Since the restriction of Lodestone Golem and Sphere of Resistance, the Classic format has been slowly working itself out. In the first DE after the restrictions on Feb 15th, ncsu31sb piloted an Affinity deck to a 4-0 finish. The other decks that finished in the money in that event were UR Standstill, White Weenie Sky Hussar, Pod Shop (AKA – Mishra’s Afterbirth), and another Affinity deck. [Editor’s Note: Thanks for calling the deck by its proper name – PlanetWalls] Seeing a deck like Standstill doesn’t shock me too much since it has a favorable control matchup due a higher density of countermagic as well as better card draw. I don’t have information on the entire field of decks that were played, but there were several Blue Control decks, mostly based around Tezzeret the Seeker, though none finished in the money.
Whether or not people have stopped trying to fight Affinity, it appears that the deck is still a force to be reckoned with. The deck is still blisteringly fast and can abuse Tangle Wire like no other deck. In place of the 3 Golems, ncsu31sb played 1 Crucible of Worlds and 2 Thorn of Amethyst in his 4-0 deck, while thewoof2 elected to add 2 Crucible of Worlds and 1 Phyrexian Metamorph in his maindeck while having a full set of Thorns in his sideboard. Both changes are sensible, though not what I initially predicted Affinity would try to play. That said, if trying to replicate the mana denial plan that Golem provided, Crucible and Thorn are a pretty efficient answer, even if neither is a win condition in their own-right like Golem was.
With a slightly slower format in mind, I elected to play the following deck in this past weekend’s DE:
Back to Basics Control by enderfall
The deck is actually a modified Legacy deck by Joe Bernal from a recent SCG Open. Where the deck shines is by grinding out an advantage with Stoneforge Mystic and True-Name Nemesis (TNN) backed up by permission, spot removal, and occasionally locking people out of the game with Back to Basics.
Here is the full breakdown of the metagame for the 17 decks that entered the tournament:
2 Dark Depths-Thespian’s Stage
2 White Weenie Sky Hussar
1 Boggles (Modern deck)
1 BUG Delver
1 Stoneblade Control
1 Esper Labyrinth Control
1 Bant Fish
1 UR Standstill
1 Tezzeret Control
Here are the videos from the DE:
The deck played as I expected. I was able to lock some people out with Back to Basics and TNN went the distance in a couple of games. If I were to play this deck again, I probably wouldn’t change much, though Supreme Verdict was the worst card in the deck throughout the tournament. I never cast it as the board states were never in favor of doing so. I’d leave them in there as they seem pretty good in some matchups like White Weenie, Affinity (if you can get it by Turn 4 without staring down a Tangle Wire, that is), and some Fish decks. Having seen the continued success of Affinity, I might modify the sideboard to include Energy Flux or Hurkyl’s Recall. Possibly swapping out the two Thoughtseizes, or one Thoughtseize and one Flusterstorm, but I’ll have to give it some more thought. Regardless, I was fortunate to have dodged Affinity in this tournament as my sideboard was not prepared for it (which was not by design; I simply did not build my sideboard effectively). I suggest that people don’t ignore it like I did.
Let me know your thoughts on the deck in the comment section below. Also, if you’d like to see me pilot a specific deck in a DE, let me know and I’ll try to accommodate in the near future!
Clan Magic Eternal
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