With Felidar Guardian out of the picture, all eyes were on Pro Tour Amonkhet to see what might be next for Standard. If you’re looking to dive back into Standard at Amonkhet Game Day or your next Friday Night Magic, here are some cards and strategies you should keep in mind.
The Pro Tour is a split-format event, and the card that made the greatest impact in Standard AND Booster Draft was undoubtedly the GG-bringer. The mighty dragon was a standout in champion Gerry Thompson’s Day 2 Draft deck, and it even made minor waves in the Standard portion of the event.
We may have moved on to Amonkhet, but the powerful energy of Kaladesh was still flowing through Nashville. Whether they were going big with Aetherworks Marvel or staying low to the ground with Longtusk Cubs and Glint-Sleeve Siphoners, players leaned on Attune with Aether to provide two resources for just one mana.
Speaking of mana-efficient spells, Modern favorite Fatal Push also saw plenty of play this weekend. Fatal Push was especially potent in Ken Yukuhiro’s B/G Energy deck, which could easily trigger revolt with Greenbelt Rampager and Walking Ballista, but it also found homes in Mono-Black Zombies and Sultai Marvel.
Torrential Gearhulk seemed well-positioned coming into the weekend, and the giant robot made several appearances in the feature match area. Yuuya Watanabe and Eric Froehlich each ran one copy in their Temur Marvel decks to provide some occasional extra value, but the best Gearhulk deck of the weekend was likely Peter Vieren’s U/R Control deck, which earned the Belgian player an 8-2 record in the Standard portion of the event.
Aetherworks Marvel decks were among the most dominant of the weekend, with four copies in the Top 8 and several more not far behind. The Temur Marvel deck rose to the forefront at Grand Prix Denver in late 2016, and while the deck didn’t win the tournament outright, it proved that it could hang with the “Big Two” decks of the format at the time. Pro Tour Amonkhet played out similarly: though Gerry Thompson dispatched two Marvel players on Sunday, the deck’s resurgence in popularity was one of the major stories of the tournament, and it should shape the Standard metagame in the weeks to come.
Of course, spinning the Marvel wheel is often fruitless if you can’t find a copy of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. The Eldrazi titan decimated many battlefields this weekend, proving himself a worthy successor to previous Marvel target Emrakul, the Promised End.
The Mono-Black Zombies deck proved an effective foil to Marvel because it could go wide enough to survive even the most brutal Ulamog encounters. Diregraf Colossus was a major piece of the puzzle, flooding the board with tokens as players cast one cheap zombie after another. Gerry Thompson ended Game 4 of the finals with two impressive 7/7 Colossuses, but more importantly, he’d amassed such a board state that no one card could get Yuuya Watanabe back in the game.
Diregraf Colossus helped Thompson close out that crucial Game 4, but the deciding moment in the game came when Watanabe declined to kill a Cryptbreaker. Cryptbreaker’s dual abilities – draw cards and make zombie tokens – helped Thompson keep the pressure on and avoid running out of gas. By the end of the weekend, the one-mana utility creature was earning comparisons to Deathrite Shaman – high praise for a creature making its Pro Tour Top 8 debut.