During our testing the deck giving the best results was Esper Control. It was good against Mono Blue and Mono Black, and particularly good in the control mirror. It was good pre-board against Jund Monsters and was (surprising for us) decent against Burn too. The bad matches were the ones with extremely aggressive green or red creatures due to the slow Temple-heavy Mana base.
3 Nyx-Fleece Ram
3 Pact Rat
2 Archangel of Thune
2 Doom Blade
Three players in my team ended up playing this deck. they couldn’t agree on every single slot, but they were overall happy with the decklist.
Next was Mono Blue. Easily the most consistent and explosive deck in the format, and it can punish different archetypes in different ways. Even its worst matchup (UW Control versions) improves a lot post-board. Two players in the team committed their devotion to the God of the Sea.
2 Jace, Architect of Thought
1 Rapid Hybridization
Next, moving onto two other players in the group, including me. This is the Jund Monsters list we played.
2 Doom Blade
2 Golgari Charm
2 Mizzium Mortars
2 Chandra, Pyromaster
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Gruul Charm
1 Xenagos, the Reveler
1 Sire of Insanity
1 Rakdos’s Return
This deck was a bit under radar for the Pro Tour because it doesn’t really have any good matchups, most of them being 45-55 pre-board. All the matchups get better post-sideboard, but not all of them are particularly good (Mono Blue and Burn are still very hard, even with a dedicated sideboard).
I realised about this early during the testing and moved on to other decks, including the Jund Planeswalkers deck, which was extremely good against Control and Mono Black, but extremely bad against basically anything else. That’s how I figured out that running Jund Monsters in the maindeck and having the Planeswalkers kit in the sideboard would give us better chances against an open field.
Mono Green Aggro Splashing Black
The last deck played by more than one player in the team was Mono Green Aggro Splashing Black.
4 Experiment One
4 Elvish Mystic
2 Dryad Militant
4 Scavenging Ooze
4 Lotleth Troll
4 Kalonian Tusker
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Boon Satyr
2 Reverent Hunter
4 Gather Courage
4 Aspect of Hydra
4 Setessan Tactics
4 Ultimate Price
4 Golgari Charm
Neither of the two players to pilot this deck would recommend it for the future. Both of them knew how powerful but inconsistent the deck was, both decided to play it anyway, and both were unhappy about it. The deck has similar matchups to Mono Blue, but it’s just a more inconsistent version.
Our last player in the team ran Green-White Aggro, but unfortunately I don’t have his decklist. For reference this is the one used by Jackson Cunningham, runner up of the tournament:
4 Setessan Tactics
4 Unflinching Courage
1 Ajani Steadfast
2 Ajani’s Presence
I haven’t play this deck, but on paper it looks to have a good maindeck against control and midrange decks and basically the whole sideboard is focused on improving the match against Mono Blue and other aggressive decks.
Thinking Ahead to the GP
I know most of you were following the coverage of the Pro Tour or looked at the decklist afterwards, so I am not going to post in here what you already know about the tournament. Instead I’ll try to give you my thoughts about what it is going to happen next in the Standard metagame.
I will be playing Grand Prix Utrecht this weekend and I am still deciding what deck to play.
The first good option is the most obvious one: the UW Control Ivan Floch used to win the Pro Tour: This deck is easily the best one, and it barely has any matchup you could call bad. Sadly it has a huge downside for the Grand Prix – the clock. Rounds in the Pro Tour last 55 minutes, and players are more experienced. That means they play faster and know when they can’t win a game, and scoop their cards early.
Those who dare using this deck in the Grand Prix will finish probably 80% of their matches with less than 10 minutes left in the round, and who knows how many of those matches will finish in a draw or a 0-1 defeat.
Using this deck will be a challenge. I have to admit that I may take that challenge, but I wouldn’t recommend the same to most players. I ran a similar control deck with long matches at my last constructed Grand Prix and it was very stressful to always play until the very last minutes of the round.
It’s also important to consider the new rules for giving Pro Points in the Grand Prix. Basically, a draw is as bad as a loss. I know not everyone is chasing Pro Points, but normally drawing rounds is bad in matters of making top8, top16, top32 or top64.
Any of the other decks present in the top 8 would be a nice option for future Standard events. All of them are quite consistent and proved their value in the Pro Tour. That’s what makes me think that a very good option for the Grand Prix is Mono Blue — the deck loses to UW Control but has good matchups against the rest of that field.
Thinking Ahead to WMCQs
Finally, moving forward the week after, we have the first WMCQ of the year. I won’t be playing those, but I know what I would like to play if I could. I’ve noticed how devoted UK players are to Control decks and Rock decks, so I wouldn’t be surprise to see Blue-White-X and Green-Black-X decks in big numbers. Red-White Burn is the deck I would pick up for such a metagame.
As always, metagaming a tournament is about how deep in levels you want to go. If you expect people to be ready for those decks by playing Burn, you may want to play Mono Blue instead; Or go further and play Supreme Verdict decks. Or you could just play the always reliable Mono Black in any of its versions (just Black, or splashing White or Green).
I hope this article helps you decide what to play. I will see some of you in Utrecht this weekend, and hopefully the rest in London for the next MWCQ. I may show up to see who’s going to join my team at the World Magic Cup.
To find all upcoming MTG events including the WMCQs, PTQQs and PTQs, please use the UK Magic Calendar
Thanks for reading,