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Amsterdam in the Books

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Whinston’s Whisdom strikes back as we join you with yet another column about the world of Magic finance. Unfortunately, I am yet again forced to take my attention away from MTGO on account of outside factors, in this case, PT Amsterdam. In today’s article I’ll go over the results from the event, how this will impact the upcoming Extended PTQ format, and what cards you should be looking at to rise in price.

First off, I’d like to say that the top 8 of this event was absolutely fantastic. From current hot player Brad Nelson, to legendary HOF member and arguably greatest player to have ever lived, Kai Budde, the skill level of this top 8 is unparalleled.

The metagame of this pro tour was dependent on a single combination of cards: Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows. Any deck able to play these 2 cards was certainly doing so, and this warped the format beyond recognition. Faeries was drastically reduced in power because it was so vulnerable to this. RDW and other aggro decks were forced to adapt or die, as any 2 or fewer power creatures were almost dead on sight. Unfortunately for us speculators, the format as it was in Amsterdam is now effectively deceased. After Time Spiral Block rotates out of Extended in October with the release of Scars, there will be no more Grove of the Burnwillows, and therefore no more Punishing Fire. Despite the upcoming change to the format, it’s still important to look at the decks that performed well and WILL be sticking around.

Looking at the top 8 of the event, there is one deck we can immediately discount. Wafo-Tapa’s and Michael Jacob’s Teachings decks will be rotating out, as their namesake card will no longer be legal. The other 4 decks in the top 8 ;  Doran, White Weenie, Jund, and Merfolk, will all still be viable come PTQ season. Let’s go deck by deck and look at the cards most worthwhile to speculate on from each, as well as their viability at a later date.

Merfolk

The single copy of this deck in the top 8 was piloted by my favorite pro player, Marijn Lybaert. He triumphed over Wafo-Tapa in the quarters in the classic Aggro-Control vs Control matchup. While Merfolk does lose Lord of Atlantis to the rotation, the deck still has 8 lords available.  The disruption of Cursecatcher and card advantage of Silvergill Adept provides the deck even more tools. Unfortunately, Merfolk does have a tough matchup against aggressive decks, so unless Faeries or Five Color Control become popular for PTQs, Merfolk may need to sit on the sidelines. If you’re looking to speculate on Merfolk becoming popular, my recommendation would be to pick up Merfolk Soveregeign and Cryptic Command, the most important counterspell in the archetype.

Jund

Again, we have another archetype that only had one representative in the top 8, this time piloted by relative unknown Thomas Ma. Jund loses Tarmogoyf and Punishing Fire to the rotation, and while this does hurt the deck, I think it is more than capable of surviving. Jund is a difficult deck to speculate on since so many of the cards in it are from Standard. If you are dead-set on buying up Jund cards, Great Sable Stag would be the best option as it is relatively cheap at the moment but with the largest potential to shoot up.

White Weenie

Eventual winner Paul Rietzel as well as Kai Budde played White Weenie into the top 8 of the event. The multitude of 1 drops, as well as the ever popular Spectral Procession and Honor of the Pure powered this archetype through the field. My only hesitation here is the fact that one of White Weenie’s best attributes was that it was not vulnerable to Punishing Fire. Now that this is no longer a threat, what does White Weenie have that other aggro decks don’t? Utimately, I think RDW is the more viable aggressive deck in Extended. White Weenie’s only reach is the use of Brave the Elements compared to all the burn in the Red deck, and doesn’t have the same explosive speed. White Weenie is better against Doran, but I don’t know if that’s enough to make it good. There are a few key cards you should be looking at if you want to speculate on White Weenie. Figure of Destiny and Student of Warfare are both high powered one drops, and Ranger of Eos is a card advantage engine.

Doran

The final deck of the PT, Doran is also the deck that I was looking most heavily at prior to the event. Why was Doran so good? Because the deck is superior to its competitors on multiple levels. First, Doran’s manabase is significantly better than the rest of the field. The interaction between Treefolk Harbinger, Verdant Catacombs, and Murmuring Bosk ensures that the deck is easily able to produce a turn 3 Doran almost every game. Also, its creatures are more fficient. Loam Lion and Treefolk Harbing are both 3/3s for one, and Doran is a 5/5 for three.  No other deck can compete in terms of raw power. Finally, Doran has access to disruption such as Thoughseize, Duress, and Tidehollow Sculler, which allows it to decimate combo and control decks. I’ve already speculated a lot on Doran’s success (about 20 Dorans and 30 Murmuring Bosks) and I plan to continue to do so until prices rise. This deck is the real deal. Even once Fae and RDW come back into the format with the rotation of Punishing Fire, Doran will still be able to hold its own.

Tip of the Week: Pyromancer Ascension

At the moment, people are avoiding buying Pyromancer Ascension unless they need it for their Standard decks. However, I feel Ascension will still be a strong deck choice post SoM. In Standard, it’s really not necessary to go for the all out combo with Time Warp and Call to Mind. Once Time Warp has rotated, the deck will merely need to kill in a different way, with extra Bolts and other burn rather than taking infinite turns. But Pyromancer also has potential in new Extended. At the PT, 30-odd players piloted Ascension, and while the deck does et significantly worse with the removal of Grove of the Burnwillows, it still has potential, and I wouldn’t be counting this guy out just yet. I would buy at anywhere less than $2 and sell at $3 or more.

That’s all for this week, but stay tuned for the next edition of Whinston’ s Whisdom, as I hope to have a special surprise for all fo you in next week’s article.

Good night, and good luck,

--Noah Whinston

7 thoughts on “Amsterdam in the Books

  1. No love for my favorite angry red dudes? Blasphemy! Goblins will always be the best deck choice! Everytime! RED SMASH PUNY COLORPIE!! 😛

    Stubborn play preference aside, good analysis of the results. Im inclined to agree with you on pyromancer, especially if we see a deck capable to capitalize on the interaction of Furnace of Rath on a stick or super secret quest fueled proliferate shenigans.

  2. too late noah, i just speculated by myself on warren instigator 😛 though i don't know how much it will useful without simian spirit guide 🙁 and also, i suspect that the matchup with resurgent faeries won't be that ggod (still have to test it, though)

  3. The biggest hit for standard Pyromancer's Ascension is the loss of Ponder. Ponder + Preordain as four ofs made the deck infinitely more consistent while powering up ascension.

    Still looks like it could be a decent choice for extended, as faeries will be much better post rotation, and the combo is very good against that tribe, at the very least.

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