I thought I would take some time out and really put some thought into what the top decks are to play for our lovely extended season. Through some good playtesting in my area, I have an idea of what might be played. Also, if you looked at the master's championships and some other foreign competition, it sure helps.
INTRODUCTION TO EXTENDED:
Let me show you the decks that will be probably be played.
These are the ones to worry about in a tournament if you're near the top tables.
This deck has always been a strong choice in any area if you know how to play a counter-agressive deck. Most of the decks used to play Tradewinds in them, but have now been slimmed to include more counterspells.
Here is the deck that won the Grand Prix Phoenix 2000 by Sean Fitzgerald.
4 Flood Plains 4 Muscle Sliver
4 City of Brass 4 Crystaline Sliver
2 Gemstone Mine 4 Hibernation Sliver
4 Tundra 3 Acidic Sliver
1 Tropical Island 4 Force of Will
1 Savannah 3 Demonic Consults
4 Underground Sea 3 Swords to Plowshare
1 Volcanic 3 Seal of Cleansing
1 Scrubland 3 Winged Sliver
1 Undiscovered Paradise 3 Counter Spell
This deck has great versatility with mana production, and allows you to play SB Hydroblast and Pyroblast if you choose to do so. The great Crystalline Sliver is the main protection against direct damage to your creatures, the Winged allows you to apply beatings in the air, and the Acidic is direct damage to clear other creatures or a finisher.
I have seen other versions playing a Tradewind or two, Lobotomy, or Survival itself and no counterspells.
2. Sligh (or BURN!):
I use the word Sligh in an overly general way. The original Sligh deck used creature control cards and was slow, but most think/know sligh as a beatdown deck. Anyhow, burn/sligh is a viable deck to play in any tournament; however, don't expect to win any recent big tournament with this deck. This deck has won less than 10 big qualifiers in the recent Extended format, but it is a deck to choose if your main goal is to aim for T8 status.
4 Ball Lightning
4 Cursed Scroll
4 Jackal Pup
4 Goblin Patrol
4 Mogg Fanatic
2 Hammer of Bogarden
Most of burn decks are the same with an exception of a techy main deck card.
The Sideboard can consist of Anarchy to deal with worship or COP,etc. Some Pryoblast against blue. Even Price of Progress is an effective card against all those duals out there. The problem with this deck is that you have to watch out for early game disruption.
The introduction of the power of this deck has really gotten more control decks to appear. Bob Maher Jr. lead this deck to win the Pro Tour Chicago. Some decks differ, but all have the same thing in common: get Oath of Druids out in play and defend.
Let's take a view of a deck that was played at Grand Prix Kyoto by Tsuyoshi Doyama that led him to T8 status.
3 Flood Plains 2 Annul
1 Reflecting Pool 3 Brainstorm
1 Savannah 4 Counter Spell
3 Treetop Village 4 Enlightened Tutor
3 Tropical Island 1 C.O.P. Red
3 Tundra 4 Force of W.
3 Volcanic 4 Impulse
4 Wasteland 2 Gea's Blessing
1 Crater Hellion 3 Oath of Druids
1 Morphling 1 Powder Keg
1 Spike Feeder 1 Seal of Cleansing
2 Swords to Plow
1 Sylvan Library
2 Wrath of God
The deck has a lot of defensive mechanics to survive the early and late game. A lot of decks play the Abundance in the main deck to combo with the Sylvan for 3 extra cards per turn. Ivory Mask is also another option, but since Necro isn't as effective, it isn't necessary in the main deck. Powder Keg is great against Slivers, small weenies, or a Morphling.
There are usually 3 creatures per deck. The Spike Feeder is for life gaining, and can be sacrificed to Oath again. The Hellion is creature control. Morphling is just great to pull for 0 mana, and is the kill card. Spike Weaver is another idea for a creature to played in the main deck. Treetop Village can apply beatings if needed, without activating the Oath of Druids. The SB is varied. From Null Rod (to stop Nevinyrral's Disk) to Pyroblast and Seal of Cleansing. Cursed Totem is effective in your main deck if you're worried about Masticores or slivers.
4. StasisRogue Deck)
This is a favorite of mine. I wouldn't suggest anyone playing this unless your up for taking a chance, but this deck has made some T8. It all depends upon what is being played there. I always suggest, if you can, that you bring more than one you have throughly playtested to a tournament, and decide there.
4 Force of Will
2 Claws of Gix
4 Counter Spell
A very basic deck. The idea is to stall untill you're up to 10-13 land and play Morphling. You can untap him and serve. Once you get going, this deck is good to go, but tricky to manuever against good players.
I call this rogue because of it's new arrival and unfamiliarity in some tournament scenes.
5. Tradewind Survival:
Always a popular choice. The banning of Dark Ritual and Mana Vault have made combo decks slower and Survival of the Fittest more powerful, in order to make Tradewind decks good again.
Most typical decks can lock up with Tradewind and Armageddon.
Let's take another look at a T8 deck from the 2000 Grand Prix Kyoto by Eisaka Itadani.
5 Island 4 Birds of P.
2 Tiaga 1 Deranged Hermit
4 Tropical Island 1 Granger Guildmag
4 Brainstorm 1 Guilded Drake
3 Counter Spell 1 Merfolk Looter
4 Force of Will 3 Q.Ranger
4 Land Grant 1 Squee Goblin
4 Mana Leak 4 Tradewind Rider
4 Survival of the Fittest 4 Wall of Roots
1 U. Orangutang
The new arrival has shown Land Grants and more card slots. The only problem is making sure your Land Grant isn't countered
Otherwise, this deck is very fast. Depending upon the field, it can get you very far in the tournament if played right. The SB can contain more creatures. I prefer an Armageddon or Winter Orb main deck...
What more can I say? You know how this works. Lay quick creatures and hope to win the race. Here it is:
4 Land Grant
3 Bounty of the Hunt
4 Wild Dogs
4 Pouncing Jaguar
4 Rogue Elephant
4 Q. Ranger
4 Land Grant
4 Elvish Spirit Guide
4 Winter Orb
4 Vine Dryad
4 Skyshroud Elite
2 Giant Growth
Once again, Land Grant is being abused in order to take effective use of card advantage. Everything is one casting cost for creatures. A good hand will allow you to play 2-3 creatures by second turn.
I can say no more about this. It is consistent and easy to play. The hard part will be the Sideboard, if you don't know what the field is playing. Depending upon who you play, I don't know how well this deck will work in the enviroment at this time.
I have other decks that I could've shown but I will leave it at this. If you have any questions or want more information regarding Extended, e-mail me:
I hope this helps, and good luck to your future Extended tournaments.
Practicing Scrubiness in Wisconsin,
Shawn J. Houtsinger
The one and only,