It’s been a big week. The only time more exciting than a Pro Tour is how
everyone reacts to that knowledge the next week.
So, how’d everyone do?
10. Standard – Respect The Nexus
Normally, once a glass cannon deck has been released into the wild, it
doesn’t last long. You’d see a host of anti-Bant Nexus cards and
strategies. For the most part, people just continued doing what they were
doing without adjusting for Bant Nexus.
Control made a resurgence, but I saw very few copies of Insult around.
Given that Bant Nexus keeps putting up numbers, people will have to adjust
eventually. We’ll see what happens next weekend at SCG Dallas, Grand Prix
Los Angeles, and Grand Prix Providence.
9. Standard – Also, Respect The Torrential Gearhulk
Control was the big winner this week, taking up multiple Top 8 slots and
even winning both Grand Prix. Of the various options, Esper Control seems
like the best version, although those had to jump through hoops trying to
beat Vine Mare and Carnage Tyrant, which amuses me to no end. Detection
Tower wins its first Grand Prix!
One could make a case for control doing well as a response to Bant Nexus,
and I think that’s reasonable. They still had to get through a slew of R/B
Aggro decks though, but that matchup was always pretty close.
Going into this weekend, Torrential Gearhulk seems like the card to beat.
8. Standard – Mono-Blue Paradoxical Outcome Dead Already?
The reason people don’t like Mono-Blue Paradoxical Outcome’s matchup
against R/B Aggro is because they aren’t trying hard enough.
Commit is incredible, as is Metallic Rebuke. Either save your Inspiring
Statuary until you can double spell with it or cast it when they are tapped
out so they have to skip their next turn to Abrade it. Karn, Scion of Urza
is fine against them, but Aetherflux Reservoir is mostly blank cardboard.
And don’t get me started on the red splash…
However, if you want a deck that smashes control and Bant Nexus, this is
the deck for you. Baral, Chief of Compliance and counterspells is the
perfect foil to the nonsense they are trying to do. Mono-Green Aggro, one
of the more difficult matchups, was a scant 10% of both Day 2 fields, so
the field seems ripe for Sai, Master Thopterist to take over.
7. Standard – R/B Aggro Falls Short
- 2 Pia Nalaar
- 4 Bomat Courier
- 4 Scrapheap Scrounger
- 2 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
- 2 Glorybringer
- 2 Hazoret the Fervent
- 1 Soul-Scar Mage
- 3 Rekindling Phoenix
- 4 Goblin Chainwhirler
I’m not sure whether you can count total metagame percentage domination as
really falling short, but honestly, R/B Aggro has failed to convert in many
of the recent tournaments. I’d be curious to see the win percentages of R/B
Aggro against decks like Esper Control and Bant Nexus to see if those are
actually bad matchups. As is, R/B Aggro is still great, but boasting a
45-55% win rate will fail to convert at times. The main downfall was
probably due to not respecting the fringe archetypes in the format. For the
most part, the weirdo decks crushed it.
It might be telling that the best performing red decks were those that
eschewed Unlicensed Disintegration and the heavier black component for
Lightning Strike and more aggression. As we shift into a format with more
Teferis in general, I like that approach. Focus less on the arms race in
the mirror match and more on how everyone else is trying to beat you.
6. Modern – Humans Is Still #1
- 4 Meddling Mage
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 4 Phantasmal Image
- 4 Champion of the Parish
- 3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- 4 Mantis Rider
- 2 Reflector Mage
- 4 Thalia's Lieutenant
- 4 Kitesail Freebooter
- 4 Militia Bugler
Despite Mardu Pyromancer, Jeskai Control, U/W Control, and seemingly
everyone else ganging up on Humans, it still manages to thrive.
Humans is the new Jund.
It’s going to be the deck that good players flock to because of its power
level and lack of truly terrible matchups. You have pressure, disruption,
and now a glorious source of card advantage in Militia Bugler. Overall,
there is no inherent weakness in the deck.
One of the lists in the Modern Challenge went back to playing four copies
of Mayor of Avabruck, which could be the way to go. Going wider with
Militia Bugler means having more anthem effects could make the deck
Humans will always be at least a reasonable choice and isn’t going away
5. Modern – Affinity, Now With Six Basic Forests
- 4 Arcbound Ravager
- 4 Arcbound Worker
- 4 Steel Overseer
- 4 Hangarback Walker
- 4 Walking Ballista
- 1 Sparring Construct
Phyrexia’s Core is a nice find. Having more combo pieces is always nice,
even if you already have Arcbound Ravager and Throne of Geth for sacrifice
outlets. There’s certainly diminishing returns on more Forests or Blinkmoth
At this point, it’s very clear that this deck is more than just a meme
deck, which is usually what you think of when you see Hardened Scales. As
it turns out, the deck is for real.
4. Modern – Vengevine Will Be Back
The R/B Vengevine deck did alright at #PT25A, but ultimately failed. It’s
still putting up numbers on Magic Online, but typically only in the leagues
and not the larger events like the MOCS or even the Modern Challenges.
Part of the problem is that the posted lists are still playing some of the
mediocre cards like Goblin Bushwhacker, and the random technology
(Bitterblossom, maindeck Leyline of the Void, etc) that popped up from the
Pro Tour hasn’t quite made its way into those decklists.
It’s only a matter of time…
3. Standard – Nonsense Of The Week
I guess Meteor Golem is that card?
Sixteen artifacts is a reasonable number for both cards. Twelve ways to
filter cards (not counting Search for Azcanta) also seems like plenty.
Casting a big sorcery on turn 4 seems likely, but is that even good enough
against some decks?
2. Modern – Nonsense Of The Week
I don’t even know where to begin.
As a fan of Thopter Foundry / Sword of the Meek, I’m kind of down, but I
can’t say I necessarily agree with all the Ornithopters and Memnites
(although I guess Memnite does carry a Sword of the Meek quite well).
1. Legacy – Nonsense Of The Week
- 2 Birds of Paradise
- 2 Orcish Lumberjack
- 1 Sylvan Safekeeper
- 1 Gaddock Teeg
- 4 Knight of the Reliquary
- 1 Primeval Titan
- 3 Titania, Protector of Argoth
- 1 Dragonlord Atarka
You had me at Orcish Lumberjack.