State of the Meta—Year One

Just over a year ago I entered my first Sanctioned Magic Event in over five years. I was in for a few surprises—”What do you mean damage doesn’t stack?”

“You’ve actually gotten better since the last game.” Monique told me during the second game of my first match back, as I remembered that I could cast spells at the end of my opponent’s turn. I ultimately went 1-2—not the splash I was hoping for on my return, but my spark had been reignited. I bought the Venser vs Koth Duel deck and some commons and began dreaming of a day that I could afford a constructed deck.

Finally, a few months later, I started playing Standard with Zombies. At the time it was the cheapest competitive deck and I found myself facing off against Matt “The Obliterator” Jones and his NayaPod deck. “You’re gonna top deck a Bonfire,” I say after over extending my side of the board. He does. I lose. Nightmares about being Bonfired ensue.

Even more months later, I’m in the finals of an FNM vs Li Xu. We agree to split. He crushes me with Geist and Delver. Nightmares about Geist of St. Traft ensue.

A little later, I started inviting these same people, now friends, to help me write this blog. One year since returning to this awesome game friends and even old friendships have flourished. That’s pretty awesome. Considering that back in the day I played with the same five people for like two years before we ever played in a tournament. Then once I started playing really competitively, it was all about not sharing your tech, and keeping your information hidden until you needed to unleash it. Or at least it was for my group.

The Internet changed so many things in the last 12 years. I returned to a game that rewards pioneers for sharing new tech and opinions about the game. The same faces appear at the top of tournaments every week, so they must be doing something right sharing their not-so-secret tech.

Anyhow, it’s been a really great year. I’m super excited about Dragon’s Maze. I think a lot of the popular opinion is wrong and this set is full of meta-shifting cards. I’ll go into detail next week and have a few brews ready as well. This week, I played Standard on Monday and ran UWR Flash. A poor choice for the meta (I’d play G/W Mayor aggro) but I wanted to see what standard would look like. Gruul beat me in the first round. I took down a Simic Delver Aggro brew in the second. Paul destroyed my with Prime Speaker Bant in the third and the fourth I played Reanimator, who took it. 1-3 is gross! Yeah, I really can’t wait for Dragon’s Maze. I want to see some new things happen.

On Tuesday I decided I’d played with Geist enough and sleeved up a killer Merfolk brew with a sweet piece of tech courtesy of Anthony Lowry: Skaab Ruinator. My chief complaint about playing a Merfolk deck in this format is that everyone kills my dudes. Skaab gets in with Æther Vial and comes back in the late game when Wrath and friends punish me.

Round 1—Richard Tan, American Gifts

I have to give a shout out to Richard Tan for being the calmest dude in the history of calm dudes. Game two, I played two Vials (on three and two) and play Merrow Reejerey and PUKE OUT MY HAND…at instant speed! During my main phase. Richard goes “Wow.” Untaps and just Supreme Verdicts. LIKE ITS THE THING TO DO! Well I feel like a total ass. I’m so busy playing around bolt (he was tapped out) I forgot that he was about to hit his fourth land. I’m such a putz. He takes the match.

Round 2—Bye

Round 3—Matt Bradley on Soul Sisters

Game one, I swarm him before he can get out of range. Game two is more of a grind. I’m able to Path his Ascendant before it becomes a problem. He’s slightly land dry, but gaining life, and I’m attacking unblocked thanks to Spreading Seas. Turns out he never got a land from the Path I hadn’t even noticed, which would have helped him cast Ranger of Eos and could have put him back in the game. The game was much closer than it seemed with Matt gaining huge chucks of life and I had to keep back a few blockers to make sure I didn’t die.

Merfolk did well on the day. I wish I hadn’t played around Bolt vs Richard, but that’s Magic, right? I think I might try something strange next week at TNM but for Standard, I’m back to Entreating the Angels again. Here’s a list:

Azorius control
60 cards

8 Island
2 Ghost Quarter
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Glacial Fortress
8 Plains

4 Augur of Bolas

3 Azorius Charm
2 Feeling of Dread
2 Think Twice
1 Dramatic Rescue
3 Terminus
4 Sphinx’s Revelation
3 Detention Sphere
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Entreat the Angels
4 Dissipate

I’ve got game vs Esper Control and Reanimator here. There’s some Feelings and a Dramatic Rescue for Aggro and Augur blocks and replaces himself. Note the lack of Snapcaster Mage. I’m think I might play a maindecked Rest in Peace. But this does make the board process easier. You can bet I’ll play Purify too. Slime is cute…I plan on making it look like a waste of a turn.

Is Dragon’s Maze out yet????

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

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

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