Shared Discovery – Glimpses of the new formats by Rob Wagner

Shared Discovery – Downtime: The Alternative NQ Huddersfield Report by Rob Wagner


Hi all, how have you been enjoying the new cards? The most relevant format right now is Sealed Deck and Draft, due to the upcoming PTQ season (although I guess some people have GP Amsterdam and will be looking at Legacy also). This sealed format is kind of a strange one, being both quite slow but also quite tempo-oriented to boot. That is to say, you should expect to be able to hit 6-7 mana most games, but you should still choose to be on the play if you win the die roll unless your deck looks like it can beat a turn 2 Gastaf Shepherd or equivalent.

I went down to London this weekend for the Darksphere PTQ. I’d managed a few sealed deck practices to get to grips with the new cards, and a couple of drafts also to prepare me for the top 8. I had hoped that, with GP Milan taking place the same weekend, there would be relatively few people at the PTQ. Unfortunately, 116 other players had the same idea as me!

After the usual card pool dance, including some people taking an extraordinarily long amount of time to register their pools – I hope it was reading difficulties or similar, because I could have sorted Russian cards with a Chinese checklist faster, I sat down with this lot in front of me (we’re trying to work out how to get the new deckbuilder script working):

  • Angel of Flight Alabaster
  • Bonds of Faith
  • Chapel Geist
  • Rally the Peasants
  • Selfless Cathar
  • Urgent Exorcism
  • 2 Village Bell-Ringer
  • Voiceless Spirit
  • Armored Skaab
  • 2 Claustrophobia
  • Delver of Secrets
  • 2 Deranged Assistant
  • Dream Twist
  • Fortress Crab
  • Grasp of Phantoms
  • Hysterical Blindness
  • Invisible Stalker
  • Laboratory Maniac
  • Lantern Spirit
  • Ludevic’s Test Subject
  • Sensory Deprivation
  • Skaab Goliath
  • Spectral Flight
  • Stitcher’s Apprentice
  • Think Twice
  • Abbatoir Ghoul
  • Bitterheart Witch
  • Brain Weevil
  • 2 Curse of Oblivion
  • Falkenrath Noble
  • Ghoulcaller’s Chant
  • Gruesome Deformity
  • Manor Skeleton
  • Maw of the Mire
  • Morkrut Banshee
  • Night Terrors
  • Stromkirk Patrol
  • Ancient Grudge
  • Brimstone Volley
  • Crossway Vampire
  • Curse of the Pierced Heart
  • Hanweir Watchkeep
  • Harvest Pyre
  • 2 Kessig Wolf
  • Nightbird’s Clutches
  • Rage Thrower
  • Rolling Temblor
  • Scourge of Geier Reach
  • Skirsdag Cultist
  • 2 Tormented Pariah
  • 2 Vampiric Fury
  • Ambush Viper
  • Avacyn’s Pilgrim
  • Caravan Vigil
  • Festerhide Boar
  • Grave Bramble
  • Hollowhenge Scavenger
  • 2 Make a Wish
  • Mulch
  • Naturalize
  • Orchard Spirit
  • Parallel Lives
  • Prey Upon
  • Splinterfright
  • Grasp
  • Villagers of Estwald
  • Blazing Torch
  • Creepy Doll
  • Galvanic Juggernaut
  • Geistcatcher’s Rig
  • Choulcaller’s Bell
  • Manor Gargoyle
  • One-Eyed Scarecrow
  • Silver-Inlaid Dagger
  • Traveler’s Amulet
  • Isolated Chapel

I won’t give you my deck here but I played 16 lands and had pretty good mana. I made the mistake of being on the draw in match 1 game 1 and got Overrun, then lost game 3 after a dodgy keep of one of my colours and its lands but then drew the other colour’s spells, and could only deal with 4 copies of Essence of the Wild before the others got to me. Three reasonably uneventful wins later before a very long game emerging in a draw (and me ending my last turn of extra turns with zero cards in my library).

Due to the number of players I was then out of contention but didn’t know it and lost the next round to Thom Richardson who had a pretty aggressive black-white deck with some good removal. I played and lost the last round for some lols after mis-managing my library and milling myself with 10x lethal damage on board. The format was a lot of fun though and I’m already looking forward to my next PTQ.

Standard seems to be in a state of flux at the moment, with no real tier 1 decks as far as I can tell. The StarCity FNM is dominated by Mono-Red and Solar Flare but as with any local scene, some homebrews are also doing quite well. Since there’s no defined format you can pretty much play what you want – and here’s what I want to play: (Edit: slightly updated after some comments)

4 Snapcaster Mage
3 Garruk Relentless
1 Inferno Titan
1 Wurmcoil Engine

2 Geistflame
1 Dismember
4 Mana Leak
4 Think Twice
1 Go for the Throat
1 Doom Blade
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Tribute to Hunger
4 Forbidden Alchemy
3 Dissipate

2 Stensia Bloodhall
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Copperline Gorge
3 Hinterland Harbor
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
5 Island
2 Drowned Catacomb
3 Sulfur Falls

2 Ancient Grudge
4 Surgical Extraction
1 Tribute to Hunger
1 Dismember
1 Dissipate
1 Stensia Bloodhall
2 Beast Within
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Batterskull
1 Inferno Titan

It has pretty good matchups against Mono-Red and Wolf-Run Ramp, and losing to Solar Flare is pretty difficult, but it can struggle with the Champion of the Parrish decks unless you draw quite well, and anyone deciding to play 4 Ghost Quarter is probably an uphill struggle. The deck plays like draw-go though and is a lot of fun.

FAQ: How is your manabase? A: Pretty good actually, 27 lands + 4 Think Twice + 4 Forbidden Alchemy makes for a lot of cards so my deck is basically half mana and I don’t have many cards with more than one coloured mana symbol on that I need to cast early.

Rob Wagner


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