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A Beginner's Guide to the post AVR Standard (May 22, 2012)

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A Beginner's Guide to the post AVR Standard (May 22, 2012) Empty A Beginner's Guide to the post AVR Standard (May 22, 2012)

Post  CardboardWitch on Tue May 22, 2012 6:02 am

So, I originally wrote this as a private post on my team forum to help some new members get started on their own deckbuilding projects. While I was writing it I thought to myself "I really wish I could share this with other people out there who are confused about how the new Standard is shaping up." Then it dawned on me that I could make some minor edits and post it on the Public Announcements forum; it won't be read by as many people as it would if I'd posted it on a blog but at least I could help some of the people who follow me on Twitter get a starting point in the metagame. As always these are just one woman's opinions after some playtesting and a few small tournaments (FNMs, Premier Trial, Ottawa PTQ); if you find yourself becoming angry because you disagree with something I've said please feel free to move on towards more fleshed out articles/writers. This is simply a primer I wanted to share with all the new players out there and some friends on our team forum. Also, sorry about the language, my original target audience was 8 or so guys who play Magic and are all over the age of 18.

Okay, so I'm reading a lot of threads that basically work as follows:

"Hey guys, I have this cool idea but I haven't been playing a lot of Standard. What do you think of combo X and card Y in a deck with A/B dual lands?"

Many of these ideas then get shot down by someone on the forum who's playing a lot of Standard and I can tell it's frustrating some of you; this isn't helpful for anyone. With that in mind I'm going to write a little post here about what kind of metagame you can expect at a current FNM and what kind of metagame we saw at the Ottawa PTQ. Naturally this is going to vary from FNM to FNM and PTQ to PTQ but you'll at least have a starting frame of reference for how to attack the format once you read this. A great number of you guys are true brewers; which is fine, but one of the absolute KEYS to brewing good/unexpected decks is to know what enemy your targeting and how to "stay in the game" long enough to do your awesome thing nobody has ever thought of.

I genuinely mean what I just wrote, I'm not being condescending in any way. Brewing is just as legitimate as netdecking; assuming you do it the right way of course. Okay let's look at Standard:

G/R Aggro: Basically this is the best deck in the format right now; both on a casual (FNM) and competitive (PTQ) level. It's also unsurprisingly the most popular; about 1/4 of our FNM on any given night is playing this and it was easily the most popular deck in the room at the PTQ by a seemingly wide margin. The deck basically has 3 lines of play; it can beat you by dropping a Bird/Elf on turn 1 into a turn 2 Sword, it can beat you by throwing out a bunch of Strangleroot Geists and Huntsmasters and finally it can just grind you out with it's 2x Kessig Wolf Runs. Virtually every non-mana dork in the deck has haste, undying and/or regenerate. Key cards include Bird, Sword, Strangleroot Geist, Bonfire of the Damned, Wolfir Avenger, Huntsmaster of the Fells and Kessig Wolf Run. At the PTQ level the better versions of this deck all seemed to have Green Sun's Zenith (3-4 possibly), Borderland Ranger and Wolfir Silverheart as well.

Wolf's Run Ramp: I'm not actually sure where this deck ranks in the current format; when it draws well it's a borderline unstoppable machine. Otoh it doesn't have nearly as much "action" as G/R Aggro and it seems like there's a point where if you don't draw the right cards it doesn't matter how good you are while playing the deck. With that having been noted it's probably the 2nd most popular deck in the format at large and you're likely to play it at virtually any FNM or PTQ level event. I say virtually because for some reason our FNM at the Hairy T North rarely has more than 1 or 2 Wolf's Run players attending on a given night. Basically this deck wins by casting mana ramp spells into a very early Primeval Titan (turn 4 ideally but often turn 5) and fishing out Kessig Wolf's Run and Inkmoth Nexus. This then gives the WRR player the option of beating you to death with the Titan or poisoning you out with Inkmoth and a bunch of lands; typically you'll be able to kill the first couple of Titans but most decks run out of gas by the time the Inkmoths come online. It sounds simple but it's actually a very hard deck to beat; it has incredible reach and power. Key cards include Primeval Titan, Kessig Wolf's Run, Inkmoth Nexus, Cavern of Souls, Slagstorm, Bonfire of the Damned, Rampant Growth, Solemn Simulacrum and more often than not Huntsmaster of the Fells. Many of these decks will also run 2-4 Inferno Titans as an additional "backup plan". This deck eats most aggro and can wear down most control decks; it struggles against G/R Aggro however if the G/R Player is good/understands the matchup. There is also a version of this deck that puts Cavern of Souls into the sideboard and maindecks a card called Glimmerpost to gain a huge chunk of life with Primeval Titan.

Naya Pod: This deck plays out a lot like G/R Aggro and actually uses a bunch of the same cards; Birds, sometimes Swords, Strangleroot Geist, Huntmaster of the Fells, Cavern of Souls and the occasional Green Sun's Zenith. Where this deck differs however is that it splashes into white for value cards like Thalia and Blade Splicer. What's more it runs Birthing Pod and a number of 1-2 of's to chain up towards high end value creatures; usually Acidic Slimes, Archon of Justice and Inferno Titan but the possibilities are literally endless considering the color combination. One of the key ways to know you're playing Naya Pod and not G/R Aggro is the presence of a turn 1 Pilgrim; traditionally Naya runs 4 Pilgrims and very few Elves while G/R Aggro runs the opposite. This deck tends to be a little slower than G/R Aggro but it can be a nightmare for both creature-based and control builds; Birthing Pod turns every cast creature into a spell when you Pod it away for something with a come into play ability. I've already mentioned all the key cards in the deck but it's important for you to realize that ANYTHING that's on a creature that costs between 2-7 mana is fair game here; from Fiend Hunter to Elash Norn this deck can rock it all and to beat it you're going to have to play around a LOT of different potential singletons in Standard. I recommend looking at as many different Naya Pod lists on TCG Player.com as possible. This deck is never crazy popular at my FNM but there are always 1-3 people playing it, regardless of the week. The last two PTQ's I've been to however were basically littered with this deck and I've come to believe it's way more popular in/near Quebec than here in Toronto.


Delver of Secrets: At one point this deck was easily the most popular build in the format; it was also the best deck for a very long time. Anyone you play who hasn't done a lot of testing since AVR probably *STILL* thinks it's the best deck; they might even be right. What's more because it's primarily a U/W tempo deck there's roughly 100 different viable ways to build it; and I'm only exaggerating slightly here. The three most common builds of this deck are: Equipment Delver (Sword of War and Peace, Runechanter's Pike and usually Invisible Stalker), Esper Spirits Delver (Drogskull Captain, Dungeon Geists and Lingering Souls) and Token or Hyper Delver (Lingering Souls, Intangible Virtue and Midnight Haunting + as few as 12 creatures). Regardless of the build key cards will be Delver of Secrets, Ponder, Gitaxian Probe or Thought Scour (depends on version), Moorland Haunt, Geist of St Traft, Snapcaster Mage, Mana Leak and Vapor Snag. This deck looks stupid on paper but it's INCREDIBLY hard to beat when it's flowing well; for a deck with 21 land and a bunch of rando cantrips virtually EVERY version of this deck generates tremendous card advantage while simultaneously applying an insane amount of pressure in the early game. If they win the roll, cast and flip a turn 1 Delver; you're in a world of trouble my friend. This deck has been and is still fairly popular at my FNM; it's also something you'll probably see at least 1-2 times at a PTQ. It's losing popularity as more and more people figure out that it can't morph to beat every deck in the format attacking it; but it's still VERY popular. I should also mention that newer versions of this deck seem to be rocking Restoration Angel and in limited testing against her it seemed like a very powerful card.

Unburial Rites Decks: This is kind of cheating because we're actually talking about 2 decks here; Frites (5 color base G/R/W reanimator) and Solar Flare (Esper w/ Sun Titans, Images and Unburial Rites). Frites works by casting out a bunch of mana dorks (Birds, Elves, Avacyn's Pilgrims), Lingering Souls and dumping an Elash Norn or a Craterhoof Behemoth into the graveyard with Faithless Looting, Mulch or Tracker's Instinct. Once it puts one of these two creatures in the yard the Frites player will cast Unburial Rites to bring out the fattie and begin killing you (sometimes right there on the spot!). If you kill the fattie, he'll just keep casting or flashing back Unburial Rites until you run out of answers and summarily die. Solar Flare is more of a control strategy; it uses counterspells and removal to keep it's opponent at bay long enough to dump Sun Titan, Phantasmal Image, Elash Norn or Grave Titan into the yard with Lilianna of the Veil or Forbidden Alchemy. Once they're in the graveyard the Solar Flare player will usually cast Unburial Rites on the Sun Titan and using it's come into play trigger bring back Phantasmal Image to copy Sun Titan; which lets him fish out another cheap card (often a second or third Image!). Once again the Solar Flare player is genuinely not concerned if you kill his creatures or Mana Leak the Unburial Rites; sooner or later he'll be able to flash it back or simply cast another one until you run out of answers. These decks are never overtly popular at either my FNM or the PTQ's I've been to but they have a funny habit of putting one person in the top 8/money more often than not.

White/X Humans : The support color in this deck changes all the time; in the past W/U was the most popular because it gave you access to Moorland Haunt and Giest of St Traft. I've also seen W/G for Mana Dorks, Gavony Township and Garruk Relentless. W/B Humans decks tend to be more focused on token production; the biggest advantage here being access to better kill cards and the truly game warping Vault of the Archangels. Recently however the trend has been towards W/R Humans builds to take advantage of Lightning Mauler, Zealous Conscripts and Grim Lavamancer mostly. Some of these decks also include Hellrider but in my experience this just isn't as good as giving a Hero of Bladehold "haste". The white creatures that comprise this deck will almost always include Champion of the Parish, Loyal Cathar, Doomed Traveller and Hero of Bladehold. Typically these decks will also all be running 1-2 of the following 3 cards in the 3 drop slot: Mirran Crusader (most popular), Silverheart Palladin (best) and Blade Splicer (worst but good in tokens). Many versions of this deck will be extremely "spell-light" so they can run Thalia in the maindeck; the commonality of this play changes from week to week in my experience. Even the versions with Thalia however will be running 4x Honor of the Pure; although the Red Versions of this deck sometimes avoid it if they're running a lot of the new Red Humans from AVR. This deck wins by combining incredible pressure with remarkable resiliency; you don't know pain until you've had to Day of Judgment away 2 Doomed Travellers, a Loyal Cathar, a Mirran Crusader and a Hero of Bladehold knowing full well that his Honor of the Pures mean you're taking 6-8 Damage next turn anyways. The downside is that if you can't drop a Thalia early this deck just tends to roll over and die to a Sword of War and Peace; this means it loses a FUCK lot to G/R Aggro and thus explains its declining popularity. At this point the deck isn't very popular but it's present at both my FNM and the last few PTQ's we've been to in small numbers. I should also note that if you DO take an early loss at a PTQ you could easily spend all day playing against this deck.

Black/X Zombies: This deck comes in two basic flavors; B/U (Diregraf Captain, Phantasmal Image and sometimes Vapor Snag) or B/R (Almost entirely for Brimstone Volley + Falkenwrath Aristocrat and rando burn spells). Regardless of which version of the deck you face (there are Grixis and Mono-Black variations as well) the key cards in this deck are Gravecrawler, Geralf's Messenger and whichever Clone they're using to copy Messenger (Image if they're running U, Phyrexian Metamorph if they aren't, sometimes both). This deck wins by swarming you with 1 drops (Diregraf Ghoul, Fumespitter) and forcing you into damned if you do, damned if you don't situations with Geralf's Messenger. Most of them will also run X # of Mortarpods so they can grind you out with recursive Gravecrawlers in a long game. Throw in additional damage from the Captain in the U versions and even sometimes Blood Artist (thanks Smitty, you jerk) and it can be pretty easy to snap lose to this deck out of nowhere. Recently they've even started running Killing Wave as a way of creating more "oh my dude died, take a million" splash damage. Unfortunately aside from the key cards listed; this deck is basically jank (albeit powerful jank). One of the most astute things I've ever heard said about Zombie decks is that most of them only have 16 good cards; when they draw a bunch of them they win easily and when they don't the deck is incredibly underwhelming. Having played with and against it I feel this is completely fair; on the other hand this deck IS very popular with beginning players and builders on a budget so you'll see it at every FNM and PTQ until Messenger rotates out of the format.

Esper Superfriends: I've already written about 10 pages on this forum about this deck so I'm going to be brief here. Basically this is a control deck that runs very few counterspells, a bunch of Planeswalkers and some Miracles. Key cards include Tamiyo the Moon Sage, Entreat the Angels, Gideon Jura, Terminus, Lingering Souls and sometimes Sorin (LoI), Lilianna (otV) and/or Karn, Liberated. It also tends to run some number of Day of Judgments/Black Sun's Zeniths and a bunch of cheap spot removal effects (Doom Blade, Go For the Throat, Oblivion Ring, Tragic Slip). It's very good, but very hard to pilot and it might have a giant gaping hole to SoW&P that ultimately could prove unclosable. I don't know; I can however say that other people are starting to play the deck and there will likely to be 1-2 version at my FNM on any given week. Additionally it was not popular but definitely "present" at the Ottawa PTQ; this might be a blip or it might be the beginning of a new deck entering the top tier; I can't rightly say.

U/B and Esper Control: Whereas Esper Superfriends (and to a lesser degree decks like Grixis, Bant or Junk Walker Control) is a "tap-out" control deck with a lot of sorcery speed effects and Planeswalkers, these two decks are more of a classic "draw-go" strategy. Both decks run an absolute ton of instants, counterpells and removal effects while skimping heavily on "Finishing creatures". Usually they'll kill you with a Grave Titan, a Batter Skull, an Elash Norn or by decking you with Nephalia Drownyard. Since the "Finisher" portion of the deck takes up so little room however there are actually quite a few different options open to these decks; less popular but ultimately effective choices I've seen include Frost Titan, White Sun's Zenith, Gideon Jura, Karn Liberated, Jace Memory Adept, Inkmoth Nexus, Massacre Wurm, Wurmcoil Engine; really if you name the big fat U/B/W Creature with a neat ability someone out there is using it to kill you with a control deck. Key cards in this build that I haven't already mentioned include: Mana Leak, Dissipate, Forbidden Alchemy, Think Twice, Tragic Slip, Doom Blade/Go For the Throat, Black Sun's Zenith (Day/Terminus if Esper), Curse of Death's Hold, Snapcaster Mage and Lilianna of the Veil. Some versions of the deck also run Pristine Talisman to slow down their more aggressive opponents by gaining life every turn. Frankly this deck is not very popular right now because people are massively overestimating the impact Cavern of Souls has on Counter-control decks; there's basically nobody playing this deck at my FNM and there were very few pilots on it at the PTQ. Of note however at least one of the guys at the PTQ made the top 8 and I've been told that a friend of Justin Richardson's made the top 8 of the CMT the very next day with another U/B Control deck. I don't think this deck is dead; it's just not being played right now and that could change at any moment.

Heartless Summoning Combo: We're starting to get down to the fringe decks now; this deck basically comes in two versions and imho neither of of them is very good if you know what's about to happen. The first version is called Heartless Architect; it's a U/B combo deck that uses Heartless Summoning and Grand Architect to produce an absolute fuck-pile of mana for big expensive artifacts to kill you with. These include but are not limited to Mindslaver, Wurmcoil Engine, Steel Hellkite and Myr Battlesphere. They also tend to run a few U/B fatties to finish the job; Grave Titan, Frost Titan and Rune-Scarred Demon all come to mind. Key cards I haven't already listed usually include Mana Leak, Ponder, Forbidden Alchemy, Solemn Simulacrum and sometimes though not always Snapcaster Mage. The other version of this deck runs a Grixis (R/B/U) manabase so it can cast both Havengul Litch and Priest of Urbrask in the same game. This version of the deck typically casts Heartless Summoning both to reduce the cost of it's creatures AND purposely kill them; go read Havengul Litch and then imagine a scenario where your opponent has Litch plus Heartless Summoning in play and a Priest of Urbrask + Perlious Myr in the yard. Do you see it? Using 1 mana the Combo player can use the Havengul Litch to "revive" the Priest of Urbrask, who then instantly dies... but not before dumping 3 mana into your mana pool, one of which you can use to rebuy the Priest to then make 3 more mana. Whether it's a Devils Play, an infinite suicide Perilous Myr or some other mana sink you can rest assure that your opponent will find a way to kill you with infinite mana. Once again this deck is most certainly not popular but there's *someone* playing it at almost every FNM, GP Trial or PTQ I've attended since Heartless Summoning was printed.

U/W/R Miracle Control: To be perfectly honest I have neither played with or against this deck in Standard yet but the concept is pretty simple. First you take a bunch of cheap card draw/deck manipulation effects (Ponder, Faithless Looting, Think Twice, Desperate Ravings, Desolate Lighthouse, Noxious Revival) and then combine it with rando Planeswalkers (Tamiyo, sometimes Gideon, sometimes Chandra) and all of the very best "Miracle" cards in the format (usually Entreat the Angels, Terminus, Bonfire of the Damned and Temporal Mastery as far as I can tell). Finally you sprinkle in some counters/control cards to taste and pray to God that you're horrible manabase is compensated for by the fact that you're going to cast 3 Miracles a game virtually every game. At this moment the deck isn't popular but it has been played with some success at a couple of GPs; someone at my store also managed to top 8 a GP Trial with a very early version of the deck. Despite not having time to test it I have a sneaking suspicion this deck is better than most people give it credit for and could eventually become a breakout star this season.

Mono-Black and U/B Infect Personally I think this deck is laughably underpowered but it's another example of something in Standard that can surprise you/ruin your tournament if you aren't ready for it. Basically the idea here is to play a super cheap/difficult to block Infect duder and then quickly pump the shit out of him with Mutagenic Growth to kill your opponent before they really get their game started. In mono Black this creature is often Plague Stinger but the U/B version upgrades to the unblockable Blighted Agent. Regardless of color this strategy will be supported by cards like Inkmoth Nexus, Virulat Wound, Phyrexian Crusader and Skythirix The Blight Dragon (sp?). Usually this deck will also pack some equipment of some kind; most commonly this is Livewire Lash (which is absolutely STUPID with Infect Creatures and pump spells btw, they can literally throw poison at your head or -1/-1 counters at your creatures) or Sword of War and Peace. Note that the extra damage from SoW&P's trigger is NOT infect damage regardless of who's wearing the Sword but the damage from Livewire Lash is most CERTAINLY infect damage if the creature wearing it has infect. Despite it's ability to slide through a crazy amount of early poison however this deck is actually pretty slow; I've found that by playing defensively and always leaving up "answers" you can usually grind people out and take easy victories from Infect opponents. With that having been said, people can and do still play this deck; albeit in very small numbers. You're also much more likely to see this at an FNM/random GP Trial than a PTQ or a GP afaict.

Red Deck Wins: Since none of you are new to Magic I won't spend a lot of time going into what Red Deck Wins means; it's your typical mono-red aggro deck with 22-24 lands, 16 or so dirt cheap creatures and a huge pile of burn spells. What makes RDW so special in this format is it's access to reach in the form of ridiculous cards like Koth (sometimes), Chandra's Phoenix (always) Brimstone Volley/Volt Charge (but almost never both) and the completely game warping Shrine of Burning Rage (always). For a basic idea of how frustrating this deck can be please imagine the following scenario; your opponent is on the play and casts a turn 1 Stromkirk Noble. You play a land and pass; he attacks with the Noble and gives it a +1+1 Counter. On his second mainphase he casts a Stormblood Berserker for 2 mana with the +2+2 Bloodthirst kicker counters. You've had exactly 1 turn and you're already facing down 5/5 worth of attacking creature that's going to be fairly hard to block (Noble can't be blocked by Humans and Zerker can't be blocked by less than 2 guys); what's more your opponent hasn't even fired off a burn spell yet. Please understand when I say that this is a completely normal start for this deck and there are actually very few decks in Standard that perform well against this deck in game 1 on a consistent basis. The other thing to remember is that Shrine of Burning Rage gets REALLY big, REALLY fast and the vast majority of decks simply can't deal with 10 damage to the head for 3 mana in game 1. Fortunatelly this deck is actually pretty easy to sideboard against; it loses hard to Celestial Purge and it basically can't win a game where it's opponent gains 12 or more life. This is the default deck for players who are getting back into magic, don't feel that confident in their playskill or can't afford to build the better decks in the format. It's not good; but it's not bad either and you can and will play it randomly at FNMs, GP Trials and PTQs in my experience.

U/W Venser Control: Personally if I were trying to build a U/W Control deck in this Standard environment I would just run a million miracles and hope I mised out wins that way (see Alex Hayne's block deck for example). Other people however have started to lock onto the Venser the Sojourner plus Stonehorn Dignitary combo as a form of basically negating aggressive strategies. Some versions of this deck are laughably bad and virtually lose if you can kill the Stonehorn before Venser gets too high in Loyalty but you don't *have* to build the deck this poorly. Some combination of card draw, Miracle effects, board sweepers (Day, Terminus, maybe even Devestation Tide) and maybe an additional relevant creature or two for Venser to play with should produce a decent if relatively underpowered deck here in Standard. I haven't personally seen a good one in action but the potential is there and building a deck that can't kill the Stonehorn Dignitary means you automatically lose game 1 against this build; which isn't good. At the moment this deck is definitely a fringe player; there were 1-2 people on it at the PTQ and someone gives it a try at my FNM roughly twice a month in total.

G/W Aggro "Angels and Wolves": This is basically a new deck that I've just started to see pop up at my FNM and at the last PTQ we attended (Ottawa). Afaict it basically comes from the block deck with the same name origin wise but is somewhat souped up for Standard obviously. It's basically a very similar deck to G/R Aggro except instead of a smattering of Red cards and Wolf's Run Ramp it runs a higher concentration of White cards and Gavony Township. The green cards are mostly the same; Bird/Pilgrim (over Elf b/c it makes W), Strangleroot Geist, Wolfir Avenger, Wolfir Silverheart. White however gives them the ability to run Thalia, Restoration Angel and Sigarda Host of Herons (who can still be fished out with Green Sun Zenith). Some of these decks even go so far as to add Hero of Bladehold and Silverblade Palladin but if they do it usually comes at the expense of Wolfir Avenger (too much GG). Other common cards include Blade Splicer, Acidic Slime, Garruk Relentless and even sometimes an Elash Norn or two for the long game. When I first saw this deck I thought running Thalia and GSZ in the same deck was insane but actually after seeing it play out on the table a few times I don't think it's that big of a deal; I think this deck is very good, but not as good as G/R Aggro. Otoh I have not done a lot of testing to prove this theory so it remains only a theory for now.

G/X Birthing Pod Decks: There's basically a version of this deck for almost every single color combination in Magic; I'll go over a brief list of the possibilities in a minute. First and most importantly however you have to understand how these decks differ from the Naya Pod build above; whereas Naya Pod uses Birthing Pod to generate a bunch of value creatures and mostly adopts an aggressive stance these decks are strictly dedicated to beating the crap out of you with 187 effects and the Birthing Pod chain. They generally run about 8-11 "singleton" value creatures with important enters/leaves the battlefield triggers compared to Naya's 3-4 such creatures. They also generally work all the way up to 7 on the Birthing Pod chain; although each color combination has a different favorite high end target. I've personally seen/played against RUG Pod (Phantasmal Image, Acidic Slimes, Frost Titans, Phrexian Metamorphs), BUG Pod (Skinrender, Grave Titan, Frost Titan, Sheoldred), Junk Pod (Elash Norn, Grave Titan, Skinrender, Archon of Justice), G/B Pod (Like BUG but no blue) and R/G Pod (Hellrider, Inferno Titan, Brimstone Volley). There may of course be more combinations I haven't played but most of these decks function in a similar manner and the vast majority of them are completely dependent on resolving and protecting a Birthing Pod. This deck is once again far more popular at my FNM (at least 1 player every week and sometimes as many as 4) than a PTQ (I did play RUG Pod in round 4 and lost to it so meh).

Okay, so off the top of my head that basically covers Standard at this moment on the morning of Tuesday May 22, 2012. There were apparently some interesting new decks to come out of the Grand Prix this weekend so it's possible I may have to add a deck or two to this description in the next little while. Otherwise; know your enemy and have fun brewing guys.

-nina

CardboardWitch
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A Beginner's Guide to the post AVR Standard (May 22, 2012) Empty Re: A Beginner's Guide to the post AVR Standard (May 22, 2012)

Post  TheSam on Tue May 22, 2012 3:48 pm

First, thank you. Thank you for writing all this down, and explaining the terminology. I missed out on the block that introduced the Naya/Grixis/et al. concepts, so the names always confused me.

As for the decks, that's a lot of variety, and I see readily-available "holes" in both play style and deck type. This is good. I'm trying really hard to turn off the combo side of my brain and make more straight-forward (read: stable) decks, and this is a great start. I'm simply going to make something like a sideboard list for all of those decks, and then see if I can make a deck that's just that, plus something useful.

That being said, while in L5R the "metadeck" worked well with anything sufficiently strong backing it up, I'm not sure how well that'll work in MtG.

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