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By: kriskurse, Christian Gage Downs
Feb 26 2014 1:00pm
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We all knew it was coming. The one deck to benefit most from Born of the Gods being released was G/R Monsters. Top 4 had 3 G/R decks, and to no surprise one of them ended up winning. Surprisingly enough, the decklist that ended up winning didn't have any mainboard cards from Born of the Gods. In fact, if you looked at this list you would be reminded of the version from a few months back. Obviously something was working for the champ, or else he wouldn't have won. 

 

Like I said, this list would remind you of a few months ago. If you look at the decklist, it's obvious that it deserves the name "Monsters". 4 Copies of both Stormbreath Dragon and Polukranos, World Eater give it that rightful name. Both of these are some of the most powerful creatures in standard. 

Stormbreath Dragon; The bane of any deck running white. Able to automatically go on the attack, while at the same time having the ability to stay on the defensive if needed. Also, it's monstrous ability is no laughing matter. Same goes for Polukranos, World Eater. Both of these creatures are scary to go against, and when let go unchecked can cause tons of issues for the opponent. 

The mainboard is very familiar, but the sideboard is where things changed a bit. Usually now you see more people going for Chandra, Pyromaster mainboarded instead of a Garruk, Caller of Beasts. Here we see more than one in the sideboard for extra card advantage. Something different you don't see every day also is the (Hammer or Purphoros) sideboarded. 

 

U/W Control
Ben Stepka 2nd
Creatures
1 Aetherling
1 cards

Other Spells
1 Nullify
1 Fated Retribution
3 Dissolve
3 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
4 Jace, Architect of Thought
4 Detention Sphere
3 Azorius Charm
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Sphinx's Revelation
2 Syncopate
3 Last Breath
32 cards
Lands
2 Temple of Deceit
2 Temple of Silence
3 Mutavault
4 Hallowed Fountain
5 Plains
7 Island
4 Temple of Enlightenment
27 cards

Elspeth, Sun's Champion

 

This was the oddball out in the top 4. The other 3 were G/R Monsters, so Ben had to fight for his life to survive to the finals. Unfortunately, an interesting sideboard wasn't enough to get there, but 2nd is an accomplishment of it's own. 

  • Ben went all out in the win conditions in this control deck. Not only is he running 3 copies of (Elspeth, Suns Champion), but he is also running a mainboard Aetherling. That makes it so that it is easier to have a game ending threat on board.
  • An interesting addition in the mainboard is a single Nullify. Not to huge of a game changer, but if you have it at your disposal it can be very useful. With the ability to counter not only creatures, but enchantments, it helps with stopping certain threats you can't deal with as easily as others. Assemble the Legion unchecked can end the game for you no matter how many Supreme Verdicts you have. It also helps with dealing with 3rd turn Underworld Connections
  • Celestial Flare in the sideboard is an interesting addition. Certain creatures need to be answered almost instantly, and a few creatures can't be Azorius Charmed away. Some examples are Stormbreath Dragon and Mistcutter Hydra. Celestial Flare gives an un-targeted answer to both creatures. 
  • Coming from someone who has been playing around with Angel of Serenity for the past few weeks, I love that it is included here. It is a great answer against certain decks, and can be a threat of its own. Exiling 3 creatures at a time, including god cards can be extremely useful. 

 

G/R Monsters
Aaron Cook 3rd
Creatures
4 Stormbreath Dragon
3 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Fanatic of Xenagos
2 Xenagos, God of Revels
27 cards

Other Spells
2 Xenagos, the Reveler
1 Flesh // Blood
4 Domri Rade
3 Mizzium Mortars
9 cards
Lands
4 Temple of Abandon
2 Mutavault
4 Stomping Ground
5 Mountain
8 Forest
23 cards

Xenagos, the Reveler

 

This is closer to the G/R list that I would expect after the release of Born of the Gods. Not only including the God of Revels himself, but also his Fanatic as well. I wasn't surprised at all to see G/R doing so well this weekend. I knew it was only a matter of time before all the goodness from Born of the Gods made an impact on what people wanted to play.

  • Xenagos, God of Revels is what gives this deck the extra gas to make it the few extra miles. While not too impressive on his own, add any number of the other 25 creatures and his true power is revealed. Some creatures couple better with him. Think of Polukranos or Stormbreath Dragon. A 10/10 or a 8/8 with haste? That's kind of crazy. Add some counters with their monstrous ability, that is when it just gets unfair. 
  • I've been seeing a lot of Unravel The Aether in sideboards lately, and for good reasons. Not only does it get rid of things like Underworld Connections, Gods of any form, and Detention Sphere at instant speed. Not only that, but I like that it can throw off a scry that had happened before the cast,
  • Another card I've been seeing a lot of in green sideboards is Arbor Colossus. With the ability to trade blows with Desecration Demon, and take down an Archangel of Thune with no problem, I can see why. Also, it is a Plummet on a stick when it becomes monstrous. 

Now even though G/R did extremely well this weekend, I feel like this shift can cause decks like Mono Blue or Mono Black to start doing well again too. Tidebinder Mage can be huge in the matchup, and Mono Black has so much spot removal the God of Revels can't be as effective as it should be. Nonetheless, we won't see what actually happens until the next tournament, but I expect something interesting to happen for sure.

Honorable Mention:

My favorite online deck to follow is the Esper Midrange deck that does well in Dailies and events online. This week a few of them made it to the top 16 of the Open. Usually online meta is more shifted to decks that are fast, because they are usually cheaper. This is one that is kind of pricy, which is why I haven't picked it up yet. I have noticed an increase in paper versions though, so let's look at a list. 

Esper Humans
 
Creatures
2 Imposing Sovereign
2 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
3 Obzedat, Ghost Council
4 Precinct Captain
4 Lyev Skyknight
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
3 Ephara, God of the Polis
22 cards

Other Spells
2 Spear Of Heliod
1 Whip of Erebos
2 Far // Away
2 Supreme Verdict
2 Ultimate Price
4 Detention Sphere
11 cards
Lands
4 Temple of Silence
1 Orzhov Guildgate
1 Mutavault
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Godless Shrine
4 Watery Grave
3 Plains
4 Temple of Enlightenment
25 cards

Blood Baron of Vizkopa

 

With some of the best threats that these colors have at it's disposal, it's no wonder it is starting to do better. Obzedat, Brimaz, and more create a board of creatures that each deserve to be removed on their own. All in all, it is a midrange deck and needs removal to be able to survive long enough to set up its board state. Imposing Sovereign helps with being able to get in extra points of damage versus decks with creatures that normally could serve as good blockers. 

Notable Cards of the Week:

This week the most notable card was obviously a monster. Stormbreath Dragon is one of the best creatures right now, and has so much protection against control and can usually fly over other decks Obviously we have known this since the beginning of Theros standard, because we needed a replacement for our beloved *Thundermaw Hellkite). 

The second notable card this week is the Sun's Champion herself, Elspeth. She protects herself better than any other planeswalker I've seen, and each of her abilities is relevant on its own. +1 make three guys that add up quick. -3 and get rid of all kinds of icky monsters and demons. -7 to make your creatures ninja warriors with +2/+2 and flying. Obviously she has found her place, and that place is standard. 

Where will the format take us over the next few weeks? Game Day for Born of the Gods is this weekend, and a lot of people will be attending. This weekend Star City goes to Atlanta for their open series, and along with them maybe we will see a shift in meta because of how well G/R did this week. All comes in time, and those answers do as well. Until then, keep on keeping on!

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