Feature: Welcome to the New Extended, Not Quite the Same As the Old

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 2006

By Ted Knutson

Greetings and welcome to my Constructed Pro Tour headache - the new format metagame breakdown. BDM took care of the Standard breakdown in extensive style on Magicthegathering.com earlier in the event, and we will hopefully deliver something similar to what he concocted once we have final standings for the Extended portion of the event on Saturday. In the meantime, however, what I can do is tell you that in the World of Extended, there are a helluva lot of people wearing rose-colored glasses.

Here's the major archetype breakdown and percentages:

94 Boros Deck Wins 29.75
30 U/W Tron 9.49
19 Desire {11 Heartbeat Desire + 8 Ritual Desire} 6.01
15 Goblins {6 Dirty Kitty Goblins + 9 Seething Goblins} 4.75
14 Gifts Rock 4.43
14 Affinity 4.43
14 ScepterChant 4.43
13 Psychatog 4.11
13 Rock and Flow 4.11
11 Zoo 3.48
11 Balancing Tings 3.48
9 Trinket Angels 2.85
8 Friggorid 2.53
6 Sunny Side up 1.9
5 Aggro Loam 1.58

As you can see, approximately 30% of the field chose to run Boros decks for Extended day. Most of us feel that this is largely due to a lack of testing and not due to any particular edge Boros cards have on the field, but we'll know more tomorrow when all the results are in. The next most popular deck posted but a fraction of the following Boros has, but U/W Tron has performed well on Magic Online, which is why it was the deck of choice for 30 players. There were also a couple of players who eschewed the Tron in this deck for the mana combo of Cloudpost and Vesuva, thus freeing up four deck spots of colored mana.

There are three more subsets of decks that deserve particular mention even in this abbreviated introduction. The first subset are the Mind's Desire combo decks. Heartbeat Desire is the standard version that Chris McDaniel made popular back at Pro Tour - Los Angeles, while Ritual Desire is the relatively new deck that we have profiled both in print and in video this weekend. This pair of decks will likely be the weapon of choice for dirty combo players this PTQ season, though an adoption en masse of the French Egg deck cannot be ruled out.

Exalted Angel

The other deck subset is more of a categorical one with Trinket Angels and Rock and Flow. Trinket Angels is the three-color Trinket Mage, Exalted Angel, good stuff deck that Tsuyoshi Fujita has been working on forever. This classic tweener of aggressive and control elements never seemed quite ready for primetime previously, but it has gained more followers since Time Spiral and saw significant play here. Another tweener deck that deserves notice is Rock and Flow, which is generally a collection of green, black, and red's best aggressive elements and mana fixing plus maindeck Destructive Flows to punish players gorging themselves on dual lands. Rock variations always see play during the PTQ season, and both this and Gifts Rock seem to be the best of the lot, though Gifts Rock is by far the more difficult of the two.

For the PTQ season, you obviously have to expect a lot of Boros decks, though likely not quite at the level you see here. You should also expect a heavy surge of Goblins, since the little red men always see play, and often come in swarms when a good version of the deck exists. Just make sure you do some playtesting before you bring the red army to bear on some unwitting opponent, or you may wind up like Ben Stark. As for the rest, we'll have to wait and see what tomorrow's analysis article dredges up in terms of win percentages. Even with those results, the current state of this format is practically virginal, awaiting an enterprising and creative young deckbuilder to tap into the wellspring of hidden power and become Magic's next deckbuilding celebrity. Playtesting for the PTQ season is practically guaranteed to result in a large payoff for players everywhere.

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