Gathering This Week’s Magic 04: March 9-March 15


The community has been on fire, with great stuff about Modern, the complicated Standard meta, and a barrage of information about art, design, and card choices. There’s even a touching story of friendship. All these and more in Gathering This Week’s Magic.

I got a little carried away with some Standard writing this week, so I’m going to structure things a little differently cuz there’s just way too much content.

TWO GPs and Some SCGs

This past weekend saw two Grand Prix events as well as the usual Star City Games Open Series. Between breaks for gelato and wine, #GPVerona put the first GP crown on a Ukrainian head. Mike Krasnitski beat out previous Standard villain BR aggro “Zombies” with the Junk reanimator deck that you can read more about below in the Meta section. At #GPRIO, where none other than Paulo VDDR tells us it was 100 degrees inside, The Aristocrats won again, in the hands of Brazilian Francisco Da Silva, but his victory against a Jund Aggro deck in the finals has an asterisk. In a grand gesture, his friend made fans weepy by conceding because Da Silva needed the points.

In Indianapolis, Adam Liu piloted Naya Humans to first place, beating out Prime Speaker Bant in the finals of 774-player #SCGIndy, SCG’s biggest Standard Open event ever. UWR Helm Miracles won again, suggesting Abrupt Decay isn’t enough to keep a good top down when there is a brutal two card “I Win” combo shoved in there.

ManaDeprived adds more details and sums all this up for those of you who want insight into all the action at these three events from an actual 60-cardboard slinger.

Metagame Updates

Standard
Here are some numbers from the GPs and from SCG Indy(Vigabool crushing it again). For even more up-to-date data, check out this list of MTGO decks with a 4-0 record from the beginning of this week.

Your humble MTG loving writer suggests that there is a metric ton of viable decks in Standard right now, the main ones being (in no particular order):
Arbor jund based on Schwagg, Huntmaster, Olivia, and Liliana
American Reckoner
Junk reanimator
Human aggro/NayaBlitz
Gruul aggro
Humanimator combo
The aristocrats
Jund Aggro
Rakdos zombies aggro

The second tier is:
Prime Speaker Bant
Wolf Run Bant
Esper Control

Stock Jund did well in Rio, so if you’re looking for a reliable public enemy number three or so, here’s a follow up piece about Arbor Jund by pro Owen Turtenwald, discussing why Olivia Voldaren is rad and Slaughter Games… not so much.

If all that information has you uncertain about which direction to take your deck, Standard power rankings from Channel Fire Ball might help.

Modern
A Modern GP will grace San Diego this weekend, basically capping the season. Brian DeMars talks about some cards and tech that could matter this weekend in what he calls “the least rigidly defined format.”

Cedric Phillips teaches us why #KarnIsNotImpressed, underscoring the power of GR Tron as one of the best ramp decks in Modern.

Check out Modern power rankings, also from team CFB. Yes, they killed it with the quality content this week. Do you agree with these rankings?

Legacy
Jupiter Games’ Michael Keller takes a long look at whether it’s time to ban Grizz now that Tin Fins has started to cast a pall over legacy – he says no. And many agree, arguing the back-to-back wins for American Miracle Helm mean Top is more than enough to keep the Grizzled demon in check.

Upcoming Tournaments

English: Derived from :Image:Flag of San Diego.

It’s another two-GP weekend, with players heading to sunny San Diego (the second best place on Earth after Los Angeles, but who’s biased??) for the final relevant Modern tourney of the season, while Utrecht is hosting a team limited event. Weird. What does that even mean? Gathering Magic explains.

Both events will be streamed, with #GPSD on GGSlive.com starting at 4:30 PM ET and #GPUtrecht starting at 7 AM ET on the MTG/WotC Twitch channel.

If you want MOAR Magic, tune in to #SCGDC for some Standard and Legacy in the country’s capitol.

Learn about Drafting

Boros finally has some reliable competition from Borzhov, Orzhov aggro, and now the evasive Dimir aggro deck. Here’s how to crush with a deck nobody knows the name of, thanks to Hipsters of the Coast (they call themselves HotC for short, which you should read as “Hot See”). On top of that, The Mothership’s Marshal Suttcliffe has spoiled your chances of sniping the all-dudes Simic deck you thought was secret tech.

Brews and Theory This Week

Although @Fivewithflores says the word “why” is linguistically lazy in most of Magic because if you thought deeper you’d have a specific question to ask, this is a useful introduction to thinking about decision-making by questioning everything you do and everything the opponent does. It’s a good framework for new players trying to improve their competitive thinking.

Courtesy of DailyMTG

Gathering Magic’s Mike Cannon offers us a bit of a flashback to last year and Pro Tour Dark Ascension, when Johnny Magic took Esper Spirit Tribal to the sem-finals losing to eventual champ Brian Kibler. Borrowing some already-borrowed insight from Jackie Lee, this brew wants to abuse synergy and fly over everyone’s favorite law-abiding bovine.

MILLLLLL!!! Finally, a deck that makes Jace’s phantasm and Wight of precinct six as good as we all want it to be (said every kitchen table player).

happymill

In Modern, first there was Jund, then there was Lingering Jund, then there was a ban and lots of stuff happened. You may have read about Carrie Oliver’s new take on the old menace, “White Jund.” You should note it has approximately every reasonable maindeck card for the Twin menace – three Lili, three/two on Thoughtseize to Inquisition, four Path, two Abrupt Decays, and a miser’s Zealous Persecution. @MrScottyMac likes it because it’s got the consistency of Jund plus Gavony Township and Loxodon Smiter.

Design/Dev Article of the Week

First off, @TrickMTG teaches us that the “T” in “MTG” is capitalized because the game is “Magic The Gathering.” It’s stylized.

Reading what progenitor Richard Garfield has to say is always a treat. This time he walks us through the early early creation origins of MTG. And it is sweet. You can almost smell the game-revolutionizing awesome in this story.

What’s in a name? The prolific Mr. Vigabool brings his data-wizardry approach to the history of naming and word preservation in Magic.

Casual Thoughts of the Week – EDH and CUBE!

MTGNoob started an EDH archetypes series, and part one deals with voltron decks, covering each sub-type and how to go about building them. It’s a great starter piece if you want to smash with your general.

Sometimes, EDH players just need some data. We’re all smart nerds right? Cass is back with another piece of “market research” about what we like and don’t like and why in EDH. If you don’t read GDC, now’s a great time to start. Head over, answer some of the questions, and join a thoughtful conversation that feels very different from what you get on the MTGSal boards.

Although we haven’t touched on it much in GTWM, cubing is another super awesome casual format that you should all try. Here’s an introduction to the format that outlines how to make an affordable cube, along with some cool spreadsheets to aid in color and balancing.

If you want another way to play multiplayer, like they used to do back in the day with casual 60-card decks that didn’t have any of this “one general to command your magical army” business, check out some brutal variants to battle, brawl, and outright assassinate your friends.

This isn’t casual precisely, but the community section was too full. If you follow LegitMTG, you recognize @revisedangel as the founder of 20Tweets. This is her ode to all returning Magic players who think Vintage is cool but daunting. And for what it’s worth, #casualvintageftw.

Financials

QSpec goes REALLY DEEP about all the things you’re thinking – missing the boat on ShallowGrave 2.0 (Goryo’s Vengeance), what the three standard tourneys mean for prices, how and when to buy in, and dealing with speculation spikes. It’s a funny time to read this article, because the one and only Chas Andres just pointed out that after all that hubbub, this has been a dead week in #mtgfinance.

Fantasy/Art Article of the Week

Massive Art Attack tackles the good, the bad, the really bad, and the kinda awkward art from Tempest this week.

Social & Community Stuff

Narrative.ly took some time to look at MTG and FNM from an outsider’s perspective. This is a week old but it’s too good to not watch. (H/T Gathering Magic’s “Great Magic Writing of the Week.”)

The #RosewaterRumble was a lot of fun for those who participated on Twitter. If you didn’t keep up with it, here’s an interactive summary of every round so you can relive the drama and see who was crowned Number One Best Magic The Gathering Set of All Time (that @Maro254 lead anyway).

DailyMTG announced a new round of You Make the Card, where the Magic community designs a card together. It will eventually see print! Check out the action on Twitter for more discussion.

Travis Woo loves magic, effusively and publicly and it’s awesome for the game, brash character or no. He also thinks streaming is the future, and here’s why.

OK so that’s it. Week four. One month down. Hope you’ve enjoyed the easy lifting after all my hard work, cuz I know I loved reading through all this stuff.

If you have comments or questions, post below or shoot them to me on my Twitter handle @MdaveCs. GTWM is a work in progress and I’d love ideas of how to evolve it to make it more useful. Podcasts and more video content will come as a get more efficient at reviewing the plethora of writing the MTG community pumps out.

Thanks for reading
<3 Dave

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