Last Week in Review

Written by Administrator on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern, Standard

We’ve all made mistakes. We’re only human after all. My mistake? Selling my dang Spell Quellers and Selfless Spirits and U/W lands for Standard last season! After the Pro Tour, and especially after this past weekend featuring Grand Prix in Kuala Lumpur and Providence, as well as an SCG Classic at the Open in Milwaukee, there is very little doubt as to what the best deck in Standard is at the moment. There’s just something about Flash creatures paired with the best Planeswalker in Standard and amazing removal spells that makes a deck super difficult to play against.

This deck was the only deck to put 4 different people into the 9-1 record for Standard at the Pro Tour. It put three people into the top eight of the Standard Classic that Bradley Carpenter won. It posted the highest swiss record for Grand Prix Providence in the hands of Zachary Kiihne. It put a whopping six copies into the top eight at Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur. It put twenty eight copies into the top 64 of Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur.

What is so special about this deck? Why is it so good? Imagine the best deck from last season, Bant Company. What if I told you you didn’t have to run Green anymore because you’re not allowed to play Collected Company? What if I told you also that this means you don’t have to run so many creatures with a CMC of 4 or less?

The Bant Company decks were already running some number of Archangel Avacyn, and some number of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in the Sideboard. Trimming the Green lets us have a sleeker mana base, which really wasn’t a problem to be honest with Bant Company, other than the odd game where some of your early lands came into play tapped.

The big thing here is that a lot of people were saying Bant could still be a deck post rotation, and that instead of Collected Company, they would just be playing Tamiyo, Field Researcher in its stead. Sure, the context of the format changed with the rotation as well, meaning that the slow, grindy creatures that Green afforded the Bant deck are no longer great when people are allowed to use fast Red Decks again. However, we’re able to run the much better all-around Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in our Collected Company slot.
We also get to run the super impressive Stasis Snare now that Dromoka’s Command is out of the format. So really, losing Green was the best thing for this Blue-White Flash deck in a format that got a lot faster. Having all of these amazing flash plays and value-tempo plays means you can take the wind out of a lot of sails.

However, this means that the deck has a huge target on its back, and in this format, its easier to combat this type of strategy, as evidenced in the Grand Prix at Providence this past weekend. While the Blue White deck tore up Kuala Lumpur, it was the story of G/B Delirium in Providence. Winning, and putting four copies into the top eight, as well as having a good matchup against the Blue White deck means that along with the Blue White deck, the Green Black Delirium deck is one of the pillars of the format moving forward.

Here are our grindy Green creatures. Liliana, the Last Hope just plucks off Selfless Spirits and other silly one toughness creatures for free. Grasp of Darkness also gets rid of Avacyn cleanly. This is just your basic Rock style deck, not affording to run a third color for silly cards like Radiant Flames, just a regular ol’ G/B goodstuff deck, and in this format, it has the answers for everything.

To be honest, I like both of these decks, and I’ll be on either one moving forward. I like both of these strategies, either the flash tempo strategy, or the Rock strong stuff strategy. However, there is no reason to discount other strategies like Vehicles, and depending on the weekend, if G/B is heavily played and U/W isn’t, Temur Aetherworks could have a big showing on a weekend as well.

Moving on from Standard, it was a huge weekend for Spell Queller altogether. Not only did it have a stellar Standard weekend, it ended up winning the Modern SCG Open in Milwaukee in a Bant Spirits deck played by Caleb Durward.

This deck has been seeing some fringe play in Modern, due largely to the big buff to Spirits with Eldritch Moon with Selfless Spirit and Spell Queller. It’s obviously a fine deck for Modern, but I just think it’s a weaker version of Merfolk. Maybe this deck has a better midrange matchup thanks to Spell Queller and Geist of Saint Traftand Selfless Spirit, but I feel like Merfolk has a faster clock.

There were also big changes announced last week for Standard. Instead of Standard rotating twice a year with the new 2 set block paradigm, Standard will go back to rotating once a year. Which means that you can lock in your expensive cards for longer. You won’t have to purchase each set’s Gideon, Ally of Zendikar twice a year. Instead you can use these powerful cards for a year, especially since powerful cards will most likely stay powerful.

I have to decide which standard deck I’m going to stick with for the next ten months before my PPTQs start next week. I’m leaning more toward G/B Delirium at the present moment because of raw card strength, and because of how good it is against the U/W decks. It’ll bring me back to my roots as a Rock player, something that excites me a lot.

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