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Austin PTQs: Fresh Ideas

May 7, 2009

While I’m now qualified for Nationals and all, there is still the Austin PTQ season left. Today I will give you 2 decks lists for Standard and as well some thought about the Standard format now with Alara Reborn legal.

First off, I don’t think Alara Reborn is going to have a such of impact that Conflux had for the format. Conflux put Faeries off the throne of the ruler of Standard and left the format more about Windbrisk Heights and decks that beats that kind of strategy. While there are strong and very lucrative cards in Alara Reborn, I don’t see a Volcanic Fallout kind of card, that changes how Standard works. Meddling Mage is that kind of a card that could change a format, except Standard doesn’t have strategy that hinge around 1 or 2 cards etc. The one and only Paulo Vitor damo de Rosa talked about this topic in his article on Starcity today, I urgue you to read it if you can.

In the end, I think Standard will still hinge around Windbrisk Heights and the decks that tries to beat that strategy. And then there is Faeries that will as long Bitterblossom is legal be a trump to the anti-Windbrisk strategies. And there will always be mountains. Even if I personally dislike Blightning.dec, it’s in general a good deck but it is poorly positioned in the meta game.

Now, for my home brews:

Jund Mana Ramp

// Lands
4  Savage Lands
4  Treetop Village
1  Swamp
2  Mountain
3 Forest
4 Fire-Lit Thicket
2 Reflecting Pool
2 Karplusan Forest
2 Twilight Mire

// Creatures
4 Kitchen Finks
3 Broodmate Dragon
4 Murderous Redcap
4 Siege-Gang Commander
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
2 Sprouting Thrinax

// Spells
4 Volcanic Fallout
2 Lavalanche
4 Terror
4 Fertile Ground
2 Rampant Growth

This is a type of deck that I played around with a bit just before Champs last autumn. Back then, the deck did okay against Faeries and creature decks, but couldn’t really win against 5cc which was very popular back then. Since there is no more Harmonize (even if Mr. Flores claims that Gifts of the Gargantuan is the nuts) is hard to really fight control or even stitch it together versus beatdown. I got excited about Lavalanche and the fact that creature decks is the top in Standard right now, so I thought this kind of strategy might have chance. Almost every non-land card is at least a 2-for-1 and you win by getting incremental advantaging your opponent out. Fink and Redcap has persist, Broodmate Dragon and our favourite commander is multiple-for-ones, Lavalance and Volcanic Fallout eliminates multiple creatures and deals damage to the opponent. Only the mana accelerators and Terror are 1-for-1s. I guess you could play Shriekmaw instead of Terror if you want, but I like casting it at instant speed.

And no, Terror is better than Terminate. Not in general, but right now in the Standard format. Why? The main reason is Burrenton Forge-Tender. Except for control decks, that is the single most annoying card against this deck (or against Blightning for that matter) and Terminate doesn’t deal with that, but Terror does. And if you think about it, what creatures that are being played in Standard can you Terminate but not Terror? Doran, and maybe Tidehollow Sculler, which not many. Also the fact that Terminate is harder to cast is relevant. You don’t cast a Terminate on turn 2 as often as a Terror.

If you want something that beats creature decks and red decks and want to play something different, I can recommend playing Jund Mana Ramp. However I think the control match upis too bad and the lack of card draw is what prohibiting this kind of strategy to be a force in Standard.

Moving on to my other deck;

GW Tokens

// Lands
4 Windbrisk Heights
2 Jungle Shrine
4 Wooded Bastion
4 Brushland
4 Reflecting Pool
4 Plains
1 Forest
2 Treetop Village

// Creatures
4 Cloudgoat Ranger
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Steward of Valeron
4 Dauntless Escort
4 Wilt-Leaf Liege
4 Qasali Pridemage

// Spells
4 Spectral Procession
4 Path to Exile
2 Overrun
2 Glorious Anthem

GW Tokens is not a revolutionary concept in Standard, but my approach is different from the lists I have seen in the past. I personally hate playing Noble Hiearchs and what nod in Standard right now. They are good on turn 1, as long they don’t mess up your manabase, and is blanks every turn after that. Instead, why just don’t play a CIP tapped land and add more raw power to the deck instead? And this is what I ended up with, and I’m quite psyched about this deck. You play all the standard token cards, Paths and you support that with green that gives you a couple of edges versus the meta game. Steward of Valeron provides mana acceleration so you can cast your powerful spells more often and faster. Qasali Pridemage (love this guy) is not only a Watchwolf, he also is a great answer to apposing Glorious Anthem or Bitterblossom. Further on you have Wilt-Leaf Liege, which is a anthem on legs that is nice vs. Blightning and Cruel Ultimatum for that matter. Dauntless Escort 3/3 for 3 that gives your team indestructibility and finally we have 5 Overrun-effects that gives you penetration versus other token strategies.

Dauntless Escort might end up as a sideboard card, since his ability isn’t that amazing in game 1 vs. the field in general, but seems on the other hand really strong after sideboarding. Kitchen Finks seems like an easy switch for the maindeck. The single Forest might become a Plains, but it’s nice to able to fetch it with Path to Exile (from you or your opponent), and since the decks runs Overrun you need the green mana. I’m also not 100% sold on Garruk Wildspeaker. He is worse than Ajani Goldmane against other Spectral Procession decks since he is hard to defend, but Garruk seems better in general. I haven’t really thought up a sideboard for this deck yet, but I guess you want 4x Burrenton Forge Tender and some copies of Dauntless Escort, along with some other stuff. Behemoth Sledge is a card that also seems very intresting, might be maindeckable.

Standard is like always a super-fun format and this time it is no different. I’m really looking forward for the upcoming PTQ season (starting for me 21/5 in Linköping) and the GP season for that matter. I hope that my article has been inspiring and make sure to add my blog to your RSS-feed, so you don’t miss any goods in the future. Until next time…

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