Raise Your Standards – A Healthy Standard

raise-your-standards

Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  This week, we’ll take a look at the current state of Standard after the latest Grand Prix and see what’s been doing well in some other tournaments as well.  So, without further ado, let’s get started by congratulating Brad Nelson on his win at GP Denver.  He, Brian Braun-Duin, and Corey Baumeister all played the same 75 cards and came in 1st, 2nd, and 4th respectively.  Here’s the list they were running.

 

Temur Energy – GP Denver, 1st place – (by Brad Nelson)

CreaturesLongtusk Cub

Spells

LandsSkysovereign, Consul Flagship

Sideboard

 

I’ll admit it, this deck looks like a lot of fun to play.  It feels like this deck has been a contender in Standard for a long time, and since there’s only a few cards that will rotate out of Standard in about a month, it’ll likely be a contender for the next year as well.  I’m a little surprised there’s not one more copy of Abrade in the sideboard due to the prominence of the Oketra’s Monuments and God-Pharaoh’s Gifts being played, and I would be tempted to cut a Negate for it.

The next deck we’ll take a look at today is the deck that ended up in third place.  It’s the archetype that came in first at the Pro Tour and even though it’s a known entity at this point, it still hasn’t been hated out of the format.  Let’s take a look at Ramunap Red.

 

Ramunap Red – GP Denver, 3rd place – (by John Rolf)

PlaneswalkersAhn-Crop Crasher

Creatures

Spells

LandsRamunap Ruins

Sideboard

 

This deck is slightly different than the one PVDDR won the Pro Tour with, but not by much.  It still follows the same plan of attacking quickly in order to get in some early damage and finishing the game out with burn spells and sacrificed deserts.  This is another deck that doesn’t lose much with the upcoming rotation.

The deck that came in fifth place is the archetype that took down Ramunap Red a couple of weeks ago at GP Minneapolis.  It’s Mono-Black Zombies.

 

Zombies – GP Denver, 5th place – (by Collin Rountree)

CreaturesCryptbreaker

Spells

Lands

Sideboard

 

This is another deck that’s been around in Standard for a while, and if you like it I’d suggest playing with it as much as you can before Ixalan drops because this deck won’t exist upon rotation.  However, Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation gave us a lot of cards to help replace some of the rotating pieces.  Will they be enough?  Probably not, but I’m looking forward to testing things out to see if there’s a new Zombie deck that can rise from the dead.

The next deck we’ll take a look at has done well on MTGO over the past few weeks, and it’s exciting to see it come in 7th at GP Denver.  Let’s look at White-Blue Monument.

 

White-Blue Monument – GP Denver, 7th place – (by Gregory Michel)

CreaturesOketra's Monument

Spells

Lands

Sideboard

 

If you watched coverage of GP Denver, you may have seen how well this deck can work when it gets Oketra’s Monument into play.  Without it though, it can struggle to keep a favorable board presence.  It’s a good deck that’s a lot of fun to play, but it definitely has its weaknesses.  I think this deck would fare better if people stopped playing Abrade so much, but I’m not sure if that will happen before rotation.

The next decklist I want to share is the 10th place deck.  It fell 1 point shy of landing in the top 8.  Last week, I made my prediction that a deck with Elder Deep-Fiend would be a good choice for this tournament, and I was right.  Let’s take a look at Zomb-Emerge.

 

Zomb-Emerge – GP Denver, 10th place – (by Ivan Espinosa)

CreaturesElder Deep-Fiend

Spells

LandsFevered Visions

Sideboard

 

This deck is very similar to the first deck I wrote about last week and while it did great, it came up just a bit short.  It still has a lot of potential in this last month of Standard before the rotation.

The last deck I want to look at from GP Denver came in 31st place.  Let’s take a look at Green-White Ramp.

 

Green-White Ramp – GP Denver, 31st place – (by Rafael Chavez)

PlaneswalkersAjani Unyielding

Creatures

Spells

LandsHour of Promise

Sideboard

 

Is this the deck that finally gives Ajani Unyielding a home in Standard?  Probably not, but it’s cool to see him getting a little play.  I would expect his permanent home would be in a deck that has a few less instants and sorceries, but perhaps his primary function in this deck is his -2 loyalty ability.  I’m anxious to sleeve this deck up and give it a try at FNM soon to see what upgrades I can make.

 

The last deck I bring to you this week took 6th place at the StarCityGames.com Invitational Qualifier this past weekend.  It’s called Mono-White Trinketeer.

 

Mono-White Trinketeer – (by Simon Goodman)

CreaturesMaster Trinketeer

Spells

Lands

Sideboard

 

Let’s hear it for Servo tribal!  Master Trinketeer hasn’t seen much play in Standard but, as he proves in this deck, he can do it all.  Not only does he bump up the stats of all Servos and Thopters by +1/+1, but he can also singlehandedly build you your own Servo army.  And having another ‘lord’ that grants +1/+1 to all of your other creatures in the form of Angel of Invention is great.  This deck has a lot of cards that don’t see any Standard play but work well together.  I’d love to see if there’s a way to include a playset of Metallic Mimics in the deck.

Wrap-Up

So, another major tournament has come and gone and there’s still no ‘best deck’ in Standard.  I’m not sure of the reason (whether it’s due to the 5 cards being banned or due to the lack of appreciable data being released by Wizards), but Standard seems to be the healthiest that it’s been in years.  It’s a great time to be playing and hopefully you can find a deck above to try out that’s to your liking.  Which deck is your favorite?  Do you have your own deck that you’d like to share?  Let me know by leaving a comment below, by contacting me on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or by emailing me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.

For the next couple of weeks, GP’s will be Limited for their format, so I’ll be on the lookout for innovative winning decks in other places.  Also, cards from Ixalan have begun to be spoiled, so I might discuss those cards as well.  I’ll see you next week!

Mike Likes

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Mike Likes

Mike started playing Magic back in 1994, but gave it up at the end of 1995. He came back to the game during the Lorwyn block and has been playing ever since. Around this time, he opened and ran his own comic & game store, while also raising his newborn daughter. After 8 years, he sold his business and moved to Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. With the debut of Kaladesh, his entire family became regular Magic players. He now has hopes of competing alongside his wife and daughter at a Grand Prix or similar event in the future. #MTGDad

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