10 Top Cards in Extended
There has been no competitive extended tournaments at all leading in to this years Worlds, with the rotation (and bannings) there were notable interactions that are now missing, most conspicuously the combo of [card]Grove of the Burnwillows[/card] and [card]Punishing Fire[/card] which kept anything running creatures with toughness 2 or less praying for miracles. There are other absences also that will shift the metagame. Pre-banning, [card]Hypergenesis[/card] was the most explosive deck you could play and its sister, [card]Living End[/card] was consistent and if ignored was a very viable deck.
So what are we left with? And perhaps more crucially what has arrived in Scars of Mirrodin that could impact day three of worlds in a weeks time? Here is a run down of the 10 most powerful cards you can play in extended and consequently ones I think will shape the meta.
Faeries was huge in standard but has failed to show up in Extended so far largely due to the existence of the Grove/Fire machine gun, now that’s gone I expect to see the Fae to show in droves. Faeries was a deck loved by strong players due to its ability to adjust its aggressiveness on an almost game by game basis according to the matchup. It was a deck that was notoriously difficult to play well with but the rewards were huge. A lot of pros got to know the deck very intimately and what with the lack of testing time in the run in to Worlds I foresee many of them defaulting back to the little winged menace.
It is also worth nothing that Bitterblossom itself is not limited to Faerie decks, BW tokens is an increasingly poplar deck in online testing currently, and its synergy with the likes of Eldrazi Monument could see it in another guise.
Seen in – Faeries, BW tokens, Doran
2. [card]Doran, the Siege Tower[/card]
Doran put up a strong showing during the previous season of Extended and the appeal of running a tested list that needs little alteration will be difficult to pass up for many people. Consistancy was key to its success, with access to the best fetchable land in [card]Murmoring Bosk[/card] and the tool box nature of [card]Tree Folk Harbinger[/card] (and also potentially [card]Fauna Shaman[/card]) Doran lists were stacks of 60 you could rely on. With the Extended portion of Worlds coming late in the tournament reliability is a big selling point.
The other appeal of Doran is if you do want to look close at refining a list to suit you it is equally capable of playing aggro with [card]Loam Lion[/card], or being a more traditional rock deck with [card]Profane Commands[/card], discard and perhaps late game creatures like [card]Reviellark[/card]. Expect Doran, but also expect a big variance in the lists.
Seen in – Doran
3. [card]Cryptic Command[/card]
Cryptic Command is less a counter spell, more a single use planeswalker. It’s the sort of card that regardless of whether you are behind or ahead the only thing it needs to be good is the mana with which to play it. This will appeal to every control deck out there, but most notably 5 Colour Control.
Again, 5cc lists will vary hugely, but one thing is for sure, they will all be running Cryptic Command. The options it gives you are huge whether you are needing to get yourself out of hole, defending a board position or aggressively finishing off a game, it’s the card you want.
Seen in – 5cc, Faeries, UW control, Pyromancer’s Ascension
4. [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card]
Possibly the best card to be in a standard environment since [card]Skull Clamp[/card], its power level will be no lower in Extended. Everyone knows what this card can do – a better control card Wizards could not have printed. While testing with Jonathan Randle this week we discussed how you could literally take any of Jace’s abilities off the card and he would still be the powerhouse we all respect him to be.
In short, if you can tap for blue mana, he will be in your deck.
Seen in – Anything that can tap for Blue
5. [card]Bloodbraid Elf[/card]
If anything can keep Jace down it’s this guy. He dominated standard for over a year, popping up in Jund, Naya, Ramp decks, Elf decks….. His 3 power and haste is perfectly designed for the matches where people want to drop a Jace and Brainstorm. His only draw back is the limitations he brings to your deck and its construction but with plenty of 3cc powerhouses still legal that will not stop people playing with him.
Seen in – Jund, Naya, Ramp decks, Elf decks, Scapeshift Valakut
While the strong Scapeshift decks of last season won’t be legal, Standard Valakut decks are possibly the most powerful decks at the moment and the appeal of slotting in some Scapeshifts (and Bloodbraid) could send the deck over the top. Its not something I have tested personally, but the more I think about that scenario while also picturing playing with Primeval Titan in last season’s Scapeshift the more broken the whole concept seems.
The ability to win a game through the top deck of a single card is very powerful and with both Primeval Titan and Scapeshift able to supply that in the same deck, it’s a very exciting prospect.
Seen in – Scapeshift Valakut
7. [card]Mimic Vat[/card]
As soon as Mimic Vat was spoilt every one was raving about how powerful it would be with evoke creatures. My immediate thought was a Reviellark deck utilizing [card]Mulldrifter[/card] et al. However, it seems that one of my favourite decks of last year is fast becoming Mimic Vat’s poster child. Elementals.
Now usually limited to Grixis colours, its uses the likes of [card]Shriekmaw[/card], Mulldrifter and [card]Fulminator Mage[/card] to gain long term advantage and lock your opponent out of the game. While undoubtably powerful it will be interesting to see how many people are willing to play a largely untested deck so deep in to such an important tournament.
Seen in – Grixis Elementals, Reviellark
8. [card]Steppe Lynx[/card]
Steppe Lynx is almost certainly the reason you might want to play an out and out aggro deck, swinging for 4 on turn 2 is unprecedented and is a strategy that currently can be backed up with all sorts of goodies. Complimented perfectly in either mono white or decks with an additional red flavour, Steppe Lynx will be one of the most feared first turn plays in a field attempting to dictate the pace of play.
Its also worth mentioning [card]Ranger of Eos[/card] is still legal in this format, a card that is missed by aggro decks in the current standard environment.
Seen in – WW, Boros, Some Naya lists
9. [card]Heritage Druid[/card]
Elves is a little off the radar, but if it does make a showing you can bet this guy will be at the heart of it. It’s possible it is lacking a consistent engine but we are back to looking at lists that can run Regal Force again and if that is good enough, an unprepared metagame could fall foul to the little green men.
Seen in – Elves
10. [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card]
And lastly we come to a card I personally am a big fan of (not due in any small part due to the fact I picked up 12 as soon as I heard Zendikar would be a land based set… good times!) The card is insanely powerful. Its seeing play in just about every format out there and will be another card that fits in to so many good decks. Naya will probably put this card to good use but arguably it could be the reason Mythic is in with a shot of being a viable contender.
Reuniting [card]Sovereigns of Lost Alara[/card] with Eldrazi conscription will be a dream for a lot of people, favoured perhaps because of the ability to run [card]Jace the Mind Sculptor[/card] in a mid-range deck. It’s also the deck that can probably abuse the interactions between [card]Fauna Shaman[/card], [card]Birds of Paradise[/card], [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] and [card]Vengevine[/card] the most effectively.
Seen in – Naya, Doran, Mythic
That’s it from me till next time, all the best to Jonno at Worlds next week and I hope you guys look forward to the all the coverage from the end of season climax.
Thanks for reading,