Saturday, 21 January 2017

Post-AER Standard Brews Part I: Best Card and Some Blue Brews

I know that generally I start out talking about a set with Limited Analysis. I may try to do that at some point, but in this case, my time had me tied up after the full set info was released and before Pre-release, so I wasn't able to math it out then, and now... well, there aren't too many things I can think so much to look at there, and I'm far more interested in the constructed shake-up. So I'm going to start out with that - leading with my pick for the best card in the set (for Standard - Fatal Push has to be it for older formats):

Yeah, the land. And 'the' is right, because it's the only one, but it's very, very good. It provides decks that want to play Eldrazi more colorless sources that are actual dual lands. It provides multi-color fixing. And it lets artifact-featuring aggro decks have significantly better mana as well, without needing to play ETB tap lands. Let's start with a deck that's a riff on an old favorite, which Spire of Industry plays a prominent role in:

That's right, Mono U Eldrazi. Here, we have 11 cheap artifacts for the Spire, making it reasonably consistent as a blue source (though not stellar). It's one of a couple major improvements the deck received this set, along with Metallic Mimic and Heart of Kiran. The Mimic is big in e.g. turning your Skyspawners into 3/2 fliers that come with 2/2 scions, which is actually quite a good rate. The land is actually pretty darn important in getting the mana to work out ok - we can run 14 C sources plus 4 Hedron crawlers (and scions from Skyspawner), which should be good enough, I think; 10 islands would normally be light, but getting to supplement with 1-shots off Aether Hub and the Spire, we should be ok there, too. The hard part is definitely getting up to UU for emerging Elder Deep-Fiend, but I think that generally we should be ok.

The sideboard is very rough - you can play these cards, but there are lots of options. Might also note that Stoneforge Masterwork is one - but might be better at home in a deck with more scion-production. To fight the Saheeli Combo, this deck has Heart of Kiran, Thought-Knot Seer, generally having big things to attack, EDF to tap down, and counterspells (plus Warping Wail) to disrupt.

Another deck that Spire plays into (at least one version of) is possibly the one I'm most excited about for the new Standard - and the deck which, looking at the spoiler, looks like it gained the most from the new set:

We're storming off! Reverse Engineer seems like a huge boon for the deck. Renegade Map are nice split-cards between lands, mana rocks, findable by Glint-Nest Crane, fixing, returnable with Paradoxical Outcome... Ornithopter gives us more free artifacts, which contributes to Improvise as well as Outcome. Metallic Rebuke gives a good counterspell to protect things. Baral makes all your spells cheaper. Whir of Invention gives redundancy. Merchant's Dockhand gives long game. Hope of Ghirapur really protects the combo. Sram helps you draw cards... a lot.

Three Authority of the Consuls are primarily there for Copycat combo, but play against aggro also (and hey, the life is nice). This deck seems really strong to me, and I'm not sure what the mana base should be (mostly, how many lands do we need?), as improvise can make that tricky, and I haven't really sat down to math it out, or test it, so much. But I certainly expect this deck to be a very strong player.... though maybe not this version:

The mono U version has a more streamlined mana base, plays more counters and more Inventor's Fair. We also get to use our freed up slots for access to Padeem, and Foundry Inspector makes more of our artifacts free. The biggest plus is probably the ability to play Engulf the Shore, and that the white cards aren't all that plentiful or great anyway. Out of the board, this deck is sporting an alternative plan to have a huge creature which is cheap and protectable by counters. Not sure if/when these cards are the plan we want to go with, if ever, but want to highlight the possibility.

I'm excited about blue in the format, for the first time in quite a long time. I'll be back soon with more new Standard brews!

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