Tag Archives: Magic: The Gathering

New points list! Effective January 1st

There will be a much more formal points list update coming soon but for those wondering here is the new points list along with some justifications for the changes from the council.  The purpose of the change to this 10 point system was to increase the council’s ability to fine tune the points list which was proving challenging in a 7 point system. It will be effective January 1st.  Continue reading New points list! Effective January 1st

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)

The Monday Metagame (March 16th)

This Monday I’m reporting on two different metagames. Highlander for staples happened on the day before Monday night Highlander this week which resulted in an interesting shift in the meta. Stefan Bard took down the staples event with his BUG control deck and then successfully ran it back on Monday to take a huge lead in the year long race with three qualifier points. Stefan’s deck choice is emblematic of the recent Victoria metagame; players are either playing GBx decks, or they are trying to find ways to go under or over those decks. In general those strategies haven’t been able to counteract these GB strategies. The GB decks take advantage of the fact that they are almost always going to be acquiring more value than their opponents. Whether they are of the junk variety and use white cards to disrupt the opponent and play quality removal or splashing blue for counter spells and card draw the deck is very efficient and its individual card quality is usually higher than the opposing decks’.

The decks that have had a good match up against these value decks are the combo decks. Both High Tide and Storm went 3-1 this week and Mono Green Combo had a reasonable showing as well. These decks are either fast enough or interactive enough to get around the discard spells that many of these GB decks play. The one deck that these decks still struggle against is the blue version of the GB deck which potentially demonstrates the true genius of Stefan’s metagame decision.

Lost in these midrange and combo decks are the aggro and control decks. The few aggro decks that people played at the staples event did okay with both Matt and Pat Berdusco making their way into the top 8 with goblins and jund aggro. On Monday however aggro was less present and many of them struggled. Control on the other hand is almost always present due to how attractive it is to experienced players who can gain some advantage out of outplaying their opponents. Alistair Norman made it all the way to the finals on Monday piloting Esper control and Nick Picard also piloted a BUG midrangy control deck to a 3-1 record.

In the current metagame most archetypes are reasonably healthy with the exeception of aggressive decks. They are currently having some issues with the GB decks with a lot of removal and good creatures. Possible directions that the aggressive decks could go in to improve their match up against those decks likely include playing more green based creatures and trying to attack the mana bases of these other midrange decks. Even the straight GB decks play a lot of non basic lands and be vulnerable to cards like wasteland and blood moon. In addition to this these decks are fairly reliant on spending a lot of their mana each turn in order to play their large effective spells. Attacking that mana with cards like Armageddon has the potential to be extremely potent.

The spicy deck of the week award this week goes to Stefan Bard. His BUG control deck is simply too powerful to be ignored. There have been other attempts on this archetype in the past but Stefan has enjoyed particular success of late. The strength of this deck lies in the fact that it maintains all of the benefits that a typical GB shell has such as strength against creature decks while compensating for it’s major weakness, it’s struggle with combo decks, with the blue counter spells. Hopefully we’ll have a deck tech on that deck soon enough!

Here is the metagame!

Continue reading The Monday Metagame (March 16th)

The Monday Metagame (March 9th)

Welcome back to the Monday Metagame! This week the metagame shifted slightly further towards midrange. In addition to moving even more towards midrange the metagame is also starting to shift away from blue decks and towards more green based decks.  Fewer players showed up with combo decks this week as well which meant that many of the midrange decks rose to the top of the standings. Alasdair Howie made yet another run to finals this week as his green black midrange was able to overcome many of the other middling strategies. He however lost in the finals this week to me. I was playing a Bant aggressive deck with some pretty heavy disruptive elements attempting to disrupt other decks mana. This deck’s combination of powerful green creatures and disruptive white and blue elements meant that it was able to over come both aggressive red decks and slower control decks.

This week there were even fewer combo decks in the room than usual. There were no mono green combo decks and only three Academy decks and one Oath of Druids deck. Outside of these three decks there were a few other decks that contained combos in them but were not all in on these strategies. Combo seems like it’s in an incredibly powerful position in the metagame currently. Many of the mid range decks struggle to put a clock on their opponent quickly and are instead looking to acquire significant amounts of value and eventually grind their opponents out of the game. Many of the combo decks in the format can deliberately choose to ignore this value game and instead execute their own game plan efficiently. Furthermore the lack of fast clocks in the format means that many of these decks will be given a significant amount of time to set up before they are forced to go off. Classically tempo has been the hardest match up for combo decks but with many of the tempo decks forced out by midrange combo could be in a very good place right now.

Lastly we have the spicy deck of the week! This weeks award goes to Jeremy for his 4 Colour Oath deck. This deck is extremely well positioned in the metagame currently as there very few decks not playing creatures meaning that triggering Oath is not very difficult. Furthermore the bulk of midrange creature are basically dead to most Oath targets as they have a hard time beating both Emrakul and Griselbrand.

I’ll have a deck tech of Chris Sutherland’s RUG deck and my Bant deck coming out this week.

Also there is a Highlander for staple event this weekend so expect some coverage and deck lists from that!

The meta as always!

4 Colour Graveyard Synergy



4 Colour Artifact Combo

Time Vault Combo

2 Bant Aggro

UWR Control

2 UR Control

BUG Tempo

BG Rock

2 Junk Midrange

2 Junk Pod Combo

4 Colour Oath

UG Tempo

Mono Red Aggro

Bant Midrange

Esper Control

BUG Control

RG Midrange

Esper Prison

RUG Midrange

UR Tempo

Jund Midrange

Thanks as always!

-Liam Coughlan

The Monday Metagames! (February 16th and 23rd)

Finally we’re back! I’d like to formally apologize again for the extended delay on the postings of these metagames but I was delayed for much of last week and couldn’t get everything together in a satisfactory fashion for myself. This week we’re going to do something a little different; rather than tackling each metagame individually we’re going to look at the shift in the metagame and what that means for the future!

Continue reading The Monday Metagames! (February 16th and 23rd)

There Can Only Be One Episode 3! Budget Aggro!

Jeremy and I sit down to chat about some sick budget decklists for aggressive highlander decks!


Please find the deck lists below!

GB Aggro

1 Glissa, the Traitor
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Duress
1 Mind Twist
1 Mesmeric Fiend
1 Brain Maggot
1 Rakshasa Deathdealer
1 Putrid Leech
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Lifebane Zombie
1 Dreg Mangler
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Garruk Relentless
1 Go for the Throat
1 Golgari Charm
1 Putrefy
1 Troll Ascetic
1 Boon Satyr
1 Grafted Wargear
1 Rancor
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Woodland Cemetery
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Pack Rat
1 Pain Seer
1 Bloodsoaked Champion
1 Diregraf Ghoul
1 Hypnotic Specter
1 Tombstalker
1 Hooting Mandrills
1 Herald of Torment
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Lotleth Troll
1 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
1 Skullclamp
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Gravecrawler
1 Gnarled Scarhide
1 Mogis’s Marauder
1 Caller of the Claw
1 Knight of Infamy
1 Desecration Demon
1 Bloodline Keeper
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Strangleroot Geist
1 Great Sable Stag
1 Wolfir Avenger
1 Tormented Hero
1 Brushstrider
1 Bonesplitter
1 Dryad Sophisticate
1 Skyshroud Elite
1 Heir of the Wilds
1 River Boa
1 Skylasher
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Rakdos Cackler
1 Overrun
1 City of Brass
1 Night’s Whisper
1 Dark Tutelage
1 Song of the Dryads
1 Dryad Militant
1 Experiment One
1 Kalonian Tusker
1 Vampire Lacerator
1 Skinshifter
1 Gilt-Leaf Palace
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Temple of Malady
13 Forest
12 Swamp
1 Hero’s Downfall
1 Winter Orb

BR Aggro

1 Lightning Bolt
1 Incinerate
1 Searing Spear
1 Lightning Strike
1 Char
1 Fireblast
1 Arc Trail
1 Blightning
1 Hellrider
1 Hero of Oxid Ridge
1 Terminate
1 Dreadbore
1 Falkenrath Aristocrat
1 Skullclamp
1 Grafted Wargear
1 Rakdos Cackler
1 Diregraf Ghoul
1 Bloodsoaked Champion
1 Gravecrawler
1 Firedrinker Satyr
1 Goblin Guide
1 Ashenmoor Gouger
1 Ashenmoor Liege
1 Pain Seer
1 Blood Scrivener
1 Goblin Rabblemaster
1 Winter Orb
1 Mana Confluence
1 Blood Crypt
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Blackcleave Cliffs
1 Graven Cairns
1 City of Brass
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
1 Ghitu Encampment
1 Mishra’s Factory
1 Tormented Hero
1 Gnarled Scarhide
1 Herald of Torment
1 Master of the Feast
1 Desecration Demon
1 Mogis’s Marauder
1 Duress
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Magma Jet
1 Spike Jester
1 Hellhole Flailer
1 Lifebane Zombie
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Price of Progress
1 Burst Lightning
1 Vampire Lacerator
1 Tattermunge Maniac
1 Dynacharge
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Lightning Mauler
1 Stormblood Berserker
1 Hellspark Elemental
1 Hell’s Thunder
1 Sudden Shock
1 Molten Rain
1 Eidolon of the Great Revel
1 Ash Zealot
1 Anathemancer
1 Stromkirk Noble
1 Skullcrack
1 Flames of the Blood Hand
1 Shrine of Burning Rage
1 Pack Rat
1 Stigma Lasher
1 Keldon Marauders
1 Porcelain Legionnaire
1 Zo-Zu the Punisher
1 Magus of the Moon
13 Mountain
10 Swamp
1 Cryptborn Horror

uW Aggro

1 Geist of Saint Traft
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Grafted Wargear
1 Skullclamp
1 Spectral Procession
1 Honor of the Pure
1 Spear of Heliod
1 Mother of Runes
1 Dryad Militant
1 Boros Elite
1 Soldier of the Pantheon
1 Mardu Woe-Reaper
1 Elite Vanguard
1 Knight of Meadowgrain
1 Isamaru, Hound of Konda
1 Boros Reckoner
1 Angel of Jubilation
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Path to Exile
1 Harm’s Way
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
1 Silverblade Paladin
1 Mirran Crusader
1 Brave the Elements
1 Daring Skyjek
1 Aven Riftwatcher
1 Kor Skyfisher
1 Spirit of the Labyrinth
1 Aegis of the Gods
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Seachrome Coast
2 Island
1 Flooded Strand
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Imposing Sovereign
1 Judge’s Familiar
1 Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
1 Knight of the Holy Nimbus
1 Knight of the White Orchid
1 Leonin Arbiter
1 Knight of Glory
1 Student of Warfare
1 Figure of Destiny
1 Accorder Paladin
1 Sigiled Paladin
1 Benalish Cavalry
1 Doomed Traveler
1 Elite Inquisitor
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 AEther Vial
1 Grand Abolisher
1 Flickerwisp
1 Sublime Archangel
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Hushwing Gryff
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Strip Mine
1 Kor Firewalker
1 Leonin Relic-Warder
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Pianna, Nomad Captain
1 Savannah Lions
1 Serra Avenger
1 Council’s Judgment
1 War Priest of Thune
1 Mishra’s Factory
1 Armageddon
25 Plains

-Liam Coughlan

The Monday Metagame (February 2)

We’re back! This past week had a lot of Highlander played with the year end championships on Sunday and then Monday night Highlander last night! There will a full report from the year end championships published later this week along with all of the deck lists!

As far as Monday of this week there was a slight decline in the number of blue based decks and an increase in the number of aggressive decks. Both creature based decks and more spell based aggressive decks were played to relatively good success. Nelson was even able to take his burn deck (which in fairness was splashing blue for some choice powerful pointed cards) all the way to a 5-0 finish tonight! The speed and efficiency of these decks coupled with the fact that there aren’t very many midrange decks around currently means that these decks can slide past a lot of the tempo and control decks before they are able to set up their mana. Furthermore these aggro decks pressure the combo decks sufficiently to sometimes win before the combo decks can go off.

Speaking of combo decks they were some actual bona fide combo decks this week! While some of these decks were fairly typical such as Trent’s mono green deck and Garret’s Esper Academy deck there was one particularly interesting new deck. Multiple players recently have played around with some reanimation elements in their decks however most of the time the reanimation took a back seat to some other broad strategy. Good examples are things like Esper control featuring Gifts Ungiven as a way to find a reanimation combo quickly or green black decks that use reanimation spells as a way to acquire more value from creatures with ETB effects (Excellent examples of these decks can be found courtesy of Alistair and Alasdair!). This week however Adam Price played a Grixis deck which was much more all in on its reanimation theme. Though this deck possessed control elements however the main game plan involves creating some large threat from the graveyard. This strategy was fairly powerful as many decks either lacked the permission to stop it or were in capable of winning through the reanimated threats.

The last interesting thing from this week is that were literally zero decks which did not contain some number of non basics. Even the mono green combo deck is splashing a few dual lands for activation of lands and Deathrite Shaman. I could well be that non basic hate cards and consistent 1 and 2 colour decks with way of interacting with opponents mana bases might well be at an all time high.

Lastly is the spicy deck of the week! There were a few great candidates for the spicy deck of the week. Jeremy’s Lands deck however takes the award. This deck features several combos with Fastbond and many prison elements to lock the opponent out. At one point this week I saw Jeremy lock a player out by strip mining all of his lands with a Tabernacle of the Pendril Veil in play. The other deck that caught my attention this week was Connor’s 4 colour zoo deck! He’s been playing it for a few weeks and it seems super sweet! I’ll have a deck tech coming out for both these decks in the coming weeks!

As always here is the metagame!

UG Tempo

UB Faeries

Esper Control

Grixis Control


Bant Midrange

Esper Midrange

Esper Academy Combo

UWR Tempo

Pattern Rector

Mono Green Combo

UR Burn

UR Tempo

4 Colour Academy

BUG Infect

BUG Tempo

4 Colour Zoo

Grixis Reanimator

4 Colour Burn

RUG Aggro

GW Aggro

-Liam Coughlan

Monday Metagame Grixis Time Vault Deck Tech

Here is a new deck tech with special guest Jeremy White!

1 Vedalken Shackles
1 Keranos, God of Storms
1 Spellskite
1 Time Vault (5)
1 Cascade Bluffs
1 Ral Zarek
1 Ponder
1 Imperial Recruiter
1 Trinket Mage
1 Baleful Strix
1 Preordain
1 Grindstone
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Painter’s Servant
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Voltaic Key
1 Darkslick Shores
1 Notion Thief
1 Arid Mesa
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Duress
1 Badlands
1 Thoughtseize
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Dack Fayden
1 Blood Crypt
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Damnation
1 Jace, Architect of Thought
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Rough // Tumble
1 Marsh Flats
1 Pestermite
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Think Twice
1 Brainstorm
1 Electrolyze
1 Counterspell
1 Countersquall
1 Force of Will
1 Cryptic Command
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Miscalculation
1 Forbidden Alchemy
1 Impulse
1 Shred Memory
1 Spell Snare
1 Spell Pierce
1 Negate
1 Dismiss
1 Mana Drain
1 Mana Leak
1 Remand
1 Dig Through Time
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 True-Name Nemesis
1 Underground Sea
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Steam Vents
1 Volcanic Island
1 Splinter Twin
1 Demonic Tutor (2)
1 Pyroclasm
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Flooded Strand
1 Deceiver Exarch
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Watery Grave
1 Condescend
1 Compulsive Research
1 Verdant Catacombs
7 Island
4 Mountain
4 Swamp
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
1 Sunken Ruins
1 Daze

-Liam Coughlan