Wednesday, February 18, 2015

This week in Magic - Tournament reports and Standard brewing

News and week recap

This week featured GP Seville/Dorne, a tournament that showcased some of the top decks in Standard. A relatively small tournament by recent standards, it was attended by only 800 players, but it was a blast to watch nonetheless. The finals were a clash of Abzan Aggro against UB Control, showcasing two of the powerhouses of the format. An exciting recent addition to the coverage team, Riley Knight from Australia, was one of the commentators at the event, and he brought a refreshing new approach to the commentary. Check out the entire coverage!

The new Duel deck to be released will be Elspeth vs. Kiora and the next From the Vault will bring about a host of Angels. Make sure to check those out, and test your knowledge on the Angels with a short quiz!

As can be expected after a big tournament such as Pro Tour Washington, a lot of articles written this week have focused on that. On the other hand, the most important format once again is Standard, so we have some nice new brews in that format as well. Coming up we have a weekend chock full of tournaments, with GPs in Miami (Standard) and Vancouver (Modern), as well as an SCG Open in Los Angeles. Enjoy reading!


The state of Modern by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Matt Sperling
In the wake of the Pro Tour, a lot of people have talked about the Modern metagame, the decks, sideboards, (un)bannings, etc. Paulo, on the other hand, expressed his views - shared by several others - on why he feels that Modern is not a good format right now. This has prompted a lot of debate and Matt wrote a rebuttal article. Is Modern really all about drawing the right sideboard answer? Or is it about taking risks and making well-educated guesses? Is Paulo just salty due to his recent lackluster performance? Is Matt just being his usual snarky self? You tell us!

Loam Lion sucks, by Pat Cox feat. Luis Scott-Vargas
5-Color Zoo has been a deck that has popped up in Modern ever since the format's inception. From the Counter Cat version that dominated enough to warrant the banning of Green Sun's Zenith, to the more burn-oriented versions running Tribal Flames, it makes a lot of sense that a deck with access to all five colors will have a lot of variants available. Is it possible that the deck is good again? Pat certainly thinks so, but Luis might have a thing or two to say about that...

Martin Juza's PT Washington tournament report
Martin's article is not a typical tournament report per se, with very little focus on the gameplay itself. it does, however, contain extensive notes on the huge amount of decks that are potentially viable in the format, as well as the reasons why a lot of them are (or appear to be, in Martin's eyes), a bad choice. Sometimes it's good to read a critical article like this, to give you a reality check on your deck choice.


The antiquated effect by Mark Nestico
The defining characteristic of Standard as compared to other formats is the speed at which the format shifts. Sure, you can take the same brew week after week to your local FNM, but if you want to succeed at the big stage, you have to stay ahead of the curve. Mark shares some insight into how the best players do just that.

Matt Higgs goes crazy with Artifacts
It seems kind of weak to go mono-color in a format featuring so many powerful multicolor cards, but Matt aims to assuage this by building on a different, but also powerful synergy - artifacts. Renowned Weaponsmith and Chief Engineer can provide insane acceleration, but the threats they power out might just be a tad too soft. If only Ugin were an Artifact...


Carsten Kotter opens the Gifts of Vintage
A few weeks ago, we wrote about the changes to the Banned/Restricted list. While the main focus was on the changes to Modern, Vintage saw the return of an old favorite, Gifts Ungiven, to the domain of potential 4-offs. But can it even compete with Jace, the Mindsculptor? Carsten makes a strong case of it being even better than the mighty Planeswalker!

CFB's pick order for Fate Reforged, as recorded by Tom Martell
When the time comes to prepare for a big tournament, nothing beats playtesting with the best players in the world. What might come in close, however, is reading a condensed version of their thoughts. Sure, don't just take this article as gospel - think about it, evaluate what you've learned, and form your own opinion. Your game is sure to take and upward swing!

Conley Woods urges you to stay Golden in draft
As we saw at the Pro Tour, a lot of the best players are opting to go 2-color in draft, but Conley has a lot to say on the strength of decks featuring a host of colors. Grabbing the best cards and the lands to cast them can be fun and rewarding, so why not try it out at your next FNM?

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