1st at SCG Indianapol
is Standard Open on Sep 27th 2014
And so we have the winner from that other SCG Open happening in Indianapolis. As it wasn’t broadcasting live it would seem that some of the hype was lost in the shuffle, especially with the Jeskai Tempo deck causing financial ripples in the secondary market. But this is not a deck to dismiss as it placed 11 similar decks between both top 32, including the second place at this tournament, and Midrange strategies added another 7 to pull just over 28% of the field. This could be the dawning of the Age of Midrange, or just anomalous opening weekend numbers. Regardless you can be sure that this is a deck you’ll need to beat if you want to be victorious of the next few months at least.
Eric J Seltzer @ejseltzer on Twitter Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Another weekend of SCG Standard has passed and sitting at the top of the heap we find a successful jumble of acceleration into monstrous beasts and powerful planeswalkers. What we find there is essentially the GR Monsters shell that’s been prevalent in Standard for quite a while, but dipping into White for additional planeswalkers and some removal options. And judging by the popularity of this archetype in the Theros Block format it looks like it has quite a future ahead.
It is no stranger that the most prevelant duo of Green mana dorks both in Standard and Block is Sylvan Caryatid into Courser of Kruphix. This not only fixes your mana and even effectively draws you additional cards but also gains you vital life points which are so crucial in this aggressive metagame. The downside is that Courser provides your opponent with nearly perfect information which can foil you bluff when playing off the top of your deck. As an additional accelerent there is also Voyaging Satyr which won’t help if you are missing a color but will still allow you to gain extra mana. All of that goes towards powering out some monstrous fatties quickly so you can activate their Monstrosity abilities and close out games quickly. The two we find in the deck are Polukranos, World Eater which also acts as much needed removal in this deck and also the hasty flier Stormbreath Dragon which peeled off the top is often the recipie for certain doom. If those monsters are the meat of the deck we then find the fine wine pairing in the foursome of planeswalker to accompany them. The main player is party animal himself Xenagos, the Reveler who not only brings his satyr buddies with him but also helps acheive Monstrosity fast with his ramping ability. Next to join the party is Ajani, Mentor of Heroes who has a dual purpose between pumping up your creatures and digging into your deck to find more threats, but also when protected can threaten its ultimate to bolster a diminishing life total. There is also a major contribution from Elspeth, Sun’s Champion with her legion of soldiers following her, but be wary of her second ability as your bombs tend to be destroyed as well as the opponents. And why not a misers Chandra, Pyromaster as well to add a little card advantage to the deck and her first ability helps slip your big boys past their chump blockers handily. The rest of the deck is rounded out by some varied pieces of removal. There is Keening Apparition which is able to destroy any enchantment the opponent presents to the board such as Chained to the Rocks or even Underworld Connections. As a great sweeper Mizzium Mortars is able to be overloaded to deal four damage to all the opponents creatures and cast aside any would be blockers for your giant monsters. Then the last piece of the puzzle comes with the flexible Selesnya Charm that can either pump and grant Trample to a creature to rampage for a win, exile a creature that has power greater then five, or even add another threat to the board with a vigilant knight token.
So here we find that the GR Monsters deck which has already been a force in Standard continues to have room to grow and adapt as it proves it is a major player in Standard. What really interests me with this list is that the core of the deck is all from Theros Block and will undoubtedly continue to be a force into the next rotation of Standard. If you are looking for a deck to invest in as a long term prospect then this is undoubtedly the one.
Owen Turtenwald takes down the first standard tourney of the year with what is becoming his stock Mono-Black Devotion. What an excellent way for him to start off 2014 after having such an incredible run last year! Owen won two GPs back 2 back in completely different formats last November, one of them here using a solid Mono-Black Devotion build. There were also two winners at the SCG LA in December here, one from the Standard Open and the other the Invitational mixed Legacy with Standard. When we compare Owen’s list with the last three we showcased, we see it’s mostly streamlining the list to fight the metagame. He removed Erebos, God of the Dead from the main and opted for 3 in the sideboard, which is strong card advantage against control decks and stops life gain from Sphinx’s revelation. Adding more Pharika’s Cure against aggro decks like White Weenie and RDW to both remove and heal back a few life points, and finally a full set of Devour Flesh which is supremely useful against Blood Baron of Vizkopa. Mono Black Devotion shows that it is still one of the biggest contenders in the current Standard meta. I can’t wait to see how it holds up and gets further tweaked once Born of the Gods is released.