Feature: Exploring Extended

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The letter T!hursday evening, a common question on the floor was: "Do you have a deck?" Of course, it was Friday's six Extended rounds that made the players scramble for cards. And the deck that most players were concerned about was Boros. "It's probably going to be the main aggro deck," Frank Karsten surmised, and Quentin Martin nodded in agreement. Both pros were also pretty sure that the environment was going to be wide open. Quentin had a notion that "the Europeans are going to play mostly Boros tuned to beat Boros, and the Japanese are going to play control tuned to beat control… and the Americans are probably playing Goblins." Frank was not so sure, saying that he expected lots of each aggro, combo and control.

Talking to Shuuhei Nakamura confirmed the idea that the Japanese deckbuilders were all set on a control course and expected that archetype to be predominant. On the other hand, notable Dutch pro Jeroen Remie summarized his experience of testing with the Dutch: "You spend two weeks testing decks, the first test is to beat Boros, and they don't." Jeroen also acknowledged that his long-time favorite The Rock is "actually awful" and ScepterChant might be a strong archetype. Osyp Lebedowicz was heard saying "I don't play either one of these" and pointed out that Counterbalance might be really good, too. We'll see Friday what those heavyweights of Magic opinion have brewed up for the oldest format at Worlds.

Regarding the alleged menace Affinity, Billy Moreno had this to add: "Affinity is a deck that nobody likes to lose to," and he supported the idea that it would be hated out heavily. But there are more possible contenders out there: Besides Boros, ScepterChant, Affinity, Tog, and Goblins, there are also numerous ports from current and former Standard environments. The Urzatron can power everything from Demonfire to Tooth and Nail, there's always Zoo to reckon with, and whatever the crazy deckbuilders out there chose to crank out for Friday'scompetition.

Gary Wise, old timer, newly inducted Hall of Fame member, and someone who knows "Boros" only as "PT Jank," probably put it best: "I have no idea what's legal, I have no idea what I'll be playing, and I hope someone gives me a deck."

Incidentally, Quentin Martin was running around the hall at the end of Thursday with a sign that said "Will beg for Grim Lavamancers." So all we have is wild speculation and some surprises being held in store for us? Not quite, because there was an Extended PTQ Thursday , which ran until late in the night. Looking at that PTQ, one player who will likely be very happy with his deck choice for Friday, and that player is Chris 'StarWarsKid' McDaniel.

Chris is well known for only playing one deck, and lo and behold he only has one in his grip Friday. Those copies of Heartbeat of Spring are pretty well worn after PT - LA, and Chris is looking to increase their value by playing Heartbeat again this weekend. With the PTQ Top 8 featuring two Heartbeat decks, one of which took the slot, it seems like a solid choice.

The PTQ Top 8 was rounded out by 3 Boros decks, 2 Tooth and Nail, Mind's Desire, and a Seismic Assault / Life from the Loam deck, which also took a blue envelope. Notable in the Top 8 was a distinct lack of anything resembling a Counterspell. Could the Japanese predictions about the format be wrong? Looking at the current team standings, it seems an unwise move to bet against Japan on anything Magical this weekend.

With an upcoming PTQ season of Extended, the eyes of the world will be on Paris Friday - it will be very interesting to see if the general consensus was anywhere close to the mark. Will graveyard hate and split second spells have finally put down Psychatog and the various powerful dredge-based decks? Will beatdown take it down?

Stay right here to find out. Here are the Top 8 lists from the Extended PTQ:

Andres Bosile
Extended Paris PTQ Finalist – Heartbeat



Remi Fortier
Extended Paris PTQ Top 8 – Mind’s Desire



David van den Bossche
Extended Paris PTQ Top 8 – Boros




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