Brian Kibler tells us that state of the Meta is healthy. Our opinions differ slightly, Mr. Kibler. It’s neither healthy nor is it sick; it’s in limbo. That less than magical place when the format is incomplete. This is my first time in 12 years being at this point in the meta, but from what I remember about all the times when we were only given access to five sets (M13, Innistrad Block and RTR) for deck building no one had “solved” the format, and for a very good reason: the format is incomplete. We are only four months into this Standard and we’re missing a lot of key strategies that will no doubt overshadow this extremely forgettable place that Standard goes to each rotation. Does anyone remember any of the dominant decks from Urza Block plus Mercadian Masques or Masques Block plus Invasion? Likely no, the dominant decks from those formats came from synergies that were revealed in the next sets (I miss Replenish).

I’ve voiced this opinion for a few weeks, and many of the more experienced players I talk to refer to Delver’s dominance as soon as it was printed. To that point I can’t argue, Innistrad was just before I returned to the game so I have no idea how the meta was then. I will say this: Delver was an exception to the rule. And a card that powerful would likely dominate when the format is young. The shell of that deck was based mostly on cards from a previous set. When combined with a viable win condition like an undercosted 3/2 flyer, I can see how it could be a top tier strategy all year long.

This is not that meta. There are no Delvers. Sure, Thragtusk is a card, but I feel like Gatecrash has a handle on that card. It’s been reined in, and this means that we (Durdle Magi) will need to find other ways to make it to the end of the game we want to play.

Skullcrack will make life gain strategies a little less effective. Looks to me that the focus should be on prevention over inevitability. What does that mean? I think with cards like Skullcrack out to stop Thragtusk’s total value and Sphinx’s Revelation’s second chance clause, not to mention Boros Charm laughing at Supreme Verdict, control will need to be more proactive in the early turns. Spot removal to bait out Charms, and maybe cards like Mutilate, will see more play in the next few months. Ways to interact towards the start of the game are going to go a long way.

Aggro strategies got a leg up on Control with Gatecrash. News flash: Aggro generally beats Control. That’s 101. The real story is that Midrange is looking pretty good right now. Between ways to stop Control’s trump cards and access to much better mana, I’d forecast the first couple of weeks of Standard as “Midrange with a chance of Reanimator.” It’s time again and though I haven’t singled out any sweet targets (nothing sweeter than Angel of Serenity at least) it seems like there’s going be a lot of sideboards jamming Skullcracks and the like and forgetting about Unburial Rites.

Sorry to pick on Brian Kibler, as his article was actually quite a good read. All I’m saying is that if you step back and look at most five set formats we have a ton of decks with no one dominating until we see more of a card pool.

I’m extremely excited for the next few weeks of Constructed, but what else is new. As for this week, I still like Drogskol Reaver and I’ll probably try casting them again this week. Last week’s Mondo play was swinging with a pair drawing eight cards and gaining 12. I felt like I was 16 again.

Until then,

Zac Clark, Durdle Magis

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