If you haven't seen the top 16 yet, click here. Like a lot of you preparing for states this upcoming weekend, I sat anxiously watching the SCG Open Nashville 2011 hoping that my play testing had gone in the right direction. Over the week, I had seen Tempered Steel's strength fain as many people drew towards the red decks. Geistflame, Arc Trail, and Slagstorm are HUGE problems for this deck. I had assumed the popularity of Tempered Steel would dwindle due to this factor and allowing slower more resilient strategies to become more popular.
Less Red in the top 16!
But I can almost guarantee you that it was a major portion of the meta-game. The fact remains that it is a very easy and cheap deck to build and pilot. But since it did so well last week, people were main decking hate for it. Just look at the top 8 lists, 11 copies of Timely Reinforcements main! Why? Because once you stabilize against red, it is very hard for them to get back into the game. They have little to no way to deal with Titans, a mainstay of the last rotation. I would expect a decent amount of red at your State Championships since folks will have already bought the cards for the deck and do not wish to change.
MOOOOOOORRRREEE Solar Flare
This deck is legit. It really is! The main reason I feel it is doing so well currently is that people haven't learned how to deal with it properly. With new cards, comes new break out strategies which we have to design solid counter-strategies for. Liliana of the Veil is most likely the 2nd most powerful planeswalker made(Note:she is still a far cry from JTMS). The big thing is that they slap her in a deck that can take full advantage of all of her abilities. The fact that they can continually dump cards into their bin and not care that they are there is huge factor to this decks success. The fact of the matter is that people are not packing any graveyard hate at the moment. While your best option is Nihil Spellbomb, decks can utilize other cards such as Memory's Journey, Purify the Grave, and Surgical Extraction. If Solar Flare maintains this type of dominance on the format, side boarding at least 6 of these answers would be justified.
Out of left field, RG KESSIG WOOOOOLF RUUUUN!
Oh yea, this is what I love to see. Happy Brewtown Days! I just get so excited when a previously unrecognized deck takes down a tournament. I've been spouting for weeks in my play test group that there is a RG ramp deck of some sort in this format but I just couldn't put the pieces together. We smashed faces yesterday for a couple hours putting this deck against the gauntlet. Turns out that it has a solid match against Solar Flare (nothing to get excited over) and a nice plan against most other aggressive strategies. Take this to States if you have the Garruk Primal Hunter's.
The other notable is the B/G Heartless Summoning Pod deck. The only thing I do not like about this deck is it has no way to get rid of your extra Heartless Summonings. Drawing multiples of that card just wrecks your day.
I'll be posting a pretty cool WB Aggro list that takes advantage of Unburial Rites. I have a few more matches to play and cards to slide around before I want to present it.