Hi all, I’m new to this site so to announce my presence I’m bringing across an article I wrote on Sunday on the projected Extended metagame using data from Worlds. I hope to bring you new content as and when I believe I have something interesting to write about. I am a PTQ regular in the UK with an interest in every format from 15-card Highlander to Cube to Standard to Legacy and everything in between. I hope you enjoy my articles here as much as I enjoy writing them, so without further ado I give you my (slightly updated) article:
Did you watch the Worlds Coverage? I didn’t stay up all night to do so and they’re being very slow to put the videos online so I’m filling my time by writing this article. Coming out of Worlds the only relevant format for most Brits will be Extended, so this is an attempt to bring to you an analysis of the format, listed by the most played decks and including the number of them which went 4-1-1 or better:
Jund was promised to be one of the more popular decks going into Worlds and it didn’t disappoint. It did, however, disappoint most of the players running it. Probably due to it being too much of a Standard deck, the loss of Tarmogoyf hurt this deck a lot. There were rumours of a version with Woodlurker Mimic going around before the tournament due to the large number of Green-Black spells making this card a regular 4/5 for 2 but they either didn’t get played or simply didn’t perform very well.
Verdict: A bad choice of deck for Extended, but many players in the UK will play it anyway and think that I’m wrong *sigh*.
#2 Vivid Control – 41 Players, 1 6-0, 1 5-0-1. 1 5-1, 1 4-0-2 (Matignon), 3 4-1-1’s.
Decklist from Luis Scott-Vargas
1 Cascade Bluffs
2 Creeping Tar Pit
2 Mystic Gate
4 Reflecting Pool
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Sunken Ruins
4 Vivid Creek
2 Vivid Marsh
3 Vivid Meadow
Cruel Control was a big player during its time in Standard and an Extended version was always going to appear. The manabase allows one to play the best spells across any number of colours, which makes it easy to fit in any spells from the whole of Extended. Jace and Preordain are clearly auto-includes for any Blue-based control deck (Ali Aintrazi is plain wrong, he could have 6-0’d with a better decklist) and make sculpting the game up to that first crippling Cruel Ultimatum that much easier.
Verdict: A good performer, getting many pilots the points they required. This will be the main control deck going into the PTQ season.
#3 Scapeshift – 32 Players, 1 5-0-1, 4 5-1’s, 2 4-1-1’s.
I won’t provide you with a decklist, for the plain reason that there isn’t a definitive Scapeshift deck yet. Some are straight Blue-Green decks like last season’s version, some are Prismatic Omen-based Bant Control decks, using Wargate as an effective tutor for Valakut or the Omen, and some have even replaced Pyromancer Ascension in that shell of a deck for a better kill.
Verdict: Scapeshift looks like it will form the basis of the best or second best deck in Extended, but we’re a way off figuring the right build as there is a lot of room to do bad things on the path to goodness.
This is the Japanese list but most are likely to be very similar. The perennial aggro-control deck, Bitterblossom is a potent threat which drastically powers up Spellstutter Sprite and Mistbind Clique. The idea behind the deck is to slowly take control of the game and then when you have the opponent locked out to finish them off. The most annoying deck in Standard in its time and the best deck in Extended 2 years ago, Fae looks to be a player yet again with Jace thrown into the fold.
Verdict: A solid choice if you know what you’re doing, the deck has benefitted greatly from Darkslick Shores in giving it turn 1 Thoughtseize more often to enable the Seize-Blossom-Counter-Clique draws which are nigh unbeatable.
#5 GW Hideaway – 28 players, 3 5-1’s.
Decklist from Rafael Levy
3 Misty Rainforest
1 Mosswort Bridge
1 Murmuring Bosk
1 Sejiri Steppe
4 Stirring Wildwood
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Windbrisk Heights
1 Wooded Bastion
Originally conceived by Zvi Mowshowitz for Amsterdam, this is the fast mana cheat-a-fatty deck with a solid back-up plan of big creatures. I saw Richard Bland and Joe Jackson bash this against Elves for a while at the Nottingham PTQ where the faster combo deck won, often a Baneslayer Angel was useless – even on turn 3. I don’t think decks need to adjust too much to beat this consistently but the pilots need to be aware of its existence to beat it with regularity.
Verdict – A fun fatty-cheat deck with some powerful things to do but not consistent enough for me. This is one for the coin-flippers among you (if you play Belcher in Legacy and Eldrazi Green in Standard, this might be a deck for you).
#6 Elves! – 17 players, 3 5-1’s.
A classic Extended deck, I don’t like this build much as the manabase seems rocky but it shows what you can do with the deck and his name is Elfgren after all. I prefer the builds with an Ezuri, Renegade Leader as a spout to push all your mana through but don’t go putting Copperhorn Scout in there too as it’s not good enough.
Verdict – The aggro/control deck. Many people will be attracted to this as a good combo deck where if it all goes wrong you can just attack for infi. I’m not a fan as it’s too easily hated out by commonly played cards such as Volcanic Fallout. You can tell me you can Ranger of Eos up a Burrenton Forge-Tender but that seems really slow as it’s 5 mana, 2 of which must be White, and neither of these cards are Elves or Green so don’t interact with some of the deck’s better cards. Still, a valid deck to be aware of in the season (here’s looking at you Rigby).
I don’t have the time or inclination to go on but some noteable decks are:
– White Weenie, UB Polymorph, RDW and Pyro Ascension having 21, 13, 13 and 7 appearances respectively but unable to buy (wescoe check) a 4-2 between them.
– Merfolk, UW Reveillark and Doran doing fairly poorly – the midrange aggro decks with a bit of disruption aren’t battling well in this field. This is presumably because Jund is doing their job better, but it could also be bad matchups.
– Tempered Steel being the mathematically most successful deck with 7 players yielding a 6-0, a 5-1 and a 4-1-1. It remains to be seen if this was a fluke but it looks like it has a lot of power with 12 Anthem effects, lots of cheap weenies and a bit of card draw thrown in.
We seem to lack a fast pure aggro deck because of Jund’s popularity. The metagame is shifting into midrange aggro (Jund), control (Cruel), aggro control (Fae), aggro combo (Elves) and combo (Scapeshift). These decks are just quick enough to force out anything too quick but there would be room for a very quick combo deck to do its business if one emerged. The Tempered Steel deck could bring out a very fast aggro deck but it seems like the diminished popularity of Jund is the only thing that will help shake up the meta. Since Jund isn’t a very good deck to be taking to a tournament right now (at least if you’re expecting to face good players) then this could happen come the new PTQ season. Of course, Mirrodin Besieged could bring anything along. What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading,