Weekly Metagame: Tibalt's Ascension

Magic: the Gathering

Competitive

Weekly Metagame: Tibalt's Ascension

This week's Challenges reveals a new deck taking spots in Modern and Legacy: Valki Cascade !

By Romeu, 02/09/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

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Players! We're back with another analysis of this weekend's Challenges metagame, with some interesting news !!

Standard

Saturday's Standard Challenge had the following Top 8: 3 Rakdos Midrange 1 Naya Adventures 1 Mono-Green Counters 1 Gruul Adventures 1 Mono-Green Food 1 Boros Aggro The Rakdos Midrange was already a deck that made significant results at the end of last season thanks to the combination of cards like Mire Triton and Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger and a game plan with naturally good cards in the format like Bonecrusher Giant and The Akroan War.

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Kaldheim's great highlight for the archetype was the inclusion of Blighstep Pathway in its manabase, in addition to including new cards that can easily become Staples in the format: Valki, God of Lies has already been the protagonist of Twitter topics in other formats, while Immersturm Predator still shows that evasive and difficult-to-kill threats are still as good as they were at the time of Falkenrath Aristocrat.
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On Sunday, the Top 8 of the Standard Challenge was composed of: 3 Sultai Yorion 2 Dimir Rogues 1 Boros Aggro 1 Boros Runes 1 Mono-Green Counters Boros Runes stands out, which uses Runeforge Champion together with the rune cycle of the new set to generate card advantage, in addition to the classic shell that we have seen in some Boros lists with Bonecrusher Giant and [ [Goldspan Dragon]].
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Pioneer

Saturday's Pioneer Challenge had the following Top 8: 2 Mono-Red Prowess 1 Boros Heroic 1 Azorius Spirits 1 Lotus Combo 1 Dimir Control 1 Azorius Control 1 Boros Burn The highlight is the list of Dimir Control by the player Powen, using some of the Staples of the archetype that we used to see at the time of Dimir Inverter, in addition to the interaction of Narset, Parter of Veils with Day's Undoing and , finally, the use of Thing in the Ice, one of the most expressive clocks of Pioneer until today but that never had much opportunity to shine in the format, as its main wincondition.
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On Sunday, the Pioneer Challenge had the following Top 8: 2 All Spells 1 Mono-Black Vampires 1 Temur Reclamation 1 Rakdos Pyromancer 1 Azorius Spirits 1 Boros Heroic 1 Niv-to-Light Here, I highlight that the Niv to Light list is using two Valki, God of Lies, whose Tibalt side can be played for free through Bring to Light, in the same way that we will see with the Cascade in other formats.
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Modern

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a brand new archetype in Modern: The Valki Cascade, and it works exactly as you expect: Using a spell with Cascade like Violent Outburst to cast a Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor without paying its cost and accumulate horrors of Card Advantage from that. And it comes, of course, with variants! Here is the Top 8 of Saturday's Modern Challenge: 2 Four-Color Valki Cascade 2 Burn 1 Jund Valki Cascade 1 Four-Color Omnath 1 Bant Spirits 1 Death and Taxes Let's dissect this new archetype a bit, shall we ?
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Jund Valki list uses the classics Demonic Dread and Violent Outburst to bring the Cosmic Impostor to the board as soon as possible, sometimes in Turn 2 thanks to the addition of Simian Spirit Guide and [ [Gemstone Caverns]]. The deck's plan B includes trying to play as a kind of aggro lock with Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon and Bloodbraid Elf together with Bonescrusher Giant and [[ Seasoned Pyromancer] to obtain value in the game and go for the beatdown.
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Like Jund Valki, Four-Color Valki can play a spell with Cascade even in the first turns by including a playset from Simian Spirit Guide and Gemstone Caverns, but has a game plan with more friction and card advantage in the form of Spell Queller, Teferi, Time Raveler and Omnath, Locus of Creation, in addition to including more consistent means of protecting the "combo" and playing the mirror with [ [Teferi, Time Raveler]] and Force of Negation. The deck's Sideboard features a plan that serves both to interact with other decks and to include other ways to interact and win the game like Vraska, Golgari Queen and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath.

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The latest version of Top 8 bets much more on the combo than the previous version (using only Brazen Borrower as a likely plan B when needed) and making use of a significant amount of free spells like Commandeer and Force of Negation to punish the opponent's interaction. Unlike the previous version, the sideboard on this list includes Staples more aimed at protecting the deck or dealing with other decks in the most direct and objective way possible. On Sunday, we also had the presence of Valki Cascade decks in the Top 8: 3 Four-Color Valki 1 Simic Nexus 1 Rakdos Shadow 1 Dimir Mill 1 Merfolks 1 Hammer Time As we have already commented too much about Valki Cascade, I want to emphasize this time Kaktusowysmok's Merfolks, as it is one of the most classic archetypes of Magic and one that can make good use of important cards of the format today as Spell Pierce and Force of Negation while establishing good pressure against opponents with your Aggro plan.
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Pauper

Saturday's Pauper Challenge had the following Top 8: 2 Tron 1 Dimir Faeries 1 Burn 1 Boros Bully 1 Jund Ponza 1 Elves 1 Goblins Among these, the highlight goes to the Jund Ponza deck:
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The inclusion of Bonder’s Ornament to Pauper makes it very easy to add splashes to many decks as it is not only a mana rock, but also a Card Advantage engine. The fact that Ponza also uses Utopia Sprawl only makes it easier to include another color. Adding black to the deck means having better interactions against your opponent's early game in the form of Cast Down and Chainer's Edict, in addition to including one of the most powerful cards against the Midranges and friction decks of the format in the sideboard: Reaping the Graves, which generates a huge amount of value if two or more creatures with Cascade comes back with it, as these will generate even more value at the table as well as being difficult threats to deal with. On Sunday, the Pauper Challenge was composed of the following Top 8: 3 Izzet Faeries 1 Gruul Ponza 1 Tron 1 Dimir Delver 1 Dimir Faeries 1 Elves Among these, I highlight the list of Izzet Faeries of the player Brivenix, using cards like Spire Golem, Mistblade Shinobi and a card that has gradually become a staple of the blue-based decks of the format: Behold the Multiverse, which allows with a low investment to have a good source of card selection while still allowing to keep mana open for any threats that the deck needs to respond to.
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Legacy

Saturday's Legacy Challenge was composed of: 2 Four-Color Snow 2 Valki Cascade 1 Reanimator 1 Sultai Snow 1 Temur Delver 1 Miracles Surpising almost no one, Valki Cascade is on Legacy as well.
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The deck works in a very similar way to Modern, but with better protections in the form of Force of Will and Misdirection, greater consistency to doplay the combo in the first turns with the inclusion of Elvish Spirit Guide] ] and the inclusion of the best Cascade creature ever made in the game in the form of [[Shardless Agent. But for me, what stands out on the deck is his true plan B: Oko, Thief of Crowns becomes the main wincondition of the deck with Brazen Borrower when you don't have the means to fight and win the game using your opponent's cards. On Sunday, we had the following Top 8 on Legacy Challenge: 3 Valki Cascade 2 Temur Delver 1 Four-Color Snow 1 Burn 1 Doomsday Again, we see Valki Cascade's decks appearing in the Legacy by weight in the Top 8, which may be a sign that the deck has enough potential to take a deck like Shardless Sultai to the Tier 1 level.

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Here, I highlight the list of Four-Color Snow, which is using Lavinia, Azorius Renegade as an answer against these decks that have become very popular right now.
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Conclusion

With the arrival of a new archetype in competitive formats, our first question must be: How to deal with it? Legacy naturally has many responses for this type of card, while Modern can learn a little from other eternal formats and increase the use of cards like Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, Nix, Damping Sphere] ], [[Teferi, Time Raveler Deafening Silence and, depending on the deck, Roiling Vortex can also be a great way to punish your opponent as the combo does not win the game immediately. It is too early to say whether we are facing yet another broken archetype or not, but at least this archetype is unlikely to need direct intervention in the form of banning, since it is only necessary to change the rules in order to make two sides of the card count towards its converted mana cost or that each side has its own converted cost for situations like Cascade or Bring to Light. Until then, if you have the option to make a Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor in turn 2, do so without guilt.
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Romeu

Writer and translator for Cards Realm. Plays virtually Magic: The Gathering competitive formats. Pauper Masters' Organizer.

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