New Standard – Interactions

I’ve been trying to do a bunch of deck brewing with my friends and there are surely plenty of ideas to go around. We’ve ranged from building entirely new lists to taking proven tournament lists and trying to see where Magic 2011 cards can fit in or improve the deck.┬áThere are many sources of inspirations in the interactions and combos that Magic 2011 brings to the table for standard play to draw on when building your constructed decks. Nationals and PTQ results have also been pouring in, providing all sorts of deck lists and interesting data.

This post really is just my journey through some of the cool interactions in the new standard environment. I’m sure I will miss plenty, but I look forward to discovering them or reading about them. I’ve tried to organize the list a bit to cut down on the clutter, but it’s not presented in any particular order in terms of card quality or power.

Fauna Shaman

One of the more obvious applications of Fauna Shaman is to pair it with Vengevine. We’ve seen the Mythic Conscription deck updated to utilize the Shaman to set up the Vengevines as well as to search up the Sovereigns of Lost Alara. I’ve yet to see her used with Bloodghast, but that combo seems pretty ridiculous as well. Both Vengevine and Bloodghast allow you to grind your opponent out with recurring creatures. The Shaman makes it ridiculous by allowing you to chain into more of them.

Discarding one of the Eldrazi giants – Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, or Kozilek, Butcher of Truth – allows you to perform a reset of your deck or library. You can even search for the Eldrazi you discarded as the Eldrazi graveyard trigger will go on the stack on top of the Shaman’s activation, shuffling the Eldrazi back into your deck before you perform the search.

Conundrum Sphinx

This card is pretty obviously abused by library manipulation. Pairing it with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Halimar Depths and [Ponder] are all good. Really in a mono blue deck I see this as a Thieving Magpie on steroids. Without the library manipulation the card is still decent, but it’s more of a fun than strong.

Primeval Titan

This guy is so powerful. He fits into existing decks like Turboland, has brought Valakut decks back to life, and he blows the dust off old decks such as Wildfire when combined with Destructive Force. So very many uses. His power is so great because land manipulation is really one of the most powerful cross-format abilities in the game of Magic. I don’t think people have even fully realized all the decks that he makes better yet.

I personally think there’s great potential for the Titan in decks with Steppe Lynx and Plated Geopede. The Lynx and Geopede are very strong in the early game, and should you have one late game with the Titan, they turn into monsters. A Lynx or Geopede attacking with this Titan will potentially be 8/9 and 9/9, respectively, if you search up two fetchlands with the Titan. And that can happen every turn provided you have enough land left in your deck.

The Titan powers up Ob Nixilis, the Fallen to absurd levels as well. Ob can delivers 12 damage to the dome and becomes a 15/15 the turn Primeval Titan comes into play. If you can ramp into Ob Nixilis followed by Primeval the next turn unopposed and you don’t win the game, you’re likely doing something wrong.

I really like the idea of pairing the Titan with Destructive Force and Knight of the Reliquary. The Knight survives the Force as the land goes to the graveyard before it does the five damage to all creatures. The Titan and Knight also have analogous abilities which would help make your deck more consistent.

Another set of cards that are pretty useful with really any of the Titans are Rite of Replication, Clone, or Renegade Doppleganger. What’s better than one Titan? More Titans! I really would prefer to clone the Grave Titan as that just seems downright unfair.

Mitotic Slime

The Slime just seems like one of the most perfect cards in terms of flavor being in harmony with the design and mechanics. I really love this card. Marries well with Destructive Force and sacrificial outlets like Eldrazi Monument.

Aether Adept

Of course, good with any enters the battlefield effects. Really nice with Augury Owl. Possibly very good with Manic Vandal against the future artifact-heavy environment. Not much that’s truly new, per say, with this card as it’s a slightly modified Man-’o-War and much has already been said about that card.

Voltaic Key

This card is sure to be in a broken combo once Scars of Mirrodin enters the fray. Currently it’s great with Crystal Ball as it lets you see so many more cards than you normally would. It’s also a nice addition to the Steel Overseer and Triskelion combo. Almost ridiculous. Mow down your opponents mana dorks, plant tokens, planeswalkers or just hit them in the head. The Key is also nice with Temple Bell, provided you don’t mind giving your opponent more cards. Might be nice in a discard deck, where you want your opponent to have cards to discard so you can force card advantage further in your favor.

Diminish

This is really a fun little card and an enabler of a bunch of ways to remove pesky creatures. Pair it with Cunning Sparkmage, Prodigal Pyromancer, Triskelion, Stabbing Pain, Hornet Sting, Seismic Shudder, etc. Diminish provides plenty of ways to deal with a problematic creature, aside from the obvious blocking scenario. One of the better combat tricks in blue at the price.

Time Reversal

A decent card that was severely overhyped, in my opinion. It may yet find its place in a broken deck, but until then it is still solid. If you cast it with a Lorescale Coatl on the board you end up with a full hand and a 9/9 creature. I would want some Distortion Strikes and Autumn’s Veils to go along with the Coatl as they help protect it and make it deadly. Time Reversal is also decent with Jace’s Erasure, helping to offset the benefit you’re giving to your opponent, though you’d need a dedicated milling deck to make it worthwhile. The pieces for a milling deck have been present in standard for a number of years now, but it’s been a long time since mill has been a popular strategy for competitive play.

Father, husband, programmer, gamer. Magic: The Gathering enthusiast who enjoys playing and discussing the game with anyone who is willing.

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Posted in MTG, Standard

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