Sunday, 29 January 2017

B is for Blends, Brews and Big Baddies. Boo Yah!

Hello readers, and welcome back to Exile!

I'm disappointed to say that the Exile zone is feeling a little more empty than usual this week.  Over the past couple weeks I had messaged several of Canada's very best judges and asked them for their opinions on topics I wanted to cover this week, but unfortunately none of my expert panel was able to provide me with their input in time and so we are effectively in 'Plan B' territory here.

What's 'Plan B' you say?   Well, in the case of this week's article the B stands for 'Blends'!

*Actual amount of stars in these blends not guaranteed.  Possible side effects may include saltiness, silliness, and extreme fun.  Use at own risk. 

Wizard's has been putting a ton of effort recently into making Standard an exciting format to play again.  Some bans have given the format a fresh new look, and an announcement from a few days ago will certainly provide players some new incentives to dive back into Magic's freshest format.  Heck, even the FNM promos coming in April through June look to be playable.

With all of that in mind, lets take a look at some cards that I love and then try to find homes for them in our newly reinvigorated standard format.

First of all, I love Metallic Mimic.  I feel like this card could slot into a thousand decks and make them all better.   One card in particular that I'd like to pair it up with is the often under-appreciated Walker of The Wastes.  With just the tiniest bit of help you could be dropping a 9/9 Trampling Walker on turn 4, which seems somewhat good to me.  Also, Walker of the Wastes immunity to standard's new favorite removal spell Fatal Push helps it stick around once it's on the board.
T1: Wastes.  T2: Wastes, Metallic Mimic (Naming Eldrazi). T3: Wastes, Hedron Crawler.  T4: Wastes, Walker of the Wastes. That's a 9/9 trampler (thanks to the +1/+1 counter from Mimic).  Let's see if we can't find a way to make these two cards play nicely together, shall we?

Eldrazi Wastelands

4 Eldrazi Mimic                 (2)
4 Hedron Crawler              (2)
4 Metallic Mimic                (2)
Thought-Knot Seer        (3,C)
Reality Smasher            (4,C)
4 Walker of the Wastes     (4,C)
2 Conduit of Ruin               (6)

2 Warping Wail           (1,C)
2 Fortuitous Find         (2,B)
4 Titan's Presence         (3)

16 Wastes

2 Endless One         (X)
2 Warping Wail     (1,C)
2 Fortuitous Find   (2,B)
World Breaker    (6,G)

Eldrazi Mimics, Thought-Knot Seers and Reality Smashers are all part of an established shell filled with value and solid threats.   Cultivator's Caravan makes for a nice ramp card to help us get up to casting Conduit of Ruin and our biggest threats at a good pace, but in a pinch we can always crew it up with some small stuff to throw a 5/5 body into the Frey.  Warping Wail and Titan's Presence can help us deal with any Felidar Guardian that our opponents may try to bring out.   But if trampling Eldrazi won't satisfy your hunger, what else is on the menu?   Let's read on and see...

A lot of people have been brewing up Red/White vehicles in the new standard, as it seems like a natural place to be with the overall power and synergy of the cards available to the archetype.  In fact a friend of mine, Chris Lansdell has an excellent brew of exactly that along with some other great lists for your reading pleasure in his latest article for Star City Games that can be found HERE.  While Chris is happy to take the best of two colours and fill up the tanks, I wanted to take a different trip with our "Magical cars and trains" collection and so I'm cutting the red and running a higher octane mono-white vehicles blend.

Mono White Vehicles

4 Toolcraft Exemplar       (W)
4 Gearshift Ace               (1,W)
2 Metalwork Colossus      (11)

Declaration in Stone       (1,W)
3 Cultivator's Caravan         (3)
4 Peacewalker Colossus     (3)
4 Renegade Freighter          (3)
3 Stasis Snare                   (1,W,W)
4 Ovalchase Dragster          (4)

17 Plains

3 Declaration in Stone        (1,W)
2 Ondu Rising                    (1,W)
2 Quarantine Field             (X,X,W,W)
1 Always Watching            (1,W,W)
2 Collective Effort              (1,W,W)
2 Decommission                 (2,W)
1 Stasis Snare                    (1,W,W)

So one of the immediate benefits of being a mono coloured deck is that we can safely run a few less lands as we won't need to worry about having the wrong colours available which effectively frees up a couple spots for extra threats.  Peacewalker Colossus' ability allows us to cheaply crew any vehicles we have, which is an especially good value when pairing up with our Consulate Dreadnought.  Toolcraft Exemplar basically gives us an ability to 'Crew 3' with our 1 drop slot when we have a vehicle in play, which screams value to me.  I also love the idea of our Gearshift Ace crewing a hasty Ovalchase Dragster and giving us a 6/1 first strike creature with trample.  First strike and trample working together can break a lot of stalemates, partly thanks to the combination's ability to make defending creatures with deathtouch mostly irrelevant.

What's that?   You say you still want something else?   Well how about I tell you about the brand new card in standard that has me totally revved up to experiment with some new ideas?   It's this one:  

I'm feeling inspired by it.
Let's take a look at some improvised math, shall we?  (Oh, the puns, the puns!)

Imagine casting a Kozilek, the Great Distortion or an  Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and using a bunch of clues, servos and thopters to pay for it.  On turn 5.

T1: Land, Thraben Inspector (investigate), Ornithopter. T2: Land, Metallic Mimic (naming Servos). T3: LandInspiring Statuary.   T4:  LandSram's Expertise into Servo Exhibition. T5: hard cast either Ulamog or Kozilek via improvise. 

Even without a land drop on Turn 5 we are looking at potentially up to 13 mana we are able to improvise, thanks to tapping our clue, Ornithopter, Mimic, the Inspiring Statuary itself, and 5 servos.

White Hot Artifact Ramp

4 Ornithopter                                (0)
4 Thraben Inspector                     (W)
4 Metallic Mimic                            (2)
4 Chief of the Foundry                  (3)
4 Master Trinketeer                     (2,W)
2 Angel of Invention                   (3,W,W)
1 Metalwork Colossus                    (11)

4 Servo Exhibition          (1,W)
4 Inspiring Statuary           (3)
4 Sram's Expertise          (2,W,W)
2 Sorin, Grim Nemesis   (4,W,B)

12 Plains

I really like splashing for black to run Sorin, Grim Nemesis in the mainboard here.   Something about using his +1 ability and potentially revealing a 10 cmc Kozilek might play into that.  Regardless of what he reveals, his ability to dig deeper into your library for threats and his -X ability that will help protect your side of the battlefield are simply delicious.  Anthem effects from Master Trinketeer, Chief of the Foundry and Angel of Invention all provide a nice synergy that will ensure any Thopters and Servos you have laying around are beefy enough to be of good use.

But what about Planeswalkers, you say?   Surely with Oath of Nissa in standard currently we could find some sort of special blend to bring all of our Super Friends together?   Indeed, dear reader!  Read on, and look at my last list of the day;

 5-colour Super Friends

Creatures: 3
Felidar Guardian                         (3,W)

Spells: 21
Fatal Push                 (B)
2 Natural State             (G)
4 Oath of Nissa            (G)
4 Unbridled Growth      (G)
3 Flaying Tendrils         (1,B,B)
2 Ruinous Path             (1,B,B)
4 Yahenni's Expertise   (2,B,B)

Planeswalkers: 14
2 Liliana, the Last Hope      (1,B,B)
Saheeli Rai                        (1,U,R)
1 Dovin Baan                        (2,W,U)
Nahiri, the Harbinger         (2,R,W)
2 Tezzeret the Schemer        (2,U,B)
2 Ajani Unyielding                (4,G,W)

Lands: 22
8 Forest
1 Island
2 Plains
1 Swamp

Sideboard: 14
1 World Breaker                (6,G)
2 Essence Extraction         (1,B,B)
2 Nahiri, the Harbinger     (2,R,W)
2 Felidar Guardian            (3,W) 
3 Stasis Snare                    (1,W,W)

I think a G/B shell is a nice place to start with this deck, with the mana fixing of Oath of Nissa and Unbridled Growth enabling us to cast all of our multicolored friends.  Our plan here is to keep the battlefield devoid of creatures in the early stages so that we can hopefully be landing a planeswalker into a relatively 'safe' place, and then over the next several turns we can invite some more friends to join in the fun.

Casting a turn 4  Yahenni's Expertise is definitely what we want to be doing, with so many wonderful potential 'free' spells to follow up with.  Our prime choices for our free spell include Flaying Tendrils to effectively give all creatures -5/-5 until the end of turn and completely wipe the board, or perhaps a Ruinous Path in order to remove a particularly dangerous threat, such as an opposing Planeswalker.   Ideally we are probably happy to just cast Yahenni's Expertise and then bring out one of our own Planeswalkers into an already secure position, with our 3 mana cmc super friend choices consisting of Liliana, the Last HopeNissa, Voice of Zendikar, and Saheeli Rai.  I particularly like Liliana here, as her +1 ability can help finish off a lingering creature of 4 toughness (I'm looking at you here, Avacyn!) which often enough will finish emptying our opponents board.

For those of you who are loving standard's new 'crazy cat lady' infinite combo, introducing  Saheeli Rai to a Felidar Guardian should provide you with sufficient feline friends.

B is also for Bye Bye

Well dear readers, that's going to do it for another week.   I'm looking forward to writing more of an educational article next week, as what I really enjoy focusing on is helping players get a better technical understanding of the game that we all love..  If you enjoyed this week's post please be sure to let me know, as sharing my special blends is something I'm willing to do more of if there's interest in it.

Until next time, I'll be here for any Magic questions you may have, wandering along on my Path To Exile.


No comments:

Post a Comment