State of the Meta—Season of Change

(State of the Meta is a litmus test and commentary on the relative health, stability and from time to time problem issues with the trends in the Standard Metagame.  Zac Clark chimes in weekly with his findings and feelings about Magic’s flagship format.)

Rant Control

Something’s got to change.  Going to time in rounds blows.  Between the Thragtusk decks and the Sphinx’s Revelation decks (I play the latter) this format is too grindy.  I like that there are like 28 decks in the field.  Seriously, I think that it’s great, no deck can truly be dominant in that sort of format.  But.  I think that too many of those decks would not exist if not for the poorly thought out “trump” card of this rotation.

Of course, we know this already, Thragtusk and Sphinx’s Revelation are second chance cards.  They are in this format to make control work.  THAT’S RIGHT, I SAID IT.  Control does not work without either one of those two cards.  Despite what Brayan Rodriguez would have you believe (The dream will come alive in Gatecrash, Brayan!), Grixis fails because it doesn’t have these two cards.  What does this really mean?  The power creep on cheap creatures is the real problem.  Wizards has pushed the Aggro cards so hard that they had to put these second chance cards into the format so that Control can stay relevant.

I think Kadar Brock said it best recently, though he was quoting someone I don’t remember.  “You spend more time winning when you win with Control.  Games last longer while you’re winning with Control.  When you win with Aggro, its fast you do it quick and it’s over.  The high from winning is over much faster with Aggro.”  It’s in Wizard’s best interest to make us happy, to release those endorphins so that we keep on buying that cardboard.  But we need to be doing this in a reasonable amount of time.

We need Control.  It’s important to have that foil in the Meta-game otherwise it’ll degrade to format full of midrange decks.  Aggro decks would win at first, then midrange would be the smart call and from there it would just be a battle between the best midrange decks.  Most midrange decks, currently, easily destroy aggro and are geared to beat Control with their own well-timed trumps.  If that happened then the overall value of blue cards would dwindle, Matt Jones would likely become the richest man in the universe, and really who wants that?

TNM last week was so Aggro heavy that Li was even playing RDW.

Grim Forcast 

The next two weeks of Standard are gonna be like the first two weeks.  Aggro decks versus decks that beat aggro decks.  This is a dismal meta to be a durdle magus in.  The rounds go to time each round, and the culprits were mostly the same players.  I can only suggest that if you’re gonna play control try to learn your lines of play and understand that you will have a limited amount of time to play the round.  If you’re midrange, you really have absolutely no excuse to go to time.  This is combat math, not astro physics.  Do you swing or do you hold back?  Of course there are plenty of decisions in aggro, but your toughest one is whether to keep your opening hand or mulligan to a stronger six.

Whatever Gatecrash looks like I really hope Wizards makes the game less time intensive, because all this going to time all the time is really really annoying.  AND THAT’S COMING FROM A DEDICATED CONTROL PLAYER.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

14 Responses to “State of the Meta—Season of Change”
  1. Matt Jones says:

    A great time to rock Dark Naya though …

  2. Fetto says:

    I think the time issue is more about preparation than deck choice. The better you know your deck and the more prepared you are to face the meta, the faster you’ll navigate through your decision trees, identify your outs, etc. I chose to play rakdos aggro at GP AC months in advance and had extensive experience with the list against most every matchup (except the mirror). What I didn’t practice enough was sideboarding. So I had blazing fast games, but torturously slow sideboarding and I took a lot longer to make decsions against the mirror because I was least familiar with that matchup.

    Does it help to have a deck that, you know, actually ends the game at some point? Yes. But knowing your deck and the matchups are far more determinative of how long it takes you to play a match. Draw, Go takes about as long to play as it does to say. The next biggest factor for how long a deck takes to win a match is how many search/shuffle effects it has (not much of an issue in this standard format).

    Another thing to consider if your matches keep going to time is when to concede a losing proposition. I never concede since every move your opponent makes gives information and I like to give my opponents every opportunity to make a mistake. But, if you’re playing the control mirror and you just lose a counter war over your Sphinx’s Revelation and your opponent untapped and resolved their own for like 8 cards… the writing’s on the wall.

    • thejlina says:

      Yeah, at GP AC I conceded against an Esper Control player in response to his first Sphinx’s Revelation. I knew that from there the odds were really against me to win that game, but I had a better chance post board. I ended up winning that round, and I don’t think I would have in time had it not been for the time I saved by not drawing out game one.

      • osoamazing says:

        “Sith” Naya IS way better than “Dark” Naya. It’s original and not cliche, unlike “Dark” anything…. I also aggro with Fetto, where as days in advance I made a s/b cheat sheet so I wouldn’t be there second guessing and durdling with my s/b as time waste away.

      • Matt Jones says:

        I disagree. Using a word like “Sith”, a copyrighted name used in numerous products, originating from an entirely different, and more culturally available fictional mythology, is in no way original. “Dark” taps into mankind’s original fear of the unknown – a powerful narrative element that “Sith” picks up and further specifies and owes a great debt to.

        You are correct about a sideboard cheat sheets. They’re fantastic.

      • Zac Clark says:

        I like Jund with some white Cards!

  3. jaymagnus says:

    Why am I just discovering this site now?? You people are awesome.

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