Rees’ Pieces #9: Tiny Leaders

Hi there, today I’m going to be talking to you about a relatively new Magic format which has been picking up in popularity recently. Its a variation of Commander but instead of 100 cards you have 50, and in addition you can only use cards with a converted mana cost of 3 or less. You can find the official rules along with the banlist here: tinyleaders.blogspot.co.uk

tiny_leaders

The first I heard of Tiny Leaders was 4 or 5 months ago when a friend of mine in my Commander play circle found the format and suggested we give it a try. Honestly I wasn’t particularly impressed, the power levels of the decks we’d built were pretty low and at the time it just seemed like a duller version of regular Commander and we soon deferred back to the 100 card format.

Around 6 weeks ago, I started to notice an uptick in the format with more people starting to write about it culminating in a match I watched in a (relatively) local game store between Alesha and Anafenza. The game seemed really entertaining and the decks were doing much more powerful things than those I’d played with long before. I started to get more excited for the format but still wasn’t sure who I wanted to choose as my Leader.

Then later that weekend I was watching the SCG Open Series and the commentators started talking about the format between matches. Patrick Sullivan was getting excited about Zozu the Punisher, and all he wanted to do was blow up lands and stop his opponent casting spells. Immediately I washooked and started rummaging through the stacks and folders of cards in my room to try and find as many Stone Rain effects as possible.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find all the land death spells I wanted and ended up ordering a few cards. While I waited however I became impatient and decided to put together another deck in the meantime. What else stops  my opponents from playing magic? Oh look here’s my Death and Taxes deck, and that’s how Thalia was born. Here’s my current 50:

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Mother of Runes
Grand Abolisher
Stoneforge Mystic
Phyrexian RevokerThalia
Leonin Arbiter
Leonin Relic Warder
Ethersworn Canonist
Serra  Avenger
Mentor of the Meek
Aven Mindcensor
Glowrider
Stonecloaker
Banisher Priest
Fiend Hunter
Mangara of Corondor
Mirran Crusader
Flickerwisp
Swords to Plowshares
Path to Exile
Brave the Elements
Councils Judgement
Oblivion Ring
Aether Vial
Thorn of Amethyst
Crucible of Worlds
Sword of Light and Shadow
Sword of Feast and Famine
Ghost Quarter
Tectonic Edge
Wasteland
Dust Bowl
Rishadan Port
Arcane Lighthouse
Secluded Steppe
Drifting Meadow
Eiganjo Castle
Cavern of Souls
Maze of Ith
10 Plains

Small cheap creatures with disruptive abilities backed up by incredible equipment in the Swords and a small land destruction package to help tax my opponent’s resources. The deck plays out pretty much as I’d intended to limiting control or combo type decks with disruption from creatures like Ethersworn Canonist, Leonin Arbiter or Thalia herself; meanwhile beating out aggro using the incredible power of the swords along with good removal like path to exile and council’s judgement.

By that friday though another idea had come to mind. Another one of my favourite things in magic is to spend a lot of time doing absolutely nothing. Such as casting Life from the Loam over and over again. I’ve always been tempted by Legacy Lands but never caved and bought into it; still though I’d picked up some of the cheaper pieces. Tiny leaders seemed like a great place to mess around with the deck, and get some durdling done. Once again I went out wondering who to use as my Commander, and I remembered that Yasova had been printed in Fate Reforged. She let me play Intuition, Gamble and Loam all in the same deck. Game on! Idid another dig and came up with most of what I needed, picking up a Gamble from a friend of mine. I’m still missing some of the more expensive pieces (see Tropical Island and Tabernacle), but here is the list:

Yasova Dragonclaw
Satyr Wayfinder
Young Pyromancer
Tarmogoyf
Eternal Witness
Courser of Kruphix
Ancestral Vision
Gamble
Ancient Stirrings
Crop Rotation
Life from the Loam
Mulch
Edge of Autumn
Punishing Fire
Intuition
Krosan Grip
Compulsive Research
Exploration
Sylvan Library
Lightning Rift
Seismic Assault
Engineered Explosives
Elixir of Immortality
Crucible of Worlds
Dack Fayden
Wooded Foothills
Scalding Tarn
Misty Rainforest
Taiga
Tropical Island
Volcanic Island
Mountain
Forest
Island
Forgotten Cave
Lonely Sandbar
Tranquil Thicket
Smoldering Crater
Remote Isle
Slippery Karst
 Command Tower
Grove of the Burnwillows
Wasteland
Rishadan Port
Maze of Ith
Dark Depths
Thespians Stage
Vesuva
Academy Ruins
Raging Ravine

Its not as smooth as I’d like it to be, for example I had to wasteland my own taiga to replay it out of my

maxresdefault

yard to get a third red mana for Seismic Assault the other day. A Seismic Assault that was added to the list after the Lightning rift, which probably tells you a bit about how I think. The deck is however insanely sweet, even though I have to whether the glares I get when I’m at 2 life having done nothing but durdle for the entire game only to finally lock them out of the game with the engine I’d finally got to.

At this point I was super excited to play the format, I’d built a couple of sweet decks but hadn’t played many actual games. The next weekend I traveled back to the same games tore again to try and get a few games in and also try out a sweet Legacy Death Shadow list (Legacy FNMs whoop whoop). Playing the decks most of the matches were fairly close and a ton of fun, with a couple of instances of Swords of X and Y just running away with the game (strongly recommend having main deck answers to these). It did however lead me to find space for the Elixir of Immortality in the Yasova deck as some of the games ended with 1 or 2 cards in my library and on 1 or 2 life.

Coming out of the weekend I had a pile of new deck Ideas which I wanted to try ranging from Doomsday to Goblins. I’m ashamed to say that as of the date of writing Zozu Land Death is still not complete, but I am the proud owner of a bunch of other decks with a pile more in the works. The formatis awesome, and its definitely worth giving it a try even if you don’t like the sound of it there’s almost certainly a deck that’s up your alley.

That’s it from me this week, thanks for reading

Rees’ Pieces #8 – Pro Tour Fate Reforged (Modern)

Its just coming up to 10:30 in the evening of Sunday the 8th February and the finals of Pro Tour Fate Reforged have just finished. The victor: Antoni del Moral Leon of Spain playing straight up Blue-Red Splinter Twin, defeating the American Justin Cohen who was playing Amulet Bloom Combo. The rest of the top eight consisted of a second copy of Splinter Twin, 2 copies of Burn and 3 copies of Abzan. Today I’m going to take a brief look into these decks and try and give you an insight into different choices the players have made in deck construction as well as give you an idea of what the meta will be like post Fate Reforged.

pro tour fate reforged

Lets get the ball rolling with Abzan Midrange, this was by all means the deck to beat coming into this weekend. With Cruise and Dig gone, and especially Birthing Pod banned all eyes were on this deck. And what do you know they were right, it showed up and in ridiculous numbers. The percentage of people playing Abzan in the field was 28% of all competitors which is a ridiculously high number. However only three made it into Top 8; Jesse Hampton, Jacob Wilson, and Eric Froehlich. Here is Hamptons list:

Planeswalker (4)
4 Liliana of the Veil
Creature (12)

2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
4 Siege Rhino
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
Sorcery (12)

4 Lingering Souls
4 Thoughtseize
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Maelstrom Pulse
Instant (7)

4 Abrupt Decay
1 Dismember
2 Path to Exile
Land (25)

4 Windswept Heath
2 Marsh Flats
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Stirring Wildwood
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Godless Shrine
1 Twilight Mire
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Vault of the Archangel
1 Temple Garden
2 Treetop Village
2 Swamp
1 Fores
1 Plains

Sideboard (15)

1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Path to Exile
3 Aven Mindcensor
2 Fulminator Mage
1 Feed the Clan
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
2 Damnation
3 Stony Silence
1 Batterskull

Going into the tournament this is probably what you would expect from an Abzan deck, even though it has a couple of curve balls in the 75. Resilient threats, hand disruption, flexible removal; a proactive game plan backed up with plenty of cards to disrupt anything your opponents doing. I mentioned that there were a couple of curve balls earlier and while a the main deck is almost set in stone for your starting 60 the sideboard is where this particular list has an unexpected card or two. Feed the clan is a common from the recent Fate Reforged expansion originally thrown in the chaff pile as unplayable. It came on the radar at the first Open Series event after release though where Gerrard Fabiano had 2 copies in his sideboard to board in against aggro. Fabiano had very few ways to get the full ten life out of the card. In this Abzan deck almost every creature has the possibility to trigger ferocious making it more effective of a sideboard card here, primarily for the Burn match up where it’s text often reads ‘have a dude in play? counter the next 3 spells your opponent plays’. Another interesting thing is the three copies of Aven Mindcensor. Being able to snipe opponents when they crack fetches is nice but there are also a number of decks this card shuts down such as Amulet Combo, Scapeshift and Tron. However this is not a foolproof plan and in game three of Jesse’s semi final against Justin Cohen (on the Bloom deck) a Mindcensor in play seemed to have the game locked up, proving that both luck and skill are needed to win matches Justin ripped the exact pair lands he needed out of the top 4 cards of his library to kill Jesse. the last card i’d like to mention is the Vault of the Archangel among the lands in the main. In a meta where you expect a large amount of people to be playing Abzan this is a huge advantage to have especially combined with Lingering Souls. My spirit token for your Rhino? Yes please!

Efro’s list is very similar to the one above, but I’d like to take a minute and talk about the Abzan deck that Jacob Wilson piloted which came from a slightly different angle:

Creature (27)

4 Noble Hierarch
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Voice of Resurgence
2 Qasali Pridemage
3 Kitchen Finks
3 Loxodon Smiter
4 Siege Rhino
3 Wilt-Leaf Liege

Sorcery (6)

4 Lingering Souls
2 Thoughtseize

Instant (4)

4 Path to Exile

Land (23)

3 Gavony Township
3 Forest
1 Swamp
1 Plains
3 Razorverge Thicket
1 Godless Shrine
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Temple Garden
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Windswept Heath
1 Marsh Flats

Sideboard (15)

2 Thoughtseize
2 Chalice of the Void
2 Fracturing Gust
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Stony Silence
1 Zealous Persecution
2 Sword of War and Peace
1 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
1 Rule of Law
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Leyline of Sanctity

This is a different take on the GWB midrange deck. Now if you’ll throw your mind back in the day and recall the card Birthing Pod  Wilson was an expert with the deck, even using it to make the finals of the previous Modern Pro Tour. While Pod is now banned this is what remains. A bunch of mana accelerators in Birds and Hierarch, along with difficult to deal with creatures like Kitchen Finks and Voice of Resurgence. It keeps in the Rhinos a normal Abzan list has and adds Loxodon Smiter and Wilt Leaf leige in multiples. Word on the street says by the end of day 2 Jacob Wilson’s opponents were even ending game ones with copies of Thoughtsieze and Inquisition of Kozilek in hand, afraid of running into a hand full of these. Smiter is also excellent against control and Liege also makes all of your creatures better (especially good with Lingering Souls). The Gavony townships in the manabase are another shout to Pod and go great with all the mana creatures and Souls tokens, combining with Wilt Leaf Liege to make your guys bigger. This list is definitely tuned to beating other Abzan decks, which as it turned out was very popular. This comes as a price though, the deck runs four copies of Path to Exile as its only removal it makes your Splinter Twin match up weaker as seen in the quarter finals against Jelger Wiegersma. This also means that you are relying heavily on Lingering Souls against Affinity game 1, though you have a solid sideboard plan for them later. An unfortunate similarity with Pod as a result of all the mana creatures is that the deck can run out of steam pretty quickly and will have some awful late game top decks. This deck was a strong meta choice but fell short in the final eight.

The next deck I would like to discuss is Splinter Twin. While there have been many different versions of the deck splashing green, white or black it is straight UR Twin that puts two decks into the Top 8 of this Pro Tour in the hands of Jelger Wiegersma and Antoni del Moral Leon who eventually lifted the Trophy. Twin is a deck that has always been a mainstay in Modern ever since its inception, one of the premier combo decks in the format. The deck contains ‘the combo’ in Deceiver Exarch, Pestermite and Splinter Twin itself, Cards that by you time and help find the combo, and protection for your combo (with some overlap in between). The deck also has a decent tempo plan with Snapcaster Mage beatdown and Lightning Bolts; though you look a bit silly getting into the red zone with a 1/4 Exarch sometimes its just what it takes to get the win. Here is the winning decklist from Antoni Del Moral Leon:

Creature (11)

3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Vendilion Clique
4 Deceiver Exarch
2 Pestermite

Sorcery (5)

1 Flame Slash
4 Serum Visions

Instant (16)

1 Peek
1 Dispel
2 Electrolyze
2 Spell Snare
2 Cryptic Command
4 Remand
4 Lightning Bolt
Enchantment (4)
4 Splinter Twin

Land (24)

4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Sulfur Falls
1 Stomping Ground
3 Steam Vents
1 Desolate Lighthouse
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Mountain
5 Island

Sideboard (15)

1 Dispel
1 Flame Slash
2 Keranos, God of Storms
2 Blood Moon
2 Spellskite
1 Negate
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Pyroclasm
1 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Jace, Architect of Thought
1 Shatterstorm
1 Anger of the Gods

While there are variations of twin involving splashing other colours (shout out to Makahito Mahara and the Humble Defector tech in Grixis), straight Blue Red lists are fairly similar and this one is pretty stock. Having multiple cliques in the main is a bit of an oddity but does improve your tempo plan and let you know exactly what you have to play around. The ability to also target yourself with the ability to ditch dead cards should also be noted. One card that faded out of these lists is Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker; even with less bolts flying around with delver gone people are still hesitant to include him in their lists despite allowing you to play all of the combo in one turn after picking a fight on your opponents end step. If you take a quick peek at his board you might see nothing of interest or out of the norm but if you look closer you’ll see a stand alone copy of Jace, Architect of Thought in the list and boy is this a spicy one even if |i’m not exactly sure what its doing here, possibly for the control match up or maybe even against Tokens. While the Plan B is fine, if you play Twin, if you’re lucky enough and if you can find it you’ll have combo on turn five with protection every game hiring the A Twin. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

The next deck to discuss is good old fashioned Burn. While it did lose some power with the ban on treasure cruise the important thing to remember is that most of the other decks also lost out with the banning and Burn was good deck before Treasure Cruise was printed. As it is the deck is still very good putting up a plethora of good finishes this weekend culminating with two Top 8s in the hands of Lee Shi Tian and Seth Mansfield who both unfortunately lost in the quarterfinals. The formula of the deck is pretty simple: count to twenty, using combination of early creatures and direct damage spells. While the concept is simple the deck still takes skill to pilot and there are complicated lines of play take and decisions to make. Here is Seth Manfields 75:

Creature (13)

4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Goblin Guide
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
1 Grim Lavamancer

Sorcery (8)

4 Rift Bolt
4 Lava Spike

Instant (20)

4 Skullcrack
4 Searing Blaze
4 Boros Charm
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Shard Volley
2 Lightning Helix

Land (19)

4 Arid Mesa
4 Wooded Foothills
3 Sacred Foundry
2 Mountain
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Stomping Ground
4 Scalding Tarn

Sideboard (15)

4 Destructive Revelry
1 Lighting Helix
3 Kor Firewalker
3 Molten Rain
2 Deflecting Palm
2 Path to Exile

4 Eidolons, 4 Goblin Guide, 4 Swiftspears is standard for any burn deck now but Seth is also playing a single Grim lavamancer. Its a bit of a risk as if it gets picked off by a removal spell early it doesn’t do anything but if you can untap with it the pay off is huge. I like the one as its already a risk be it one worth taking, but multiples are often dead so any more would be taking too many chances. The other interesting thing in the main deck is the 2-2 split of Shard Volleys and Lightning Helixs, many other players choosing to play three or even four shard volleys despite of its downside. Helix however is a bit slower at two mana but the life gain attached can be crucial when you’re in a tight spot with an Eidolon in play, or against the mirror. As far as the sideboard goes most of it is pretty standard now, one of the more interesting cards is Deflecting Palm. This is a sweet one and it can have applications all over the place. Abzan player have a giant ooze they’ve taken over the game with? Swing the game back in your favour, Tron opponent bearing down with a Wurmcoil? Prevent the damage and deal it right back at them. As the day goes on though these kind of tricks get spoiled to your opponents which can make them play around it games two and three, though even that you can use to your advantage. I’m just gonna say Valakut the Molten Pinnacle and leave that there.

If I haven’t saved the best til last, I’ve certainly saved the most complicated. Amulet Bloom Combo is a deck that has been around a while but has only recently started putting up good finishes at high level events. Justin Cohen whose been piloting the deck for a long time made it into the Top 8 here very nearly but not quite accompanied by his housemate and current testing partner Sam Black. Like I said the deck is complicated but the main things are the combination of Amulet of Vigor with Karoo lands allowing then to untap when they enter the battlefield, along with either Azusa or Summer Bloom to give you multiple land drops in a turn accelerating out either a Primeval Titan or a Hive Mind. With Hive mind in play you simply cast a Pact and have your opponent unable to pay for their Hive Mind copy. If you make a Titan however things get tricky, with amulet in play you can fetch Slayer’s Stronghold and Boros Garrison which both Untap to give your Titan haste. Into combat goes your titan and you’re finding some more lands. If you have either excess mana or two Amulets in play you can find Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion and a Vesuva to copy the Slayers Stronghold, which both untap to give your titan Double strike. The beauty of the deck though as going all in on a Titan will often have you stopped in your tracks by a path to exile, is to tutor up Tolaria West and a bounce land to return the West to your hand. This synergy allows you to go and find either a Summoners Pact, to get a new Titan, or a Pact of Negation to protect the Titan you have in play. You can also use the Tolaria Wests to tutor for the pacts to allow a Hive Mind win, or to tutor for a utility land like Cavern of Souls to make your Titans uncounterable. To help us get a grasp on the deck, here is Cohens list:

Creature (7)

4 Primeval Titan
1 Simian Spirit Guide
2 Azusa, Lost but Seeking

Sorcery (12)

4 Serum Visions
4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Summer Bloom

Instant (7)

4 Summoner’s Pact
2 Pact of Negation
1 Slaughter Pact

Artifact (4)

4 Amulet of Vigor

Enchantment (3)

3 Hive Mind

Land (27)

1 Khalni Garden
1 Vésuva
1 Slayers’ Stronghold
1 Boros Garrison
1 Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
1 Radiant Fountain
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
1 Mana Confluence
1 Forest
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
4 Gemstone Mine
3 Tolaria West
3 Gruul Turf
4 Simic Growth Chamber
2 Cavern of Souls

Sideboard (15)

3 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Thragtusk
1 Hornet Queen
2 Firespout
1 Pyroclasm
1 Nature’s Claim
1 Seal of Primordium
1 Swan Song
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Wurmcoil Engine

While saying that there is a ‘standard list’ for Amulet Combo isn’t exactly accurate, there are a couple of differences here to decks we’ve seen in the past. Firstly there is only one copy of Simian Spirit Guide as opposed to the usual four, and in its stead we see Ancient stirrings to try and make your draws more consistent finding both lands or an Amulet of Vigor. The board is where the difference is really shown with a whole host of big creatures to bring in with Sigarda, Wurmcoil Engine, two Thragtusks and a Hornet Queen. These are primarily for the Abzan match up as the games there can be quite rocky with all of their hand disruption and answers for Titan and Amulet, making the combo aspect of the deck weaker and increasing the value of large difficult to deal with creatures. The Thragtusks and Wurmcoil are also Excellent against Burn which had a good showing at the PT, and the Sigarda is an excellent card against a control deck. Many people thought that with the rise of Abzan this deck would not be played in large amounts due to it being a weak match up and the deck certainly didn’t end up being very popular. Justin Cohen and Sam Black however thought that they had a good build for the meta and certainly proved it with their finishes; Justin losing in the finals to Antoni.

And that’s it for today everyone, in the end there really were not that many surprises coming out of the Pro Tour but that does leave the format open. Thanks for reading and I’l catch you next week.

Rees’ Pieces #4: Modern & Infect

Hi everyone,

Back again with another magic article. This week however I’ll be going my usual foray into the card market and talk about a deck I’ve been playing lately in modern in the run up to Grand Prix Madrid this weekend which is the first Modern Grand Prix since Khans of Tarkir was released. So without any further ado, here is the UG Infect list I’ve been playing:

 

4x Noble Heirarch

4x Glistener Elf

4x Blighted Agent

3x Viridian Corrupter

4x Gitaxian Probe

4x Groundswell

4x Mutagenic Growth

2x Might of Old Krosa

1x Become Immense

4x Vines of Vastwood

2X Apostles Blessing

2x Distortion Strike

1x Wild Defiance

4x Inkmoth Nexus

1x Dryad Arbor

2x Pendelhaven

4x Misty Rainforest

4x Windwept Heath

4x Breeding Pool

2x Forest

 

2x Wild Defiance

2x Spellskite

2x Hunt the Hunter

3x Nature’s Claim

2x Twisted Image

3x Dispel

1x Viridian Corrupter

blighted+agent

This list is fairly similar to the one Tom Ross popularised earlier this year, forgoing the usual Ichorclaw Myrs for Viridian Corrupters which help you deal with maindeck spellskites and give you main deck cards to hate Pod and Affinity freeing up some space in your board. Another recent addition to the deck is Hunt the Hunter; its narrow I know but Pod is prevalent enough and bad enough of a match up to warrant two copies of these. The obvious purpose for this is to get Melira Sylvok Outcast off of the table but its also great if they get greedy and you can snipe mana dorks, or killing a vital creature in response to them casting birthing pod. Between these and twisted images they help stabilise the match up though its still far from favourable. The last card I’d like to talk about before I go into the kahns of Tarkir additions is the one of Dryad Arbor in the main. So its great against edict effects like Liliana of the Veil but it also; as Ross put it “keeps people fair”. It sounds like a joke but people are very careless with their life total playing against Infect and the Arbor has killed more people than you would think.

Spellskite

Currently there is only one card from kahns of Tarkir in the list but that may be incorrect and there are a few other options that are worth considering. The one of Become Immense in the main has been fantastic, between fetches, probes and the inevitability of your creatures dying five cards in the yard is very achievable and +6/+6 for a single green mana is clearly big game. Every time I’ve drawn this card it has been great and I’d be tempted to go up to two copies. Its especially good versus RWU where your creatures are going to die in droves to fill up your yard and you can bait them with other pump spells before slamming this in response to a bolt or helix. Another thing to note is that with a Wild Defiance in play this makes any of your guys ten power. Also combos with Dryad Arbor.

The cards I am currently not playing but might be correct to play are the Obvious Treasure Cruise/Dig through time, and Stubborn Denial. Dig is a bit too mana intensive for this deck as double blue isn’t easy to achieve, but I feel Cruise should be present at least in the board if not the main. I don’t think it’s an auto include in the main because especially in game one it can be very clunky. It also contests space with Become Immense as there are only so many delve cards you can play. You want to kill your opponent very quickly and having multiple 6-8 mana spells will clog up your draws and dilute your game plan. I could see running a cruise alongside the Immense in the main and I can definitely see the merit for having a couple in the board for the grindy match ups like Jund or RWU.

Stubborn denial is an interesting one, most of the time its just a worse dispel. Don’t be under the illusion that your dude is gonna have 4 power when they try and kill it and sometimes Denial will end up being a Force Spike. However, the ability to simply spike your opponent or interact with their sorcery speed removal is relevant so if something like Storm is prevalent in the Meta Stubborn Denial could be a better choice. (It also has Tilt Value).

 

So that’s my take on Blue Green Infect, all things considered I think the deck is still a solid choice and I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled looking at the coverage from both rand Prix this weekend to see what does well. That’s it from me this week though,

Alastair

REES!
Rees is a magic expert, but sadly also a magiciser; he can never commit to one deck. Maybe one day he will settle down.

Rees’ Pieces #3: Tarkir Going Down & Jeskai Heroic Is a Thing!

This week it appears as though the flurry of price drops in Khans of Tarkir over the past few weeks has slowed down, with only a few small changes. I’ll give you a quick rundown:

– Near the top of the pile Sorin has dipped a tad down to £19.99, Abzan still popular but being outshone this past weekend by GB Constellation and he’s not seeing much play elsewhere.

sorin solemn visitor

Fetches still continue to fall with both Flooded Strand and Polluted Delta at £12.49, with Windswept Heath now £9.99, and Bloodstained More falling further to £8.49. Wooded Foothills is still at £11.49 for now but I would suspect it will follow suit down to the £10 mark soon.

khans tarkir lands Fetches

Dig through Time has fallen a little bit further down to now £8.49. UB control and Esper haven’t done particularly well the past couple of weeks however a UW control deck showed up at the SCG Open a week ago. Despite the fact that it’s seeing a bit of modern play and Jeskai has been doing pretty well in standard its price has continued to fall.

Mantis Rider has dropped down to £4.99 now, at the very start of the format the Jeskai Tempo deck was very dominant doing well at the Pro Tour, multiple Opens and Grand Prix. This past weekend it didn’t have a great showing and since (much like Sorin) it only really sees play in one deck which has probably led to its descent in price.

– A quick note on Crater’s Claws. If you’ve been one of the few people stocking up on these; they have now doubled in price to a whopping £1.99.

The Rest of the Standard Market

Like I said, Khans has been fairly quiet the past week, and the same can be said for the rest of standard:

Ajani Steadfast has taken a small hit dropping from £14.99 to £11.99, not too surprising seeing his lack of play.

Chasm Skulker has gone up in price at £4.49 with foils going up to £7.49. Travis Woo talked about the card in one of his recent articles and it also saw play in the Jeskai Heroic Combo deck that took down the SCG Standard Open this past weekend (more on that later).

Athreos the Overhyped has dropped down to £7.99 surprising… Nope, no-one.

athreos

– Apparently not everybody wants to be a cat, as Kitty King Brimaz drops down to £19.99. This is a bit suprising, as he sees play in both Abzan and Jeskai strategys as well as some of the white based aggro decks.

Elspeth has gone down to £19.99. While her days in the sun aren’t done yet she’s not seeing nearly as much play without the help of Supreme Verdict and Sphinx’s Revelation.

Ashiok Nightmare Weaver has now gone up to £9.99. While he saw a bit of play last format in Esper decks and a decent amount in block (Go GTA), he seems much more suited to this format where the field is dominated by midrange ‘Good Stuff’ decks.

A Look at the Tournament Scene 

That’s it for Standard price changes over the past week, but I’d like to briefly mention two archetypes that dominated the SCG Open this past weekend. The first one is well known, and that is Green Black Constellation. Its been doing well since the new format began but this past weekend there were 3 of these decks in the top 8 though for the most part they were defeated by the Jeskai Heroic combo deck I’ll move on to in a moment. The key cards from the archetype that are unique are Doomwake Giant, Eidolon of Blossoms, Pharika God of Affliction, and Whip of Erebos; while these cards haven’t moved much yet it’d be a safe bet to say they’ll be ticking up a bit soon.

The other deck I’d like to mention was pretty much off the radar up until now. Ivan Jen stormed through all comers with his Jeskai Heroic Ascendancy deck.

ivan jen
Ivan Jen after taking the first game of the SCG Standard open final

While Ascendancy was on everyone’s radar this is a completely new take on the deck which looks far superior to any other version we’ve seen forgoing green and the mana generators normally used when comboing off for aggressive heroic creatures like Akroan Crusader and Favoured Hoplite. This allows the deck to function well with or without ascendancy. It’s worth noting the combo in this version is slightly different as it uses retraction helix and springleaf drum (another new addition to the deck). Again none of the cards have really started to go up in price yet, however the deck seems like it could definitely be format warping. Jeskai Ascendancy, currently only £3.99 will almost certainly start going up in price again. Stain the mind, is looking like a very favourable sideboard card and is almost certainly going to see more use; currently £1.35 these seem like a good investment. The last card I’m going to mention is Spirit of the Labyrinth; it hurts both of the ascendancy decks in standard but also is becoming more and more playable in modern with the rise of treasure cruise. As a result it wouldn’t surprise me if Spirit saw a rise in play and price.

That’s it from me this week catch you next time,

Alastair

REES!
Rees is a magic expert, but sadly also a magiciser; he can never commit to one deck. Maybe one day he will settle down.

Rees’ Pieces #2: Alastair Inspects the MTG Standard Market.

1/11/14 Price Update

 

Hi everyone, I’m back again with another finance article covering the ups and downs of standard cards from the past week. I’m going to start off by patting the clever of you who ‘speculated’ on Thoughtseizes as they’ve finally started to creep up again; currently at £17.99 with foils clocking in at £44.99. If you were hoping to grab a set of foils while they are still not too expensive you are swiftly running out of time.

 

Last week we had a long list of pit traps and false floors with price drops all over the shop. Unfortunately the bad weathers not done yet:
– First on our series of losers is Dig through Time. Coming out at £4 each and suddenly shooting up to £14 it managed to keep that price for a few weeks but has now dropped down to £10.49 each. Bloodstained Mire, rejected behind his brothers has now gone down under £10. At this point a great deal of Kahns of Tarkir has been opened so having a majority of the rares holding prices over the £10 threshold for much longer is unrealistic. I would expect the other non-blue fetches to follow in Mires downward path and drop also.

Bloodstained Mire

 

– Despite putting a couple of results up in modern daily events as well as winning the latest Pro Tour, Siege Rhino has actually dropped in price down to £5.99. Following suit are commander all star Clever Impersonator; down to £4.49, and Black Aggro sweethear Bloodsoaked Champion; now at £4.49. Utter End also fell, now at the low low price of £3.49. I breifly mentioned how some of the green devotion cards had started dropping and the treand continues with Rattleclaw now at £3.49. Its worth noting that both Rhino and Mystic have recently been given away as Buy a Box and Game Day Promo cards.

 

Khan or Khan’t?

The Khans of Tarkir have had a reasonable impact on standard since the set’s come out. On the first weekend we saw Narset do some work out of the sideboard in the Jeskai Tempo deck, and Anafenza
had a great showing at the Pro Tour. It’s about time we had a check up and see how the Clan leaders are doing:

– Currently winning the Clan War is Anafenza the Foremost, weighing in at £7.99 with foils going up to £14.99
– Next up, clocking in second in the great race is Sidisi Brood Tyrant, at £5.99 with a foil setting you back £10.99
– Middle of the pack is the mighty Surrak Dragonclaw currently at the cheap price of £3.59 going up to the cost of £12 for a foil, probably because of his power in commander.
– Despite seeing play as a one of or two of in a bunch of Jeskai tempo decks you can pick up a Narset Enlightened Master for a meager £2.49. You might think that sharing your treasured knowledge actually makes you worth less, however a foil copy of Narset is still £13.49. If you ever let somone attack with one in EDH you’ll see why.
– Letting his down his clan completely, though probably at least partially due to his printing in Speed vs Cunning Zurgo Helmsmasher is only £2.25 with technically 3 printings. As you can get a foil one either out of the duel deck or as a prerelease promo a foil is only £4.49.

Wrap Up

 

Again its been a weak week for the standard market with not much at all to brag or write home about, and the format seems relatively defined so a shake up seems unlikely. We can still hope though; thats it from me this week so thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time
Alastair

 

REES!
Rees is a magic expert, but sadly also a magiciser; he can never commit to one deck. Maybe one day he will settle down.

Assault at Imdaar Alpha X-wing Tournament

1/6/14 @ 11am

Prizes are as follows;

One Z-95 Headhunter Expansion Pack
One TIE Defender Expansion Pack
One E-Wing Expansion Pack
One TIE Phantom Expansion Pack
Sixteen promotional copies of Bandit Squadron Pilot with extended art

Plus more boosters depending on attendance.

Entry will be £10.00
wave4-layout

X-wing restock

The Rebel transport has arrived along with a restock of B-wings, Tie Bombers and Interceptors. photo(9)

 

Christmas and New Years Opening Hours

Over Christmas and New Years we will be closed for a few days.

Tuesday 24th open 11am til 4 pm

25th until Friday 27th closed.

Sat 28th til Mon 30th open as usual.

Tues 31st open 11am til 4pm

Wednesday 1st 2014 closed

Thursday 2nd onwards back to normal.

Dragon’s Maze Pre-release Weekend

We have a busy weekend coming;

Friday 4pm Start Modern FNM £3 entry
Friday 7pm Start Standard FNM £3 entry

After our FNMs we then have
27/4/13 @ 00.00 (Midnight) Pre-release. £19.50 for entry and 6 boosters. Sealed Deck Event

27/4/13 @ 11.00 am Pre-release. £19.50 for entry and 6 boosters. Sealed Deck Event

27/4/13 @ 19.00 (7pm) Pre-release. £19.50 for entry and 6 boosters. Sealed Deck Event

28/4/13 @11.00 am Pre-release. £19.50 for entry and 6 boosters. Two Headed Giant Sealed Deck Event

For all events you have 45 mins to build your deck.

We have 18 of each Guild box available. If you pay in advance you get to reserve your guild. Otherwise you can save a place for one of the above events by posting here.

If you do not pay in advance your ticket will be saved until 5 minutes before the tournament begins.

To buy your ticket please visit our retail store or email us at tabletoptyrant@gmail.com