L.A. Dreams: The Standard Hype

As we all know by now, unless you’ve some how dodged the parades in the streets, Jace and Stoneforge mystic are banned. This has been leading to people talking about a bunch of deck ideas for the format. I’m going to lay down some thoughts I have for standard. They may be garbage or they may be the sick new tech but that’s the gamble everyone takes right after rotation! Let’s take a look.

The first list is not something incredibly new, but you may want to double check for some new tech.

Creatures: 16           Enchantments: 7            Lands: 27

4 Primeval Titan        4 Khalni Heart Expedition  11 Mountain

4 Overgrown Battlement  3 Splinter Twin            5 Forest

1 Obstinate Baloth      Sorceries: 10              1 Island

2 Birds of Paradise     4 Explore                  4 Misty Rainforest

1 Oracle of Mul Daya    4 Cultivate                2 Evolving Wilds

4 Deciever Exarch       2 Green Sun's Zenith       4 Valakut, The Molten Pinnacle

That is in fact the splinter twin combo! Since Twin is one way to seriously race Valakut why not put it IN Valakut? The other reasoning behind this is that so many decks will be running Spreading Seas to cripple Valakut’s manabase that you can expect to cast deceiver a lot more often without having to fetch for an Island over one of your beloved mountains or forests. When one of the biggest hate cards against you might enable your combo, what is your opponent to do? It is possible that we would want more Birds of Paradise so there would be slightly higher chances of turn 3 combos, but that relies on drawing the combo in your opener too often.

That brings me to my next piece of tech. Green Sun’s Zenith is often cast for Overgrown Battlement and that’s a glorified Rampant Growth many times. In this case it becomes a…well….Rampant Growth. There is also the super rare cases of a Turn 3 Titan that the bird can lead to. Though that involves have an opener with 3 Untapped lands, Birds, cultivate, and Titan.

The one thing I have changed in particular is the mana base. With deciever combo in the deck, you’re much less likely to need 12 mountains to kill your opponent as any case where you do you’ve either lost the match or could win off the combo much easier.

I do have to admit that the list is fairly hastily thrown together. The singleton Obstinate Baloth is there for the aggro match ups, but I think Deciever and Overgrown Battlement should do the job in that match up. The Baloth could easily become another Birds of Paradise or GSZ. The biggest question is if we would want to run a 4th Splinter twin since we don’t really get to draw. If three Splinter Twins turns out to be coming up short it is easy enough to fit in the fourth. If you would rather focus as much as possible on the original plan of attack then I would recommend reading GerryT’s article from today on Star City Games. He discusses a plan that involves running Chancelor of the Tangle to power out ramp from turn 1. As Always he provides some sick tech so I can’t dismiss going straight G/R.

The next deck is also Red, Blue, and Green. People who follow @smi77y on twitter should be familiar with the list.

Creatures: 28           4 Acidic Slime            Lands: 27

4 Lotus Cobra           3 Frost Titan             4 Raging Ravine

3 Nest Invader          2 Phyrexian Metamorph     4 Scalding Tarn

2 Obstinate Baloth      Artifacts: 3              2 Verdant Catacombs

4 Birds of Paradise     3 Birthing Pod            4 Misty Rainforest

1 Oracle of Mul Daya    Enchantments: 3           2  Copperline Gorge

4 Deciever Exarch       3 Splinter Twin           5 Forest

1 SpellSkite                                      3 island

                                                  2 Mountain

The biggest difference between our lists is that I refuse to call it GUR. I am favoring Pod Control myself, but I'm going to give the community a vote for what the name should be.
The real difference is that I dropped Vengevines for Obstinate Baloth and a Spellskite. This allowed me to cut the Wurmcoil Engine for the third Frost titan. This deck is seriously in on F***ing up your opponents mana. I played a Land Destruction deck back when Jund was top dog and I learned some lessons about the mana and how much Land Destruction to Threat ratio you should have. The problem I find with Vengevine is that it is an awesome threat that works well with Birthing Pod, but it gives no value if it's just part of the chain. When you are going to gain 4 life during your chain, you can be more aggresive with the phyrexian mana. You need to work quick to find your Acidic Slimes and Frost Titans. Frost Titan is ridiculous in this type of deck because it LD's them every turn and puts them on a clock. 
The biggest reason I do not like Vengevine is that it doesn't help any of your matches except maybe control. This isn't even a sure thing as you could keep them off of spells by just getting an Acidic Slime or Frost Titan. Their outs are 4 mana or greater. 
Oracle is probably the most questionable of my inclusions, but in the match ups where life isn't particularly important she seems to be worth getting some advatage out of. It's very possible that she shouldn't be there and could be another phyrexian metamorph. Metamorph is so sick in this deck. Casting an extra acidic slime or Frost Titan can just end the game so fast. He would definitely be one of my first targets once I have slime out. Fetch up metamorph copying slime, sac him to upgrade to a Frost Titan.
Do not be tricked by Frost Titan being so awesome. You want to destroy their lands, not just tap them. It may seem like the same thing, but if they stop your titan for one turn they get an extra mana the next turn. This is particularly important in a match like Valakut where their number of lands matters as much if not more than the mana they have access to. It isn't always better to get one or the other, so you have to make sure you make the right choice at the time and don't default to one or the other.
I also chose to use a mana base that is much better at getting the 1 and 2 drop accelerators onto the battlefield over just abusing Cobra. It doesn't dimish Lotus Cobra since the biggest difference between my mana and Smi77ys is that I ran copperline gorges over the terramorphic. Both produce 2 mana on turns 2 or 3 if you have cobra out. The real difference is gorge leaves more lands in the deck and loses 1 mana off cobra after turn 3 while terramorphic ends up leaving your mana a bit more hectic since you only have one red card but it is double red. Gorge makes it easier to activate Raging Ravines further into the game as well. 
I was impressed by his original list, but this is the version I would play if given the chance.

These are two decks I would suggest testing as even if you don't turn out to like it, somebody might and it is good to know your enemy. You may also find that you can use some of this tech to a greater advantage down the road. I never suggest dismissing a deck without play testing. Some decks may take less testing than others.

Luis Acosta
@auranalchemist on twitter

Posted on June 23, 2011, in Articles, L.A. Dreams and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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