Standard Gauntlet for the SCG Invitational

Finally, we no longer have to deal with the potential threat of the game ending on turn 4 in standard. Splinter Twin combo and Aetherworks Marvel are gone and we are about to enter a great standard format filled with all sorts of potential new archetypes. This SCG Invitational is going to be a bit of a different tournament than normal because it will be the only major event in a particular format. The prerelease for hour of Devastation is actually the week after the invitational adding many new powerful cards to the format and again shaking it up giving old decks new tools and creating new decks. Based on Magic online results since the banning of marvel, 4 top decks have emerged to be the leaders of standard, but there is also a complete tier 2 list of decks that are right up there in power level to compete at the top. These are the 4 main decks you can look forward to playing against in the standard portion of the invitational or any local events that you might be playing in:

MONO-BLACK ZOMBIES Featured by Gerry Thompson on 2017-06-15 (Standard)

This deck won the last pro tour and will certainly be a force in the new standard. It’s incredibly strong game one but can be beaten with a solid sideboard plan due to how linear the deck is. A key to beating this deck is to have removal spells that exile and board wipes. I would expect to play against this deck multiple times this weekend.

This is an updated list of the deck I won the SCG Classic in Baltimore with, Negates are no longer needed in the main and maybe not at all. This deck is super solid against pretty much everything outside of Mardu Vehicles which has been the deck I have lost to the most playing this.

This deck is also very solid and will be very popular, maybe number one in popularity although I do believe it is the weakest option of the big 4 decks. It’s weakest without drawing Snake and is an easier deck for opponents to play against

Mardu vehicles is extremely strong, but is somewhat weak to zombies, especially in game one. Although it gets significantly better post board. It’s capable of fast nut draws and contains all of the remaining cards that people thought should be banned in standard, Gideon and Heart of Kiran.

These will be the 4 main decks for the Invitational and other standard events this week. I do not think any one of these will be more than 20% of the metagame though, and standard will be extremely diverse and fun. Week one formats like this are always the most fun to play in. A very important tip this weekend is to play a deck that is proactive with cheap interaction and strong threats. Playing decks like U/R control or B/G delirium control will most likely be fatal to whatever tournament you are playing in, because your answers will not line up in ways to combat the diverse field full of midrange aggro decks that you will end up facing.

Here are some other tier two options that I believe are completely viable for this weekend.

I’ve yet to play any games with this deck, but I do believe it to be the fifth option behind the 4 decks posted above due to the success the deck has had on magic online. In theory it seems powerful in going over the top of the midrange agro decks in current standard.

Mono white is capable of extremely powerful and fun things, and has proven itself on magic online the past few weeks. I would not be surprised at all to play against this deck at any event you go to.

Right now for the standard portion of the Invitational I am leaning towards playing Temur Energy in standard because of how well it lines up verses everything that isn’t Mardu and I will be working on that matchup all week. Baral’s Expertise being added to the deck has greatly improved many matchups as well as the sideboard Aethersphere Harvesters. The energy mechanic is another aspect that other decks do not have access to and is extremely powerful as it was the surrounding core of the two recent decks to be banned, 4 color Saheeli and Temur Marvel. I believe zombies is the second best choice followed by Mardu and then G/B with Metalwork Colossus closing the gap as it gets more and more tuned. Another deck that I believe will emerge at some point as a tier deck will be a B/W midrange deck that plays gifted Aetherborn. It’s too early in the format to post a list I’m confident in, I believe it’s too early to know how many of each card to play in the deck because it is reactive and not proactive.

Hour of devastation is closing in and many of the decks that I listed above will remain as strong choices getting new upgrades such as Abrade and Eternal Ammit, I believe Nicol Bolas is the best card for standard spoiled so far followed by Ateral Ammit to improve Mardu, maybe zombies and maybe G/B and then Abrade as a clean answer to so many threats in the standard format.
Standard is destined for greatness now that the toxic cards are now gone. Good luck to all playing this amazing format this weekend.

Matt Tumavitch

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