The Monday Metagame(April 20th)

Hey Everyone! I was really struggling with what to write about the metagame for this past week and it wasn’t until I built my deck for this week that I decided on what to say!

The last week was dominated by aggressive and midrange decks with both of those types of strategies pushing tempo out of the metagame. Noel continued his heater with another finals appearance playing Bant Aggro. This deck has been incredibly successful this year and it appears that that particular colour combination contains the necessary creature quality and speed to outclass other aggro decks and out race combo and control decks. The white element in the deck also allows for enough disruptive hate cards such as Armageddon and Thalia to either steal games or eek out the few extra turns required to close out a game.

Jeremy’s Mono black epitomizes the midrange strategies that have started to crop up in the metagame as well. These midrange decks have decent game against pretty much everything and really take advantage of powerful cards in their respective colours. Several RUG Planeswalkers decks also appeared which capitalized on the synergies of planes walkers and time walks. Both Nelson and AD had a some fairly ludicrous board states where they got to activate Planeswalkers several times at once before their opponent got a chance to respond.

Chris Sutherland took down the tournament this week with his UWR tempo deck. Though many tempo decks got pushed out of the top tables by the aggro decks Chris’ combination of red and white cheap removal are potent enough to sure up that match up a little bit.

The Spicy deck of the week aware goes to Jeremy White for his Mono Black deck. This midrange deck is powerful and consistent and produces some fairly broken draws with cards like dark ritual and necropotence.

The metagame as always!

Continue reading The Monday Metagame(April 20th)

The Monday Metagame (April 13th)

Hello again everyone! The metagame for this week was very intriguing so let’s dive right into it!

There were still a lot of players present for this Monday though the numbers were slightly lower than they have been in the past few weeks. That being said the meta was still extremely diverse. Ultimately Colin ended up triumphing over the rest of the competition with his mono red deck!

One of the more interesting developments is the slow rise of true combo decks that has been happening over the past few weeks. For a while the only notable true combo deck appearing each week was Robin Sorenson’s storm deck but slowly other players have started to move in that direction with Josh Layne picking up Flash Hulk again and Trenton returning with mono green combo. One of the factors that has benefitted these players greatly is their experience playing these combo decks and it certainly shows in the results that it’s quite rare for players who are very new to a combo deck to be very successful.

The rest of the field was fairly balanced with control aggro and tempo making up the bulk of the metagame. Tempo ended its reign of terror from last week as only one tempo deck made it to the 3-0 bracket and it lost playing to get into the finals. In its place rose a variety of different aggressive decks from the eventual winning mono red deck piloted by Colin, to the very disruptive black white hate bears deck played by Rowan, to the very robust and powerful Bant deck that Noel played. All of these aggressive really prey on the tempo decks in the format. In fact the presence of these aggressive decks is likely what keeps tempo from being the best deck in the format as it is their only really bad match up.

Ultimately if these aggressive decks begin to push more and more of the tempo decks out of the format playing control and midrange become more exciting deck options! Winning the midrange and control mirror is also a concern that these decks will likely need to take into account! It is there that balance lies, finding a way to both beat up on the aggressive decks without conceding too much against the other decks looking to go big!

The spicy deck of the week award goes to Nelson for his super cool Jund Land destruction deck. This deck looks to curve early mana acceleration into land destruction into some large threat to end the game. The deck is certainly capable of ending games with its opponents having no permanents and has some ferociously punishing opening hands. Nelson has been on a bit of a slump lately but with great deck design like he’ll be out of it in no time!

Here is the meta as always!

Continue reading The Monday Metagame (April 13th)

The Monday Metagame (April 6th)

Hey friends and welcome back to Monday Metagame! I took forever to process this weeks metagame as it was large and very complicated. Most archetypes were fairly well represented in the meta with blue decls tending to rise to the top. The four 3-0 decks at the beginning of the fourth round were BUG tempo, Bant tempo, UR tempo, and UB control. What was incredible about this particular week was that despite the 30 person attendance there were almost no repeat decks! In a field as varied as this one there are a few things that are particularly important in deck selection. Firstly the deck needs to have game plan that is streamlined and focused. With so many different strategies possible in Highlander it is not realistic to craft a deck that is partially good against some match ups and partially good against others as this deck will often lose to itself being too slow and unfocused just as often as it loses due to piloting. For instance a deck that I played very early in my time in Highlander was a BUG infect deck that played a bunch of tempo counter spells and pump spells to go along with a suite of infect creatures. The problem with this deck was that I would have really awkward draws where my hand would contain a bunch of creatures and counterspells but no way to end the game or I would end up with hands of just pump spells and counterspells. What I discovered was that the most powerful draws were those where I had both creatures and pump spells and maybe one counterspell to protect my creature. My deck suffered greatly from being extremely unfocused but if I had perhaps built with more pump spells and fewer counterspells perhaps it would have yielded better results. The second aspect a successful deck in a very diverse format requires to have multiple angels of attack. This doesn’t mean that the deck needs to be able to attack its opponents life total as well as threaten to mill it out or kill its opponent with infect. Rather attacking on multiple angels means that a deck has multiple means of accomplishing its goal. A good example of this is the BG rock deck that both Alasdair and Alistair (if only they spelled their names the same way) have favoured recently. This deck’s ultimate goal is to take control of the board and neutralize potential threats from the opponent. Within the core strategy are many different angles, the deck plays creatures like Tarmogofy, Thrun, and Thragtusk, large resilient creatures which exert a lot of pressure  as one its angles of attack however it is not limited to these. The deck also plays many planeswalkers which exert pressure on the board by making creatures or pressuring the opponents life total. The opponent is now obliged to both deal with a tarmogofy and planeswalker both of which require very different types of interaction. Having multiple angles of attack is especially important in a diverse metagame because in any given round you have a reasonable equal chance of playing a deck which excels against one particular aspect of your deck but might struggle against others. The third aspect a successful deck in an extremely varied metagame requires is an unbeatable draw. Obviously this is slight hyperbole but each deck needs some sequence of opening plays that should win most games. This can manifest in a bunch of different ways. For a tempo deck this opening might involve playing Delver on turn one and then having 6 counterspells as back up for the rest of the game. An aggressive deck might curve out perfectly with a Mox and play a powerful 2 drop into a 3 drop into a 4 drop that kills its opponent. For combo decks these broken starts are quite obvious and just involve getting a combo together quickly. Control decks have some of the more interesting broken starts as they typically involve a curve of Sol Ring into some powerful planeswalker. Regardless of what this broken start is a powerful deck in a broad field needs to have this potential. You’re going to play enough games in a given tournament that having the potential to just acquire a free win is essential. The spicy deck of the week award goes Serge for his 4 colour Lands deck which he titled “Maximum Picante” this is a super cool list and features a lot of highly underused cards!

Here’s the meta as always!

Continue reading The Monday Metagame (April 6th)

The Monday Metagame (March 30th)

Welcome back everyone! This week we had 28 players show up for Monday night Highlander which meant that we had a large and diverse metagame! This week was marked by a departure away from the GBx decks that had previously been dominating the metagame. This may well be partly due to the recent changes to the points list, Mind twist and Treasure Cruise both went to 1 point and Intuition and Grim Tutor both went to 0. These changes were largely motivated by the power of Twist and Cruise in Midrange decks and the relative lack of power of both Intuition and Grim Tutor. So far the changes do not appear to have an enormous impact on the format though it is worth noting that all 4 of the cards did not see a great deal of play on Monday.

The biggest change that occurred this week was that players actually began to play aggressive decks. Prior to this week there were only a few aggro decks in the meta each week however this week there were many more. This was probably in reaction to the fact that more people had chosen to play midrange decks. The faster aggro decks have the potential to go under some of midrange decks and more importantly they pressure the combo decks that have cropped up as a response to the midrange decks.

There are some very interesting tensions that developed from the shift in the meta. While the Tempo decks that cropped up this week perform well against the combo decks they tend to struggle greatly against the aggressive decks. Similarly the aggressive decks that perform well against the tempo decks and have some game against the midrange decks and control decks but struggle to interact with some of the extremely fast combo decks like storm and eggs. There’s a great deal of pushing and pulling going in the meta right now and working out the best deck is no easy task. I look forward to seeing how players attempt to compensate for how varied their potential opponents might be. Above all else it is clear that currently it pays to have a very clear and defined game plan. Decks are getting more and more tuned and if your strategy is too slow to develop and does not have considerable interaction then you’re likely in trouble.

The Spicy deck of the week award goes to Nick Picard for his UW Tempo deck. There have been several attempts at this deck before but Nick really hit the mail on the head with his rendition of the deck. What’s interesting about his list is that he chose to go a bit bigger than typical other tempo decks playing quite a few 4 drops and far fewer 1 and 2 drops than the standard tempo strategy. Furthermore his deck featured several new Dragons of Tarkir cards in Myth Realized and Ojutai Exemplars. Well done Nick!

The Meta as usual is listed below:

Continue reading The Monday Metagame (March 30th)