Where is Standard headed after the Pro Tour?
Quo vadis, Standard?
The Pro Tour lies behind us, but as always this was only the first step in the evolution. This weekend we have a Standard Grand Prix both in Montreal and in Santiago coming up, so we get to see where the metagame evolves from here. Remember that the Pro Tour results were skewed by six rounds of Draft, which won't be the case at the GPs. Zombies may have won the Pro Tour, but the two other Zombie decks were annihilated by Marvel in their quarterfinals 0-3 each. Thompson got through his semifinal by beating the easy match-up B/G Energy despite throwing away his removal without killing anything. Meanwhile Yuuya won his mirror match semifinal due to having the better cards for the mirror, which are the worse cards against Zombies. Thompson would have been much less happy to face Müllers deck in the final. A daring keep after mulliganing to six, and a clear misplay in game four later, Yuuya handed Jerry the title.
What else was going on at the Pro Tour though? Is this crazy Sam Black brew going to be the solution?
2 Westvale Abbey
This deck most likely beats Zombies all the time by going even wider - multiplying its token production with Anointed Procession. There is a lot of scrying in the deck to consistently find multiple Processions which turn Gideon activations, embalming cats, and spawning clue tokens into absurd value and mana generators with Cryptolith Rite. Maybe this deck wants to borrow some tech from the other deck using Cryptolith Rite, like Bontu the Glorified?
I am quite confident that Bontu is going to become a big deal at some point in its Standard life, due to being a cheap and hard to deal with threat.
This is probably the deck to play if your local metagame is getting swarmed by Zombies (and you like to puzzle your way to victory with synergistic cards that are crappy on their own). Sadly, I expect Zombies to not stay in contention for long once opposing decks are maxing out their mass removal. Chandra Flamecaller can marvelously hop into play on turn four, and Sweltering Suns and Radiant Flames can set back Zombie boards quite well in the early game.
Sam's deck is basically a combo deck and a creature swarm deck at the same time, so it might find itself in a really bad spot if every sideboard comes prepared with mass removal and disenchant effects for the two top decks.
So maybe we should wait for the right time to come back to that idea. For the first week after the Pro Tour it might make sense to build a deck that is good against Marvel and swarming strategies. Maybe we can start from this Pro Tour list?
4 Thing in the Ice
Sweltering Suns will be an important part of the format for a while and copies have been rising in price accordingly. While there still are some copies below 1 €, the price trend is already at 1,39 by now, which turns the Prerelease Promo cards starting at 1,50 € into a really sweet deal as well.
Gearhulk decks have “failed” at the Pro Tour resulting in a momentary price drop, but control decks always struggle in undefined formats. This card will stay around even after the next rotation and it will spike again at some point in its Standard life. It makes sense to pick up cheap copies while it is down.
Quo vadis, Cardmarket?
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