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School’s out, Nationals in!

June 11, 2010

Finally I have written all the exams I have for this semester and it’s time for some vacation, then grinding some cash working, checking out the World Cup (that is starting today, if you have somehow missed that) but right now it’s Magic time.

My Nationals is no more than roughly a week away now so I’m preparing for that. I have the last 2-3 weeks mostly played drafts and experimenting with the limited format in general. I’m focusing mostly on the limited portion since, while I maybe exaggerating a little, no matter how much you playtest or brew for constructed, the edge over the average bloke you can get by having a good limited game is always going to be bigger compared to constructed. At least for a Nationals tournament with a fairly explored constructed enviroment. This is particular true this time around since people have all over the world have been playing  this exactly Standard enviroment for over a month now.

Limited

So I have been drafting quite a bit. My favourite archetypes to draft at this point is UW Levelers, UB Levelers/control or aggressive RB (possibly with a token theme). That means that I like to either establish myself into either blue or black early on and then I can feel off what the neighbours are drafting.

Overall, the more I have been drafting this format I noticed that the overall cardpool of playables are fairly high (I have yet to draft a deck where I’m playing a card I don’t really want to) so archetype defining cards that can be narrow (Venerate Teacher for example) have jumped a higher on my pick order. Then I’m personally pretty down on green. Rather I should say standard rampish green. I’m in general fairly happy to play against green based ramp decks when I’m playing (unless they off course have some sick bomb like Drana or Gigantomancer). Often when I play with or against that kind of deck, they usually top of with a Ulamog’s Chrusher or something like that which if that gets answers they are often left with nothing of importance. I do love me some Aura Gnarlid and Wildheart Invoker however. Those can be very deadly. If I’m green these days it’s usually because I got to pick up those cards in numbers.

Further on I’m actually quite happy with white in general in this format. A lot of people are bashing on white because they think white is either: shallow in playables or doesn’t cope well with other colors…or both. About white being low on playable I completely disagree. Dawnglare Invoker is off course a game ending card, Knight of Cliffhaven is one of the best two drops in the format at the common slot, Makindi Griffin is much better than people gives it credit for and then off course Totem-Guide Hartebeest is complete gas and so on.

I do agree however that white doesn’t do all that well with other colors and strategies. UW Levelers is off course the archetype where white really shines but if you ask me GW Aura Gnarlids or an aggressive RW deck can do the trick too. You need to watch out when your drafting white and ensure that you end up with a archetype where white fits into. Randomly picking up cards that are good in an abstract can be your doom in Rise of the Eldrazi drafts.

Constructed

I’m just really starting to play Standard again since LinCon but I’m about as depressed right now about the format as I was right before LinCon. What I mean when I say “depressed” is that it’s really hard to make new decks or innovate since Standard has some really strong nodes in the meta game chart. For example, Vampires would be quite the player in Standard if it wasn’t for Jund. Or for example the Esper control deck that Conley Woods brewed up for GP DC. That deck is quite sweet against both the UWx control decks aswell does it have game against decks like mono-red after board. But it still struggles against Jund.

That point I’m driving to is that a lot of strategies and decks are pushed out by the sledgehammer of the format, Jund. Or in some cases Mythic or UW. Anyhow, I have yet to see a deck that does respectably against all of the top three decks (which is to this day Jund, Mythic and UW) and that is what’s making me depressed. I don’t actually mind playing Standard at all, I’m just a little sad that it’s so hard to innovate.

Right now I’m standing at playing Jund at Nationals. It’s not set in stones by any means but if you would put a gun against my head and ask what would I play, you know. I have a roughly a week of testing to find out for real so I have some work to do. Until next time…

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