Selecting My #SCGINVI Decks

#SCGINVI is going to be a tale of two formats, and GerryT knows you can’t win without being prepared for both! That’s why he’s sharing his Standard and Modern deck choices for you in his latest article.

I played a lot of Magic last weekend, partly because the Season Two Invitational is coming, but also because I’ve dipped into the world of streaming. It’s been interesting and a lot of fun so far, so I hope that I can keep it up.

Since the Invitational is Standard and Modern, that’s what I’ve been playing. A while ago, I won a Modern PPTQ with Jund, so that’s what I’ve been working
on mostly. It wouldn’t be me if I weren’t also dabbling in other stuff though.

As for Standard, I’ve been sticking with green decks. First, I tried a weird Abzan deck, then a weird Sultai deck, and finally, the Dragon Megamorph deck I
did a video with yesterday. I think green is where it’s at
currently, and a big part of the edge to be gained at the Invitational will likely involve having a favorable matchup against other green decks.


My baseline strategy is to have a deck that can interact with my opponent, stop them from accomplishing their goals, and go over the top of them — That
way, if the game is going long, I’ll have a natural advantage.

Overall, green is the best at accomplishing all these goals, although it does need some help from another color or two. Most of the decks appear to be
adopting the Den Protector + Deathmist Raptor package, so the ground gets locked up pretty quickly. If you’re able to find a deck that doesn’t die to a
pack of Raptors and can simultaneously go over the top of them, you’ve probably got a winner.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying some stinkers. Well, you know what they say — “You’ve got to kiss a few toads.”

I 3-1’ed a Daily Event with this, but the deck was clearly a little scattered. I felt like I could probably trim the fat and figure out what plan I really
wanted to be on. Wingmate Roc and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion were both great, but even Wingmate Roc fell a little short sometimes.

The deck I lost to in the Daily Event was a Sultai Midrange deck that had Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, but didn’t appear to have any Whip of Erebos. Instead, my
opponent had a bunch of Whisperwood Elementals, which also looked good. Wingmate Roc seemed like it would be better, but Murderous Cut plus Den Protector
typically took care of the birds.

It was very clear that my deck did not have much of a sideboard plan against the mirror, but I wasn’t sure if I actually needed one since all of my hateful
cards for the matchup were maindeck. In the end, I decided that I would move on to other things in order to cross them off the list, but Abzan
something-or-other would remain my backup choice.

Based on the Sultai deck I lost to and Martin Juza’s deck from Grand Prix Paris, I built this:

I went 2-0, then 0-2 with this, and it was clear there were some holes.

Murderous Cut is one of the best cards in the format as long as you don’t think you have to kill a planeswalker, and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is definitely the
best way to support it. However, Sidisi is also not great against Deathmist Raptor and friends. Something like Torrent Elemental would certainly help in
that regard.

But the real answer might be this:

I haven’t gotten to play any games with an updated Sultai list, but it’s on the docket. When the games are going long and you’ll oftentimes have access to
the same spell multiple times, you should make sure those spells count. In this case, I think a Silence the Believers that exiles their two Deathmist
Raptors is probably going to do a lot of work. If you don’t have access to Elspeth, Sun’s Champion or Wingmate Roc, but you have Den Protector, Silence the
Believers seems like a great option for the pseudo-mirrors.

Then again, there’s always a higher power. This is the best deck that I’ve found for Standard:

I was originally skeptical that the Dragonlords could triumph over Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, but it’s happened again and again. This deck is just so heavy
on the top end that it’s difficult for the opponent to deal with everything. The Satyr Wayfinder plus Haven of the Spirit Dragon engine is quite good.
Meanwhile, their Siege Rhinos just aren’t going to cut it against things like Dragonlord Atarka. They exist in the midrange space that gets outclassed by
everything else this deck is doing.

Black removal spells and green card advantage tend to go well together, and all you really need is a big finisher, which this deck has in spades. Killing
things until you drop a Dragonlord Atarka is a real gameplan right now. Let’s be real, not many people are beating Dragonlord Atarka. This deck also gets
to play the Dragonlord Ojutai sub-game, so it’s got a lot of
great stuff going on.

Mono-Red is kind of difficult
, but I think that the best way to fight the matchup hasn’t been figured out yet. It might involve going deeper on a white splash for Siege Rhino and/or
Arashin Cleric. Either way, Virulent Plague is likely better than the Drown in Sorrows, especially since they are easier to cast and turn the Foul-Tongue
Invocations into actual removal spells. That eliminates the need for the second Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, which should strengthen the manabase a tad.

Mardu is also no picnic, but I’ve been winning more than losing. Other than those two decks and pure control, I’m not running into too many bad matchups,
so hopefully that continues.

I think I’ve found my Standard deck, but I’m still in the beginning phase of getting everything figured out, so anything could change.


This week’s Standard Super League was actually Modern in honor of Modern Masters weekend, and this is what I played:

I’ve been working on Jund for a while, and it’s by far what I’m most comfortable with. As of now, it’s my frontrunner for the Season Two Invitational in

My list is normal-ish, but it’s always in flux and I’m always up to try to different things. There are some things that have gotten crossed off the list,
but it’s Modern, and there’s a bunch of stuff on my list that I haven’t tried yet.

Kolaghan’s Command is the main draw to Jund over Abzan. It gives you a quick two-for-one, but unlike something like Divination, it also affects the board
while doing so. Also unlike something as simple as Divination, what type of card advantage it gives you is basically up to you. By sheer virtue of playing
Magic, you’ll end up with cards in all different types of zones (also known as ” cardboard advantage“), which makes it
feel like Kolaghan’s Command has even more than four modes.

Plus, it’s maindeck Affinity hate. No one wants to lose to Affinity.

Aside from Kolaghan’s Command being particularly well-positioned at the moment, the actual draw to Jund is the raw power level. Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant,
Lightning Bolt, Liliana of the Veil, and discard handle a wide variety of problems, which is what makes this deck so appealing. I feel like I have very few
bad matchups, and the few that are bad could be made a lot better if I expected to see them. There’s a fine line to walk between trying to beat everything
and trying to beat the things you expect while giving up on the matchups you don’t expect.

Kolaghan’s Command leads to better matchups against fringe Aether Vial decks, but it also means you don’t have to rely on Abrupt Decay as much. That’s a
huge boon, since we really need Terminate to answer Tasigur and Gurmag Angler right now. However, that does leave the door open for some enchantments to
make a comeback. I’m not expecting that to necessarily be the case since I’m not sure what they would even be. Pyromancer Ascension is kind of scary, but
Jund already has plenty of hate for that deck.

Right now, I’m not sure what I should do. G/R Tron has not been popular as of late, and while I would expect that to continue, SSL may have changed that.
It’s only an 8-man, but it’s an 8-man where some of the best players played their best Modern decks, and Tron didn’t lose to a non-mirror match. If the
format is Grixis Delver and Jund, G/R Tron is actually very good right now!

Aside from that, my main concern is how threat-dense I want to be. Having some hard to deal with threats in the grindy matchups (read: the Kolaghan’s
Command mirrors) is basically all that matters. Your cards will trade with your opponent’s, and whoever sticks the last threat will inevitably win. Having
more Tasigurs and Olivias might be nice, but it also means my opening hands are more likely to have threats instead of answers, which makes the matchups
like Burn and Infect much worse.

Blood Moon out of Jund deck will likely raise some eyebrows, but I figured that if I was going to play some mana denial, it might as well be something that
actually beats Amulet Bloom instead of slows it down. So far, I’ve wanted Fulminator Mages in other places, and Blood Moon was by no means a lock against
G/R Tron in the SSL, so I think that experiment is a wash.

I’m not delusional enough to believe that Jund is the only deck out there, so I’ve been trying some other decks on the side.

The Grixis Delver decks are conflicted. On one hand, they have Delver of Secrets and Lightning Bolt, and on the other, they have some long game cards like
Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Snapcaster Mage, and Kolaghan’s Command. I don’t believe that Delver of Secrets belongs in those types of decks.

Dave Shiels has done pretty well in Modern with a similar deck, so I decided to try it out. While I liked most parts of the deck, I didn’t necessarily like
the Vedalken Shackles or Blood Moons. As many have pointed out, Vedalken Shackles is not very good in a format of Kolaghan’s Commands. If I cut the
Shackles, I’m not sure what I’d fill the deck out with, but it would probably just be more interaction.

The third Spell Snare would likely be great, and I wouldn’t mind another Mana Leak. The manabase could probably be reworked to be able to cast Terminate as
well since Go for the Throat is very bad against Affinity. There is some merit to your opponent not being able to redirect it to Spellskite when playing
against Twin, but I’m less worried about that situation.

Either way, I definitely like a slower version of this deck, although it’s very weak to Leyline of the Void, which is why I’m playing my own copies in
basically every black deck I’m building. It shuts off your opponent’s best cards and even doubles as hate for the Melira / Collected Company deck.

For fun, I re-brewed up this deck:

This deck is sweet. It has good maindeck graveyard hate, is a reasonable Blood Moon deck, and has a manabase that isn’t very painful, which is helpful
against Burn.

The main issue is that this deck has all aggressive creatures and none that can really play defense. In short, this deck lacks toughness. Obviously
Tarmogoyf would be a huge add, but Pack Rat isn’t as bad as people think. My Jund deck continues to shave on green cards little by little though, so it’s
quickly resembling this one.

I’m sure you could add four Tarmogoyfs to B/R and call it a day, but the mana isn’t free. You don’t want to load up on fetchlands because the pain-light
manabase is definitely one of the bigger draws. Of course, that might just mean it’s a worse Jund deck, which is certainly likely.

Overall, I’m very excited for the Season Two Invitational. My decks are soft-locked in, so now is time for the fun part — the tuning! Metagaming will play
a role to some extent, but I’m going to try not to overdo it. Both of my decks seem solid, so there’s no point in going overboard and ruining a tournament
that I have a pretty good shot at.

My plan is to play well and avoid the bad matchups multiple times, so hopefully it all works out!