OBC Metagame Analysis

Posted in Event Coverage on March 15, 2002

By Ben Seck

Walking around the tables, it was very apparent that two strategies would dominate Pro Tour Osaka, both involving significant Torment additions, the Blue/Green Madness Deck and the powerhouse Mono-Black near creatureless control deck. Nearly accounting for over half of the field, both these styles completely eclipse their nearest rival, which is the Blue/Black Psychatog deck.

The basis of the Blue/Green is nearly all about aggression, though some independent playtest groups decided to increase the amount of control (especially Compulsion and Cephalid Looter) elements. They all share very similar creature bases, with the ubiquitous Wild Mongrel, Aquamoeba, Basking Rootwalla and Arrogant Wurm all featuring prominently. Most have Roar of the Wurm, as well as Upheaval which allows the deck a well needed reset against the nearly constant matchups with the Control Black decks. Several teams have decided on variants of this archetype, with Team Godzilla, Your Moves Games and most of the members of the Colony all having members sporting variants of this archetype. You know a deck is good if Kai Budde is piloting at the helm.

Mind Sludge
On nearly the opposite side of the spectrum is the creatureless or near creatureless Mono-Black control decks, most of which only have a few methods of killing an opponent. Common elements include the inclusion of Innocent Blood, Chainer's Edict, Mutilate, Mind Sludge and your friend and mine, Nantuko Shade. There seems to be no significant consensus whether concerning the inclusion of Morbid Hunger. In addition to these cards there is actually a large amount of variance in the field, with some interesting twists with Mirari, Braids, Cabal Minion, Shambling Swarm, and in the case of the Your Move Games version, Stalking Bloodsucker!

The third part of the Odyssey Block metagame triangle is the Black/Blue Psychatog deck, a cousin to its Standard format. The OBC version seems to be centred around the Upheaval, with most versions running at least 2-3 in deck and sideboard. Shadowmage Infiltrator was less popular than would generally be expected, with oly approximately one-third of versions running Jon Finkel's card. Many variants included Zombie Infestation in an attempt to combo with the Upheaval.

The most significant true aggro deck of the format is Mono-Green, and it seems to be a minor player in this format,though it was well represented amongst some prominent Pros. But it seemed to be having a tough time of it, with Jon Finkel and Dan OMS dropping out early with it. But any deck with squirrels and Overrun has the chance of winning an match. Tech seems to be the use of Squirrel Mob, and with so many Nests n the format, they are often extremely large Squirrels in the Red Zone.

Amongst the other rogue deck are: pretty much anything with white, the Colony Compulsion/Burn/Pyschatog deck, red/green Reckless Charge and some Black/Green Nest/Braids decks. This was a tournament dominated by archetypes – no one seemed to come up with any breakthough decks.

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