State of the Meta—Everything Was Terrible and Nothing Was Not on Fire

Naya Humans, huh? OK that’s really great news. The first real event showcasing Gatecrash and the top 32 looks like a menagerie. There’s Jund and Bant and Esper and Naya—no Grixis. We have midrange aggro and control. So its a healthy baby Standard. Not that I’m complaining. It’s true that Standard is wide-open. The deck that took the event was basically a three color White Weenie deck. No surprise there: Aggro is the first out of the (oh god I’m sorry) gate. So we have a few looks at new cards. Boros Reckoner sees a bit of play. But the deck that took it home used Frontline Medics to its full potential. Expect me to trade for this card a bunch in the coming weeks.

But let’s be real here. I’m Zac Clark, and I wanna know how the durdles did. First (and least durdly) was American Flash’s addition of a miser’s Drogskul Reaver in the maindeck. How amazing is this card right now? If you can get it out, it’s bonkers. Attack for six, gain six, draw two. Yeah, I know it’s seven mana. What—you never had seven mana in this format before? You never wanted a blocker that could draw you cards? Not in this format. Never seen that happen. What even kills this guy? Two Searing Spears immediately? God forbid I untap and get to draw with him. Now you can wonder if I have a counter in my hand—I certainly have the mana to cast it. The top 32 saw Bant Control but largely not much else for those who who wrath and draw.

Esper’s manabase is much more viable now. The Spirits deck looks to me like a more grindy, occasionally impossible-to-deal-with midrange deck. Oh, and the Obzedat finds himself a home. Right where I expected him, surrounded by other ghosts in a deck that leans toward beatdown. They will maintain their value for the time.

Look out for a few cards that didn’t see much success this weekend and are now dropping in value. Duskmantle Seer, Gideon, and Prime Speaker Zegana all sat on the sidelines this week. I don’t see that staying that way for long. Bant midrange and Grixis midrange/control seem like decks that could see play in the next few weeks.

My feelings here are that this format has a lot of room to grow and I’m a little unimpressed with the innovations. With a lack of control, overall I’d say you can expect the Skulkcracks to continue to sit in the board. This means you are more free to cast your Thragtusks and Sphinx’s Revelations.

That said, I like Naya midrange this week. Maybe a little splash of black for Rakdos’s Return. But I guess we’ll see.

Update: I played in the Tuesday Night Magic event yesterday, with an American control list. This one, actually:

Planeswalkers
2 Tamiyo, Moon Sage
1 Gideon, Champion of Justice
1 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Jace, Architect of Thought

Spells
2 Dissipate
4 Azorious Charm
2 Think Twice
2 Detention Sphere
3 Supreme Verdict
2 Terminus
4 Searing Spear
3 Assemble the Legion
3 Sphinx’s Revelation
Creatures
3 Snapcaster Mage

Lands
4 Steam Vents
4 Hallowed Fountain
1 Sacred Foundry
4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Sulfur Falls
2 Island
2 Plains
1 Desolate Lighthouse

Sideboard
2 Jace, Memory Adept
1 Supreme Verdict
2 Terminus
2 Purify the Grave
2 Drogskul Reaver
2 Paraselene
3 Dispel
1 Negate

I’ll give you a real quick tourney report on this deck

Round 1—Marcos (Naya)

Game 1: Marcos stumbled and I cast two Assemble the Legions and eventually beat him. It should be noted that Marcos forgot a Cavern + Thragtusk that I quickly countered. That was pretty much the only reason I took the first game. Games 2 + 3: Marcos savagely beat me. I tried really hard to stop him but eventually an Angel of Serenity and an Oblivion Ring took my threats and ended my fun.

Round 2—Randal (BR Zombies)

I took this one in two games. Notably, both Randal’s starts were less than gassy. I dealt with his zombies and he still almost killed me both games thanks to burn spells. In the second game I milled him out with Jace (Assemble the Legion took the first game) while literally at two life. All he needed to do was topdeck a haste or burn spell (that’s 50% of the deck). I was happy to take the win but bummed that I was so easy to beat.

Round 3—Tim A. (Esper Control)

This match was a lot of fun. Tim and I traded card for card. He took me in two games. The highlight of the match was surreal: Tim was threading to kill me with Gideon in a couple swings. I proved my point. Gideon has a place in this deck. I WINDMILL SLAMMED my Gideon to stay alive for a couple more turns. Cruel fate, bro.

Round 4—Matt Jones

Matt and I decided to try to video the match. He was as disappointed in his deck as I was.

Game one: I smashed He Who Smashes. Or I turn-four wrathed to a board full of dudes. And Matt scooped. I actually want to take a shaming photo of Matt with a sign that says “I scoop to turn four Wraths.” Not because he lost but because as an aggro player you gotta play around those inevitable plays. I realize that he was upset with his deck and that’s why he scooped, but come on! The game wasn’t over. Not by a long shot. It was only 10 mins into the round (no danger of going to time). The second game he brutalized me (through two Searing Spears and a Snapcaster). That’s the Matt Jones I know! Game three was like the first game but with an actual end. “Bones” looked on in agony. The point is though, Matt’s deck was solid with a series of terrible draws, my deck was not and even with good draws I was underwhelmed by it all night. My opinion of Burning Tree Emissary remains the same as Priest of Gix: F-

Next week I’ll be playing something a little less durdly. This is an action format, after all. I like Li’s Amercian deck. And I’ve been digging tempo a lot more since I played Legacy Merfolk. We’ll see: I may just hunker down and play Naya or RDW.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

State of the Meta is a Hipsters of the Coast column about the Constructed Metagame. Focused on Standard with occasional asides to Legacy Modern and finance, it is a commentary of the current trends in Constructed magic and a place that Zac Clark vents before the weekly TNM.

“Magic players are like politicians: Everyone has an opinion and they are mostly wrong. That’s not gonna stop me from campaigning, though.”

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Comments
6 Responses to “State of the Meta—Everything Was Terrible and Nothing Was Not on Fire”
  1. Tim says:

    Oh man, 3 Assemble the Legions? I know you like that card, but that seems like a lot! I’d shave at least one copy, but from the sounds of it, you want to walk away from this deck (at least, for now), so I guess it’s a moot point.

  2. Justin says:

    Zac, probably so (although I fully expect that someone will try this), but then you’re not completely cold to Slaughter Games (if anyone even plays that anymore).

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  1. […] resist the temptation of Boros Charm?) and resurrected crowd-favorite Delver of Secrets, while Zac Clark durdled around with American control and the new Gideon. Friday saw Hunter Slaton hit all the right notes […]



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