The New Extended Affinity:
As most of you probably know, extended has changed vastly, even from when it was cut off at the knees. Worlds gave us our first peek at what the extended meta-game might look like after time spiral's rotation. The top deck breakdown was very interesting, it included the obvious Scapeshift-Valakut, and Faeries, but surprisingly a vast array of other decks got at least 13 points (4-1-1 record). These include Vivid Control, Jund, Elf Combo, G/W Big stuff, RUG Shaman, UW Fish, Mythic Conscription, Doran, and in my opinion, the most interesting, Esper Aggro.
By far, Esper aggro is my favorite deck. I am playing a similar deck in standard, and I had planned on building a very very similar deck in extended. For those of you who have yet to read the list, the 6-0-0 list by Pascal Maynard looks like this:
|4 Darkslick Shores
1 Fetid Heath
4 Marsh Flats
4 Seachrome Coast
|3 Mox Opal
3 Springleaf Drum
4 Tempered Steel
2 Thopter Foundry
16 other spells
15 sideboard cards
Now, I want to start off talking about his choice of creatures. He picked the obvious, Master of Etherium, and Steel Overseer, Memnite, and Ornithopter. But what I found interesting was Court Homunculus. Two years ago, when that card was printed, we all laughed, nobody ever thought that card would see play. But in this deck, it is very easy to turn the 1/1 into an Isamaru (2/2 for W). an average first turn can look like : Seachrom Coast, Memnite, Memnite, Mox Opal, Court Homunculus, Court Homunculus, then turn two drop a land, and a Tempered Steel, and swing for 14! I'd like to see Red Deck Wins do that! But another interesting creature choice was the Tidehollow Sculler. It is not only a 2/2 for 2 artifact, but it also takes a card from your opponent's hand. Stripping the of that oh so painful Lightning Bolt, or that devastating Volcanic Fallout.
But what the true kicker is in this deck is the creature that gives you card advantage, Ranger of Eos. If you have a Tempered Steel out, this searches for 8 power in creatures (2 Court Homunculus). For those who say “It's 4 mana, that too expensive” I say to you, Mox Opal+Springleaf Drum = easy turn 2 Ranger of Eos. Plus, I heard 4 mana for 9 power is awesome.
In addition to these fantastic creatures, we have the Mox Opal, and the Springleaf Drum, which both allow for incredible explosiveness. Turn one is simply incredible for this deck, it loves to be on the play, but if it's on the draw, you lose all the same, because then it gets to dump 8 cards turn one instead of 7. And that is all thanks to not only the Mox Opal, but the Springleaf Drum.
On top of all that powerful aggro, it packs an astounding protection package in Thoughtseize and Tidehollow Sculler. These two cards allow you to strip your opponent's hand of those pesky volcanic Fallouts, and Hallowed Burials. But you might say “Tom, what if they just top deck a Volcanic?” And to that I say “Let 'em cast it” 9/10 times your guys have at least 3 toughness thanks to the combination of Steel Overseer, Master of Etherium, and Tempered Steel. Plus, Vivid Control is o slow to actually do anything to this deck, before they actually begin playing spells, they are at 5 life. If five color decks are going to survive in this format, they are going to need to do better than a mana base full of tap lands, because they are usually dead before they can cast a single spell in this extended meta. Their cheapest spell that actually does something is fallout, and that costs double red, which is sparse in these decks, they don't plan on casting fallout till at least turn 4 or 5, when it's already too late.
Now this deck does run into a bit of trouble against the aggro mirror, a lot of the current Jund builds are becoming powerful aggro decks, using things like Demigod of Revenge. This causes a little bit of a problem when they pull out a 5/5 dude, and then pull another out of the graveyard with it. How can this deck possible handle those large creatures? Simple, Master of Etherium. But usually you deal with it by simply Scullering it away, so the only way they can actually get it back is by killing your Sculler.
Scapeshift you ask? Honestly, Scapeshift is fast, but not fast enough, while it's busy dropping lands, I'm busy beating it's face in with dudes. Honestly, the Leonin Arbiter in the board is useless against them, I'd rather be holding a spell pierce to hit their Scapeshift with.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment!
Have fun playing with or against it!