Extended keeps changing and it’s impossible to keep up these days without five articles a week the subject. To make matters more complicated, the PTQ season is under way and it has shown a lot of diversity. Faeries is the dominant deck at the moment, but it won’t be in a few weeks. Magic Online has been very good at keeping the format fresh and there is always a new deck to dismantle.
Last week, I discussed the views of various reputable characters of the Magic community about their views about the blue control mirror. I think it went over well so there was another status that I posted with the intent to post the best answers in this very article.
What is the best deck in the Extended format?
Patrick Chapin: Faeries is the “best deck.”
Five Color Control is awesome for the 41 people qualified to play it. Cedric is probably best served with Kithkin.
This seems like a pretty spot on analysis of this week’s Extended format. It could change next week, but most of this post will remain timeless. Five/Four Color Control is only good enough at this time to be suitable for a handful of people in the world. It has a bad matchup against Faeries and Jund has maindeck Anathemancers as well as Demigod of Revenge. There are only a few mages in the world that can handle the hate well.
Cedric Phillips should always play Kithkin even if they are not legal.
Faeries will be the best deck for a few more weeks most likely. We are at the point where people start to brew decks that they claim beat faeries. It will take a few weeks for all of these random decks to be crushed by the Faerie Menace and everyone will play decks that actually win. Faeries is a deck that defeats types of decks and specific spells will not help you. The midrange deck you think will crush Faeries will not do so just because there are Great Sable Stags in the 75. When I was testing Faeries, the easiest matchups were the random green decks even with stags. I had success with Faeries in Standard because people were convinced that putting random hate spells would beat me. The cards in my deck were just better and more synergistic so it was easy to win and this Extended season is no different. I would estimate that about 80% of the players at your next tournament will claim their deck is good against Faeries and about 10% of them are correct.
Zen Chris Takahashi There is no best deck. There are good decks that are better than others. Each deck has some good matchups, and some bad. The best deck will change depending on what was good yesterday. The meta-game will keep changing and also the cards in decks will keep changing. I believe Faeries is the best at this moment, but I expect a deck that will beat it might pop up soon. Also decks will adapt to Faeries such as Jund playing Volcanic Fallout Main.
This post sums up my view of the format due to the wide range of playable decks. Each week, I see decks pop up from past Standard formats. This week, Naya and Mythic Conscription are making serious comebacks due to their aggressive nature. There was a lack of beatdown decks because of the popularity of Four Color Control, but now we need to find the best one to beat Faeries.
I think about the playability of each deck in terms of business cycles.
I know that this graph is primarily used in Macroeconomics, but it also makes sense for the metagame of Extended. The X axis is time and the Y axis is the number of players who pilot the deck. A deck becomes recognized as good and starts to perform well. This increases the amount of players who pilot the deck. When the amount of the deck increases, the number of cards that are geared to beat them increases. This reduces the consistency in performance and fewer players pilot the deck. When the amount of hate cards decreases, there is an increase in number of players that pilot the deck and the metagame changes again.
Cedric Phillips: Mythic, Fae, and Wargate. All of these will become obsolete when Gerry decides he’s had enough.
I identified with this statement the most because all of these conclusions I agree with.
Cedric placed second at the first Magic Online PTQ with Mythic Conscription:
believe that this deck will be the new agro deck of choice. DJ Kastner said this deck was going to be the next big thing and that night is when Cedric top 8ed the PTQ. It seemed like the best deck to him in theory and it did well in practice.
What this means for you at home is that your decks need more creature removal in the maindeck. Before this week, it was alright if you had creature kill in the sideboard because the format was all combo and Faeries. There are many PTQs this week and I would definitely recommend this deck if you are looking to beat down.
Lucky for us, there was another list that performed well for Cedric so we could see what worked and what did not in the PTQ. He went 4-0 in a Daily Event with almost the same maindeck, but the sideboard changed.
The switch of Nature’s Claim for Qasali Pridemage seems smart since you are a beatdown deck. It usually ends up being bigger than a Watchwolf. The only change I would recommend making is adding some maindeck Vendilion Cliques because they can protect your combo as well as get rid of Eldrazi Conscriptions in hand.
There was a new version of Naya that also performed well at the same Daily Event. This deck will be good for those of you that liked Naya Lightsaber in standard. I am a big supporter of playing decks that you are comfortable with. Here is the list that was played by MODO ringer Samwise_GeeGee.
It’s about time somebody started to beat down with a Vengevine. This card defined Standard and this format is nothing but two of those put together so it should still be good right? This is apparently the case since there are not many people that play in Daily Events with fake decks. I like to take note of any deck that does well in these events. It’s reasonable to expect this deck at your next PTQ since it’s not difficult to build and appeals to a large audience.
The last deck that Cedric mentioned was good is Wargate. I happen to think that this is the best positioned deck at the moment. Here is the list that you will most likely face on Magic Online because it top 8ed the PTQ by rek0mstop.
This deck plays out like a control deck since there is only one Scapeshift to immediately end the game. The normal game involves casting Prismatic Omen and dealing damage with lands entering play a little bit at a time. I tried this list and immediately wanted more Scapeshifts. It was difficult to beat Jund because they can Maelstrom Pulse your Prismatic Omen. I would like a deck that can win in a single turn especially when it’s not expected.
This deck plays out like the old versions of Scapeshift because it disrupts with countermagic and ends the game by playing Omen on the last turn. I have been getting favorable results against Faeries because my gameplan revolves around resolving Prismatic Omen immediately. This seems like the best way to defeat the Faerie Menace because Prismatic Omen is difficult to remove for a Blue Black deck. It seemed like a good idea to add a fourth Mana Leak and Rampant Growth because this deck does the same thing every game. The best decks that function like this are successful because they are redundant. Titan Ramp is great in standard because the deck is all ramp spells and big creatures. Omen Scapeshift wins by ramping, stalling, and winning once there is six mana in play.
This deck is more difficult to play well once the second game begins due to all of the various hate cards. I have only played game ones with the deck, but it seems like a transformational sideboard is in order. This deck has gained a lot of steam this week so make sure to be prepared. I would advise trying different sideboard cards because this one is purely theoretical.
Some of my other decks that I continue to update are my own Faeries and Jund lists. Here is what my new Jund deck looks like.
I am trying Fauna Shaman because Sygg has not been doing anything good for me lately. There have been many hands where I draw too many Demigods and I want to cash them in for a better creature. Discarding a Demigod for another one seems like an insane play since I even Blightninged myself in a practice game.
Me: Blightning targeting myself (I am about to put the cards in my graveyard.)
Donald: Whoa there, do you think that is going to resolve?! Cryptic Command!
It’s the pro play to Blightning yourself with three Demigods in hand.
It’s also good synergy with Anathemancer since I can discard it for a creature and unearth it later in the game.
The other new innovation I made is to add Thoughtseize to the maindeck. It was getting annoying when I drew nothing but creatures because I could not interact. Thoughtseize is bad with cascade most of the time, but it’s worth it to lower the overall casting cost of the deck.
Nature’s Claim was added to the sideboard because there are so many decks that I want it for. The new Scapeshift deck I have been playing was destroying Jund because I can hold Omen until the game is over so Maelstrom Pulse was not useful. The instant speed helps interact with the one turn kill as well as Tempered Steel.dec and Pyromancer Ascension.
Faeries is the last deck I would like to talk about since it’s on everyone’s mind. It managed to win the first online PTQ even though it had a target on its head. Here is my latest list:
Smother was not pulling its weight in the deck so I decided to try a Doom Blade and a Disfigure. The Doom Blade is capable of destroying opposing Mistbind Cliques which was one of my biggest worries about the previous removal suite. As Faeries gets more popular, Spellstutter Sprite gets worse because there are more decks that play Volcanic Fallout. I don’t think the matchup against Jund is that bad after playing the deck and forming a cohesive plan. Here is how I sideboard against them.
My plan is to sideboard in the extra Jace Beleren because you need to hit land drops in order to cast Wurmcoil Engine. The first time I tried this plan, the mistake of going -1 was made. I was obviously blown out by Blightning and proceeded to lose a game that was mine. The Doom Blade and Disfigure get the axe because they are both too situational against Jund. Disfigure does not hit Sprouting Thrinax, Boggart Ram-Gang, or Raging Ravine. It’s also important to remember that Wall of Tanglecord is a removal spell so you don’t want too many of those in the deck. Inquisition of Kozilek replaces Thoughtseizes because your life total is important in this matchup and it still hits Great Sable Stag and Volcanic Fallout. There is also an emphasis on removing Maelstrom Pulse from their hand because it blows up your Bitterblossom and Wall of Tanglecord. I cut a Mistbind Clique because there are so many Faeries that get sideboarded out and you also have to worry about more removal than before. The Flashfreeze is a new addition because there are not many ways to counter Blightning. That spell is more important postboard, because discarding becomes difficult as a result of needing more lands for Wurmcoil Engine.
There are many PTQs this weekend in real life as well as the realm of Magic Online. I cannot suggest a deck for everyone because we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Those of you that enjoy combo decks should strongly consider my list of Scapeshift or the stock list if you don’t like my decks. The control connoisseurs should definitely pick up Faeries as it is still strongly positioned due to having the best spells in the format. Those of you that prefer to beat down should play Cedric’s Mythic Conscription deck. I believe that these decks are the best of each category so chose the best for you and win a PTQ.