So with Pro Tour Amonkhet approaching fast, which decks do I expect to be running right up the top?
Pro Tour Amonkhet is this weekend and with the banning of that pesky Cat Combo the Standard format has been blown wide open. So here are four decks I hope to see go well, and the one I predict to win the entire thing. Lets start with an obvious one;
This deck has been in Standard for a couple of seasons now and I see no reason for it to disintegrate (pardon the pun!) quite yet. Whilst with Amonkhet we saw a whole new wave of Artifact hate I don’t think this deck is out for the count quite yet. This is a strong build, it is quick, relatively reliable and has the sideboard plan to take anybody who isn’t quite on top of their game plan. I do however think the golden age for this deck has passed, for now at least. Coming into this Pro Tour it is just far too well known. People know how to beat it, and its transformative sideboard. There have been many variants of this now infamous deck from Boros, to Mardu and even Jund energy, I expect to see at least one of these Top 8 but I do not expect to see it dominate like it did back on the Artifact’s home of Kaladesh.
Now this is a deck a look forward to seeing. I have been super excited about exert ever since it was first spoiled. Exert is essentially a power up that you can give each of your creatures every other turn… until you add Vigilance. Vigilance straight breaks the Exert keyword and that is exactly what the Always Exerting deck plans to do. So you remember that card right? You know Always Watching. It saw a little bit of play in some creature based strategies back on Innistrad, but it never really took off and the Vigilance always kinda took the back foot. Well now it is back and it is ready to make an impact. This time round it is the Vigilance that is in the driving seat. Essentially it allows you to swing in with a 5/5 Vigilance, Lifelink in the form of Glory-Bound Initiate on Turn 3… And Turn 4… And well you get the point. There’s not too much that can stop that. The deck runs up quite high on the curve hitting 5 for Glorybringer, and can even take extra combats through Combat Celebrant.
There are various different builds and shells that this deck can be put in however, so which is the best? Personally I really like the Naya Humans version. The deck is essentially a human tribal deck but with the Always Exerting combos just kinda stuck in there. The reason I would go Naya over Boros however is for Arlinn Kord. She is just a machine. Against control she can just pump out wolves, against aggro she can essentially dish out a Lightning Bolt whenever she chooses (well almost), and your opponent better not let her emblem because if she does they do not have a chance at victory. Now for the next one lets go pay an old friend a visit.
Black-Green +1/+1 Counters
Hello again my old friend, how good it is to see you once more. This is a deck that has been given a second chance by the banning of the cat. And it is going to take it, believe me. We all know how this deck works, it all revolves around Winding Constrictor and counter generators such as Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Verdurous Gearhulk. This deck gets real big real quick. And if anything gets worrying it has the removal to “fight” its way out. With key pieces of removal coming into this tournament including Fatal Push and potentially Cartouche of Strength it is definitely not going to struggle on that front. This deck is ready and rearing to go in Amonkhet and although I think a lot of them will meet their match one too many times, I do expect to see at least one maybe two versions of this deck reach the fabled Top 8. Finally we have something more of a hope than a prediction.
Trial of Tentacles
Now this is a deck you may not have heard of before. First off does it not have the greatest name ever? I mean full respect to whoever came up with that. The deck is based around getting maximum value out of Trials using Crush of Tentacles to return both Trials and Cartouches to your hand, so you can cast them all over again. You might even get yourself a little octopus out of it.
I have seen a couple of colour choices for this deck. I personally would definitely pair the Blue with Black. Now I do like a few lists going Grixis but I just find Cartouche of Zeal to be too off focus and I want to be able to hit my board stall enabling drops all the way up to my first Crush of Tentacles. Additionally going two colours instead of three takes a lot of strain off the mana base. Now a card I’ve been hearing conflicting views on in general and regarding this deck is Kefnet the Mindful. I love him in here. And especially after a Crush of tentacles. He is surprisingly easy to turn him on and even when he isn’t online he is just a card advantage machine. This is a deck that has real potential to catch some of the big names out and although I hope one will Top 8, although I highly doubt this will actually occur.
Before my final prediction here are a few honourable mentions just to highlight decks that could well do well but didn’t quite make my list that I wanted to talk about;
- Esper Zombie Tribal
This is essentially your definition of what a tribal deck should be. It just fills the board with zombies and gives them buffs and a few keyword abilities, including one to watch out for Menace. Definitely a deck to look out for.
2. Blue-Red Emerge
This is very similar to the Emerge decks of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon. Essentially a Tempo Build which can finish an opponent off with no warning what so ever. It achieves this using Elder Deep-Fiend to tap down the opponent’s creatures before swinging in for a huge amount of damage. This time around however it has a few upgrades chief of which I think is Bloodrage Brawler. Potential Top 8 for this archetype on its return to the big stage.
3. Jeskai / Second Sun Control
I really want this deck to do well. The build starts off as a pretty generic control with Blue Counter spells, Red Burn, and White Exile and Mass Removal. That is until you reach the win conditions. Whilst Torrential Gearhulk still makes a rather prominent impact in most lists the primary win condition is to cast Approach of the Second Sun twice. Be careful around this deck as the sheer volume of cards it has the potential to dig through in a couple of turns is huge. That second Approach is not going to be seven turns after the first, trust me. An alternate win-condition that has real potential, I really hope this sees some success.
4. Grixis Control
This is a much more, well, generic control deck. Very much similar to the deck that Shota Yasooka piloted to victory back in Pro Tour Kaladesh this deck looks set to try and hit up the Top 8 once more. With faster counters from Censor and the usual hard hitter in Torrential Gearhulk watch out and make sure you you leave that one mana up in the early turns.
5. Mono-Red Aggro
In a relatively new format this archetype always appears. The aim is just to be so quick there is not much that your opponent can do other than go on the defensive. This time however it has bigger creatures, reliable burn for most scenarios, and crucially, reach in the form of Trial of Zeal and Cartouche of Zeal. Quick out of the blocks and equipped with both removal and evasion this time. This is one to watch for sure.
But now the big prediction: The deck I believe will win Pro Tour Amonkhet…
Yes that’s right the deck I think is going to win Pro Tour Amonkhet is Green-Red Stompy. This deck is not only ridiculously quick but also is resilient and runs into the mid-game with ease. The deck is all about straight power. There are various ways of doing it but the idea is to hit both Rhonas the Indomitable and Hazoret the Fervent on curve and activated. And with a start like that there is not much you can do to stop it. My personal favourite ways to do this are either Exemplar of Strength or more easily in most cases Bloodrage Brawler. This hard hitting Minotaur gets you both a four power dude on turn 2 and allows for a discard to help get Hazoret the Fervent. As far as I am aware there is not a deck out there at the moment that can start this quick, hold the mid-game and yet remain so stubborn to control decks. That is why I think it will be victorious. It is so much more well rounded than most of the other strategies out there just now.
Anyway thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did please share this article with you friends, on Facebook and all the rest of those things, and your Local Game Store. And if there’s anything MTG related you want me to discuss let me know through Twitter, @WeeTam987.
That’s all I’ve got for now.
Pass turn to you.