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Junior Super Series Championship

Junior Super Series Top 8 Deck Analysis

- Alex Shvartsman

Deck Breakdown Chart

Archetype 14 and under 15-17 Total
Necro 3 4 7
Sligh 2 1 3
Suicide Black 1   1
Big Red 1   1
Combo 1 3 4

Overview

Reading the tournament coverage this weekend and studying both this chart and the deck lists, it is easy to assume the current type 2 is all about Necropotence. I believe this assuption to be incorrect.

This format is all about Yawgmoth's Will.

Every Necro and Combo deck in the two top 8's - 11 out of 16 decks, use between three and four copies of this card. It was ubiquitous at all levels of the tournament, appearing in Necro, Pox, Suicide black and Combo decks of all sorts.

Having watched a lot of matches this weekend I have seen a player drawing and casting a Will change the game entirely, turning a sure loss into a win.

No format is ever truly balanced so despite this card being overly powerful, we are leaving behind an interesting and well-defined tournament environment. The fact that only five deck archetypes did well (three if you only count an older bracket) suggests that perhaps the possibilities of the current card set have been mostly exhausted - after all, JSS competitors came in knowing perfectly well what kind of decks they should expect to face - and those decks still won.

Entire deck lists are available from our site. In addition, here is a short explanation of each successful archetype:

Necro

The reason this deck is far more successful than any other right now is because of so many powerful cards it gets to use. Powerful card #1 is, of course, Yawgmoth's Will. It allows to replay Urza's Baubles and draw additional cards off them, providing a solid card-drawing engine in addition to Necropotence. Will allows a player to re-use some of his most potent spells. Thus you double the number of Duresses, Diabolic Edicts or any other card you happen to need at the time. Being able to generate additional mana with Dark Rituals powers up this card even further.

The second powerful card is Necropotence itself. Against all but the fastest weenie decks paying life to draw additional cards is a bargain. If Necropotence makes it onto the table, a control player has virtually no chance, he is simply overwhelmed with an amount of disruption spells you are able to cast.

The third powerful card is Nevinyrral's Disk. It is a perfect answer to just about anything mono-black cannot easily deal with. Enchantments, artifacts, a creature rush are no problem when you are able to hit the reset button turn five or sooner.

These cards are backed up by a variety of disruption spells. Some of the most popular include Duress, Diabolic Edict and Rain of Tears. Finally, a deck plays a total of 6-8 Corrupts and Drain Lifes. These serve to both power up Necropotence and eventually win the game. A modern Necro deck plays very few creatures - usually it is a choice between Skittering Skirge - which is great against control, combo and Living Death decks - and Bottle Gnomes which are much better against weenie decks.

The deck's goal is to survive by disrupting an opponent's strategy until it reaches 6+ mana. At this point it can start casting Corrupts, winning in a few huge life swings.

Sligh

Among the simpler decks to build and play, Sligh has a very straightforward winning strategy - play very fast, efficient creatures. Overwhelm your opponent to deal as much quick damage as possible. Finish an opponent off with direct damage spells or Cursed Scroll. Lately Impending Disaster is often a part of this deck. Although it offers a poor interaction with Cursed Scroll and Viashino Cutthroat, this card is extremely powerful against Necro and some combo decks.

Suicide

Similar to Sligh, this deck has a hard time surviving longer than a dozen turns - hence the name. Black has an even better arsenal of weenie creatures than red and powerful finisher spells - Hatred allows for occasional turn 2-3 wins, Pox is extremely disruptive and is an excellent weapon against combo decks. This deck has no direct damage to back up its creature rush, but its shadow creatures are unblockable and black weenies are generally harder to remove. Dark Rituals also allow for some ultra-fast draws, such as dropping three 2/2 creatures on turn 1.

Big Red

This mono-red control deck uses land destruction and global removal to take charge. Wildifre and Nevinyrral's Disk clear the table, a variety of spells destoy land and hard to remove creatures such as Shard Phoenix or Orgg are relied on to win the game.

Combo

A variety of decks fits into this category. Basically each of the four combo decks to make top 8's this weekend pursues the same strategy - to generate a large amount of mana (in some cases infinite mana). Three of the decks are relatively similar - they abuse the interaction between the "free" spells (spells that untap your lands when cast), Yawgmoth's Will and Stroke of Genius. Refer to the feature match coverage to get a sample of just how these decks work. The most interesting by far is the Recycle deck played by Ryan Carpenter. It does not actually use Stroke of Genius, relying on Recycle instead. A load of inexpensive artifacts allow you to go through the library quickly and Hurkyl's Recall replaces Stroke of Genius as a card capable of gaining insane card economy. Eventually the deck generates enough mana to kill an opponent with a single Fireball.



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