A normal Mulligan this week, including a Spotlight (Gruul Warriors), Mic (SerraGodFather) and the usual metagame overview. This week we finally felt the impact of Morningtide on the game. The top eight featured two decks that couldn’t have existed without it, and almost every deck utilized some new tools. Want to know what? Read on!
I will post the Gatherling entry for the event (which I would have edited to include at least all decknames and colors), so you can browse the meta yourselves. The play-offs and metagame paragraphs will list the archetypes that were played (aggro, control, etc.) and how many. A deck that played in the finals will appear in the quarter-, semi- and finals part as well as the metagame part.
[url=http://www.pdcmagic.com/gatherling/eventreport.php?event=MPDC%202.02]Gatherling Metagame Breakdown[/url]
Finals – Aggro-Control (1), Aggro (1)
Semi-Finals – Aggro-Control (2), Aggro (2)
Quarter-Finals – Aggro-Control (2), Aggro (2), Control (2)
Aggro – 11
Control: – 7
Aggro-Control: – 6
Mid-range: – 0
Unclassifiable – 2
That is one freaky looking deck that won MPDC. It plays five giant beaters that can only attack if the opponent has islands. One of those makes opposing lands islands, but the other four are walls without help. But with a meta-game where everything and their mother either plays blue for Mulldrifter or splashes for it, you can be reasonably sure that your opponent has Islands to take your beater home. Also, 6/6 walls that come online early can put a stop on almost all offences, even against control decks: Tendrils and Skred can only kill it from turn 6 onwards, if they are lucky. On top of that, this Blinkdrifter style deck splashes black (and a tiny bit of flashback red) to be able to play Mournwhelk, Grim Harvest, Mystical Teachings and Strangling Soot. This makes it a control deck in my eyes, instead of the aggro-control and tempo nature of :u::w: Blinkdrifter. Something like Grimdrifter, but with base white instead of base black, losing red. It showed to be fairly resilient in the event, beating Storm and Dreamspore twice and Grimdrifter and Warrior aggro once.
Going furter down the top eight list, we find a :g::r: Warriors deck in second place. I’ll talk about this one in the Spotlight, because I think it has some serious potential in Morningtide Standard. The two fourth places were split between RDW and Dreamspore Rock. Both faced some good matchups, with Storm and RDW for the red aggro deck and Slivers and WW for Rock, puting them both in the play-offs. The rest of the top eigth were Storm Control, Aggro Goblins (it’s second top 8 in two events, though it can’t get any further), Grimdrifter and Rogues. Both Goblins and Rogues included Morningtide. Goblins utilized the Banneret to speed up the deck immensly, which is a good thing in the aggro versions of the deck. Rogues’ main strategy is completely MOR and included Morsel Theft and Latchkey Faerie, which are both very good spells if you can prowl them out. A cantripping Lightning Helix to the face or a 3/1 evasive Phyrexian Rager or nothing to sneeze at if you are in a race to deal 20 as soon as possible. They were backed up by many aggressive rogues to be able to prowl ASAP and with consistency and multiple tempo enhancing spells as Unsummon and Rune Snag. I do find it funny that Spellstutter Sprite isn’t here, because it is a big tempo swing on the second turn, if you start with a one drop faerie. You do lose some prowl enablers, but I think it can handle that.
The rest of the meta-game included a mono-G Warriors (who made T8 but dropped), two RDW, two Slivers, a UB aggro deck and a WW deck in the aggro compartiment, two Storm and three Grimdrifter as the control decks and Blinkdrifter twice alongside Elementals as the aggro-control decks. What we can deduce from this is that the meta-warping power of Storm is lessening. It is still a very good deck, but with all the red based aggro decks in the format, it loses some winning potential. The Slipstick deck is also said to have a favorable Storm matchup, but I haven’t verified that.
Red based aggro decks have taken WW’s place as the aggro deck of choice. This is actually good for the red deck, because WW with Martyr is one of the prime ways to beat it. But with RDW as the prime aggro deck to beat, blinking Riftwatchers should become much better, and thus Blinkdrifter. Another way to beat it is with Grimdrifter (with Tendrils please!), which I still find to be one of the best decks in the format, if constructed right. It has good matchups versus both RDW and Storm, but can also beat random other decks such as Blinkdrifter and Rock.
These are the top ten players based on total points.
Rank , Name , Season Points
1 , SerraGodFather , 48
2 , Smurff , 30
3 , SypherSun , 26
4 , Buldogg333 , 25
5 , Jmason , 24
6 , stiffdiddypinky , 16
7 , Krosanbeast9359 , 15
8 , Jeriko1 , 13
9 , PredatorGR , 12
10 , ZeroFusion , 12
Power Rankings are used to determine seeding of the players attending the season Championship. Power Rankings are intended to provide a snapshot of the strongest players through the course of the Alt season. These Rankings take into account both the player’s rate success and the sample size over which that success occurs. The Power Ranking raw scores award 10 points for 1st, 7 points for 2nd, 4 points for 3rd-4th, 2 points for 5th-8th (if the event has a Top 8), and 0 points for missing the cut. The resulting rankings range from 0 (this player never makes the Top 4/Top 8) to 10 (this player wins every event).
Rank , Name , PowerRanking
1 , SerraGodFather , 8,5
2 , Buldogg333 , 6
3 , Smurff , 4,8
4 , SypherSun , 4,2
5 , Jmason , 2,4
After two weeks, both the Season Points and the Power Rankings are led by SerraGodFather, who came in second last week and first this week. After getting introduced to this series, he agreed to give some answers. Here it comes:
Who are you if you’re not playing PDC and where are you from?
My name is John-Christian Eilert, I’m a PhD Student at the University of Munich in neuroscience. I’m devorced and have a 7 year old son. For all those non-Europeans Munich is the 3rd largest City in Germany, Europe.
What is your favorite PDC format? Standard, FutEx, Classic, Block,etc.?
I like weird things so I’d like to see some really fancy formats, but as only MPDC available to me, so I stick with Standard. I play relatively much Pauper Prismatic Singleton.
What do you most enjoy about playing Magic?
The best thing at playing magic for me is to play cards or combos that nobody thought of before. But the really best thing is winning with absurd seeming strategies. In real life I only play Limited Format as I dislike degeneratet formats. Sometimes I play Standard or Block but that are pretty rare events. An example for the really best thing to happen for me is that I won a draft by including Wings of Velis Vel as a 4th color splash. All people of my playgroup were just shaking the head after winning game by game through the help of the wings. Sometimes crazy moves work .
Your favorite card (non PDC)?
Wow that’s a very tough question just one. Nope I go with two cards that I really love: Loxodon Hierarch especially in foil and Etched Oracle, also in foil. For commons Ravnica bouncelands are really cool.
Your favorite standard PDC card?
Mhh. Slipstream Serpent? No. I’m not sure. I love Momentary blink since the first time i saw it. It can do so much, it’s so versatile and it’s a card that can compete with rares in playablity. But there is a bunch of other cards I like. Many of them not very spectecular. Terramorphic Expanse for example.
Last Monday, you played a very unusual version of Blinkdrifter, which included, o.a. Slipstream Eel. Why did you choose this deck? Do you think it is something we should keep an eye out for it, or was the suprise the deck’s strength?
It was Slipstream Serpent, not Eel, but that’s exactly what the deck was about: it was surprising. Who exspectet the Serpent and Floodchaser? To be honest I don’t believe you if you say so. I think the deck has its strengths and its weaknesses. But if you don’t know the deck, the weaknesses are hidden in fog. I had no time for playtesting, the deck has been thrown together just right before the tourney startet, so the fine tuning was missing that makes it even more surprising that it worked so well . I just revised the deck and playtested it a bit. It’s still doing very well and it got a bit better overall. When I build the deck I focused on UR Storm Control and GB Rock. The creatures in the deck are all very slippy and those decks don’t like that. And against those archetypes I had vey good results. In total six matches I was paired against those decks 4 times so there I was lucky. There are answers out there, the question is did this deck get a number yet or is it still rogue. I really enjoyed it and maybe I’ll give it another try. I have plans for a even weirder deck. Hopefully I’ll find time to finish that one.
Ok, that card is really obscure, I don’t usually misspell cardnames.
What do you think has changed with the introduction of Morningtide in PDC?
Puh. That’s a question for a pro in my eyes. That I am definately not. I think prowl may have a chance to get into the Standard as it can be damn fast. I don’t really like it as it’s a bit fragile. Slipstick Blinkdrifter has good tools to handle that swarm of one toughness beasties. Green and red got a bunch of staple cards like the red banneret or the green cheap elves. Lorwyn got more speed with Moringtide and I think that is true for PDC Standard as well. The big shots should be Festercreep, Morsel Theft, Latchkey Faerie, Negate, Elvish Warrior (don’t lough ), Winnower Patrol, Earthbrawn, Lys Alana Bowmaster, Fertilid, Brighthearth Banneret, Shard Volley, War Spike Changeling, Burreton Bombadier and maybe in the future Stonybrook Schoolmaster. So long Morningtide did not show up a lot maybe due to lack of cards.
Thanks for your time, any final words?
Yeah. Keep up playing Pauper – it’s cool. This is a nice community.
:rg: Gruul Warriors, as piloted by SypherSun at MPDC 2.02
4 Boreal Centaur
4 Brighthearth Banneret
4 Gathan Raiders
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Winnower Patrol
4 Rift Bolt
4 Shard Volley
12 Snow-Covered Forest
9 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Martyr of Ashes
4 Mire Boa
3 Inner-Flame Acolyte
This might seem like self-promotion, but I assure you, it isn’t. The fact that I got me the second spot has nothing to do with featuring the deck, well, almost nothing. Three weeks ago I talked about RDW, which I thought was underplayed because it beat up both Storm and WW with consitancy at that time. Since then many more players have picked up the deck. Now I tell you, play this instead.
The original list was a creation of SpikeBoyM, with the only difference being the SB Acolytes, which were Lys Alana Bowmasters. I was planning to play RDW, but tested some matches with this and fell in love. This deck takes the good points of RDW, the massive reach in almost infinite burn spells, and complements that with some serious aggressive creatures.
Marauders and Raiders are RDW staples, but also Warriors to boot. These two get complemented by Boreal Centaur, which paves the way for Winnower Patrol. Because your curve is so low, the Centaur is a Watchwolf most of the time, you won’t need that extra mana used to pump it. Winnower Patrol is the core of the deck. A 3/2 for :2::g: is already pretty on the curve (Gnarled Mass has seen play in regular constructed), tacking on the possible +1/+1 counters puts it over the top. With 24/60 cards being Warriors, you can grow your Patrol to a 4/3 or 5/4 with relative ease.
The burn consists of two staples, Incinerate and Rift Bolt, but get a new friend in Shard Volley. I said in my Morningtide review that Shard Volleys drawback and loss of tempo was too much to be playable in standard. Well, I was wrong. As long as you keep your curve low, Volley is extremely playable from turn three onwards. You trade one extra damage (over Shock) for a useless fourth land, because you only play this late, to kill some potential blocker or a player. With both Llanowar Elves and Banneret giving you a mana boost, lands can be sacrificed easier.
The aforementioned (incredible word by the way, should be used more often) Elves of Llanowar give you the opportunity to play a turn two Patrol, Centaur with “Protection from Shock” or Banneret+Centaur. Banneret functions as a way to play multiple threats from turn three onwards, but also as a combat trick to make your creatures survive a removal spell or the combat step. The last card in the deck is Earthbrawn. SpikeBoyM described it as “sort of a hybrid Counterspell/Lightning Bolt/Giant Growth. Sometimes you use it to save a creature from dying by a removal spell (such as Tendrils or Skred), sometimes you use it to deal that last three points of damage, and sometimes you use it so your creature wins in combat.”.
Going into the sideboard, I think we already have something resembling perfection. The Bowmasters kill WW’s Avian Changeling and Riftwatcher (for free), which is critical for your midgame survival. It also really nice against Illusions, as long as you can keep it alive. Martyr of Ashes is for other aggro and Storm. The Mire Boas are a concession to the decks worst matchup, Grimdrifter. Is also find myself siding it in against other decks that have lots of removal, such as heavy-burn RDW. Lastly we have Skred, which functions as both a cheap Rogue killer, keeping them off Prowl, and an anti-Ephemeron/Aurochs spell.
Just like RDW, this can but pressure on Storm and keep them from winning with tokens, while keeping reach for the win. This deck systematically kill all your creatures and puts itsself out of burn range with Tendrils and Gutless Ghoul. Storm can also kill your creatures fine, but is much more susceptable to reach in the form of burn than Grimdrifter. After board, Martyr makes sure Storm needs to go full-control and you should be able to win by pushing through threats and burning for the win. WW can be handled with well placed removal and Bowmaster, burning them out later. They have no reach, which means you have more freedom to attack than they have, as long as your remove their flyers. Illusions is sadly untested at the moment. Blinkdrifter is a good matchup, just point your removal at Riftwatchers when they can’t Blink.
I have made some adjustments myself, still in testing. I removed a land, a Banneret and the two Earthbrawn for a playset of Adder-Staff Boggart. This way I can put more pressure early and more consitently. The fourth Banneret and the fourth Boggart repeatably flip places. I miss the combat trick Banneret sometimes, but the Earthbrawn has not been good enough to be in the MD.
[url=http://www.pdcmagic.com/articles/the-monday-mulligan-5.shtml]Red Deck Wins[/url]
[url=http://www.pdcmagic.com/articles/the-monday-mulligan-3.shtml]New Tricks and Grimdrifter[/url]
[url=http://www.pdcmagic.com/articles/the-monday-mulligan-2-i-dont-h.shtml]Use UR Illusion[/url]
I am still pondering the Championship cut-offs, after kehmesis made some good points in the comments last weak about attendance numbers. Expect a decision next week. I will probably go back to inviting 32 players, expecially now I see how much of a point difference the new pointing system can create. But I want to take some more time to make the decission.
Hosting last Monday was a bit hectic, mostly because I wasn’t familiar with the software enough. I couldn’t do some specialized functions, like re-enrolling falsly dropped players and copying the play-offs pairings to the thread. But except for that, it ran smoothly. We were joined by some new players, who got rolling pretty quickly. One even made play-offs, but dropped beforehand. I do find it really fun to do, which is a good thing if I have to keep it up for the rest of the season.
I won’t attend next Monday, because Easter Monday is a holliday here in the Netherlands. I hope stiffdiddypinky responds to my messages and mails in time to host it, else I’d have to find another way. But do join next Monday in another exciting event.