GP Las Vegas: Who Plays Islands?

Beyond Dominia: The Type 1.5/1.X Magic Mill: GP Las Vegas: Who Plays Islands?

By Big Kavu on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 11:42 am:

Well, it would appear that the dominance of Trix, as well as control decks in general, have promoted the use of so much sideboard (and even main deck) hate, that the best deck in the format could no longer keep up.

I've been playing Magic since Ice Age. To my knowledge, this is the first top eight at a major event since the Black Summer where no Islands were present. As an avid beatdown and aggro-control player, I can't help but rejoice at this a bit, even though it clearly is unbalanced.

Did you see the maindeck Choke Mikey P was using? Tight. Blue is blatantly so powerful in extended right now that measures like this are probably necessary to keep it in check. With hate cards like Choke and Phyrexian Furnace are present, combined with the ususal annoyances like Duress and Seal of Cleansing, Trix certainly is in for tough times. What makes Trix so good, however, is that it is very hard, even with all the hate, to consistently beat it.

As we now can see, however, Trix cannot handle this kind of hate round after round. Even though Donate was the most popular deck going into day 2, too many people were ready for it.

I would caution everyone, though, not to view this as an indication that Trix is falling from the #1 perch. The very fact that so much hate must be included in the sideboarded or the main deck demonstrates that it is still the deck to beat. If you try to be sneaky and play sligh, hoping to beat the PT Junk and Zombie decks that have made a recent a recent surge, you will be Donated out of the tournament. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of weeks. IMO, I think too many people will let up and start worrying more about The Rock and His Millions and PT Junk instead of what is still the main threat out there. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see two or three Donate decks in the top eight at GP Houston.

--Big Kavu

By scrub on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 04:59 pm:

I have been following the coverage and all i can say is that spiritmonger+deed=sum good

By Ufactor (Ufactor) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 06:31 pm:

DCI (read:morons) were fools to think that they could ban everything from trix (except illusions+donate) and produce environment where combo is still valid and actually "healthy" or "balanced". the new rule of Pikula should be "ban everything until Trix is the only combo deck...and then ban Donate."

peace and moxes,
UFACTOR, the Restricted

By War Wolf (Warwolf) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 08:36 pm:

Big Kavu--this might sound counterintuitive, but just because Trick isn't winning doesn't mean it's not the best deck in Extended. Trick skews the format simply because it is there. I mean, maindeck Choke? Do you think that would have been there if Trick wasn't so good? Eventually the environment will revolve back to where decks are metagaming against each other again, and Trick will have a weekend or two of dominance in the PTQ's and then sink back under the surface in a storm of hate.

By BrianB, the Patron of Elves and Silly Combos (Brianb) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 09:41 pm:

Why would you say that the environment isn't balanced now??--it appears better than ever. Blue is the strongest color still, and a combodeck is arguably the best deck (if there even is one right now), but people can pack enough answers to keep them out of the top 8. What's not to like? No U whatsoever at Vegas was probably a statistical fluke, but it does show that at least it's not dominating.

By Ufactor (Ufactor) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 09:56 pm:

hell, NO! there's no diversity. you have the same problem that plagues type 1 until Jan.01; non-blue=crap. as described profoundly on starcity ( tier one extended deck are all the same because of the FoW, card draw, morphling/donate franchise. and while I can't say that combo should never be a viable deck choice (off the record: they need to go), they should Never be so good that you choices are decks containing FoW or decks that contain MD Choke. so DCI needs to either make the banned list longer than it already is or finally rotate the sets.

peace and moxes,
UFACTOR, the Restricted

By War Wolf (Warwolf) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 11:34 pm:

I can't agree with that. There were five (?) different decks represented in the top 8 at Vegas...and NONE of them had blue. The ninth place deck was possibly the most different blue deck at the whole tournament. What this shows me is that there is room for innovation in the format. In fact the only color that is relatively weak right now (and argue with me if you wnat) is red. Everything else can compete and do well.

As for tier 1, Junk fits the bill, putting two decks in the top 8 at Vegas. No blue there. Three reanimator decks made top 8 in Vegas and the PT. No blue there. Non-blue does not equal crap. Seems like a pretty narrow-minded way to not enjoy the Extended season to me.

By BrianB, the Patron of Elves and Silly Combos (Brianb) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 12:17 am:

If you get all your opinions programmed into your brain by random writers on starcity, that could explain your inability to process new data from Vegas (ie, blue is beatable). And it's not like everyone is running overt maindeck hate. 1 guy maindecked a choke as a metagame call, and only really was able to get away with that, because he's running a couple tutors to find it when needed. The extended environment hasn't been this good since before the Urza's Saga debacle. Combodecks will be around as long as the environment has card-drawing engines and tutors, but if you limit the best search and draw engines, they won't harm the environment. It's gonna be a cool season.

By TracerBullet on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 12:18 am:

Well, I'm starting to think those maindeck B2B I have in my Forbiddian will look pretty good.....

By Big Kavu on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 12:02 pm:


I didn't intend to say the environment as a whole is unbalanced. Just meant to say that the top 8 results at Vegas itself were unbalanced, which is true.

Also, there was more maindeck hate present than Choke. I also consider Furnace to be maindeck hate for Trix as well. You have a chance to completely cripple thier AK engine with it, at the cost of two mana and no cards. At the very least, though, you'll knock out at least one AK, so they'll just be drawing 2 then 3 instead of 3 then 4. That makes a big difference. Almost every deck I make right now has at least a couple of Furnaces maindeck, but I wouldn't run them if they were just good against reanimator. So Trix does face a lot of maindeck hate.

War Wolf:

I had already stated, actually, that I think Trix is by far the best deck in the environment. I don't think it's going to sink back under a storm of hate, though, because if one of it's main foils, PT Junk, gets too popular, then Sligh will start to be good again. Sligh's game one stats versus Junk is amazing, and that is what will stop Junk from permanetly dispatching Trix. The decks that can beat Trix are not nearly as resilent as Trix itself, which is why I think Illusions/Donate will still be the top dog for the rest of the season. We'll have to wait a couple of weeks, though, to get more of an accurate idea of what will happen.

--Big Kavu

By BrianB, the Patron of Elves and Silly Combos (Brianb) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 12:42 pm:

Furnace is broadly useful enough right now that I wouldn't deem it deck hate anyway. It wrecks reanimator, and is ok against trick, oath, and anything that likes to abuse gaea's blessing. At worst it cycles. It's easy to fit into most decks. Even so, you'll see only a few maindeck. Though you personally might like them (not a bad call really), they are mostly filling up sideboards still. Your point is correct, though, that trick isn't gone. While it isn't by far the best deck, it is certainly tier 1. It will continue to show up in fair numbers and win more than its share.

By BrianB, the Patron of Elves and Silly Combos (Brianb) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 12:44 pm:

BTW kavu, the semi-flame from my post before was at ufactor, not at you. Most of what you said is on-target.

By War Wolf (Warwolf) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 04:58 pm:

BigKavu: I totally missed that as I read. I must have been high or something. I apologize.

But let's take a look at your Big Three, Junk, Sligh, and Trick. A deck could be easily designed to beat at least two of those consistently. Maher-Oath, for instance, can take Junk and Sligh and still have a decent chance against Trick. I think it will come down to metagaming correctly, and playing the right good deck.

By prime time on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 10:22 pm:

i think intuition is broken :)

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