It’s that time again, Nationals!
Along with all of the hustle and bustle of tournament Magic, Nationals is held high in some players’ hearts. This tournament means more to some, as being able to play for their respective country in the World Magic Cup is a great honor, and is one accomplishment I hope to one day have under my belt. This is a special tournament and it allows all of us to see who will be representing us in the WMC, a very exciting tournament for sure. We’re seeing Standard do some more evolving, with new decks rising above the others, Standard seems to be just fine.
Now, to the MVP of this tournament, U/B Midrange.
1st Place at U.S. Nationals on 6/30/2018
1 Liliana, Death’s Majesty
Not a new deck by any means, but here is a prime example of the cyclical nature of Standard. Red based aggro decks have been getting a lot of hate recently, and thus not as many Goblin Chainwhirlers are being registered. This change in the meta makes for a ripe time to be sleeving up your Glint-Sleeve Siphoners and such.
Not a fast beatdown deck, but one with an adaptive style gameplan that can easily disrupt both the aggro decks, and the control decks alike. We see this ability to adapt in a combination of early game interaction along with the late game draw engines. Supreme Will especially shines here, as both a disruptive card and a way to dig through your deck.
Arguel’s Blood Fast may seem a bit out of place in the mainboard, but it’s flip side can greatly turn the tides against the aggressive decks, and paired with The Scarab God, can be a great last ditch effort to gain a lot of life and help stabilize for more bombs in later turns.
The Midrange Strategy
As we all know, Midrange decks are designed to keep the pressure on in the early game, and get to a point where they can effectively take over the board once the aggro decks are out of gas. Also, they have the means to disrupt the control decks while pacing out their threats, making for a boardstate that the control player can’t deal with in a reasonable manner.
The Scarab God is back. There was as time not too long ago where The Scarab God was placed on the bench. U/W Control made playing this card a bit too risky, but now that Esper Control has taken the forefront when it comes to the control deck of choice, it seems a bit more safe to have this kind of game-ender in your deck.
While not the best card against the control strategies, The Scarab God is a house against the aggro decks, and when paired with all of the early game interaction, it’s super viable to have this card as your win condition.
The Card Draw
Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Arguel’s Blood Fast make it possible for U/B Midrange to keep up with the control decks. Having a constant outlet of card draw is essential when your control opponent is constantly seeing more cards. These two can make the control player’s cards that much more inefficient, as they have to be answered quickly, opening the door for your creatures to make it onto the battlefield and provide another presence that must be dealt with.
Blood Fast’s flip side can also provide the necessary lifegain against the aggro decks, if finding yourself behind, Blood Fast’s flip side can help stabilize, while also putting creatures into the graveyard for The Scarab God. While not ideal, flipping this card can be crucial.
Champion of Wits is also a great way to see more cards, drawing two and discarding those unneeded lands can greatly enhance your hand quality. And you don’t really mind chump blocking with it since the Externalize ability just gets you more cards down the road. It is also a great two for one with The Scarab God.
Removal and Disruption
This deck is packed full of mana-efficient and interactive spells, and ways to disrupt many early gameplans. Fatal Push needs no introduction, a staple in Standard and the best way to deal with early threats. Cast Down, while new to the fold, has proven itself to be a great “conditional” removal spell, it can take down most of the format, especially in the early game. Essence Scatter is a mainstay in Standard, providing a great tempo swing early, as well as in the late game.
Early on in the format, Vraska’s Contempt was being pushed aside for more white based removal spells. But now it seems that this is the big hitter of choice. Not only does it exile, but it can add a slight cushion to your life total, which can mean the difference between scooping up your cards, or continuing the game. This card can turn the tides into your favor, and has a great combo with Torrential Gearhulk.
The Rest of the Deck
The sideboard is fantastic as well. I really admire the three Gifted Aetherborn, adding another aspect that your opponent has to be ready for. A sideboard like this really allows the pilot to switch gears very easily, going from midrange to control, or even adding more creatures to thin out the opponent’s removal. This sideboard seems to have all the avenues covered. A third Blood Fast, three Duress, some Negate, and even a Glimmer of Genius to really get an edge on the control players. Throwing in some creatures and a couple more removal spells and you can really add that extra punch against the aggro decks as well. This deck has it all, and I can’t wait to get more reps in with it on MTGO.
Standard is anything but stale right now. I know some may of thought that Goblin Chainwhirler was going to take over and give us another stagnant format. But as of right now, this doesn’t seem to be the case. As I said above, this resurgence of U/B Midrange shows us how the format works in a cycle. Once one deck becomes too good, more decks are tuned to combat that, and consequentially others decks rise to prominence. This is how a format should work, and I have no doubts in my mind that we’ll continue to see this happen over the course of the next several months until rotation.
I wanna give a huge shoutout to all of you who support us at MTG DeckTechs, we’re continuing to reach our goals, and it’s all because you guys like the content that we’re putting out. Please, keep it up. Feedback is very welcome as well, help us create the best content that we can.
Congrats to all of those who did well at the U.S. Nationals this past weekend, I can’t wait for the WMC.
Again, thanks to all of you who take the time to read my articles. Please, reach out if you have any questions or criticisms, they’re all very much appreciated.
Until next week, this has been your Metagame insight!
– Logan Simmons
While not playing Magic as long as others, Logan strives to be the best he can be. With a preference towards constructed formats, he prides himself in his ability to constantly evaluate and adapt his choices to everchaning metagames. You can find him frequently at Grand Prix and SCG Events alike.