I had a lot planned but I may make this one brief. Today, in the process of minding her own business in a pedestrian crossing, my wife managed to get struck by a car. I have it on good authority from an eyewitness that the noise she made when her head bounced off of the windshield was roughly "GaFAWK!" which, slowed down, I imagine stretches out to "Is this ACTUALLY #$*%ing happening right now?" Worst of all, Team Dreamcrush member (he insists on being referred to as the founder) Dr. Kyle English was on duty in the ER that day, so he insisted on treating her when she came in.
"Does it hurt when I do this?"
"Does this hurt?"
"How about now?"
"STILL YES! GaFAWK!"
Six hours later she's resting comfortably at home, propped up in bed with her laptop, eating painkillers and demanding to be waited on. Unfortunately, she is going to live.
That's Fascinating. Want to Talk About Something I Care About?
Wow, you're kind of a dick, rhetorical device.
Fine, let's talk about the latest MTG drama before we talk about decks.
Over the weekend, someone posted something racist on Twitter. Ok, lots of people posted lots of racist somethings on Twitter, but only one in particular caught the particular ire of the Magic Community. I won't repost the tweet here, you can find it on Helene Bergeot's page should you desire. Helene's response is also at this link.
Essentially someone made a racist tweet, it was reported to Helene Bergeot and she responded by saying there would be an investigation. Predictably, the community lost its damn mind. There were people defending the tweet as "not that racist" (I personally think it's kind of funny but that doesn't mean it's not racist; it so is) and that they were "disgusted by the level of PC." PV compared getting a DCI ban for a tweet to getting a DCI ban for getting in a fight at school. Phrases like "Twitter police" and "PC police" and "Nate Silver is a genius!" were tossed around on Twitter all weekend.
Here's what the libertarian wing of the Magic community forgot in their condemnation of the DCI ban (which itself is something they made up; if you re-read Helene's tweet, you'll see she used the word "investigation"). Tweety McRacist used the #SCGSea hashtag.
Can you see how that's maybe kinda relevant? Anyone who types in that hashtag to read about coverage is going to get that racist tweet as one of the search results. That means when someone performs a search associated with the event, they'll see that tweet, and Wizards allowing it to stand could be construed as a tacit endorsement of racism. Wizards should be allowed to take steps to protect its brand. If you think it's a First Amendment issue, you're mistaken. If some guy is putting flyers on windshields in a WalMart parking lot, no one will likely think the guy speaks for Walmart. But what if the flyer he's distributing is printed on WalMart's letterhead? See how that is a little different?
This isn't about WoTC caring what some chucklef%$^ says on Twitter. It's about Chuckles' use of a Magic hashtag. That's it. No one said he'd get a ban. Helene Bergeot only responded when an offended member of the community brought the tweet in question to her attention. Put down your pitchforks. WoTC isn't abridging anyone's First Amendment rights, it isn't policing twitter, and it certainly isn't banning someone for the equivalent of getting into a fight at school (PV himself conceded that the use of the hashtag was a nuance he hadn't considered that made the situation different).
I think WoTC is within its rights to investigate someone making a racist comment using an SCG hashtag which could cause the tweet to show up in the crawler on coverage, could be seen by people searching for coverage and could be construed as being tacitly endorsed by Wizards if they don't condemn the tweet in question.
Am I wrong? Let me know what you think in the comments, the forums or on my own Twitter feed. I'm pretty entrenched in my position (my position being "calm down, you're not thinking this through") but I'm willing to have the discussion. Anything's better than going upstairs and having to fluff pillows and refill water glasses.
Deck Me in the Face!
Besides racial controversy, what else happened at SCG Seattle?
Good God! Is that... Zombies!? In the top eight? It is! Is that eight unique decks out of a possible eight? Yep! Seems like the format is getting healthier.
Half of the decks jammed the maximum possible number of Thragtusks, but I prefer to think of the glass half empty. Meaning only half of the decks jammed the maximum number of Thragtusks, and given the diverse top eight, the other half can beat Tusk. Bant Control, a deck I've been on for weeks, has so many possible permutations to respond to different metagames. I've seen it built around [card Snapcaster Mage]Snapcaster[/card], planeswalkers-- even Cyclonic Rift. Whichever way you build it, the shell is sound and probably the right colors for a control strategy right now.
Garruk, Primal Hunter is criminally underpriced right now. I can't keep them in my binder and I was buying them for $3 cash a few weeks ago. That seems not correct.
How many [card Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]Thalia[/card] do you have? That card's on its way up, and with its high Legacy playability, not on its way back down. If you can trade another Standard card straight for Thalia, get the Eternal card always. Geist of Saint Traft is putting up results too, which is why it's sold out at $75 on a popular website. That's not even exaggerated that much!
Zombies went from the most expensive deck in Standard to a budget deck. [card Gravecrawler]Crawlers[/card] and [card Geralfs Messenger]Messengers[/card] were still beaucoup bucks because of other formats, but the rest of the deck was really affordable ($3 Lotleth Troll? Gimme!) and it might pop up more as people put it together on the cheap. It may not be able to beat double Thragtusk, but as decks get durdlier, it may be to go-to aggro deck for the budget-conscious. The mana base is still bonkers, but every mana base is, and Zombies is the deck without the $35 mythic or the $25 core set rare.
Augur of Bolas may be the best consolation prize for Ponder we've seen in years. It's getting jammed in a lot of decks, and its tribal alignment may be relevant in the next block. As a Simic guild member, I don't foresee us not getting crapped on, but others are more optimistic. I personally think all the merfolk will be prohibitively-costed.
I said to pick up Hellrider before it went out of control, and the top eight mono-red deck is why. With Gruul and Boros both in the pipe, Hellrider will almost certainly go up even more post rotation.
Reanimator is changing. With Brad Nelson's hoof deck stomping people (more on that later), expect more graveyard hate. Don't jam a Reanimator deck unless it can win through a Rest in Peace. Could those be going up the more popular [card Craterhoof Behemoth]Hoof[/card] gets? That all depends on whether it beats Hoof. Test it, and if it's effective, pick some up. They're practically a throw-in on trades, and if it hits $4 or $5, you did pretty well.
High Tide wins? Ugh. What a miserable deck both to play and play against.
Maverick was declared dead on Brainstorm Brewery this week (not by me) and it's looking good for a reanimated corpse. I'm sure a deck with efficient beaters, good ramp, access to hate bears, Green Sun's Zenith and Sylvan Library will always get there. Maverick is the best Knight of the Reliquary deck.
Junk begs to differ, though. Essentially "Dark Maverick," this list is also a contender for "best Knight of the Reliquary" deck.
BUG Still is a great deck idea and BUG decks have always been popular in Legacy since they printed Tarmogoyf.
I went a long time without mentioning Aluren! I love this deck! Parasitic Strix makes the combo much deadlier than previous iterations and Aluren proves that pet decks can get there given a skilled pilot and a little luck.
Eight decks in the top eight. Not much else to say. Legacy trends show RUG Delver and Sneak and Tell decks decreasing in popularity as players have finally figured out how to beat them. Show and Tell is peaking, and if you don't think you'll play them again, now may be the time to ship. Still no Academy Rectors... why did that card spike, again? Certainly not based on results.
What About the GP? Tell Me about This Hoof List
Brad Nelson and event winner Martin Juza both played a silly Craterhoof Behemoth Ramp deck that uses Hoof (hope you got these at $2 like we said to on Brainstorm Brewery) and Somberwald Sage (potential spec target here as well). With its resilience to graveyard hate, hopefully its popularity won't cause other graveyard decks to take a lot of splash damage. Monkey see monkey do is in full effect here as the entire internet is scrambling for Hoofs and Sages. You pay a premium for lacking foresight and imagination, it would seem. It may be too late to get on the Hoof train, but Rest in Peace could get there as I said earlier.
Three similar Jund decks in the top eight. The pros still like this deck even if it's falling off a bit on the SCG trail.
B/R Zombies? OK, sounds fine, I guess. These could be on the rebound, so get those trade binders stocked. Anyone who sold their cards off and now is kicking themselves when they want to rebuild it will likely need the entire deck from you. Oblige them.
U/W/R and U/W Flash are both getting there. It's possible the pros play a little tighter and that Thragtusks are training wheels for control decks, or it's possible they made a metagame call. Either way, only one Bant deck top-eighted, but I guess only one U/W Flash deck made top eight and people won't shut up about how that deck is the dominant deck in Standard. Everyone's a pundit, but waiting for a U/W deck to get two top eights before declaring it the dominant deck isn't exactly Sabermetrics. The deck is good, but so are a lot of decks.
This Is Your Idea of "Short?"
I guess I can't half-ass my article, even when I'm busy. Oh well, more for you. I'll be back next week where I'll be telling you how I've invested my Craterhoof money. I may try to pay my house off a decade early.