Hello and once again welcome!
I do not think or hope, that I am the only one that has been really excited about this last week. We had a Legacy GP, the Super Sunday Series, a full set spoiler of Aether Revolt and not to talk about the banning of cards in both Standard and Modern.
I did not attend the Legacy GP, mainly because it was in Louisville, but I was also fortunate enough for the 2nd time to have qualified for the Super Sunday Series where my journey would end abruptly in the top 8 with a loss to Mamoru Nagai. Drafting a Reanimator deck with《Inkwell Leviathan》 , Shinya Saito defeated Jason Chung in the finals to become the SSS Champion. Congratulations to both of them for a tournament well played.
What was the Super Sunday Series (SSS) like?
Well having attended this tournament, it really showcases everything that I love about magic, and a lot of things that I forget to both acknowledge and respect.
The tournament itself, was very intimate with only 46 players, and 7 rounds. These 7 rounds consisted of 3 rounds of Kaladesh boosters draft followed by 4 rounds of Modern – and culminating in an Eternal Masters Draft for the top 8. This has its upsides and downsides, but for me it is the core of magic. Playing all sorts of different magic, in various formats against people who have mastered different skills in magic, having to adapt and rely on your skills – because you simply do not have time to test and master this many formats in such short time. This made people sit down, and even though they weren’t the best drafters or Modern players, they knew they had a chance, if they did their best and played to their outs!
This may sound as if there was a rough competitive atmosphere, but there wasn’t. It was 46 players from 19 different countries sharing the same love of the game. Players were eating, drafting, talking and having fun together. And Wizards was incredibly generous with handing out multiple draft sets daily, so that everyone could play some limited games in their own preferred fashion, whether it was team draft, Rochester or a regular 8 man. Overall the tournament was, again, simply an amazing experience I would not have been without.
I used the words “Acknowledgement and respect” earlier. The SSS was located at the WOTC headquarters in Seattle, so naturally all the players got to meet up with various game designers, testers, PR managers, Leaders, Organizer and Coverage personnel – and they did everything thing that was in their power to make all of us feel more then welcome. They are fantastic people, working with Magic on a daily basis, doing everything that they can to make Magic an even better game than it already is and I must say, that getting to interact with them and get to know about their work and them was an eye opener and an honor.
The reason I’m saying eye opener is because their job is both amazing and extremely hard . They have to make everyone happy, competitive or casual player, but also make home runs on storyline, design, art; you name it and the sad part is, we complain a bit too much about stupid things, and we often forget to respect and acknowledge their hard work that allows us to have limitless fun while playing, thinking and talking about Magic, it’s universe and the amazing plays. It is ok to express our discomfort about certain things, but we should also remember to tell WOTC when they are doing something great which is quite often!
This leads me straight to the very unexpected announcement of new bans.
《Gitaxian Probe》 and 《Golgari Grave-Troll》 were both banned in Modern, it will stir up the format somewhat leaving a couple of decks unplayable but mostly I see this as a ban to try and keep the format healthy.Emrakul, the Promised End:
She was a bit too good for the current Standard. Having a GB delirium deck, which only purpose was to kill creatures, play 《Ishkanah, Grafwidow》 to survive and eventually win the game with Emrakul and exploiting the raw power of 《Aetherworks Marvel》 by getting your opponent’s extra turn, and depleting them of their resources. The card is simply not fun, in a format where there are very few ways of interacting with it.Smuggler’s Copter:
This card was from the very first tournament completely oppressive – putting no less than 32 copies in the top 8. The last time I heard about something similar was with 4 《Brainstorm》 in every deck in a legacy tournament and 《Skullclamp》, where everyone in the top 32 had 4 except for 1 deck, because the person could not find a 4th. Having a card like this makes a lot of deckbuilding revolve around certain cards, since copter is as good as it can it, makes it come down to Copter decks and Anti-Copter decks – in my opinion, it’s neither good nor fun to try and build around or against a single card – when there are so many sweet unexplored decks. I like that they had the guts to deal with negative feedback and decided to give it a timeout for now.Reflector Mage:
This card was ratherinfamous in Standard during the Rally/Company days , and now yet again with the recent ban. It is quite a controversial ban, because of its sub-dominant role in our current Standard. How I see it though, is that when you remove 《Smuggler's Copter》 and Emrakul, you take away key pieces from 3/4th of the tier 1 decks. While UW decks lost 《Smuggler's Copter》 but their tempo engine is still a very strong and unique machine. This is in my opinion not the main point of the ban though, I actually think that WOTC has looked into their scrying crystal ball and foresaw a Standard where 《Reflector Mage》 would be very oppressive again.
Removing the focus from Instants and 《Smuggler's Copter》 and advocating a Standard that plays Planeswalkers, Creatures and powerful sorceries, it will be the perfect place for a card like the UW Human to thrive. Adding R to the mix, we then have 《Saheeli Rai》 and combined with 《Felidar Guardian》 we could definitely have had a potential disaster at hand. The combo bears a striking resemblance to 《Splinter Twin》 when it was in both Modern and Standard. That said, it might not have been that bad. If this is part of the reasoning behind the ban I can 100% get behind it and with all 3 inclusions to the rare Standard banned list, I am looking forward to test and come up with something sweet for PT Dublin!
Prereleases are held this weekend, and next week I will talk about the different interactions, how good the different cards are, and which cards I can see being played in decks for different formats.
Until then, I hope you all will have a great weekend, filled with a lot of Aether Revolt rares.
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Top 4 at Grand Prix Strassbourg 2013 & Grand Prix Madrid 2015. Followed by a 5th place with the Bonde-Saito-Thiago Team at Grand Prix Sao Paolo 2016. A veteran of the magic pro scene aiming ever higher. His strengths lie in his ability to reach complicated game states where he is able to grind out a win.
- Exploring Aether Revolt
- Lukas Blohon