Overextending - Exploring Magic's Newest Potential Format

Feature Article from Kyle Boggemes
Kyle Boggemes
6/29/2011 8:39:00 AM
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The best lesson I ever learned when I first started playing Magic was to avoid overextending. I want to forget that for a bit so we can delve into the hottest new format-Overextended. Standard is nice and all, but I'm sure you guys are sick to death of hearing about how Jace and Stoneforge are banned and how that means the format will change. If I read another article that begins with “Jace, the Mind Sculptor is banned Stoneforge Mystic is banned” I could go off of the deep end (as if I already haven't).

To make matters worse, the M12 spoiler season is in full swing so the format will be changed in a few short weeks. I could talk more about the new Standard decks post banning, but it won't do you any good because all it takes is a few new cards to be spoiled and my article was a waste.

Overextended is a format that has received very little attention although it's almost assuredly going to see tournament play in some incarnation. Gavin Verhey informed me that Worldwide Overextended Day is this upcoming weekend-check out this link for more details. If this isn't a clue that the format is receiving a hell of a lot of attention I don't know what is.

The biggest thing to not get confused about is that “Modern” is not the same as “Overextended.” The Community Cup was the unveiling of the “Modern” format and allows only sets that have the modern card frame (I see what they did there). “Overextended” goes back farther by allowing Invasion block, Odyssey block, Onslaught block, and 7th Edition to give it the feeling of an eternal format.

PT Philly is going to be extended, but my bet is that it gets changed to Overextended or Modern to throw everyone a curveball. It's no secret that the small version of Extended we all had to Endure last year wasn't very much fun. The goal was to originally change Extended because nobody really played it outside of PTQs, GPs, and PTs-this hardly changed by shrinking the set size. Overextended has been merely a rumor for a long time and it's exciting to see the community taking positive steps toward making it a real format.

The reason I'm talking about Overextended today is because there are exciting new and old decks that can be played. We have heard too much about Legacy and Standard and this is a fresh new format to explore. I know that Stoneforge Mystic decks will probably see plenty of play in the beginning, but the format allows for so many archetypes to exist that it won't likely be dominant.

Legacy is such a nice format because of the large card pool. There isn't a deck that prevents people from playing what they want to play. The strongest decks can be beaten because other cards can be played with the same power level. Standard is one of my least favorite formats because the most powerful deck remains so because the rest of the pool isn't as strong. How else is it possible to see Caw-Blade winning countless tournaments when everyone knows it's the best deck? It cannot be hated out effectively because no cards were on the same power level as Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic. Sure there were numerous articles where authors claimed to beat Caw-Blade a majority of the time, but it was never true.

Why play Overextended when Legacy has similar positive attributes? It's no secret that the price of real estate in the Magic world is skyrocketing. Dual lands have never been as expensive as they are now so it's becoming more difficult to give Legacy a try. Force of Will and Wasteland are hovering around 80 bucks and will continue to increase until WOTC Meddles with the cards in some way.

The cool thing about Overextended is that all of these cards aren't allowed! If you don't want to buy twenty different cards that cost around 100$ then that's fine. Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Tarmogoyf are the two most expensive cards in the format and they are only about 60$. What is more, I haven't seen a deck that plays both of them. This makes the prices of the average deck way lower.

Legacy obviously still has a place in my heart is it does to many others, but my point is that Overextended has a niche audience. I'm sure that many Legacy players would love this format as well since who doesn't love a good game of Magic? Most of the possible broken combos have been banned so losing on turn one or two is pretty rare. The support cards for combo decks are also weaker due to the loss of Brainstorm so their consistency would be sacrificed greatly for power.

We also get to play with many cards that haven't been able to compete with Legacy staples. Ravnica dual lands see play primarily in EDH because they are inferior to the originals. Remand seems like it should see more play, but more efficient cards have chased it out of the Legacy format. As the Magic community continues to explore the possibilities, the collective will discover hidden gems that can again become a store of value.

This is the perfect time to look into this format because we can beat the market! So many pieces of information are pointing to Overextended/Modern being a major player, but prices aren't showing that as of now. Everyone sold their Ravnica duals and Dark Confidants as a result of WOTC increasing the set restrictions of Extended. What do you think will happen when Overextended or Modern is officially announced? The demand will go through the roof and I doubt the supply can keep up in the short run. I made the mistake of underestimating the amount of players who follow competitive tournament formats in local areas. There are hundreds and hundreds of players in my home state of Michigan alone who would be interested in acquiring the staples after an announcement has been made.

So now that I have given my thoughts on the format, lets get into some decks that we will see in the beginning. The biggest Overextended tournament was a Magic-League Master. This is a Big Zoo deck played by Wichtelman to a top 8 finish.

Zoo (Overextended) by Wichtelman
Main Deck
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Qasali Pridemage
4 Steppe Lynx
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Wild Nacatl
Creatures [24]
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lightning Helix
4 Path to Exile
Spells [12]
4 Arid Mesa
1 Forest (154)
1 Mountain (152)
1 Plains (146)
3 Sacred Foundry
3 Stomping Ground
3 Temple Garden
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
Lands [24]
Deck Total [60]

15 ?
Sideboard [15]

Click for full deck stats & notes!

Here we have a version of Zoo that takes a similar form Brian Kibler used to win PT Austin. You may notice that the deck lacks Stoneforge Mystic which is what I like to see. Witchelman had the choice to play Stoneforge Mystic and was playing white, but thought it was not synergistic in his deck. This is a great thing because it shows that the card is not too powerful for the format-at least in the early stages. This could change as the community has time to dissect each deck and modify them to their most competitive configuration.

Qasali Pridemage is a great card that can keep Stoneforge Mystic in check. The card is definitely still playable, but at least it has legitimate weaknesses.

It didn't take long to see a deck that features four copies of Tarmogoyf. He will remain one of the most threatening cards in the format, but his power is kept in check due to the nature of the zoo decks. Most lists only feature lands, instants, and creatures so he wont get out of hand in every matchup.

Zoo 2.0 (Overextended) by Kyle Boggemes
Main Deck
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Dark Confidant
4 Kird Ape
2 Sygg, River Cutthroat
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Tidehollow Sculler
4 Wild Nacatl
Creatures [26]
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lightning Helix
2 Path to Exile
4 Tribal Flames
Spells [14]
4 Arid Mesa
1 Blood Crypt
1 Breeding Pool
1 Godless Shrine
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Steam Vents
4 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
4 Wooded Foothills
Lands [20]
Deck Total [60]

15 ?
Sideboard [15]

Click for full deck stats & notes!

If you thought there was only one way to build zoo in this format, you may want to check out this list. Halldir used this classic take on Domain-zoo to get in the the top 8 of the same Magic-League Master. Dark Confidant has been too painful at times and may end up being so again. The biggest criticism of this archetype was that it's too suicidal. Ravnica dual lands can help fix mana very well, but also can come back to bite you depending on the number. I like this format because you can get greedy with the mana bases, but there are ways to be punished for doing so-don't forget about Magus of the Moon.

Zoo is typically a great choice in a diverse and unknown metagame so I'm not surprised to see different versions in the top 8. There is rarely a time where being proactive is a bad thing especially in a format where there is such a wide variety of decks.

UW Stoneforge (Overextended) by Kyle Boggemes
Main Deck
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Stoneforge Mystic
3 Vendilion Clique
Creatures [11]
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Planeswalkers [2]
4 Ancestral Vision
1 Batterskull
4 Counterspell
3 Cryptic Command
3 Mental Misstep
4 Path to Exile
2 Spell Snare
1 Sword of Body and Mind
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
Spells [23]
1 Celestial Colonnade
4 Flooded Strand
3 Hallowed Fountain
5 Island (148)
1 Misty Rainforest
3 Mutavault
2 Mystic Gate
2 Plains (146)
3 Tectonic Edge
Lands [24]
Deck Total [60]

Click for full deck stats & notes!

Substitute took this particular build of Stoneforge Control to the top 8 by playing a hybrid between previous versions from Legacy and Extended. Overextended gives us the opportunity to play cards like Counterspell because the format is slightly slower than Legacy. Mental Misstep still shines in this format due to the popularity of Zoo and Path to Exile in Particular.

The mana base is consistent and we don't have to worry about Wasteland randomly land screwing us-Tectonic Edge is much more balanced, which this deck plays. Brainstorm isn't allowed in Overextended so the total time it takes to play this deck is less. That was always a problematic card because it's difficult to play the card correctly and became very time consuming as a result.

There are so many ways to build a control deck in this format. Take this list proposed by Jed Dolbeer as an example of a control deck from yesteryear.

BUG Control by Jed Dolbeer
Main Deck
1 Genesis
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
4 Psychatog
1 Wonder
Creatures [7]
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Planeswalkers [3]
1 Chainer's Edict
3 Circular Logic
4 Counterspell
2 Cryptic Command
3 Force Spike
1 Ghastly Demise
4 Gifts Ungiven
1 Go for the Throat
1 Life from the Loam
3 Pernicious Deed
2 Smother
Spells [25]
1 Barren Moor
2 Breeding Pool
1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Forest (154)
1 Ghost Quarter
5 Island (148)
2 Lonely Sandbar
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Overgrown Tomb
4 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp (150)
3 Watery Grave
Lands [25]
Deck Total [60]

Click for full deck stats & notes!

Just seeing this deck made me think about all of the card advantage engines of the past that become possible. I have always been curious about how old archetypes would fair in this new world of super powerful cards. It would be awesome if there was a format that takes the cards from when I started playing Magic and combine them with newer sets.

Dredgatog has gotten some nice upgrades-especially Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I'm a huge fan of Remand so maybe we can squeeze some of those in there. Can Psychatog have a role in the new world of magic? There's only one way to find out!

WOTC may choose to go with the Modern format instead of Overextended as they would both be upgrades. The Extended format of today is very stale and this would provide us with some decks that don't involve Stoneforge Mystic. Either way, the most important thing you can take away from this article is to pick up cards from Mirrodin and up that may have a place in these formats.

Thanks for reading.

Your good buddy,


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