December is upon us Planeswalkers, but Santa’s little helpers over at Wizards of the Coast are still a couple weeks away from showing off the shiny new toys we can expect from the next set, Aether Revolt. If the wait is giving you some holiday blues, however, you can still get a sneak peak at the upcoming set with the first story chapter released on Magic’s website this weekend. There’s enough artwork from new cards to keep the specualtions and rumor mill churning until the next reveal. Meanwhile, for you non-story chestnuts, Wizards is making the season bright with the new Standard Showdown! We’ve got the tips and tricks to keep you sharp and win those prizes so let’s get started.
Raising the Standard:
If you’ve been following Magic for the past couple of years, you already know that Wizards has really been stressing and showcasing the Standard format as of late. For newcomers, Standard format is what you’ll encounter at most Friday Night Magic events or tournaments and means that only cards from the most recent sets are legal for play. Currently, this means Battle for Zendikar to the newest Kaladesh. Ever since Wizards changed the formula to two sets per story block, they have turned up the spotlight on the Standard format everywhere from Pro Tours to Grand Prix’s. This month is no exception with the introduction of Standard Showdown.
Standard Showdown is a special series of tournaments that will be taking place every Saturday from November 26th-December 17th. If you missed the debut this Thanksgiving weekend, you still got three Saturdays worth of play to go!
So, what makes these tournaments unique aside from the fact that your deck must follow the rules of the Standard (obviously) format. Well, each player gets to register and play with the deck they built. Do you have a deck idea you’ve been dying to try out, or you want to build/modify a deck that you’ve seen the pros use? Well, this is the perfect opportunity. Only your own wit and imagination are holding you back. How well ,or awful, you do depends on how you construct your deck. For those not familiar with tournament play or intimidated by it, it’s not like you’re only held to this one week. Even if you screw up big time, you’ve still got another two weeks to rethink your strategy and compete again! Adding to that, the winners of each week have the chance to win some awesome prizes:
Each store participating receives these special prize boosters with three cards each. You are guaranteed two rare or mythic rare cards from a Standard legal set as well as a premium card that could include a card from Zendikar Expeditions or Kaladesh Inventions. In case you don’t remember, Expeditions and Inventions is a special sub-group of cards with special borders that contain reprints of extremely powerful and rare cards from Magic’s long history. On top of being amazing collector’s items, they also sell for a pretty big hunk of cash (some being hundreds of dollars). Now, there are only ten of these special boosters awarded per week, so only the top players will get a chance to crack one open.
So, how about it, Planeswalkers? You excited to get out there and show off your skills as well as win some awesome prizes? If you’re not too confident in your deck-constructing abilities just yet, read further on for some advice and tips. If you and your friends have been waiting for the chance to put your decks to the ultimate test, head to the Standard Showdown hub to find a participating store near you.
Time for Class:
This next section will be for those unfamiliar in the ways of Standard format. Whether you’re a newcomer to the game or were away on hiatus and looking to get back in, we’ll help get you up to speed. First and foremost, study this breakdown of Standard, including the basics and what’s new. After that, we’ll take a look at the current Standard metagame. These are all the most powerful decks, combos and synergies thus far as well as a description and tips of how each deck works and which one you’ll personally find the most fun to play depending on your style. It’s a great breakdown of all the information collected from Standard tournaments throughout 2016. If you’re more interested in the Pro side of things, however, you can also check out the top decks from the most recent Pro Tour and see what the professional Magic players were using. There will be a lot of crossover from both articles, but subtle differences could affect which cards you include in the deck.
Now, if taking the time to research and read isn’t your thing, you can pretty much find all the information included above in this series of videos. Listening to advice from Pro players and getting a visual on the deck combos and strategies can be just as good a learning tool after all. Going even further for the visual crowd, you can look at a whole list of the best Standard combos complete with graphics breaking down how they work.
So we’ve got you caught up to date on the strategies you’re most likely to come up against and what the professionals like, but what about your own creative invention? What about that unique deck you’ve been going over in your mind? Not to worry, Wizards has some more general advice for you deck builders, especially those going by color strategies instead or building around a specific card. These articles give a summary of each color’s strengths in the current Standard as well as the best cards, deck ideas, and general good deck building tips:
“But what about Black and White!?” I can hear you comment. Well, as of this writing there hasn’t been an article for those two yet, but you can keep an eye on Magic’s site or come back next week for those two in particular.
Hopefully, that’s enough to get you to a finished 60 card deck. Just remember, nothing is perfect without some modifications. It’ll be great if your deck goes on undefeated this weekend, but don’t lose heart if the opposite occurs. Remember, you got two more weeks to get everything just right. Those prizes aren’t going anywhere….until December 17th at least.
I’ll leave you this week with some tips for shopping for a Magic lover this holiday season. Wizards has crafted their own holiday gift guide of numerous products to get that Magic player in your life no matter what their interest or skill level or the size of your wallet. Of course, just a couple of booster packs always makes for an excellent stocking stuffer as well.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you out enjoying some Standard play. Happy holidays!