Earlier this week, we had this preview card and, coincidentally, a video by LSV discussing strong choices for the new Extended. LSV’s picks match my intuitive picks — Affinity, Tron.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been some hubbub about the Esper shard in Shards (that’s the blue-centric one), with all its permanents being colored artifacts. After all, that plugs more or less directly into the linear mechanic that is Affinity.
The Master could — maybe — be an utter house in Affinity. Coming in at three mana, the Master is minimally a 4/4 the turn it comes down, in addition to being an effective Crusade for artifacts — that is, all your creatures, since you’ve probably taken the Hoverguards out for this build. With a more explosive start, the Master might just be a frighteningly large finisher, especially without Pernicious Deed sitting across the red zone in the new Extended. Consider:
Turn 1: Darksteel Citadel, Ornithopter, Ornithopter, Springleaf Drum, Arcbound Worker, Frogmite
Turn 2: Vault of Whispers, Master of Etherium
Congratulations. Your untapped Thopter, Worker, and Frogmite are swinging for 6 damage on turn two, and your 8/8 Master can join in on turn three for a total of 20+ damage and the kill.
I look forward to seeing what turns up at Pro Tour Berlin 2008, and possibly to hating out a bunch of Affinity decks when the qualifier season for Pro Tour Austin 2009 rolls around.
*Yes, that’s sort of a dream draw. That said, one of the top finishers at GP Vienna 2008 talks in the audio coverage about an opponent with the turn one play of “land, thopter, thopter, Springleaf Drum, Frogmite, Frogmite, Myr Enforcer, go.”