Ahhh Pro Tour and Regionals weekend. A great time for those of us who love scouring through countless decklists and seeing how the pros break the format. As of now, the Standard metagame is still relatively uncharted. With only one SCG open in the books, the format is far from solved. What the results from that tournament did show us, however, is that Smuggler’s Copter is indeed the real deal with every deck in the top 8 packing a play set. I haven’t fact checked, but besides a basic land, I’d bet that was the first time a card has done that well in its inaugural week. The Open results also showed us red aggro is back in full force, and will likely be a main stay in this format. My personal choice for this weekend is Red White Vehicles.
Red White Vehicles
I’m not usually a fan of red aggressive decks, but this deck has impressed me with its resilience, not to mention it’s a blast to play. The early onslaught from your 1-3 drops puts your opponent on the back foot especially with threats such as Veteran Motorist and Smugglers copter giving us card selection to keep the juice flowing. If they manage to stabilize, your top-end like Gideon, and harder to deal with threats like smuggler’s copter and Fleetwood cruiser usually get the job done posthaste. The deck also has some built in flood insurance with Depala’s ability. The best part about it is you can activate it whenever she becomes tapped, so just by crewing a vehicle you can sink all of your mana into it if you’ve got nothing better to do for the turn. Needle spires is another unsung hero of this deck. Not only does it fix our mana, but represents a huge threat in the late game when both players are on top decks, especially if a Gideon emblem has been made. The removal package has also been proven to be solid. In the main deck you have declaration in stone for the bigger threats, and harnessed lightning to nab an opposing copter or pesky early blocker. Out of the board, however, you can almost transform the deck into Red White control with an additional 7 removal spells to choose from. Against opposing aggro decks bringing in the weavers and cheaper interaction, while trimming your more susceptible threats, lets you control the board and almost win incidentally. Against mid-range and control we also have a great plan by staying aggressive, tuning our removal, and adding some additional top end in the form of additional walkers. Hopefully my praise has converted some of you to the dark… I mean red side.
Now with my pick out of the way, lets take a look at some other decks that may be making a splash this weekend. One list that has taken MTGO by storm this week is the Green Red Energy “combo” deck.
Green Red Energy Combo
I won’t name names, but I’ve played against a few pros piloting this deck in the leagues this week, so at the very least they’re taking it seriously enough to test it. On the surface it looks like a bunch of janky draft chaff, but in practice it plays out very similar to infect and is extremely explosive. I’ve personally been attacked by an 80/80 trampling electrostatic pummeler, and heard horror stories of a double strike trampling 160-something. Blossoming defense does a great vines of the vastwood impersonation and Blossoming Hydra having built in hexproof makes dealing with their threats a real headache. The attune with aethers and servant of the conduits also let you cheat on lands to keep your threat density high, all while buffing your energy reserve. The major flaw of this deck seems to be its super linear game plan and over-abundance of pump spells. I’ve seen opponents get stranded with a hand full of giant growths when I manage to deal with their one threat. If the consistency issue can be worked out though I could see this deck becoming a major player and may sneak into the spotlight.
Another deck that I would expect to see this weekend is Grixis emerge.
So far in this standard it seems the Grixis engine has overtaken Temur as the emerge deck of choice. The amalgam, haunted dead, scrounger package is just too much value to pass up. Cathartic Reunion, Copter, and minister of inquiries give the deck new ways to bin the engine and the most explosive draws don’t even feel like standard. That said, there are a lot of tweaks that can be made to this archetype and this list is not refined. I’ve seen straight Black Red, playing uncastable amalgams just for the engine, and going more in on a Crypt Breaker Voldaren pariah plan. Ive also seen a more madness centric list playing fiery temper. I’m not sure which version is the best, but after this weekend we will have a better idea.
Lastly I want to mention some of the more “rogue” build-around-me cards I expect to see this weekend: Metalwork Colossus, Metallurgic Summonings, and Aetherworks Marvel. I don’t have exact decklists for any of these archetypes but all three of these cards can do broken things in the right shell and I expect them to make a splash
Metalwork Colossus has already had a little success in the SCG Open and on MTGO but the lists are far from perfect. The basic plan is to play a bunch of non creature artifacts like prophetic prisms, Hedron Archives, various vehicles, and a hodge-podge of others to make your Colossi cheap, or even free. You can even chain them by sacking sanctum of ugins, or searching them out with inventors’ fair. While vanilla 10/10s don’t excite everyone, dropping 30 power for free is usually a good way to win a game of magic.
Metallurgic Summonings is a pretty weird card, and certainly very niche. In a Blue White control deck I could see this being the perfect finisher though. If you can find an opening to resolve it in the mid game, all of your counters, card draw spells, and removal from then on have built in threats attached to them. This will quickly help stabilize the game, recoup the tempo of tapping out for a 5 mana “do-nothing” and end the game in short order. Sequences like destroying an opponents attacker in combat or drawing cards off a glimmer, making a token, and then eating an attacker are the things control mages dreams are made of.
Last, but certainly not least is Aetherworks Marvel. For the low low price of 6 energy, you can spin the wheel and live the dream of putting an Emrakul, Ulamog, or other enormous spell into play at instant speed. You actually cast the card as well, so you get all of the insane triggers from the Eldrazi. This deck likely has to play some stinkers like attune with aether and some of the Puzzleknots just to keep the engine on line but if that lets you get a quick spin of the Marvel, its all worth it. Much like last standard where every collected company contained a [reflector mage and spell queller, I now expect every Aetherworks Marvel spin to have an emrakul and immediately win the game. This may not be 100% accurate but let me have my magical Christmas land moment.
Well that’s all for me this week. Good luck to everyone playing in regionals or the PT this weekend and I’d love to hear all of your thoughts on what you expect at the tournaments this weekend. I’ll be commentating the Northeast Regional on Saturday so I hope to see a bunch of you there with sweet decks. If you can’t make it, we will be streaming it so make sure to tune in on twitch.tv/Kirwansgamestore to catch all the action. Until next time!