The Help Desk - by Jonathan Pechon
Why Are They Using Such Primitive Weapons?
The title here points to two things:
a quick anime note, and a rant.
if you have not yet seen the original Macross
series of Robotech, and claim to be a fan of anime…
SHAME ON YOU. No,
seriously, shame on you.
I’m not kidding. Flashing back to the early 80’s, these cartoons did
something that so many other shows were afraid to do.
In G.I. Joe, if you watched enough of the show,
they expended more ordinance than WWII three times over,
but NOBODY DIED. Same
goes for Transformers, etc.
Meanwhile, Robotech presented a fantastic
storyline, and brought it to you with reality: in war,
death happens, and it affects you.
For what it was, it’s a fantastic series.
And, if you peek in the anime section of your
local DVD dealership, you’ll find the first two
volumes of the Macross saga!
Reasonably priced (about $35 for twelve episodes
and an extra DVD of special features), they are an
absolute must-own if you are an anime fan, or just like
a well-told story.
Being both, they make me very happy, and
give me a little more fun and humor in my life,
something I’m dearly in need of (see coming rant).
Okay, advertising off…rant-mode, on.
Let me be clear for everyone:
the metagame only works if you guys
actually keep up with it.
This can mean spending hours reading every
godforsaken article that pops up across the net (okay,
okay, I have a lot of spare time at work), or just
looking around the room before the tournament starts. Your deck has a purpose, and it’s going to better against
some match-ups than against others.
If the room is completely against you, you just
might consider changing a few cards in your deck.
If you keep yourself balanced, you’ll be in a
better position to defend yourself against the rest of
the room, and won’t make certain players feel like
eating their entire deck, sleeves and all.
Well, on to something useful.
Two premiere events this weekend, both presenting
very different views of the metagame.
How are we supposed to process this information?
It’s difficult to generalize about an
environment with so many varied decks.
For example, GP-Denver gave us decks in the top 8
with 24 creatures (Aaron Knobloch) and 0
creatures (Darwin Kastle).
Personally, I take this as proof that this
environment is incredibly varied, and will make for a
fine Standard environment once Masques-block rotates
out. The power cards are apparent in this environment are clear,
but there are so damned many of them, it makes
for a really dynamic environment.
I think it would take many, many months of
continuous play for this environment to stratify into
the “Best deck,” pit that block environment seems to
fall into. I
don’t see many match-ups that are favored in an overly
lopsided manner. The
qualifier in Neutral Ground from a few weeks ago is a
perfect example: Red-Green
took out a top 8 field that was almost entirely
composed of Solution (or Solution-like) decks.
Does that mean that the match-up is in the
deck’s favor? Of
course not, anyone testing will tell you that the R/G
deck should lose it’s pants to the Solution, but be
prepared for more parity in the results than you might
be comfortable with.
A common gripe I hear is that the environment is
entirely about Grizzly Bears.
Those lovable 2/2’s are sure running around
everywhere, aren’t they?
But, looking closely, there’s a lot more
variety there than is being given credit for.
Some of it is certainly the environment lashing
out against the number of bears in the environment; I
would make a very sure guess that it explains the
viability of Sunscape Familiar in the environment, hence
explaining Danny Mandel’s success in Denver (by the
way, I think that deck is fantastic!).
But control is taking on different aspects now.
Darwin Kastle ran a creatureless deck to the top
four in Denver, counting on Urza’s Rage for the
victory, while Itaru Ishida’s deck that conquered
GP-Kobe (another phenomenally fun-looking deck) added
Goblin Trenches in with the Rages.
The Trenches are interesting, adding a very
Counter-Post-like feel to the deck.
This is a really underrated card, and I’m
expecting to see more of it in the near future. The G/U deck is evolving into a G/U/r deck, with David Price
taking this deck to 9th place in Denver. With Rage and Prophetic Bolt packing a bit more punch than
Temporal Spring and Rushing River, they give the deck a
lot more staying power, and giving you an out if the
initial rush of creatures can’t finish off the
very simple sideboard in this case is also a very
powerful sideboard, and makes up a deck that should
definitely have made top 8.
Basically, the more powerful spells are starting
to catch on. The
Dark Domain deck from this weekend capitalized on that,
running Planar Despair and Destructive Flow, cards not
commonly seen yet in block.
So much innovation is still happening!
I’m finding it very difficult to settle into a
deck for the remainder of the season, mainly because I
think that the environment is going to radically change
over and over again as people keep introducing new
trying to maintain three separate decks is going to be a
pain, but you gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.
For now, I’m going to sign off.
I’ll actually try to say something creative
next week, promise! Right now, I need sleep too badly. Take care, everyone, and keep the email coming!
Remember, I’ll be glad to look over any
decklists sent in and offer what I can to them. Until next week!
“Actually…it’s very nice junk.”