We are on the other side of the Pro Tour and wow the format ended up in a very exciting spot. Some cards–like Ob Nixilis–went from all the town could talk about to actually unplayable with almost no copies played at the pro tour.
Today we are going over five of the most exciting decks from the Pro Tour and highlighting some of the newest additions from Streets of New Capenna to these decks.
This is the best performing deck from the Pro Tour when it comes to the total-number-of-players-to-finish ratio. This deck looks to be a black-red midrange deck that goes under other decks and uses cheap removal and permission to close the game out quickly.
One of the ways this deck tries to keep up with the grindfest of other decks is Corpse Appraiser and Evelyn, the Covetous. Corpse Appraiser fills a rogue refiner role and serves as another way to generate some material and have a reasonable body on the board. Evelyn plays a similar role but lines up well in the format. Voltage Surge and Vanishing Verse are two of the best removal spells, and she conveniently dodges both.
As time moves on, the format might be able to adapt to this deck’s approach. But for now, it’s a solid choice.
This is the classic midrange style deck that people think of when they think of Standard, with planeswalkers, strong creatures, good answers, and the ability to punish people who stumble. Esper Midrange is the bar every midrange deck either needs to clear or play on a better angle than.
One of the wild things about the Esper deck is simply how many tools it has. The deck can play a wide swath of creatures and spells to attack different expected metas. To really thrive with this deck, you’ll need to stay on top of possible threats and the answers you’ll bring week to week.
One of the threats that will probably always be in your deck is Raffine, Scheming Seer. Raffine is one of the best positioned cards in Standard when it comes to answers. Like Eveyln in the last deck, the ability to dodge removal in a format can make or break a card. Raffine outsizes a lot of damage-based removal very quickly while also having Ward 1. Even efficient answers are going to take longer in the early game with this card. It also outscales the board very quickly, so it’s even hard to block this monster. Figuring out how to best punish Raffine will lead to lots of great innovations in the Standard format.
Gruul 4-Color Aggro
Autumn brought a really exciting deck to this Pro Tour: Gruul Aggro (a secretly four-color deck). Splashing black in the main deck allows for Riveteers Charm to refuel if needed and a wide swath of answers in the sideboard that a normal Gruul deck just couldn’t include.
The other black card in this deck is Ziatora, the Incinerator. This card is not only a repeatable fling effect if the game stalls out, but is also a way to power Professional Face-Breakers. Face-Breaker gives this deck a lot of play in longer games, typically a flaw with treasure-heavy decks as treasures become far less important mid- and late game. Turning your treasure into cards lets you keep the pressure up while not getting out-grinded in the midgame by all the midrange decks in Standard.
This is, for my money, one of the more interesting decks brought to the event. I am curious to see if players are able to evolve this shell in the coming weeks and have a Treasure deck be an awesome player in the format.
This deck didn’t have many pilots in the Pro Tour, but it was still able to put up a great result. This deck aims to play an amalgamation of all the strongest cards in the format and just slam threat after threat to put your opponent on the back foot early on, then never take your foot off the gas.
Sanctuary Warden is just a one-off in this deck, but she goes a long way on slamming the door on the opponent. She is a hard-to-answer body that also lets you turn your extra counters into cards and creatures. That includes her own extra shield counter as well. This is the sort of card your deck really benefits from having one of, but many more than that risks your deck getting too clunky.
Workshop Warchief is another new card in this deck, with a lot of hype and eyes on this new, fair version of Thragtusk. Much like Sanctuary Warden, it’s a card that goes a long way to giving you an angle of attack or stabilization you might not expect at first. While it wasn’t as game warping as Thragtusk, this card helps get your life total and board in check when it comes down.
The other part of this deck that is very appealing is how strong it is with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. You benefit greatly from the treasure and the loot abilities on that card given the lack of natural card advantage when compared to other decks–and Reflection of Kiki-Jiki becomes a must-answer as it has so many different and powerful creatures it could copy. Look no further then the two new cards we highlighted in this deck and you can see how things get out of hand really quickly.
We have somehow reached a point in Standard where we can play an actual storm deck and it’s really good. This deck looks to avoid all the grindfest going on and simply combo off and kill your opponent. Your end game is Lier, Disciple of the Drowned and a Goldspan Dragon in play. From there, you cast all your unexpected windfall variants and generate so much mana and card draw that you move through most of your deck. Then, you cast Show of Confidence to get an absurdly large dragon and win. If you played much of this format back in the fall, this will look like the taking turns deck, and that’s because they are basically cousins. This deck uses a lot of the same tricks and tools to survive to its end game.
This deck–while very exciting and cool–has me worried. If you can refine this deck and get it to a point where its fair plan is as strong as the old builds, we are looking at a format warping deck.
Thats all for this weeks article, which standard deck do you like the most? Reach out on twitter @masoneclark_ and let me know.
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.