Magic Monday: Amonkhetch ‘Em All

There’s been a week-long spoiler party for the upcoming MTG expansion, Amonkhet, and alla y’all invited. Mark, Devon, and Szpirs chew over the latest spoilers and the HUGE NEWS about what this set means for Standard – and the top tier decks that own it.

Devon: Hot news – Battle for Zenikar is not rotating out of Standard! Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has changed how rotation works and are going back to the once-a-year model. Standard will be BfZ through through AMN until 2018,  then the Zendikar and Innistrad blocks will both rotate out at the same time.

Szpirs: That’s insane! I think that’ll make most Standard players happy.

Devon: We have this huge card pool in Standard right now and I hope, as a result, the stagnation of the format is resolved.

Mark: Like how there’s only one or two winning decks in the whole format?

Devon: Yeah, basically. I’m really happy about it I get another year with cards like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Liliana, the Last Hope just to name two of my favourites.

Devon: After the second Amonkhet set drops, that will give Standard players eight sets to build with. When rotation happens, four sets fall off and five will be available to build with. That is amazing.
Mark: They are coddling Standard players.
Mark: Actually, in all honesty, maybe (I say, maybe) it will increase the variety of competitive decks. Back during Mirrodin block, there was one really competitive deck, and maybe 2 other sort-of competitive decks. I like the idea that there could be seven or eight different competitive decks at any given time.

Nothing’s worse than sitting down at a table and facing five opponents in succession who are all playing exactly the same thing. It kills the fun in the game. The “coddling” crack was a joke (sorta).
Devon: Exactly, Mark. I think rotating once a year will really help keep Standard fresh without tanking the value of newer cards.
I feel they are giving Standard special attention but only because of the stagnant pool of top tier decks.
Mark: WotC has actually published articles for a while on their site about Standard stagnation. I think having more sets in Standard makes it harder; you have to account for more factors. Say B/R Vampires are the rage and everyone is playing it, you build with B/R Vamp hate. Having more effective decks makes players round out their decks better when brewing. During Mirrodin, I used to win multiplayer all the time by putting Furnace Dragons in my deck and not playing artifacts. It made sure I had cards while I was exiling everyone elses…
Szpirs: I remember that….
Mark: I played to what I knew everyone else would be using.
Devon: I know it’s an on going problem and is somewhat inevitable given the smaller card pool compared to Modern and Legacy. I think the new model will allow for more well-rounded decks.
Mark: I agree. The downside to me is that secondary market card prices stay higher longer…but I guess that’s an upside for the LCS.
Devon: It is.
Szpirs: Let’s stop talking around it: Saheeli/Mardu and Constrictor are still the only games in town. Is there anything you see in the Amonkhet spoilers that could shake this up?
Devon: So far, from what I’ve seen, those three deck are just going to get stronger. The potential for a -1/-1 deck is there but until I see the whole set, it harder to say how powerful it will be. I noticed one defence against Saheeli/Copycat is forcing you to put the cats into play tapped. Throne of the God-Pharoah kills that defence.

Szpirs: What are the key adds that you see in the spoilers?

Devon: Combat Celebrant could make Mardu even more stupid with extra combat phases. I see Hapatra finding a home in every B/G deck.
I like what I’m seeing in the way of mono red aggro and I’m personally working on a black control/aggro build. All the archetypes are still represented; how well or poorly they will interact with the top three is yet to be seen. I would really love to see a revival of mono colored decks that are able to interact on a top tier level
Szpirs: I’m having a hard time getting my head around tribal in the standard environment. Doesn’t seem like any of the sets have much in common, creature wise.
Devon: Tribal isn’t really big in Standard. I mean there are representatives for the major tribes but I don’t know that you could build a competitive deck based around it.
Szpirs: That makes sense….each set has strong, clear creature types by colour…but between the Standard sets, there’s not a lot in common. What about other formats? Modern, maybe?
Devon: Exactly. I think there is a place for tribal in modern. I think I remember reading something about elves being very strong in the format.

Welp, that’s it for today, Geeks. What do you think the up-and-coming deck types will be in Amonkhet? Leave a comment and have a Magical Monday.


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