New Updates To My Pro Tour 25th Anniversary Decks

Gerry worked on archetypes for each format, and he’s got big time changes to make following the PT! See what the decks look like now and which card he’d like to work with in Standard, Modern, AND Legacy!

Even though Pro Tour 25th Anniversary wasn’t all it could have been, having
three Constructed formats forced players to innovate all over the place. We
plenty to think about for each format.


As expected, R/B Aggro was all over the place. All things considered, 40%
is an absurd metagame percentage, but very few people could figure out how
to beat it. Bant Nexus certainly did the trick, although beating
Insult//Injury going forward will be nearly impossible.

I really liked my matchup with Mono-Blue Paradoxical Outcome against the
more midrange builds of R/B. Given that those versions would be the most
popular deck, I recommended this version:

My next Standard tournament is Grand Prix Los Angeles, and unless my Magic
Online testing ends up yielding far different results than they did before
the Pro Tour, I’m going to play something like this.

Sai, Master Thopterist is kind of busted, plus this deck breaks the normal
midrange paradigm of Standard. It’s difficult to find a deck that goes over
the top of the rest of the format, but this does it quite well. The only
thing you need to figure out is how to not die. Coming up with the correct
defensive package is more difficult than it seems.

This deck isn’t all over the place for a reason though. A fail rate
inherently exists, and as Sam Black pointed out to me at the PT, it’s a
deck that wants to draw exactly one of each of its cards, which isn’t
entirely inaccurate.

There are some inconsistencies for sure, but for those looking for
something cool to do before Standard rotates, you have your answer.

There are basically four options for Standard. Mono-Green Aggro is
potentially great. Given the hype surrounding Bant Nexus, I favor the blue
splash at the moment. Some form of Grixis Midrange is doable, but the mix
of spells must be just right to fight the metagame. Other than that, there
are the red decks.

There are six ways to build red aggro:

I see merit to each of these builds. The biggest question is how do you
best fight the mirror match while not giving up too much percentage against
the rest of the field. While there are seven different options, Bomat
Courier is where everything hinges.

If you choose to play four Bomat Couriers, Hazoret the Fervent is your best
four-drop. With zero Bomat Couriers, trying to gain a slight edge in the
mirror by being more resilient is the best option. The latter version
should probably play Rekindling Phoenix as the four-drop of choice and
likely sideboard some copies of Karn, Scion of Urza.

One major thing that’s changed about R/B Aggro is that the black cards
aren’t great right now. Duress is a powerful card, but not against control
decks with Torrential Gearhulk. Against Bant Nexus, it’s solid, but you
need a mountain of discard to power through their defenses. Instead, you
should play two copies of Insult in your sideboard to help the matchup.

Mono-Blue Paradoxical Outcome is a tough matchup. Duress is solid there,
but you don’t want to flood on them. Overall, Keeping Sai, Master
Thopterist and Inspiring Statuary off the battlefield are much more

Since the black cards aren’t adding much, reducing the splash is a viable
option. Unless you’re going hard on Wizard’s Lightning and want Viashino
Pyromancer, Scrapheap Scrounger is still the best two-drop. Even playing
4-6 black sources is probably worth it. Cut is great at the moment, so
you’d probably play it regardless of how few black sources you play, but
losing out on Ribbons would be sad.

Given how important Bomat Courier is against the non-mirror matches of the
format, I don’t think I’d play without it. Additionally, the gameplan
involving Hazoret the Fervent is much more solid than trying to be more
controlling with Rekindling Phoenix and Karn.

Aggression is key for taking down the weirdo archetypes and is the most
reliable plan in the mirror. Also, if people are leaning toward Rekindling
Phoenix as a mirror breaker and as a way to fight Mono-Green Aggro,
Ahn-Crop Crasher’s stock rises significantly. We saw a small influx of that
card at the Pro Tour, and I’m a big fan. If you want to reduce the black
splash and be more aggressive, Crasher is where you want to be.

You can’t really go wrong with a red aggressive deck, but finding the
correct version could potentially yield huge dividends though.


We played the breakout deck of the tournament, R/B Vengevine.

Our list was a little different, featuring a Hollow One package for more
early threats. The Magic Online versions contained some potentially
powerful but high variance cards like Goblin Bushwhacker that weren’t
performing well. Instead of trying to do crazy things like turn 2 kills,
slowing the deck down and making it more consistent proved to be the better
option. Oddly, everyone else who played the deck at the PT still had
Bushwhacker, but I expect that to change.

Having access to cards like Hollow One and Bomat Courier also meant you had
some extra fight against Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void.

The Humans matchup isn’t ideal, but there are some wild options to fight
it. Maindeck Leyline of the Voids will help keep your Bridge from Belows
around. With any sacrifice outlet, I wouldn’t be surprised if that matchup
actually becomes good, so that’s something I’d try in the future.

Maindecking something like Leyline of the Void might seem extreme, but it’s
actually solid against a wide variety of decks at the moment. Plus, the
deck has a bunch of flex slots where people normally play nonsense like
Corpse Churn, so you’re not losing out on much. Gaining four additional
sideboard slots means you have more than enough space for anti-hate as

This is one of those busted decks where you can easily mulligan to four or
five and still win because nothing matters except for your key cards. If
your hand doesn’t have a great hand with Vengevine, Hollow One, or Bridge
from Below, send it back. Card advantage doesn’t matter.

Honestly, I’d be fine if decks that use the mulligan as a way of finding
their broken cards weren’t legal in Modern. Ponder and Preordain are
banned, but you can mulligan for new openers multiple times, which is a
fairly busted tool for card selection (and one that is way too

Even though we knew the Vengevine deck was great, it’s possible we
shouldn’t have played it. G/R Valakut was something that looked potentially
amazing, and the popularity of R/B Vengevine maybe should have maybe moved
the needle. G/R Valakut is one of the few decks in Modern that can afford
to maindeck hate cards for Vengevine like Relic of Progenitus and Anger of
the Gods. You’re not really losing out on anything by playing those cards
since they’re already strong in the format.

Infect could have been a good choice, but it’s flimsy and I don’t feel
particularly strong with the deck, so I probably won’t be playing it in the
future regardless.

For Modern, I would continue to work on Vengevine, maybe brew with Sai, or
go over the top of people with Primeval Titan.


Through some awkward circumstances, the deck I was working on for #PT25A
leaked and spread like wildfire.

Grixis Control is solid and has game against every single deck in the
format. That said, if I could do it all over again, I’d make some notable
changes. The complete lack of a clock and a sweeper was potentially a
problem at times. Awkwardly enough, there was a perfectly good answer to
both that I never got around to testing.

Going forward, I’d definitely look to build around Thing in the Ice. Gurmag
Angler is fine, especially as a blocker, but Thing in the Ice does
everything you could possibly want it to. Baleful Strix tends to be an
issue for these sorts of finishers, but not really for Thing in the Ice.
The kicker is that it’s even a blue card for Force of Will.

Grinding in Legacy is a combination of fun and frustration. Leading up to
the event, I was becoming somewhat sick of that fact. A younger me would
have been up for the challenge of eking out small edges and grinding people
into dust, but it doesn’t seem like I have the patience for it these days.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Grixis Control as an archetype and
it’s one I highly recommend if you like the strategy.

Being able to tune your deck to fight whatever you expect is powerful, and
Grixis has all the answers. You crush Death’s Shadow (and Delver in
general), are good at beating 20/20s and True-Name Nemesis, but you tend to
struggle with combo.

If I could do it all over again, I’d try harder to build a deck with Delver
of Secrets and Bomat Courier. Both blue and red have plenty to add, but
none of the splashes excite me. Maybe we’re supposed to be Price of
Progressing people? Had I known that Grixis Control was going to blow up, I
could have exploited that. At zero point did I expect it to be the most
popular deck.

Thanks to my friend Varo, I considered playing Merfolk for a while too.
Ultimately, Chalice of the Void and True-Name Nemesis looked great, but the
rest of the Grizzly Bears weren’t impressive. Sai, Master Thopterist is
another card that I need to build around in the future. The top of my
bucket list for basically all formats is all Sai.


Our decks were good, our play was medium, and we probably could have found
a better configuration for the comfort of our players. Overall, I think
that was our biggest failing.