State of the Meta—Midrange with a Chance of Reanimator

Brian Kibler tells us that state of the Meta is healthy. Our opinions differ slightly, Mr. Kibler. It’s neither healthy nor is it sick; it’s in limbo. That less than magical place when the format is incomplete. This is my first time in 12 years being at this point in the meta, but from what I remember about all the times when we were only given access to five sets (M13, Innistrad Block and RTR) for deck building no one had “solved” the format, and for a very good reason: the format is incomplete. We are only four months into this Standard and we’re missing a lot of key strategies that will no doubt overshadow this extremely forgettable place that Standard goes to each rotation. Does anyone remember any of the dominant decks from Urza Block plus Mercadian Masques or Masques Block plus Invasion? Likely no, the dominant decks from those formats came from synergies that were revealed in the next sets (I miss Replenish).

I’ve voiced this opinion for a few weeks, and many of the more experienced players I talk to refer to Delver’s dominance as soon as it was printed. To that point I can’t argue, Innistrad was just before I returned to the game so I have no idea how the meta was then. I will say this: Delver was an exception to the rule. And a card that powerful would likely dominate when the format is young. The shell of that deck was based mostly on cards from a previous set. When combined with a viable win condition like an undercosted 3/2 flyer, I can see how it could be a top tier strategy all year long.

This is not that meta. There are no Delvers. Sure, Thragtusk is a card, but I feel like Gatecrash has a handle on that card. It’s been reined in, and this means that we (Durdle Magi) will need to find other ways to make it to the end of the game we want to play.

Skullcrack will make life gain strategies a little less effective. Looks to me that the focus should be on prevention over inevitability. What does that mean? I think with cards like Skullcrack out to stop Thragtusk’s total value and Sphinx’s Revelation’s second chance clause, not to mention Boros Charm laughing at Supreme Verdict, control will need to be more proactive in the early turns. Spot removal to bait out Charms, and maybe cards like Mutilate, will see more play in the next few months. Ways to interact towards the start of the game are going to go a long way.

Aggro strategies got a leg up on Control with Gatecrash. News flash: Aggro generally beats Control. That’s 101. The real story is that Midrange is looking pretty good right now. Between ways to stop Control’s trump cards and access to much better mana, I’d forecast the first couple of weeks of Standard as “Midrange with a chance of Reanimator.” It’s time again and though I haven’t singled out any sweet targets (nothing sweeter than Angel of Serenity at least) it seems like there’s going be a lot of sideboards jamming Skullcracks and the like and forgetting about Unburial Rites.

Sorry to pick on Brian Kibler, as his article was actually quite a good read. All I’m saying is that if you step back and look at most five set formats we have a ton of decks with no one dominating until we see more of a card pool.

I’m extremely excited for the next few weeks of Constructed, but what else is new. As for this week, I still like Drogskol Reaver and I’ll probably try casting them again this week. Last week’s Mondo play was swinging with a pair drawing eight cards and gaining 12. I felt like I was 16 again.

Until then,

Zac Clark, Durdle Magis

Advertisements
Comments
7 Responses to “State of the Meta—Midrange with a Chance of Reanimator”
  1. Matt Jones says:

    RE: our opinions differ slightly to Kibler’s about the health of the meta – I’m with Kibbles on this one. I think the perceived health or lack of health in the meta has more to do with one’s attitude towards style of play and deck selection than it does with probably anything else. http://www.mtgo-stats.com states the following decks as putting up 4-0 records in dailies on the 20th:

    GW Oozing Humans & Angels

    7 Forest
    6 Plains
    4 Temple Garden
    4 Sunpetal Grove
    4 Silverblade Paladin
    4 Rancor
    4 Loxodon Smiter
    4 Faith’s Shield
    4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
    3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
    3 Selesnya Charm
    3 Restoration Angel
    3 Predator Ooze
    3 Arbor Elf
    2 Sublime Archangel
    2 Gavony Township
    Sideboard
    2 Nevermore
    2 Righteous Blow
    3 Ray of Revelation
    2 Rest in Peace
    3 Oblivion Ring
    3 Centaur Healer

    Jund

    4 Woodland Cemetery
    4 Thragtusk
    4 Rootbound Crag
    4 Overgrown Tomb
    4 Huntmaster of the Fells
    4 Farseek
    4 Blood Crypt
    3 Vampire Nighthawk
    3 Ultimate Price
    3 Olivia Voldaren
    3 Bonfire of the Damned
    2 Thundermaw Hellkite
    2 Rakdos’s Return
    2 Pillar of Flame
    2 Kessig Wolf Run
    2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
    2 Forest
    2 Dragonskull Summit
    2 Cavern of Souls
    2 Abrupt Decay
    1 Swamp
    1 Sever the Bloodline
    Sideboard
    2 Slaughter Games
    1 Liliana of the Veil
    2 Pillar of Flame
    3 Deathrite Shaman
    3 Duress
    2 Tribute to Hunger
    2 Rolling Temblor

    RDW

    21 Mountain
    4 Stromkirk Noble
    4 Searing Spear
    4 Rakdos Cackler
    4 Lightning Mauler
    4 Hellrider
    4 Ash Zealot
    3 Stonewright
    3 Pyreheart Wolf
    3 Pillar of Flame
    3 Brimstone Volley
    2 Zealous Conscripts
    1 Hellion Crucible
    Sideboard
    3 Traitorous Blood
    2 Thundermaw Hellkite
    2 Flames of the Firebrand
    2 Mizzium Mortars
    2 Volcanic Strength
    4 Reckless Waif

    UW Flash

    8 Island
    4 Unsummon
    4 Thought Scour
    4 Restoration Angel
    4 Plains
    4 Hallowed Fountain
    4 Glacial Fortress
    4 Azorius Charm
    3 Sphinx’s Revelation
    3 Snapcaster Mage
    3 Moorland Haunt
    3 Geist of Saint Traft
    3 Dissipate
    3 Augur of Bolas
    2 Runechanter’s Pike
    2 Feeling of Dread
    1 Think Twice
    1 Cavern of Souls
    Sideboard
    1 Dispel
    1 Curse of Echoes
    1 Ray of Revelation
    3 Negate
    4 Supreme Verdict
    1 Jace, Memory Adept
    3 Purify the Grave
    1 Knight of Glory

    BR Zombies

    8 Swamp
    4 Searing Spear
    4 Knight of Infamy
    4 Gravecrawler
    4 Geralf’s Messenger
    4 Falkenrath Aristocrat
    4 Dragonskull Summit
    4 Diregraf Ghoul
    4 Blood Crypt
    3 Rakdos Guildgate
    3 Pillar of Flame
    3 Hellrider
    3 Brimstone Volley
    2 Vampire Nighthawk
    2 Thundermaw Hellkite
    2 Mountain
    2 Cavern of Souls
    Sideboard
    2 Slaughter Games
    2 Vampire Nighthawk
    2 Rakdos Charm
    3 Duress
    2 Underworld Connections
    2 Ultimate Price
    2 Zealous Conscripts

    BRaggro

    15 Mountain
    4 Stromkirk Noble
    4 Searing Spear
    4 Reckless Waif
    4 Rakdos Cackler
    4 Hellrider
    4 Falkenrath Aristocrat
    4 Dragonskull Summit
    4 Brimstone Volley
    4 Blood Crypt
    4 Ash Zealot
    2 Stonewright
    2 Pillar of Flame
    1 Mark of Mutiny
    Sideboard
    1 Tormod’s Crypt
    1 Slaughter Games
    2 Pillar of Flame
    1 Mizzium Mortars
    3 Forge Devil
    4 Duress
    3 Appetite for Brains

    Naya

    4 Thragtusk
    4 Temple Garden
    4 Rootbound Crag
    4 Restoration Angel
    4 Overgrown Tomb
    4 Huntmaster of the Fells
    4 Farseek
    4 Bonfire of the Damned
    4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
    3 Sunpetal Grove
    3 Cavern of Souls
    2 Selesnya Charm
    2 Rakdos’s Return
    2 Loxodon Smiter
    2 Kessig Wolf Run
    2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
    2 Blood Crypt
    2 Angel of Serenity
    1 Oblivion Ring
    1 Mizzium Mortars
    1 Forest
    1 Clifftop Retreat
    Sideboard
    3 Slaughter Games
    2 Rhox Faithmender
    2 Pillar of Flame
    1 Ray of Revelation
    3 Rest in Peace
    1 Oblivion Ring
    2 Triumph of Ferocity
    1 Paraselene

    Esper Control

    4 Think Twice
    4 Supreme Verdict
    4 Plains
    4 Jace, Architect of Thought
    4 Isolated Chapel
    4 Island
    4 Hallowed Fountain
    4 Glacial Fortress
    4 Drowned Catacomb
    4 Dramatic Rescue
    3 Terminus
    3 Sphinx’s Revelation
    3 Snapcaster Mage
    3 Nephalia Drownyard
    2 Ultimate Price
    2 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
    2 Dissipate
    2 Detention Sphere
    Sideboard
    1 Dispel
    4 Negate
    1 Terminus
    4 Rest in Peace
    2 Tribute to Hunger
    1 Detention Sphere
    2 Dissipate

    RDW

    20 Mountain
    4 Stromkirk Noble
    4 Searing Spear
    4 Rakdos Cackler
    4 Hellrider
    4 Hellion Crucible
    4 Gore-House Chainwalker
    4 Ash Zealot
    3 Pyreheart Wolf
    2 Thundermaw Hellkite
    2 Stonewright
    2 Geistflame
    2 Brimstone Volley
    1 Pillar of Flame
    Sideboard
    3 Flames of the Firebrand
    2 Pillar of Flame
    1 Geistflame
    2 Mizzium Mortars
    4 Thunderbolt
    1 Archwing Dragon
    2 Mark of Mutiny

    I’m not 100% on this, but it seems like there are aggro, mid-range, and control strategies all winning dailies. I don’t think all of the aggro decks contain the same 75 (though some are pretty close when in the RDW family). This meta seems fairly healthy.

    GP AC, just a couple weeks ago had a top 8 that included 2x Bant Auras (worst deck in the history of MTG), 4 Color Mid-Range, 2x Jund Mid-Range, UWR Control, Esper Control, and RDW. This is also PRETTY diverse (no one had seen Bant Auras the week before and no one will ever see this 4 Color Mid-Range deck again!).

    No offense intended, but I think us MTG’ers have a penchant for whine. Kibler’s generally a non-whining positive pro. He’s like a sane man’s Travis Woo.

    I played 2x Bant Auras (a deck Jund almost auto loses to) this weekend and nearly Weed Strangled my opponents and I STILL think the meta is pretty OK.

    • Zac Clark says:

      I’ll concede that there are a bunch of decks using differ cards/strategies to win. And I think that the sheer number of decks proves that something is off. In a meta like this you need to have quite an expendable income to roll with the meta each week. I’d like to see it come down to 5-7 decks that are top tier.

      • Matt Jones says:

        Why not commit to a deck and play it, tweek it, etc.? If you chose RDW you could easily splash black, and advance or alter your deck from week to week. My Naya/Jund/Dark Naya decks use a core of cards that I’ve been playing with forever (Huntmaster, Olivia, Thragtusk, Restoration Angels, etc.) and I’ve been swapping between them week to week. It’s cost me very little past my initial investment. I know what kind of player I am and am trying to buy cards and play decks that encourage me to stick with my Magic style/attitude maximizing potential fun from the ground up. So, I don’t buy blue cards b/c there’s something like zero to no chance I’ll use them for any purpose other than kindling for a fire. Blue cards are often the most expensive. I save lots of money.

      • Zac Clark says:

        I’m far too Machiavellian to follow that logic… Blue cards and one deck.

  2. Matt Jones says:

    You choose your destiny, dude.

    • Zac Clark says:

      Ha once I find a deck I truly like in the format that will allow me to out play and generally win most matches I’ll play it loyally. I’m not sold on anything just yet. Hopefully GTC fixes that.

  3. Li Xu says:

    Fairly certain Reanimator won’t see the light of day until Aggro dies down in popularity. Hard to predict otherwise right now. I mean, I’ve built sweet looking decks that goldfish well, but real matches will never play out that way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: