- THE BLASTING STATION: HOW TO SOLVE A PROBLEM - by Kyle Wright (Views: 394)Thursday 19th July 2012
WRITER PROFILE: KYLE WRIGHT Lifetime Pro Tour Points: 0Magic Achievements: 2011 Kent County Champion, 2011 Xtreme Commander Champion, Will never pay for another Xtreme Trades draft (Editor: or so he thinks)Favourite Format: StandardFavourite Colour: BlueFavourite Card: Kaervek, the Merciless or Cruel Ultimatum
Good day to you all and welcome back to the Blasting Station, the new bi-weekly column here on Xtremetrades.co.uk, where we look at the standard environment and ways to attack the format.
Last Saturday we have had the M13 Pre-release and this weekend was the Release events bringing us a new round of core set and our favourite time of the year double core set season. I love the release of the new core set as it lets us see how the format can shape up and get the most out of the cards leaving us for the glory days of modern (Mana Leak you will be missed).
Saying that, I was judging on Saturday so everyone got to play with the new core set before me and some of the sweet cards within. However after the M13 pre-release in Colchester I had become too eager to play cards and hit up a small 2 headed giant event (best format ever) and after 3 gruelling rounds myself and Lee Wood were the Skaab Goliath champions (sorry but there are very few giants in magic history with more than 1 head to play on this reference too much). Upon opening the winnings I cracked a Master of the Pearl Trident, followed by an upside down opening for me to see; Blue (Yes!), 2/2 (Yes!), Talrand (YEEe.... oh). Yup I opened me a Talrand, Sky Summoner, a card I wasn’t too excited about upon opening as it is a 4 mana creature that requires me to keep playing spells for it to be good, else its a 2/2 for 4 which I'm never overly happy with. Then I put back on my mad wizard hat of doom and decided I needed to play this card if for nothing more than to turn that reaction on its head.
How to solve a problem like Merfolkia
As the eternal Johnny in me does I always look at the best case scenario when I’m deck building, so the opposite of when I am opening packs evidently. So if I want Talrand to work in my deck I need a lot of cheap instants or sorceries to make an army of Drakes to swarm in for the kill.
Now here’s the part where I cheat a little bit. As you may be aware, with the release of Innistrad an unholy power was unleashed by Wizards of the Coast; a power that has crushed many a fine spellslinger, a power that was rated by some of the best players in the game as “possibly casual playable” and a power that is a 1/1. Seems pretty terrible right? Well for those who haven’t guessed, the power I am referring to is Delver of Secrets. This 1/1 has remained one of the most played cards in standard for what feels like an eternity. I have a personal dislike for the card, mainly because mine have a tendancy of never flipping. However if I want a deck that best complements what Talrand does it would be very unwise for me to not include the professor Frink of Innistrad.
Another card that also works well with the game plan of the deck is another Innistrad homeboy named Snapcaster Mage. Delver deck staple and this seems no different here. Playing a removal spell in the end phase to take care of a blocker, followed by Snapcaster to deal with another gives us 6 additional power in an end phase and that's some apples I'm liking. Finally I want 1 more in my creature list and this is a guy (fish) I saw and instantly (no pun intended) loved upon the spoiler for M13. Augur of Bolas is a creature that straight up replaces himself 9 times out of 10 in a deck like this and is at the right stats for a holding blocker whilst we set up.
So creatures out of the way I took the spell options used mainly at the moment but with some tweaks here is the deck list I worked at a tweak and then we will go through some of the different choices.
TALRAND MAIN DECK SIDEBOARD
60 main deck cards
MAIN DECK ANALYSIS SIDEBOARD ANALYSIS
Card Type Breakdown:Creatures: 16 (26.67%)Artifacts: 2 (3.33%)Instants: 16 (26.67%)Sorceries: 8 (13.33%)Enchantments: 0 (0.00%)Planeswalkers: 0 (0.00%)Lands: 18 (30.00%)
Spell Colour Breakdown:Blue: 36 (85.71%)Red: 2 (4.76%)Green: 2 (4.76%)Colorless: 2 (4.76%)
Mana Curve Analysis:Avg. Casting Cost: 1.33Lowest Casting Cost: 1Highest Casting Cost: 4
0 Mana Spells: 101 Mana Spells: 162 Mana Spells: 113 Mana Spells: 24 Mana Spells: 3
Spell Colour Breakdown:Blue: 11 (73.33%)Black: 2 (13.33%)Red: 1 (6.67%)Land: 1 (6.67%)
Card Type Breakdown:Creatures: 2 (13.33%)Artifacts: 0 (0.00%)Instants: 12 (80.00%)Sorceries: 0 (0.00%)Enchantments: 0 (0.00%)Planeswalkers: 0 (0.00%)Lands: 1 (6.67%)
The main line up remains the same, your standard Thought Scour and Ponder draw package plus the Probes for added draw. Something I have liked about the deck is that with all the draw power we don’t need to go beyond the 18 land.
A card I fooled around with online and have had nothing but great work out of it. In the mirror it stops all non caverned Delvers which gives you a huge boost. Naya struggles when they cant hit the turn 2 Blade Splicer and saving yourself from a Pillar of Flame is always handy. I didn’t like drawing too many of these though as they can feel blank in some match-ups so only the 2 main deck with the rest in the board for the Naya match.
Mutagenic Growth and Gut Shot
Both of these have seen a lot of play and I like them more when I can grab some extra value through Talrand.
There's not too much to say on the draw package. Obviously we want to keep the land count low and spell count high for reliable Delver flips and the standard 3 of Thought Scour, Ponder and Gitaxian Probe do wonders for the deck here.
All in all the deck plays similarly to previous Delver lists, but with the added mid-game of Talrand you can break stalemates and press previously more difficult situations by turning your whole deck into Drakes to splash back at the opponent.
I personally like the deck a lot and feel its one of my top 3 choices for the PTQ season of which I'm starting in Cardiff. So there is a good possibility of me splashing about with Talrand in Cardiff hoping to fly like a Gyarados, if you see me there hit me up with some views on this I’d be interested in hearing some alternate ideas for the deck as it is still a working progress.
Also this week we have a poll running for the next article, I have selected 5 M13 Cards to build a standard deck around. Vote below for the one that piques your interest the most.
Until next time,
Kyle “Soki” Wright
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