This week’s In Development – podcasting! (not that kind)

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It’s In Development time again, and this week the topic of choice is a card you may well have expected me to have written about already – Birthing Pod! What does it do? How does it impact the game? What’s the best Birthing Pod deck out there, and how can the Pod (appropriately) lead us down the path to subtle yet inexorable failure?
It’s all in there, along with some deck lists, 75% of which can end the game with one or another variety of infinite combo (including Jonathon Loucks’ craziness from the Seattle Open, which features two takes on arbitrarily large numbers).
So click here to read the article, then join the conversation. Which Pod is best?
Note that The Field Report is being deferred one week as I spent all my free time this week trying to break the commodity chemicals metagame instead of Standard.

This week’s In Development – going into exile (with bonus sideboarding notes)

It’s In Development time again, and this week it’s all about U/W Control.
In post-M12 Standard, U/W Control is a force to be reckoned with once again. This week, I’ve explained the highs and lows of U/W Control, as well as presenting my build for Sea Gate Control – my own peculiar U/W variation.
…and, as requested by Michael Perry over on twitter, here are some basic sideboarding notes for the deck:
Versus Valakut
+2 Flashfreeze
+2 Negate
-3 Wall of Omens
-1 Day of Judgment
Versus U/W and U/B Control (generally include CawBlade variations as well)
+3 Azure Mage
+2 Negate
-3 Wall of Omens
-2 Day of Judgment
Versus Tempered Steel, Vampires, and other creature-based archetypes
+4 Timely Reinforcements
-3 Spell Pierce
-1 Jace, Memory Adept
Versus Splinter Twin
+2 Negate
+4 Dismember
-3 Wall of Omens
-3 Day of Judgment
This covers most of the major metagame territory. Feel free to ask in the comments if you’d like more elaboration on any of the matchups.

This week’s In Development – touched by an angel (naming red)

In Development time has come again, and this week the topic is the aggro-combo deck I’ve been monkeying with for the past week or two.
Yes, we are Trapping large things into play.
Click here to read about my adventures in Summoning, including a discussion of those Trap odds and the true engine of the Trap deck (hint: not its namesake card).

Factually incorrect, but never invalid

In the recent re-debut of The Field Report, I linked to an article by Josh Silvestri on CFB as an example of a good fundamental analysis of the components of the metagame.
Josh and I have clearly been on the same wavelength, as he busted out an excellent article in his regular weekly column at GatheringMagic.com that takes another stab at discussing the sentimental component of metagame analysis.
In case you’re lost as to what sentimental analysis is, I go into it elsewhere, but the short version is “It’s what people think the metagame will do” (as contrasted with what the metagame has done already and evaluation of the parts that make up the metagame — the decks).
Josh is right on the money with this remark:
“User perception can be factually incorrect but never invalid”

The Field Report is back!

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As the subject line says, The Field Report is back…and at ChannelFireball.com!
It’ll be running as a regular biweekly feature (every two weeks, that is), running the day after that week’s In Development. As before, The Field Report is all about metagame analysis from my own peculiar perspective, where my interest is what we play against rather than trying to find some magical formula that tells us which deck to play.
This week’s edition of The Field Report is all about that special two-week period of post-Jace, pre-M12 Standard that starts Friday. In it, I discuss Keynes’s strange beauty contest and explain how it helps us prepare for this narrow metagame opportunity.
Click here to read the article, and then join the discussion.
For the curious, a little explanation…the first five The Field Report columns were, as you may have noticed, at StarCityGames.com. I was brought on board by Ted Knutson when he was revamping SCG’s content. Pete Hoefling (of SCG) and Jon Saso (of ChannelFireball) were both quite cool about me continuing to write In Development at CFB while I started The Field Report at SCG.
When Steve Sadin took over as head of editorial, he decided that he wanted writers — especially Premium writers, which I was — to be exclusive to SCG. I respect his decision to take this approach (seems fine by me), but given the need to decide between writing for only SCG or continuing to write for CFB, I had to go with my first home (and, incidentally, the site that’s loaded down with people who are personal friends). Luis was interested in having my metagame take appear on CFB as well, so after some time (for me to stop being so damn busy) I’ve started writing TFR for ChannelFireball.com.
So, no drama or acrimony (sorry about that – boring, I know). Just a little editorial shift and a new home for this column. I hope you all enjoy it no matter where it appears!

This week’s In Development – M12 cards for decks you know

It’s In Development time again, and after last week’s discussion of the impact of Jace and Stoneforge being absent, this week we’re looking ahead to the post-M12 format. Our first stop mainly concerns updates to existing decks, with a side helping of cards that push new archetypes toward tier one status.
Click here to read the article, and then join the discussion.
What decks are you looking forward to in the new Standard?