Tag Archives: Standard

Quoth the Raven

Introduction

A few days ago, I noticed a post on Instagram about the new Hearthstone “year” and was surprised.A� I don’t know why I was surprised.A� I knew that it was about this time that they started their version of Standard and then it would have been around this time that they had their first rotations.A� However, unlike Magic, a game that I am almost always aware of new sets and rotations, Hearthstone is more of a hobby.

Bear in mind that Magic itself is only a hobby and you will then understand the priority that Hearthstone is not for me.A� I am back to playing a bit each day to complete a daily quest or two.A� I watch the game on stream because it is an easy game to just veg out to while I’m writing or doing school work.A� Every once in a while I get delusions of grandeur and think that I’m going to grind to legend one month.A� So far, I haven’t pursued that particular goal.A� With my current schedule, I don’t think that I will anytime soon, either.

So, to make a long story short (I know, too late!) I had no idea that the rotation was imminent.A� Once I saw the Instagram post, I decided to do a little bit of research on what was imminent for the “Year of the Raven.”A� Needless to say, true to form, Blizzard did not give much information other than the name and the cards that were rotating into the Hall of Fame.A� Sure, I could speculate.A� Since I’m not a Hearthstone acolyte and I haven’t played WoW consistently for about 5 years now, any speculation on my part would most likely be wildly inaccurate.

When has that ever stopped us before?

The Good

Once upon a time, Molten Giant was part of an OTK warrior combo that quickly got nerfed via the Warsong Commander nerf.A� They had to further nerf Warsong Commander when OTK Patron Warrior became a thing.A� The final nail in the coffin of this card came because of the stifling nature of handlock and the fact that they often could cast all giants for very cheap or even free, as was the case for this card.

I was a huge fan of the old Handlock decks because they fit right into my playstyle.A� It was a control deck that required several different decisions to be made on every turn.A� I wasn’t the best Handlock player, though, and I understand why the deck became so dominant when played by players who are much better than I am.A� This card needed to be nerfed if it was to continue into the future and shake up the standard meta.

I mentioned in my discussion of the latest round of nerfs that I liked that Blizzard wasn’t ignoring their eternal format as I was afraid they might.A� Some of those decisions were directly related to the Wild format.A� This decision is the same.A� Because there are more tools to deal with a pre-nerf Molten Giant, they’re giving it a chance to see if it can find a place in the meta.A� I don’t know if this will allow old Handlock to shine again, but I’m holding out hope.

The Bad

Out of the three cards that are being put into the Hall of Fame, this is the decision that I understand the least.A� While this is a frustrating card to play against, I don’t often see it in Standard decks at all.A� I play against it all the time in Wild already because I play against a bunch of Mill rogue and occasionally see them in a Freeze or Quest Mage deck.

I’d have rather seen Doomguard in this slot and I’m not the only one.A� I’ve seen more than one discussion in Twitch chat (yes, they do happen sometimes) and on message boards about how annoying it is to play against Warlock with Doomguards, cubes, and Skull of the Man’ari.A� Warlock may or may not have been as oppressive as everyone thought when they nerfed priest (mostly) with the last patch, but I do know that I have seen a lot of Warlock being played on stream.A� I’m astounded that Doomguard is not in this spot.

This leads me to believe that maybe they are releasing a standard card that does a similar thing or would cause this card to be busted wide open.A� I know that Blizzard seems to shy away from pushing a mill strategy, even though some players want to see that in Hearthstone.A� I understand why Blizzard would not want it.A� Without a graveyard and the possibility of interaction, cards that are burned are gone.A� It’s just not a fun strategy for the kind of game that Hearthstone is designed to be.A� Hopefully, Blizzard hasn’t decided to make mill viable in Standard.A� The fact that this card is moving to Wild only makes me think that they have.

The Ugly

This is perhaps the single most frustrating card to play against in the game.A� Since the only win condition is to reduce your opponent’s health to zero, adding immunity to the game messes up all calculations and delays that victory by at least one turn.A� Since mage also has very powerful minion removal, the ability to gain life through Artificer now, and the ability to have more than two Ice Block in their decks, a sure victory often becomes a defeat that nothing could have been done to prevent.

So, I understand that reason for moving this card to Wild.A� However, they just gave a few new cards to Rogue that give them immunity for a turn similar to this card.A� So, I don’t completely understand the decision.A� Granted those cards work slightly different from this one and they can be played around (especially the secret that only grants immunity after damage is dealt and it doesn’t prevent the damage) easier than this one.

As a result, in addition to moving this card to Wild, perhaps they should have also adjusted this card so that it works more like that card or something.A� I honestly don’t know how they would change the card other than to make it like the rogue card, but that seems like a lazy way of doing things.A� A quick look at the most recent Wild snapshot shows that Mage decks that use Ice Block are only considered Tier 2, so perhaps Blizzard knows what they’re doing.A� So, I’m skeptical, but I guess that’s why I don’t design card games.

The Verdict

There are other things that they have announced.A� First, that we here at 2 Generations Gaming are most excited about is the announcement of a tournament mode.A� Yes, we can start to network and advertise the web page with our own tournaments in Hearthstone!A� When Chris told me about it, I was beyond excited.A� When we first started having the idea for the web page, I always wanted to do a tournament for Magic and we’ve even had discussions about that, too.A� Things are really starting to come together.

Two other cool things for filthy casuals like us is that they are altering some of the more difficult quests to finish and making them easier.A� This will mean less time invested in getting my gold to buy my packs that I will never open.A� Finally, the new Druid hero is finally here and she is easy to get.A� Win 10 Standard games over the season and you will have Lunara instead of Malfurion.A� All great stuff.

As far as the new set, I don’t have much to say right now.A� I refuse to speculate because I’m mostly ignorant to both Hearthstone and World of Warcraft at this point.A� Anything that I might say or think will be simply guessing and even though I made the joke earlier, I’m not usually one to engage in wild speculation on what Blizzard might do.A� As we saw with my analysis of Ice Block, it is sure to be incorrect.

However, I have seen some speculation from others who know better than I do.A� First, someone said that the year of the Kraken seemed to deal with mystical and god like powers.A� Then, the year of the Mammoth dealt with large creatures and effects.A� Therefore, the year of the Raven will deal with dark and dreary themes.A� This made them conclude that the next expansion might have something to do with Duskwood.A� There was another image out there that made theory seem plausible, but I don’t exactly see Duskwood in that icon at the middle of the teaser.A� I suppose that we will see.A� Continue to visit for more of my analysis as we get closer to the release.

Standard Shakeup

Well gang it’s that time of the year again. A�The leaves are changing color, well here they are anyways, summer is slowly slipping away and Wizards has decided to raid your bank accounts with their latest release, Kaladesh. A� As the title suggests, I’m not going to talk about the newest entries into the world of standard, but instead let’s discuss the staples from Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins that will be saying adios amigos on 9/30.

Collected Company: A�Let’s start off with the big dog of the bunch, Collected Company. A�Obviously it’s the lynchpin of the standard meta powerhouse, Bant Company. Well to be honest it’s the lynchpin to a lot of powerful decks. I’m looking forward to seeing the meta after this rotates. Will its absence be enough to completely take Bant out of the Top 8? A�My guess is no, not with Archangel Avacyn, Reflector Mage and Spell Queller still being legal. A�Although there are other Bant staples that are rotating too, but more on that later. A�Now CoCo will be the bane of modern players instead of a multi-format monster.

“Flip” Planeswalkers: A�Yes, A�Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Liliana, Heretical Healer, Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh and Kytheon, Hero of Akros will be leaving us in a few weeks. Kytheon wasn’t played much when he first came out, but with the current Human meta, he became pretty popular. Both Nissa and Jace appear regularly in Bant decks and frequently in Jund (Nissa) as well. It will be interesting to see what happens to their value after rotation. Remember Jace was hovering around the $90 Mark for awhile, but fell to $20-$30. He still sees some action in modern so I don’t expect too much of a plummet unlike the rest of the flip walkers.

Enemy Painlands: With these lands leaving, it shakes up all decks going forward. Yes, it was annoying to keep taking 1 damage to get some color mana but they don’t enter the battlefield tapped which makes them much better than what we are left with as their replacements; Manlands and the duals from Shadows of Innistrad, both of which enter tapped. Too bad Amulet of Vigor isn’t standard legal eh? A�However, Kaladesh will contain enemy fastlands, but to me the painlands are slightly more useful in the mid-game. Eldrazi decks will also feel the pain, well not feel the pain in this case, heh, as the painlands also served as a source of colorless mana. A�I foresee Eldrazi decks falling out of the Top 8 but still having a presence in modern.

Languish: Ah, the boardwipe favored by black control/Delirium players is outta here, although Kaladesh has some interesting options to replace Languish with.

Kolaghan’s Command/ Atarka’s Command/ Dromoka’s Command: These pick 2 utility spells will be missed. Kolaghan’s Command is arguably the best of the bunch and is a regular inclusion in modern Grixis. Dromoka is popular among Bant players, so it’s yet another hit to the most played meta.

So in closing, if you’re a Bant player, you will be unhappy on the 30th, if you’re not or you’re not afraid of change, Kaladesh is looking like one of the most innovative and powerful sets in a long time. It’s going to be an interesting block.

Dudes Playing Magic

(Editor’s Note: A�Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, as they say.)

I have expressed my admiration for the Star City Games stream on the page more than once. A�Some of the play leaves a bit to be desired and can be painful to watch, especially in the early rounds. A�To be honest, all around the play is pretty loose and might frustrate you for one reason or another. A�Notice that I said that I admire the coverage. A�When I want to watch great gameplay, I watch the official Magic channel. A�Though it’s getting better, their PT and GP still lags behind SCG. A�Therefore, when I am in the mood to just watch Magic and be entertained, as I usually am, I tune into the SCG broadcast.

During the many streams I watched, I saw several advertisements for shows that were going to happen locally. A�There was one in Worcester and one in Providence. A�I eventually succumbed to the pressure of advertising. A�Okay, okay, as soon as I learned of them, I put the events on the calendar. A�Since our family has the habit of committing to things and then deciding last minute that we’d rather sit around our house in PJs, I needed something to solidify the commitment and force me to follow through.

Luckily, the Providence event was scheduled for only a few weeks after the release of Dragons of Tarkir. A�For the last three sets, I wanted to order an intro set from SCG. A�I think that’s what they call it. A�It is a booster box, a fat pack, and one each of the intro decks. A�I always buy a booster box and fat pack for each set, so it is a good deal for me. A�But, I’ve never had the money to get one before they sold out. A�This time, I finally did. A�I took all of this as a sign that it was meant to be. A�I put in the order, chose pick up in Providence, and jumped on the hype train.

Choo, choo!

The Dragons of Tarkir release was still two weeks away and the event about a month after that. A�It gave me plenty of time to psych myself up. A�Being the good marketers that they are, the fine people of SCG helped. A�They kept advertising the events. A�During one of these ads, the commentators went on about how Magic events were becoming more like conventions.

Chugga, chugga!

The weeks passed. A�Chris ordered and received the singles for his decks. A�I started to regret my decision to pick up the cards instead of delivery. A�Christine reminded me that the scout camping trip was that same weekend. A�The regret deepened because now there was real possibility that I would not even be able to go. A�Life and literature are nothing without conflict, and we have a doozy one on our hands, dear readers.

*sounds of the hype train derailing*

Those of you who follow us on Twitter already know the outcome, but don’t spoil it for the rest of us. A�Up until now, the story has lacked something. A�Now, though, it’s riveting and I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next and how (er, if) I make it to Rhode Island. A�Okay, let’s get this train rolling again.

*chuff, chuff*

*whoo, whoo*

I came up with the plan to only stay one night at camping and come home late on Saturday. A�That left Sunday free to go to Providence. A�It meant a ton of driving on top of the usual insane amount of driving I do during the week, but I’m a survivor. A�I will persevere. A�Even so, true to our reputation, I started to waffle before the weekend in question. A�Luckily, the boys kept me honest on camping and the cards did the same for my plans on Sunday.

I’m glad that we went camping. A�I was able to get some articles written, go on a hike, fish with both Liam and Aiden, play some cut throat Uno, watch an epic game of capture the flag, and just relax in general. A�The trip helped to put me in the right frame of mind for the drive to Rhode Island.

I woke up Sunday morning early and ready to go. A�I loaded some of my favorite podcasts on to my tablet, made a breakfast of champions, took a shower (this is an important step from what I’ve heard), hopped into the van, fired up the GPS, and drove. A�As an aside, can I just say how much I like GPS. A�I would have loved to have been a part of the programming teams. A�Well, I’d have rather been exploring all of the places to help build the maps and take pictures. A�Either way, it speaks very loudly to my explorer spirit and they did a great job. A�It has gotten to the point that it is almost foolproof.

Okay, here it is. A�The moment that I’ve been anticipating for over a month. A�I’m pulling into the garage. A�Oh, crap, there’s a parking fee. A�Not entirely unexpected (it was an expense that I hadn’t considered), but a bit of a disappointment. A�Part of the reason for travelling was to save on shipping. A�With this expense plus gas, I’m pretty sure that plan has gone out the window. A�Oh well. A�There’s one reason that I am a mathematician and not an economist.

I’m in the garage, parked, and on my way to the event. A�This is a big place. A�How will I find it? A�Oh, good, there’s an information desk. A�I’ll ask him. A�No, never mind, I found it. A�I’ll just follow all the guys wearing hoodies and back packs. A�Up the escalator, take a right, stop to read the rules and guidelines, and finally, I am here.

And…it’s just a bunch of dudes playing Magic. A�Well, that’s also disappointing. A�I’m not sure what I expected. A�No, that’s not true. A�I know exactly what I expected. A�The comments from the SCG crew stuck with me that these things are becoming more and more like conventions. A�I’ve been to several conventions, both big and small. A�All of them have been much more than just dudes playing Magic. A�Damn. A�Oh well, I’m here. A�Might as well make the best of it.

I check out the feature table. A�Hey, that’s Jim Davis! A�(Not the Garfield guy, that would be too cool for words.) Let’s see what he’s playing. A�Oh, Andrew Boswell is here, too. A�He went undefeated yesterday. A�Okay, so it’s dudes playing Magic, but these are dudes that are pretty damn good at playing Magic. A�That makes it less disappointing. A�I can come back to this. A�I have A�a bunch of cards to pick up. A�Also, where are Patrick and Cedric?

I got to the place that looks like a place to pick up cards. A�No, those guys are buying. A�No, these guys are selling. A�Oh, customer service. A�I travel back over there. A�They point me to the guys buying, who point me to the guys selling. A�I finally grab my product and go back to the feature tables. A�Jim Davis is till there. A�Boswell is still there. A�Some guy with what looks like Jeskai aggro sleeved in pink is destroying his opponent. A�No sign of Fabiano. (I later learn that he was playing in the Modern side tournament.)

CC9Zl_IW8AAS1Oy

Well, let’s see some of what is in this box. A�I I find an empty seat at a table and crack open the box. A�So…many…cards. A�Oh, hey, look over there. A�That’s Patrick and Cedric! A�I open the intro packs and the boosters inside. A�Nothing too noteworthy in the packs, but I did get a Dragonlord Dromoka and Dromoka’s Command. A�I resist opening the booster box and fat pack because I’m saving them for a video.

217221

To bolster my restraint, I go back to watch more of the feature matches, but I’m more or less done. A�Damn. A�3 hours driving for about 2 hours of watching dudes playing Magic. A�Yep, definitely not an economist. A�Oh well, lesson learned. A�If I do go to Worcester, go as a competitor. A�The only problem is that the main event in Worcester is Legacy. A�While Chris and I are Legacy players (technically, I’m mostly Modern), I don’t have a single competitive Legacy deck. A�There is a standard side event, though, and I have a couple of standard decks that could to some damage with a tweak here or there. A�Oh, what’s that I hear? A�Is that the hype train warming up again?

All aboard!

Abzan Cards I Own (Standard, Take 2)

(Editor’s Note: As with many of my decks, you will notice an underlying theme.)

This deck is inspired by Gerrard Fabiano and his “Sultai Cards I Own Deck” from the first SCG.com Modern open that I watched. A�Not being on his level as a player, I don’t have nearly the cards, so it is considerably more on the pauper end, but still strong. I went 1-1 in games against two different decks with it last night against Chris.

Main DeckA�(60 Cards)

Creatures (23)

Abzan Battle Priest (2): Outlast and gives all other creatures with +1 counters lifelink. A bit of overkill depending on the board, but still helpful.
Abzan Falconer (2): Outlast and gives all other creatures with +1 counters flight. Good for all of the potential dragons if you don’t get the Longshot Squad.
Abzan Guide (3): Expensive, but the lifelink is nice and it can be a cool morph trick.
Abzan Skycaptain (2): I only have purchased one fat pack of Fate so far and got 2 of these guys. Bolster is stronger than Outlast and plays well with the other guys who buff +1 counters.
Ainok Bond Kin (3): First strike to dudes with +1 counters. If you can combo with one of the other guys, you can really trade well.
Disowned ancestor (3): Nice, cheap chump blocker that can become more with Outlast and combo players.
Longshot Squad (2): These guys might be the first to go because of the Falconers, but good right now just in case.
Voyaging Satyr (4): Underrated mana dorks, in my opinion.
Wardscale Dragon (2): Dragons finally made it into one of my decks. They are pretty powerful. Who knew?

Spells (10)

Dragonscale Boon (3): +1 counters and untap for unexpected up trade on your opponents turn.
Feat of Resistance (3): I can see why this card is so popular on the open and pro circuits. It also fits well with the theme.
Pacifism (2): My favorite Magic Card.
Murderous Cut (2): Strong Removal fed by the other spells and Evolving Wilds with Delve.

Artifacts (2)

Abzan Banner (2): Mana plus potential card draw. Sounds good to me.

Legendary Enchantment Artifact (1)

Bow of Nylea (1): I had one of these lying around and it seemed to fit pretty well.

Land (24)

Blossoming Sands (2)
Evolving Wilds (4)
Forest (4)
Jungle Hollow (2)
Plains (8)
Scoured Barrens (2)
Swamp (2)

Sideboard (8)

Drown in Sorrow – 3
Bile Blight – 3
Grim Contest – 2

I’m still working on the deck and the side board. A�I might work in some End Hostilities, but I don’t know what else right now. A�Picking up my Dragons of Tarkir cards next week, so the deck will most likely look very different. A�Isn’t that what Standard is all about, though? A�Finding the cards that work for you and your deck playing them. A�Stay tuned as this one evolves. A�Click the Outlast tag below to see former iterations and that evolution.

Do You Want to Build Some Standard?

(Editor’s Note: A�Chris asked this question a couple of weeks ago. A� Before you ask, yes he sang it just like the girl from Frozen. A�He has a beautiful singing voice.)

I was never interested in the various formats of Magic or what they meant until about a month ago. A�One of my favorite Magic streamers pointed me to the Vintage Super League on the Magic Twitch page as his stream ended. A�Left without any options, I followed the link. A�Boy, am I glad that I did. A�I have watched every episode, learned Magic from some of the best players, and even developed a rooting interest. A�I’m bummed that one of my new favorite players and commentators got bumped for being in last place. A�This is not about Vintage, though. A�My article on VSL is here and I might revisit it at the end of the season.

My voyage through the history of Magic continued with the StarCityGames.com Modern event (I know Chris said that we shouldn’t advertise them until they pay us, but click the link and tell ’em 2 Guys Gaming sent ya. A�Maybe that will lead to something.) in Baltimore. A�By this time, I knew more bout the archetypes and strategies of Vintage, but knew nothing about Modern. A�Once again, that was about to change. A�One player in the event captured my attention, admiration, and imagination with his deck. A�That story is told here.

Of these two formats, I liked Modern the most. A�While it can be fun to watch the turn one and two kills in Vintage and watch how some of the most powerful cards in the history of the game interact in the hands of the best players, at times it can be anticlimactic. A�Because those enablers aren’t available in Modern, the games are generally more interactive. A�Unfortunately, there aren’t many Modern events shown, so I just watched the Vintage Super League every week and hoped to find a random streamer playing Modern.

I avoided Standard for one main reason. A�I heard that Standard consisted of mainly the same decks with little to no variation. A�Having only watched Hearthstone in a competitive setting, this worried me. A�Because Hearthstone has such a limited pool of cards, the competitive scene is literally the same few decks played all the time. A�Because Hearthstone is free to play and online, I then see those decks from many of the players that I meet in game. A�It’s boring and tedious. A�Competitive Magic doesn’t suffer that problem. A�Since there are so many more cards, the same archetype will look diverse from player to player. A�Larger decks also increase variance and the same deck plays differently in each game.

I finally tuned in for Standard one weekend during a Star City Games broadcast. A�They advertised the event during the Modern one. A�I noticed that it was in Miami, winter still raged here in Massachusetts, and I wanted to live vicariously through all the lucky warm people in Florida. A�I never expected that I would experience the insanity depicted in the picture below.

GWGW3

I absolutely loved it. A�Sometimes it is fun to try to break this game that we love. A�It’s what I’m attempting to do with every deck that I build. A�I’m never this successful but that is why I’m where I am and they were all in Miami on that cold weekend.

Clearly, Standard is more than just a gimmicky life gain deck. A�It’s about the skill and the intrigue, the perceived heroes and villains, the wonder and promise of a new set. A�Dan Lebatard is fond of saying that sports are soap operas for men. A�I no longer care about sports the way that I once did, but video and card games have taken their place. A�Hell, watching streams are much more fun than watching sports because even if the game or match isn’t interesting, you can bet that chat will be.

From pointing out incorrect missed lethal to upholding the virtues of proper land placement and pace of play, Twitch chat rarely fails to entertain. A�The only thing that I don’t like and can’t understand is the persistent spam for no reason. A�I know that I sound like an old man. A�In this instance, I’m proud of my old man-ness and defend it against the unwashed spamming masses. A�I go to Twitch to learn (noA�kap) and the spam makes learning and conversation impossible. A�Wow, that digression…but watch me bring it all back. A�That’s one of the reason I only watch Magic streams now. A�The spam does not exist, questions can be answered, and intelligent discussions are the rule rather than the exception. A�The chat for Star City Games hovers just on the edge between spam and productive, but their coverage is top notch. A�Their announcers know a lot about Magic, are passionate about the game, and are entertaining. A�Since discovering their stream, I have not missed and event and I am even planning to go to Rhode Island to see one live.

So, when Chris suggested that we build a couple of decks that will conform to the standard rules, I agreed to the idea without hesitation. A�We normally play Legacy (a format that I mistakenly thought was just a different name for Vintage) and have all of the cards from the history of Magic at our disposal. A�We are obviously limited by cost and availability, but not much else. A�We have built some fun, and even powerful, decks that you can find by following the “decks lists” link in the menu on the left.

My most recent entry into that category is my first attempt at a standard deck. A�I am also working on a 4-color deck as my other deck. A�I doubt that I will be able to afford all the cards, but I have been playtesting it and it is fun, so I might proxy the cards to see how it plays in live competition. A�As we all know, that can often turn out counter to expectations.

Since I can’t build that deck now (or maybe ever) unless I use proxies, I tweaked my Abzan list to make it standard legal. A�In keeping with my love of sometimes overlooked mechanics and +1/+1 counters, I tried to make a deck with Outlast and a little bit of Bolster strategy. A�Chris went Jeskai Heroic, so I A�answered with Abzan Outlast. A�I can’t wait to see the match with all the counters flying around. A�Stay tuned to the page for the aftermath.

Well, that’s the story of how I’ve gone from resurrected Magic neophyte to building and practicing in all formats, even if only virtually in the case of modern and vintage…so far. A�I bet that many of you have a similar story to tell. A�Maybe you have the money to actually play in Modern. A�Who knows? A�Maybe if I get another summer class, then I will look into getting some cards to put together a starter Modern deck and join an event or two. A�Hope to see you. A�If not, tell me about your favorite format or deck in the comments.

Attempting Abzan on the Cheap

(Editor’s Note:

Chris came up with the idea a couple of weeks ago to delve (pun fully intended) into Standard with a couple of our decks to explore the strategy of having to update decks periodically as new sets are released and old sets rotate out. A�This doesn’t mean that we are going away from our traditional Legacy decks, but it is good to be able to experience all of the different aspects of the game. I knew immediately that one of my decks was going to be a RDW deck. That’s one of the first decks that almost everyone creates in any format because it is usually cheap and can be very effective even against more expensive decks.

I still don’t know what my other deck will be. I’m pretty sure that I want to go with some sort of blue/white or blue/black control, but I don’t want to limit myself without trying out as many of the deck archetypes as I can. I should also remind you that I’m not a singles buyer, I’m a bulk collector. I generally buy a box and a fat pack of each set and whatever cards I pull are the cards that I have to build my decks. Therefore, to test some decks, I built pretty cheap decks from pauper shells that I found online. One of those decks was a Temur morph deck because I really keep trying to make Temur work, but I just can’t figure out how. The other was Abzan and that one actually has the makings of a good deck. I don’t know if it will be part of my final list, but it is making me consider it as an option.

Abzan Outlast “Pauper”

Spells/Artifacts – 11

Abzan Banner – 2 (The banners are pretty slow, but any time you can get mana or card draw, go for it.)
Dragonscale Boon – 3 (+1 counters are good in the deck because they can grant reach, plus untapping for a surprise blocker is good)
Feat of Resistance – 4 (More +1 counters plus protection lets you block while avoiding damage.)
Grim Contest – 2 (To be honest, I’m not even sure if this card is good. I just picked it because it has the nickname of “Butt Fight”.)

Creatures – 25

Abzan Guide – 3 (This is expensive, but it is a morph, so can hit the board earlier than if hard cast. Once it is turned up, it has lifelink and is a pretty significant body at 4/4.)
Abzan Skycaptain – 2 (This is a bit overcosted, but it is flying and Chris likes his dragons. Also, bolster is okay for the +1s).
Ainok Bond-Kin – 4 (Not a great 2 drop with Outlast. Mainly because I needed some low cost bodies.)
Disowned Ancestor – 2 (0/4 is a good blocker with Outlast for only one black. Good for “Butt Fight”.)
Longshot Squad – 2 (Outlast, gives all other creatures with +1s reach. Did I mention how much Chris likes dragons?)
Midnight Guard – 4 (Okay, not standard, but a pretty good low cost minion. Will definitely have to replace this if I go Abzan as my other standard deck.)
Unyielding Krumar – 2 (Another okay, but not great minion. The first strike ability is nice and will trade favorably with many other minions.)
Voyaging Satyr – 4 (Having mana is always nice, but I think I might already have enough for this deck. These guys might be moved into my Temur deck if I decide to proceed with that one.)
Wardscale Dragon – 2 (I jokingly said, “History is made this day.” when I played this guy and then Chris promptly removed him. I knew there was a reason that I didn’t play these stupid dragons.)

Lands – 24

Blossoming Sands – 2
Forest – 6
Jungle Hollow – 2
Plains – 7
Scoured Barrens – 2
Swamp – 5

This was a fun deck to play and it is definitely something to consider expanding into an actual standard deck, but I’m still on the blue/white or blue/black, so I don’t think that I will use it as one of my standard spots. Still, it is the start of an interesting deck and something that I might continue to build into a regular deck during our games.

So about last night…(a.k.a Our First Journey into the World of Standard)

Last night was our monthly gaming night as well as our scheduled podcast-recording session (it was a great show, definitely check it out once it’s up). It was also the first time that I have ever played Standard.A� Note: Shawn has attended a prerelease event in the past but I’m not counting it as it was sealed.A� So exactly how did two legacy guys end playing Standard?

It started about a week and a half ago,A� we were chatting about how excited we were for Dragons and for some reason I started thinking of the ways it will shake up Standard. Would there suddenly be an influx of ramp decks? Warrior decks that utilize the powerful Dragon Hunter? At that point it hit me: it didn’t matter.A� We only played Legacy and Modern. Why was I so interested in what was going on with Standard? It certainly wasn’t going to affect us any..or would it?A� I sent Shawn a message suggesting that we jump onto the Standard boat for a trial run.A� He immediately liked the idea and suddenly the fire was lit.

I thought of brewing a Red Deck Wins and an Abzan Aggro.A� I already hadA� both of those deck types built so I figured that besides replacing a few cards and doing some tweaking, they were all set for Standard action. Wrong.A� I essentially had to break both of those decks down to the point of scrapping them and completely rebuilding.A� After removing all of the non-Standard cards, I was left with approximately 27 cards in my Abzan and even less in my Red Deck Wins.A� I decided that the Red Deck Wins was a lost cause so that went straight into the Legacy part of the my collection (also Shawn was building one and sometimes aggro vs aggro can feel…less than mentally stimulating). Since this was a time of change and getting out of our comfort zone, I decided to look into a mechanic from the Theros block that originally didn’t impress me in the least bit; Constellation.A� I’m glad I changed my mind about it because I love the combo aspect of the game and this deck is all about combos. After playtesting the deck a few times I felt very foolish for ignoring the mechanic for over a year. The Abzan deck was slightly easier to tweak..throw a couple of Siege Rhinos in, sprinkle in some Fleecemane Lions and you have an aggro deck. OK, Ok, it was more complicated than that but I won’t bore you with the exact details of how I crafted that deck.

So how did it turn out?A� Well to be perfectly honest we played 3 games last night, 2 Standard and 1 Legacy..and the Standard games were far more intriguing and close. The first game was my Constellation deck vs his Temur. I roared out to an early lead, dropping a few 2 drop Enchantment creatures and kept gaining life while chipping away at his. But Shawn is a resilient player and didn’t go down easily. He battled back, removing creatures and sending my Master of the Feast back to my hand repeatedly. In the end I prevailed but that was only due to a Banishing Light that I was holding in my hand.A� The 2nd game was even better in my opinion..it was Abzan vs Abzan. In the end despite the fact that I kept fighting back by gaining life and pumping up my creatures, I was straight up outplayed and lost.A� I made some misplays that screwed me over..but even if I didn’t he had me dead to rights. The 3rd game we played was a LegacyA� and it wasn’t close. I walked away with the “W” but it wasn’t satisfactory. I rather win by a narrow margin then by a landslide any day.A� There is no excitement in a game like that.A� After that game, I kind of kicked myself for not building a 3rd Standard deck.A� It’s hard to go from 2 interesting games to a 3rd not-so-interesting game.A� So are we Standard guys now? To a certain extent I think we are. The deck building is more challenging but the back and forth nature of the games makes up for the limited pool of cards you can choose from. Now am I saying that we are done playing Legacy/done posting Legacy deck list/ done talking about Legacy? No, no way.A� Legacy is the format that our 2 man group started with.A� I can’t speak for my buddy but Legacy was feeling slightly stale to me over the last few months so it’s nice to flex that mental muscle and keep things fresh by going Standard.

Keep checking this site as there will be more Standard deck lists, and even videos of our games to check out.A� Also, I posted the Constellation deck mentioned above in our deck lists section.