Privileged Perspective 7 – Extended

Hi!

Note from the author- this article was originally meant to be published December 7th, but was pushed up a week by me to help spread awareness of the format. Next week’s article will be the one originally advertised for today about how to evaluate and maximize your methods of trading. Oh, and I archive these on my PC as “PP[X]”, and today’s is PP7, so shout-out to ‘Goldeneye 64’.

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We are currently missing out on the coolest format ever. While I was always a fan of the original, seven-year Extended, it occurred to me recently that the current-four year iteration (M12 through Khans) is probably one of the better Constructed formats to ever exist. Forget everything else that is going on—today we are going to really explore this format.

SHAMELESS PLUG: If you live in the Central Florida area, you can play in my super sweet Extended tournament on Saturday, December 6! Premier Sports Cards in Orange City is hosting, and I expect it to be a good turnout. More details will be available soon (likely by the time this finishes getting written!), so I’ll make sure to get them out.

UPDATE! Entry will be $5, with all entry money going to payout. Additional prizes will be raffled off based on attendance, including boosters from various Extended-legal sets. Registration begins at noon, tournament starts at 1:00. I’ll be collecting decklists, so expect to see the results here on Brainstorm Brewery the following week.

The Format Overall

The format has what I would consider perfect mana. Like Modern, it has fetchlands, shocklands, and buddy lands (the M10 duals and their Innistradian cousins). Unlike Modern, it currently has [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card]. Unlike Standard, it has [card]Birds of Paradise[/card] and [card]Llanowar Elves[/card] (but for only one more year!). The format has several sweet “build around me” pillars, including [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card], [card]Pack Rat[/card], [card]Primeval Titan[/card], [card]Jeskai Ascendancy[/card] (the most obvious combo deck), [card]Maze’s End[/card], and [card]Delver of Secrets[/card]. I’ve gone through a lot of decklists from the last couple of seasons, and every archetype seems to get something that makes them more efficient and exciting. The best part? A lot of the cards that have rotated are actually pretty cheap. Obvious staples for Legacy and Modern, like [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card], are still going to be pricy, but some of the prices surprised me. [card]Thragtusk[/card], a card that most assumed wouldn’t make the leap, is at about $2.50 right now, and I’m pretty sure my deck will play four of them.

Brief Aside: “Making the leap” is another way of expressing what used to be called “Broodstar Syndrome.” Broodstar was a Standard powerhouse that never made enough of an impact in Extended or Legacy to keep its pricetag out of the bulk zone once it rotated. Famous other examples include [card]Malakir Bloodwitch[/card], [card]Hell’s Thunder[/card], and University of Florida product Tim Tebow1.

broodstaring

TRGR, Extended Edition

The first thing to do when cracking into any new format, is to find out what worked in the closest analog formats. This isn’t the key to long term success, but it does help fill in some of the large gaps of information relatively quickly (this is where the “Block is future Standard!” notion comes from, which is neither right nor wrong). The first deck that came to my mind was the Mono Black Devotion list of last season, but with some noticable improvements:

[deck title=Mono-Black]

[Creatures]

*4 Deathrite Shaman

*4 Pack Rat

*4 Desecration Demon

[/Creatures]

[Spells]

*4 Thoughtseize

*4 Abrupt Decay

*4 Lingering Souls

*4 Hero’s Downfall

*4 Underworld Connections

*4 Liliana of the Veil

[/Spells]

[Lands]

*3 Bloodstained Mire

*3 Polluted Delta

*3 Overgrown Tomb

*3 Godless Shrine

*6 Swamp

*1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

*1 Gavony Township

*3 Mutavault

*1 Sandsteppe Citadel

[/Lands]

[/Deck]

This deck uses a lot of the technology from last year, while maximizing on a couple obviously strong synergies. [card]Gavony Township[/card] is a very low-cost option that can help win stalemates, and is the main reason I upped us to four [card]Lingering Souls[/card]. Deathrite Shaman is incredible here, and can very easily stick a turn-two Lili or Connections while also making it very easy for us to hit the occasional green or white mana that we need. [card]Pack Rat[/card] continues to be insane. There absolutely is a strategy similar to this that leans harder on Pack Rat, pitching [card]Unburial Rites[/card] and [card]Thragtusk[/card]/[card]Angel of Serenity[/card] (Pack Rat Reanimator was easily one of my favorite decks for ISD/RTR standard).

Here’s another archetype that’s near and dear to me:

[deck title= Experiment Jund, Part Deaux]
[Creatures]

*4 Experiment One

*3 Bloodsoaked Champion

*4 Burning-Tree Emissary

*4 Gore-House Chainwalker

*4 Lightning Mauler

*3 Mayor of Avabruck

*3 Ghor-Clan Rampager

*4 Falkenrath Aristocrat
[/Creatures]
[Spells]

*3 Lightning Strike

*3 Dreadbore

*2 Abrupt Decay
[/Spells]
[Land]

*1 Kessig Wolf Run

*4 Bloodstained Mire

*4 Wooded Foothills

*2 Rootbound Crag

*3 Blood Crypt

*3 Stomping Ground

*2 Overgrown Tomb

*2 Mountain

*1 Forest

*1 Swamp
[/Land]
[/deck]

This is actually less the evolution of Experiment Jund, and more a hybrid between that deck and some of the Aristocrats decks. [card]Rakdos Cackler[/card] is benched in favor of the rookie [card]Bloodsoaked Champion[/card], which gives us the extra incentive to max out on the “humans matter” theme. Bloodsoaked also has a cute interaction with veteran signal-caller [card]Falkenrath Aristocrat[/card], who can eat the Champion for potentially multiple counters during combat. [card]Mayor of Avabruck[/card] on turn two (hopefully off of one or two Emissaries!) is a solid play, and bloodrushing a Rampager on turn three does not count as casting a spell for the turn, if you feel like you want to get him flipped right away. A more straight-forward version of this list would eschew the human synergies for [card]Flinthoof Boar[/card] and [card]Mogg Flunkies[/card]— possibly Cackler back in over Champion, although that may just be due to unfounded concerns regarding mana.

This is likely not optimized, but it’s terrifying.

[deck title= Red Deck Wins]
[Creatures]

*4 Firedrinker Satyr

*4 Grim Lavamancer

*4 Vexing Devil

*4 Ash Zealot

*4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
[/Creatures]
[Spells]

*2 Bonfire of the Damned

*4 Bump in the Night

*4 Boros Charm

*4 Skullcrack

*4 Stoke the Flames
[/Spells]
[Land]

*4 Blood Crypt

*4 Bloodstained Mire

*6 Mountain

*Sacred Foundry

*4 Wooded Foothills
[/Land]
[/deck]

This legitimately scares me. The Bonfires and full set of Lavamancers tell you that it isn’t optimized, although a surprise Bonfire will help your little guys get through (I’m not sure how Bonfire for Miracle + Eidolon works, but if I find out, I’ll pass the word along). Red Deck is an archetype that always has a couple pieces in a format, so the larger your format is, the more tools at your disposal. Former teammates that didn’t make the cut include [card]Stromkirk Noble[/card], [card]Hellrider[/card], [card]Monastery Swiftspear[/card], and [card]Rakdos Cackler[/card]. There is almost certainly a creature-heavy red deck that maxes out on the cheap aggressive creatures and [card]Titan’s Strength[/card], Bump, etc. Red seems really deep!

I’m not a traditional UW control player, but those of you that are should be able to figure this out on your own. [card]Ponder[/card], [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card], and [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] are legal. If you can’t get excited about that, then maybe you should be sleeving up RDW after all.

That Boy Band That Marky-Mark Was In

The most exciting part of exploring a new format is step two: finding new decks that didn’t exist before. The first one is a saucy number that I stumbled upon while working on that red deck we just talked about. Tell me this doesn’t get you excited:

[deck title= Down, Down to Goblin Town]
[Creatures]
*4 Foundry Street Denizen

*4 Legion Loyalist

*4 Burning-Tree Emissary

*4 Mogg Flunkies

*Goblin Chieftain

*4 Goblin Rabblemaster

[/Creatures]
[Spells]

*4 Goblin Grenade

*4 Krenko’s Command

*1 Hall of Triumph

*3 Hordeling Outburst

*4 Stoke The Flames
[/Spells]
[Land]

*3 Mutavault

*4 Bloodstained Mire

*4 Wooded Foothills

*9 Mountain
[/Land]

[/deck]

[card]Hordeling Outburst[/card] may not make the cut, but it certainly looks good when it’s six haste damage on turn four. Other possible considerations include [card]Obelisk of Urd[/card], [card]Hellrider[/card], and seeing if your opponent doesn’t realize [card]Goblin Guide[/card] isn’t legal in the format. Just looking at that list, I may have talked myself into playing it. [card]Goblin Grenade[/card] and [card]Stoke The Flames[/card] is a big turn four.

[deck title= Sultai Dredge]

[creatures]

*4 Deathrite Shaman

*3 Birds of Paradise

*3 Lotleth Troll

*4 Satyr Wayfinder

*4 Nighthowler

*3 Splinterfright

*2 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord

*3 Shadowborn Demon

[/creatures]

[spells]

*3 Tracker’s Instincts

*4 Mulch

*4 Commune With The Gods

*2 Whip of Erebos

[/spells]

[lands]

*3 Polluted Delta

*3 Wooded Foothills

*3 Overgrown Tomb

*2 Watery Grave

*2 Breeding Pool

*1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

*1 Rogue’s Passage

*3 Forest

*3 Swamp

[/lands]

[/deck]

This is perhaps the most raw of the lists, and could benefit from a few rounds of practice. Sidisi, [card]Boneyard Wurm[/card], [card]Splinterfright[/card], and a [card]Chord of Calling[/card] package seem like more exciting options for this list. The mana base also has to be constructed with Jarad in mind.

Community Contributions

These other brews were sent in from other deckbuilders. People are starting to really get on board the Extended train, none more so than reader Davie, @FullOfGravy. He sent me twelve (12!) different deck lists, which I would absolutely publish here if Marcel paid us by the word2. The first we will feature is a spin on a Modern menace:

[deck title= Bant Hexproof]

[creatures]

*4 Gladecover Scout

*3 Birds of Paradise

*4 Invisible Stalker

*3 Voice of Resurgence

*4 Geist of Saint Traft

*1 Eidolon of Countless Battles

[/creatures]

[spells]

*4 Rancor

*1 Curiosity

*4 Ethereal Armor

*4 Spectral Flight

*4 Unflinching Courage

*2 Ajani’s Presence

[/spells]

[lands]

*4 Windswept Heath

*1 Flooded Strand

*3 Breeding Pool

*3 Temple Garden

*1 Hallowed Fountain

*1 Mana Confluence

*3 Cavern of Souls

*1 Forest

*1 Island

*2 Sunpetal Grove

*2 Hinterland Harbor

[/lands]

[/deck]

How saucy is that [card]Eidolon of Countless Battles[/card]? I have a feeling that one or two is likely the right amount, but I bet when you connect with it, it feels pretty unstoppable. The only change I would make is likely upping the fetchland count and playing [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] over Birds—in conversation with Friend of the Show Byron King, he said Deathrite Shaman is likely bannably good in this format. Time will tell.

[deck title= Jeskai Delver]

[creatures]

*4 Delver of Secrets

*4 Monastery Swiftspear

*2 Young Pyromancer

*2 Snapcaster Mage

[/creatures]

[spells]

*4 Ponder

*3 Thought Scour

*2 Pillar of Flame

*3 Vapor Snag

*4 Boros Charm

*4 Mana Leak

*4 Lightning Strike

*4 Treasure Cruise

[/spells]

[lands]

*4 Flooded Strand

*3 Polluted Delta

*2 Hallowed Fountain

*3 Steam Vents

*2 Island

*2 Mountain

*1 Sacred Foundry

*3 Shivan Reef

[/lands]

[/deck]

From Davie: “The lack of Gitaxian Probe means that the land count has to be realistic, but Scour and Cruise are BFFs. Pillar has to be one of the best spells in the format. It kills all of the mana creatures, red aggro creatures, Delvers, Snapcasters, Voices, Huntmasters, and it still goes to the face”.

I agree on all counts, especially with Pillar. I think it’s one of the smaller factors in defining the format (whatever is below “pillar” in the hierarchy), and is probably the benchmark for removal. Also, [card]Thought Scour[/card] and [card]Treasure Cruise[/card] seems firmly awesome.

The last community list I will feature here is from the aforementioned Mr. King:

[deck title= Dimir Delver]

[creatures]

*4 Deathrite Shaman

*4 Delver of Secrets

*3 Snapcaster Mage

*4 Pack Rat

[/creatures]

[spells]

*4 Ponder

*4 Thoughtseize

*4 Mana Leak

*4 Abrupt Decay

*1 Liliana of the Veil

*1 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

*2 Hero’s Downfall

*1 Bile Blight

*3 Dig Through Time

[/spells]

[lands]

*4 Polluted Delta

*3 Flooded Strand

*3 Bloodstained Mire

*4 Watery Grave

*1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

*1 Overgrown Tomb

*1 Breeding Pool

*2 Island

*2 Swamp

[/lands]

[/deck]

This list definitely looks aggressive. [card]Ponder[/card] and [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] are both banned in Modern, and [card]Mana Leak[/card] and [card]Pack Rat[/card] have each made a lot of enemies. I would not be surprised to see something like this make the top eight of my Extended event.

Financial Impact

Those of you who don’t play as much (but still made it this far), are probably wondering if there are any financial possibilities here. There are, but they are a combination of moderate- to long-term holds and cultivating local interest. The multi-format staples won’t change in price, but getting local players interested in acquiring them can draw people into trading for things they may not have otherwise wanted (allowing you to divest out of one blue-chip stock into multiple options with potential for more aggressive future gains). There are also some cards with awkward price discrepancies: [card]Huntmaster of the Fells[/card] is $4.50 on TCGplayer, and $8 on SCG—this may be something to move on, especially if they are something you can get in trade. The trick to this, however, is getting people motivated to play. My store has great showings for Standard, but not enough people to regularly sanction Modern play; I anticipate that this format will be better suited to the collections and appetites of our current playerbase.

A part of me also wonders if there may be some hidden Modern potential here. As Modern gets bigger, the marketshare of a single deck will diminish—you think everyone will still be on [card]Birthing Pod[/card] in five years? Anything that you like in Extended that seems to play well is a possible future player in Modern, especially since this format has a high bar in terms of power level. If you stumble on any hidden Extended gems, they may have high enough potential upside to be worth an investment—especially if they have a set-specific mechanic or name. I’m still talking about Huntmaster of the Fells.

Grassroots formats are not unheard of. Prior to the advent of Modern, former pro player and possible time lord Gavin Verhey got people genuinely and earnestly excited about OverExtended, which in part helped him get his current position at Wizards. And really, that’s all I care about too—getting a sweet WOTC job so I can leave this no-horse town.

Thanks for reading, and make sure to come back next week when we talk about what we were supposed to talk about this week! 

BEST,

Ross

1 Cue the “I don’t know why Birthing Pod won’t give him a chance! He beat Pittsburgh in the Wild Card!” crowd.
2 That is a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very good idea.
TweetTheBird

Ross Lennon

I've been gaming MtG finance since artifacts were brown.
Longtime magic player and TO.Loving husband and father. Cube > Commander.
Ross Lennon
TweetTheBird
About the Author
I've been gaming MtG finance since artifacts were brown. Longtime magic player and TO. Loving husband and father. Cube > Commander.

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