Thursday, January 7, 2010

Articles Out on Extended Right Now

Lot of fun things happening in the Magic world these days. Are you feeling it? It's the beginning of Extended season, and everyone is rushing to find the right deck.

Me? I really don't think I have the balls to play Extended PTQs right now. Or the cash. But hey, I still pay attention to this stuff. I can't write about it well, though, so I'm linking to people who can. And again, I'm paying attention and keeping eyes and ears peeled at all times, so that you don't have to.

Here's what people are saying about Extended...

[EDIT: Oh I forgot to mention one more list by Adrian Sullivan with Bloodchief Ascension.]

[EDIT2: Another list I found for budget players.]

Some of the budget options people are looking at now.

Mono-Red Burn. Read this article by Russell Tassicker. Perhaps we should better come to know him as "RT Asskicker?" Which is just a funny way to misread his Twitter name, @rtassicker. (You are going to think about it every time you see it now, aren't you?) He gives you the full price breakdown, which is really nice. This deck is probably THE cheapest to build right now.

All in Red. Different from Mono-Red Burn but probably cheap, too. I'm just assuming because it plays like 18 Mountains. PV talks about why he hates it in this article on SCG. It's Premium unfortunately. You can't read it without a paid account. Maybe you should just get one... anyway, it ramps into Demigods, Deus of Calamity, Empty the Warrens, and uses Blood Moon for disruption. Seems pretty straight-forward.

I completely agree with PV on his stance on red decks, by the way. Well, more or less. I think they can be a great metagame choice, but in general, you shouldn't run a deck that draws its 7 and already you know whether the hand will win or lose. Of all the kinds of decks you can run, this kind of deck gives you the least control over your matches. Pros have a hard time winning with red decks because of this -- the more control they have over their games, the more they are likely to do better because they're good players. HOWEVER, I would still go with Mono Red to certain tournaments if it was a REALLY good metagame choice. As I mentioned previously in my "Brief Predictions on the Future T2 Metagame" article. Right now in Standard, it is an awful choice because RWU crushes it. Which is an odd thing for a control deck to do perhaps, but I think the quality of our red cards has decreased since Lorwyn/Shadowmoor rotated out. (Also note that Red decks maindeck Quenchable Fire hahahaha.) Boros is probably better against them, especially if they only run 2 Earthquakes like LSV did. (I wonder what would happen if RDW added Siege Gangs... hm.)

Anyway, back to Extended.

Scapeshift. Everyone is writing about this deck. Here's an article by Lucas Siow from ChannelFireball. Another CFB article by Ben Stark. Zach Jesse wrote this one for StarCityGames. Gavin Verhey wrote this one also for SCG. The Scapeshift deck is rising in demand, and thus card prices are following fast. If you want to make this deck, I recommend buying some pieces now. Of course, on MTGO, the prices react much faster so they've probably already gone up a few times by now.

Someone linked me to this list here by Wizards very own Jacob Van Lunen. Read his article on it and see what you think. It's very cheap right now. Swathstorm, it is called.

I don't know if there are any other decks in Extended that are cheaper than these to build. Oh, right, Affinity. But no one plays that deck. I assume. (PV quotes, "I consider Affinity to be the worst deck in Extended, and I have no clue how this guy won the tournament." LOL I love PV. His opinions are very... opinionated.)

For a look at a new deck by Calcano, creator of Boros Bushwhacker, check out Mike Flores' article on the main wizard's site. It features Doran and is kind of a rehash of an older deck with disruption in the form of Thoughtseize. It runs other "good cards" - it is similar to Zoo but runs black for powerful removal and disruption. There are plenty of other decks to look at in the article as well.

For the record, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (PV for short) doesn't think Calcano's deck is good in Extended right now. For his opinion, check out his Premium Article. He checks out a couple alternative versions of Zoo that he prefers -- but right now he seems to think Saito's version is best. Saito's "fast" version being the one WITHOUT Baneslayer Angels. Kibler's version features the Angels as well as the Grove of the Burnwillows / Punishing Fire combo, which, considering it won PT Austin, will be the most popular version. I wouldn't be surprised if PV just showed up with Faeries to the next big tournament -- although he'd have to scope to make sure Mono Red isn't rampant, which on MODO it apparently is; in real life, it isn't so bad yet. (But given his luck he may just end up running into 3 of them in a row or something.)

Here's a rogue deck by Adrian Sullivan with Bloodchief Ascension. It's the third decklist down. Looks pretty basic. Uses Isochron Scepter to turn on the Ascension. Until you draw it, you stay alive by reducing their creature count. It may still surprise some people, so keep an eye out for it, and maybe consider playing it while it's still rogue-ish. Maybe not so much anymore, though, huh?

If you're totally confused about Extended, or want to see other popular decklists, read Brad Nelson's article which posts a lot of popular ones. PV does, too, in his Premium article, but he mostly just bashes all the decks he doesn't like. If you agree with what PV says, it's a good read. I tend to pay attention when he speaks because, well, he's just a really good player. He has a very typical "Pro" mindset, also. It's always good to get that perspective just to see the way a true-blooded Spike thinks sometimes. He often provides insight other players don't pick up on, also. Especially about the Jund mirror match, which helped me with my sideboarding. ;)

I know I quote a lot from SCG and CFB, but honestly I think these two sites have accumulated the best writings on the game. Blackborder has gotten some Pros to write for them, but their site is so poorly formatted that I don't often feel like dealing with their site. If I see anything really worth mentioning I will probably do so. If you see anything, too, let me know.

I guess the question that follows is, if all you need to do is read SCG and CFG, why should you read this site?

I dunno; that's a good question. But be ready, because there are all kinds of topics I want to cover on Standard. Considering everyone is so focused on Extended, that leaves me open to just blab on and on about Standard as though there were no tomorrow.

I love the SCG Open Series, by the way. It really just makes Standard Season last foreeeverrrr. It is like strawberries in winter. Like indoor skiing in springtime. Like having a football season during nonfootball season (I don't watch football or know anything about it, so I say it like that.) It's as crazy as having a Savage Lands produce blue mana.

I guess that's not so crazy these days. Cheers.