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A Basic Witches Guide To Post RTR Standard - Part 1: Aggro

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A Basic Witches Guide To Post RTR Standard - Part 1: Aggro Empty A Basic Witches Guide To Post RTR Standard - Part 1: Aggro

Post  CardboardWitch on Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:38 am

Editor's note: apparently this forum is set to hide the links in this column from non-registered members. Why exactly that is so is a bit of a mystery to me but I've now edited both articles to include the actual URLs. You'll have to cut and past them into a separate browser Window but it's the best I could come up with in light of this ridiculous forum "feature". I'm sorry.
Admin: Issue resolved, I haven't touched your post but I suspect you may want to clean it up with all the URLs and whatnot

Okay so a bunch of you who've been out of STD for months (both team and non-team) have been bitching about being "so far out of Standard it's not worth coming back". This is silly, it's a 5 Set Standard with at most 12 viable decks; you are just lazy. I can help. I have no life and have been playing a ridiculous amount of Cocatrice lately.

I should warn you in advance this isn't an article and I have no intention of forming complete sentences in these descriptions. Let's start with the Aggro Decks:

Rakdos Zombies:

List: 3rd-4th Place SCG Cinci

(http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=1055552)

Okay this is the original model and as I predicted elsewhere on the forum it's undergoing some extensive changes as the environment warps.

Basically this deck excels at 2 things: Bring you down to 10 life before you can really cast any good cards and finishing you off with 4 and 5 point shots from Aristocrat/Brimstone Volley. As such the "important" cards in the match-up change significantly depending on what the game state looks like. Key early cards include Gravecrawler, Pillar of Flame and Geralf's Messenger while the late game is generally handled by the previously mentioned Aristocrat/Volley duo.

In terms of changes; people are running less Blood Artists and Bump in the Nights and most decks have adapted to include at least a couple of actual kill spells that can clear a "big fat blocker". Crippling Blight is also an option; though generally it's a bit more "techy" than Dreadbore, Ultimate Price or Victim of Night. The creature base in particular however has not changed much otherwise; they still try to chain the same 12 one drops into Messenger and an Aristocrat to close the deal.

From a SB perspective things have changed quite a bit. I've seen a lot of Sever the Bloodlines and Appetite for Brains in Zombie SB's while Rakdos himself seems to be becoming less popular. I've seen some Olivias but I'm not sure how great she is. Also many Zombie players now devote 4 whole slots to the mirror and in particular Aristocrat (Tragic Slip mostly).

Playstyle wise very little has changed; Zombie is still trying to kill you by turn 5, is still very consistent on the play and still loses to the 2nd Thragtusk but not the first. The simple truth is that Zombie is strong because of it's inevitability; Gravecrawler, Brimstone Volley, Geralf's Messenger and Vampire Aristocrat go a long way towards making an otherwise unspectacular aggro deck very dangerous in this Standard.

Azorius Aggro/UW Humans

List: Top 8 SCG Providence

(http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=1058811)

This deck is only just now starting to get popular on Trice and as a result I'm still seeing quite a bit of variety in the decklists. What never changes however is that the deck is built around Champion of the Parish, War Falcon, Geist of St Traft and a pile of little white dudes that say Human plus Knight or Soldier. There will almost always be 4 Knight of Glories in this deck and likely 4 Silverblade Paladins as well. Thalia seems pretty optional; lots of the players I face using this deck sideboard her and maindeck cards like Azorius Charm, Spectral Flight, Ajani and or Feelings of Dread for example. While there were a number of different 4 drops competing for attention in earlier versions of this deck the crowd seems to have settled on Sublime Archangel as the best choice; despite not being human.

It's weird because while this deck is noticeably slower than Zombies it also tends to be more consistent and more powerful on turns 4-5-6. Generally the 'Humies are simply better in combat than Zombies are and it can be quite frustrating dealing with this deck in the early game due to First/Doublestrike and growing Champions. Unfortunately for the Azorius player however this deck definitely lacks the same range and inevitability that Zombie brings to the table. This doesn't mean they can't blow you out from 8 life or so however; cards like Spectral Flight, Ajani and Feelings of Dread are in this deck almost entirely for that reason.

As a side note: assuming you live long enough to cast one this deck is extremely weak to board sweep effects like Supreme Verdict or an overloaded Mizzium Mortars. If you time it right even a terrible card like Rolling Tremblor can eviscerate them.

Selesnya Aggro

Okay, there are basically 2 ways to build this deck. The first way is to just put all the good dudes into a deck with Rancor, Silverblade Palladin and Wolfir Silverheart/Sublime Archangel. The second way is to play a primarily white Humans deck that runs most of these same cards.

Non Tribal List: Mass State Champion 2012

(http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=1059411)

Tribal List: Top 8 Newfoundland Provincials 2012

(http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=1059478)

In both cases these players have chosen Archangel over Silverheart but online I'm still running into just as many people running the Wolfir or a 2/2 Split.

This deck works by taking advantage of the fact that it's next to impossible to kill a creature at instant speed in this format. Cards like Rancor, Silverblade Palladin, Archangel, Silverheart and Ajani combine together to allow this deck to generate absolutely massive 1 shot kills in a very short number of turns. In my experience by the time you have to start doing the math to figure out if you're dead next turn your opponent is probably sitting on the ingredients for a 14-18+ point attack. In this way the entire deck sorta works like Vampire Aristocrat does in Zombies; these aren't great cards by any stretch of the imagination but the fact that your opponent probably has to untap before he can kill a given piece of the combo allows you to win the game almost immediately.

In other words, if Doom Blade was legal this wouldn't be in a deck but it does a wonderful job in a format driven by Sever the Bloodline, Detention Sphere and to a lesser degree Dreadbore. Do not ever, under any circumstances whatsoever assume you are safe against this deck unless you're somehow over 30 life.

I should also mention that this deck is also pretty vulnerable to board sweepers; although the toughness is much higher overall in the non tribal versions of this deck. Additionally if you DO happen to have access to instant speed removal (Searing Blaze, Annihilating Fire, Ultimate Price, Brimstone Volley, etc) you can easily take this deck apart in mid combat. My advice is to kill the dudes what say Soulbound and then block.

Golgari Zombies

List: Top 4 SCG Providence

(http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=1058806)

I am personally of the opinion that of the two Zombie decks, I'd much rather be playing Rakdos than Golgari. You simply have more reach with cards like Pillar of Flame, Brimstone Volley and Vampire Aristocrat than without them. With that having been noted however going into golgari gives you Rancor, Lotleth Troll and Dreg Mangler so it's not a cut and dried argument. As a general rule the Golgari deck will be better at grinding out long games than the Rakdos deck but also an entire turn slower and way less prone to "I win" nut draws. It's a trade off some players are prepared to make however and that's why this deck makes the list.

When playing against this deck my only advice is to neutralize the Troll and try to never end up in a situation where not being able to block = you lose. Between Trample and Crippling Blight you will likely be forced to deal with your opponent's creatures outside of the combat phase to win the game.

Esper Tokens

List: Top 4 Illinois States 2012

(http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=1059979)

Once again this is a fairly new list that is just now making its way onto Trice in significant numbers as far as I can tell. As a result there's still quite a bit of variance from build to build and I've seen version that include Delver of Secrets, Geist of Saint Traft, Geist-Honored Monk and/or as many as 4 Sorins online.

While on the surface this deck can't appear very similar to Junk Tokens or G/W Populate it's actually a little bit faster, a little bit smaller and significantly more evasive. It's not bad at adopting a midrange role until it can overwhelm you with tokens but it's not specifically designed to create those game situations like the other tokens decks are.

The main advantage to this build over U/W Humans is that it shrugs off spot removal spells very easily, it has bigger attacks in the mid/late game and it blocks much better simply due to Lingering Souls. The downside is that because it makes many many copies of basically the same 2 types of tokens over and over again it is extremely vulnerable to current format staples Sever the Bloodline and Detention Sphere. This doesn't make it a bad deck, if you don't draw the right answers it can very easily grind you to a fine paste under massive waves of tokens.

Red Deck (rarely) Wins

List: 10th place SCG Providence

(http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=50003)

The simple truth is that in a world absolutely full of Thragtusks, Centaur Healers, Azorius Charms and Huntmasters this isn't really a deck. On the other hand all of the key Zombie rares/mythics cost over $10 and players on a budget will virtually always gravitate to RDW at the start of the format. I've seen a bunch of different versions of this deck, including those that include Reckless Waif or Vexing Devil in the 1 drop slots.

This deck isn't as good as Zombies but you can't pretend it doesn't exist either. It is however very bad against decks that gain life; which is roughly half the field right now as far as I can tell.

This concludes the aggro portion of our Standard Primer, next up Midrange.
CardboardWitch
CardboardWitch
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Join date : 2012-03-19
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Location : Downtown Toronto

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