Avacyn Unleashed (in Japan)

First off, let me thank everybody for checking out my site this last week! There was a huge surge in traffic over the weekend and I received over 2400 views in a 3 day period! I recent hit 6000 views, and I couldn’t be more thankful for your continued support.

Well, it’s the end of the first weekend with Avacyn cards being legal in Standard. Did anybody see a radically different metagame where you played? I’m interested in hearing what kind of cards people were using and if there were any new decks. I’m both nervous and excited about this evolution of the game. Personally I think standard was getting stale with all the UW Delver and GR wolf ramp/beatdown decks, and Avacyn will definitely swing the doors wide open and create dozens of new deck ideas. Of course they won’t all be around for a long time as some will be seen stronger than others and the weak ones will be forgotten.

Here’s what I saw this last week in Nagoya, Japan.

4/30 – UW delver, UR Titan control, Frites, UB zombies, WG Pod

5/1 – GR Beatdown x2, UW Humans, UB zombies
5/4 – Naya pod, UW Venser control, GR kessig wolf ramp, UB heartless summoning, Esper Token, UW delver

5/5 – WR human soul bond, 5 color pod soul bound Frites, UB control, GR kessig wolf ramp, Bant pod, Solar Flare, WR Human soulbound

5/6 – UB Control, WGB planeswalker control, BR control, Esper control, UW Venser blink

There was a lot more blue and control floating around this week than in past weeks, and the talk of the town is that control is the direction the metagame will be taking in the coming weeks. In my personal opinion I believe Frites, Solar Flare, Birthing Pod, Control with blue (UB or UW) will get big in the coming weeks. This last week I saw Griselbrands in Frites, Wolfir Silverheart in pod decks (searching for a bonded creature is amazing), some Hounds of Griselbrand in GR beatdown decks, Temporal Mastery and Terminus in a Solar Flare deck, and a few Cavern of Souls in both Human and “Giant” decks (though in reality it was just Grave Titan in an Esper Control deck).

As people start to realize how good some of these cards are, more and more Avacyn cards will be sneaking in to these decks and some previously strong decks will be dropped in favor of other decks. 2 new Avacyn inspired decks I saw this weekend were WR Human tokens, which basically operated like previous human decks with Champion of the Parish and Gather the Townsfolk, but they were using the Slayer’s Stronghold with Mirran Crusader which is a really nasty combo. These decks also have Zealous Conscripts  in order to steal your best card and use it for yourself. It’s a good deck, but I still think it’s a little rough around the edges.

Another insanely powerful deck I played against is the 5 color pod soul bound Frites deck. It mixes everything together in a delicious deck of pain. Birds of Paradise, Birthing Pod, Elesh Norn, Unburial Rites, Avacyn’s Pilgrim . . . it’s tough to deal with this deck because it builds up the mana base so quickly. If there is even ONE creature on the battlefield you’ll be in trouble. Using either the Birthing Pod or a Green Sun’s Zenith, the player will search for a Wolfir Silverheart and suddenly you’re fighting a 4/5 Birds of Paradise and a 8/8 Wolfir. I will definitely look into this deck more and post a deck list in the future.

It has been a while since I’ve talked about Hobby Stores in Nagoya, and because of this website I’ve come to meet a lot more foreigners who play in and around the Nagoya area. If you’re interested in playing but a little intimidated by the atmosphere of each location, here’s some information about what type of players you can expect at each place. The difficulty level of the matches are posted */10 next to the names of the places.

  • Big Magic (10/10) – The most competitive players in Nagoya I think. The people that go there are at the top of their game. If you’re just playing for fun, this might not be your place. The players are nice but winning comes first!
  • Card Brunch Kanayama (6/10) – I’d say that the players at Card Brunch are pretty relaxed and nice to be around. There are some good players there with good decks, but the game isn’t as intense as it is up at Big Magic.
  • Amenity Dream (7/10) – I think A.D. is a mix of both Card Brunch and Big Magic. Some of the players that play at both places play here every once in a while. You’ll find a good mix of casual players with stronger players here as well. A word of advice though, WATCH YOUR THINGS HERE! My friend got his rare binder stolen during FNM this last week due to the fact that the playing area is seperate from the store and is in a high traffic area where people walk by. It’s easy for you to get involved in your game then not notice somebody’s hand reaching under the divider to grab your things.
  • Hobby Station Osu/Meitetsu Eki (8/10) – These stores have matches periodically (not every weekend) so it’s hard to gauge the players accurately. The turn outs are huge (30+), so it attracts a lot of players. I’d say they there will definitely be some intense players there, but it won’t be as hardcore as Big Magic.
  • Phase (7/10) – I’ve only played here once for a Standard match, and the players here were pretty good. Not as hardcore as BM or Hobby Station, but close.
  • Mishimaya (?/10) – Never played a Standard event here, so I can’t say.
  • Hobby Station Lava Mo (Sasashima) (6/10) – They only just started having matches on Tuesdays, but so far every Tuesday tournament I go to the players aren’t that serious. It’s definitely casual and easy to play against these people. Good decks, good people, but no stress. You’ll see a lot of people there after work.

In other news, I’ve started writing freelance articles for Star City Games and if you want to check out my first one you can see it here (http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/standard/23985_The_Japan_Standard_Metagame_Diaries_Beating_Down_The_Door.html ) I’m not the best writer in the world, but I’ll be doing my best in the future to produce interesting articles along with cool deck ideas that I come across while playing in Japan. I’m sure the more I write, the better my articles will get.

My Titan deck continues to gain momentum and if I can get one Tamiyo, it will definitely become a top deck. At the moment I’m running 2 Thunderous Wraths (just bought a third!), and it’s come EXTREMELY close to winning all of its matches. I went 3-2 today, 2-3 on Saturday, and 2-1 on Friday. Each game I lost (even those I mulliganed down to 5 cards) was close. I will be sharing the Avacyn updated list on StarCityGames.com in the future, so if you’re interested in seeing the new version, be sure to check out their website from time to time!

Hopefully I can get into more lifestyle and culture posts in the near future about Japan and Nagoya so I can switch things up. Thanks again for reading!