ith most of the most popular decks out of the way, I thought I'd take a walk on the wacky side. Wonder
ing what those one-of decks are in the breakdown? Want to remember all those lesser-known strategies that are still looking for their big Extended break? Look no further!
Crazy Pedro! Players:
1 Player in Day Two
Has Pedro finally lost it? It's hard to say. Ninja of the Deep Hours is a dangerous creature and this deck has several ways to frustrate its opponents. It can Trinket Mage for several nasty targets and it even has the Troll-Worship lock. Meddling Mage is everyone's favorite double-off-color utility creature but rarely is Thornscape Apprentice also on hand for anyone who would think that this deck is normal.
I'm guessing the plan is to pose a whole bunch of different questions in the hopes that there's something there to stop everyone, then use the sideboard to replace the parts of the deck that aren't appropriate with new parts that are. While last year's Extended champion is forced to cheer from the sidelines, his friend Tiago Chan has taken the deck into the second day. Players:
In Day Two
When you see the mana base this deck might look like Balancing Tings, but Bulger has something else in mind: Dragons. Lots of Legendary Dragons. He's going for the full nine mana and the instant kill off four copies of Kokusho - all you need is mana, and that's what most of this deck is. Burning Wish brings him up to seven copies of his key spell and Tainted Pact can stop when it finds either of them. The deck might look weak, vulnerable and inconsistent on first glance but when almost all your cards provide more than one mana, getting to nine is not as hard as it sounds as Bulger rode the Dragons all the way to Day Two.
Then there's the other Dragon deck…
The Dragons might not live after a Patriarch's Bidding but due to the timing rules that gives them plenty of time to come back again. Boseiju protects the one key spell in the deck while the rest of Cook's cards concentrate on getting those Dragons into the graveyard and the Bidding into his hand. He may not quite have had the consistency or speed to make it to Day Two, but I guarantee he had a blast along the way.
Flaming Mudballs aka Take TwoPlayers:
While Psychatog players pulled all sorts of drawn-out Dredge tricks, Avri Rahamim decided to take the direct approach: Take those lands and throw them at his opponents' head. He even used Sprouting Vines and Kodama's Reach to fetch even more lands to throw to Seismic Assault which he searched out with Gifts Ungiven. The deck is very rough around the edges. He looks like he could use far more 'creative' mana to do the same things as his Tog-wielding rivals, several more cards for Gifts Ungiven purposes and a way to punch Seismic Assault through resistance more effectively. The deck might even find a way to run Togs. It's certainly a different approach to using one of the most important Extended cards to come out of Ravnica. Players:
Did not make Day Two
Sam Gomersall and Gabe Walls
If you've never seen Gabe Walls playing a Battle of Wits deck, let me assure you that you are missing out on some good times. Just don't let him talk you into taking the deck seriously. Objectively, the deck is terrible. You're spending lots of mana doing nothing in particular, your mana base is hideously slow and you have little chance of beating any of the top strategies. You never know what you're going to get with Battle of Wits, and torturing your opponent with the shuffling and searching problems the deck has is part of the fun. The one thing you most certainly shouldn't expect is victory. Playing four colors gives the decks plenty of tools but Extended is a faster format than this. In Standard the deck is actually quite good, and it sent multiple people into the Top 8 of the Last Chance Qualifier.
Did not make Day Two
Creatures? We don't need creatures! All right, we'll use one, but we won't like it! When you pull out Flames of the Blood Hound the message is clear: This man is serious. I can't say I think that he made all the right burn choices, but there are a lot of cards here that pack quite a punch. If anything, I question Grim Lavamancer as the man has the biggest target known to man on his head. Giving up on the quick creature damage is tough when such good ones are available, but there were a lot of people who were doing a lot of damage to themselves with their lands. A more developed burn deck could be a serious problem for them.
Braids, AKA "Blue/Black Trash" Players:
4-4 (missed Day Two)
Dark Confidant is a great addition to almost any black deck that has creatures and can hold down its casting costs, so Kreher figured why not add it to Braids? The sideboard gets a lot of great versatile cards while the maindeck works together towards one goal. The sad truth however is that Braids was never on the same level as the top-tier strategies and while the deck has received help, it is not enough - you're far too dependant on a fragile plan, with Engineered Plague out of the sideboard the only hope against several aggressive decks and little way to accomplish much if your opponent can kill Braids or you fail to draw it. Even worse, Life from the Loam threatens to invalidate the deck's core strategy even if you can attack it with four copies of Withered Wretch.
"Wishful Solution" (aka The New Solution) Players:
Any deck willing to call itself an offshoot of The Solution in a format as powerful as Extended is going to get attention from me, as like all old Pros I'm a sucker for my glory days (and decks). While Donovan might not have quite reached for the Crimson Acolytes, he did find room for multiple creatures with Protection from Red. It takes a strong metagame call to go with Galina's Knight over all the other options out there. Cunning Wish provides the backup and Kataki can substitute for subpar creatures. Unfortunately Extended will never be as focused as block. Even with Goblins as one of the top three decks and Jank not far behind there was nowhere near enough red to create a problem worthy of a full-blown Solution.
Almost Landstill (aka White/Blue Control) Players:
It looks a lot like the Legacy builds, doesn't it? There are just three problems: Force of Will, Swords to Plowshares and Mishra's Factory. You have them there, you don't have them here. It shows. Force Spike is an attempt to keep things under control, but it is not the same. Not having lands worth attacking with is even worse. You can get a surprising amount of game out of playing a bunch of counters and removal spells but the tools aren't there to make this a top strategy.
Birds of Dimir (aka U/B Aggro) Players:
Playing green just so you can get Birds of Paradise… and nothing else? Oh, there's one Pernicious Deed in the sideboard. Otherwise, strange but true! With both Birds of Paradise and Chrome Mox, there's an excellent chance he can power out a card-advantage creature on the second turn with the plan being to ride it to victory, but not even Ravnica can make this mana base quite work out. Leonardo ended the day with two wins.
"Let's see, I like Isochron Scepter, and I like Psychatog… how about both!"
Why not, indeed? This list is essentially a Scepter deck with Tog thrown in - once again, all hail Ravnica dual lands. Orim's Chant is an excellent way to make sure the coast is clear, but Scepter decks don't tend to have enough extra cards to make Tog the kind of thing worth splashing for. The new Life from the Loam decks are finally teaching us what a real Psychatog can do.