I wrote this last Monday, but changed and edited it into the below version. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my graphics just the way I wanted, but any later and this article might become irrelevant. Enjoy!
As I write this, I’m in the car coming back from a camping trip with my family to the Rocky Mountains, so I’m sorry If I haven’t returned anyone’s emails, comments, or twitter updates, and I promise that I will get to them as soon as I possibly can. Also, I have not seen any decklists for post-M10 lists, so forgive me if I miss some crazy new deck.
Well, M10 has been released for about a week and a half at the time of writing, I’m eager to start playing some more standard, in preparation for Magic Game Day in August. I really wanted to play a new deck that was made possible after Magic: 2010. I developed a list of decks that I thought would be tournament viable. In no particular order, here they are:
GB(w?) The Rock
I thought that M10 would make a nice stage for Suicide Black to make its return. For those of you who don’t know, Suicide Black is a deck that was originally bent on a turn one Dark Ritual into a Hypnotic Specter. This almost immediately demands an answer from the opponent, lest they risk losing their most important cards. Obviously, a turn-one specter is not a possibility in modern Standard, but the concept of attacking the opponents hand and board position simultaneously is still possible of winning games. I’ve been testing a deck like this that uses a playset of Thoughtseize, Duress, Bitterblossom, Black Knight, and Hypnotic Specter to apply early pressure on the opponent, and provide minimal opportunities for answers. I also use Child of Night and Tendrils of Corruption to mitigate the life loss. Unfortunately, the deck lacks an answer to a Chameleon Colossus, aside from a few Mutavaults and Gargoyle Castles, which can be trouble.
Magic 2010 sees the resurgence of new tribal “lords” which give pump effects to their specific tribes. The one that I’m mostly happy about is Merfolk Soverign, which makes Uw Fish a viable archetype. Although it’s no Lord of Atlantis, it still makes your Silvergill Adepts stronger, which is really what merfolk is all about. This combined with my new favourite card Sleep make for a deadly onslaught of merfolk. Backed up by proper countermagic, even a few merfolk should be able to win the game with the eight tap effects that the deck should run (Cryptic Command and Sleep). After playtesting Merfolk for a bit, it seems like a solid archetype that would definitely be powerful enough to take on a PTQ. It also has great sideboard potential, able to play Flashfreeze, Meddling Mage, Pithing Needle, and Safe Passage based on the deck it’s facing. The deck’s tribal interactions are just icing on the cake, so I highly reccommend playing a Merfolk deck at your next standard tournament.
One card that I’m a huge fan of from M10 is Cudgel Troll. It provides an excellent beater, and now Terror and Incinerate have been ousted from standard in favour of Lightning Bolt and Doom Blade, which allow for the possibly of regeneration. Thus, I believe that a creature that pretty much only dies to Path to Exile is a valuable asset, assuming you have enough green mana. Black Knight is also a card that provides a distinct advantage against many decks, and coupled with Great Sable Stag, this deck just pumps out threats that are hard to deal with. This is another deck that will make use of the newly-reprinted Duress, and although an overall slower deck, I think that it will prove to be quite viable.
With the reprints of both Ball Lightning and Lightning Bolt, red decks have a lot to smile about these days. I envision a red-green build that only splashes green for cards like Bloodbraid Elf, which promise to result on more damage being produced. Just the thought of cascading an elf into a Ball Lightning for 9 points of damage got my inner red mage excited. Unfortunately, I don’t see a lot more than that happening with this deck, as the quality of fast burn isn’t enough to support the deck. I haven’t tested this deck at all though, nor do I have a full List for it, so I would peruse Gatherer a bit more before calling it completely out of contention. Due to the red decks inherent low land count, it demands a large quantity of spells, and if a deck is forced into playing either more land than warranted, or sub-par spells, it will not be powerful enough to be a mainstream contender. That, and the fact that the whole deck does to Burrenton Forge-Tender makes it the deck that I’m least sure of in the post-M10 Standard.
If an aggressive red deck is what I’m least certain of, then I’m putting most of my money on a mono-white soldiers build to dominate the top tables at tournaments. I’ve found that the building of this deck in particular is extremely similar to the building of Faeries. This is because there are some cards that are automatic four-ofs, while others are extremely debatable. However, although many slots can differ, the decks may have a very similar play experience. Cards like Captain of the Watch will be played, because of the sheer power they have to change the game. The new white sorcery Harms Way has a great place in this deck, easily mitigating the potential devastation caused by Volcanic Fallout. The plethora of pump effects make it a more stable tokens build, as making all your guys X/3 is not that difficult.
Without the presence of wrath of god, your army becomes near-impossible to deal with once 3 toughness is reached. Thus, your opponent becomes forced into either wasting spot removal or making unfavourable combat decisions in order to get rid of your threats. Unlike current Kithkin decks, your main pump effects (Honor of the Pure and Veteran Armorsmith) don’t die to a board sweeper before turn 5, so that your tokens will continue to be powerful as the game progresses. The funny thing about this deck is that the longer your opponent staves you off, the stronger your army becomes. Between multiple pump effects and activations of Ajani Goldmane, it’s not uncommon to have 4/4 tokens coming out of Elspeth, Knight-Errant and Captain of the Watch. Eventually, it just proves to be too much for any deck to handle.
I’ve already built 2 of these decks, and next week I’d like to give you some testing results from their matchups. As always, any questions or concerns can be emailed to me at zak -at- power9pro.com, or through my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/zturchan.