Watching the Meta-Morph

Battering Your Skull Over PTQ

By Matt Rogers                          4/6/11

We had a fantastic Standard PTQ last weekend with almost 60 players attending. It was a great tournament, with a wide deck range. Congratulations to my good friend Jason Chung who won with U/B Control! As for me, I picked up U/R Splinter Twin the night before the PTQ and tested with it vigorously that night. Unfortunately, I went 4-2 and didn’t quite make Top 8. This weekend, I’m in Singapore for the Grand Prix and I intend on playing RUG Twin. We saw Chris Gehring play this deck at PTQ and come Runner Up (Editor: Check here for his decklist). I feel it’s the best use of the current Deceiver Twin combo right now. How it turns out, I’ll tell you in my next article (Editor: So far, good enough to take home a GP Trial! Decklist at the bottom of the article).

                                                                                                             The Main Event - GP Singapore

As for the PTQ, I can only be amazed at the sheer range of decks played at the tournament. Now, I know that the metagame isn’t fully fledged yet, but New Zealand Magic players just proved that point. We had 28 different deck archetypes turn out at the tournament. That’s an astounding number of variations and really shows that we are still sailing through unchartered waters. Unfortunately, the bane of all Caw Blade and its evil cousin Darkblade were prominent shows, with eight Caw Blade and five Darkblade decks in the mix. It shows me that this deck is still highly regarded as powerful and some players would rather ride the power train than seek to destroy it.

I want to encourage the recent trend among NZ players, making their own deck ideas. As a Magic player, I feel it is necessary to toy with those ‘crazy ideas’ that float into your head while you’re at work. I encourage players to try that silly combo that would never beat Caw Blade. Why? Because developing your own decks, your own combos and your own playing style ultimately helps you become a better Magic player. By testing pointless combos and card interactions that won’t ever come outside your testing sessions, you see more and more how cards can interact and it slowly teaches you to be more aware of the board. So go on, make silly decks that won’t ever win, because it’ll develop your skill. Just don’t bring those sorts of decks to tournaments, because they probably won’t get you anywhere. As you can see, most of the higher level players will play net decks, or something similar. However, they have all tested many archetypes and many odd ideas to try and reach a perfect deck. Of course, there is no perfect deck - if there was, I would probably quit MTG, it wouldn’t be fun. But seeking after it, chasing it and developing a powerful deck that comes close, is a great joy in MTG.


Interestingly, Vampires was the next most played deck behind the Caw Blade variants. This deck has glided through standard for the past year and I haven’t once deemed it worthy to be played. But it keeps stepping up to each challenge and fighting, and strongly at that. Vampires is a deck that can be toyed with a lot, but will still run similarly to its counterparts. I encourage this deck for players right now, because it’s open to any changes people feel they want to make. There are so many different ways to play this deck that it probably deserves its own article. I feel that this deck will never become top of the metagame, but you can be sure of consistent results with it. It allows a lot of flexibility and it is heavily dependent on the pilot’s skill. Players of different levels can make such a drastic level of different decisions, and it’s very interesting, as a player, to watch people play this deck. For the upcoming gamesday, I would recommend Vampires to anyone who is looking to become better as a pilot, as this deck allows you to really think.


                                                                                                      Batterskull, now appearing in a format near you...

However, in regards to gamesday, it is important to note that Grand Prix Singapore will most likely provide much of the direction we have been seeking. I will follow up my Grand Prix experience for you next week, so you can all understand how the professional metagame could affect the New Zealand metagame. Undoubtedly I think that Caw Blade will still fly high, but aggro decks could definitely begin to make a real push back into the standard metagame. I didn’t notice a lot of ways to counter aggro in this weekend’s PTQ, with Batterskull being the most common answer. Although it is just one answer, it seems to appear far too frequently. In fact, the most played move of the whole tournament (disregarding land drops) may have been: Stoneforge Mystic, search Batterskull, play Batterskull. It seemed as if the card had dropped from Mythic Rare to Common just because of how many copies of it were at the PTQ. I assure you, in the coming gamesday: you want to be playing Batterskull or a deck that can really hate them out quickly.


Well, I’m in Singapore right now, and it looks like it is really gearing up to be an exciting Grand Prix, good luck to all my fellow New Zealanders who will be competing this weekend. As for the rest of you, hold on, because this metagame rollercoaster is only just beginning. 


Editor: Currently Matt is over at GP Singapore and took out a Grand Prix Trail with the following List:


Deciever RUG

Matthew Rogers - Trial # 2 Winner

Grand Prix-Singapore 2011

Copperline Gorge

Halimar Depths
Misty Rainforest
Raging Ravine
Scalding Tarn


26 lands

Consecrated Sphinx
Deceiver Exarch
Inferno Titan
Lotus Cobra


12 creatures

Gitaxian Probe
Into the Roil
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Mana Leak
Nature's Claim
Splinter Twin


22 other spells


Arc Trail
Jace Beleren
Lightning Bolt
Manic Vandal
Nature's Claim
Obstinate Baloth
Spell Pierce
Wurmcoil Engine


15 sideboard cards

Return to Main Page