Also, note that English is not Luc3k's original language, and that this was translated by a friend.
Hello! A “guy with luck in his nickname” here. I am not an old stager, my achievements are rather small and I play rather irregularly (which you can see on my profile). Still I wanted to share with you my insight on changing the format from Standard Pauper to Silverback. This is a story about leaving the comfort zone and dealing with new conditions, despite how silly it may sound when talking about a card game.
Brief introduction - beginning my adventure with Standard Pauper (season 26-29 of SPDC and MPDC) I decided to pilot an aggressive RW Heroic deck because of the simple reason: I am rather weak control player. I’ve tried different things but the result was poor. My decks were always lacking card advantage. But why is it even important in that story?
After a longer break (personal reasons, life gets in the way you know) I tried to come back to the community. It was even easier because of the changes in the way the matches have been scheduled. Players didn’t have to sacrifice whole Sunday or Monday evening with the view of waking up early next day for work. Changing the tournament into a form of league was very important aspect allowing me to take part in the tournaments. So we have reached the point when you have to choose a deck. Aggro would be best, RW was a solid deck. So back to the question from the paragraph above - I need an offensive deck, which can do something more than spilling cards from my hand. The choice was Mono B Vehicles, which I simply copied from the player Julion. The only thing I changed in the mainboard was -2 Swamps, +2 Cradles of the Accursed. And yes, I was fully aware that this does not make playing Grasp of Darkness any easier. The deck was offensive, it had some removal, combat tricks, card advantage, vehicles naturally avoided sorcery-speed removal and overall I enjoyed them because of the flavor. It was a very enjoyable deck to pilot, I’ve managed to win some games and irritate some of you ;) Than it was time to change the format into Silverback.
There have been many different approaches how to handle the change of the format. One of them was to choose a deck from the current Standard, take out Rares and Mythics, put something instead of them (preferably Uncommons) and voila! In my opinion this approach was good with Energy decks (you didn’t have to take out many cards) and maybe BG Constrictor. But I had some hard time at adapting for example Ramunap Red, where over 20 creatures are at Rare and Mythic slot. Deckbuilding was a challenge and I wasn’t a fan of those changes. I am still not a enthusiast of Silverback in the current format, but I will explain this later.
Now lets go back to leaving (or staying in) the comfort zone. I felt good about my black vehicles deck, I didn’t want to change too much, but I want to be competitive. I leave the core of the deck untouched: 4x Sky skiff and 2x Renegade Freighter, knowing that Skiff will be mediocre at best but I don’t have better options. Night Market Lookout simply must stay, without it the deck does not work. Mono B didn’t give too many upgrade options - Walk the Plank is only a replacement for Grasp of Darkness, not an upgrade - so I started examining other colors. Red was my pick, as Unlicensed Disintegration and Weldfast Engineer work naturally with artifacts. For consistency I’ve left Augmenting Automaton (which is weak in the format), Dhund Operative (which is mediocre at it best) and Foundry Screecher (which dies from basically anything). I didn’t wanted any tapped lands so my mana base consisted of mostly basic lands and 2x Cradle of the Accursed, which basically was looking bad even on paper.
As you probably already guess, the deck was not working well. To be honest it wasn’t working at all. Demanding mana costs, poor mana base, weak 1- and 2-drops. I’ve lost all my matches, without wining even a single game. Very fast I had some material to think on. Also I have felt how strong are the constructions based on Energy. Luckily during week 2 I was too busy to take part in tournament, but I was able to analyze the results and decks of other players after 2 weeks in this new environment, which still felt completely strange to me. Most obvious finding was the domination of Energy decks. So there were only two options: jumping on the wagon and building around Energy or treating it as a deck to beat. I’ve chosen the second option, decided that it is not the time to act as a hero of deckbuilding and came back to the basics. I’ve built a mono red deck, based on 12 deserts, Firebrand Archer, Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs with addition of Ahn-Crop Crasher and Sand Strangler. Rest was burn spells. This deck was meant to imitate typical Pauper burn deck, which I know very well and which is not difficult to pilot. I’ve played next 2 weeks with this deck, playing 5 or 6 rounds and had mediocre results. For me it was more about getting used to the new meta and earning some basic experience.
So the fact that I am not an enthusiast of Silverback, which I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, comes mostly from the necessity of adapting to those energy counters being tossed at you every two matches. The format seems to have little variety, does not reward unusual and interesting constructions. In my opinion the Energy mechanics is too strong itself. What’s more, for me before the changes, when we were playing Standard Pauper, metagame was richer, had more variety. I did not encounter the same decks over and over again and each of us had his or hers own archetype, crafted over weeks of play. So it was difficult for me to adapt to a new situation, and the sum of objective and subjective aspects only made my negative approach worse.