agic is a game of many layers. What one player sees, another might see in a completely different light. Every deck, idea, or piece of technology can have a different meaning, or be approached in a different way, than the last. Like life, no two snowflakes are identical in Magic. Because of this, we can often take a clear build-around-me card, such as Grand Architect or Birthing Pod, and arrive at very different places. Sometimes, when a card is much louder in application, we would expect this variety to be limited. For example, a Vampire lord is likely going into a Vampire deck, but even then, there is still some room for interpretation.
Arren Beaty showed off this very concept at a recent Standard tournament at Get There Games. Arren took a fairly straightforward card in Puresteel Paladin and redefined the archetype quite a bit. Traditionally, we think of Paladin as an engine for aggressive decks to utilize for card flow and card advantage, but Arren took the card and adopted it into more of a control—or at least midrange—role.
Arren’s deck still enjoys playing Paladin and loading up on Equipment on the following turns, but cards like Indomitable Archangel look to protect your game plan for a longer affair. This allows the deck to actually grind out long wins, using Mortarpods as removal and getting value out of Lingering Souls for the same effect. Sylvok Lifestaff and Razor Hippogriff replenish some nice chunks of life to get you to a point in the game where your Swords and Batterskulls can begin taking things over. Of course, the deck can still end up getting explosive draws with the Paladin on turn 2, but it no longer needs those to be competitive, which is a refreshing thing to see!
Arren Beaty's Puresteel
Standard – Top 4, TCGPlayer Silver Qualifier, Get There Games