It is less than one week until Regionals in the US and Torment has changed the metagame in many ways and not in others. The more I test for the format, the more I see that personal preference is more a part of the game then ever. It seems like there is almost no end to the variations and types of decks in the current metagame. The best advice I can give is know AND like your deck for the upcoming event. If you are confident in your deck, you will play it better and do better. It seems a long time ago since the metagame was defined by playing “Fires” or being able to beat “Fires”. This is both a blessing and a curse. With no “Best Deck” in the field, there is no defined metagame, thus testing knowledge become is as important as cards in your deck. On the other hand, the field opens the door for creativity and ingenuity. Your sideboard choices become more and more important. In this article I am going to cover deck types as opposed to specific decks. Each section is going to cover pros and cons for each deck type. I am going to touch on a broad variety of issues with each deck type and further testing may be required to refine each. If you look at previous articles, I have given more specific deck lists for each type. Also, the “Swimming with the Sharks” section of Cardshark gives variations of each deck type for your testing pleasure.
Deck Types for the article include:
R/G Beats (Frog or sligh type builds)
R/G Beats (Fattie versions)
Mono Black Control
R/G Beats (Frog or Sligh Type Builds):
These decks depend on a quick kill theory. The mana base of the decks is sketchy to say the least. The intent is to kill your opponent as quickly as possible and you will take damage from many pain lands in the process. Barbarian Ring and Karplusian Forests are a mainstay in the decks. The pain-free, “come into play tapped” dual lands from invasion are not an option in the deck due to the speed factor. These decks are the reason for the supposed “demise” of the psychatog archtype and have to ability to win before most decks can stabilize. The deck does have it bright spots, but if it stalls at all, it can just lose a game or match. Decks such as G/R Fat versions and B/g can stabilize quickly with a creature such as FTK or Spiritmonger. Overall I think that this deck is viable (just like sligh in extended), but needs to apply constant pressure to get victories. This deck type uses lots of common and uncommon cards, so it is attractive to many players on a budget. Therefore, its popularity has been growing over the past few weeks.
G/R (Fattie versions):
These decks differ from the “Frog” type decks in their approach. They have a more stable mana base and use mana acceleration to play fat creatures early and often to swing for the victory. Most times they can stabilize against “Frog” type decks and trample over. The problem with this type of deck is that its clock is slower and opens the door for Psychatog. A U/W, U/B, or Opposition player can be established via bounce, global removal or soft-lock. Cards such as Spellbane Centaur can destroy the synergy of Opposition so it may be a main deck choice for the field. Overall, this deck is viable in the field, but can have issues with slower board-control decks. I would suggest some “speed” components in the sideboard for this deck type.
This deck was all the rage until the advent of “Frog” decks. With this supposed “demise”, I believe that some people will play the deck for the shear reason of proving the nay-sayers wrong. The deck has amazing synergy and can add the black pain land from Odyssey to get rid of barbarians and the like. The deck has serious issues with “Frog” type decks and black decks packing Blood/edict for removal. Upheaval is a great reset button, but does not stop all of the removal for black. I think that the deck has issues, but it can be navigated thru the field. Remember in extended, grow was supposed to eliminate donate? However, Donate was still there ‘til the end. So watch out for the former king of standard.
Black with a splash of green is another consistent deck in the environment. The addition of Tainted wood with Llanawar wastes makes the splash of green for Monger and deed possible. It also allows the addition of Compost to the sideboard for a card drawing engine. Deed (along with Upheaval) is one of the best reset buttons in the environment. The disruption of Rats/Fiends/Duress and the use of shades/mongers/Ichorid as kill cards makes this deck fast (not as much as Frog) and allows you to stabilize and take board control. Problems for this deck are “regenerators” such as lynx and nightscape familiar that can indefinitely block your threats, but a well timed deed can solve the issue. Overall the deck is a good choice (see a pattern developing?) and can make a strong showing at Regionals). It has a lot less press than other deck types, but is a viable choice and needs to be recognized.
This is a developing archtype that is viable in the environment. There is a very good article on Sideboard.com about this deck type. This deck has the removal (Vindicate and disenchant) for the things that can plague a mono black player. This deck will be present at Regionals. After reading the article on sideboard, you will see why I am not elaborating more on this deck type.
Mono Black Control:
Torment is the black set and gave us many ways to use the color. Mono black decks are becoming the rage, but a common enchantment can cause you many issues (COP Black and it’s rare counter part, Aegis of Honor). Early disruption can rid your opponents hands of the “hosers” but if they hit play they have to be dealt with. I have seen many versions of the deck posted on multiple sites. Be aware of the deck, but I think all of the “hate” for it may keep it away from Regionals.
This deck is similar to “Frog” decks except for it’s color. This deck goes for a very quick win without a thought of a backup plan. I believe that with the hate for Psychatog, B/g and mono black that this deck gets caught in the crossfire and can’t standup in the environment. The addition of another color to deal with problems (be it white, green or red such as Kibler’s B/R deck) is a better solution.
I posted an article on Cardshark on a Hero-go deck. This deck has issues with “Frog” decks, but can establish control over slower decks in the environment and has the best card in type two (Fact or Fiction). This deck also has issues with Braids and Ichorid decks so an understanding of the field will help with this deck type. The fact that it contains a large number of chase rares may keep some players from putting the deck together. The deck takes a lot of patience and practice to play well and will lead to many long matches. These reasons may keep players from playing the deck.
Opposition is a deck type that is showing up again on the tourney scene. It uses the powerful enchantment of Opposition most times with green to apply a lock down against most decks. Birds and elves give you mana acceleration and cheep creatures to lock the opponent down. Squirrel nest is a powerful card in the deck allowing more creatures to be added to the lock down mechanism. This deck is slow and can fall victim to decks like Frog. Also “hosers” such as spellbane can make for a long day. This deck is viable but again takes patience and practice to master. I will playtest against it since I guess it will be present at Regionals.
Hopefully this helps in defining the upcoming metagame. By no means is this a complete list as the field is very open to “Rouge” decks.
A further break down is the cards, not decks that are defining the metagame. Make sure you can deal with all of these:
Fact or Fiction
As always, questions and comments are always appreciated.
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