A Look at the Top 16 Standard Decks from Cardmarket Series Prague
- Lee Murphy
Cardmarket Series Prague featured a brand new Standard format once again. While Oko was out, the oven was still burning with the fire of invention. The Top 8 was low on green and high on Flash decks, but the rest of the Top 16 included lots of Golgari, some Gruul, and all the Beasts and Knights one could wish for …
2019 has been anything but standard when it comes to Wizards' flagship format. Beset in recent months first by Field of the Dead and then by the ubiquitous Oko, Thief of Crowns, it looked for a while that the format might stagnate to the point of torpor. When you're effectively forced to pre-board for a 3-mana planeswalker, you're unlikely to be having much fun. However, thanks to some timely bannings, Cardmarket Series Prague's Standard main event was a Noko zone and all the better for it.
The Top 8
- 2 Fires of Invention decks, one Jeskai and one Grixis
- 2 Cat decks, one Rakdos and one Abzan
- 3 Izzet Flash decks
- 1 Simic Flash
What's most notable here, the low percentage of green cards aside, is that the three Izzet decks were piloted by three close friends, running the same 75 each. Of course, there can be only one, and Paul Kuhnert ran out the eventual winner.
The Best of the Rest
|9th – Paul Schalow – Golgari Adventures|
Golgari is one of the most fun decks in the format currently. Capable of explosive starts, this 60 has early, mid and late game. This build can flip from aggro to defense in short order and doesn't mind sitting back and soaking up the action, if it can get Garruk or Liliana to ultimate.
|10th – Wojciech Klimczyk – Jeskai Fires|
T3feri is just awesome. He is great. Words fail. This deck doesn't care about being unable to play spells on your opponent's turn under a Fires lock, because said opponent can't counter one's own two spells with the Temporal Titan on the battlefield. This specific build is planeswalker-heavy, looking to sculpt the hand, get those removal spells, and to control the state of play before dropping Fires and some Cavaliers to attack for the win.
|11th – Thorben Sieksmeyer – Jeskai Fires|
Jeskai Fires once again, but here a toolbox that can be tutored up using Fae of Wishes. Five of 15 sideboard cards can only be cast using Fires of Invention, but each of them is ludicrously powerful. Too bad that Planewide Celebration already forms a deadly combination with Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God. Otherwise one might have been tempted to find a slot for Happily Ever After.
|12th – Bernd Brendemuhl – Gruul Aggro|
Gruul Aggro is probably one of the most efficient decks in Standard currently. Bolt the Birds doesn't hold true when your turn-two mana dork can't be burned, allowing for some impressive turn-four plays including the legendary Questing Beast. The deck runs cheap removal in Shock and the versatile Bonecrusher Giant's Adventure mode, Stomp. Combat tricks such as Embercleave and Colossus make blocking math a nightmare, more so when Gruul Spellbreaker is on the offensive.
|13th – Daniel Erhart – Mardu Knights|
Any creature format that has Knight of the Ebon Legion available to it is always likely to want to make the effort. The deck effectively curves out at 3, with Acclaimed Contender hoping to tutor up either Embercleave or Icon of Ancestry to brute force out some extra damage. The low curve also protects against suboptimal opening draws, making mulligan decisions much easier. The sideboard is a smorgasbord of cheap removal, much of which exiles rather than kills—which helps in those Cauldron Familiar and Arclight Phoenix matchups.
|14th – Joschka Ebenhoch – Rakdos Knights|
Joschka's Knight build ditches the white in favor of a more reliable mana supply. Between Stormfist Crusader and Knight of the Ebon Legion's ability to sneak in a single point of damage on attack, Gutterbones rarely stays dead for long. Rotting Regisaur puts The Abyss on the table early, making Castle Locthwain a safer option thereafter. Tournament Grounds is an adequate replacement for the now-rotated Dragonskull Summit. The sideboard can bring in a bevy of cheap spells, for example Dreadhorde Butcher, to tax control decks' ability to handle each threat as it materializes.
|15th – Lukas König – Golgari Adventures|
Lukas's version of Golgari Goodstuff tends more toward board control, running Massacre Girl main along with utility spell Find // Finality. Like the honey badger, Lukas doesn't care if he's forced to clear all his creatures since he can return them further down the line. This deck is more than capable of trading one for one, and even two for one, until sticking Liliana and taking over the table.
|16th – Thomas Keith – Golgari Oven|
Not quite Sir Ian McKellen in Apt Pupil, but this is one of the most frustrating decks to meet on the Arena ladder. Capable of winning without a single successful attack if required, Witch's Oven is easily the MVP in this 60. Trail of Crumbs ensures that your hand is kept full, and with Gilded Goose you can crank out a Wicked Wolf or Vraska on turn four in order to remove some offending permanent on the other side of the board. That Casualties of War is now a format staple speaks volumes to the sort of decks in the meta. What a time to be alive, then dead, then alive again … Meow!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.