I've been focusing my efforts over the last few months on Standard as I had two Grand Prix within driving distance. Now that the dust has settled on those, I've been back to counting to ten (and sometimes twenty)! Recently some of you may have seen me streaming while testing for the upcoming large Legacy events, I've been using the same list that I took second place with at an EE4 Satellite event. The metagame hasn't changed a whole lot over the last few months, but the numbers of some decks have slightly shifted.
A few months ago, Death & Taxes was at an all-time low due the recently popular Eldrazi decks - a lot of the same type of players shifted to the newer archetype. Since then, those numbers have balanced out. At Star City Games: Philadelphia, Eldrazi decks were 11% of the metagame, according to MTG Goldfish, they've dipped slightly down to 8.3% of the metagame - which is still nothing to scoff at. In this time, Maverick (3.28%) and Death & Taxes (2.19%) numbers have increased slightly, with Death & Taxes taking down a few large events. Certainly solidifying it's position as a current deck to beat.
All of this leaves me with one lasting thought...
"Is it time for Massacre to make a come-back?"
I'm not completely sold. My main problem with Massacre is that it's a card that is used to punish decks we already have positive matches against (for the most part).
Match-ups where Massacre is valuable:
- Death & Taxes
- Miracles (Post-board only)
- Elves (if they search for Savannah)
It's not a very long list, in fact, it's almost sort of narrow (Massacre isn't even that great against Miracles). That said, there are cards we already have that should help in these matches while being useful in more and/or help the strategy of staying fast.
- 4 Burning Wish
- 4 Infernal Tutor
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Ponder
- 4 Gitaxian Probe
- 4 Cabal Therapy
- 2 Duress
- 1 Empty the Warrens
- 1 Ad Nauseam
Thoughtseize is a Good Alternative
It's important to understand Thoughtseize's role - it acts as as the slot for Xantid Swarm against Miracles, Sneak & Show and Reanimator while being a proactive card against hate-bear and prison strategies. The key thing here is that it's brought in to be proactive against these strategies, the more time the opponent has, the more likely they are to win the game. Which is why I dislike having cards like Abrupt Decay in the deck when on the play, I would rather have cards that help me kill them on turn two or disrupt their game-plan. Let's take a look at the current strategy:
+4 Abrupt Decay
It's important to answer cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Ethersworn Canonist. But it's even better to just kill them before they're relevant, having cards like Ponder on the play help achieve this and will provide better results. One thing to note is that we're able to sideboard in Grapeshot because we have Void Snare as a defensive card in the sideboard.
Well, what if we didn't have Void Snare as a safety net? What if, we just ran Massacre instead? We currently run Void Snare as a "catch-all" of sorts and as a Burning Wish target to answer Leyline of Sanctity post-Ad Nauseam. I personally love having Void Snare to always have my back, but unfortunately, the number of times I've cast it are not that high. What worries me is the inclusion of Hurkyl’s Recall means that we're no longer playing Chain of Vapor - leaving us with only Empty the Warrens to kill with through Leyline of Sanctity. Traditionally, the decks that are willing to play Leyline of Sanctity are very good against a horde of 1/1 creatures. Fortunately for us, Leyline of Sanctity is not a popular card and the decks that typically would play the card don't always play it.
This isn't a definite change, just something I've considered. You're gaining a card that is more relevant to the metagame (albeit against positive match-ups) and losing a card that is best in corner-case situations. The differences is running these two cards is very minimal, I couldn't fault anyone for choosing either option. While I don't find either option incredibly appealing, it's something consider. I believe that with the numbers of Death & Taxes as well as Maverick slowly creeping up, Massacre may not be a bad idea - but it's still a small portion of the metagame that is favorable. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Grand Prix: Columbus & Eternal Extravaganza IV
Grand Prix Columbus is only three weeks away and Eternal Extravaganza 4 is the following weekend, plenty of time for preparing and testing - can't wait to see everyone these events! Until next time, keep storming!