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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
May 27 2015 12:00pm
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     Welcome back to another edition of The Standard Issue. First, I must apologize for not thanking Adam Clayton for the awesome job he did creating a header for my articles. I think it looks amazing and I hope you all enjoy it as well.

     As I mentioned in my summary this Standard meta has a ton of decks but I still feel as though Abzan, Esper Dragons, and Atarka Red are big 3. That doesn't mean that they are the best but it means that they will be well represented and you will need to have some sort of plan against them. There is plenty of information on those decks so I won't be focusing on them. What I want to focus on are the decks that have been rising up to beat the 3 headed dog that has been hounding Standard.

    Let's start with a deck that lost some steam but recently came back with a vengeance. GR Dragons just won the SCG Open and placed 2nd at the GP in Shanghai. This list is from the Grand Prix.

     I honestly don't understand why this deck fell out of favor to begin with. I know it can have a hard time against Esper but I think it has great game against Abzan and against aggressive red strategies, especially this version with 3 mainboard Arc Lightning. Stormbreath Dragon and Thunderbreak Regent are too good together to ignore and with the ramp this deck provides they can beat you up fairly quickly. I really like the sideboard for this deck as well. Bringing in the Planeswalkers and Outpost Siege helps against control and the extra removal and Hornet Nest really helps against the other aggressive decks. It is worth noting that the top 8 of the GP was filled with other GR decks including devotion and another dragons deck. Abzan Megamorph/Control ended up taking first utilizing the new tag team of Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor.

     Up next we have the 2nd place list from GP Paris.

     I mentioned this in my last article because it was taken to the top 8 of GP Toronto by Craig Wescoe and has since been another great deck to contend with the big 3. This deck takes full advantage of the Megamorph and Manifest mechanics by having a whopping 10 Megamorghers and Mastery of the Unseen. It can have a very aggressive start and has enough staying power to take a long game as well. Does this deck have any weaknesses? From what I have seen and heard from players of this archetype, Anger of the Gods is no picnic and other board wipe might slow it down enough for you to pull ahead. It was beaten in the finals by Abzan Aggro. Sorin, Solemn Visitor was a beating and game 3 really showed the power of Dromoka's Command and everyone's favorite pachyderm, Siege Rhino. I have not personally played with this deck though but it is obvious that it has what it takes to place well at large tourneys.

     The MOCS was won by Gerry Thompson playing Abzan Aggro... I know exciting but check out this list that got 2nd place.

     I have been playing some form of Jeskai ever since Khans was released. I shifted from aggro/tempo to Tokens like I talked about the past 2 weeks. This deck is very sweet. I love the way it is set up to beat the control decks with 3 copies of Stratus Dancer and Ashcloud Phoenix which requires 2 removal spells to take care of. Goblin Rabblemaster can still take over games when left uncontested and Soulfire Grand master can really give some great value. What I really enjoy are the other spells and the sideboard options this deck has. He opted to not used Wild Slash which has been popular and went with Lightning Strike instead. Strike obviously still kills everything that Slash does but has the upside of hitting Fleecemane Lion and Deathmist Raptor. Which seems to be exactly what he needed. I also like the inclusion of 3 Dig Through Times, this deck has a lot of situational removal or counters and getting what you need is pretty important. 2 Hordeling Outburst doesn't seem to be enough but I understand it because of his other 3 drops. It still helps with Stoke the Flames and allows you to buy back Stoke with Grandmaster. Valorous Stance having both modes seems very good in this deck because you have enough creatures to protect and you can still remove threats that are causing you trouble. Having 3 Ojutai's Command is pretty spicy. I understand the card choice because I have been playing with it as well but I would rather have 2 than 3. The modes are all very good though and it is pretty sweet to buy back a Grand Master. The sideboard has some more removal and I love that it brings in the big dragon to punish your opponents. Gainsay is also a sweet counter to bring in against Esper Dragons and even the UG devotion deck that has been seeing some play as well. Overall I am very impressed by this deck and may even play it at some higher level tourneys.

     The last deck I want to show you is something that I saw from Conley Woods. He did a deck doctor series on it and I liked the finished product enough to build it and test it.

    The only changes I made were taking out a Tasigur, The Golden Fang and adding in a Herald of Torment and I did not add the 4 (Bloodstained Mires) With 1 less Tasigur, the fetch lands seem to be not needed and sometimes just having a flying threat can win you games when you can't draw the Mogis's Marauder. The Thoughtseizes are definitely needed though because you need to eliminate their removal or bigger threats in order to make your 2/1's or 2/2's worth playing. Pain Seer really can get you some card advantage in this deck and the curve is pretty low especial with only 2 Tasigurs. Silumgar Assassin has been pretty sweet in this deck as well. The fact that he kills things like Rabblemaster, Courser, and Fleecemane is a very big part of him being in the deck. Black also has access to great removal and the Bile Blights main help you against mono red and even killing off bigger beasts if they block your little guys. Post board you really gain some help and answers to help with some of your weaker match ups. The Whip of Erebos is there to gain you some much needed life even if it is just for a turn so you can win the next. Conley was very excited about the deck and it really is fun to play. I do suggest trying it out if you do not want to play Abzan, Esper, or Red but any of these decks I mentioned could be well worth it if you want to try something different but effective in Standard.

     I will be continuing to research and play Standard as much as possible. It has been said by others and I will repeat the thought that this is one of the best Standard formats that I have ever played in. Let me know your thoughts? What are you playing? If you have any questions or ever want to test please feel free to contact me on MTGO. Until next time!


Thanks by MichelleWong at Wed, 05/27/2015 - 12:36
MichelleWong's picture

I love this article.

I am enjoying the current standard, the format is very diverse and this means that not only are games generally more interesting and varied, but everyone can choose to play a competitive deck in keeping with whatever style of play you like.

You like control? Good for you, there are at least 4 tried and tested control decks which are viable. Even more so with aggro and midrange which have a tonne of deck choices. Even combo is represented, with the pure combo deck of Jeskai Ascendancy (and many other hybrid combo/synergy decks such as Deathmist Raptor decks, Collected Company, Hornet Nest, UW Heroic, Whip of Erebos etc).

That Mono Black Aggro deck looks fun. My suggestion: Marcus, wouldn't it be better to remove the Mardu Shadowspears and add more potent choices, such as the much-needed additional removal such as 2 extra bile blights main deck, cos otherwise this deck will be held to ransom by all the 3/3s in this format. The full complement of BILE BLIGHTS are also important to ensure that the Pain Seers do not die in combat. You want to block my Pain Seer with your Courser of Kruphix? Go ahead, but please be prepared to face a Bile Blight on your Courser, and prepare for me to untap with my Pain Seer next turn to draw more cards and more removal to rinse and repeat.

However, unless the prices of packs increase (and EV increasing as a result), I think that post-rotation I will no longer continue to play Standard, but will focus instead on Eternal Formats, Draft and constructed Player Run Events, to take advantage of the fact that these are usually more enjoyable and drafts are reasonably priced given the low value of packs on the secondary market nowadays.

Thanks for the comment by Plainswalker83 at Wed, 05/27/2015 - 14:03
Plainswalker83's picture

Thats why I love this standard, so much diversity, and I understand you getting out of it after rotation. Unfortunately for me, Standard is a necessary evil because I want to take my game to the next level.
In regards to Shadowspear the dash is pretty important making him a very decent 1 or 2 drop in this deck. Everytime he attacks they lose 1 which means he could be blocked and still get damage through. I understand what you mean though about wanting removal or wanting to get through 3/3s but with mono black aggro you just want to power through because if they have the time to cast all of their bigger threats, chances are you won't be winning anyway.

That's what I did, exactly! I by Joe Fiorini at Wed, 05/27/2015 - 15:18
Joe Fiorini's picture

That's what I did, exactly! I don't blame anyone for playing standard, if I was able to seriously devote my time to attempting to qualify for the Pro Tour again, then Standard makes perfect sense, it's the go-to format for Premiere-Level play.

I decided though, that since I won't be playing in such events, I should just play what I want to. So, I sold my Mutavaults that I paid 25 tix for, and took the 12 tix that bots were offering at the time, and started building my Modern collection even more. Eventually, I worked my way into Legacy and Vintage, and I couldn't be happier.

I get to play a very competitive and skill-intensive format, but I can play it when it fits into my schedule. It's the most fun I've ever had playing Magic, other than the gone-by days of casual Magic in highschool.