Top 3 Standard Decks I've Played at Pro Tours
Standard has been pretty dull lately, turbo fog and paradoxical outcome aside. Christian has decided that instead of rehashing the same old broken standard decks sporting a certain whirling goblin, he'd look back at his favorite decks through the ages in this look back at Standard years past.
Originally, I wanted to write about new Standard decks which Pro Players played at the 25th anniversary Pro Tour, but after I noticed that there are again 3 versions of R/B in the top 4, I changed my mind. It seems like we have to wait for Guilds of Ravnica before Standard becomes exciting again. Then, I took some solace in nostalgia. I thought about old Standard formats, especially about the ones where I played at Pro Tours. I have great memories about some decks I played at the Pro Tour and wanted to share my thoughts. Take a ride with my back to the time, when standard was a healthy, great format without the need to ban cards!
|3Forest||4Courser of Kruphix||4Whip of Erebos|
|1Island||3Elvish Mystic||2Hero's Downfall|
|4Llanowar Wastes||4Hornet Queen||4Murderous Cut|
|4Opulent Palace||1Sagu Mauler||1Silence the Believers|
|3Polluted Delta||4Satyr Wayfinder|
|3Swamp||4Sidisi, Brood Tyrant|
|4Temple of Malady||1Soul of Innistrad|
|1Wooded Foothills||4Sylvan Caryatid|
|2Disdainful Stroke||3Drown in Sorrow||1Empty the Pits|
|1Necropolis Fiend||2Negate||1Sagu Mauler|
|1Soul of Innistrad||1Sultai Charm||3Thoughtseize|
I am still sad that none our teammates made Top 8 with this great deck. The Standard format back in 2014 was completely new because of rotation and the release of Khans of Tarkir. Jeskai and Abzan were the major decks at this time and people mostly ignored the other shards. Our team tested a decklist which was favored against most decks in the metagame, especially against Abzan, which was the most played deck at the Pro Tour.
Sidisi Whip was a Midrange Deck, which could go over the Top with Whip of Erebos and/or Hornet Queen and, therefore, could beat any other Midrange deck easily if you reached the a later stage of a game. Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix helped you at ramping and made sure you survive the early game. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant and Satyr Wayfinder filled your graveyard for Whip of Erebos and Murderous Cut. While Sidisi Whip caught some attention at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir, people mostly talked about the strength of Abzan and Siege Rhino. I had a 6-4 standard record after losing the last 2 rounds, which was a bit of disappointing because the deck had much more potential. Two weeks after the Pro Tour I top8ed at GP Stockholm with Sidisi Whip by beating multiple Abzan decks. Eventually other Pros tuned the deck and Sidisi Whip became the best deck in Standard and won Worlds.
|1Disdainful Stroke||1Drown in Sorrow||4Feed the Clan|
|2Negate||1Orbs of Warding||1Self-Inflicted Wound|
|3Tasigur, the Golden Fang||2Unravel the Æther|
In 2015 at Pro Tour Origin, I was playing with team EUREKA. We came up with many deck ideas and realized fast that Jace, Vryn's Prodigy / Jace, Telepath Unbound was a busted card. The only question was: Do we want to play Jace or beat it? In our Sultai Control version, Jace was a beast. You could protect Jace with a turn one Thoughtseize, could flip it quickly with Satyr Wayfinder, and the looting gave you synergy with Dig Through Time and Deathmist Raptor.
Even though the deck was not super strong against other decks in the field, it had a least 50% or better matchups against most decks. It felt like every deck is beatable if you played well. Unfortunately there was one deck which was not beatable: Mono Red. Early pressure creatures with removal spells like Searing Blood crushed the deck and therefore we decided to play Mono red instead of Sultai. A few weeks after the Pro Tour I still liked our Sultai Deck very much and played it at GP Prague, where I lost the last round for Top 8. The deck was a blast to play and I even could beat Mono red with Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Feed the Clan postboard, because gaining 10 life was no joke. I remember that my opponent round 4 called a Judge because he saw main deck Self-Inflicted Wound and Disdainful Stroke (he thought I forgot to sideboard back). The one copy of Self-Inflicted Wound did a decent job in a field where nearly every second deck was Abzan and it was good against some other decks too.
|26Lands||12Other Permanents||22Instants and Sorceries|
|4Drownyard Temple||4Pyromancer's Goggles||2Fall of the Titans|
|4Foundry of the Consuls||4Vessel of Volatility||2Fiery Impulse|
|14Mountain||4Chandra, Flamecaller||4Fiery Temper|
|4Shivan Reef||2Kozilek's Return|
|4Eldrazi Obligator||4Reality Smasher||3Rending Volley|
2016 at Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad, Bant Company was by far the most played deck, which was no surprise. The deck was just very good and not easy to beat. This is the first Pro Tour where I tested completely alone on MTGO because I didn't have the time to join a team. Before the Pro Tour, some blue-red versions of Goggles had decent success and I liked the mythic artifact a lot. I noticed pretty fast that playing blue was unnecessary because the red cards were just better and, this way, you could play more utility lands which also helps you to cast Eldrazi postboard. Pyromancer's Goggles and Chandra, Flamecaller were both very strong cards against Collected Company decks, which was the reason I played a playset of both. The gameplan was just to survive with early removal spells until you cleared the board with Chandra and/or took the game over with Goggles. The last Inclusion in the deck was Vessel of Volatility (nobody thought that card is playable). In this deck, it was actually pretty good. With Vessel you could ramp into a turn 3 Goggles or turn 4 Chandra, you could discard it with Tormenting Voice later in the game or you could use it for a big Fall of the Titans.
Another thing I liked about the deck was the sideboard plan. There were some decks where your gameplan did not line up properly like Jund or Control, because your removal spells were not particularly good, and they had enough answers for Chandra and Goggles. The sideboard plan was to bring in 12 Eldrazi and pressure them as fast as possible. People were very surprised by this strategy because they took out all their removal spells after they noticed zero creatures in game 1. With Vessel you could even play a turn 3 Reality Smasher! Overall I finished 6-3 at the Pro Tour and scooped the last round to a friend who needed Pro Points. I beat four Company decks, Jund, and Humans and lost three close matches (where I might have won if I had played better) against G/W, Bant Company, and B/G.
I am very excited for Guilds of Ravnica and I am sure we will see a completely new, great standard format. Soon, it will be spoiler season and I cannot wait to brew with the new cards and share my thoughts! Hope you enjoyed the nostalgia and feel free to comment with your favorite standard decks of years past.
Thanks for reading
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