So last weekend was Pro Tour Amonkhet and it was a very interesting one to watch. It was filled with new players like Zombies, New Perspectives and an old favorite of mine Marvel coming back after the departure of everyone’s favorite Kitty Cat Combo using Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai.
So with this new format free of T4 Instant kills, this opened new doors of the format. New decks flourished because of this oppressive combo being removed and I was testing mardu vehicles since I like that deck a lot at the moment:
Mardu Vehicles: Brandon Balfour
1 Needle Spire
1 Shambling Vent
1 Fatal Push
2 Nahiri, the Harbinger
2 Release the Gremlins
1 Sorin, Grim Nemesis
1 Cut // Ribbons
2 Archangel Avacyn
2 Transgress the Mind
1 Declaration in Stone
Now this version of Mardu was very low to the ground with the game plan of going under the Marvel and U/R Control decks game 1. Post board games, it still had the plan of Planeswalkers and sweepers for when needed and discard and wraths for each required match, but there was a few problems with this version of the deck:
The First Issue
So this deck had the incredibly aggressive draws of the last iteration of Mardu i played except I wasn’t playing man lands in the main deck and have less Walking Ballistas. This meant that when flooding with this deck, it was much more of an issue and came up a lot more often.
The Second Issue
Another problem with this version is that you needed all 3 colors on T3 so you could cast your spells. It doesn’t sound hard but when your playing Aether Hubs and Spire of Industrys, you have a bunch of colorless sources late in the game as you don’t wanna play a bunch of tapped lands for extra colors.
The Final Issue
The last problem I felt with this deck was that you just didn’t feel very favored in anything apart from the control matchup. So i just put the deck on the back burner and started learning how to play something new.
(Side note: I didn’t try a version of this deck with Spirebluff Canal, Cultivators Caravan and counter magic out of the board because I wasn’t sure if that would be good at the moment but from reading other articles and just experiences from the format itself, I believe this is the version of the deck you should be playing going forward).
The Next Chapter
So after finding out that my favorite deck in standard was a bit sub par and wasn’t showing any improvements, I picked up a stock Temur Marvel list and played it a bunch on the Friday night with teammate Kevin Pass and other patrons from our shop that are trying to become better at the game. We were watching PT Amonkhet and I saw the conversion rate of Flamecaller Marvel, so I started looking for cards and building the deck. The list I built was Incredibly close to what Martin Muller Top 8’d the Pro Tour with.
Flamecaller Marvel: Brandon Balfour
Now this was the last list I played and it was incredible close to the list that Muller played at the Pro Tour himself so I had done my testing and planning with the deck and now it was time to go to an event.
So Myself, Kevin Pass, Tom Keran, Frazer Sandersin and Luke Greenslade drove to a pptq down in Newcastle. During the 2 and a half hour journey, we were chatting about what we expected to see at the event and we all thought it would be various Marvel decks, Mardu and Zombies list.
We got to the event a little before it starts and get time to grab a bit of breakfast and some coffee and we all were able to wake up and ready for Round one.
I played against one of the 4 people I knew in the event that didn’t come with, Dan Rose. He was playing B/g Delirium and I felt this was gonna be a very easy matchup for myself and It was a very quick match which finished in my favor and I got my first win. Round 2 was against another player we knew, Holt Hausner. He was on a deck that he had built himself and the one and only Craig Wescoe played at the Pro Tour (W/r Humans). This was by no stretch an easy match up as he he hit the ground fast. I had to hope to draw my removal spells and wraths and never miss a beat when activating Aetherworks Marvel. In the end, I was triumphant over Holt. Round 3 was the mirror, which was very strange. At no point in the 2 games did I see a Marvel and I just had to work of the back of some medium creatures G1. In game 2, I had to hope he misses off his Marvel at least 4 times to have a chance and then hard cast my own Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger . I got to attack with him, exiling all my opponent’s Ulamog. So that was lucky, bringing me to 3-0 now. Out of all my matches that was the fifth time I had hard cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.
I got a double ID into this playing against another 2 people I had traveled down with. Top 8 was something to behold. Out of the 8 Scottish players at this 28 man event, 5 out of the 8 people in top 8 were Scottish and 3 of them being in the car I drove down in.
I had a rematch against Holt and this was a match up I was worried about as he was fast and had a lot of power. I got to be on the play though, which was a big reason. After keeping some removal heavy hands and having some lucky draws, marvel hits and I finished the match 2-1 in my favor.
This was against fellow writer and teammate Kevin Pass. He was on Zombies and he was on the play, so I was not feeling super strong about this match up. Kevin hits hard and quick and I lose game 1 fast. During the sideboard games, I had my sweepers and Magma Spray to interact well with him. I even up the match at 1-1. In Game 3, I keep a hand of a few lands, a 6 mana Chandra, Rogue Refiner and 2 puzzleknots. This hand isn’t the strongest to keep, but it did have the strongest card in the match up. I got to cast and remove the massive board state that Kevin had built up, winning me the match and putting me into the Finals.
This was against Nathanial, one of the Edinburgh players and teammate to Holt Hausner. He was on the play with Mardu, another tough one for me to deal with but it was not easy. In game 1, the game went incredibly fast as I couldn’t beat the draw of Toolcraft Exemplar and Heart of Kiran. I got to bring in my stronger sideboard cards and trim on my bad main deck cards to get there. I won and queue again for another RPTQ.
Thank you all for reading and like always I love the feed back.