6 Decks For 2 Formats!

SCG Tour star Jonathan Rosum is on his way to SCG CON to battle for the Invitational title! So which decks have the best shot at taking the main event? The answer is here!

This upcoming weekend at SCG CON, the main event is the SCG Invitational, a
tournament that’s both Standard and Modern. Both formats have some very
powerful things going on and understanding what the top contenders are in
each format will be critical to your success. Let’s take a closer look at
some of the top contenders in each format.


Pro Tour Dominaria really showcased what the top contender of the
format was; and if you guessed correctly, it’s R/B Aggro. This deck can
apply an unrelenting amount of force while being extremely consistent with
cards like Scrapheap Scrounger and Goblin Chainwhirler. I think everybody
should either have a plan for R/B Aggro or just straight up play the deck,
as it’s very good at dismantling opponents with its card quality alone. The
factor that draws me to Goncalo Pinto’s list is that he plays four copies
of Rekindling Phoenix maindeck and is taking a more midrange approach in
most of the games, something that adds another approach in the mirror and
other midrange decks within the format. The downside to this, however,
means that you’re not able to play Hazoret the Fervent because your deck is
actively slower than the other versions of R/B Aggro.

I’m interested to see the different versions of R/B that appear this

Kevin Jones played this deck at PT Dominaria, but the list I will
be using as reference is going to be Misplacedginger’s second place list
from this past weekend’s Standard PTQ. The main appeal to B/U Midrange is
that you’re attempting to curve a bunch of removal spells into a powerful
five-mana spell, whether it’s The Scarab God or Liliana, Death’s Majesty.
The main issue I have with this specific list is that the Glint-Sleeve
Siphoners are in the maindeck, and I think that registering cards that get
absolutely obliterated by Goblin Chainwhirler is a trap and should be
avoided at all costs.

With that small grievance aside, I think that Gifted Aetherborn and
Ravenous Chupacabra do absolute wonders for B/U Midrange, and being meshed
in with other removal spells like Fatal Push, Cast Down, and Vraska’s
Contempt give B/U Midrange a lot of answers to a format defined by
efficient threats. I think that The Scarab God is in a prime spot to become
an overwhelming force again, and it’s deciding whether the creatureless
approachm like Esper Control, or the midrange-creature builds are the best
way to utilize the card.

I know what you’re all thinking…

No, I’m not trying to force Teferi in both formats!

…but I do think that a deck with Teferi must be good in Standard. The issue
I have with U/W Control is that your deck is a lot of very conditional
answers that must line up perfectly to whatever your opponent is doing and
if they don’t, you lose. U/W Control may have been the defining control
deck prior to the PT, but I think Esper Control is the way to play this
style of deck in Standard moving forward. The deck is similar to B/U
Midrange in a sense, but Esper Control is more focused on casting powerful
spells to drown your opponents in card advantage while having access to the
efficient removal spells that black has to offer.

I think I summarized what Teferi, Hero of Dominaria does for a control deck
my last article
, but I assure you that it’s worth the splash and has the power to just
completely take over a game on its own. Guillaume Matignon went 8-2 at the
PT with this deck, and I’m sure there’s plenty of room to innovate within
this strategy.

The deck that’s the front-runner for me is Esper Control. The deck is very
well positioned against both Mono-Red Aggro and the various builds of R/B
while also having game against decks like G/B Constrictor, U/W Control, and
Mono-Green Aggro. It turns out the curve of removal spell, removal spell,
Glimmer of Genius, Torrential Gearhulk is still quite good!

These are my three main contenders in the Standard format, and I’ll be
working very hard this week to figure out which one of these decks I’ll


I’d like to begin by stating that I’ll be bringing Jeskai Control to the
Invitational this weekend, but I still think there are multiple decks in Modern
that are very powerful and would be great picks for this event. Let’s begin
with the boogieman of the Modern format:

Humans is the defined best deck in Modern and if you don’t have a good plan
for it, you should just register it yourself. Humans attacks Modern in such
a unique way because it’s efficient, proactive, and disruptive. This deck
is designed to punish those who are unprepared while also being very good
at punishing individuals that stumble. My finals loss at SCG Minneapolis
was a great example of this, as I was playing Jeskai Control and I missed
multiple beats in the match and got absolutely decimated for not being able
to keep up.

If I were playing Humans this weekend, I would register two maindeck copies
of Restoration Angel, as it serves as both a value creature and
hard-to-deal-with threat that adds a new contextual layer to games.
Opponents will either play around this card and then get dunked on by
Mantis Rider or just get absolutely decimated if they let you untap in the
midgame. The best way of combating this style of deck is playing something
like Jeskai Control or Mardu Pyromancer, two decks that are both chock full
of effective removal spells.

I don’t know about you, but I think B/R Hollow One is criminally
underplayed on the SCG Tour. I understand that it’s not a great choice if
you expect to play against a bunch of Humans, but that’s just not how
Modern works. Hollow One is very consistent at putting a giant threat on
the battlefield early while also having reoccurring threats that put a lot
of pressure on most of the Modern format. I think this deck actively has a
high learning curve, but I think that more individuals should be playing it
given its power level; it truly has draws that do some messed up things
while also being able to grind through multiple non-Path to Exile removal

The best way to combat Hollow One is probably Storm, but I don’t think
Storm is very well-positioned in this current iteration of Modern. The lack
of Storm and the presence of so many fair decks really should put Hollow
One in great position for the weekend.

Naturally I think that Jeskai Control is a great choice for the Invitational. I
think that the format being defined by Humans is a great thing for Jeskai
Control, as decks like Mono-Green Tron and Eldrazi Tron are pushed out of
the format due to Humans’ dominance. I think that Jeskai Control is very
medium against a lot of the other midrange decks, but itreally shines when
you get paired against any creature decks (Humans, Affinity, various
Collected Company decks). I would recommend putting in a ton of reps with
Jeskai as there are plenty of corner case scenarios that apply to multiple
of your cards (mostly Cryptic Command) that you’ll be able to capitalize
more on when prepared. If you’d like to learn more about Jeskai Control, I
wrote an
in-depth guide
right before I get second place at SCG Minneapolis, and I would recommend
checking it out if you want to know the ins and outs and why it’s able to
compete in Modern.


I honestly think that any combination of these six decks would be a great
choice for the Invitational this weekend. All these decks definitely have
shown that they have the tools to compete within their given format and all
you have to do is put the reps in to figure out what suites you best. I
think if you’re looking for more raw power, then the combination of R/B
Aggro and Humans would suite you nicely and is a combination I actively
expect many players to register because they’re both just the de facto best
decks in their respective formats. Don’t let this discourage you though, as
there are plenty of ways to innovate in both formats; just make sure you
have game against the top decks!

Good luck to everybody and I’ll see you all in Roanoke this weekend!