Saturday, June 18, 2011

What a Difference a few tweaks make, back at my Standard.

So after a strikingly unimpressive, and bordering on humiliating showing at FNM a few weeks ago, I tuned my deck up again, and decided to make another run at it. Special props to my little Mage for cracking a Batterskull and a Mental Misstep from a a pack during packwars. Hooray for $30 packs! I made some last minute tweaks to the manabase which I hadn't talked about yet, so let me start with a full list.
19 Plains
2 Mox Opal

4 Signal Pests
4 Ornnithopter
4 Memnite
4 Steel Overseer
4 Porcelain Legionaire
3 Stoneforge Mystic
2 Etched Champion
Hex Parasite
Darksteel Juggernaut
Wurmcoil Engine
Myr Battlsphere
Vault Skirge

4 Tempered Steel
Sword of Vengence
Sword of Body and Mind
Sword of Feast and Famine
This build did so much better. It had less explosive potential, but far higher consistency. The multiple Tempered Steels were crushing when backing multiple affected creatures. The combination of Stoneforge, and Batterskull was nothing short of amazing. I ended the night 3-1, having 2 shutout rounds, and only folding to RDW. WTH is that about, the mono-budget deck I refused to play kicked my teeth in? Got to do something about that. Time to brew a side board, but first the tweaks to the main.

First thing is my missing sword, which I was so missing during the RDW match. Making a creature proRed, and getting life swing would have been so good! I lucked up that someone there was happy to take my extra Doubling Season straight up for a Sword of War and Peace. That finished my cycle of Swords, and adds a much needed tool to this Standard deck. It should be a clear upgrade from the existing Sword of Vengeance  I also want to pick up 2 additional Etched Champions, as it simply walks across so many tables, and shakes off most board removal. I have a line on the missing two, and with any luck should be able to trade into them with little relevant outlay this Wednesday at casual night. I've also really been underwhelmed with the one of toolbox finisher package I've been running, and plan to either refine it a great deal, or scrap it all together for more aggro options. These may be better off in the board?

What this deck really wants is a 4th Stoneforge, and a 3rd Opal, but each has it's problems. Opal is pretty clear cut, $20 is just too much for a third copy of this card right now. Standard has it's price inflated, and while it is used in Legacy Affinity, it will be cheaper later. Stoneforge faces a similar problem with it's $15 price tag, plus the added complication of the rumored ban-hammer, and expected rotation with the Fall set. In addition, this deck may also loses Overseer, and Thopters with the Fall rotation, which may easily make the deck unplayable in it's current concept. In short I wont be putting any cash into this deck for the time being, depending instead on trade prowess to tweak it up. In any case it looks like I have a Standard deck for the foreseeable future

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Standard and I are still not Friends

I tried folks, I really tried. I found myself with no plans for a friday night, and a desire not to sit at home. So I decided to play constructed FNM. After a bit of research, and a quick glance through my meager Standard collection, I found that I could put something together drawing on the affinity concepts, and throw in a blade package for a certain leg up.

The synergy between certain low cost artifact creatures, Signal Pest, and Steel Overseer is simply too strong to be denied. Toss in some singleton cards I wanted to test out like Tempered Steel, and a variety of high end threats, and I felt like I had a deck worth plopping down 5 bucks and trying to make a run at it. Turns out I was on the right track, but still falling short.

The deck was capable of some explosive starts, often having 3+ power on the aggro available to swing on turn2. I was very often able to put my opponent on their back foot right out of the gate, but lacked the ability to finish out the game, no matter how good my opening position was. Eventually I would watch my team dissolve to removal, and couldn't survive their counter attacks long enough to drop any of my high end threats. If not for the consistent blade package, I don't thing I would have one a single game.

What this deck really wants is an early Tempered Steel. Dropping one on turn 2-3 just pushes the team over the top, shaving at least one one, and often multiple, turns off the kill. Potentially more important is it pushes the artifact weenie team out of the rang of much of the removal floating around out there, allowing the team to simply win on their own merits, or buying enough time for the high end hitt3rs to drop. My singleton copy of Tempered Steel simply was not going to cut it, so after an unremarkable 0-2 Drop evening, I set on making the deck better. A quick trade with a strong Standard player, looking to make the break into Legacy, turned two extra StP into another 3 copies of Steel, and I look forward to testing the improved build.