Metawatch: What to Expect at Atlantic City

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Hey everyone, I hope everyone is enjoying the new format so far. GP New Jersey is right around the corner, so it is time again for another Metawatch. We only have 2 smaller events to look at before going into Jersey, so this Metawatch will have more speculation and content than the average one. Going into this one, remember, I do not always talk about everything. This Metawatch is MASSIVE. I am only going to talk about decks that I think you MUST know about going into GP New Jersey.

First let’s go over some of the decks that have been doing well, or gaining hype among the community.

The first one to have been seeing a lot of success is Fox. A lot of players, myself included, thought that Fox would chill down a bit when going into the new format. The loss of Horn of the Sacred Beasts made it so the deck had to be more careful when using Fox’s effect to summon a chimera. We also were entering a format where cards like Alice’s World of Madness was being hyped up a bit. The deck also had to deal with the new card Dawn of The Earth, which effectively sets the deck back a turn.  To be fair, this caused the Fox decks to have to retool a bit. The deck shifted to be more of a midrange deck, with strong resonators like World Tree Protector and Rezzard, King of the Damned. The deck is less about making chimeras whenever it can, and now focuses more on producing them when the strong resonators they currently have on the board are in trouble. This means they can play around cards like Dawn of The Earth more easily. Here is the list that Tom Veazie used to place first at the most recent GP Toronto.

There have also been a couple builds of a blue fox running around. The deck plays about the same, a slower paced Fox focused more about making chimeras to dodge the opponent’s removal, more than swarming the board, but now has access to control cards like Charlotte’s Water Transformation Magic, and Space-Time Anomaly.

The next deck, or ruler, I should say in this case is Lumia. Most people were suspecting that traditional Lumia Hook would see a return to fame. However, not many people predicted that there would be several different Lumia builds performing well instead. The first build is one that looks a lot like traditional Lumia but plays more around gaining card advantage and locking your opponent out of counter spell wars than the old builds. This build by Joseph Horth even used spinning myths to gain an early advantage with cards like Frigg and Izanagi. Frigg helping more in a control or midrange matchup where counterspells are going to be of upmost importance, and Izanagi helping out more in the aggro matchup.

The next Lumia build is the Reanimator build. Which focuses around putting expensive resonators like Gryphon in the grave, and then bringing them back with End of Days, and then blinking them with Lumia to get even more advantage. Most builds run cards like Planting Beans to put these big resonators in the graveyard, but this build by Jackson He only uses soul hunt and Guinevere. He also plays a massive stone deck of 17 magic stones to ensure that he can always keep getting stones with his Gryphon.

The last Lumia build I want to talk about is Alex Blandin’s stealth Lumia. This deck takes full advantage of the fact that Prison in the Lunar Lake is a better card now more than ever. Having full access to it by searching it with Riza makes your opponent play a dangerous game of having to play around Prison and Melder. He also has access to Millina Bond, which is one of the strongest cards in a format that revolves around counter wars. Having black also gives him easy access to Black Moonbeam in the side board to easily deal with decks like Pricia and Zero.

Next, we have the former best deck of the game still putting in some work. Pricia still remains a threat. Granted, with the Demon Sword gone it must use less consistent ways to put in massive damage, and cannot rely on the OTK alone. The deck has now shifted back to being an aggro build and taking full advantage of Pricia’s effect to give flying and swiftness. Below is a build by Dylan Hunt. His build still takes full advantage of Hydromonica to stack a Marybella for Frigg on top of the deck to make use of Pricia’s effect to call a resonator off the top of the deck.

Blazer Gill Rabus has also been seeing a bit of success. He has made his way into many side boards and managed to 2nd place at the 1k last weekend. He is a hard counter to Fox, gives Zero a hard time, and even can deny Pricia a lot of damage with the help of Deathsythe. The only problem is that he is not the hardest card to play around. Cards like Wind-Secluded Refuge and High-Speed Dash are easy counters. You could even go as far to play cards like Magic Sweets if you wanted to. Also, Fox is now playing a build that revolves more around resonators that are already strong and can wait to activate till they have answers. I still feel like Blazer is a strong card, but he is not an absolute stop gap to the decks he counters. There are almost infinite ways you can build blazer, but one of the most popular has always been red-green aggro. Bellow is Anthony Song’s deck list from the 1k last week.

The last full deck I want to talk about is Zero. Zero was being hyped by A LOT of people going into this format. When I went to states a few weeks ago, I was so confident that so many people would play Zero, that I had a disgusting amount of hate for the deck in the side. This worked out well for me too, I had to play 3 rounds of Zero and won all of them. The deck still exists as always, I don’t feel like I need to talk much about what in included because the Death and Taxes Build is still standard. It just gained new cards like Heteroclite Excalibur. It is a deck that I have seen struggling the most but just manages to stay relevant right now. It can be a hard deck to deal with if you do not have solid removal answers. Having access to Black Moonbeam Helps a lot. Believe it or not, I was side decking into Lumia’s Purification and having a ton of success in the Zero matchup with it, but I don’t know if the deck will remain relevant enough to be as much of the threat I treated it as at states.

 

Individual cards worth mentioning. 

Severing winds is seeing play in pretty much every deck. Players now should be more cautious of their plays each turn. This card even sees a lot of play at its full will cost, due to a lot of decks having the ramp to support it. It has pushed the game into more of a tempo-styled format, more so than the combo drop-as-much-as-you-can-on-the-board-at-once format we had before. As a general tip of advice, aggro decks tend to play two of them, while other decks generally play 4. However, everyone has a different opinion of how many to play.

Heteroclite Excalibur does amazing work in Fox and control but lacks a lot when trying to deal with aggro decks. Be sure to have other answers for aggro that you can side this card out for.

Shackles of Ice is still necessary for most side decks. Even though I did not feel like it needed an entire section about it, the new Tree decks are extremely annoying. You need Shackles to help deal with them. If you can stick a Shackles and protect it, the game is probably going in your favor.

Refarth’s Wall of Flames is a card that was overlooked by most people. However, it is turning into a strong card. If you play it after the end of turn checks on your opponent’s turn it is a free 1000 damage to your opponent on the next turn. If you think about it, for 2 will that is almost what you would get most of the time in an aggro deck with Split Heaven and Earth. You can also topdeck it and give it swiftness with Pricia’s effect.

Finally, I want to end on the fact that this format is extremely new and unpredictable. The only events to have happened have not been very large. There is still plenty of room for crazy new decks to come out of the woodwork. In fact, most of the deck mentioned above still have the giant weakness of relying on cards having effects when they enter the field, and most of those cards are not played cards. Meaning Prison in the Lunar Lake and Dawn of the Earth have massive potential to completely take over the format still. There are also plenty of other cards that I have seen putting in a bit of work that may or may not start becoming MVP cards. So be ready for anything.

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