Day 1 Deck Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on February 27, 2004

By Josh Bennett

Reap and Sow labs continue to push the boundaries of the conventional so-called science of statistics. To this end they've bombarded the two hundred and thirty-nine decklists from this event with gamma rays and extracted whatever information they could. Below is a rough approximation of Day 1 of a Block Constructed Pro Tour, as if seen from very far away.

Affinity - 110

Don't let this number fool you into thinking there's some consensus as to what should and shouldn't be in an Affinity deck. Once you get past the Skullclamps, Eforcers, Frogmites, and all-important Arcbound Ravagers, the decklists really start to sprawl. The greatest omission is in those decks opting out of Disciple of the Vault. When combined with the Ravager you can go lethal on a moment's notice. Earlier today Eugene Harvey had his board obliterated by Furnace Dragon, but because the Disciple was untouched, he won three turns later. Some decks are running a complement of burn, and the lowly Atogs. Some are running the full Chiss-Goria Suite. Ornithopter is getting more play than ever. Some decks touch white for the tech of Leonine Elder. There are even a handful that can go off with Auriok Steelshaper, Skullclamp, and Genesis Chamber.

Do not underestimate the explosiveness of this deck. It can kill you with its eyes closed.

Green-Red - 44

The so-called Anti-Affinity also has a bit of an identity crisis. These decks sweep the spectrum from control to aggro. Some are green beats that dip into red for Fireball, Electrostatic Bolt and Shatter. Some are huge piles of hate, maxing out on Shatter, Detonate, Oxidize and Glissa Sunseeker. Some are lategame control decks that bank on the power of Molder Slug and Arc Slogger. All are designed to crush affinity like a bug.

Big Red - 39

The point of division for the mono-red decks is Furnace Dragon. Some run next to no artifacts (save the might Jens) to get the better of the Green-Red decks packed with hate cards, while others run artifact lands and Talismans to speed up Furnace Dragons to put the hurt on Affinity. In between they find room for a suite of artifact destruction and burn. More than a few matches this weekend have ended with a gigantic fireball.

Mono-Green Beats - 16

With Oxidize and Viridian Shaman, green has its share of artifact removal. Add to that efficient beaters like Tel-Jilad Chosen and Pulse of the Tangle and you've got the skeleton for a deck that owns the Red Zone. Fangren Firstborn turned a lot of heads when he was first revealed, and it's nice that he's found a home from which to crack skulls.

Death Cloud - 12

Poor Death Cloud. Such a big effect. So slow. Ben Stark's Affinity deck killed a Death Cloud deck on turn four despite being hit by Barter in Blood. On paper the deck looks very powerful, but it just doesn't seem to have the tools to survive the mid-game. Some players have tried augmenting it with some cheap red removal, but it might not be enough.

TwelvePost - 8

Easily the breakout deck of the tournament is this French design that exploits the presence of Sylvan Scrying and Reap and Sow to draw Cloudposts with regularity. What does it do with all that mana? Why, entwine Tooth and Nail, of course. Darksteel Colossus, Platinum Angel and Leonin Abunas are the targets of choice.

White-Based Control - 5

Another card that people expected big things from is Darksteel's Pulse of the Fields. Reusable lifegain had a lot of people musing over a snifter of brandy. Combine that with Pristine Angel, board control like Solar Tide and Oblivion Stone, and Vex for key spells, and you've got a deck that acts a lot better than it looks.

Other - 6

There's not much else out there. Most of the decktypes have a lot of variation within them, so the oddballs are really left out in the cold. Of course there's a white weenie deck or two, and a green control deck, but they really don't look like they've got a lot of fight.

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