Thursday, April 28, 2011

What'll you play post New Phyrexia?

NPH has garnered a lot of attention, being spoiled far in advance of the normal season and with a lot of future staples.  Cards like Mental Misstep or Surgical Extraction that will see play in legacy for ages to come.  But with the set spoiled in advance, the community is already focusing on what the best decks for standard will be without even getting hold of the cards themselves.  Never shying away from a bandwagon, I'm here to take a look at what you may be seeing in standard after the release of New Phyrexia.

1) Cawblade

Ah, the great menace.  This deck is pretty solid with almost no variations for a while.  Has NPH really brought anything that could change up the 75?  Actually, there's three cards with the potential to be included.

Legacy getting popular since before they
decided to add yet another 0-mana
counterspell.  Oh joy.
Jace despises this card.
The first card, Mental Misstep, is undoubtedly powerful, but it's inclusion depends upon the rest of the format.  In the Caw mirror, after all, this card only counters Preordain, Condemn and possibly Spell Pierce.  It allows you to counter Duress, Inquisition of Kozilek, Despise, Lightning Bolt, Goblin Guide, Goblin Bushwhacker, Kutholda Rebirth, Llanowar Elves, Birds of Paradise, Etc.  In other words, unless Kutholda or B/x control become big, Misstep is a sideboard card at best.  There could be a future for this card, but for now, I personally don't like it.  Only the future knows just how good it is in Standard.  It's a much better staple in Legacy.

And I thought Ajani Vengeant was a
Lightning Helix on a stick.
Card number two is another obvious choice, the fifth sword in the cycle.  War and Peace is undoubtedly powerful, but seems a bit awkward to me.  It's protections are clearly there to make it strong against aggro decks, and yet the damage triggers lean toward being strong against control.  At least in my opinion, Sword of Feast and Famine is already better against control, but SoWaP is at least a little better against aggro than Body and Mind, depending on the size of your hand.  A single creature in Boros usually swings in for 4-5 damage, so for it to be better than generating wolves you need to hold back a five card hand.  Because of not only that but the utility that Body and Mind has against Valakut, I doubt that the Sword will see much standard play, at least not in cawblade.

Again, all of this assumes that the rest of the format stays as is, which it won't.  It could very well be possible that SoWaP becomes a staple in U/W.

How the hell does a Squadron Hawk
wield one of these?
The third and final card I would consider is the Batterskull, a card that's meh on it's own but absolutely beast with a Stoneforge Mystic.  There's just nothing like turning a Squadron Hawk into a playset of Baneslayer Angels.  And that's ignoring the power of infinitely bouncing Living Weapons.  Basically, this card replaces the role that Bonehoard used to take, and then some.

This is the one card from NPH that I have no objections against running in Cawblade.  I'm going to leave out a sideboard since that's dependent on the rest of the meta, but in comes the 60 I'd be playing if I jumped on the bandwagon with the release of the set.  Keyword being 'if'.  Due to the lack of new content for Caw, I think the top of the tier might be shifting rather soon.

In October, his fate is sealed.

  • 4 Squadron Hawk
  • 4 Stoneforge Mystic
  • 2 Sword of Feast and Famine
  • 2 Batterskull
  • 4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
  • 3 Gideon Jura
  • 4 Preordain
  • 3 Day of Judgment
  • 2 Tumble Magnet
  • 3 Condemn
  • 3 Mana Leak
  • 4 Celestial Collonade
  • 4 Glacial Fortress
  • 3 Seachrome Coast
  • 4 Tectonic Edge
  • 1 Halimar Depths
  • 2 Marsh Flats
  • 1 Scalding Tarn
  • 4 Plains
  • 3 Island
I'm not sure which is better, the two Batterskulls or one and one Sylvok Lifestaff/Mortarpod, I haven't tested it at all, but again, it depends upon what else becomes popular.

2) U/B Control

He REALLY despises this card.
For a while now, U/W has been the defining control deck, but let's remember why U/B was originally used pre-hawks.  Duress.  Sure, white had DoJ, white had Condemn and Journey to Nowhere, white had Gideon, but black had Duress.  And black had Inquisition.  And now?  Black has Despise.  That makes for a whopping TWELVE sources of B: discard a card.  Before we had to pick from Duress for Jace/Gideon or Inq for Stoneforge Mystic or Hawks and now we can do both.  Not only can U/B disrupt any early play, but now it can also pick apart at the opponent's hand even more freely than before.

The rest of the new cards available from NPH are sideboard slots at best, at least in the current meta.  If this deck becomes big, expect Mental Misstep to see a lot of play, as well as Spell Pierce.

  • 2 Duress
  • 4 Inquisition of Kozilek
  • 4 Despise
Does the black dad have a zenith too?
  • 4 Mana Leak
  • 1 Disfigure
  • 3 Doom Blade
  • 3 Go for the Throat
  • 2 Tumble Magnet
  • 4 Black Sun's Zenith
  • 4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
  • 3 Grave Titan
  • 1 Frost Titan
  • 4 Creeping Tar Pit
  • 3 Drowned Catacombs
  • 4 Darkslick Shores
  • 4 Tectonic Edge
  • 1 Halimar Depths
  • 6 Swamp
  • 3 Island
3) Mono-Black Control

As of late, this deck in Standard has been by far downplayed due to a combination of the lack of Tendrils of Corruption and the lack of Jace, the Mind Sculptor.  However, there's two new cards ready to hop into standard with the potential to change that completely.

Exodia!  Phyrexia!  Obliterate!
Meet the Phyrexian Obliterator, the 5/5 trample for four that anhialates your opponent's board if they try to block.  This card by himself puts the opponent on a four-turn clock, but becomes even deadlier followed up by a Mind Sludge for 5 the turn after.  Essentially, they have one turn to answer the Negator before put into topdeck mode with this 5/5 monster beating in.  Block with a hawk? Okay, take four and sac a permanent.  You have a hawk with a Sword of Feast and Famine?  Okay, take 2 and sac three permanents.  This card is absolutely nuts, especially with Duress and Inquisition getting rid of that removal in advance.

Aww, Strata Scythe had a baby.
Isn't that cute.
There's one more card that I want to mention for this deck from NPH, and it happens to combo perfectly with the Obliterator.

Following up with a Mind Sludge is still better in most situations, but Lashwrithe is a good second choice.  Suddenly, your Obliterator becomes a 10/10 trampler beating in on T5 (T4 with Sphere of the Suns).  Even without the Obliterator, this card is a Korlash, Heir to Blackblade all over again.  Which reminds me, the Grandeur legends in Innustrad?  I've been waiting for them for a while now, and it seems like a good opportunity.

In any case, this card is fine by itself, crazy good on an Obliterator, or even when slapped on a Vampire Nighthawk.  It can enhance a token off of Grave Titan or Wurmcoil Engine, or equip another copy's Germ for double the fun.  This card in your deck pretty much guarantees you're swinging with the fatties hard and fast.
I see this art and all I can think of
is Assassin's Creed.  Wonder why.

  • 4 Vampire Hexmage
  • 4 Vampire Nighthawk
  • 4 Phyrexian Obliterator
  • 3 Lashwrithe
  • 1 Grave Titan
  • 3 Go for the Throat
  • 1 Doom Blade
  • 3 Tumble Magnet
  • 3 Black Sun's Zenith
  • 2 Duress
  • 4 Inquisition of Kozilek
  • 2 Despise
  • 2 Mind Sludge
  • 24 Swamp

One more card to slide into this deck is Bloodchief Ascension, which is crazy good if your opponent is paying two life a lot.

4) Tempered Steel

This deck is the new aggro build from NPH that's all the buzz as of late.  The deck's gained a huge amount of power from a few artifact creatures from New Phyrexia that are just itching to get +2/+2.

He's a pedophile with three power.
Thus, Power Creep.
This card makes me wonder if
making the 5 moxen legendary
would make them kinda sorta
balanced.  No, nevermind.
Hello Magic, my name is Power Creep.  This is my friend, T1 Memnite, Ornithopter, Mox Opal, Plains, Legionnaire and T2 Tempered Steel accompanied by a swing for 10.  Nice to meet you.

Outside of Magical Christmas Land, this guy is still absolutely insane. Two mana for a 3/1 with First Strike is always good, and Tempered Steel/Honor of the Pure etc. just sweetens the pot.  The fact that this thing is COMMON just shows how far Magic has gone as a game.

Now THIS is a living weapon.
Oh hello, other card that's ludicrously good with Tempered Steel.  Remember when Lifelink was a 1/1 for 1BB with no other abilities?  Again, Magic going a long way.

Anyways, this guy serves as a way to recover the life lost off phyrexian mana against other aggro decks, in addition to both being a source of evasion and not killable with both Go for the Throat and Doom Blade.  In other words, he could prove very annoying against mono-black or U/B.
Phyrexian Black?  One black is no different
from any other.  You racist.

Lastly is a card I'm sure you've all heard about by now, Hex Parasite.  This guy is the colorless kill for Planeswalkers, Tumble Magnets, etc.  He also happens to be something to throw all your excess mana at later on.  Unlike in most other decks, he also provides a way of ramping metalcraft early in the game, when most other builds prefer to drop him and kill a 'walker in the same turn.  Combined with a Steel Overseer, you can pretty much firebreathe with this guy if he remains unblocked.

Basically, this deck NEEDS a Tempered Steel, Steel Overseer, or Contested Warzone to stick, preferably the first.  If it doesn't, you lose.  Sweepers hurt, of course, but the Batterskulls and Bonehoard try to help with that.  You don't just scoop to a Pyroclasm or Slagstorm with this deck like you do with Goblins.  The deck can win just as quickly but has a stronger mid-to-late game, something nonexistent in Kudoltha.
Umad bro?
  • 4 Vault Skirge
  • 4 Porcelain Legionnaire
  • 4 Steel Overseer
  • 4 Hex Parasite
  • 4 Signal Pest
  • 4 Memnite
  • 2 Ornithopter
  • 3 Stoneforge Mystic
  • 3 Adventuring Gear
  • 2 Batterskull
  • 1 Bonehoard
  • 4 Tempered Steel
  • 3 Mox Opal
  • 4 Contested Warzone
  • 4 Marsh Flats
  • 1 Swamp
  • 9 Plains
5) G/W Shaman

I liked this better when it was poorly
translated as Spawning Shell.
This deck has gained more than a few new cards to add to the repertoire, including the beast that is Birthing Pod.  This card is really stronger than people think.  T1 Birds of Paradise, this on T2 and on turn three you have a Fauna Shaman and Squadron Hawk/SFM without even needing a third land drop.  Allow me to explain the curve this deck has access to.

0- Memnite, Bird tokens, Wurm tokens, Eldrazi Spawn tokens and Golem tokens
1- Birds of Paradise, Hex Parasite
2- Fauna Shaman, Squadron Hawk, Stoneforge Mystic, Leonin Relic-Warder, Kor Firewalker, Phyrexian Revoker, Lotus Cobra, Nest Invader
3- Viridian Corruptor, Porcelain Legionnaire, Kor Hookmaster, Leatherback Baloth
4- Vengevine, Linvala, Emeria Angel
5- Acidic Slime, Baneslayer Angel, Precursor Golem
6- Sun Titan, Wurmcoil Engine, Sunblast Angel, Admonition Angel
7- Avenger of Zendikar, Chancellor of the Tangle

Yay, Birthing Pod!  A deck can be built around this card, Fauna Shaman or no.  There's just so much that can be done with it.

I hear he <3s fatties.  Pay me money,
StarCity.  That was product placement,
I know you recognize it.  You do it
all the time.  Now pay up.
I hear he likes dudes.
Now, this next guy is questionable, but I think he deserves at least some testing.  Having one of them gives you a T1 Fauna Shaman, SFM, or Squadron Hawk, which will result in either pitching Tangle with the Fauna Shaman, flashing in a Batterskull on T2, or filling your hand with T1 Hawk and pitching one or more Vengevines.  On the play, this also means you get to drop your hawk/shaman before their Inquisition resolves, a huge advantage.  I would never run more than two, multiples is usually a very bad thing.  It's just nice to have access to and speeds up your plays.  Fauna Shaman resolving means that he's not a forced mulligan, which is very nice indeed.

  • 4 Birds of Paradise
  • 1 Hex Parasite
  • 4 Fauna Shaman
  • 4 Squadron Hawk
  • 3 Stoneforge Mystic
I gave your mom my Acidic Slime.
  • 1 Viridian Corruptor
  • 1 Kor Hookmaster
  • 4 Vengevine
  • 3 Acidic Slime
  • 2 Baneslayer Angel
  • 1 Sun Titan
  • 1 Chancellor of the Tangle
  • 4 Birthing Pod
  • 1 Mortarpod
  • 1 Sword of Feast and Famine
  • 1 Batterskull
  • 4 Sunpetal Grove
  • 4 Razorverge Thicket
  • 4 Plains
  • 12 Forest

That's it for today's article, five lists that show what New Phyrexia can do to Standard.  For more of Yo Mama, don't forget to check us out on FaceBook or the Twitter.  Until next time, this was Jim Bowie, and Yo Mama is like a Bonehoard; she just loves touching my Stirring Wildwood.


  1. I think Spellskite could see more play in U/B control or certainly in the Splinter Twin decks, but personally, I'm most excited about Mutagenic Growth, Glistener Elf, and Immolating Souleater. Standard's becoming insanely fast ... and fun.

  2. Also, I'll definitely be building a Golem deck and revisiting my Mono-White Quest, as well.