Early M13 Speculation and the Nagoya meta game

Just a reminder, but June 30th is now only 26 days away! If you plan to play in the Magic World Cup Qualifiers (remember, you need to have had a Japanese address since 1/1/12), you should start to make your plans now. If you need some ideas for hotels, I can offer you a few I know of in the Kanayama area. Kanayama is a major transport hub and has business hotels, love hotels, capsule hotels, and regular 4 star hotels. There is also a hostel nearby (Ann’s Hostel I believe).

I also want to offer my services to anybody who would like a simple tour of Nagoya and/or the game shops. If you want to just see the sights or go to each of the game shops in downtown Nagoya (Card Brunch, Big Magic, Hobby Station, Yellow Submarine, Amenity Dream, as well as Mishimaya, Phase, and Sasashima Hobby Station), I’d be more than happy to spend a few hours taking you around town to these places. For 1000 yen (price of an all day pass and a little extra) I can spend 4 hours helping you get around the city, finding your hotel, and introducing you to all Nagoya has to offer. Please leave a comment if you’re interested.

The Metagame:

I had to skip out on Friday Night Magic, but I’ve seen a lot of new decks recently. It’s been hard to adjust and games I should have won I’ve lost by play mistakes, or being too aggressive. Live and learn I guess.

Monday, 5/28 – (2-1) UR Titan control, UG Infect, UG turbo fog, UB zombies, 5 color Frites

A good outing. I totally destroyed a Turbo Fog deck and a 5 Color Frites deck with my revamped UR Titan Control deck. UG Infect was just nasty fast and super dangerous. For those of you that don’t know, it has a lot of 1 casting cost cards, focusing on giving the other player as much poison as they can as quickly as possible. This player’s build was using Glistener Elf and Blighted Agent, and also ran 4 Wild Defiance (the new Avacyn card that gives the creature +3/+3 whenever it’s targeted by a spell). As long as the player could get a creature out, he could keep it alive long enough to infect you with cards like Titanic Growth, Apostle’s Blessing, and Mutagenic Growth. Even with all my burn/kill spells sided in, I couldn’t kill his creatures fast enough and succumbed to the poison. Hopefully this deck doesn’t become too popular.

Tuesday, 5/29: (0-2-1) Bant Angel Resurrection/Splinterfright self mill, mono red, RG werewolves

There were about 8 players at this event, but due to the 40 minute time restriction there was little time to see what everybody else was using. The first deck I played was similar to a UG Mill deck, with cards like Splinterfright and Mulch to fill the graveyard up, but the player had also thrown in white for angels. He was running a few Gisela and a few Bruna, and even though he wasn’t running any red (from what I could see) he was able to use Defy Death to bring them back. He also used cards like Wreath of Geists to power up his cards. A simply Nihil Spellbomb would have stopped this deck cold, but I was never able to draw one.

I managed to tie against a RG Werewolves deck (should have won except for the time limit! The first game was a draw due to a  double KO with Slagstorm, 2nd game I won, 3 game ran out of time so it was declared a tie), and I lost to mono red. Mono red is just too fast for my deck and would always have me within killing range by turn 5 (which is when my deck really shines).

Saturday, 6/2 – (1-3) UB zombie/demon hybrid, UGR Blink Navigator Pod, WGR Pod, UB Heartless (RG Werewolf guy again too)

The UGR pod I played against acts like a regular pod in the beginning with cards like Birds of Paradise and Viridian Emissary, but later on it really veers off course and uses cards like Deadeye navigator and Ghostly Flicker to not only save your creatures from death, but also activates their abilities again. He can reactive an Inferno Titan, a Zealous Conscripts, and quite a few other powerful cards. Just when I thought I had an answer, he would ‘blue’ blink his cards and save them. Very interesting variation!

Sunday, 6/3 – (1-3-1) BGR Kessig, Grixis control (BRU), UW Miracle, Naya pod x2, Mono red, UB control, UW artifact Venser control (Mitsuo), UW delver, BRW frites, Venser Bant control

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but DAMN the competition is tough at Big Magic. As my friend put it “people are really hungry for a win” there. It definitely isn’t a casual place to play. My first opponent was playing a BGR Kessig deck, and I managed to tie him by taking out his creatures with Pillar of Flame early on in the game, destroying his Cavern of Souls with my Ghost Quarter so I can counter his Titans, and then casting Devastation Tide again and again until I can strike the killing blow. Ran out of time, but could have won it.

My second opponent was using a Grixis Control deck, and it was pretty deadly. Go for the Throats, Slagstorms, Liliana of the Veil, Mana Leaks, it was a good combination of cards and the player was very experienced (he had used the 5 color soulbound pod against me in the past and destroyed me with it as well).

My third opponent was using a UW Miracle deck with Temporal Mastery, Entreat the Angels, Tamiyo, Gideon, and Lingering Souls. We split the first two games and in the last game he got me down to two life, but after stealing his Tamyio and using her -8 to get an emblem and kill her, I thought I had the game in the bag. I had a Wurmcoil that would untap next turn, and I sacrificed my Ratchet Bomb to take care of his 8 spirits, but my death came when I cast the Ratchet Bomb again to tap out, attacked with my Zealous Conscripts, and my opponent flashed in a Snapcaster at the end of the turn to hit me for the final two damage. Stupid play mistake!

The next match was a RBW Frites deck, and it was played perfectly. Without the proper cards (my Nihil Spellbomb or Surgical Extractions) in my hand, I didn’t stand a chance. Probably should have mulliganed to get one of those in play.

The final match was the only one I won, and it was against a GWU (Bant) Venser Blink control deck. I got all the right cards and was able to counter pretty much everything the player put out, eventually killing my opponent in one game by just using Devastation Tide again and again with Snapcasters and using my Inferno Titans to whittle him down as they entered the battlefield against his Stonehorn Dignitary, and in the second game I was able to mill him to death with a Jace, Memory Adept.

CONCLUSION:

It’s really hard to pinpoint where the meta game will go from here. The split between control and aggro is still about 50/50. Human decks seem to have become less popular as of late, with more people switching to Frites, Pod, and Esper/Planeswalker control decks in order to win games. GR Kessig Wolf Run decks have stabilized but have lost much of the popularity they had about 3 weeks ago. I think that the meta will continue along this path for another week or two and won’t change radically. You’ll see a little bit of everything, so don’t worry about preparing for everything when you make a deck. Instead try to find a combo or gimmick that nobody else has thought about and that would be difficult to counter. Keep on trying to change the meta game, and don’t let the meta game change you.

First Impressions of the M13 Core Set:

Nurgleprobe (check the link for his blog on the right hand side of mine!) has already talked a little about the planewalkers for the M13 set (which will be released in July). Nicol Bolas will be returning, as well as the M12 Chandra, Jace, and Garruk. There will be a new Ajani (1WW) and a new Liliana (2BB), but other than that the details are slim at the moment.

At the moment 40 singles have been spoiled and you can see them on Star City Games’ website (http://sales.starcitygames.com//category.php?cat=5241). By the time you read this, that total might have changed, just to warn you. By looking at this early list though, we can guess what cards are going to come back, as well as what cards are going to be discontinued in M13.

(EDIT: MTG Salvation Forums have 93/240 cards spoiled now, and the number is increasing daily! http://mtgsalvation.com/magic-2013-m13-spoiler.html)

 

Let’s take a look at one of the biggest additions to M13: Vampire Nocturnus

Vampire Nocturnus

This guy is definitely going to shake things up in standard. With cards like Olivia Voldaren and Falkenrath Aristocrat already seeing a lot of play, I think you’ll definitely see a resurgence of RB Vampires in the first few weeks of M13. How does he affect what will stay and what will go? Well, if he’s here then I think Bloodlord of Visigoth, and all of the other “bloodthirst” vampires will be gone. Child of the Night might be back, but two cards I’d really like to see again are Pulse Tracker from World Wake and spells like Feast of Blood from Zendikar.

Another card that I think is important to point out is Clone. It’s being re-printed from M11, and if that’s happening, I can guess why.

Clone

When the Scars of Mirrodin block cycles out in October, we’ll be losing Phyrexian Metamorph. While this card isn’t as good at Metamorph, it will definitely take over it’s place. I also think that Phantasmal Image will be taken out of print, leaving Clone to be your “go to” guy for copying any creature. Luckily he doesn’t “target” anybody as well. Let the copying of Geist of Saint Traft continue! I also think they want this card instead of Image because it works better with ‘blink’ mechanics from Avacyn Restored.

Some other cards of note are:

  • Searing Spear – 3 dmg to player or creature. Guess Incinerate will be gone then.
  • Captain of the Watch – heavy, but works well with the “blink” mechanic
  • Evolving Wilds – They just made a copy in Dark Ascension. Does this mean it’s going to be really important to search for different lands? Lots of multicolored cards perhaps?
  • Firewing Phoenix – I like Chandra’s Phoenix more, but I think there is a good chance that it won’t get reprinted if this is in the deck as well. Then again, maybe this is just taking the place of Kuldotha Phoenix from Scars of Mirrodin. We’ll see!

The rumors of what other cards will be leaving the standard format have been building and building in the last few weeks, with the Titan’s most likely being taken out, as well as Mana Leak. Just like I stated about about the “bloodthirst” vampires in black probably not being reprinted, I think ALL of those creatures with that ability will be gone from M13. As he wasn’t included in the list, Gideon Jura and Sorin Markov won’t be back as planeswalkers either for M13. This would also mean that all of their similarly themed cards (Gideon’s Avenger,  Sorin’s Thrist, etc) won’t be back either.

I think Oblivion Ring and Grand Abolisher will be back in white, Merfolk Looter and Flashfreeze will be back in blue, Doomblade will be back in black, Reverberate and Flameblast Dragon will be back in red, Autumn’s Veil and Birds of Paradise will be back in green (and of course Giant Spider!), and in artifacts we might see a reprint of Manalith if M13 is going to have more multicolored cards. Supposedly most of the dual lands will be reprinted as well, since all of the “friend” lands will be cycling out with Scars block in October.

There are some cards I’m definitely not sad to see go, but others I will miss (Inferno Titan is a HUGE part of my current deck! So is Ponder!). With about a month away until the pre-release, we’ll be seeing more spoilers relatively soon. Keep your eyes peeled! Thanks for reading.

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