In case you haven’t heard, there is a new unsanctioned format that is taking the internet by storm: “Frontier”, sometimes cleverly known as “Post-Modern”. This is a non-rotating format that includes all cards printed from M15 onward. A lot of people are intrigued by this format, and it looks like the local Madison community will begin hosting tournaments soon.
Hareruya has been the leading the exploration by hosting tournaments and posting the winning decklists online. Their biggest tournament as of yet was a 300-person competition, and the winner was a brutally efficient Jeskai Tempo deck utilizing Smuggler’s Copter, Faerie Miscreant, and Mausoleum Wanderer, decklist found here: http://www.hareruyamtg.com/en/k/kD05214W/
Other decks putting up consistent results have been Dark Jeskai Control, Abzan Midrange, and 4/5c Rally the Ancestors, but the format is still very young and I’ve seen a number of diverse decks placing well in tournaments such as RU Prowess, WW Humans, Bant Humans, Jund, Grixis Control, UR Ensoul Artifact, Dark Jeskai Mentor/Thermo-Alchemist, Abzan Red, and a smattering of 4/5c aggressive decks including one that utilizes both Siege Rhino and Shrapnel Blast.
Despite the absence of effective 1-mana cantrips that the other eternal formats enjoy, Frontier is packed full of raw card advantage. Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time, and Painful Truths are all legal and all benefit from the fetchland/dual land mana base that you probably want to play anyway. These are the headliners, but there are no shortage of card advantage options of all shapes and sizes including Abbot of Keral Keep, Outpost Siege, Tireless Tracker, Jace VP, Smuggler’s Copter, Goblin Dark-Dwellers, Read the Bones, Bedlam Reveler, Anticipate, Tasigur, Cryptbreaker, Abzan Charm, Dark Petition, Bring to Light, Fevered Visions, Cathartic Reunion and a variety of Planeswalkers just to name a few. Heck, even the winner of the 300-person tournament had 4 Faerie Miscreant and 2 Thraben Inspector in their deck! If you like drawing and/or selecting cards then this is the format for you!
Some noteable interactions, archetypes and technology:
Torrential Gearhulk looks absurd, assuming that Frontier ends up being slow enough for a 6-drop to matter. Gearhulk can flashback such powerful instants as the Commands of DTK, the Charms of KTK, and Crackling Doom to name a few…but far and away the most busted instant to get back with Fatcaster Mage is Dig Through Time, and it is because of this interaction that Dig Through Time may actually be banned before Treasure Cruise.
Aggressive decks utilizing unallied color combinations can use fastlands and painlands as the foundation for a quick and consistent mana base, but can still use fetchlands as well to feed delve. The mana base here looks promising, as the winning Jeskai tempo list can attest to.
Elvish Mystic is in this format. It combos with a forest and any spell for broken mana acceleration. It has been showing up in Rally and Abzan decks already. Imagine turn 1 Blooming Marsh into Elvish Mystic, turn 2 Windswept Heath to fetch Plains and cast Anafenza the Foremost, turn three any land cast Siege Rhino. Scary stuff, which brings me to my next point….
Early game interaction is absolutely essential. Esper control will take a backseat to Grixis because of the speed and resiliency of many decks, and the lack of reasonable 1-mana removal in Esper. Spells like Fiery Impulse, Lighting Strike, and Wild Slash will flourish for their ability to remove an early Elf, Jace, Soulfire Grand Master, Monastery Swiftspear, and so much more crucial early plays. Duress will be another key piece of interaction in this format for its ability to disrupt a wide variety of decks for only one mana.
Since the nuts and bolts removal spells will top off at 3 damage, an early game threat with 4 toughness will be a good place to be. Thing in the Ice, I’m looking at you.
Well, that’s all for today. This format looks awesome and I hope you’re as excited as I am to explore it! My next article will outline the deck I think will be the best choice to crush this newborn format during its infantile stages! See you then!