Here’s a rough, rough draft of an article I was planning on writing about the Standard metagame on the eve of the introduction of Planar Chaos. Time and interest may never permit me to finish, but I submit this skeletal post for your edification. Feel free to leave comments; the discussion ensuing will certainly be more valuable than the article itself.
I realize that my ‘four pillars’ approach doesn’t take into account almost any of the most common archetypes, and that’s why this is a rough draft. Read on, gentle Pauper, and comment away…
The current Standard metagame, diverse as it is, can be boiled down to four dominating components.
1. Grim Harvest
This card solidifies black’s force in the metagame, especially against non-black decks that have no authority over the graveyard. I personally have felt the sting of the absence of Yamabushi’s Flame from the format, as red removal doesn’t ‘get the job done’ like it used to. Because black is the only color that can touch the graveyard, the strength of this card in particular pushes the game in a blackward direction.
2. Fortify/Kjeldoran War Cry
Perhaps if either of these existed in isolation, no one would take notice. However, with 8 solid mass pump spells available (not to mention a host of strong 1- and 2-drops), White Weenie is a force in Standard. These spells enable fast weenie or token rushes in a format chock full of removal. Other white-heavy fast aggro decks, or token decks such as Gnarrly Beats, are also enabled by the power of these mass pump spells. Pauper’s Glorious Anthems!
3. Subterranean Shambler
Where there are fast fortified weenies (and empty warrens), there must be a powerful ground sweeper. The Shambler keeps control decks afloat against a surging tide of pissants. It also fortunately has a body that withstands a battering from a host of WW’s 2/2 bodies. The current format is overflowing with heavily played x/1 creatures, which makes things look very good for this guy and anyone playing him.
4. Momentary Blink
This spell garnered some initial attention at Camp Princes because of its synergy with Blind Hunter. But, as many have since discovered or pointed out, this card has insane synergy with most CIP creatures (which are, in fact, already doing quite a great job on their own). Blink works on the Hunter, the Shambler, the Chronarch, Ravenous Rats, and a bunch of stuff coming down the pipeline to us from Planar Chaos. It can really wreck someone’s day.