Hello again everyone! It’s been another exciting week of talking Expanded here on SixPrizes, with a trio of articles looking at some decks in the format. As I alluded in the Tweet on Mike Fouchet’s article yesterday, it’s a format that’s personally starting to feel a bit overwhelming—and if I’m feeling overwhelmed having played the whole time these cards have been legal, I imagine it’s a messier place yet for players newer to the scene.
I hope we’ve helped players in spots like that make some progress toward understanding, but it’s admittedly a bit difficult with this much uncertainty. It could be a mirage, but my current read on the format is that we’re liable to see the most diverse metagame in the modern history of Regional Championships. So many players are going to stick with “pet decks” that it’s almost impossible to read the metagame. With so many decks, it’s a losing game trying to gamble on polar matchup spreads.
With that said, every deck in the format is going to have some level of deficit in the matchups department. Thus, I don’t think there’s a play for Portland immune to some bad pairing luck. The players that make it into Day 2 will have combined making good plays with some luck to dodge the disastrous matchups in the room. Those advancing to Top 8 will have spun a bit more luck with some correct prediction as to what would come out on top of the event’s first day.
I mentioned “pet decks” earlier. This is something that often carries some sort of negative connotation in the vernacular of the game—in essence, it’s saying that a player is too lazy/low/whatnot to figure another option for the format. In reality, it’s often a combination of factors that have nothing to do with what I just listed, and as such, it’s a bit unfortunate that negativity is what tends to follow the label around. In this format, we’ll see record numbers of these de-facto “I like this deck, thus I’m playing it” sort of selections. I can’t even rule it out myself. And, in fact, I’d encourage it as a method of deck selection for Portland: we’re in such a wild spot with Expanded that I can’t fault anyone for playing anything, and if it’s a deck you enjoy playing, it’s probably as good an option as anything for the weekend.
With that said, this week was slated to be this month’s mailbag. Only got two questions, so I’ll take a stab at them, and we’ll move onto next week. I’m not surprised at the lack of questions, per se, and we’ll give it one more shot in November. Else, we’ll move on to new ideas—and, as always, I value your input into the site’s progress.
I’m a relatively new player, and I’m trying to catch up with meta, strategies, etc in both expanded and standard. I’m sure this is a problem many people have, but between work, family, etc, I’m not always able to devote as much time as I’d like to planning or practicing. What do you think is the best way to effectively and efficiently use time to improve and prepare for events, if time is limited?
A wholly relatable one. Especially in Expanded right now, I think the number of people with a truly solid grasp on what’s going on number in the single digits—and, honestly, there might not be any at all (even though I know there are some that will claim the mantle anyway). If that’s any comfort at all, take solace there.
Else, as general tips, it’s important to have a network. Doing it all alone is hard, and having been in various levels of testing circles over my time in the game, it’s always been easier to make meta reads and make competent calls based on those reads when working with a more invested group. As always, information is only as good as its source, though, and it’s essential to not exist in a bubble. Not to be obnoxious, but by the fact that you’re reading this, you’ve taken a good step in that sense.
Playing games has no substitute, though, as hard as it can be to fit sometimes. Efficiency in this manner: I’d argue for playing a few games with a lot of decks, but I know some folks that feel it’s more important to play a lot of games with a few decks. I hate this phrase, but it might just depend on your situation.
What do you think is going to dethrone Psychic Malamar/Chimecho in Standard?
Considering there are no precious few major Standard events before the end of the format anywhere in the world, I would guess it will leave the format on top. Lost Thunder will probably end the reign, though.
Expanded isn’t a pretty sight right now, but I do think this will come to a more pleasant conclusion once we have some clarity from Portland. I think Expanded is positioned well—the problem is that it’s such an unknown format, and many players hate the unknown more than anything else. Naturally—most players are human, I hear.
Personally, I think Trevenant looks pretty good right now, but there’s a lot left to test between now and the kickoff next weekend. I’m excited to see how it all goes, and while there’ll be a Flyer next week, it’s going to touch on Lost Thunder instead, so this is my last word on the topic.
As always, if you have any questions, you can find me on the forums or try another means. Else, until next time, all the best to you.
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