So, surprisingly, the meta seems to have stagnated at the upper echelons. The reemergence of a few archetypes is really the only notable thing happening. However, among tier two, a lot of interesting stuff is happening, and I wanted to sprinkle some of that in this month.
If your opponent stumbles on removal or fails to counter Cavalcade of Calamity, the deck quickly overwhelms with passive damage effects. You can fling creatures at opponents and essentially bypass a bunch of defensive plans just by good draws. Little Chandra pulls her weight here immensely by being 4 damage a turn if uncontested. Chandra’s Spitfire is the true MVP, though, as the triggers off Cavalcade bump before it hits. If you don’t want to play Blue Tempo but still need a hyper budget list, this is the deck to play.
The Scapeshift deck proved that you can basically fit the combo into a huge number of shells. Because the deck needs so many unique lands anyway, it tends to inspire multi-colored and strange deck ideas. I’ve seen ones that pair the plan with elementals, with Nissa, and this version seems to put the plan in a midrange shell. If you have the wild cards for Scapeshift, it’s a fun deck-building exercise and worth playing a version if only to see the sweet avalanche of zombie triggers on MTGA.
Now more than ever, it feels like a lot of less-defined meta decks are more templates to build on and creative choices made within are very up to the players creating them. Regardless of the permutation, Dimir Control takes hand attack and removal and creates a pretty demoralizing series of stops for most game plans. Lilliana still proves to be one of the most powerful of the new planeswalkers, and while mainboard Narsets aren’t always a good idea, I like how sometimes it can hose deck’s entire plans. It’s also a lot cheaper financially than adding white for Esper and has the same general strategy behind it, so it’s worth a look if you like that deck type.
Speaking of Esper though, the bane of my existence is back in the meta and annoying as always. Turns out Disfigure is a great addition and wrecks certain game plans utterly. I only bring this deck up because it had disappeared for a bit there and I’m surprised to see that it’s still pretty powerful—though, with the sheer card quality in its lists, I shouldn’t be surprised. If you already have the cards, by all means, give it another whirl.
Because any time my pet deck rises, it’s something to talk about here. Really, the only changes is Little Chandra is great in it because you can recur Finale of Promise, or just race with her little dudes, and that the sideboard got a lot of fun tools. Fry being my personal favorite. Mono-Blue Tempo and Simic Flash are some of the toughest decks for Phoenix, so I’m happy to see a color hose being available.
Finally, because it’s too powerful and too prevalent to not mention here, the Vampire deck is back, and it still sucks to play against if you’re not ready. I love that tribal aggro is a thing that can be this powerful, and I love that it’s not the usual colors for this sort of thing. I must imagine fans of Elves or Merfolk or Goblin decks feel some level of kinship with this powerhouse. The curve of Ebon Legion into Legion Lieutenant into Sorin is just one of the absurd opening few turns this deck can generate. If you’re an aggro player sick of red, then get on this while you can.
And that’s my take on the meta right now. We have a new set coming soon-ish, but I have a feeling, just with how it has gone so far, that we have at least one more strange breakout deck that’s going to shake the world of Magic before rotation.
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