The entire field ran the full gamut of Control, Midrange, Combo, Ramp, Aggro, and Tempo decks. However the archetypes that rose to the top were predominantly Midrange (4 decks) and Control (3 decks). The last archetype in the Top 8 was an Elves deck, which operated predominantly as a Combo deck (with Ramp elements). There were only 2 pieces of Power in the Top 8, continuing the trend of un-Powered decks matching up well vs. Ancestral Recall or Time Walk.
The Winning Deck(s)
Yet again, Bant Midrange continues its clean sweep of the SA metagame. Both Beckett and I (Sarv) were the only undefeated players going in to the final round, and both on “Junk’s Sea Change”, i.e. GWU Midrange using the same high-threat proactive principles of The Rock/Junk from Dan Abraham and Drew Carter’s deck building article. Since we were both X-0 we decided to ID and just jam a bunch of playtesting games (including deciding on the glory of 1st). We managed to fit in four more games and went 2-2 again, which is consistent with our other playtesting too where the decks are incredibly evenly matched (Beckett took the first two in a row though and took home the 1st prize, a sweet foil Mana Drain thanks to Phil at Dragon’s Lair).
We keep playing the heads-up of the Powered vs. Un-Powered versions to try and identify the best build, and the trend always comes back the same: Whether you play a piece of Blue Power or without, there’s little difference in ability to win. In fact, we both landed 1st and 2nd yet again, identical to the event from last week. Check out the previous event results here to read a full Tournament Report on Un-Powered “Junk’s Sea Change”, where I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the deck, why is performs so incredibly well, why Power is not required, and cover some important card choices. If you’re looking to build a highly competitive (read: the best performing deck in SA right now!) and don’t want to break the bank, I’d recommend sleeving it up. Sea Change is also very highly customisable according to your local meta (due to Blue instead of Black in Junk), meaning you can run key cards like Clique, Stifle, Karakas, Veil, etc. as your metagame demands.
Some Reflections Going Forward
As the AE Team continue to develop the deck, Beckett and I have a few insights for people sleeving up Sea Change (aside from playtesting, every event we enter provides more data points, so you’ll see the lists continue to be tweaked each week). Whilst there are important differences in make-up according to whether you want to play the Powered or Un-Powered builds (the former can afford to durdle a little and recoup later, hence it can play JVP, Spellseeker, etc. whilst the latter wants to mitigate reduction in the Power ‘spike’ and play a consistent commit-to-board strategy), we’re simultaneously testing changes that apply to both too. An example is the first point below:
- Karakas is awesome and one of the strongest 1-point cards. You push damage past big-butt blockers, whilst messing with your opponents’ clock on QB, Titania, etc. Bouncing your opponent’s Tasigur feels close to game-over, because we are constantly applying pressure. We have moved the Un-Powered version into Karakas now too, dropping TNN for this and Wasteland (which synergises with Renegade Rallier and Sevinne’s Reclamation).
- Strangleroot Geist > Coatl. It felt like blasphemy to cut Coatl this weekend, but the change held up. You just want to impact the board, and this complements the Junk-style gameplan.
- Green Sun’s Zenith is amazing, and easily ‘the card’ you miss the most from being on a Powered version.
- Tamiyo has been enjoyable, usually drawing 2 cards a turn, or locking your opponent’s key cards on board down for two turns to bash, or a combination of the two. However we need to shave a 4-drop and this is the easiest cut. If staying on a 4cmc then Parallax Wave is practically maindeck-able and serves a similar function, but it is ideal to reduce the curve ever-so-slightly. This will allow a traditional Junk threat to enter the maindeck like Kitchen Finks.
- Vendilion Clique and Hullbreacher are excellent choices if your metagame has a lot of combo and you still want to play a midrange deck that doesn’t have an abysmal matchup in that field. However for Adelaide where the combo decks tend to be slower or interact on different axes (e.g. AEldrazi ramp, Elfball, etc.), you just need to commit to board, and 3-drops like the aforementioned Finks are always good, as opposed to, say, the high variance (high reward, but a vanilla 3/2 is a LOT worse than Finks in SA!) of Hullbreacher.
- Seedtime is fun, but should just be Thrun. Proactivity is key, and this in the opener is a dead card (no matter how much it wins the game on the spot in some late game scenarios!). We don’t have many cards to bring in vs Control because our Game 1 is already so good against it (which is why Sea Change has been doing so well vs. control in the last two events), but at least Thrun also comes in for Midrange mirrors. If in doubt Threats > Answers.
- The Monarchy is incredibly important in a midrange meta. You should always have threats to ensure that you can win it back asap, or chump to prevent your opponent getting it. Having a Bayou for Deathrite Shaman (already good in itself) lets you play Lingering souls because with fetches and dorks you have 9-10 ways to find a black mana when needed (but the key is that under a Moon you can still just play it for two 1/1 fliers, unlike ‘splashing’ say, Leovold).
- High land counts are viable as long as you can gain value off lands beyond the 20th/21st. We’ve used cards like Karakas, Horizon Lands, Wasteland, etc. but we are very very far off ‘creature-lands’ like Treetop Village, Celestial Colonnade, etc. The cost of a tapped land is abysmal when you can’t curve out. Whilst some decks can afford this, a deck with Equipment/Pod will always have something to do with the mana, so you’ll appreciate untapped lands that keep your mana count high, but have utility in the late game.
We’re continuing to tune the current lists in light of this latest datapoint and testing, so if you’re keen to sleeve up Junk’s Sea Change you can try either the Powered or Un-Powered decks below, or just touch base with anyone in the AE Team and we’ll let you know the latest list too 🙂 Enjoy!
|Player’s Standing||Player’s Name||Player’s Deck List Link|
|1st||Beckett Wolfe||“Junk’s Sea Change” (GWU Midrange) – Powered|
|2nd||Sarven McLinton||“Junk’s Sea Change” (GWU Midrange) – Un-Powered|
|3rd||Pat Catanzarltr||“Tribal Elves” (Gb Ramp-Combo)|
|4th||Steve Lowe||“Bauble & Jund” (BRG Midrange)|
|5th||Drew Carter||“Bourbon & Broke” (UWR un-powered Miracles)|
|6th||Michael Hearn||“Kess Pod” (UBRG Midrange)|
|7th||Daniel Joerdans||“Kess Pile” (Grixis Control)|
|8th||Wil Sewell||“Bourbon & Broke” (UWR un-powered Miracles)|