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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Looking Forward to Extended

Fall 2009 marks a potentialy important turning point for our little community. For many of us, Extended becomes a playable option for the first time in our Magic carrers. I know the last stretch in which I played magic, Extended did not even exist as a format. This fall as Onslaught Legions, and Scourge rotate out of the format, an number of barriers to entry go along with it.

First and formost the all power full fetchlands will fade in to the memory of Extended, likely never to return. These 5 cars alone drop your "must have budget" by $450.00 for the playset easily. This makes the Ravnica Shockland cycle the dual lands of choice in Extended, at half the price. Recent mana fixing alternatives make budget versions of decks playable, with an accepted temp loss. The key to budget building will be to identify the decks which are not impacted by this tempo loss. I'll save that line of thinking for another day.

The next real impact will be felt by the Control decks. Not only will they be left realing from the loss of the blue fetchlands, but their primary tool of choice will be taken away. Stifle will be rotating out. Yes, it's true this could be returning with M10, but I really doubt it. In recent events, as many as 75% of top 16 decks were running this little card. I think even wizards has to see that it's inclusion with the faeries arcotype, and cards like Cryptic Command are warping the metagame to the control side. Agro is having a real hard time, and this will open things back up for ramp style decks.

Speeking of Agro (or Agro/Combo) there will be losses to the Goblins deck as well as the Elf Combo deck. The Goblin deck loses so much in this rotation it will either be finished, or will be forced to change dramaticly. Key cards like Piledriver, Sharpshooter, Warchief, Gempalm Incinerator, and Prospector can easily make up 50% of existing builds. Elves on the other hand, are set to not only survive the transition, but may also strive in it's wake. The losses of Birchlore Ranger, Wirewood Hivemaster, and Symbiote strike blows that this deck has to over come, but the recent Elf centered Lorwyn block cards make up 60% or more of this deck. The face of Elves will change, but the story will remain the same.

For many of us the critical blocks will become Mirrodin and Kamigawa, as they will respresent the biggest holes in our Extended collections. Over the next couple of weeks, I will look at each of these blocks, and identify the must have cards from each as a sudo shopping list for memebers of our community. I'll be looking at recent extended decks featuring these cards, and discuss how builds may change with the rotation. I'll also be working with in the community to try and create opportunities to address the card needs, and help players get access to the cards they want. Lastly I hope to address some budget builds of Extended decks, and discuss some extended decks which focus on our stronger blocks, with minimal contributions from our weaker blocks. As always, I welcome the feedback of the community, and would love to post contributions along these lines here for anyone who would like to submit them. I see myself being very post-rotation Extended focused for the next 6-12 months, as it establishes itself as a format with in our community.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Major Wizards Update

April Fools!

Now go post some comment that makes this sound real, so you won't be the only one ringed in.