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Decks for the Invitational

Written by Tim Bachmann on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern, Standard

Decks for the Invitational

Tim Bachmann

Hailing from northeast Pennsylvania, Tim has been playing since Mirrodin, and has been playing competitively since Dragons of Tarkir. With aspirations of playing on the Pro Tour, Tim plays in as many PPTQs and GPs as he can.

If you’ve been following Standard recently, you know that it’s a “two-deck format.” Week to week, Green Black Delirium and White Blue Flash climb each other to be the “best” deck in the format for that week. Even for people like myself, for who playing the best deck in the format is an important piece of giving myself the best chance to win each week, this can get pretty old. In fact, the last large Standard even we had was the SCG Standard Open in Knoxville. Looking at the top eight there, seven of the top eight decks were crummy White Blue Flash and Green Black Delirium. Good on you Bradley Hill, showing that not only is Control alive, but it can put up a fight against the big dogs in the format.

Now, I’m a big fan of the White Blue deck. Not only was it brought to light by someone who is somewhat local to my area, but it plays this aggressive tempo game that I like, along with some of my best friends from the Bant Company era of the last few Standard formats. As a fan of this deck, I am not a fan of the format right now. While having a “best deck” is great, having TWO best decks is annoying. This is because you spend the majority of any given event playing against mostly two decks. If you compare that to something like last standard, where Bant Company was the best deck, sure you had some mirror matches, but the other matches were against opponents who thought they had your deck figured out, so you got to play against exciting brews, and play different, interesting games of Magic.

Having two best decks in the format, or at least two decks that are very close and vying each week to beat each other as the best deck in the format, means a lot of those other brews and neat decks might have game against one of the decks, but not the other.

Unless of course you’re Logan “Jaberwocki” Nettles.

Jaberwocki took this to the top four of this online PTQ after tearing up the Swiss of the event with an undefeated record. This deck has blown up online, and I’m very surprised that more people aren’t putting more focus on the deck. It’s essentially the same as the idea as all of the Aetherworks Marvel decks that were being played at the Pro Tour, with the shift of focus being from plan A churning out unbeatable creatures with Aetherworks Marvel with plan B being to cast Emrakul on turn like eight with minimal interaction for your opponent, to a plan A of churning out contextually unbeatable creatures with Aetherworks Marvel with plan B being to cast actual spells like Ishkanah, Grafwidow and Chandra, Torch of Defiance while also having some interaction in the form of red spells.

Against Green Black Delirium, you’re putting up the same fight that the Marvel decks before it did, with the threat of cranking out Emrakul after Emrakul with your Aetherworks Marvel, which is difficult for the Green Black deck to handle, while also being able to cast a turn 4 Ishkanah, Grafwidow with Delirium against the White Blue deck. Essentially, putting the focus more on the red and dropping the blue from the deck gives it better game against Spell Queller. You’re able to not only use your energy for your Aetherworks Marvel, but Harnessed Lightning is essentially a Terminate in this deck.

When you back that up with the ability to cast a Kozilek’s Return, and trigger it off of your Aetherworks Marvel hitting an Emrakul, while also threatening to cast your Ishkanah, it can put the White Blue deck in a bit of a squeeze.

Within the last week online, this has surpassed the Mardu Vehicles decks as the third pillar of the format, and it may be the pillar that breaks the format open. Having a Rock-Paper-Scissors metagame, with three very good decks at the top, is much better than a two deck format, and can allow other decks to creep back into the fold.

I feel so strongly in the results that this deck has been putting up lately, that if I was to be playing in the SCG Invitational this weekend, I would play this deck. For a good half of the field that don’t pay attention to the online metagame, you’d be able to catch a few people by surprise, as well as having game against the two other best decks in the format. Along with Jaberwocki’s ride giving credence to the deck, I feel it has the potential to have a breakout weekend.

Speaking of the Invitational this weekend, what Modern deck would I play if I were going to be attending? I have this idea of a perfect Modern deck in my head. One that’s a great choice to bring to an open metagame like the Invitational, where you’re not certain against which decks you’ll be competing.

So when I choose a deck for such a large event, I feel at home picking fair strategies that have a decent chance against the field, and allow my playskill to determine the winner of a match, more than the actual deck choice and matchup (which may be the reason I hate Modern, since Modern tests deck matchups, and not really so much skill, but that’s an idea for another article).

When picking a deck, it is important for me to have a plan against most of the decks I think I’ll face, while being as difficult to hate out of the format as possible. I’ve tried a multitude of decks in Modern, and while I enjoy Dredging, I think it still has a large target on its head, meaning the room will be chock full of Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void, and it’s also a difficult deck to play, something that I don’t label fair decks.

So if I were to play a Modern deck to go along with R/G Aetherworks Marvel at the Invitational, I would play either Jund, or Bant Eldrazi. These are two somewhat fair strategies that are good enough to win you the event, are difficult to be hated out in a broad sense, can interact with the opponent, albeit at two different levels, and have a good shot at beating all but the most busted strategies that may sit across the table from you.

Anyway, I’m super excited to see who is able to perform well at the Invitational this weekend in Atlanta. Maybe something from the bottom of the barrel like Elves is able to beat its way through the meta and take home the trophy!

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