Raise Your Standards – Four Words About Standard

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Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  This week we’re going to take a look at some of the decks from the top 32 at Grand Prix Utrecht this past weekend.

First of all, let’s take a look at the winning deck.  It’s a new spin on the Mardu colors, removing some of the vehicles and pilots and replacing them with cards that are just generally good, like Walking Ballista.

 

Mardu Ballista – by Samuel Vuillot – 1st Place Grand Prix Utrecht 2017

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This deck looks to hit hard and fast.  I love the full playsets of both Fatal Push and Unlicensed Disintegration.  Both are efficient means of removing any creature your opponent plays.  There’s also Ob Nixilis Reignited and Nahiri, the Harbinger in the sideboard for those matches when 8 creature removal spells just arent enough (not to mention the Oaths which are also additional creature removal).  If I could only use one word to describe this deck it would be ‘Efficient‘.

So, that’s the winning deck of this tournament.  What other types of decks performed well, you might ask?  Here’s a breakdown of the top 32 decks.

10 – Mardu Vehicles
9  – B/G Constrictor
3  – Mardu Ballista
3  – Temur Dynavolt Tower
2  – Four Color Saheeli
2  – U/R Emerge
1  – W/B Control
1  – Jeskai Saheeli
1  – Sultai Control

It’s really no surprise that Mardu Vehicles and B/G Constrictor decks made up the bulk of the top 32 decks.  I was a little surprised that only 3 copies of Saheeli Rai / Felidar Guardian decks made it, as the deck is super good and quick when the combo hits.  However, it’s a very well known deck with an exploitable weakness (stopping the combo), so perhaps it’s time to put that deck away for a few weeks.  Once all of the hate has died down, I’m sure it will pop up again to take down a tournament.

In my article last week, I wrote about a U/R Dynavolt Tower deck.  I felt that it had what it takes to do well in the current tournament environment.  It’s nice to see that 3 copies of Tower decks made it to the top 32.  These decks are of the Temur variety, though.  The addition of Green allows Rogue Refiner to be played, which both increases your energy production as well as allowing you to draw a card.  And, since Green has access to cards like Attune with Aether, it’s not too much of a strain on your mana base going into three colors.

I also wrote last week about a B/W Midrange deck.  It was a deck with a lot of creature removal in it.  Here, we have a W/B Control deck.  Let’s take a look at it.

 

White-Black Control – by Bernardo Santos – 22nd place at Grand Prix Utrecht 2017

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Gifted Aetherborn has become one of my favorite cards from Aether Revolt.  And the usefulness of Anguished Unmaking cannot be overstated here.  Being able to exile any non-land permanent is so powerful.  I don’t know how many times I’ve played an opponent who has played a creature I can’t quite deal with.  Anguished Unmaking solves that problem.  Or my opponent has a vehicle on the battlefield that I can’t handle because all of my creature removal are Sorceries.  Anguished Unmaking solves that problem as well.  Or my opponent has a Dynavolt Tower (or three) in play…  You get the point.  Anguished Unmaking is amazing.  If I could only use one word to describe this deck it would be ‘Versatile‘.

Next, I’d like to take a look at one of the U/R Emerge decks.

 

Blue-Red Emerge – by Wouter Noordzij – 26th at Grand Prix Utrecht 2017

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Talk about a resilient deck, this deck attempts to take advantage of the lack of graveyard hate currently in Standard.  It uses cards like Tormenting Voice to draw cards while discarding cards that have Madness (and playing them as a result) or creatures that you can return from your graveyard.  It also plays Fevered Visions which helps you draw additional cards so you get to your Elder Deep-Fiends faster and can potentially deal a few points of damage to your opponent.  If I could only use one word to describe this deck it would be ‘Resilient‘.

The last deck I’d like to take a look at is the Sultai Control deck.  Here it is.

 

Sultai Control – by Luis Gobern – 32nd at Grand Prix Utrecht 2017

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What would happen if a typical G/B Delirium deck were to splash Blue for Torrential Gearhulk?  I guess we know, now.  The only other blue card is in the sideboard and it’s Negate.  All-in-all, this is a solid deck and it’s another one that loves that there is no graveyard hate in Standard right now.  Hopefully that will change once we travel to Amonkhet.  If I could only use one word to describe this deck it would be ‘Splashy‘.

So, there you have it.  The four words I would use to describe the innovative decks at GP Utrecht are Efficient, Versatile, Resilient, and Splashy.

This Standard format has shaped up to be pretty enjoyable.  While you have your definite Tier 1 decks, there’s a lot of Tier 1.5 decks poised to do well.  The Kaladesh block brought a lot of interesting cards to brew new decks with.

That’s it for this week’s episode of Raise Your Standards.  Do you have a favorite deck that’s on the cusp of being Tier 1?  If so, let me know in the comments section below.

Even though there’s a lot of focus right now on Modern, there’s always Standard events happening.  Be sure to join me again next week when we take a look at some of the most innovative decks in Standard.  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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