The Pro Tour As We Know It. I Think.

The Boss knows people in high places. He has an inside line to a lot of the Pro Tour participants, and he knows a lot of the decks he expects to see running the show this weekend! What would he play? Would his answer change in a week at SCG Louisville?

Hey everyone!

Thanks for taking a break from Pro Tour Amonkhet coverage to stop

Sadly, I’m not in Nashville right now. I’m watching coverage just like you,
waiting to get a peek into what decks the big teams brewed up. The better
defined a format, the better suited aggro and control decks are to fight
the metagame. Pro Tour Amonkhet will shape the Standard portion of
the next SCG Tour stop at #SCGKY; the
fan-favorite Team Constructed of Standard, Modern and Legacy.

I have some general ideas of what the Pro Tour Amonkhet metagame
will look like. Mardu Vehicles will be the deck to beat. Aggro decks like
Zombies and maybe Humans will be optimized. Aetherworks Marvel will come
out in huge numbers, taking much of the space that Four-Color Saheeli left.
Control decks will know the enemy and will come prepared. Fringe decks like
New Perspectives are fun and all, but there won’t be enough confidence
around them for anyone to sleeve them up.

Commit//Memory Will Be A Huge Player In Control Decks

Control decks rarely do well in Pro Tours. However, Pro Tour Amonkhet is different than past Pro Tours. There has been enough
Magic Online data and SCG tournaments to form a metagame picture. With
appropriate targets to fight, the control decks will come equipped with the
right reactive spells to succeed. The correct number of maindeck Negate,
Essence Scatter, Magma Spray, Commit, and/or Sweltering Suns are all
questions that control players could easily get wrong if they went into the
Pro Tour blind.

Commit is my favorite blue card from Amonkhet and in contention
for favorite overall card, too. Commit is super-versatile, and Memory sits
around as an emergency button. Commit is a difficult card to “get wrong” on
the numbers. It’s good against spells and permanents! Oh and against
opposing large handsizes and graveyards too on the Memory side.

I expect Commit to be paired with Torrential Gearhulk in a variety of
builds. U/R Control seems like the easiest fit, but I wouldn’t discount
U/W, Esper, or Jeskai. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shota Yasooka show up
with an off-the-wall Jeskai Control deck packing four Commit.

Zombies Will Evolve

If Pro Tour Amonkhet was two weekends ago instead of today, I’d
imagine that Zombies would’ve been the breakout aggro deck. Now Zombies is
a known quantity and will be a significant part of the metagame. Zombies is
in every team’s testing gauntlet and everyone is aware of it’s

Mono-Black Zombies is the most popular because of it’s consistency. We know
that white offers Zombies like Binding Mummy and Wayward Servant. What
other options are left to be explored?

Westvale Abbey is stock nowadays as the utility land of choice. Some
boardstates leave you with some dumpy Zombies that get through and
Ormendahl helps punch a hole in the defenses.

Other games you draw multiple Westvale Abbeys or are stuck on 4-5 mana. 1/1
Human Clerics don’t do much on their own and don’t synergize with the
Zombie-themed cards in the deck.

Cradle of the Accursed is a card I’m looking at for Zombies as a complement
to Westvale Abbey. Drawing one of each will generally be better than two
Westvale Abbey. More incidental Zombies lets you continue the momentum
guaranteeing your Cryptbreakers can draw cards, Dark Salvation hits big
things, and Liliana’s Mastery gets maximum value.

The Zombie decks of last season didn’t have enough efficient Zombies to
successfully play mono-color. B/U Zombies had to stretch some and
incorporate a slight madness theme to operate.

Dread Wanderer is a great one-drop to start off the game. It also recurs
from the graveyard later on as a mana-sink. Dread Wanderer is another way
to revive Prized Amalgam that we didn’t have before. Relentless Dead also
has a key sentence hidden deep in it’s text box. It can bring back a Zombie
from the graveyard as it dies. Granted, this won’t come up all too often,
but anything that can trigger Prized Amalgam is good.

Scrapheap Scrounger suffers from not being a Zombie. What it does is hits
hard and comes back more cheaply than anything else. Scrapheap Scrounger
has always been on the brink of playability in Zombie decks. Synergy with
Prized Amalgam is just the tipping point the card needs.

Aetherworks Marvel Will Be Everywhere

Aetherworks Marvel was over-represented at Pro Tour Kaladesh, and
I expect to see a similar representation at Pro Tour Amonkhet.
Many players are more interested in powerful decks over a bunch of
micro-decisions per game. Rolling the dice is appealing if you can get 60%
against the field. When everyone plays well, the edge is lost in really
tough games.

For those that wanted to play with Felidar Guardian, switching to
Aetherworks Marvel is natural. It can be customized to taste and has one of
the best opening draws possible in Standard: The dreaded turn 4 Ulamog, the
Ceaseless Hunger.

If I were to pick up an Aetherworks Marvel deck, I’d want one that was a
decent attack plan if it doesn’t draw its namesake card. I’d also want good
mana so as to not lose percentage points to clunkiness or mana screw. I’d
play something like this if I was playing in Pro Tour Amonkhet.

This deck has the explosive turn 4 Aetherworks Marvel with some good hits
outside of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Chandra, Flamecaller and World
Breaker will significantly impact the battlefield. Even weaker hits like
Bristling Hydra or Glorybringer will do work.

Once you get to the sideboard you can become more of a G/R Energy beatdown
deck that loads up on Tireless Tracker and Bristling Hydra. Your
Aetherworks Marvels will be getting attacked by Dispossess or artifact
removal, so leaning on them afterwards in post-sideboard games won’t always
be the best.

The rest of the sideboard is rather self-explanatory. Extra Magma Sprays
and Sweltering Suns for creature decks like Zombies. Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
and NIssa, Vital Force to grind out the control matchups. Overall it looks
like something I’d be content with registering for a Pro Tour… if I wanted
to defer from my traditional aggro mentality without going too far off

Humans Decks Will Have Been Perfected

We can see improvements from Zach Stern’s SCG Atlanta list from
BigBoss5150’s (not me) recent 5-0 list. Expedition Envoy and Metallic Mimic
have proved underwhelming while Hazoret the Fervent and Devoted Crop-Mate
have earned slots.

Aether Hub was changed for consistently reliable lands and a second Hanweir
Battlements got in there.

It makes sense. Without a critical mass of 2/1s like Dragon Hunter and
Kytheon, Hero of Akros, flooding the battlefield with three 2/1s by turn 2
isn’t a reliable plan. Bloodlust Inciter has lifted in people’s Amonkhet pick order and is a heck of a card to pair with Hanweir

Giving haste to Hanweir Garrison is currently a real “plan” for the deck as
an opening sequence that competes with the best openings of other decks
like Aetherworks Marvel and Mardu Vehicles. Haste is just good in general,
giving credit to the second Hanweir Battlements in the deck.

Devoted Crop-Mate is a card that potentially generates value, especially
when reviving Thalia’s Lieutenant. Devoted Crop-Mate is in heavy
competition with other great three-drops, including Thalia, Heretic Cathar,
Hanweir Garrison, and Always Watching that are in the deck, but also Pia
Naalar, Stasis Snare, Gideon of the Trials, and to a lesser extent Trial of
Solidarity and Vizier of Deferment that didn’t make the cut.

B/G Delirium Is A Safe 50/50 Deck

B/G Delirium has wiggle room to cater to the field and has enough of a
proactive plan combined with relevant interaction to be a solid deck for
Pro Tour Amonkhet. It does have a notable weakness to combo like
Aetherworks Marvel, but it fared fine at #SCGATL. It
bounced back after the Felidar Guardian ban, which meant less combo in the
field. Now it has to fight various Aetherworks Marvel decks and survive.

B/G Delirium has a generally positive matchup against aggressive decks and
the tools to fight anything, from control with grindy elements to combo
with Dispossess and Transgress the Mind or Lay Bare the Heart. B/G Delirium
has been a mainstay in Standard throughout the introduction of the delirium
mechanic until now, and I expect a decent number of B/G Delirium veterans
to ride out their tried-and-true “Rock deck” until the end. I personally
wouldn’t be ashamed to register B/G Delirium and accept my fate of long,
decision-heavy games with an expectation to get run over in game 1s against
Aetherworks Marvel. Ten Standard rounds is a lot, and things tend to even

A New Future Of Standard

For me this weekend is about relaxation and viewing the world’s best
slamming heads against each other. I have some decks I like and know my
strengths and weaknesses enough to have somewhat of an idea of how I’d
attack a hypothetical field in Nashville.

Once round four of Pro Tour Amonkhet rolls around, I’ll have Magic
Online booted up and ready to pilot the tip of the Pro Tour’s iceberg after
getting only a glimpse of what everyone has designed in their respective
think tanks. SCG Louisville is coming up fast and as the Standard guy, I
want to be at the top of my game.