The Best Decks From #SCGPC

Shaun McLaren is usually battling in events instead of watching them. But he got that chance for the #SCGPC, and today he’s going to share his top 3 decks from the event across each format!

The Winter Holidays. A time for warm brews, cold weather, jolly togetherness, quiet contemplation, and of course, a dollop of Magic.

It’s a nice change of pace for me whenever I get a chance to watch some of the highest level Magic competitions play out live since more often than not I’m usually busy competing in one myself. (Ho Ho Humble Brags.)

The SCG Players’ Championship certainly did not disappoint in this regard. It was chock full of interesting games, and now that it’s in the books it’s time to go over what we learned. Immersing yourself watching some high level Magic for a weekend is a great way to get better. Sitting back and being able to observe while thinking about lines, seeing how decks matchup against one another, keeping your eye open to catch mistakes as they happen–or even before they happen–these will all serve you well when you’re actually playing.

Today I’ll rank and go over what I thought were the Top 3 decklists brought to each format played at the Players’ Championship: Legacy, Modern, and Standard. A sixteen-person tournament is naturally going to heavily involve a lot of metagaming, which can sometimes make the decks look strange, but some of the lists still caught my eye as being exceptional and will certainly be very relevant going forward.


All the Legacy decks can be found here.

#3 – Storm – Caleb Scherer

Storm is hard to play if you’re not well practiced but can be even harder to beat if you don’t come prepared with hate.

It’s an easy deck to play in theory: you just cast a bunch of spells and win (there’s the only tip you need to make you a better Magic player: cast a bunch of spells and win). Sometimes you get the easy wins, but usually Storm is going to play like a giant puzzle each game. If you like trying to solve math problems while someone tries to disrupt you by throwing wrenches at you, then Storm is your deck.

The Tech:

When you already have the perfect Storm, you don’t start brewing up a Storm. Caleb’s list seems very tight. Speed and consistency is the name of the game, and Caleb took his version to the extreme. Rain of Filth and two Dark Petitions make comboing off faster and more likely at the cost of interaction by shaving discard spells.

What I Would Try:

With combo decks it’s risky to dilute the focus of the deck after sideboard since the gameplan is linear and powerful, but I like to be a little more interactive. Surgical Extraction in the sideboard could be useful in a more wide open format against the mirror and graveyard decks.

#2 – Death and Taxes – Tom Ross, Brad Nelson, Todd Anderson

Legacy is a “play what you know” format. Pick a deck and master it. Most decks are very viable. It’s rare you find a really innovative deck archetype wise, or gain much of an advantage by dropping a deck you’ve sunk a lot of hours into playing.

Tom Ross, Brad Nelson, and Todd Anderson completely ignored this and did an excellent job metagaming against such a small field.

Death and Taxes isn’t about raw power. It’s a bunch of White Weenies in one of the most powerful and oppressive formats that exists. There is plenty of play and disruptive elements against specific strategies though. The mana denial and value creatures will further impede your ability to cast spells and do fun things. The deck is also well-suited against Delver decks since it has plenty of natural resistance against cheap countermagic and equipment to win battles in the red zone.

The Tech:

Mirran Crusader. There were six Delver decks in the field. Mirran Crusader might look weak specifically against the card Lightning Bolt, but Lightning Bolt is already going to be taxed trying to clean up every single creature in the deck. A hit from a Mirran Crusader with Sword of Fire and Ice or Umezawa’s Jitte will usually end the game as well.

What I Would Try:

More Cavern of Souls. I’m usually going to be the one piloting the blue deck, but when I’m not I really like to punish blue mages. Maybe out of jealousy that they get to run the blue cards and not me. Miracles can be a tricky matchup and it’s particularly nice for maneuvering around a Counterbalance lock. There are plenty of Humans in the deck and Flickerwisp can reset a Cavern of Souls for more shenanigans as well.

#1 – Miracles – Joe Lossett

Joe Lossett has been steadily evolving and innovating Miracles for quite some time. Miracles is a winner, and I recommend it as one of the best decks in Legacy. It will grind through most things if you have time to learn its ins and outs. Having a solid plan and being a step ahead while sideboarding is crucial.

The Tech:

Cavern of Souls and Karakas are absolutely devastating in certain matchups. Venser, Shaper Savant and Vendilion Clique may seem a little out of place in a Legacy control deck, but they do a lot of powerful and surprising things. Venser, Shaper Savant can protect Karakas from Wasteland and Karakas can protect Venser, Shaper Savant from removal. Venser, Shaper Savant can disrupt an Infernal Tutor by bouncing a land back to your opponent’s hand in response. Vendilion Clique can nab a miracled Entreat the Angels out of the hand before it gets cast or just provide a way to win in a deck that is notoriously slow.

Monastery Mentor is a one-man army and combines well with two Sensei’s Divining Tops that keep flipping to draw each other, turning every mana you have into a Monk and a prowess trigger.

The maindeck Submerge was kind of a miss as a metagame call but also pairs well as a free card with Monastery Mentor.

What I Would Try:

Three Submerge in the sideboard and none in the maindeck against a wide open field. Gitaxian Probe, as odd as it might sound, is also an underrated card to run as a one-of. It’s especially nice when you’re learning the deck and can act as training wheels by giving you more information.


All the Modern decks can be found here.

#3 – Jund – Jacob Wilson

I actually think Abzan might be a better choice at the moment, but I really like Jacob’s list going very low to the ground. Brad Nelson went undefeated with Abzan, but I think I would take his deck in a more aggressive direction without Siege Rhino, which is a little too clunky for my tastes right now.

The Tech:

Dark Confidant. The list is chock full of powerful two-drops, which means you’re going to be starting with discard spell into a great creature a lot of games.

What I Would Try:

A little more graveyard hate. Nihil Spellbomb or something along those lines to help against Living End and Grishoalbrand.

#2 – Grixis Twin – Rudy Briksza

This is the list of the future. You know what a polished deck feels like? You can often just tell at a glance the quality of a deck. This deck just looks nice at a glance.

Anytime Snapcaster Mage and Kolaghan’s Command even remotely begin to interact with each other, you feel like a trapeze artist effortlessly gliding and flipping through the air while your opponent can only look on with awe and jealousy. While you’re threatening to grind out value through those means in a lategame situation, you’re also just threatening to win by comboing if your opponent does something foolish like tapping their lands to cast spells.

The Tech:

Keeping it simple in the maindeck. I like this list because it’s essentially a normal U/R Twin list that’s

splashing for Kolaghan’s Command.

Pia and Kiran Nalaar aren’t usually going to win the game by themselves, but they’re incredibly annoying to clean up for most decks, or an excellent roadblock.

What I Would Try:

Taking out the combo pieces entirely and becoming Grixis Control. Most Grixis Control lists right now are centered around Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and sorcery speed interaction, but I think this style could be effective. The combo does seem good right now, and might be necessary, but it’s worth exploring at least.

#1 – Abzan Company – Logan Mize

Alex Bastecki 3-0’d with a beatdown version of Naya Company, but I like the combo aspects and toolbox that Logan’s version provides.

The Tech:

Eternal Witness. Paired withChord of Calling or Collected Company, Eternal Witness provides a ridiculous amount of value. If you’re into Snapcaster Mage with Kolaghan’s Command, then you have to be into Eternal Witness with Collected Company.

Spellskite is a phenomenal surprise card with Chord of Calling or Collected Company that disrupts opponents’ combos while protecting yours.

What I Would Try:

More low-drop value creatures. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is great against Storm and G/R Tron, and Scavenging Ooze is a great card to have a lot of as graveyard disruption, lifegain, or just a fatty when you can’t combo off.


All the Standard decks can be found here.

#3 – Jeskai Aggro – Kevin Jones

It’s nice to see some innovation in Jeskai decks, and Kevin Jones certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

The Tech:

The green splash for Den Protector instead of for black. I’m not sure if it’s right, but Den Protector in Jeskai sure feels like a good fit.

The manabase also makes Gideon, Ally of Zendikar easier to cast since all your fetchlands search for white mana, whereas Bloodstained Mire can’t. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is a slam dunk.

What I Would Try:

Cut back on the Hangback Walkers. It’s not helping the aggressive stance this version is taking much. Add a little more card draw or bite the bullet and run the full four Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.

#2 – Jeskai Black – (Todd Anderson, Brad Nelson, Tom Ross)

Of course there are going to be two Jeskai decks listed in my top 3. Speaking of innovation in Jeskai decks…

The Tech:

This is a full on control version of Jeskai thanks to three Painful Truths and three Monastery Mentor. It has some of the best removal, the best card draw, and the best value creatures in the format. It is slow and going to be susceptible to strategies like Rally the Ancestors or Eldrazi Ramp, but should match up well against normal control, midrange, or aggro decks.

What I Would Try:

A hard counter or two in the maindeck. Having access to a Negate or Dispel would pair nicely with Soulfire Grand Master in the lategame and could help protect Monastery Mentor. Disdainful Stroke would likely be a welcome addition in the sideboard as well.

#1 – G/R Eldrazi – Jim Davis

Eldrazi Ramp does what it does consistently. It smooshes slower midrange decks and when it does, you feel like an unstoppable genius, which is probably exactly how Jim Davis felt as he emerged the victor of the tournament.

The Tech:

Eldrazi Ramp was a great metagame call, but Jim’s deck also has some nice spice to it.

Den Protector in the maindeck is a nice way to recur some ramp or the top end of your deck that has been countered or discarded.

Hallowed Moonlight is obviously great if you’re expecting Rally the Ancestors and want an absolute trump card.

What I Would Try:

Winds of Qal Sisma to stop Become Immense shenanigans is cute, but it’s easily disrupted by Wild Slash, and I think having access to a full complement of Radiant Flames is likely more useful, especially when you have access to three colors of mana. I’d also like to see a little more acceleration in the maindeck in the form of at least a few Hedron Archives.

There you have it, my opinions on the decks from the #SCGPC that impressed me the most. Which decks do you think will have an important impact going into the new year?