Players’ Championship Decklists and Metagame Breakdown

Nick Miller breaks down all the decklists and analyzes the metagame for the 2019 Players’ Championship!

The wait is almost over, the decklists are in, and tomorrow sixteen SCG Tour standouts will clash at the Players’ Championship to conclude an action-packed year of Magic.

Three days of intense matches across three formats will determine which player will get to hold the championship belt high and take home $20,000. Join the SCG Tour on Twitch.tv/starcitygames for all the action Friday-Sunday, starting at 10am ET each day.

To whet your appetite for the end-of-the-year event, dive into all 48 decklists and check out the metagame breakdowns for Standard, Modern, and Legacy.


  • Simic Ramp – 7
  • Simic Flash – 4
  • Jund Sacrifice – 4
  • Golgari Adventures – 1

First up is Standard, fresh off numerous bannings and Mythic Championship VII. While Oko, Thief of Crowns is long gone, Simic decks still make up the majority of the field.

Though Andrea Mengucci was one of only three people to play Simic Ramp at MCVII, his fourth-place finish with the deck appears to have influenced the Standard deck choices for the Players’ Championship.

Almost half the players are sleeving up the Elemental package of Risen Reef, Leafkin Druid, and Cavalier of Thorns alongside the top end of Hydroid Krasis and Gadwick, the Wizened or Finale of Devastation for End-Raze Forerunners

The four other green and blue players opted for Simic Flash, following its breakout performance at MCVII in the hands of Top 8 competitors: Brad Nelson, Javaier Dominguez, and Seth Manfield. Four players submitted Jund Sacrifice, the deck that Piotr Glogowski went undefeated with to win MCVII.

And lastly, a single copy of Golgari Adventures rounds out the Standard metagame. Notable exclusions from the field include: Fires of Inventions decks, low-to-the-ground aggressive strategies, Azorius-based control decks, Izzet Flash, and Wilderness Reclamation decks. 


  • Devoted Devastation – 4
  • Bant Snowblade – 3
  • Bant Urza – 2
  • Sultai Urza – 2
  • Humans – 2
  • Amulet Titan – 1
  • Four-Color Death’s Shadow – 1
  • TitanShift – 1

Over the past couple months, Modern has been dominated by Urza, Lord High Artificer, Death’s Shadow, and Urzatron decks ranging from traditional Mono-Green Tron to Eldrazi Tron.

For only five of the sixteen players to bring those decks to the event – and not a single copy of Urza’s Tower in the mix – means the format should offer up some interesting matchups. 

Surprisingly, Devoted Devastation takes the top spot as four members of Team Lotus Box chose the creature-combo deck to attack the perceived metagame.

Stoneforge Mystic’s impact on the format has been relatively low since its unbanning, but three players brought Bant Snowblade, pairing Spell Queller, Oko, and Teferi, Time Raveler with the powerful Kor Artificer. 

Urza shows up next with four slots, evenly split with two copies of Bant Urza and Sultai Urza. While the Bant build leans mostly Simic except for Spell Queller and a sideboard playset of Path to Exile, the Sultai version goes for Thoughtseize, Fatal Push, and Assassin’s Trophy.

Humans rounds out the decks with multiple copies, leaving one-of archetypes as: Amulet Titan, Four-Color Death’s Shadow, and TitanShift. 


  • Hogaak – 3
  • Sultai Snow – 3
  • Bant Snow – 2
  • Bant Miracles – 2
  • Death and Taxes – 1
  • Four-Color Mentor – 1
  • Izzet Delver – 1
  • Grixis Delver – 1
  • Golgari Depths – 1
  • Miracles – 1

In the last showcase of Legacy on the SCG Tour for the foreseeable future, players are favoring midrange and control strategies for the first time in a long time.

With only two Delver decks registered and no spell-based combo decks, the field is skewing fair with the exception of three of the six members of Team Lotus Box sleeving up Hogaak. The Legacy build of Hogaak is strikingly similar to the original Modern build, upgrading the mana base and gaining the addition of Cabal Therapy and Careful Study

Joining Hogaak at three copies is Sultai Snow. A pile of midrange cards across the color wedge, Sultai Snow reads as a greatest hits of R&D mistakes from 2019.

Oko, Veil of Summer, and Arcum’s Astrolabe join up with Ice-Fang Coatl, Plague Engineer, the most powerful blue cantrips from Legacy’s history, and use Leovold, Emissary of Trest to tie it all together. The builds vary a bit with one going for a Green Sun’s Zenith package while the other two opt for Bitterblossom.

Bant Snow and Bant Miracles come up next, two decks trying to do similar things but in slightly different ways. Both decks utilize Oko, Teferi, Time Raveler, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor and the traditional Azorius-colored cantrips and removal, but veer slightly with the Miracles builds utilizing Terminus and Accumulated Knowledge while the Snow builds go with Ice-Fanged Coatl, Supreme Verdict, and other utility cards like Dovin’s Veto, Brazen Borrower, and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Singular builds of Golgari Depths, Four-Color Mentor, Death and Taxes, Jeskai Miracles, Grixis Delver, and Izzet Delver close out the format. Delver decks normally account for a large chunk of Legacy fields and are either embraced or metagamed for in small events like the Players’ Championship. Even in prepared fields, eight copies of the card Delver of Secrets is rare. 

Golgari Depths borders on the only other semi-combo deck with Hogaak, while accounting for the only lands-based strategy in the event.

Four-Color Mentor makes up the only brew in the meta, jamming Oko and Veil of Summer into the shell of Jeskai Mentor. Along with the absence of spell-based combo, Chalice of the Void decks are notably missing as well. 

Decklist Time!

Let’s kick things off with the lone wolves, players who didn’t test with any other competitors in the Players’ Championship. First up, the defending champ!

Joe Lossett

Lossett is one of four players on Jund Sacrifice, choosing the exact list Glogowski used to win MCVII.

Lossett has jammed Mono-Green Tron for a long time in Modern, but is mixing things up this weekend with his own take on Bant Snowblade.

He has the usual suspects but leans a bit more controlling with two maindeck copies of Mystical Dispute, nine Planeswalkers, and two copies of Supreme Verdict

While known for Miracles, Lossett isn’t afraid to juke the meta (look at his innovative Reanimator list from the first Players’ Championship). This year, Lossett is staying with a control deck, but focused more on the Snow builds based on Arcum’s Astrolabe. Check out the two maindeck Dovin’s Veto!

Collin Rountree

The Season One Invitational champion is going with Simic Flash, keeping the list close to Nelson, Dominguez, and Manfield’s MCVII build. Don’t miss the singleton Sedge Scorpion in the sideboard! 

One of two players opting for the Sultai build of Urza with Thoughtseize and Fatal Push in the maindeck, leaving Assassin’s Trophy in the sideboard. 

Rountree put up a Grand Prix Top 8 with Death and Taxes this year and is the only player in the field with the powerful, yet underrepresented deck.

Chris Barone

The Season Two Invitational champ is the lone Golgari Adventures player in the event, going with Chris Kvartek’s maindeck configuration from MCVII, but swapping some numbers in the sideboard.

No surprise here in Modern, Barone qualified for the Invitational he won with Humans and used the same deck to win the Season Two Invi itself. 

Barone is opting for old school Jeskai Miracles, championing one of the few control decks without Arcum’s Astrolabe. He’s still got a copy of Entreat the Angels and two copies of Counterbalance

Dominic Harvey

The three-time Open winner in 2019 picked Jund Sacrifice, making a few changes to the Glogowski build, opting for four maindeck copies of Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and a copy of God-Eternal Bontu

Harvey did a ton of work in 2019 in Modern with decks like Mono-Green Tron, Ironworks, and Amulet Titan, but is going a different direction this weekend. Harvey is siding with a different type of big mana with TitanShift, the only player in the field sleeving up Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Harvey has been an absolute wildcard in Legacy this year, so to say that playing a deck with a single copy of Questing Beast is reeling it in for him might sound comical, but it’s true. The Sultai Snow deck with a Green Sun’s Zenith package for one-ofs and more copies of Leovold, Emissary of Trest is about as traditional Harvey will get in this format. 

Jonathan Hobbs

To the surprise of no one, Hobbs is on Simic Flash. Hobbs made the finals of two Standard Opens earlier this year with his own builds of Bant Flash, so using the marquee version of the deck this weekend just makes sense. He also won a PTQ last weekend with the deck to build his confidence heading into the Players’ Championship. 

Another by-the-book play, Hobbs put up solid results this year with varying builds of Death’s Shadow decks. However, Hobbs is playing a new take on the four-color version this weekend, getting to take advantage of Stubborn Denial, Temur Battle Rage, Oko, and Once Upon a Time

Hobbs is least experienced in Legacy, but Grixis Delver should play to his strengths as a tempo and Death’s Shadow player. 

Time to get into the players that formed smaller testing groups. We’ll start with Drake Sasser, Harlan Firer, and Zach Allen.

Drake Sasser

Though Sasser worked with Firer and Allen for this event, the only deck they agreed on was their build of SImic Ramp. Simic Ramp is the most popular deck at the Players’ Championship, but this trio’s build varies with three copies of Gadwick, the Wizened and singular copies of Quasiduplicate and Mass Manipulation.  

Sasser went his own way in Modern, opting for a safe and solid choice in Humans. Sasser has played too many Modern decks to count this year, including a one-off with Gifts Storm, when he won the Indianapolis Open. 

Sasser put himself on the map playing Delver when he won the Worcester Legacy Open in 2018, so he’s playing to his strengths this weekend with an aggressively-slanted Izzet Delver build. 

Harlan Firer and Zach Allen 

Firer, Allen, and Sasser are hoping their build of Simic Ramp is right, differing from the other four versions in the event. 

Firer and Allen are on the same 225 for the Players’ Championship and are two of the three players on Bant Snowblade in Modern. Firer and Allen’s version of the deck varies with Lossett’s as they go for four Noble Hierarch and two Birds of Paradise to accelerate into their three-drops instead of a slower, controlling build.

Firer and Allen show no one likes drawing cards as much as they do, choosing a Bant Miracles deck juiced with a playset of Accumulated Knowledge. They also drop Counterbalance and mana hosers like Blood Moon or Back to Basics for six planeswalkers, three copies of Snapcaster Mage, and a maindeck copy of Veil of Summer

Matt Dilks and Edgar Magalhães 

Dilks and Magalhães teamed together all year and weren’t going to mess with a good thing at the Players’ Championship. They only landed on the same 75 for Standard, however, going with a tweaked build of Jund Sacrifice with a third copy of Korvold in the maindeck.

Amulet. Titan. Dilks put up absurd results with the deck in 2019, making the Top 8 of every Modern event in Season One when he played the deck. This weekend, Dilks brings back his trusty deck, with a few targeted sideboard cards like Choke and maindeck copies of Oko.

Though Magalhães did well with Amulet Titan this year as well, he found success with the Team Lotus Box Urza deck toward the end of the year. This weekend, Magalhães is taking his own build of Sultai Urza with no copies of Whir of Invention or the Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek combo. 

Dilks isn’t trying to make meta calls this weekend, he’s simply playing his best decks and forcing others to beat him – something many haven’t been able to do this year. Golgari Depths is his bread and butter in Legacy and Dilks is back on the deck following the banning of Wrenn and Six

Magalhães is tough to separate from Brainstorm and Arcum’s Astrolabe, so he’s bringing his own take on Bant Snow. Magalhães isn’t going to get caught off guard with troublesome nonland permanents, utilizing two copies of Council’s Judgment and a one-of Brazen Borrower

Abe Corrigan and Oliver Tomajko 

Two of the Season One points leaders worked together in Standard and Modern but went their own way in Legacy. In Standard, they landed on Simic Flash, cutting a land, a Sinister Sabotage, and a Quench to make room for three copies of Opt

The other two Urza players in the event, Corrigan and Tomajko created a Bant build of the deck, also ditching Whir of Invention and the Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek combo for Spell Queller and three copies of Cryptic Command to work with two copies of Mystic Sanctuary

Corrigan worked with his Lotus Box teammates in Legacy, where three of them registered Hogaak. The powered-up version of the old Modern terror gets to use the original shell and make incredible work of Cabal Therapy

Tomajko did his own thing for Legacy, taking a Jeskai Mentor deck and making room for the new busted green cards. Veil of Summer is an incredible way to defend Monastery Mentor and Oko answers everything else. With Pyroblast in the maindeck and more in the sideboard along with a third Veil of Summer, Tomajko is ready to fight on the stack. 

Dylan Donegan, Collins Mullen, Zan Syed, and Jeremy Bertarioni 

The four members of Lotus Box that worked together locked in the same decks for Standard and Modern, with everyone taking Simic Ramp with a sideboard largely ignoring Fires of Invention decks and nailed it as no one at the Players’ Championship registered the archetype.

With no copies of Return to Nature or Negate, the sideboard maxes on Lovestruck Beat, Aether Gust, and Mystical Dispute, with three copies of Shifting Ceratops

The other deck the team agreed on was Devoted Devastation in Modern. The four players only have one difference as Donegan trimmed one Gilded Goose for a Birds of Paradise. The deck looks to be prepared to attack a field of Urza with its speed and redundancy, but the meta is a bit more diverse with a larger amount of pin-point removal than the format has had recently. 

Donegan and Mullen join Corrigan with Hogaak, the only main difference within the team. 

The true wildcard for the team is the Sultai Snow deck from Syed and Bertarioni. The deck is much more a midrange deck than control, playing three copies of Bitterblossom and two copies of Noble Hierarch with their two copies of Leovold. Oko pairs nicely with Bitterblossom and the deck will play out much differently than the Sultai Snow deck from Dom Harvey.