All posts by Sean

2009 States Primer Part Two: Introducing Red Black Burn

Right now I’m looking out my window, staring at a foot of snow. With the event site for my Provincial Championships 3 hours away under normal driving conditions you can imagine how long it would take to get there this weekend. Due to the increased likelihood of winding up in a ditch, I’m afraid that I’m not going to brave the journey, as much as I want to. For those of you who saw part one of my States Primer you might recall I promised a deck, so without any further ado:

Black Red Sunburn

3 Bloodchief Ascension

4 Burst Lightning

4 Lightning Bolt

3 Terminate

4 Blightning

4 Earthquake

4 Goblin Guide

4 Plated Geopede

4 Hellspark Elemental

3 Hell’s Thunder

2 Arid Mesa

1 Scalding Tarn

2 Marsh Flats

2 Verdant Catacombs

4 Teetering Peaks

4 Dragonskull Summit

4 Swamp

4 Mountain

SIDEBOARD

4 Duress

3 Pithing Needle

3 Volcanic Fallout

3 Deathmark

1 Terminate

1 Bloodchief Ascension

What a beauty.

Red Deck Wins has no game against Baneslayer. Not so with this deck. Bloodchief Ascension turns the burn mirror into a breeze and best of all we get to play Blightning. Nobody sees this deck coming. It has some of the best features of Barely Boros without the terrible weaknesses. If you were looking for a deck to play, then congratulations, you found it.

The deck bares a strong resemblance to the powerful red decks played at Worlds. In a nutshell, it ditches the 4 mana spells and x/1 men for powerful black cards and tweaks the mana base accordingly.

The Matchups:

Jund – A good matchup. Most of their spells are based on killing creatures and you have few of them. Half the time a Bloodbraid cascades into nothing relevant. The number one threat they have is Blightning. They may be tempted to remove their Pulses against you, so be sure to mention how great Bloodchief Ascention is against them before sideboarding. If you do a good sales job they will have one more dead card for you in games 2 and 3, because your Bloodchiefs come out along with a single Terminate for Duress. Terminate is OK against them but it is one of the few cards that aren’t great. If you want to make the matchup extra strong take out a Needle from the board and replace it with a Mind Rot to give you an extra virtual Blightning.

Boros – A good matchup. Take out 2 Goblin Guides and 2 Hell’s Thunder for 3 Fallout and 1 Bloodchief. You can often catch them for multiple creatures with your mass removal spells and a well-timed Blightning can prevent them from having an explosive turn. Skyfisher can be a minor problem, but it’s nothing to worry about as long as you don’t take to much damage early. An early Bloodchief will often win the game for you. Save your Terminates in case of Baneslayer when possible post-sideboard and the match will be a breeze.

Eldrazi Green – A good matchup. Take out your Goblin Guides and bring in a Bloodchief, a Terminate and 2 Deathmarks. Kill their big stuff before they can make tokens and pound them. They are often way too slow if you kill their mana elves.

Other good matchups include Mono Red, TurboFog UWR and Magical Christmas Land, all for obvious reasons.

There are a few tricky matchups. Bant and random white lifegain decks can prove to be problematic and Naya can be a bit tricky. If you expect to see a lot more Naya than Red and Boros consider maindecking an extra Terminate in place of a Bloodchief. Your sideboard strategy for these types of decks is to load up on targeted removal spells to kill the big threats like Baneslayer and Rhox War Monk.

In conclusion, this deck is a great choice for States. It gives you an excellent chance to win and is both fast and easy to play. It beats most of the popular decks out there and you have a big edge if they don’t have a sideboard strategy for you. No matter what you play, best of luck and have fun this weekend, because really thats what States is all about.

-Sean

Sean@power9pro.com

@SeanP9P on Twitter


2009 States Primer Part One

December is finally here! This year that means two things, Christmas sales and the 2009 State Championships, news of which I was the first to report on earlier this fall. This time around States comes after Worlds, so we have a pretty good idea of what the metagame has in store for us. In part one of my States series I’ll take a look at the top decks so you know what to look out for this weekend.

The Top Dogs:

Jund

In the post Worlds metagame there can be little doubt that Jund is king. Posting an impressive 51% of decks that finished 5-1 or better in Rome, Jund is clearly the defining deck of the format. The raw power of being able to cascade yourself out of almost any situation makes it very difficult to attack. Almost every card in the deck is a two-for-one, so defeating it requires a very focused strategy. If you are looking for a last minute deck you could do far worse than Jund. Even with its impressive results, I feel people don’t give this deck the respect it deserves.

3 Bituminous Blast

4 Blightning

4 Bloodbraid Elf

1 Boarderland Ranger

2 Broodmate Dragon

1 Garruk Wildspeaker

2 Great Stable Stag

4 Lightning Bolt

3 Malestrom Pulse

4 Putrid Leech

4 Sprouting Thrinax

2 Terminate

3 Dragonskull Summit

3 Forest

3 Moutain

1 Oran-Rief

4 Rootbound Craig

4 Savage Lands

4 Swamp

4 Verdant Catacombs

Also, be on the lookout for variants that cut in Putrid Leech, often in favor of Rampant Growth and Siege-Gang Commander. I don’t care for the change personally, but untaping with SGC out is pretty scary.

Naya

The deck that took home the title at Worlds is no doubt a worthy contender. It’s nearly endless supply of powerful monsters can overwhelm many decks. In exchange for this awesome power your mana can be a bit awkward. Many of the strategies to combat Jund have some crossover into this matchup in the way of Goblin Ruinblaster. This deck might not appear at States as much as it should due to the hefty price tag. A set of Baneslayers alone can be upwards of $200, if you can get your hands on them at all. It’s something to keep in mind when predicting your local metagame.

Boros

The second most successful deck at worlds is also a fine choice. This deck may have fallen off the radar a bit of late and I don’t feel that’s justified. The deck is solid and has a slightly favorable Jund matchup to boot. You also have the fact that people aren’t gunning for you and may catch some by surprise. If you want an alternative to Savage Lands this weekend, Boros could be a good call.

The Other Players:

GW, Junk and Bant

These decks tend to play various knights, angels and other threats in the hopes of overpowering the Jund menace. Although the attempt is noble, an experienced Jund mage can often power through your men. The deck failed to gain traction at Worlds and ultimately I have to advice against it. Naya is simply a stronger deck choice right now.

Eldrazi Green

The allure of random green monsters have been on the forefront of the Magic community since the Anderson’s took down the Star City 5k last month and I’ll admit that my inner small child loves the thought of bashing with an endless army of beasts, insects and elves. Sadly as long as Jund is around, the deck will need to remain on the bench.

Magical Christmas Land

Ever since Lotus Cobra has been spoiled people have dreamed of casting turn 3 ultimatums. Conely Woods sleeved up the deck for the Pro Tour and lived the dream. The best part about his take on the deck is that it actually does something in the event that your Lotus Cobra dies or, gasp, isn’t in your opener. I’m still not sold on the deck due to its poor red matchup, but it may be the most fun deck around right now.

Vampires

I imagine some duelist’s this weekend will continue their undying support of team Edward at states. Stay alert for their telltale pale sleeves that sparkle ever so slightly in the light. In all seriousness, the vamp deck isn’t that bad. It is a little underpowered, but if you get lucky with having black cards on top at the right time for Nocturnous, even poor matchups can be won. Someone did 6-0 Worlds with the deck after all. I’m not suggesting that you pack the deck on Saturday, just be prepared for it.

RDW and Barely Boros

Red Deck Wins is a solid deck choice that I think will be popular with budget card slingers this year. The problem with this deck is its difficulty powering past lifegain cards like Baneslayer Angel. If someone untaps with one against you it is almost always over. Some decks try to combat this deficiency with Mark of Mutiny or Act of Treason but I find these cards to be quite underwhelming otherwise. Mike Flores has recently suggested a version featuring a splash of white for Ajani V and sideboard Paths. I like both decks, but I think the Flores version is a little stronger.

UWR Control

A few lists are running around competing for the mantle of the format’s control deck. These decks run different combinations of planeswalkers, sphinxes and angels to fight Jund. While certainly not bad, they suffer from Standard’s poor card draw and counterspells. I would recommend this deck if not for the influx of aforementioned burn spells.

Turbo Fog

While this might be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to Jund, I expect fog to see plenty of play at Champs. While you do have a good matchup with the top deck, don’t be fooled into believing it is unlosable. A well-timed cascade into pulse can leave you playing catch-up. I think in many ways it is a sign of the warped format. Without a true control deck or a proper combo deck, the format becomes a slew of midrange cards running into each other. In any case, I would leave fog at home and try a deck with more Blightnings.

Spread ‘Em

The LSV titled, GerryT created, cascade monster is quickly becoming a popular 60 in the format. People’s enjoyment over mana screwing Jund is in many ways like their desire to watch the Yankees lose. Unfortunately, the secret is out. Jund never forgives and rarely forgets. People know how to play their fetches now if they suspect the cascade onslaught. Furthermore, the deck is a bit of a glass cannon, needing to transform entirely to fight of the likes of Boros. It’s good for a spot of fun, but I’d be surprised to see it bring home my Province’s trophy.

The Rest:

I’ve gone over a few of the big decks for this year, but you can expect all kinds of wacky homebrews at States that might not find their way to a Pro Tour stage. Unlike a PTQ, there is little pressure to perform, so don’t be afraid to take a risk. Casual gems like Valakut and Crypt of Agadeem are sure to make it to the battlefield somewhere. And who knows? Cascade Swans burst on to the scene after regionals; maybe the next great deck is sitting on your kitchen table right now.

So what do I recommend? None of the above. My list is so crazy nobody has posted it yet. Interested? Then come back for part two tomorrow!

Until tomorrow,

Sean

Sean@power9pro.com

@SeanP9P on Twitter

Breaking News: States Returns for 2009

The popular States program (Champs in Canada) will be returning for 2009, albeit in a slightly different form. Like last year, tournament organizers are to thank for this event as Wizards of the Coast has discontinued their support of the program. According to reports, the event, to be officially referred to as the 09’s, will be held across North America on December 5th. In the past, States was the first major event after a new block’s release. The delay this year stems from the additional hurdles that tournament organizers had to overcome in planning the event without Wizards of the Coast. As a result of this lack of support, prizes will be restricted to product and playmats produced by the TO network, rather than the promotional foils of years past. Expect last year’s plaque, unique DCI card and free tournament entry for the year for the winner to return. The entry fee will be fixed at $25.00 USD regardless of location and the format will once again be Standard.

Wizards’ lack of support is reportedly due to complaints from players in other regions where Champs was not held last year. It would appear the company is focusing it’s efforts on other programs such as Magic Game Day, already confirmed to be returning for Zendikar.

Thanks to WestCan Events for the tip.

Follow me on www.Twitter.com/SeanP9P for the latest on this and other stories as they develop.

-Sean

Sean@Power9Pro.com


PTQ: Austin Tournament Report *3rd*

Last time I wrote to you guys it was about the majesty of Boat Brew. Today I walk you though a Tournament Report playing the deck. Let’s get started.

As per usual I get to the tournament site wishing I had more sleep, I look around and see many familiar faces and fill in my decklist. What I’m playing isn’t much of a surprise seeing as I posted my list on the forums a couple of weeks before. Player meeting, pairings are posted and I whip my Dragons’s Egg and get to work.

Round 1: Green White Little Kid piloted by Travis. Without being mean, I kind of knew I had this match as soon as I sat down. Travis was in his early teens and played a budget version of the deck. I have nothing against budget players, once upon a time I was there myself, but I knew he wasn’t going to win the PTQ.
1-0

Round 2: Jordan with Fae. This matchup was close. I feel pretty bad because in game 3 I used Ajani to kill a Mistbind Clique when there was still a Scion of Oona in play, which was only pointed out later. I had the Path in hand so the match result likely would have been the same but even still I feel bad for not catching my mistake.
2-0

Round 3: BW tokens by Russell ‘the Muscle’. Russell is a top local player, long story short; he has not one, not two, but all 4 Zealous Persecutions game 2 and your game 1 is pretty bad against them.
2-1

At this point I’m pretty mad because I lose to the only BW tokens player I can see which was my worst matchup in the tournament (no swans in the room). Whatever, 3-0 should get me to the top8.

Round 4: Barrett with Jund. I blow him out the way boat brew does. Jund just can’t deal with Reveillark and friends.
3-1

Round 5: John with Jund. I win the easy pairing again.
4-1

Round 6: Liam’s Red Burn. My bad luck from round 3 is repaid with this third great pairing. It’s practically unlosable. Sorry Liam.
5-1

Now I’m thinking I draw in and I’m golden… If only.

Round 7: The Pairdown. David with BW tokens. I’m on tilt because I have to play AND it’s vs. the only other BW deck in the tournament. It takes three games but I win a nail-biter. I can’t understate how important sweepers are in this matchup. Bonus points if you can take out a Mutavault with one.
6-1

Top 8 Announced. I’m in first and my buddy Tyler looks about ready to eat his non-Green Bay hat (that’s what you get for insulting my deck before the tournament!).

Quarters: Tyler with Cascade LD. I’m not sure if you guys have seen this deck but it’s lot of fun. It just plays bounce, LD and cascade to get more LD. Basically; it punishes decks with vivid lands and loses to Elves. Also worth mentioning is that Tyler is a very good player, he has played in Worlds before and is a frequent top8er at local PTQs.

I lose the roll. I’m informed that this is indeed bad news. At one point I played a second land. I died the next turn. We sideboard. His draw is slow and I win the game despite sideboarding like an idiot. I sideboard again, still not correctly (I left the guttural response in the board which was terrible). I win a tight game on the back of BFT (you may think that he isn’t good in this matchup but he is).

FYI, the right way to sideboard is to cut your expensive crap and replace it with Guttural Response, Pithing Needle, Path and BFT. You just want to resolve stuff, use Path as Rampant Growth and attack. Pithing Needle turns Fulminator Mage into a crappy bear.
7-1

I look around and I’m happy, only Elf decks remain.

Semis: Francis with Elves. Francis is another good local player, winning PTQs and attending Worlds in the past. I lose game one after mulling to 6 on the draw, keeping the 2 land double Specral Procession hand and never hit the third land drop. Francis killed me nice and slow on account of his mull to 5. He then informs the crowd that he is pretty sure that it’s the only way for him to win a game. Game 2, I win off a Siege-Gang. The rubber match will deicide if I make it to my first PTQ finals.

I’ve never seen someone play as tight with elves as Francis did in game 3. He expertly holds back cards hoping to bait a sweeper. I’m able to make him dump his hand before cleaning the board. I’m left with an Ajani with a counter and a second one in hand. At first he just says draw go (I find out later he drew Deathmark, Snakeform and a land) and then plays a Wren’s Run Vanquisher. I kill it with Ajani. Then he draws Cloudthresher (nice topdeck!) and kills Ajani with its ability. I take 7 and drop my second Ajani keeping his dude taped. He then draws a Putrid Leech and follows it up with a Loxodon War-Hammer. I lose, drawing 6 straight lands. To be perfectly honest I’m a little upset to lose that way but in all fairness, the only reason Francis won was because he played so well earlier in the game. If he didn’t, I would have still had a Spectral Procession in hand after the Wrath and I would have likely won before he got to the Cloudthresher. It sucks to lose to such a good matchup but that’s how it goes sometimes.

Franics ended up losing to the mirror in the finals and Red Deer’s ‘Curly’ Andrew won the plane ticket. Overall it was a good tournament. I would have loved to go to Austin but a box of product was an OK consolation prize and I should gain some rating points.
Hopefully you liked my two-part epic on Boat Brew. Once again I have to strongly recommend it as the deck to beat and you can bet that I’m going to play it at Nationals. If you have any questions or comments about the deck please go ahead and post in the comments.

Until next time.

-Sean, SeanP9P on Twitter

A Boat Brew Primer

Just lately Boat Brew has been deemed a bad deck. People could not be more wrong. The way the Standard metagame has shifted to Elves and Fae and gives Boat Brew the perfect chance to shine again.

First off, you might be wondering ‘what does this deck do?’ Simple. Every card is a two-for-one of some type. Siege-Gang, Mogg Fanatic, Ranger of Eos, each of these cards are more than some big dumb guy. Your goal is generate card advantage to the point where your opponent is top-decking while you are crashing in with your 8/8 Figure of Destiny.

I first started advocating this deck before PT: Kyoto. Jan Ruess Top 8ed with a list I liked pretty much right away. I took out the Banefires for an extra Plains and the fourth Path to Exile and I started winning FNMs left and right. Since then the metagame has shifted a great deal and new cards entered the format. By the time Regionals came around everyone considered the deck to be dead. It wasn’t. I personally piloted a version of the deck to a qualifying slot at Regionals and played it again at GP: Seattle. I ended up missing out on day two in the last round but I got there with no byes so overall I can’t complain.

An aside on Seattle: The GP was a great tournament. While I was there I visited the Museum of Flight and the Space Needle. I can’t begin to explain how awesome Seattle was. The museum was one of the best I’ve ever been to and you could see just about everything from atop the Space Needle. The city was great, the people friendly, the weather perfect and the public transportation system top notch. The tournament was relatively well run and fun was had by all. A message to Wizards: please continue to do GPs on the west coast, we all the love them.

Needle

Back on topic: Let’s get to the decklist!

4 Figure of Destiny

4 Mogg Fanatic

3 Knight of Meadowgrain

4 Spectral Procession

4 Ranger of Eos

3 Siege-Gang Commander

3 Reveillark

4 Ajani Vengeant

2 Path to Exile

3 Wrath of God

2 Volcanic Fallout

4 Rugged Prairie

4 Battlefield Forge

3 Reflecting Pool

4 Windbrisk Heights

6 Plains

4 Mountain

Sideboard

2 Volcanic Fallout

1 Wrath of God

2 Path to Exile

4 Pithing Needle

1 Burrenton Forge-Tender

3 Everlasting Torment

2 Guttural Response

Yes that’s 61 cards. Normally I’d say that’s terrible. In this deck it can’t be helped. The mana base demands a 25th land. You might also notice a bit of a change from Jan’s list from February. It’s mostly the same in gameplan just with different cards for the updated metagame. We have moved BFT to the sideboard along with two Paths to make room for WoG. We swapped Knight of the White Orchid for Meadowgrains and cut one, adding two Fallouts. These changes make the deck stronger versus the various aggro decks in the field. Elves in particular becomes an excellent matchup. Speaking of matchups, lets cover the most popular ones briefly.

5CB/Jund/Chapin’s Deck – Whatever you want to call it, this matchup is fantastic. Calling it a bye isn’t accurate but you do have a lot more threats then they have answers. Just keep dropping Figures and Siege-Gangs one at a time until they run out of removal.

Elves – This matchup is very good versus stock lists. It gets a little worse if people have a good sideboard plan for you but since Boat Brew is considered bad right now they often don’t. The plan is to plan just enough guys to make them commit to the board then sweep it. If done correctly, you will have something left in a hand and they won’t.

Red – Calling this a bye wouldn’t be far off. Everything you do is a major problem. Ajani will buy you a fair amount of life, Anathemancer is pretty bad against you and they have to kill your Knights on sight.

Fae – This is a favorable matchup. Things can get out of hand if you fail to draw the right cards (Fallout, Path), especially game one. It’s about 60%. Remember to save your Fanatics for their Scion of Oonas, if they land two of them its bad news for you.

B/W Tokens – Kind of a coin flip. Slightly unfavorable if anything. You have a stronger late game then them so it’s crucial to use your sweepers to get you there.

Swanbo (Swans Combo) – Awful game one. Unless they self-destruct, game one is unwinnable on the draw and bad on the play. Your only reasonable route to victory is using Ajani to buy time while Figure & co. kills them. Turn 3 Assault is pretty much unstoppable. Games 2 and 3 get much better with our sideboard, it brings the matchup to about even, depending on their build.

Before I go, a few random musings on the deck. First, Meadowgrain is a stud. He is great in a number of matchups in the meta right now. Life gain is often the difference versus decks with Bitterblossom. Running 4 would likely be a mistake because he is one of the worst cards to draw after about turn 4 but I still like him a lot.

Secondly, the numbers of cards main vs. side (WoG, Fallout, Path) seems funny but I’m still tweaking. You want to have a total 5 sweepers and a total of 5 things to kill a Chameleon Colossus maindeck all while attempting to have as many good cards as possible against the Fae. This all leads me to the 3/2/2 arrangement. Its not ideal but Its been working for me lately.

Thirdly, about Swans. Needle is pretty good in the meta but the only reason to play 4 is to have game versus Swans. Also, Everlasting Tormant only comes in this matchup. If we were OK with throwing away that matchup we could tweak the sideboard to shore-up our other less than ideal matchups (Fae and BW Tokens). A third Guttural Response, Austere Command and Aura of Silence all seem like reasonable options. If you don’t expect to see many Swans in your metagame then I might try swapping 2 Torments for Commands to shore up your Token matchup.

Lastly, BFT isn’t strictly necessary. Jund and Red are already good matchups, BFT just puts them over the top. Cutting him would be ok if you don’t expect to see those decks in full force.

Anyway, that’s pretty much my take on the deck. It’s my pick for best deck in the metagame right now and it will continue to be as long as people overlook it. The deck will pretty much die after Magic 2010 so I would recommend you pick it up and take it to a local PTQ while you still can.

Join me next time for a PTQ report and more random musings.

-Sean

A Standard Review of Alara Reborn

Hi everyone! I’m Sean and this is my first blog here for Power 9 Pro. Before I get on with today’s article I just wanted to briefly thank everyone at Power 9 Pro for this amazing opportunity and fellow Albertan and team member Zak for the warm welcome. Now let’s get started!

As I’m sure you all know, Alara Reborn is being released all over the globe this week and in honor of the occasion I thought it would be nice to review the set. If you follow the blog regularly, I’m sure you know that Joe has already done a full set review. Instead of attempting to replicate his work, I’m going to do a more in depth countdown of the top 10 cards in the set for play Standard play for regionals and the upcoming PTQ season.

#10: Thought Hemorrhage

While obviously similar to cranial extraction, I don’t expect to see this card crop up in too many decks at regionals. The reason? The absence of a combo deck for this card to prey on. On the other hand, taking cryptic command out of a 5 color control player’s deck can be very frustrating and it is possible that 5 color could use this card to combat the sanity grindings in the turbo mill deck.

Overall Assessment: Sideboard Utility

#9 Soul Manipulation

If the card was printed a couple of years ago it would be considered terrible but now, with counterspells being so much weaker, this guy will likely see play as a one or two of in faeries, 5 color control or similar. Many of these decks already play remove soul (in the sideboard, if not the main) and the option to return a mulldrifter, sower of tempation, fulminator mage or spellstutter sprite is pretty powerful against the agro decks, making the switch likely.

Overall Assessment: Maindeck Deck Utility

#8 Behemoth Sledge

Armadillo cloak has been a favorite for years and this guy removes the two-for-one awkwardness that auras have. The mana cost is steep but once online it is an absolute monster. People have been quick to draw comparisons to loxodon warhammer and I find the sledge to be superior in decks already running green and white, particularly with the positive interaction with Doran, the siege tower.

Overall Assessment: Maindeck Singleton

#7 Qasali Pridemage

Viridian zealot was played in a number of formats and this guy has a lot of obvious advantages to him. He can show up, grant exalted then pop before blockers if necessary or arrive on turn 2 and simply attack as a watchwolf. For now he might be relegated to sideboard duty, brought in at the sight of a bitterblossom, but I see this guy as awesome utility.

Overall Assessment: Sideboard Utility

#6 Jund Hackblade

This guy is exactly what I want my aggro drops to do, attack! All of the hackblades are good in limited but only this guy is sick in the right constructed deck. Tatermunge manic, uptap, hackblade, attack for 5? Yes, please! Scroll down to the end of the article if you want to see a decklist of this guy in action.

Overall Assessment: Playset Maindeck

#5 Maelstrom Pulse

Vindicate was a great card. Putrefy was a great card. Does that mean maelstrom pulse will be a great card? No, not necessarily. Vindicate was ridiculous because you could drop creatures on the first two turns then blow up their second land drop and win before they knew what him them. Other times you also had the utility the kill a creature or enchantment when you needed to. Putrefy at instant speed gave you many options, if it was in standard today you could bet that we could see it kill figure of destiny after mana was poured into it, wall of reverence before life was ever gained or plumveil before it could ever block. Pulse can kill multiple things which is strong (particularly versus ranger of eos decks) and can hit a wide range of targets but I just don’t think it quite warrants the $20 price tag. Anyway, it still earns #5 on the countdown.

Overall Assessment: Playset Maindeck

#4 Zealous Persecution

You might not expect to see this card so high on the list but I really believe it will be a standout at regionals. It fits nicely as a three-of in BW token’s sideboard, blowing out the mirror, boat brew and the fae under the correct circumstances. This card is not just a combat trick; you can use it very offensively as well. Kill your spectral procession tokens and get in for 6 with mine? Activate windbrisk heights, flipping out cloudgoat ranger? Sick.

Overall Assessment: Sideboard Standout

#3 Terminate

Target creature dies. Dead. No comebackies. This reprint is no joke and I expect to see a couple of copies slide into 5-color control. The only problem with is card is that it is red, normally not an issue, but it can’t take down burrenton forge tender, which will prevent its play in jund agro at regionals.

Overall Assessment: Maindeck Deck Utility

#2 Meddling Mage

Placing this card at #2 is a bit unfair. Everyone expects it to see play like it once did in extended but that is not going to happen, at least not in the current format. Its first problem is where to place it. It doesn’t slide nicely into any deck right now. It’s possible that a version of esperlark will show up playing a rogue’s gallery of ‘unfair’ cards such as tidehollow sculler, sower of temptation, thoughtseize, lapse of certainity, fulminator mage, reveillark and mage and its also possible that the mage hardly sees play at all pre-rotation. Either way, it’s a huge beating to name volcanic fallout for a lot of decks.

Quick aside: Meddling Mage appears to have had a sex change since last we saw him. I doubt this will have much of an effect on his playability but I like the old art more.

Overall Assessment: Maindeck Deck Utility

#1 Bloodbraid Elf

I’m not going to lie, a 4 mana 3/2, even with haste, is hardly anything to write home about. But of course, cascade is the nuts. It’s just stupid. Ranger of eos is one of my favorite cards in standard at the moment and this guy is like is cousin with extreme anger management issues. My only issue with the card is that the deck that he fits into best is kind of sketchy. Sometimes you have these insane draws where you kill them on turn 4 and others a single mogg fanatic ruins your day.

Overall Assessment: Maindeck Standout

Anyways, the deck:

4 Figure of Destiny

4 Tattermunge Maniac

4 Jund Hackblade

4 Goblin Outlander

4 Boggart Ram-Gang

4 Bloodbraid Elf

2 Tarfire

3 Terror

4 Flame Javelin

4 Blighting

3 Mountain

4 Graven Cairns

4 Sulfurous Springs

4 Fire-Lit Thicket

4 Karpulsan Forest

4 Auntie’s Hovel

Sideboard:

4 Volcanic Fallout

4 Guttural Response

4 Anathemancer

1 Terror

2 Slave of Bolas

The deck’s gameplan is extremely simple, get in early points then finish them off with haste creatures and burn spells. For sideboarding, volcanic fallout comes in against the token decks, terror for the white decks, guttural response for the cryptic command decks, anathemancer for 5 color control and slave of bolas is something I’ve been testing for versus reveillark. Thought hemorrhage could be tested as well but I have the feeling that this deck will want to be more aggressive than that card would allow.

I would consider this deck to be a rough draft, a starting point to improve upon. If you want to play something different for FNM or regionals, without windbrisk heights or cryptic commands, you might consider this deck as an option. If you do give this deck a try please sound off in the comments.

So that ends my first article for Power 9 Pro. I intended to write some honorable mentions to supplement the top 10 but I seems to have run out of time. Please let me know what you thought of the blog entry, either via the comments or by e-mail at sean@power9pro.com, I would be happy to answer any of your questions or comments.

-Sean