Making Mistakes and a New Perspective...
Hey everyone, I'm back with some thoughts on MTG Arena. Last time, I tried out a draft and was enjoying the program a lot! Now, the Kaladesh and Aether Revolt sets were added the day I planned to invest some money in the program, so it's been a fun ride!
Not the most skill intensive crowd in the world but there's some pretty decent competition most of the time. I'd say I play against approximately 15-25% random brew decks.
I got the wise idea to do the bulk of my Standard practising on MTG Arena due to the fact that I don't have a core group of players to regularly test with anymore. Plus, I haven't really gotten into MTGO but I'm currently working on it.
I wanted to put in some work on the New Perspectives deck to see if it were still viable. It's really interesting to me that "PonyPuddle" (Reddit and Twitch handle) was able to capture 26th place at Grand Prix Seattle two months back, already after the deck's supposed prime. The deck must still have some legs, and is actually able to keep itself alive against the red-based aggro decks in the format long enough to combo off. I'm a lover of jank and often a combo player, so this has been a great exercise for me.
So, this is where I started. I took the GP list PonyPuddle's posted on Reddit (with a nice little tourney report, link), bought a bunch of gems, and started ripping packs. Admittedly, I forgot it was in USD, so I planned to spend 99.99 and ended up being charged $130-something.
Oh well. I'm still happy with the purchase as I now have 2 copies of Firesong and Sunspeaker that I'm itching to brew with on Arena.
After ripping all 90 packs, I acquired enough Rare/Mythic wildcards to complete the deck. It takes a lot of Rares specifically as the mana-base includes 16 cycle-lands.
Let's have a peek at what PonyPuddle settled on:
PonyPuddle's New Perspectives
For some reason, this is the very first deck I thought of when thinking of what I could play in full on Arena (before Kaladesh and Aether Revolt were added). If I didn't have had my heart set on playing some New Perspectives that day, I'd have spent some of my Rare wildcards on things like Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Earthshaker Khenra, and the like. I'm basically also finished Mono Red, but it could use a few more cards. Heck, I'll probably go Rakdos now that I can use Scrapheap Scrounger, Aethersphere Harvester, Heart of Kiran and Unlicensed Disintegration
But I'm getting off topic. The idea with this version of New Perspectives is to keep the number of cards in hand high, whilst cycling through the deck. This deck will attempt to get to six mana, cast New Perspectives, and probably close the game from there if it resolves.
The way to victory is to free cycle off of New Perspectives until you find Faith of the Devoted, cast Faith of the Devoted, then cycle X amount of times/pay X amount of times to drain the opponent for lethal. For example, if the opponent is at 20 life, with Faith of the Devoted on the battlefield, we would need to cycle 10 times for free, and pay one mana each of those times for the drain effect.
How do we get the +/-10 mana we'll need to drain the opponent out? Well, cycling free Shefet Monitors is a great start. There are six basic lands in the deck and free ramp helps make our goal possible. Casting any available copies of Gift of Paradise is also worth a look. This helps us net mana mid-combo and takes less pressure off of the way we draw off of the chain of cycles.
If there is a Gift of Paradise on one of our lands, every time we free cycle a Vizier of Tumbling Sands, we'll untap a land that taps for two mana rather than one. Don't have anything to spend the mana on yet? Float whatever colours you'll need later, cycle Vizier of Tumbling Sands and keep the chain going. It's always a great idea to have a black mana available as we may be looking to cast Shadow of the Grave to keep the combo going.
Shadow of the Grave is also great for helping ramp mid-combo, as any Shefet Monitors and Vizier of Tumbling Sands already cycle will return to hand and likely be free cycles again that turn. This continues until we find another Shadow of the Grave, rinse and repeat and draw most of, if not our whole deck.
WARNING - it is possible to screw this up and when you cycle, you HAVE to draw a card when you do so. Don't draw more than is necessary before you're trying to win. You need enough cards in your deck to complete the combo. One card in your deck for every two life the opponent has.
Now, I'm not going to get into how New Perspectives match-ups go or anything as, admittedly, I haven't played much of the deck. I played for a few days on Arena and then stopped, and for one reason only...
Yup, I didn't consider the fact that it may take me too long to perform the combo on MTG Arena. And it definitely does. This has lead to me losing multiple games where my opponent IRL would have scooped after a quick explanation if necessary. Half of the time when performing the combo on Arena, I'll have to make sure I keep back a Haze of Pollen and two mana just in case most of my turn is wasted cycling to find Faith of the Devoted.
What a let down. I must admit, I really enjoy playing the deck, but when playing the deck becomes more about how fast you can execute your combo it becomes tedious. Especially since I'm on a somewhat laggy laptop and half the time I'm watching my timer tick down and I can't even click anything yet.
Learn from my mistake. Don't waste money on speculated fun. Don't play jerk combo decks on online platforms.
It's a good deck still. It has incremental life gain and fog effects to help against aggro, and some really sweet sideboard tech in some potent creatures (the dream). These come in when the opponent is likely taking out their removal post-board, and actually, Vile Manifestation puts in WORK. Like this thing does Rihanna style; work work work work work.
Archfiend of Ifnir is also no slouch and does a great job against the go-wide-and-get-ya strategies. I'll admit, playing game one against counter spells is MISERABLE, but if you can land a Drake Haven or Faith of the Devoted game two, that's not so bad.
I also play a one of Approach of the Second Sun in my online version as to try to win game one within ONE turn of combo-ing off.
This deck definitely has promise and can keep up with the decks of today's new Dominaria landscape - so why is nobody playing it lately? Maybe because the presence of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria decks is too intimidating. This deck struggles with blue decks naturally, as six-mana enchantments are our go-to path to victory and counter spells really hurt.
One thing is for sure, I'm getting my paper reps in before this rotates out of Standard. One thing I'm relatively excited for is the release of the other two-mana, Rare cycle lands whenever those become a thing. With those also released, I'm interested in taking a look at New Perspectives in Modern. Possibly even as a sideboard option in a Living End deck.
New Perspectives is a very powerful combo engine and the sky is the limit in the future, as cycling is solid mechanic that's popped up multiple times over the years.
Thanks for stopping in; what have you been doing in the Arena? Are you enjoying it as much as I am? Let me know in the comment box below!
I appreciate your time and thank you so much for reading.
Am I wasting my time testing a deck like this while I should be prepping for Canadian Nationals this month (Standard/Limited)? Or should I always consider playing the Rogue options; something I've slightly become known for.
Add me up on Twitter - @GoblinCredible
Now, back to the arena!