Green White Tokens may have won both Standard Grand Prix this past weekend, but don’t let the popularity of the deck get you down. The new Standard has been an ever-changing format since Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad, and it would not surprise me to see something else in the winners circle at the next large Standard event. Heck the top eight decks from both events are really neat to look at. Manchester featured three Collected Company decks, Izzet Ulamog, Grixis Control, and three tokens decks. Minneapolis was a little bit concerning, showing off five Humans deck (Bant Humans was the most, while RW Humans took second in the event), BW Control, and two tokens lists.
The top eight lists are not where you need to stop looking though. It is a very good start, and they do shape the metagame, but you can miss out on a lot of stuff if you skip over the coverage that Wizards of the Coast provides. Not only do they show off the top eight decks, but typically they show the lists from ninth to sixteenth (or I believe top thirty two is standard now), Grand Prix Trial winners, Day 1 undefeated lists, and decks from deck techs throughout the day. There is a lot of information and lists to look over!
When I look at decklists I am drawn to a few things. The first being how does someone take an already established deck and make it their own? The second thing I look for are control decks. How are they doing in the format? Is it a traditional countermagic filled blue based control or a different color? The last thing I look for are decks that are not on my immediate radar. This happens less and less as the season goes on and things are solved and the best decks are found, but every so often there will be a deck that just astounds me. Typically it will have some cute combo in it. Sometimes it will have a card that I wrote a preview article for, for Shadows over Innistrad, we showed off Engulf the Shore at PureMTGO.com.
I might have missed the mark on it a bit in Standard, but to be fair, every deck in the format was a 4 color good stuff deck, and I could not imagine that stuff like Prism Ring and Hydrolash would get played.
Anyways, let’s start off at a look at the decks that are established, and had a few touches made on them.
GW Tokens by Raphael Levy
When I saw this list I was one hundred percent sure that whoever typed up the lists made a typo. Chandra, Flamecaller in the deck? There are no red sources in it! There are no red cards in the deck! How could this list be right? Oath of Nissa facilitates the ability to cast Chandra in the deck. Being able to drop this in the mirror match and using her ultimate to clean up the board has to be amazing! Having a way to turn extra land draws into potentially useful draws with her second ability is also great right? GW Tokens has the potential to run out of gas, so getting a constant stream of new cards seems to be great! Other than Chandra, there is nothing one would call new in the deck though Evolutionary Leap is a neat main deck addition. There seems to be a lot of potential to customize the deck after the core of it is built up.
Moving along we have an Izzet Ulamog deck, that I first recall seeing from a PTQ on MTGO.
Izzet Ulamog by Matthew Hunt
Some version of this deck has been my weapon of choice in Standard for a few weeks now. What I love about it is that it has cut back on the amount of Anticipates in the main and brought in a couple of solid one ofs. Brutal Expulsion is a great card. It often times acts as a mini wrath, bouncing a creature and killing another, but also gives the deck a Remand like counterspell with its first mode. Epiphany at the Drownyard is another great addition, while the deck does have Hedron Archive for extra draw, and uses Jace to great effect, I have often found that the deck has a real issue finding a way to win the game. Epiphany helps the deck find that way to win while also getting rid of some really poor draws.
Here is a deck tech for the deck.
We’ve talked about two decks in the top eight of Grand Prix Manchester, let’s go to Minnesota next!
Red White Humans by Shota Takao
Pretty much the normal Mono White Human list, but with Needle Spires! You still have a ton of one drops in the deck, and a few extra lands to offset the possibility of turn one Spires, but the creatureland gives the deck a bit of punch post Languish. Reckless Bushwhacker makes a killer appearance here, as the Surge ability on the card can really mess up combat math and swing a close match into a blow out! Abbot of Keral Keep is a little weird considering there are so few spells in the deck, and you can’t really take advantage of Prowess, but I would see this card more as a mini Broodmate Dragon. Casting it on turn three and hitting a creature has to be a great feeling!
Control Decks from the Weekend
We saw a couple of new control decks spring up. The two of them are blue based but none of them play a critical mass of countermagic.
Let’s start off with a deck that features a card I thought would never see constructed play in Jace’s Sanctum.
Mono Blue Prison by Martin Muller
At first glance this deck looks a lot like SaffronOlive’s Brain in a Jar list from a few weeks ago. They share a ton of the same cards, but Martin switched out a jar for a Ring. Having access to Prism Ring allows the deck to survive the early game against aggressive strategies. Part the Waterveil is the main win condition, and if you’re looking for a deck that plays like Turbo Fog, but does not give the opponent the benefit of drawing a lot of cards, this would be the one for you!
Here is a deck tech for the deck.
Next up on the control list we have a spicy UB Brain in a Jar list.
Dimir Brain in a Jar by Peter Vieren
Looking for a deck that kills every creature to ever think about hitting play on your opponents side? This may be the one for you. The Brain in a Jar engine has gotten some love recently, but in a Mono Blue Shell. This list is closer to a Mono Black version, trading stuff like Engulf the Shore for Languish. Rise from the Tides is the main win condition in this deck, and I honestly can’t wait to try it out on MTGO!
Here is a deck tech for the deck.
We’re running a little long right now, lots of decklists to process so I am going to try to lightning round these last few out.
Bant Flyers by Tom Ristovsky
It’s a Collected Company list that replaces Humans or value creatures with fliers. Dimensional Infiltrator and Rattlechains both have flash as well. Ojutai’s Command plays well with buying back creatures in this build as well.
Izzet Flyers by Tomaharu Saito
Deck is a ton of fun and plays very well on your opponents end step, flashing in up to eight creatures, and using Goldnight Castigator to great effect as a Stoke the Flames. Fevered Visions does a very good Shock impression almost every turn, and just when your opponent thinks they are getting back in to the game, Clash of Wills or Spell Shrivel slams the door to their comeback!
Saito did a deck tech here.
I am going to wrap things up this week, I hope you all enjoyed looking at some of the cooler decks in Standard! Good luck with PPTQs and stuff this weekend, and remember if you’re in the area, Legitmtg.com will be hosting a PPTQ this weekend!
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