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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
Jul 22 2015 11:00am
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Origins is live in the paper world. With less than a week until we can load it up online what should we know? The open in Chicago had a top 8 of mostly old archetypes with light splashes of the new set. So what took it all down? This:

There isn't a ton that is different with GR. It didn't gain much and it didn't really need to. I said it before, this is a great archetype and I don't really see it going anywhere. The funny thing is that it actually shouldn't have won. If you watched the open and I strongly suggest you do. In the finals it was this deck that should have won:

Well isn't this a blast from the past? Remember what this deck really preyed upon? That's right big green decks. In fact Logan Mize who piloted this in the open only really lost due to a mull to 3 in the final game. Not a great way to go out but he showed that you do not need Origins to play a great deck. If the trend of big green devotion decks continues and cards like Crackling Doom are on the down tick then I strongly recommend sleeving or loading up Heroic. It can just quickly overpower a deck that has no good removal and just a bunch of mundane blockers.

The rest of the top 8 only had some more GR Devotion, Abzan Control, Mardu  Dragons, and even Jeskai Tokens. The Tokens deck seemed to really take advantage of the new Jace. There was only 1 "new" deck and it looked pretty cool.

UW Control
0 cards

Other Spells
4 Hangarback Walker
3 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
4 Tranquil Cove
2 Thopter Spy Network
3 Artificer's Epiphany
3 Clash of Wills
4 Dig Through Time
1 Disdainful Stroke
4 Dissolve
1 Last Breath
2 Valorous Stance
3 End Hostilities
2 Swift Reckoning
23 cards
3 Darksteel Citadel
6 Island
2 Plains
4 Flooded Strand
2 Mystic Monastery
1 Polluted Delta
1 Radiant Fountain
4 Temple of Enlightenment
23 cards


This deck really too advantage of the newer cards I am not going to highlight each card but there is a deck tech here. It has a ton of removal and a recurring token generator. This deck seems to be very well positioned as it can counter and destroy the threats from devotion decks and Abzan strategies. 

There was another deck that caught my eye and though it didn't top 8 it did get 14th and with 1 more win could have been right up there with the others.

Mono White Devotion
4 Knight of the White Orchid
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
3 Wingmate Roc
3 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
2 Heliod, God of the Sun
19 cards

Other Spells
4 Archangel of Tithes
2 Hidden Dragonslayer
1 Kytheon, Hero of Akros
2 Foundry of the Consuls
2 Mastery of the Unseen
4 Valorous Stance
2 Spear of Heliod
10 cards
20 Plains
3 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
23 cards

Heliod, God of the Sun

This is something I thought of doing and I like what this player did. He seemed to take a more aggressive angle and I don't fault him for that. If I was going aggressive I would just make it all out aggressive and I was doing devotion I would go bigger. Things like (Elspeth, Sun's Champion) could go in the main and there could be a 4th (Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx). I am sure archetypes like this one will evolve and become more prevalent in the coming days.

Besides the Open there were other Standard tournaments with other decklists making the top 8. There were plenty of IQ's going on as well and 1 deck that made top 8, I especially enjoy.

Tom Ross posted this deck to his twitter page and it looks sweet. I know the blue version of Heroic adds the card drawers like Ordeal of Thassa and Treasure Cruise but I like how this can do the flying alpha strike with Abzan Falconer. Also the mana is perfect in this with no tap lands and never having to worry about color screw. I guess the question is whether or not Heroic is the right way to go if you are going to do mono white? I showed the devotion deck earlier but I am working on an actual mono white aggro deck as well. I will have a list once I am able to test more on MTGO and in paper.

Just from this open we can see that Standard can be wide open. One surprise from this past weekend is that a goblin deck did not surface in the top 8. There was one that placed 18th but I guess I just expected more from it. There are the established archetypes like Abzan and Devotion but it looks like a brew that is tested and polished can really be a contender as well. So what should you do? I believe that answer is anything you want! It depends on how competitive you want to be and what you want to be great against. 

If you want to play something very competitive and consistently strong I would highly recommend an Abzan Control list or a Green Red Devotion list. Both can take advantage of the new Nissa who I think might just be the best or most used of the new walkers. I think right now those are the top 2 and it is because of that a strategy like Heroic can also be in a very good spot. Mardu Dragons also seems like a solid choice along with some form of Jeskai. It is sad that the only Temur is getting no love but I feel the other clans and 2 color options are just much stronger. There was only one control list in the top 8 but I know that there are other viable options like UB going around. So pay attention to the meta or just focus on a deck you love and learn it very well. 

There is plenty of room to brew and if that is something you enjoy then now is your time to shine. Origins brought us a bunch of new enablers for various Mono Colored Devotion strategies. It also brought cards to enable certain tribal themes like Goblins, Elves, or even soldiers. Don't be afraid to try something off the wall or off the beaten path just make sure you can stand toe to toe with the big decks of the format. 

As for me I will be playing Abzan while I continue to work on a mono white strategy of some sort. I am leaning toward aggro but it will take some time to develop the right list. If you have any suggestions or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. I am very excited for Standard and always enjoy talking about Magic.


Languish and Piledriver by MichelleWong at Thu, 07/23/2015 - 08:53
MichelleWong's picture

Great article.

Chicago surprised me because:

1. I stand behind Mono Red Goblins. It is truly a frightening deck to play against, and I am surprised that no one reached the top 8. The Obelisk of Urd gives it an extra edge, because one can no longer fight Mono Red by saying "Let's survive the initial assault and gain some life". I say: Prepare to watch people be piledrived! It will happen at Pro Tour Origins.

2. Where were the Blue/Black or Esper decks in Top 8? This archetype received an excellent new addition with Languish. Green/Red Devotion is very vulnerable to Languish because it wipes out all their mana producers before it's too late.


Thanks for the comment by Plainswalker83 at Thu, 07/23/2015 - 09:35
Plainswalker83's picture

Goblins can cause a big problem if people do not have a plan for it. I agree with you there. As far UB and Esper out of those 2 UB is where you want to be. Esper Dragons I think is dropping quickly out of favor.. Languish does not play well with Ojutai. :)

Hey I know it is a lot of by Paul Leicht at Thu, 07/23/2015 - 15:23
Paul Leicht's picture

Hey I know it is a lot of work putting deck lists in with fixed links but it really pays off. Especially with the new sets. At least reordering the lists so that creatures go in the creatures column would be a nice thing to do.

The Thopters deck is one I've been hearing about (and at least one of the people talking about it was a friend who went to Chicago.) I am hopeful to see it perform well and curious how it will shape up as formats shift.

Keep Writing.

Thanks Paul by Plainswalker83 at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 06:44
Plainswalker83's picture

Yea I am not the most tech savvy but I can try to make better lists in the future. I think that Thopter deck can be really good as long as it keeps getting worked on and becomes even more finely tuned.

Jeskai Tokens by MichelleWong at Thu, 07/23/2015 - 23:36
MichelleWong's picture

Hi Marcus,

Can I ask you two questions?

1. Do you think that Jeskai Tokens is well-placed in the format right now?
2. In your testing, did Jeskai Tokens have a good or bad matchup against Green/Red Devotion?


Tokens by Plainswalker83 at Fri, 07/24/2015 - 06:49
Plainswalker83's picture

I always appreciate questions :)
1. I want to say it is in a good position but feel like it can still be easily hated out if Dromoka's command sees more play. It also can suffer from splash hate like Drown in Sorrow, Languish, and Virulent Plague. If those cards see less play than Tokens can see more play.
2. When I played Tokens I always feared playing against the big green decks unless I was able to counter their big threats and get under them or get Ascendancy online very quickly. Devotion really is just a strong consistent deck even though personally I am not a fan of it.

Jeskai Tokens by MichelleWong at Sat, 07/25/2015 - 03:43
MichelleWong's picture

Thanks Marcus for those answers, I appreciate it.

Blue/Black Control by MichelleWong at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 07:41
MichelleWong's picture

Hi Marcus,

Here is the Blue/Black control version which I have designed for upcoming tournaments. Its win condition is Thopters only.

3 x Thoughtseize
4 x Hangarback Walker
3 x Clash of Wills
1 x Bile Blight
2 x Disdainful Stroke
3 x Hero's Downfall
4 x Dissolve
4 x Languish
3 x Thopter Spy Network
2 x Crux of Fate
4 x Dig Through Time
26 Lands (including 4 x Thopter Foundry and 1 Darksteel Citadel).

1 x Thoughtseize
3 x Ashiok
4 x Drown in Sorrow
1 x Bile Blight
2 x Dragonlord Silimgar
3 x Negate
1 x Ugin

If you have any thoughts, I would be grateful.

I really wish I could play Artificer's Epiphany, but I can't think what to remove to fit such a card. Do you think that Artificer's Epiphany is better than Thoughtseize in a Blue/Black control deck?

It looks fine but I would by Plainswalker83 at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 11:15
Plainswalker83's picture

It looks fine but I would really push for Perilous Vault somewhere. especially with the rise of Rally decks. And Def keep thoughtseize. Check out some of the UB lists that won IQs or placed well at the open

Perilous Vault by MichelleWong at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 14:20
MichelleWong's picture

Thanks Marcus for this tip.

No problem :) by Plainswalker83 at Mon, 07/27/2015 - 21:52
Plainswalker83's picture

No problem :)