Feature: Sights of Round One

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The letter A! chicken in every pot? A Tarmogoyf at every table? Maybe not every table, but it was close.

Everyone's favorite Lhurgoyf was a popular fixture at the tables during Round 1. The number of sightings also allowed Tarmogoyf to display its versatility, appearing in aggressive decks alongside enablers like Mogg Fanatic and Seal of Fire, and in control decks, accompanied by Loxodon Hierarch and Venser, Shaper Savant. Some aggressive decks added black for Dark Confidant, increasing their chances of getting Tarmogoyf into their hands.

Lightning Angel was another card frequently seen, and the Angel vs. Tarmogoyf battle was common across the tables. While Tarmogoyf will often get the better of that fight, Lightning Angel comes equipped with friends like Lightning Helix, which helps even things out. Court Hussars also stared down Tarmogoyfs on several tables, and while that's an even more unfair fight, the blue knight does give its controller another card to use.

Speaking of equipment, Loxodon Warhammer's mini-resurgence continued. It wasn't a very common sight at the tables, but considering it got barely any play before, seeing them at even a few tables is something. All of the decks I saw with a Warhammer on the table were playing Green-perhaps they discovered that a 6/2 trampling, lifelinked Troll Ascetic is a significant threat.

Another boon to Green mages in Tenth Edition is Treetop Village. Long absent from Standard, the Village apes are angry and taking their wrath out on opponents. The apes lend themselves to more than just beatdown, though; one match saw a player with the Seismic Assault/Life from the Loam deck pitch two of his Treetop Villages to kill his opponent's.

Treetop Villages also tangled with fresh Riftwing Cloudskates, to the Illusions' advantage. The Blink deck has been gaining in popularity since Venser arrived to help, and quite a few players were packing it. In lesser numbers was the Project X deck, capable of gaining arbitrarily large amounts of life thanks to Saffi Eriksdotter, Crypt Champion, and Essence Warden. The deck did well at several Regionals, but its sheer unplayability on Magic Online could be holding it back this weekend-spending 15 minutes of clicking to gain 75 life is, after all, not a very good plan.

Mana bases in many decks were very interesting. The high number of very good nonbasic lands has led many players to minimize their basic land commitments. It's common to see a deck with Ravnica block dual lands, a few Tenth Edition painlands, some Future Sight lands from the Graven Cairns family, the occasional Gemstone Mine, a land like Treetop Village, and a few basics for seasoning. Blood Moon has left Standard, replaced by the easier-to-destroy Magus of the Moon, but Signets mitigate the havoc the Magus can wreak.

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