New Phyrexia and Goblins
So it has been a while since I have written anything for the site. Life has thrown me a set of curb balls of late. To though s who lent me their support I thank you. Though s have have remained patient for my return I have to first tell you I am sorry that its taken almost 4 weeks and I have to thank you for waiting.
So with out any more delays lets get down to it. How sick is New Phyrexia? It sure did change thing sup meta wise. The new mechanic of the Phyrexian mana really makes things interesting. Red decks are casting black cards with no black mana. Green decks are casting draw cards and counter spells with no blue mana etc and so forth. Stuff is as nuts as it was when Time Spiral block was legal. The most important change is that there is now a major contender in the Standard format that threatens to unseat caw-blade as the best deck. Deceiver Exarch with Splinter Twin has been smashed into multiple decks recently all of which have made top 8 finishes in large events. So lets take a look at this new card combo.
What does it do exactly? It uses the untap ability of the Deceiver and Splinters twins tap ability to make a copy of any creature its attached to. In other words the combo starts with an end of turn Deceiver and their turn enchant Deceiver. They tap it to make anther which comes into play and untaps the enchanted one. They repeat this process as many times as they want. Say 90000 times. This is pretty much fatal to any deck regardless of blockers. You might say hey well just kill the creature in response and it stops the combo. Your right it does however the types of kill spells are limited that can deal with this guy in a timely manor. Unless your playing black the normal removals no longer applies. Lightning Bolt Oust and other popular removal spells are not viable. Flame Slash seems like it could really shine here if only it was an instant. Worse still since the decks that are running this combo are clearly blue your good black removals like Go for the Throat Doom Blade Grasp in Darkness etc are not a sure thing as they can be counter spelled fairly easily. Do not fret even with counter magic and the creature being of a respectable size it does cost 3 mana. This means if they want to end of turn cast it and then their turn twin they have to leave 3 mana open on their turn 3. this means you can plan accordingly with your awesome black removals. This also applies to counter magic of any sort.
What if your not running black or blue are there other options that stop this combo? Yes there is. For red players a few cards truly shine. Combust which has begged to be in red decks sideboard for its existence finally has a sound reason beyond Banesalyer Angel. It cannot be counter spelled or prevented and it soundly kills this little annoyance. Some more interesting answers are found in the new Pryexian mana cost of some spells. Dismember being one of them 1 colorless mana and 4 life is a steep cost but its 4 life or loose the game the way I see it. Beast within is anther interesting answer for the green decks. One of the most interesting answer for this combo is also my personal fave. Act of Aggression is a card that I have been talking about amongst friends since I first seen it was going to be printed. Its an Instant Speed Act of Treason how awesome is that? Best of all its 3 mana and 2 P red mana. This means any deck can cast it for 3 mana and 4 life. Best of all you can literally kill them with their own combo. There are two ways to do this. One way is to cast it responding to the ability of splinter twin being placed on the stack. You gain control of the enchanted Deceiver before the copy enters play. End of their turn you make 90000000 or however many dudes you feel like and smash them on your turn. You may argue that this isn’t possible since the tokens go away at the end of turn. Your wrong. Like Mimic Vat the wording on Splinter Twin is “until the next end step.” This means if you made them on their end step they do not go away until your end step. The second way to do this is to respond to them casting Splinter Twin and declaring Deceiver as their target for it. You steal it before the enchant resolves and then its enchanted under your control since Splinter Twin does not anywhere state that it has to Enchant anything they control.
The sad part of this new set is that my personal choice in decks didn’t really get anything major to boost its win percent; However there wasn’t anything to really hate it out either. Goblins I still feel is pretty respectable and viable in top tier play under the right player. There are some new things to watch for and the old things you worried about still exist. (Curse you Kor Firewalker!) The most annoying of the new threats comes in the form of Spellkite. This little 0/4 blocker is so frustrating for a deck that leans on player targeting effects to finish the game like Goblins. Though its not as if you are not able to solve the problem. One of the best sideboard options your already running to deal with things like Kor Firewalker also deal with This new threat. Ratchet Bomb esaly handles 2 mana cost problems all day. Also its worth mention that shatter and Manic vandal do good work as well. The other major issues ive run into is Phyrexian Obliterator. This guy is not guy is a bunch of issues packed into one thing. Hes sizable which makes him hard to remove. He comes pretty quickly 9t4 really?) Your removal sets you back per point of damage it deals by forcing you to blow up a perminate. You cant Swing into him for the same problem of having to sac all your perminates and or dudes. Pretty much hes near perfect at killing you. The up side is 4 mana is pretty slow when you look at an ave game win by turn 4 with Goblins. You are able to shoot over his head. The other up side is he is 4 pure black mana which means only a select few decks can really cast him with ease. Right Now MBC and I expect a Blue/black Control to spring up with him as a staple. The other Up side is that you already have one of the better answer to dealing with him. Mark of Mutiny has been a solve all for red for some time now. With the new Act of Aggression you can expect these types of effects to remain consistent and game altering as ever against large Creatures.
Many people have considered Mental Misstep a fatal blow to aggressive 1 drop based decks like goblins and vampires. I have to firmly disagree. If you turn 1 Goblin Guide and they respond with a Misstep your ahead without them having the option to gain an extra land card. Goblin Guide only needs to hit home once or twice to do his job. Further more when you add up all the 1 drops that are ran in decks like Goblins and vampires you realize that there are 20 of them in each deck on ave. They are not going to counter spell all 20. So One is bound to stick. Look out for more logical use of it at important moments like to deal with a kicked bushwhacker that otherwise would of swung the game in your favor. In Short its just like any other counter spell play accordingly.
If your looking for a resilient Aggro deck that can compete with the Caw-blade and twin combo decks for this up and coming PTQ season then goblins may still be for you. They remain fairly cheap to obtain (around 60-80$) and competitive the current meta.