Happy New Year! Welcome back to Weekend Magic coverage here at Brainstorm Brewery. Plenty of Magic action happened last weekend with Star City Games Columbus, Grand Prix Denver, and Grand Prix Manila. Let’s get right down to business and check out the results.
Grand Prix Denver (CO, USA)
Format – Standard
Until Fate Reforged becomes legal in Standard, we only have the same type of decks to look at until the new set makes its impact. The issue now is whether the Standard decks that exist currently will maintain their dominance, or will new archetypes emerge that make use of recently spoiled cards from the new set?
The first-place deck at GP Colorado, U/B Control piloted by Andrew Brown, certainly has one card that could be added to it: Silumgar, the Drifting Death.
This card has many players excited about its Standard applications since it is great against token strategies in addition to having Hexproof, making it harder to kill than most things. I don’t think you can go wrong picking these up for $0.25 or less. Dragons are a very popular creature type amongst the Magic crowd and the dragons from Fate Reforged will also follow this trend, ensuring that you could still out them later if it doesn’t pan out initially.
Cards of note from Brown’s deck included Pearl Lake Ancient, Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver (four across the maindeck and sideboard), Perilous Vault, and Dig Through Time. All of these cards should be watched moving into the future.
Second place was taken by Matt Sperling piloting Abzan Aggro, a deck that we’re intimately familiar with at this point. Again, however, Fate Reforged has given it another possible tool in Warden of the First Tree.
An Abzan Figure of Destiny? Close, but it is slightly different in several ways, and any one of those differences could exclude it from Standard play. There are so many other options that already exist for the Abzan decks, but Warden’s abilities are certainly powerful and it only costs one mana to cast—this is good for instances where you need to play a Temple on turn one or two. I’ll be keeping an eye on this guy moving forward.
Grand Prix Manila (Manila, PH)
Format – Standard
First place here went to Joseph Sclavzero playing Mardu Midrange. Notables from his deck include Butcher of the Horde, Crackling Doom, and Chained to the Rocks. Anger of the Gods out of the sideboard is also notable.
Which cards spoiled so far might be well-positioned in a deck like this? None spoiled so far really stand out to me except Monastery Mentor, which would primarily shine in Jeskai token strategies but could also have a place in Mardu decks.
Mentor could take the place of Seeker of the Way in the Mardu and Jeskai decks, since lifelink can be granted to Butcher of the Horde and given by Sorin, Solemn Visitor currently as well. There is no doubt that this card is much strong than Seeker of the Way, and given enough time, like [card]Goblin Rabblemaster[/card, can eventually take over a game with all of the prowess that will be going towards the tokens and Mentor.
But does strength outclass efficiency? Three mana versus two mana is a huge difference. Whether the card explodes in price or drops significantly, Monastery Mentor is definitely a card to watch out for in the new Standard.
Second place went to Abzan Midrange, which also took three other spots in the Top 8 and four other spots in the Top 16. The story of the tournament was told by the strength of Abzan Midrange, but Makihito Mihara’s third-place Devotion to Constellation build contained four See the Unwritten, a card that could break out in Standard if given the right tools.
SCG Columbus – Standard (OH, USA)
|1st||W/U Heroic||Joe Lossett||9th||U/W Heroic||Adam Johnson|
|2nd||R/W Aggro||Matt Anderson||10th||Abzan Aggro||Dylan Jones|
|3rd||Jeskai Tokens||Bruce Edelman||11th||U/B Control||Jerry Gillman|
|4th||U/W Control||Jim Davis||12th||R/G Monsters||Christopher O’Bryant|
|5th||Abzan Reanimator||Rudy Briksza||13th||4-color Soul||Adrian Throop|
|6th||Four-Color Delve||Chris Andersen||14th||Abzan Reanimator||Andrew Sparger|
|7th||W/U Heroic||Steve Mann||15th||Jeskai Tokens||Jadine Klomparens|
|8th||W/U Heroic||Logan Mize||16th||W/U Heroic||Kyle Rocco|
If the story of Manila was Abzan Midrange, then the story of Columbus was U/W Heroic. The deck put five people into the Top 16 and took down the event.
Two interesting decks were Four-Color Delve and Four-Color Soul. Soul of Theros appeared as a playset in both decks, so I will be watching this card very closely over the coming weeks for any sign of a price increase.
No other important trends were seen in Columbus that we haven’t seen already. Let’s get to Fate Reforged already for a shakeup!
SCG Premier IQ – Modern (OH, USA)
|1st||U/R Delver||David Nolan||9th||Abzan Midrange||Ben Weiner|
|2nd||Amulet Combo||Stephen Speck||10th||Blue Moon||Alex Zurawski|
|3rd||Necrotic Ooze Combo||Garett Young||11th||Storm||Caleb Scherer|
|4th||Jeskai Delver||Ryan Forsberg||12th||Jeskai Burn||Jonathon Custer|
|5th||Affinity||Jaime Jarvis||13th||U/R Delver||Carter Newman|
|6th||Tribal Zoo||Matt Ayers||14th||Abzan Midrange||Michael Farrell|
|7th||U/R Delver||Elliot Mork||15th||Abzan Midrange||James Grendell|
|8th||Storm||Stu Somers||16th||Affinity||Corey Filburn|
Modern, on the other hand, is as diverse as ever. A new deck to appear in a Top 8 spot is Necrotic Ooze Combo piloted by Garett Young. There is a whole list of cards that should be watched for from this deck:
- Necrotic Ooze
- Borborygmos Enraged
- Goryo’s Vengeance
- Soul Spike
- Zombie Infestation
- Lightning Axe – FOIL
- Grisly Salvage – FOIL
Other notables from the results are the appearance of Geist of Saint Traft in the Zoo and Jeskai Delver builds, Primeval Titan and other pieces of the Amulet Combo deck (Amulet of Vigor, Summer Bloom, and Hive Mind), and Scavenging Ooze out of the Abzan strategies. Storm also got two spots in the Top 16, which speaks to its power in the new Treasure Cruise format.
SCG Premier IQ – Legacy (OH, USA)
|1st||Ascendency Combo||Robert Graves||9th||Storm||Jacob Redfern|
|2nd||Bant Deathblade||Marcus Perez||10th||Mono-Black Pox||Kurtis Frazier|
|3rd||Omni-Tell||Eric English||11th||Lands||Hayden Brass|
|4th||Death and Taxes||Jeff Dickens||12th||U/R Delver||Nathaniel Snyder|
|5th||Grixis Control||Kevin Jones||13th||Jeskai Stoneblade||Nick Cowden|
|6th||Jeskai Delver||Lauren Nolen||14th||Sultai Delver||John Wiley|
|7th||Jeskai Stoneblade||Joe Bernal||15th||Jeskai Stoneblade||William Wingler|
|8th||Storm||Benjamin Ball||16th||Shallow Grave Reanimator||Robert Cremeans|
Ascendency Combo took down the Legacy portion piloted by Robert Graves. As the new kid on the Legacy block, the Ascendency Combo deck is the real deal that isn’t easily going away. It turned Fatestitcher into a $4 uncommon and Jeskai Ascendancy itself will eventually go up in price (barring a banning) due to its sheer power in this deck.
Bant Deathblade is something that hasn’t been seen in some time. Geist of Saint Traft made an appearance in this build, the only card of note. Omniscience is another card to watch due to third place finish of Omni-Tell.
Grixis Control is now a recurring deck that is putting up results in Top 16s these days. Dack Fayden appears as a two-of in this deck and is certainly a card to watch moving forward.
Mono-Black Pox made an appearance in the Top 16, along with Shallow Grave Reanimator. Cards to watch from these decks include Cursed Scroll, Chains of Mephistopheles (which is already a very pricy card), Sinkhole, Nether Void, Mishra’s Factory, and finally, Shallow Grave.
That’s it this week. Soon we’ll have Fate Reforged to shake up Standard, and maybe Modern and Legacy, too. Until then…