Thursday, 2 February 2017

Last Brews Pre-PT AER: Upgrades and Miscellany

The Pro Tour is coming up in a few hours, so I'm going to power through the last of the brews I have now pretty rapid-fire. Starting with updated versions of some old standard decks. is my update to Aetherworks Marvel. Sultai are the colors I like here now. Noxious Gearhulk and World Breaker take the place of pretty good hits that are also castable. Aethertide Whale is a hit that lets you spin again. Renegade Map helps make Glint-Nest Crane much better (though its primary purpose is still to find the Marvel). And Ulamog is the biggest, best hit. is a very unfocused Bring to Light deck. It's certainly possible to get to 5 colors now. And there's quite a decent number of hits you can go for. But you want most of them to be fairly high in mana cost, but you need things to do early on.... well, I do think the Expertises help the deck, but I'm not hugely convinced this deck is quite where you need to be. But something to be aware of. Note that if this would help you Saheeli Combo, I could easily see that being very good, but a careful reading shows that BtL can't grab Planeswalkers, and only getting Guardian just isn't enough. is a look at a green ramp deck. Splashing colorless is pretty cheap, and Rishkar's Expertise is a Big Game. Possibly even more important is that Emrakul as the de facto big top end doesn't invalidate you nearly as much as it used to. Lots of mana plus lots of ways to use it makes the deck overall look pretty good, but you do have to be wary of highly synergystic decks (most notably combo decks), so probably those would need to fall out of favor, or you need to up your interaction a little, for it to be good. If it's just Copycat, then probably upping your Walking Ballista count can get you there. is an update to the deck I'd been calling "Jolly Green Giants". Woodland Wanderer feels so much better now that it doesn't have to face down Reflector Mage. And Rishkar's Expertise is pretty good in a deck looking to make 6/6s and 8/8s (though you don't want to cast the Wanderer off of it). Also, lots of the deck works with Winding Constrictor (man, that card is just fantastic). Quite possibly there should be a mix of more Anguished Unmaking in the main deck; the card seems pretty well positioned right now, with not so many super fast, powerful aggro decks. is the update of my RB control deck. The biggest gains it gets are from the removal of Copter and Emrakul, which squeezed it out either side. But Shock and Fatal Push help a bit, and Yahenni's Expertise is real. Probably not busted enough to be best, but just a solid collection of good cards can't be too bad.

Last but not least, Metalwork Colossus:

Trophy Mage helps us a little bit here, as does Scrap Trawler. But the main improvements are, of course, the Improvise Cards. Spire of Industry shows up as well, and Walking Ballista being fetchable in this deck is pretty nice - I only have one copy main, but between Inventor's Fair, Sanctum of Ugin, and Glint-Nest Crane, you have pretty good chance to find it. Also the Crane is exceptional in this deck - there are approximately a bajillion (I think it's 29?) artifacts. And it can crew Aethersphere Harvester to keep you alive - possibly there should be more of those (swapping a Caravan for one seems good for a lot of metagames).

Emerging into the new Standard

With the banning of Emrakul, we have a new adjustment in terms of finding the best top-end in the standard format. One way we might try to go about doing that is to look at the next on the list of everyone's favorite cost-reduced Eldrazi: Emerge creatures. In particular, Elder Deep-Fiend has a combination of bulk and tempo that just might thread the needle into being the Mistbind Clique-esque threat that people were predicting when it was first released. Additionally, Distended Mindbender seems pretty well positioned, with most decks playing pretty important cards in both the larger and smaller slots. And in all these cases, the loss of Emrakul means much less chance of Summary Dismissal happening. Flashing back a Kozilek's return also seems pretty potent in the format in general at this point (though it still matches up pretty poorly against Torrential Gearhulk).

My first attempt to get back in this area threw 'the kitchen sink' into the deck:

This list was probably too unfocused to be any good. So I split this up into two decks - one focused on Zombies:

One on getting value off of Trophy Mage:
The nice thing there is that Trophy Mage gets you multiple 3s to emerge off of, for lots and lots of value:

My favorite, of course though, is my pick for the sweetest, and that has to be going off with Emrakul's Influence:

All I really want to do is sac a Wretched Gryff to a Wretched Gryff, paying U to draw 3 cards. Is that really too much to ask for? This one is probably quite bad, because it's low on interaction and quite slow. But you do have a toolbox of interactive emergers, and if you can get a little time... well, you can really go off.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

More Sweet and Artifacty Standard Brews

Time for the sweetest deck I've brewed so far:
 The basic idea is to have Inspiring Statuary in play, with either Trail of Evidence or Metallurgic Summonings, then 'go off' by casting card draw spell after card draw spell for only the blue mana. Pore Over the Pages gets you your U replenished, and the 1-of Paradox Engine allows you to reuse all that gosh-darn mana. There are a number of win conditions - Summonings has to be the main one, but you can mill them out with Fleeting Memories, or alt-win off Mechanized Production as well.

The main weakness of the deck is that it's slooooow and not terribly interactive. The sideboard is built to help that a lot, but it's still probably a bridge too far to be great except in a very warped metagame.

Next, we have several decks that are abusing the improvise mechanics and/or.... EGGS.

The main idea here is that if you can get a Foundry Inspector in play, you have 16 cards that cost 0 and draw a card on dying. Scrap Trawler and Pia's Revolution add to the value party, and Ravenous Intruder is your Atog of free sacrificio. Reckless Fireweaver and Key to the City allow you to turn these into victory. The main concern I have here is that we don't have enough redundancy and, though the combo pieces more or less function independently, so you don't need all of them, I'm not sure if they're good enough by themselves. The mana base is also very confusing, because you have a bajillion cantripping eggs. version is even jankier, playing Inspiring Statuary with Main-deck Release the Gremlins for hilarity - tap 4 lands and 3 eggs, draw 3 make 3 2/2s seems decent. is UB and more of a value approach to a similar kind of deck, and is similar to that, but goes bigger.

Maybe my most hopeful for the archetype in general is this:

I'm pretty sure Herald of Anguish is the real deal. RB Gives us lots of sac outlets to give us some reliability there. Scrapheap Scrounger allows us to have lots of fodder over and over. Unlicensed Disintegration is just a very good removal spell. We get some pretty decent ability to go grindy out of the board as well.