One of the sweeping generalizations that rolls around in Magic is that “the Japanese” are prone to running weird, off-the-wall deck lists. It might be more accurate to say that “some very successful Japanese players are willing to run nonstandard decks” than to suggest a genetic basis for this statement, but nonetheless, it can be a lot of fun looking at tournament results from Japan in hopes of seeing wackiness.
The most recent results from a PTQ in Sendai don’t disappoint. Click through to the extended entry for a look at the latest in slightly to significantly nonstandard decks.
Edit: Read this before randomly netdecking anything in this post.
First place in Sendai went to Mamoru Miura with this take on a Loam deck:
|4× Kitchen Finks|
|4× Crime // Punishment|
|4× Life from the Loam|
|3× Raven’s Crime|
|2× Umezawa’s Jitte|
|4× Barren Moor|
|2× Bloodstained Mire|
|2× Overgrown Tomb|
|2× Polluted Delta|
|2× Tranquil Thicket|
|2× Twilight Mire|
|2× Windswept Heath|
|3× Pithing Needle|
I’m facetiously calling this “Do-nothing Loam” because of how struck I was by seeing just four creatures in a Loam list. My first impulse was to think I’d then see 32 lands or something ridiculous, but Miura’s deck clocks in at a respectable 26. So what’s up with this one?
This deck has many features of a standard Loam list (Raven’s Crime, Life from the Loam, cycling lands) but it is heavy, heavy on removal, with quad Crime//Punishment, triple Damnation, triple Darkblast, triple Smother, and quad Smallpox. It’s going to spend a lot of time making sure not much stays in play.
On offense, well, there’s still not a lot of offense. We have just two Mutavaults to supplement three Bitterblossom and the four Finks, along with two Jittes waiting to be tugged into combat by a Faerie Rogue. Sure, there’s the one-of Worm Harvest that we expect, but that’s honestly not a whole lot of offense.
I guess if you just kill everything that moves, you can afford to have less offense. Also, as I’ve experienced myself, sometimes you just Crime up one of your opponent’s dead Goyfs and beat them up with it.
Moving down the list, we have…
Fire and Faeries
The second-place finisher, Yuu Saitou, brought a straight-up U/B Faeries deck with triple BItterblossom in the main, leaning on a single copy of Watery Grave and a Reflecting Pool to help stretch mana to allow double Cryptic Command as well.
In third place, Ryou Chiba played a reasonably stock Affinity build, but for the four copies of Soul’s Fire in the main deck. I’d seen at most three of the “big finisher” cards in an Affinity deck previously, usually as some combination of Fatal Frenzy and Soul’s Fire. Chiba also ran a full set of Master of Etherium and 19 lands. The casualty here? Arcbound Worker, with just one copy. I have no real idea how this impacts the explosiveness of the deck, but I can say that Arcbound Workers didn’t seem to be doing much for the Affinity players I’ve been knocking around of late.
Also, props for four copies of Firespout in the Affinity sideboard.
However, the real magic comes in eighth place, with…
The Tezzeret Experience
|Kumano, Master Yamabushi|
|3× Magus of the Moon|
|2× Trinket Mage|
|4× Chalice of the Void|
|4× Chrome Mox|
|2× Pithing Needle|
|3× Tezzeret the Seeker|
|3× Thirst for Knowledge|
|3× Vedalken Shackles|
|2× Cascade Bluffs|
|3× Great Furnace|
|Miren, the Moaning Well|
|2× Seat of the Synod|
|2× Shivan Reef|
|4× Steam Vents|
|4× Shattering Spree|
|3× Threads of Disloyalty|
How many cards in this deck did you have to look up?
This is obviously a Tezzeret deck at its core, with Chrome Mox, Chalices, and tutorables for Tezz like Shackles and Trinisphere, along with tutorable for both Tezz and Tezz Jr. like Aether Spellbomb and Pithing Needle. From there, it gets crazier.
Starstorm is a board-clearing option that’s clunkier than Firespout, but has the option of cycling away if you have no need for board clearing just then. Kumano is a beater who can just randomly burn the opponent out. Megatog…yeah.
There’s been a great deal of discussion lately about whether anyone but Kenny Oberg can succeed with a Tezzeret deck. Apparently the key is to just customize it to your heart’s delight, as Takahiro Aizawa clearly did here.
I mean, Megatog!
Congrats to the Sendai crowd for bringing some welcome variety to their top eight.