Raise Your Standards – Driving Towards Victory

raise-your-standards

Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  Last weekend 425 professional Magic players gathered in Dublin, Ireland to battle it out at Pro Tour Aether Revolt. In the end, Lucas Esper Berthoud walked away the victor with his Mardu Vehicles deck.  Let’s take a look at his deck.

 

Mardu Vehicles – (by Lucas Esper Berthoud)

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Mardu Vehicles was a huge part of the metagame at the Pro Tour, largely in part due to it’s speed, which can quickly finish off a combo or control deck.  It looks to be a great deck that will be around for quite a while.  But enough articles have already been written about Mardu Vehicles.  This week, I’d like to take a look at some of the decks that still had good records but failed to crack into the top 8.

Let’s start with a deck that went 8-2 and earned 24 points.

 

Sultai Delirium Control – (by Jun Ishihara)

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I think this deck looks like it could battle well against the Mardu Vehicles deck if it doesn’t get overrun in the first few turns.  It has ways to deal with Heart of Kiran by combining Ishkanah, Grafwidow with Liliana, the Last Hope or by using any of its instant speed removal cards.

Another fun looking deck that went 8-2 and earned 24 points was Green-White Tokens by Pascal Maynard.

 

Green-White Tokens – (by Pascal Maynard)

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This deck is a nice throwback to sometime around a year ago when Green-White Tokens was the dominant deck in Standard.  I was playing that deck at the time, and I think this deck could benefit from some way to draw cards, but it still looks pretty solid.  I love the 2 copies of Quarantine Field in the sideboard to help deal with planeswalker heavy decks or decks running troublesome enchantments.

The last deck that I’d like to go over also went 8-2 and had 24 points.  It’s by Sebastian Pozzo and is called Black-Red Aggro.

 

Black-Red Aggro – (by Sebastian Pozzo)

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I love the two copies of Implement of Combustion in this deck.  It’s a great card to have in play if you want insurance against the Saheeli Rai / Felidar Guardian combo that doesn’t require you to hold back any cards in your hand.  The deck is also able to utilize the returning-from-the-graveyard power of Scrapheap Scrounger easily which allows you to attack aggressively each turn without concern of your opponent blocking.

So, there you have a few examples of decks that could do well this coming weekend at Aether Revolt Game Day.  For those of you that get to participate in Game Day, let me know what deck you decide to play by leaving a comment below.

Before I wrap up for this week, I’d like to take a look at some of the predictions I made last week regarding the Pro Tour.  Here’s a snippet from last week’s article:

At Pro Tour Aether Revolt, I predict that the winning deck will be some form of Black/Green deck, and while I’d love it to be of the Aggro style, I have a feeling it will be closer to the Delirium build that we’ve seen these past two weeks at the SCG events.

Okay, so I was wrong about the winning deck.  B/G decks were prevalent at the PT, but one of them couldn’t manage to win the day.

I believe that Walking Ballista will cement it’s place as one of the fundamental cards in this new Standard format.

Well, while Walking Ballista is still a great card and is played in a ton of decks, the breakout star of the PT was definitely Heart of Kiran.

I also think that the Copycat / Crazy Cat Lady decks that everyone was so worried about before the new set released will be played by some, but that the pro’s will have found answers that will help neutralize the lethal combination of Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian.  That being said, I predict there will still be at least 1 or 2 copies of the Saheeli Combo deck that reach the top 8, but I don’t think it will make it past 4th place.

So, while there were a ton of Saheeli decks played, I was right that the pro’s did find answers to disrupt the combo.  But while the deck was heavily played, I was wrong about it breaking into the top 8.

I’m also hopeful that new archetypes are discovered by the pro’s.  I have a feeling that there’s a sweet White/Black deck out there just waiting to be discovered.  I have a feeling that we’ll see some sort of Emerge deck in the top 8 as well, and maybe a G/W Token deck.  Sadly, even though we got some sweet new vehicles in Aether Revolt, I don’t think we’ll see any dedicated vehicle decks crack the top 8.  I’m also doubtful that we’ll see any control decks , but that might just be my personal bias coming through since I do think there’s plenty of good cards available for a control shell.

So with 6 Mardu Vehicles decks and 1 copy each of Jund Energy Aggro and Black-Green Delirium, it looks like I was wrong about a White/Black deck being discovered.  I think one is still out there, but it didn’t make an appearance at the PT.  Also there were no copies of G/W Tokens or any Emerge decks.  I was also wrong about there not being any dedicated vehicles decks in the top 8.  The one bright spot for me is that there were no control decks.

Apparently my predictions for Pro Tour Aether Revolt weren’t very close, but it’s still fun trying to predict the future.  We’ll see how close I come in a few months when I make my Pro Tour Amonkhet predictions.

And with that, I’ll wrap up my article for this week.  Good luck to all of you playing at Game Day this weekend.  Join me next week when we take another look at the state of Standard and look at some innovative decks.  I’ll see you then.

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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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