Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fetch A Shockland: Part 1 - A Journey Into Extended

Hello, new and returning readers and welcome to my newest series: Fetch A Shockland. This series will chronicle my journeys into learning more about Extended as a format, and becoming more skilled in playing it. This first post will be all about the introduction: where I am now, and where I intend to go.

I know a bit about Extended already. I know the major players in the format and I keep a casual view of the metagame. So here's my current, immature analysis of the metagame:

The major players are Zoo, Faeries, Next Level Blue, Hypergenesis, and recently Dark Depths. Various Rock decks including Death Cloud also exist in some capacity. Dredge is a rogue deck that comes and goes in cycles. Everyone forgets about it, and it strikes. Everyone boards in hate, and it dies. People stop boarding in hate, and forget about it. It strikes again.

The deck I intend to begin with is Zoo. It's the only really Tier 1 aggressive deck, but comes in a few flavours. Here are the decks I considered:

Rubin Zoo


  •  Has controllish elements in Baneslayer and Punishing Fire / Grove of the Burnwillows.
  • Good lategame: something many Zoo decks lack.

  • Noble Hierarch is a bad topdeck.
  • Has to play 24 lands, thus has more chance of flood.
  • A lot of people will be playing it, since it won PT: Austin.
Spectral Zoo:


  • Has random tech against Hexmage Depths
  • Has Jitte, which Rubin Zoo couldn't fit in.

  • Sideboard seems weird.
  • Spectral Procession puts a lot of strain on the manabase.
Landfall Zoo:


  • Abuses the HELL out of landfall. I mean, seriously.
  • Has very aggressive starts.
  • Has better Knights than other Zoo builds.

  • Can attack from less angles.
  • Hasn't got much of a late-game.
  • Can't really defend with it's landfall guys.
Hyper Aggressive Zoo:


  • 16 1-drops.
  • Fastest Zoo deck ever.

  • Runs out of gas too quickly.
  • NO lategame.
  • Sweeper = you lose.
I decided to go with a process of elimination. I figured Hyper Aggressive Zoo simply wouldn't cut it in the mirror, so that was out. I also want a deck to start that will teach me a lot about the format, and mindless attacking won't do it. That ends the chances of Landfall Zoo.

I really like Rubin Zoo, but I also like the Jitte. However, in the end, I'm a sucker for an aggro deck that can control the game (that's why I play Jund) and the Grove / Punishing Fire combo simply suckered me in, so I decided to choose Rubin Zoo.

Here's the decklist I will be using, copied almost card for card from Brian Kibler's deck:

Lands (24)

4 Arid Mesa
2 Ghost Quarter
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Marsh Flats
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Sacred Foundry
2 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
2 Treetop Village

Creatures (21)

3 Baneslayer Angel
4 Knight of the Reliquary
3 Noble Hierarch
3 Qasali Pridemage
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Wild Nacatl

Spells (15)

1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Lightning Helix
4 Path to Exile
4 Punishing Fire

Sideboard (15)

3 Ancient Grudge
3 Blood Moon
3 Celestial Purge
2 Ghost Quarter
1 Kataki, War's Wage
3 Tormod's Crypt

The only change I made (and the changes that rippled from that) was removing the Meddling Mages. I don't have enough of a handle on the format to name the right card. Because of that, I removed the Hallowed Fountain from the sideboard, and due to that was able to cut a Marsh Flats for a second Ghost Quarter (against the mirror). To make up for the missing slots, I added Tormod's Crypt as an anti-Dredge mechanism and Celestial Purge against Dark Depths.

I'm concerned about my ability to beat Hypergenesis now, so the next thing to do was to look at the match reports for an idea on how Zoo can combat the deck. I don't know too much about how it works, either.

After a read up on Kibler's beating Hypergenesis, I find that Hierarch into Blood Moon is a strong move, and Ghost Quarter is very good. (So it's good against Hypergenesis, Dark Depths AND Rubin Zoo? Why am I not playing FOUR!?)

And so this is the deck I've decided to play. I'll be playing some matchups over the next week, and that, as well as the lessons I learn about the format, will be featured next week!

Play Along At Home:

This is the Play Along At Home portion of the post. If you want to learn more about Extended yourself, you can follow along with my journey and do what I intend to do in order to improve our knowledge of the format.

Homework: Play 10 matches of Rubin Zoo (either through real-life, proxies, MODO or MWS, I'm really not picky).

Look up some articles on the current metagame and Rubin Zoo.

See you next week with Fetch A Shockland: Part 2!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jay!
    Just wanted to say hey and think it's great you're still going strong with your blog. Well done on 10k unique visitors - that's quite an achievement!

    Really like the 'reaction' thing you have with each blog post.


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