Jason’s Archives: Let’s Touch Decks (Winning Article Title Contest Submission)

Greetings, Speculators!

Don’t worry, I have no intention of repeating last week’s 3,000 word monstrosity. At the time I felt that I needed to make a compelling case for Seance before States so people could get in on the ground floor and snag some cheap copies before it went up. I am starting to wish I hadn’t.

Always Look on the Upside of Life

Why do something when there is no upside for you? That’s the question of the day, and when I think about my decision to champion Seance, I am not really sure why I bothered.

Let’s review — if the card tanks, I lose credibility in the financial community for getting people to buy a card that may not go anywhere. If the card makes a few top eights, I don’t deserve any of the credit since I won’t be piloting the deck, nor did I come up with the list, nor was I the one who’s championed the card for six months. For me the best case scenario is that the card takes off and I make a bunch of profit on the copies I picked up.

But I could have kept my mouth shut about Seance and still done that, and I could have had the benefit of no one knowing I went deep on it if the card took off. Telling people was an experiment and unless I get some positive feedback to counteract the week of (at best) trolling and (at worst) smug, bald-faced vitriol I got as a result of my endorsement, it’s one I won’t be repeating.

Also, when Ryan Bushard got a Top 8 with 4x Seance main at Michigan State Champs, I went to buy out the rest of the copies on the net and a “popular website” was sold out at a dollar already. I guess someone is taking our advice. So much for being able to get them at a dime…

Wait, Back Up

Oh yeah, Ryan got Top 8 with his Seance list. At his first competitive REL event in 3 years.

One Data Point is Hardly—

Let me stop you there. Reports are coming in of Top 16 finishes in multiple states (via reddit) and we’re waiting for TCGplayer to publish all of the States lists to confirm. Seance was played quite a bit this weekend.

Considering it’s sold out at a dollar on “a popular website,” I fully expect this to be a $2-$3 card soon because the internet is bad at buying cards. Even if every other site has 100 copies left at a dime, when they see “a popular website” is sold out at a buck they’ll raise their prices. Seance should continue to do well as I feel it has more applications than just the Frites builds, including beating said Frites decks. Expect its price to increase along with its popularity.

In any case, I’m more than happy to share my private speculation targets on Twitter, but my days of public card endorsement are over.

Anything Worth Mentioning in San Jose?

Since it was Team Limited, I won’t be covering the event much at the end of my article, but someone special made a few appearances at the event.

She showed up Friday...

and Saturday.

Magic Cosplay celebrity Christine Sprankle is responsible for both of these costume appearances at the GP. You can follow her on Twitter here. Redditor MKLaw is responsible for the [card Elspeth, Knight-Errant]Elspeth[/card] snap and Spicebread handled the [card Liliana of the Veil]Liliana[/card] pic.

The response to Spicebread’s post was, shall we say, less than upstanding.

A lot of the comments have been deleted, but Spicebread’s reddit post was full of sexist and derogatory comments. Normally I don’t care if a bunch of neckbeards want to make themselves look even less dateable than usual, but the topic of sexism in the Magic community is a sensitive and important one. I won’t rehash all the articles that have been written about this community’s treatment of women, but I will urge some decorum.

Don’t say anything about someone you wouldn’t want said about your own mother. We don’t want this community to appear any more unwelcoming than it already does, and not leering at a cosplayer or writing bad sexual puns about them on the internet is a good place to start.

Maybe I was particularly sensitive to how female cosplayers might feel in a room full of men because that same day I had just read this blog post linked on Twitter by Gathering Magic’s Natasha Harrington. I suppose all I want to say is, like plastic shopping bags and corn engineered by Monsanto, the internet is forever. So don’t say anything you won’t be proud of in five years.

In the mean time, it looks like cosplay may be catching on. Here Christine poses with She-[card Sorin, Lord of Innistrad]Sorin[/card].

I was hoping for a Lady Karn, but I'll take it.

Divine Providence

Other than 2012 Champs, there was another event this weekend. I’m not going to spend too much time on Champs lists next week as Mike Flores does that already, only better. But if there is any relevant info I can glean from them I’ll definitely share it with everyone.

SCG Providence totally happened, though, and that’s worth having a look at.

Top 16 Standard Decks

The event was won by Junk Tokens, which may explain why all of my Sorin, Lord of Innistrad sold on eBay today. I would have to see the deck play out to understand how it managed to win, but congratulations to Marc Blesso are in order all the same. Intangible Virtue plus Lingering Souls is good enough to be banned in Block, so it’s hard to ignore its relevance in a post-Vapor Snag, post-Mana Leak, post-Arc Trail world. Miser’s Angel of Serenity got there for him as well. Great job!

A lot of reanimator strategies have been doing well, whether they run Seance or not. If you’re going to run a ton of mana dorks, you might want to follow Dan Jordan’s lead and jam Gavony Township. That card has been in every deck with mana dorks I’ve built since they printed it. It’s satisfying to have three 1/1 elves when they pass the turn and swing for 9 on the untap. Sorry about your math, bro.

One card that Seance lists can’t copy from Dan is Restoration Angel: a powerful flier in its own right and now an enabler in a world ruled by Thragtusk. Tusky himself hit $20 this weekend, and with M13 no longer being drafted, expect his price to stay there despite his slating for reprint in a second event deck. (Of course, some shops aren’t getting more RtR for 5 weeks so we may be drafting M13 sooner than we think.) I would have favored Jordan’s deck in the finals, but on any given Sunday…

U/W Humans is making some top eights. Elite Inquisitor is a card I (quietly) speculated on when [card Huntmaster of the Fells]Huntmaster[/card] was everywhere, but it didn’t go anywhere. I was alerted by Team Dreamcrush members Joey D(bag) and Justin Burke to the increased play it’s seeing, in a post-rotation world that would make George Romero proud. Inquisitor is here to stay, and his abilities and power/toughness-to-mana-cost ratio are solid even when your opponent has no zombies to embarrass. The full art promo foil is still hella cheap and that may be a better spec target than trying to get the regular card in bulk. It may be, but only in a world where people like to pimp out their Standard deck.

U/W Control is a solid archetype as well. I was wrong on Sphinx’s Revelation because I failed to evaluate it in a vacuum. I compared it to Rakdos’s Return, which I hate, and therefore under-evaluated Sphinx’s Revelation. Fortunately, so do most people and I made up for my mistake by snagging cheap copies before everyone noticed them cropping up in decks. Standard is turning into a tapout format for control decks, and Revelation seems fine. However, Edgar Flores didn’t even bother with it in his list, preferring more Azorius Keyrunes instead.

I think the UWR Miracles deck from last weekend was a flash in the pan, as a more concentrated U/W build is the better way to curve turn four [card Jace, Architect of Thought]Jace[/card] into turn five [card Tamiyo, the Moon Sage]Tamiyo[/card]. Splashing red for Pillar of Flame will become worse and worse as people dial in the kind of removal they want. If you expect nothing but zombies it’s a fine choice, but I might try a different build for a more varied meta. The new enemy is Thragtusk, not Lotleth Troll.

Two Jund Midrange decks round out the Top 8, one of them jamming an impressive three copies of Underworld Connections main. Wow. I heard card advantage wins games! [card Olivia Voldaren]Olivia[/card] is good in Jund as well as future Grixis builds, so expect her price to stay inflated at the very worst. Being able to steal their dudes in a long match gives this card a lot of reach. No Falkenrath Aristocrats in the Top 8 but six Olivias? Methinks this bears looking into.

B/G Zombies also made Top 8 to the surprise of no one but me. Lotleth Troll is a good card, I hear. Expect me to jam BUG at FNM just so I can try to make one arbitrarily but finitely large with a [card Tamiyo, the Moon Sage]Tamiyo[/card] emblem. And by “me” I mean “someone bad at Magic who still plays FNM.”

Top 16 Legacy Decklists

Looking at this you would think 12 Post won, but it was actually boring old RUG Delver played by Elliot Wolchesky. Ugh. A Top 8 sporting Angel Stompy and 12 Post, which initially had me incredibly excited about the future of Magic. It’s like I always say. If you come up with a good, original deck idea, tune it for weeks, jam a million games to learn how to sideboard and have a bit of luck on your side, you too can live the dream of losing in the Top 8 to a net deck. It’s no wonder nobody bothers.

Clearly the most interesting deck in the Top 8 was Angel Stompy, piloted by John Miklenivich. This build was similar to something I toyed with, but I used 8 Moxen (4x [card Mox Diamond]Diamonds[/card] in my list) to enable turn 2 Illusory Angel; John used Cloud of Faeries and Chalice of the Void.

Cloud of Faeries seems like it would make Spellstutter Sprite maindeckable, but the only copies appeared in the board. The sideboard also contained Venser, Shaper Savant, which makes me think a Riptide Laboratory would go a long way. I hear Venser locks are no fun no matter which Venser you’re talking about. All tempo all the time, this deck is lean and beats face with a ton of equipment. Good times.

Eight different decks in the Top 8 is what I like to see. Any deck has the potential to get there in Legacy, which is what makes it such a good format. Rounding out the Top 8 was Goblins, Reanimator, Stoneblade, BUG Tempo, BUG Control and 12 Post. Finally, Glacial Chasm gets some love.

That’s All She I Wrote

And I won’ts writes no more. Have a good week and we’ll see if we can’t learn anything from 2012 Champs once those lists are in. Have a good ‘un.

Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on Gatheringmagic.com. He is also the Community Manager at BrainstormBrewery.com and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

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