Every time a new set comes out, LSV has to write a set review for every card in the set. While I may not quite be willing to go that far, I am going to make an effort to write an article on brews involving new cards each time a new set comes out. Normally, the focus of this article would be on Standard. However, with a Standard Pro Tour on the horizon and most people caring more about Extended due to the PTQ format, I’m going to instead try to look at how the new cards can fit in to Extended and Legacy instead. (Disclaimer: these are brews and have not been tested. I am merely trying to get some ideas out there.)
When dealing with applying new sets to bigger formats like Extended or Legacy the first thing to do is to look for cards that are powerful enough to see play. In most sets, there won’t be too many for Extended and will be even less for Legacy. In Mirrodin Besieged, the cards that are potentially powerful enough for these formats are:
The best way to start with a list like this is with cards that can be built around. These cards could make new decks or change the viability of current decks.
Tezzeret is one of the more powerful cards in Besieged. Not only is it one of the few planeswalkers that can gain card advantage while adding loyalty, but it also has a [card garruk wildspeaker]Garruk[/card]-like ultimate that can deal a ton of damage the turn after you play it. Even its -1 ability can take down opposing planeswalkers or put some real pressure on an opponent.
In Extended, there is one very obvious place to implement Tezzeret. The Tempered Steel deck was dying to become less of an all-in deck and have another card advantage engine. Tezz is just what the doctor ordered. In addition, Phyrexian Revoker is an interesting potentially maindeckable card or at the very least a sideboard card that doesn’t dilute your artifact based beatdown strategy, kind of like Ethersworn Canonist in old Affinity decks.
Here is a potential Tempered Steel list implementing both Revoker and Tezz:
This Tempered Steel list uses Tezzeret in the Ranger of Eos slot. I think Tezz is quite clearly an upgrade and may even spark a revival of the Steel deck. The sideboard Revoker is an interesting answer to Cunning Sparkmage, and can also be used to stop [card jace, the mind sculptor]Jace[/card] or Knight of the Reliquary.
In Legacy, Tezzeret may also have potential. It probably won’t make the maindecks of too many decks, but it could easily make the sideboard of the Glimpse of Nature Affinity deck as a must-answer, hard to hit threat against Counterbalance. Here’s a sample list Patrick Chapin played at an SCG open:
I don’t think either belongs in the main, but one could easily work both Tezzeret and Revoker in the sideboard, potentially instead of Duress, or some of the graveyard hate. I would be reluctant to cut the Chalices or Traps because Ad Nauseam is a tough matchup and needs help.
Another card to build around is Green Sun’s Zenith. The Zenith is a reasonable card in any green deck like Naya, but also creates the potential for more combo-based green decks like Elves improving. Like the Tezzeret decks often had Revoker, a lot of the Zenith decks are going to have Lead the Stampede in them. Matt Baccio almost top 8ed GP Atlanta with Elves, and I’m sure he would’ve appreciated having the Zenith and Stampede in his deck. With 4 Zeniths in the deck, it can be easy to set up the Joraga Warcaller + Bramblewood Paragon combo, which can kill an opponent extremely quickly. Here’s where I would go with the deck:
Believe it or not, even though Oran-Rief has synergy with Warcaller, it’s a bit too slow for this deck. Instead, this build’s goal is to cast a Heritage Druid and another one drop on turn two, and then having three mana to explode out of the gates. Green Sun’s Zenith can find either part of the Paragon Warcaller combo or find Ezuri when you need a mana sink. Lead the Stampede is a little slow for the maindeck, but is a great option against sweepers to allow you to grind your way back.
In Legacy, the Zenith has a couple of interesting uses. Like in Extended it can be used in an Elf combo deck. I’m not positive it fits in the Intuition version I played in the San Jose 5k since it doesn’t trigger Vengevine or Glimpse of Nature.
However, Legacy offers another powerful way to abuse the Zenith: Dryad Arbor. The Zenith can be used as a one mana Rampant Growth as long as you have a Dryad Arbor in your deck. Fortunately enough, this interaction meshes with another one of my ideas with Dryad Arbor: Aether Vial. Like Zenith, Vial can be used as a one mana Rampant Growth as long as you have an Arbor in hand. Natural Order is the perfect thing to accelerate into. Dryad Arbor can be sacrificed to it, and a turn three Progenitus is pretty powerful especially as the metagame shifts more and more towards Goblins. Here’s a list somewhat similar to the deck Lewis Laskin top 8ed a SCG Open with that abuses these synergies:
This deck is the best Natural Order deck and best Knight of the Reliquary deck imaginable. It has 4 Noble Hierarch and 4 Green Sun’s Zenith, both of which can create turn 2 Knight, and can even get out Knight on turn 2 via turn 1 Aether Vial playing Dryad Arbor. It has more Natural Order outlets than just about any other deck and can cast it on turn three just about every game. One thing I want to see happen with this deck (although it’s pretty unlikely to) is a Zenith for 10 getting Progenitus. Travis Woo, you like challenges, so please make it happen!
The deck also has access to some pretty powerful sideboard options like Ethersworn Canonist, Krosan Grip, and even a potential Stoneforge Mystic package with Sword of Fire and Ice and Umezawa’s Jitte. The sideboard could also implement [card thrun, the last troll]Thrun[/card]. Counterbalance has no answer for a Thrun except a larger Tarmogoyf, and even then, the Thrun would be able to hold the Tarmogoyf at bay with his regeneration ability. In addition, you can tutor for Thrun with Zenith. In fact, even Phyrexian Revoker could even make the cut as a hate bear.
Go for the Throat will certainly see play in both Extended and Legacy, but the applications are mainly as a replacement for cards like Smother, making it less interesting than the cards I discussed above.
Another thing I wanted to quickly touch on was an interesting play that came up in a game at GP Atlanta against Tom Raney. It was the last round of day one and we were both 7-1 going in. It was game three and I was on the play. After a weird string of events, Raney and I both Thoughtseized each other and then topdecked Bitterblossoms post-Thoughtseize, leaving us with a turn three Blossom on both sides. On my turn five, I attacked with a Bitterblossom token into Raney’s token. Raney snap-blocked, as the person who plays Blossom second normally takes the controlling role. However, this opened me up to play a Vendilion Clique. I knew Raney had a Spellstutter Sprite in hand, and he had a Mutavault in play, but if he animated the Mutavault and attempted to Stutter the Vendilion, I had Peppersmoke ready for a huge blowout. Raney had made a mistake by blocking, since it opened him up to this line. However, here is where the difference between most people and Raney came to light. Most people would be upset about their punt, and then simply follow through with the Spellstutter Sprite line. However, Raney accepted that he made a mistake, and made the correct play given the current situation. He let the Vendilion resolve, and ended up winning the game. Even though he made a mistake Tom managed to prevent it from being too costly and pulled out the win through a resolved Vendilion. If he had gone on tilt and pulled the trigger on the Stutter, a Peppersmoke in response would’ve given him no chance.
I hope you found some of these brews interesting. I’m very excited to see which of the new cards see play in older formats. Both Tezzeret and Green Sun’s Zenith are right up my alley, and I’m excited to give them a try. Good luck brewing!