Friday, January 22, 2010

Too Many Spoilers

Too many spoilers! I barely know what to think anymore.

Let's add some focus to all these new cards. I'll look at existing Standard archetypes and see how Worldwake changes them specifically. Or if they change at all.

There is no doubt Worldwake has definite impact on the metagame. I see many possible new decklists coming. I just have no idea which ones will be any good. Therefore I'll focus only on the ones we are familiar with.

To catch up on Spoilers, check out the Spoiler Page. It was last updated this morning with a new Dragon, a XGG spell, the UB Manland (which I totally called as a 2/2 unblockable but it's actually better than that), and more.


So does the Big Menace get anything? Probably does. When you encompass three colors and can reliably play spells that cost 1BB, 2GG, BG, and 2RR, there's no way you don't get SOMETHING out of each new set. It is a common complaint I hear: "How could Wizards give Jund more stuff to work with??? It is already too good!" But the set is largely designed a year or so in advance! Wizards is not going to cater to every current Standard Player's needs!

Yes, they might push some designs ahead or pull others behind based on Standard, but this is a rare occurrence. They did it for Faeries primarily because it was obvious they designed Faeries to be way too synergistic. On the other hand there are valid ways to combat Jund. But we are missing some key card pieces to make those strategies work.

What I think Jund needs to be EVEN BETTER than it is right now:

  • A two-drop that replaces Putrid Leech. I LOVE Putrid Leech, but after much playing with it, I have found it getting less and less good. I am thinking of testing Explore over Rampant Growth in the more mid-range version with Siege-Gangs. It might help to run 26 lands in these versions so that you are more likely to draw into land with the Explore. It's still kind of a crappy Cascade, but probably less so than Rampant Growth because of the chance of drawing into spells.
  • A way to deal with Shroud creatures. Jund already has things to deal with UW Shroud creatures actually. So this isn't that important in my opinion. (GSS, Nighthawk, Malakir) But more and better tools never hurt.
  • Efficient removal for Kor Firewalker that also deals with Baneslayer Angel. This thing is kind of annoying. Deathmarks out of the sideboard work, but is there any maindeck answer we can use? Smother doesn't kill Baneslayer. Maybe Doomblade will have to suffice despite being terrible against Vampires. 
  • A semi-reliable way to combat the land denial strategy. Spreading Seas and Ruinblaster are both way too good against Jund. Jund is technically at fault for being too greedy, but obviously it would be nice to have a way to fight it anyway. Things like Rampant Growth and Explore may help. I also think any excuse to run more non-basics would also be nice. Unfortunately... manlands.
Cards to try:
  • Explore, as I said already
  • Abyssal Persecutor. Yes, the dumb 6/6 thing. Many people are divided on him, but that is all the more reason to test it, don't you see? This is an incredibly polarizing card! That means it's borderline excellent and borderline not good enough. Testing is necessary to find out which one. Jund is fine running this guy with a little more emphasis on black than green. It's "just a beater", but it also does a great job of holding off a board. So it's still pretty "midrange" in its use. Both control decks and aggro decks are thinking of running it, so its dual nature is pretty perfect for Jund. The next question is just how to get rid of it... Jund runs anywhere from 4 to 8 ways to kill this guy. If you want to play him, you'll need to up the removal count. Eldrazi Monument is an interesting option in token-heavy builds. 
  • Chain Reaction. Is she serious? Yes... why wouldn't I be? It's like a cheaper Caldera Hellion out of the sideboard. I don't see its being used right now, but it might be good against Vampires or White Weenies or any token strategies -- if they arise. One of Jund's known weaknesses is to a) A variety of threats b) Lots of little things c) Too many Pulse targets. Jund Charm already kind of handles a lot of these issues, but Chain Reaction is a way to deal with something like "Cloudgoat Ranger 2.0" (Emeria Angel is fairly close) if it comes about. Without losing cards. I'm staring kind of hard at "Bestial Menace" which looks like it could be really annoying in the right deck.
  • Bestial Menace. Siege-Gang is way better, but I mean, I'm just throwing this one out there. In a more "green-centric" build with Masters and Garruks and Oran-Riefs, maybe there is possibility. 
  • Raging Ravine, Lavaclaw Reaches. I don't know if Jund really needs the extra reach, but I don't mind sticking a single manland in, as long as I'm not running Oran-Rief. Neither of these lands will replace ANY of the M10 duals. That would be incredibly wrong. Having things enter tapped is suicidal in Jund.  But we can get away with one or two. I like the Ravine a little more than the Reaches. It gets out of Bolt range pretty quickly. 

This is an easy one. Well I think it is. Wizards is giving this tribe a lot of support. It is the one deck we know will obviously get better with Worldwake.
  • Urge to Feed. This is really, really good. And only Vampires can fully utilize it. It will probably replace Disfigure. I don't even mind the idea of violating the Swamp-only rule and just running it next to Ajani Goldmane. And just going all-out aggro with Vampires. But it probably isn't a great idea. I just like the picture of pumping, giving everyone vigilance, swinging, before blockers killing a guy, tapping all my dudes for the second pump. That is pretty greedy. Let's stop the daydream. I wish Eldrazi Monument gave dudes Vigilance, too. Ah that would be so nuts.
  • Kalastria Highborn. As people have said, it can probably replace Vampire Hexmage, which isn't so great right now. The Highborn is extra reach, and the 4-point life swing is no laughing matter. This is a very interesting "solution" to DOJ also. 
  • Anowon. Not good enough. 
What does Vampires need to be better?
  • Probably more synergy. A lord that isn't so wishy-washy like Nocturnus. In my opinion, Vampires is sickeningly midrangey right now. And I really dislike it! If it were just more aggressive I would play the deck. Synergy adds value without costing the Vampire deck anything. So that's really what I want for Vampires. 
  • Vampires has plenty of good removal, a good spell in Mind Sludge, good card draw. It's just the creatures that underwhelm me. Better, stronger, nuttier creatures please. 
  • An answer to pro-black dudes like GSS that isn't Gatekeeper. Yeah, I guess that's it.
Blue-based Control

I honestly have NO idea where blue-based control is going right now. Obviously Jace is the Man. But blue needs a lot more to keep up with the tide.

Will LSV's RWU control still be a thing? With Vampires on the rise, it either needs total redirection or needs to be scrapped entirely, in my opinion. With the sheer variety of decks going up, not down, it can't make it as "the deck that just beats Jund" anymore. Maindeck Flashfreezes and Spreading Seas is not going to help you as much as hurt you. I think everyone is mentally tired of Jund; the number of Jund players seems to be going down... (Although honestly-honestly? I still think it'll be the strongest deck post-Worldwake. I have seen nothing to suggest otherwise.)

But perhaps a retooling will work. So far, the spoilers have not been promising. Control gets some card draw in the set. But where are the "answers"? Control needs answers to things otherwise it can't do its job. What does UWx Control need?
  • Something better than Earthquake. Earthquake is great except it hurts your precious life total (the only life total that matters in a control vs aggro matchup) and doesn't hit fliers like Emeria Angel & co. DOJ is oddly not the major hoser like it was back in the days it was known as WOG. It just comes down too slowly. It's still good, no doubt. Just not the big deal it used to be. Control needs a way to answer turn-3 and 4 blowouts. 
  • A real adversary to Blightning. A way to punish the opponent for playing this card. Or a way to nullify the effects. Losing two cards isn't too bad, but it's losing two cards AND getting planeswalkers killed that tends to be painful. Or getting double-Blightning'ed. The current answer is Flashfreeze, which is again, really subpar. 
  • A way to answer permanents. I've played RWU and laugh (at the deck) when I can't deal with a single Luminarch Ascension or something of that sort. You know, any permanent. I don't like maindecking Oblivion Ring. It's just clanky and is pretty bad against Maelstrom Pulse. If I don't get counterspells that can deal with these things, then I at least need a way to deal with spells after they've resolved. 
Control doesn't need a whole lot. Just a little nudge here and there. Let's look at what they did give blue.
  • TREASURE HUNT. Hahaha. What a funny name. This card is pretty good. I think it will change how control decks are built. Or maybe it won't be run at all. I'm not sure. I like its interaction with Halimar Depths, which let's you rearrange the top of your library for free. It still looks more like a Combo enabler, but here's to hoping it can be used in Control profitably. 
  • Jace. I still don't think anyone will run more than 3 copies of it in a deck, but feel free to prove me wrong. Obviously it is good. Obviously it will get run. But will it revitalize Control by itself? ???
  • Manlands. Lands that do other things are super cool... Celestial Colonnade will no doubt replace many a Sejiri Refuge. 
  • Mysteries of the Deep. Control needs more reasons to keep mana open to run this and like it. These days the deck just taps out every turn. But who knows. We haven't seen all of Worldwake yet.
  • Chain Reaction. Possibly decent sideboard card. Although I would consider DOJ first if you can run DOJ. ((Actually now that I think of it, DOJ kills your own walls and Sphinxes, which is kind of a reason to consider this over DOJ. And if they reprint Swans of Bryn Argoll :D))

RG Valakut gets Explore. It's no small addition either. It is really good for Valakut decks.

Junk/Tokens gets Abyssal Persecutor and Bestial Menace. Yes, I'm seriously considering these as options. Leave no man behind.

Every mono-colored deck gets something. I'm sure you can figure out all that for yourself.

I need to get breakfast; it's already 2 PM. I will be making minor edits later. Cheers!