-4 month ago I would not believe myself.) What the decks in the second tier have on common (except maybe Swans) is that they can’t beat Windbrisk Heights+Spectral Procession consistently. Sure, Blightning might stitch together a series of Volcanic Fallout and Infests or Dark Bant might come out crashing out of the gates like game 1 in LSV vs. Brian Robinson, but they can’t do that every game and they falls short in the long run. As we speak it’s only 5cc that I personally feel beats the white decks on a regular basis (I’m not sure about Swans when I write this, haven’t got that much experience with the deck or it’s match ups). If you think I’m totally wrong or has any input on this view of Standard, feel free to sound off in the comment section.

I started off with the idea that if I could build a Faerie deck that at least have a 50/50 game against the white decks of the format, that would be a pretty good weapon for the current meta. So my idea was to implement white into Faeries. Not a revolutionary idea, but it thought that I might be good for the current meta game. After playing a couple of ques online I ended with this list:

4 Arcane Sanctum
3 Reflecting Pool
4 Secluded Glen
2 Sunken Ruins
2 Mystic Gate
4 Mutavault
2 Underground River
2 Island
1 Adarkar Wastes
4 Spellstutter Sprite
3 Mistbind Clique
3 Vendilion Clique
2 Sower of Temptation
4 Cryptic Command
4 Esper Charm
4 Broken Ambitions
4 Bitterblossom
3 Terror
3 Agony Warp
2 Remove Soul


4 Wall of Reverence
3 Infest
4 Thoughtseize
2 Jace Beleren
2 Flashfreeze

The Esper Charm is nice as instant speed drawing, allowing you to fight long games against the white decks or against decks with Volcanic Fallout. It’s also nice to be able to destroy opposing Bitterblossoms and Glorious Anthems. Another exciting thing is the Wall of Reverence in the sideboard. They are making a lot if difference when playing against Blightning or other aggro decks in general. Even thou’ the white approach is fresh, new, exciting, after a couple of days playing with this list I stopped and discarded the decklist. Why? When the deck is working as intended and is firing on all cylinders, it’s awesome and does what I want the deck to do. However the cost for the white cards is the clunky mana. I feel that I have lost more games due to my mana (mana screw or forced to mulligan to frequently) than I won because of the white splash. So my verdict is that UB Faeries is probably just better. But since regular Faeries doesn’t work for me in the current format, I discarded the idea of playing Faeries completley for now.

The next path I took was down the ye old faithful path of Windbrisk Heigts. Boat Brew is the most popular version out there, but I just don’t like it. It has powerful cards, no doubt, but I really don’t like how it operates when I play the deck. On the one hand, you have this awesome 1 and 2 drops in Figure of Destiny, Mogg Fanatic and Knight of the White Orchid but then you also have this heavy end plan which starts off Mind Stone and ends with Siege-Gang Commander and Revillark. Those two always collides in my opinion leading to ankward draws etc. Boat Brew is also the slowest version of Windbrisk Height.dec, which I also don’t like. Next we have BW Tokens, which is better in my opinion, but I feel that the way PT Kyoto shifted the meta game is not in BW favor. And with that whats left is RW Kithkin, which if you ask me is still amazing. This is the list I’m currently running online:

    9  Plains
    4  Battlefield Forge
    4 Rugged Prairie
    2  Rustic Clachan
    4 Windbrisk Heights
    2 Mutavault

    4 Goldmeadow Stalwart
    4 Wizened Cenn
    4 Ajani Vengeant
    4  Figure of Destiny
    4 Knight of Meadowgrain
    3  Cloudgoat Ranger
    2 Ranger of Eos
    4 Spectral Procession
    4 Path to Exile
    2  Glorious Anthem


SB: 4  Burrenton Forge-Tender
SB: 2  Ajani Goldmane
SB: 2 Rise of the Hobgoblins
SB: 4  Wispmare
SB: 1  Mogg Fanatic
SB: 2  Reveillark 

The list is not that revolutionary, but there are some things I would like to point out. First, Rustic Clachan and Glorious Anthem has gotten a lot better now since the decks that used to play with Firespout has shifted into playing with Volcanic Fallout instead. I have lost count on how many times my opponent has slow rolled a Fallout when I have a Wizened Cenn out along with some other dudes and get blowout with a Rustic Clachan. Also Anthem put a majority of your guys out of range for Fallout as well. The main decks  is a bit adaptable. If you expect to face a lot of other Heights decks I suggest to drop the two Ranger of Eos from the deck and replace them with another Cloudgoat Ranger as well with a Glorious Anthem, because in the mirror (or the quasi-mirror) a lot of guys and anthems is whats matters, not independent threats such a Figure of Destiny. The sideboard has some “tech” in it. There is a single Mogg Fanatic to tutor for if your opponent is bringing in Stillmoon Cavalier. And I also have at the moment Rise of the Hobgoblins. Do you remember what this little gem from Eventide does? I had Martial Coup from the start, but Coup is kinda slow, you need 7 mana for it to do what you want it to do really and you can’t put it under Windbrisk Heights. Rise of the Hobgoblins can be put under a Heights, creates x-guys and will give your team first strike, which is really good. When there are little tokens against little tokens, you can imagine what happens when suddenly a whole side gets first strike. It’s also nice against control since you don’t have to pay the X until it resolves, so even if they counter it you haven’t spent all your mana for the turn. If I would play in a Standard tournament tomorrow, this is the list I would play.

And at last, we have Extended. I have been playing Extended a bit during the week and I haven’t found a deck that I like more than TEPS. So if nothing crazy happens (i.e. if there are 60%+ Faeries and Elves at the local meta, I might audible to an aggro deck) I will be playing TEPS this weekend. The decklist has changed a little bit. If you take the list I played at the Stockholm PTQ as a reference, I have now cut the 2x Sleight of Hand from the maindeck and replacing them with the 2 Gigadrowse I had in the board. Gigadrowse is really nice to have against the Fae and can still buy you a turn or 2 against aggro. To replace the 2 slots in the board I have added a Gaea’s Blessing for the mirror but I’m not sure what I want for the last slot. Right now I’m leaning for a Pyroclasm or something like that against Elves. Also the 2 Hurkyl’s Recall I have in the board is hanging a bit loose. I don’t need them against Affinity and Echoing Truth is coming in anyways since the Affinity lists can have Pyrostatic Pillar as well as Ethersworn Canonist. They might be once again become Shattering Sprees or even Ingot Chewer since Chalice of the Void is always an issue. I will have 2 days to decide and I will let you know next week what 75 card I ended up playing and how it went.

Until next time…

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