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A Look at Standard Post Worlds

December 27, 2010

The first event of the New Year that is on my schedule is the Open
Series 5k in Kansas City. My plans are to start the new SCG season off with some decent
finishes so that I can get some player points and make attending future SCG events more
feasible and reasonable. My wife is on board with me working harder at qualifying for
the Pro Tour this year but doesn’t see the point of the lower tier tournaments. If I do well
at the Kansas Event it might help me convince her to let me take more weekend trips for
SCG events.

Honestly, Legacy is probably the format to play for the easiest points and highest chance
of a good money finish due to lower turnout and in my opinion generally less practiced
field. Every one can get a game of Standard going but it’s a lot harder to test Legacy
on a regular basis. That being said I don’t play to play Legacy. If I planned to attend a
Legacy GP this year I might put some focus on that format.

Instead my plan is to join the Standard Open and a Draft Open if possible. I feel very
confidant in my ability to win a 64 player draft. Standard on the other hand is so boring
and full of U/B and Valakut I could puke. Oh, and the jokers who run the Quest decks. I
never even see anyone play the only good list for Quest (W/G Vengevines). Quest decks
can have the best possible nut draw in standard. Turn two attack with a 7/7 memnite and
destroy your only land is pretty nutty. Odds of that happening are pretty low, but it never
fails that it happens the one time I face quest at each FNM.

My thoughts on Standard:
Tier 1 Decks include
– Valakut
– U/B Control
– Elves!
Tier 1.5 Decks include
– Vampires
– Genesis Wave
– U/W (all variants really)
Tier 2 Decks include
– Mono Black Control
– U/B with Vats main
– Quest
– Tempered Steel

What Meta Game do I predict for the SCG 5k? Well, even though it is two weeks away
not a lot will change between now and the event. World’s was the last major tournament
between the two events so Kaw-Go, U/B and the ever present Valakut will be the bulk
of the Meta. My predicted metagame would be something like Valakut 35%, U/B 20%,
U/W variants 20%, Vampires 10%, Elves 5%, BUG/RUG/Wave 5%, and Quest/Steel/
RDW/Rogue 5%.

The purpose of knowing a metagame is to try to beat it. Find the deck or brew a list that
exploits the expected best decks, and the largest percentage of the field. Obviously, I’d
rather auto lose to Quest and RDW than to Valakut or U/B. I’m much more likely to face
Valakut or U/B and as the rounds go on they tend to be the top tables. Clearest way to
attack this metagame in my opinion is to attack lands. With so many dual lands available
in standard all the ally color decks run a metric ton of duals and very few basics.
Ruin-blaster would be great if ruin-blaster was better against public enemy #1 Valakut.
What? How could ruin-blaster be bad against Valakut, Valakut is a non-basic after all.
Generally, Valakut decks resolve a titan and if you are red and not playing Mark of
Mutiny you are going to die when the Valakut player gets to untap. That one Valakut
you destroyed won’t really matter when they search up two more, Harrow, Cultivate and
just blow you to smithereens.

A better answer to Valakut is blowing basic lands with cards like Spreading Seas and
Acidic Slime. The best part is that this plan also works quite well against control decks.
Control decks obviously want to sit on counters and will not commit much to the board
they can not protect.  If control can never get past 4 mana they just have to raw
dog Jace and other spells which makes their counters dead cards while all your counters are very live.

I’m not going to post my unfinished list yet, but I am working on a little brew for this
event that is quite spicy and so far just utterly wrecks control decks. I haven’t got as
much testing in as I’d like but I feel like my match vs. Valakut will be insanely in my
favor which is all I could ask for. Having a deck that is 65%+ vs. Valakut, U/B, and U/W
would be well positioned. I’m fairly confidant this deck has what it takes and might be
more like 80% on the play and 65% on the draw against the Big 3.

If this deck does not pan out I’ll probably play U/B or Elves. Valakut is hated on heavily
and everyone knows how to play against the deck. There is too little room to innovate
that deck. Elves slip under the radar despite being a VERY strong deck. The reason to
play U/B is it is solid against almost every deck. It’s not amazingly better against the
field but has a slight edge and play skill really can win games with this deck. Problem is
the mirror is just utterly blow-out-my-brains annoying.

Thanks for reading,


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