Weekly Ward S2 E26 – Wizards Bronze Bombshell

Right before the show Wizards of the Coast made a major Pro Tour changing announcement. Dan & Kevin discuss it, along with recaping SCG Cincinnati.

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Most Impactful Hour of Devastation Cards

I believe that despite being a small set, Hour of Devastation will have a large impact on the standard format. There are many cards that are somewhat under the radar that have the ability to create new archetypes and cards that might help defeat former great decks such as G/B Constrictor and Mardu vehicles. This list below is what I believe will be the top 10 most impactful cards for constructed, as well as ideas on which decks to put them in, that I have found after testing a significant amount for this upcoming pro tour in Kyoto.

1. Champion of wits

Champion of Wits

This card will add consistency to fringe archetypes that showed up in the past such as Temur Emerge, U/R Zombies, Grixis Gods Pharaoh Gift (I’ll get into that later) and 4 color Haunted Dead/Prized Amalgam decks. Champion of Wits has the potential to propel these decks to being tier one or close to it. This card provides value and increased consistency early, and is also a great creature to emerge Elder Deep Fiend from. I expect this card to be in the top 8 of many local events this weekend and the open in Cincinnati. Buy this card while it is still $2.

2. Hour of Devastation

Hour of Devastation

This is the best board wipe we have seen in a long time in standard. It cleanly deals with Gideon, any creatures that hit the table before it, and also stops indestructible creatures such as Selfless Spirit, Avacyn, and Crested Sunmare. This card will help bring back control in standard and I will be busy working on creature decks that can beat this card.

3. Abrade

Abrade

Finally a good main-deck answer to Heart of Kiran for decks that do not play black, such as my favorite Temur Energy. Abrade is one of the best removal spells printed in a while as it cleanly kills a wide range of things from Oketra’s Monument, to Winding Constrictor, to Gearhulks. Expect to play against this card a lot and try to play more with x-4s.

4. Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

Nichol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

This is a powerful top end that works extremely well in decks that play Chandra to play it as early as turn 4. Bolas is best when its 7 damage to the face ability is relevant, so you want to play bolas in decks with Glorybringer and not in decks that play Torrential Gearhulk. Bolas is meant to be a proactive card and not a reactive one, since it’s best at closing close games.

5. Hour of Promise

Hour of Promise

Hour of Promise is Explosive Vegetation that hit the gym nonstop for a few years. It gets any two lands and comes with 2 zombies most of the time, making it well worth 5 mana and a great reason to play negates in your sideboard this weekend. This card will make it that people can still register Ulamog for standard by fetching 2 Shrine of Forsaken Gods.

6. God- Pharaoh’s Gift

God-Pharaoh’s Gift

I played against a Grixis cycling deck in a standard league online that played this card along with Aarchfiend of Infinir, Curator of Mysteries, Vizier of Tumbling Sands, Glorybringer, Locust God, Insolent Neonate and some other cards. I was defeated soundly and my opponent’s deck felt extremely powerful and very real. I would not be surprised if this card creates a Living End style standard deck that is very good.

7. Claim // Fame

Claim // Fame

My modern decks of choice recently have been Death Shadow variants and this card slots right into Jund and Grixis Shadow. It brings back Death Shadow and Tarmogoyf, giving them haste. Works better in Grixis where they have access to Thought Scour. I will most likely be registering this card at SCG Syracuse if I decide to go there instead of GP Minneapolis.

8. Pride Sovereign

Pride Sovereign

Army in a can creatures are almost always good and that is what this Aslan impersonator does. G/W Tokens is an ideal home for this card, time will tell if that deck has the tools to beat Hour of Devastation and efficient enough removal to hang with the other threats of the format.

9. Crested Sunmare

Crested Sunmare

This card has the potential to have a whole deck built around it as most of the time it’s a 5 mana 10/10. The key with this card is the power level of its support cards and if a good enough core can be built around it I expect this card to see a lot of play. Life-gain is typically not a strong mechanic, but I am confident I’ll be riding this horse to victory at some point.

10. The New Gods

The Locust GodThe Scarab GodThe Scorpion God

The new gods are more playable than most of the Amonkhet gods, besides Rhonas and Hazoret. Expect to play against these as one-of’s in most mid-range decks that can cast them as they are great mana syncs and are very difficult to get rid of. Try to have access to at least one way to remove them in all of your standard deck lists.

These are my top 10 impactful cards from the new set that I will be expecting to play against at Pro Tour Hour of Devastation and at the tournaments that will be played this weekend. Some of these cards are currently great buys if you will be needing them for this weekend as many cards in this set are being undervalued in my opinion. I hope this article helped you guys out on deck ideas and what you might have to face this release weekend.

Matt Tumavitch

Deck of the Week – Pummeler

Dan and Kevin talk about the dominate Pummeler. Will it have its last hurrah or transition into the new meta. This is Deck of the Week.

Weekly Ward S2 E25 – Top 10 Creatures

Kevin & Dan recap SCG Invitationals, talk Hall of Fame requirements, and then give you their Top 10 Creatures.

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