This weekend brought us Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir. After an intense weekend (especially due to all the infractions that were documented) there was a healthy diversity of decks that made the Top 8. Let’s take a look at these decks and see what types of cards from Dragons were seeing play.
The deck that took down the whole tournament was Martin Dang’s R/g Aggro, where the only card he was splashing green for was four [card]Atarka’s Command[/card] and one [card]Become Immense[/card] as a surprise finisher. If this hasn’t been stated enough already, [card]Atarka’s Command[/card] is the real deal and you should expect to see it plenty of more times over the course of Khans Standard. Not only that, but the card is also pretty insane in Modern – I hear having some additional [card]Boros Cham[/card] utility is never a bad thing and at rare it means that the card will sustain a much higher price over the long term without a reprint.
Also present from Dragons were three [card]Zurgo Bellstriker[/card], four [card]Dragon Fodder[/card], and four [card]Roast[/card] out of the sideboard. Zurgo and Dragon Fodder are not suprising, as they can easily increase the clock against opponents who are playing a slower match that provide nice early turn plays to create tempo for the deck. I expect since Dang’s deck is so easily to pilot that we’ll be seeing it more and more over the coming months, unless a control archetype is established that is able to push it out of the format. I think we’ve seen in the past though that Red Deck Wins has been around for quite some time in Standard, and this time yet again I think we’ll be seeing it over the coming months.
Looking at the runnerup’s deck, Shota Yasooka was on Blue-Black Control which is the exact opposite of what Dang’s deck is trying to accomplish. The deck operates much more slowly and eventually builds itself up to a position where it can take down the opponent after establishing control. Two [card]Dragonlord Silumgar[/card], three [card]Icefall Regent[/card], two [card]Foul-Tongue Invocation[/card], four [card]Silumgar’s Scorn[/card], two [card]Ultimate Price[/card], and one [card]Haven of the Spirit Dragon[/card] made the main deck while [card]Ultimate Price[/card], [card]Stratus Dancer[/card], [card]Duress[/card], [card]Virulent Plague[/card], and [card]Dragonlord’s Prerogative[/card] made the sideboard. Based on his results, it looks like Dragons has added plenty of good cards to the control player’s arsenal. [card]Silumgar’s Scorn[/card] especially is a spicy card, since as the game goes on it turns in [card]Counterspell[/card] which is extremely powerful for the mana cost. Control definitely has some exciting days ahead and plenty of new toys to play around with from Dragons.
Rounding out the Top 8, other cards from Dragons making waves include:
- Four [card]Dragonlord Atarka[/card] and two [card]Surrak, the Hunt Caller[/card] from Starsky’s Green Devotion
- One [card]Dragonlord’s Prerogative[/card] and one [card]Ultimate Price[/card] from Sullivan’s Blue-Black Control
- Three [card]Surrak, the Hunt Caller[/card], four [card]Thunderbreak Regent[/card], one [card]Roast[/card], two [card]Draconic Roar[/card], and one [card]Haven of the Spirit Dragon[/card] in Chung’s Red-Green Dragons. There was also one more [card]Roast[/card] in the sideboard.
- Two [card]Ultimate Price[/card] and two [card]Duress[/card] out of the sideboard in Cammilluzzi’s Abzan Control
- Three [card]Dragonlord Atarka[/card] and two [card]Shaman of the Forgotten Ways[/card] out of Hendriks’ Green Devotion
- Two [card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/card], two [card]Dragonlord Silumgar[/card], two [card]Icefall Regent[/card], one [card]Dragonlord’s Prerogative[/card], three [card]Foul-Tongue Invocation[/card], four [card]Silumgar’s Scorn[/card], two [card]Ultimate Price[/card], and two [card]Haven of the Spirit Dragon[/card] in Ohlschwager’s Blue-Black Control. Also one [card]Foul-Tongue[/card] Invocation and one [card]Virulent Plague[/card] out of the sideboard.
As you can see, Dragons affected some decks more than others. We’ll have to wait and see how Standard will be shaken up over the next few weeks based on the results. Until then, we’ll just have to take a look at the numbers from 24-27 points or better to see if there are any other Dragons of Tarkir cards that did well yet didn’t make the Top 8 of the tournament.
24-27 Points or Better
Some trending cards from the rest of the top finishers include:
- Even though the card didn’t make the Top 8, [card]Dromoka’s Command[/card] was one of the most played cards in the tournament from Dragons. There were multiple decks playing three to four copies since it is very versatile in the current Standard. I expect we’ll continue to see plenty of Dromoka’s Commands being cast over the coming months, along with of course [card]Atarka’s Command[/card].
- Let’s also not forget about [card]Deathmist Raptor[/card]. This efficient, death-touching lizard beast is certainly going to be used to nicely fill out curves over the coming months. Not only does it provide a decent threat that is also a rattlesnake, it also has recursion in the late game! You can’t ask much more from your three drops which is why plenty of pros opted to play Clever Girl.
- [card]Den Protector[/card] is a surprising notable, and while not every green mage was packing them this weekend they still showed up across a few different decks that did well. It has just enough going for it that it can be a decent threat that like Raptor allows you to recur things later in the game. Keep an eye out for Protectors, as not every morph is going to be Raptor from this point on!
- [card]Secure the Wastes[/card] – Only viable in token strategies, but it can really do work when your opponent isn’t expecting it! Having a surprise four tokens at the end of a turn that are ready to attack with a [card]Jeskai Ascendency[/card] in play are not joke.
- [card]Sidisi, Undead Vizier[/card] – Yes, due to her utility and [card]Demonic Tutor[/card] powers the pros also felt that Sidisi had much to offer. The only downside is that sometimes you don’t exploit because you need the body, and other times you’re paying five mana for Demonic Tutor which is pretty terrible. When it works though, it works well.
- [card]Encase in Ice[/card], [card]Self-Inflicted Wound[/card], [card]Display of Dominance[/card], [card]Rending Volley[/card] – Great sideboard cards are great, so expect to see some hate for your color’s enemies as we continue through Standard due to the new color hosers getting printed in Dragons.
- Minor appearances were also made by [card]Ojutai Exemplars[/card], [card]Dragonlord Dromoka[/card], [card]Kolaghan’s Command[/card], [card]Dragon Whisperer[/card], and [card]Collected Company[/card] but not enough copies were seen to note any trends amongst all the 24-27 decks. These cards appeared more as tech rather than real threats that were the core of the player’s deck.
There we are, with another Pro Tour come and gone. Though many players have despaired Dragons as being a “weak” set, I think this Pro Tour has proven that there is power in several of the cards that have been printed. In the grand scheme of things, I think we’ll need to wait and see if anything else emerges but this is what we have for now in Standard. Until next week!