Greetings folks, I'm coming to you live from the Snapcaster Mage Standard Season. We have a lot going on here at the event and new tech is showing up all over the place. The latest news comes from Mike Flores who tried to take down his New York State Championship with a dedicated Snapcaster Mage deck. Let's take a look and see what he has to offer.
This deck has everything going on for it! Card drawing check. Removal and counter spells check. Little to no win conditions just like every other successful control deck check check!
What's that? Druidic Satchel? Mike says "This is very likely going to be a Top 10 card in Standard for the rest of the year, a kind of cross between maybe four different very good planeswalkers...It has a dramatic effect against both fast beatdown and long-game control decks." Wow! I don't know if he's right but if so, get yours now before those speculators dive right in snatching them up by the hundreds.
What's my take on the deck? Low on win conditions for my tastes and I am not on the Druid Satchel party bus just yet. He's gonna have to prove his worth to me. Seems like a strictly worse version of Crystal Ball and we all know that was not playable. Sure Crystal Ball didn't gain life and yes that is important but the bag of random effect doesn't seem like it will impact the game enough. Mike Flores has my highest level of respect so the card will be tested rigorously by myself and the magic community but at first glance, I will take the role of skeptic.
I like the direction of the deck though and it seems like something similar to what I would enjoy playing. Take a look at the list I am thinking about taking this Friday to grind some FNM planeswalker points with.
4-Color Control: Aggro Control Version
That is way more my style. Sure the little creatures are going to die but they put pressure on your opponent letting you play fish some games and counter burn others. A lot of decks still have no answer for Stromkirk Noble. Cannot be blocked by humans is HUGELY relevant. Spikeshot Elder provides a reusable source of damage that will likely do as much as Slagstorm just against more opponents with the benefit of being completely busted with Sword of Feast and Famine.
What I like about this deck and decks like it is the ability to have answers for any deck. Might wanna add some Phantasmal Images to the sideboard though to fight Geist of Saint Traft and Thrun, the Last Troll.
Ready to form Voltron?
This past Friday I revved up the gears of the Voltron Robot. Just like on the show, no enemy could defeat the protector of the universe. My opponents were completely unprepared for the Voltron Force. I ended up playing Voltron Humans with Champion of the Parish leading the way. For me he really under performed being just a cheap aggressive creature. I am not sure what would be better in the deck but I don't think adding an aggro humans element to the deck was the right direction. You can really get some fast draws with them in the deck though like turn one Champion of the Parish. Turn two play a second Champion of the Parish and a Doomed Traveler. Turn three Puresteel Paladin and a second Doomed Traveler. It was the most aggressive draw I had the entire night, unfortunately my Bant Birthing Pod opponent had a quite unexpected Day of Judgment from his sideboard and almost blew me out with it. Luckily the spirits of the Doomed Travelers stuck around, some more spirits showed up thanks to Moorland Haunt, and one spirit found an ancient ledgendary sword to take chunks out of what remained of his life total. I was certainly not playing around the Day of Judgment though so luckily spirits plus a sword was enough to get there.
One round I did basically get a bye against an enchantment deck but if you have made it to FNM in recent memory, you know there is always someone trying some wacky deck. The other two decks I beat were competitive players with winning strategies. One of them was a Solar Flare type deck that also ran Geist of Saint Traft for pressure. The other was one of my good friends running a sweet green black Birthing Pod list and those games were particularly close as always. So, despite not having a complete sideboard and some random cards in place, I took first at my FNM.
The list I ran for reference was the following:
There are a few things I learned from this tournament experience so here about specific cards in the deck. Mortarpod continues to overperform for me by wrecking creature based strategies and finishing off control opponents. The one toughness boost is incredibly important so don't forget to suit up your creatures. Doomed Traveler has tons of synergy with Mortarpod, giving you two creatures to sacrifice. Strangely Doomed Traveler did not do as much blocking as I would have guessed but wearing equipment and making another guy when he dies was pretty amazing. Also, he fits pretty well in this draft rejects themed deck. Make sure you have a Blazing Torch if you are playing this deck because I searched it all the time. I might even want a second one in the board to bring in sometimes. Even though it was a tad slow, it was well worth the inclusion. I think it's still correct to be playing the Batterskulls but they were a bit expensive for a deck with such a low curve.
Overall I had fun, as always, with this deck and it is a competitive level deck with a lot of room to out play your opponents. I may try out a new version with no Champion of the Parish. If that happens, I will be sure to update the list in one of my articles.
One comment about other Voltron lists I am seeing from States. I notice that many of them play three Mox Opals. You may notice that I never have more than one. There is quite a good reason for that. I don't like the card. The Mox Opal allows for the decks most broken draws but it encourages you to play the deck suboptimally in hopes that you will untap after your turn two Puresteel Paladin. Winning the game often hinges on your Puresteel Paladin living to draw you at least a couple cards so why would you risk that trying to get in a third turn sword hit? It is just not worth it. Sure against every Birthing Pod opponent ever you play the decks namesake turn two because they have no answer for it so you want it active as soon as possible. Against basically any other deck however, they have answers and can stop you from drawing tons of cards from him. Is Mox Opal good, no question, but should you be playing three of them in this metagame, no really you should not. That's my two cents on the biggest difference between my lists and other players finding success with the deck.
Until next week magic players,
Remeber to prepare for Primeval Titan once again so you can Unleash the Force on Standard.