So last week I spoke about which decks I thought were very well positioned for the SCG Invitational in Atlanta. Lo and behold, Ben Friedman ended up ending the Swiss in first place playing Bant Eldrazi in Modern, and RG(w) Aetherworks in Standard. Sure sure, Naya Aetherworks is technically a different deck than the RG deck that I showcased last week, but come on!
Anyway, going into the weekend, or at least, going into the Invitational, there was a lot of talk about there being a two deck format. As far as the invitational went, those two decks seemed to be Aetherworks and Delirium. One thing I dislike about the SCG coverage sometimes, is that they neglect a bunch of decks most of the time. Looking at the 7-1 decklists for Standard, there were some Flash decks in there, and it was really a shame that we were unable to really see too many of them on camera. In fact, unless I’m mistaken, outside of Jim Davis, I didn’t see a Flash deck on camera all weekend from SCG. Shame shame.
As far as GP Denver goes though, there were five undefeated players after day 1. The decks showcased by those five players were two Aetherworks decks, a UW deck (see, they do exist!) and a GB Delirium deck, all wrapped up with a Seth Manfield styled bow in the form of…Panharmonicon?!
The top eight in Denver shook out to be 2 Aetherworks Marvel decks, 2 Blue White Flash decks, 1 Red White Vehicles deck, 1 Mardu Vehicles Deck, 1 Blue Red Emerge, and 1 Panharmonicon deck. Eventually, it was won by Matt Severa with Mardu Vehicles, beating Steve Rubin in the finals on Temur Aetherworks.
Matt Severa Mardu Vehicles GP Denver, 1st Place
Across the pond in GP Madrid, though, the story wasn’t much different. The undefeated players showcased the same numbers of the same decks, but instead of a silly little Panharmonicon deck, there was a more serious sounding Black Green Zombies deck, showcasing hard to break through threats, like Noose Constrictor, and Catacomb Sifter.
Daan Pruijt Black-Green Zombies Undefeated day 1, GP Madrid
But the big story in Madrid was Carmine D’Aniello, who was able to traverse the top eight with a straight up Red-Green Aetherworks deck. No white for Nahiri, not blue for Puzzleknots, just straight up Red-Green Aetherworks. Now, if we remember back to Pro Tour Kaladesh, this was the breakout deck there, but only one copy, being piloted by Matt Nass was able to make top eight.
The reason that the deck sort of underperformed, was due to all of the blue control decks that showed up to game. Now that those blue control decks have managed to work themselves out of the format, and for some peculiar reason I will never understand, U/W Flash has been on a downswing, these Aetherworks Marvel decks are able to dominate the excessively Black Green Delirium metagame.
Red-Green Aetherworks Carmine D’Aniello 1st Place, Grand Prix Madrid
So as pointed out by me last week (please, I don’t get to be right too often, let me have this!), this deck is not only great against the B/G Delirium deck, because you just go bigger than them, and they can’t really react to your huge stuff, but the transfer of the playset of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger to some number of Ishkanah, Grafwidow allows you to have a threatening mid game against U/W Flash that isn’t really driven by Aetherworks Marvel.
The more these refined versions of the Aetherworks Marvel decks come out, the more they become attractive to me. I feel like even if some graveyard hate cards are created in Aether Revolt to help combat BG Delirium and the Zombies decks that have waned in recent weeks, the Marvel deck would kind of be a real competitor in Standard.
So what does all of this say as the Kaladesh Standard format begins to wind down? It shows a few things. First of all, for those of us with some Standard action left to play this season, whether it be through IQs or PPTQs, I would try to jam either a Vehicles deck or an Aetherworks Marvel deck. I’m not sure about the typical meta out there, but if mine is anything like it, it is almost all mono-Black Green Delirium. This weekend has shown that there are certainly plenty of deck archetypes that are able to combat it, whether through tempo plays like the White Blue Flash deck, or through comboing out bigger things faster with the Aetherworks Marvel deck, there are plenty of viable options.
It also shows that White Blue in a more open, general meta, seems to be a more consistent and stronger pillar of the format. Even with the meta fluctuating toward Aetherworks Marvel decks to beat Black Green, good ol’ White Blue flash didn’t really miss a beat. I know a lot of people have said either the White Blue deck is either not good, or has a poor matchup against Green Black, or that Green Black is the best deck in the format, but I honestly believe it’s over hyped. Now obviously it’s a very popular deck, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best deck in the format.
I for one have found that not being able to react to the top of your opponent’s deck is extremely important in most situations. Playing a Black midrange deck in this Standard, going into a tournament with an open meta, feels a lot like playing Jund in Modern. If your 75 isn’t perfect, then you might not even have a shot.
Trackback from your site.