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Posts Tagged ‘Scute Mob’

Few decks ever suceed without creatures. Only the stoutest of control decks can surivive without them, and even then, most control strategies unleash a few monsters to finish the job. However, not any creature will do. Many are printed, few are chosen. Gone are the days of Grizzly Bears and Shivan Dragon; in today’s removal heavy world, every creature must be worth more than it’s mana cost, or at least the cost of the spell used to take it out.

So who are these superstars of today’s standard metagame? It’s hard to tell. A few stand out, either being great on their own or finding a home in a currently sucessful deck.

Baneslayer_Angel_509

Like any good superstar; just as many people hate the Baneslayer as love her.

Here are the critters I consider A-listers. Most of them don’t need any explaination; you should already know what they do.

Baneslayer Angel
Bloodbraid Elf
Putrid Leech
Sprouting Thrinax
Ranger of Eos
Broodmate Dragon
Iona “I-own-you“, Shield of Emeria
Wall of Denial
Lotus Cobra
Sphinx of Jwar Isle

However, with Zendikar on the table for little over a month, decks are still being tuned in card shops, apartments and basements, and new creatures are being used and abused,  just waiting to be unleased on an unsuspecting meta.

Here are some of the guys I think might be up-and-coming stars.

Knight of the Reliquary
I mentioned this before, but I think KotR is going to only become more powerful as the Zendikar block continues. She works great with the fetches and with the introduction of the landfall mechanic, can do all sorts of little tricks by sacking lands and putting another in play. She can grow quite large too, sacking lands to find fetches to sack for another land.

Steppe Lynx
Steppe Lynx has two things going for him, his mana cost and the ease of triggering the landfall mechanic. In the right deck he could dish out some serious early damage, as well as be a nice surprise blocker. The lynx can also be found with Ranger of Eos, allowing for players to consistantly put him on the board. The one W cost also makes him a very efficient; no matter how they get rid of him, you only paid one.  If the right landfall deck is built, this guy will be a superstar.

Scute Mob
A lot of people are on the fence about this guy, but I think the bug is one of the most efficient creatures around. The mob is a 1/1 for G, but eventually he’s going to be a 5/5 for G, and then a 9/9 for G. However, the “eventually” part is what scares most people off. What also scares people is wasting removal, any removal, on a 1/1 you paid G for, and they’ll let him nibble away until they absolutly have to do something about him. If he gets his grow on, he becomes a beast. I think the mob has a place in a lot of deck, from aggro to control, and making him grow isn’t hard, especially with a little mana acceleration.

Ob Nixilis
Like the Lynx, with a deck centered on landfall, Ob could become a serious threat. Yes, there is a chance you are going to pay 3BB for a 3/3 who is going to get smoked by Lightning Bolt, but if you are smart about it, there is also a chance you are going to get a 6/6 or a 9/9 and make the opponent lose 6 life for 5BB. People are tyring to make this happen as we speak.

ThornlingWhen people first saw Thornling, they went nuts; until they saw Path to Exile, that is. However, last time I looked, the most popular deck in the format doesn’t run white, or anything that could deal with him at all, for that matter. Thornling is a solid creature that would have been better in a format without so many “removed from game” effects, but that shouldn’t mean he never sees play. Perhaps he could be a good sideboard card against Jund, or as a nice ramp monster. Remember, they can’t path him unless they have the card in their hand. Don’t be a fraidy-cat!

Thornling

Dumb looking and a bit redundant, but he could be a solid beater.

 

Great Sable Stag
The stag saw a lot of play when Faeries was still in standard, but since then, players have put him down for different monsters. I wonder, why? He still has protection from black, and black is all the rage right now. Yes, the Jund player can bolt him, but that is four cards in 60, and Vampires can’t do shit. The proud stag should at least be boarded if players don’t want to run him in the maindeck.  

Bloodghast
Bloodghast has a few things keeping him from greatness right now, Vampires, Creatures, and spells that have the word “exile” on them. All are very popular, and all pose a major threat to the ghast. He doesn’t have a home outside vampires at the moment, and that deck is pretty bad, at least when it runs up against competent players with a good deck. The Bloodghast is also terrible when it comes to fighting the other super-powered creatures in today’s metagame, though he can do a fair job of trading with a few of them. Finally, he gets pathed a whole lot, which wouldn’t be so much of a problem if most decks running path didn’t also run creatures he can’t get through. However, if he finds his way into a non-vampire deck or if the metagame sees a shift from it’s current state, he could become a nusiance. He is nearly impossible to deal with using conventional removal, and countering him is just as useless. All it takes is a few in the graveyard and a land drop to cause a serious problem.

Emeria Angel
Again, if landfall becomes a serious deck, this critter could become quite popular.  A 3/3 flier who makes little birds every time a land drops. It wouldn’t be hard to power out 2-4 birds in a turn, and this could be deadly with Garruk and Overrun.
Please notice, landfall looks to work the best with W/B and G at the moment, which also happen to be the colors with some of the best spells avaliable at the moment.

World QuellerWorld Queller
The queller is a nice combination of body and utility. He is a 4/4 for 5, which isn’t bad when you couple it with the ability to cause each player to sacrifice a permanant of the type you choose each upkeep. You get to choose  the type, each upkeep. It might seem awkward at first, but with the right set-up, the savvy player can find ways around his drawback of having to sacrifice something of your own.

There are the guys I would be watching. To see some new standard decks and perhaps a glimps of how these creatures might be put into a deck, visit the official WotC website to see the recent Magic Game Day decks.

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Woolly

Big and dumb can be pretty dangerous.

 One of my favorite decks is Naya Zoo. Yeah, it is a tier 2, at the moment,  but I think the deck has the potential to break into the top tier.

I’ve been playing Naya Zoo for quite some time now, and it seems pretty solid. That being said, I cannot say much about how it matches up in today’s metagame. I haven’t played consistently enough against the same sort of decks you would see at a major tournament.

What I can tell you is what the deck does well. It plays cheap and powerful or cheap and potentially powerful creatures and turns them sideways. Yes, it is a beatdown deck. However, it has a few tricks. Naya Zoo generates card advantage with cascade and Ranger of Eos, a pretty nice trick with all of the removal out there. It also has a bit of removal too, for things like those pesky Baneslayer Angels.

As much as a dumb monster deck as Naya Zoo is, you cannot just throw things out there without thinking and expect to win. I know this from experience. Naya Zoo still requires brains. I would have to say 50% of my losses with this deck were due to user error.

Here is a build I went 5-2 with last Friday.

Naya Zoo

 
Creatures
3 Scute Mob
4 Wild Nacatl
3 Woolly Thoctar
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Ranger of Eos
3 Enlisted Wurm Planeswalkers
2 Ajani Vengeant

  

Instants
4 Path to Exile
3 Lightning Bolt
2 Naya Charm

Lands
2 Mountain
4 Plains
4 Forest
4 Jungle Shrine
4 Arid Mesa
4 Rootbound Crag
3 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Sideboard
3 Qasali Pridemage
3 Dauntless Escort
3 Volcanic Fallout
3 Great Sable Stag
3 Journey to Nowhere

Again, I can’t say a whole lot about the matchups. I only played a few decks what I would consider “mainstream”. However, I can briefly discuss some of the cards  and how they perform.  

Scute Mob: Some say he’s great, others say he sucks, but his board presence is undeniable. He has to be answered eventually, or he will quickly get out of hand. Yes, all removal kills him, but you only paid one G. Maybe he’s a 1/1, maybe he’s a 9/9.  

Knight of the Reliquary: The best trick with her is to blow up a plains and then look for an Arid Mesa. You can figure out what to do next. Not only does this help her grow by 2 each turn, but it helps to thin your deck out too. Block and do it before damage is dealt.  She can be a lot of work, and I would suggest boarding her out in control matchups where the chances of your hard work paying off are minimal. Against other creature decks with little removal, she’s a superstar.

Enlisted Wurm: Cascade is insane, and to keep up with something like Jund, you need to be able to “cheat” in as many free monsters and spells as possible. Not only can the wurm do that, but he has a solid body as well.

Naya Charm: I only saw this a few times, but it was a monster each time I did. All of the charm’s abilities are pretty relevant. The least useful ability is the 3 damage. The charm’s other two abilities are what really makes it shine. In a standoff situation, it will win you the game. It also counts as “extra copies” of spells or creatures already in the graveyard.

Oran-Rief, the Vastwood: Sometimes, 4/4 Nacatls are really useful. The extra point of power and toughness can sometimes make a huge difference.

Sideboard: Was terrible, except for the Journey to Nowhere. Sometimes a little extra removal is necessary against those big finishers.

After Friday, I made a few slight changes to the mainboard, and quite a few changes to the sideboard. Here’s the new makeup.

Naya Zoo Two

Creatures
3 Scute Mob
4 Wild Nacatl
3 Woolly Thoctar
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Ranger of Eos
3 Enlisted Wurm 

 Instants
4 Path to Exile
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Naya Charm

Lands
2 Mountain
4 Plains
4 Forest
4 Jungle Shrine
4 Arid Mesa
4 Rootbound Crag
3 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Sideboard
3 Captured Sunlight
2 Luminarch Ascension
2 Uril the Miststalker
2 Volcanic Fallout
3 Dauntless Escort
3 Journey to Nowhere

Ajani sucked in all of my games. If I saw him, that was. Even in control matchups, there was always a sphinx or sodding Baneslayer Angel flying over my head to kill him if I didn’t have a path. However, an extra bolt or Naya Charm would have won me a few games, so I added them in.

Sideboard 2

Naya does horribly against the stupid mono-red decks out there. They burn your creatures, hit you with earthquake a few times and then Spire Barrage you to death. I wished for some Captured Sunlight, which I had in the original sideboard but took out. It will also help you get back some of your burned monsters. Uril the Miststalker should be great in removal-heavy matchups, and as an added bonus, bigger than anything Jund has. The Luminarch Ascensions should help with control matchups.

Here are a few tips on how to play Naya Zoo.

Your deck is best at 5 + lands. Never keep a hand with less than 3 lands in it. I am willing to bet I’ve lost most of the games I’ve tried it with fewer.

Unless you really need guys on the field, use Bloodbraid Elf and Enlisted Wurm as if they were removal; cast them when there’s something you need to get rid of. Cascading into a path when you don’t need it sucks, and being able to get a free one and a monster is great.

Scute Mob should be dropped on turn one, if you have it in your opening hand. They’ll have to get rid of it eventually, and even if you only get in for a couple points before you have to hold it back or it gets removed.

In a control match-up, play Ranger of Eos whenever they don’t have the mana to counter, even if you don’t think you need the guys. You will. Playing a Bloodbraid Elf or Enlisted Wurm into a counterspell is okay. They’ll have to choose.

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Zendikar poses a problem for me. I like obviously powerful cards that have an obvious place in the metagame. A good example of this would be something light Lightning Bolt. It is cheap, powerful and I know exactly where I want to put it.

Zen has a few cards like this. However, the set seems to  have a lot more of what I call cards with potential; powerful cards without an obvious slot in the current metagame. These are cards that are good in a vacuum, “win-more” cards or cards which would necessitate building a new deck.

I think the reasons for this are two-fold. I have never seen cards like the cards in Zen before, so I’m not quite sure how to classify them. The metagame, after losing Lorywn, will probably consist of several Alara based decks such as Bant, Jund and Naya, which don’t have so many open slots and seem to do just fine without the new cards. 

Of course, new decks always come along when one set rotates out and another takes its place. Sometimes it just takes time, and cards with potential.

Here are my picks for Zen, the rare cards.48uutg1a1n_EN

Obvious choices

Fetch Lands
At first glance, fetch lands don’t seem to be all that, but on closer inspection, they do so much. First, they are super mana fixers. A few sets of these will keep the three and four color decks running strong. Secondly, they thin your deck out. Lastly, they trigger landfall twice, once with the initial drop and once when you put the land you searched out into play. Money rares already near $20 per.  

Day of Judgment
It doesn’t kill regenerating creatures, but it is still Wrath of God. Since when has regeneration really been relevant? River Boa will probably laugh at this, but that’s about it. Control will want.

Goblin Guide
Some say he’s better than Figure of Destiny, some say he’s worse. I don’t know who’s right, but a 2/2 with haste for 1 will be played in aggressive decks in his color. Uncontested, on turn three you get the same amount of damage in as you would with the figure, minus the extra 4 mana you played. He doesn’t have late game presence, but the haste could still be relevant for the last few points of damage. His drawback is interesting too. You get to see what they are drawing next turn. Of course, they might get a land, but we’ll see if this ends up being relevant.

Cards with Potential 

Mindbreak Trap
Played for free or for 2UU, you still get to counter any number of cards. It will always counter at least one. Perhaps this will see some sideboard action against cascade. If a combo deck appears in standard, we will certianly see this.

Bloodchief Ascension
I fully expect somebody to figure out how to build a deck around this. I can already see it going in some sort of mono-black Vampire aggro deck or Blightning. With cheap damage and hasty creatures abound in standard, activating two or three of these is pretty feasible. Not to mention devastating.

ScuteMobPreviewScute Mob
I don’t care what they say, Scute Mob has board presence turn one. He will get there eventually if they don’t kill him. Drop him early and get in a few pings, drop him late and he can grow to stupid size in just a few turns. He might be a removal magnet, but that’s okay. He only costs one mana.

Ob Nilixis, the Fallen
Ob might make a good finisher. If he dies before you get to drop a land, he’s underpowered. If he dies after you drop a land, you got a 6/6 and 3 damage in for 3BB. He’s great with Harrow and Fetchlands. He doesn’t even have to swing, but if he does he’ll likely be huge. Of course, he will require a bit of building around, but I think he’ll get there.

Malakir Bloodwitch
On her own, she’s a 4/4 pro white with flying, one life to you and one away from your opponent. For 3BB. Two or vamps on the field and you just got mad value from her.

Pyromancer Ascension
Might be nice on its own, but I see some U/R nonsense with draw a card, discard a card, then double your pleasure. Cruel Ultimatum X3!

Summoning Trap
Nice side for anything heavy in green if counter-control comes into power. Not bad at 3GGG and certainly not at 0. Might help you find that creature you really need in a pinch too.

Oran Rief, the Vastwood
Two of these in play and little guys like Scute Mob, Wild Nacatl and Bloodbraid Elf just seem like fun.

Luminarch Ascension
This card was built for control/fog decks and at the same time for defeating fog/control decks.

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Three land draws in a row in mono-red won’t suck so badly anymore.

Emeria, the Sky Ruin
Mono white will have endless creatures.

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Zendikar has been fully spoiled. Starcity has gone live with presales of singles. Wallets are screaming for mercy in unison across the planet.

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Thanks WotC; we were bored with our playsets of Wrath anyway.

The enemy colored fetchlands are going for between $15 and $20 a pop right now, with Misty Rainforest and Verdant Catacomb selling the highest. Day of Judgment is at the $15 mark. The greatly anticipated Lotus Cobra is selling at a whopping $25.

On the bright side, Devout Lightcaster isn’t even $2 yet; get her while she’s cheap.

Besides the obvious staples like the fetches and the wrath replacement, Zendikar is full of super powerful cards. Lorywn is  rotating out and  a power vacuum is being created. Nobody knows what standard is going to look like in a few weeks. Right now, there is infinite possibility.

To be honest, I have never seen cards like what Zendikar is packed full of. It is not just the power level of the cardboard, but the strangeness of the set. When Timespiral block dropped and Alara took its place, we got plenty of neat new cards, but it felt like the same game. I feel there is going to be an interesting shift in the game soon. 

Perhaps you should be safe and just buy a whole set.

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