Weekend Magic: 8/7-8/9

Last weekend brought us Grand Prix San Diego and Star City Games: Washington which featured Legacy as the main event, with some Standard and Modern on the side. Let’s take a look at the results.

Grand Prix San Diego

Format – Standard

Decklists

Magic Origins innovations are abound again! First place this time went to UR Tutelage, a deck based around the uncommon [card]Sphinx’s Tutelage[/card] and the overwhelming mill that the enchantment can generate once the deck’s engine get’s going. The deck only played four creatures in the form of [card]Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy[/card] because at it’s heart it is a control deck similar to the Bant Tutelage fog deck that was featured on camera a few weeks back when Origins first hit the tournament scene. This deck seems to be the refined version, which plays strictly blue and red in order to maximize on removal while being able to continue drawing cards with [card]Tormenting Voice[/card] and [card]Magmatic Insight[/card]. The deck also featured [card]Whelming Wave[/card] and [card]Send to Sleep[/card], along with a single copy of [card]Alhammarret’s Archive[/card] to keep the the card draw engine going. In the sideboard, Fiery Impulse seems good as a pseudo-[card]Lightning Bolt[/card] that can take care of pesky fast creatures if you’re playing against decks like Mono-Red Burn. All in all, I’m sure this deck is pretty miserable to play against but sure seems fun to pilot!

eidolon

Second place went to Abzan Constellation, an archetype that gets one final [card]Swan Song[/card] before it leaves Standard forever in the fall. [card]Herald of the Pantheon[/card] and [card]Starfield of Nyx[/card] have really pushed this deck’s power up a ton until the fall rotation. Again, we see cards like [card]Eidolon of Blossoms[/card] coming back in order to get the most out of all the enchantments that you need to run along with [card]Doomwake Giant[/card] for board control. This deck seems like great fun to pilot, even though we’re only getting most of the pieces for a few months.

Rounding out the Top 8 were Abzan Midrange, Esper Dragons, Abzan Aggro, Black-Red Dragons, GW Megamorph, and Jeskai Tempo. Key cards from Origins that we’re seeing in these archetypes are:

  • [card]Nissa, Vastwood Seer[/card] and [card]Languish[/card] in Abzan Midrange
  • [card]Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy[/card] in Esper Dragons
  • [card]Hangarback Walker[/card] in Black-Red Dragons
  • [card]Nissa, Vastwood Seer[/card] in GW Megamorph (along with four [card]Hangarback Walker[/card] and two [card]Evolutionary Leap[/card] in the sideboard)
  • [card]Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy[/card] in Jeskai Tempo (which has also made [card]Ojutai’s Command[/card] see more play these days due to the card advantage it offers with Jace and other creatures in the deck)

All in all, I’m really liking the direction that Standard is going! There are both old and new decks aplenty out there, and players have a wide variety of options that they can choose from when deciding which Standard deck they might select for an event. I’m sure that the “top dogs” will make themselves known over the course of the next few months however for now it seems that the possibilities for Standard are endless.

Star City Games Open: Legacy (Washington)

Decklists

Deck Links
Finish Player Deck Links
Finish Player
Omni-Tell 1st Josh Pelrine Miracles 9th Brian Braun-Duin
Esper Stoneblade 2nd Shaheen Soorani Shardless Sultai 10th Michael Braverman
Grixis Delver 3rd Dylan Donegan Esper Control 11th Patrick Reynolds
Temur Delver 4th Jeremy Denmon Grixis Control 12th Chris Stagno
Storm 5th Bryant Cook Death and Taxes 13th Chris Andersen
Reanimator 6th Jake Moldowsky Infect 14th James Rynkiewicz
Lands 7th Daryl Ayers Grixis Delver 15th Jonathan Morawski
Death and Taxes 8th Michael Derczo Infect 16th James Foerst

Legacy is still going strong, with SCG still supporting the format with large Legacy opens (even though now they aren’t happening nearly as frequently as before Modern was introduced and hyped up as a format).

Omni-Tell took down the Legacy Open piloted by Josh Pelrine. This deck has continuously been making waves in the format over the past several months, since the combination of [card]Show and Tell[/card] into [card]Omniscience[/card] is unbeatable if allowed to resolve. [card]Dig Through Time[/card] is still seeing extensive play in Legacy in both combo and control decks, so I would continue to expect to see the card since it is super powerful in formats where the graveyard is continuously filled up throughout the game. Also, [card]Cunning Wish[/card] continues to see play in this deck in order to quickly grab any instant from the toolbox sideboard in order to deal with threats both on (and off) the board.

Second went to Jeskai Stoneblade, a prominent deck in the format that has many proven top finishes since the deck is able to control the game so well through both [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] and [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card]. Again, we see [card]Dig Through Time[/card] since it such a powerful card selection spell along with Lingering Souls to create flyers for both an offensive and defensive strategy (depending on the matchup).

Rounding out the Top 8 were Grixis Delver, Temur Delver, Storm, Reanimator, Lands, and Death and Taxes. [card]Vryn Wingmare[/card] is now a solid playset in the Legacy Death and Taxes deck, which shows just how good a flying Thalia can be along with all the other tax effects in the archetype. Take note, and realize that Death and Taxes has yet another great card to add to their arsenal!

Rounding out the Top 16 were UWR Miracles, Shardless Sultai, Jeskai Stoneblade, Grixis Control, Death and Taxes, two Infext, and Grixis Delver. [card]Monastery Mentor[/card] is still appearing in sideboards and main decks throughout the Top 16, so that bodes well for its continued use in eternal formats. [card]Baleful Strix[/card] is still used quite a bit among decks, since it provides a nice way to draw cards and stop bigger creatures from attacking. [card]True-Name Nemesis[/card] is still seeing a small amount of play amongst decks but it isn’t being used nearly as much as when [card]Treasure Cruise[/card] was still legal in the format.

Star City Games Premier IQ: Standard (Washington)

Decklists

Deck Finish Player Deck Finish Player
Bant Heroic 1st Todd Anderson R/W Aggro 9th Gage Mestro
U/R Thopters 2nd Joshua Everly Mono-red Aggro 10th John Melissari
Mono-red Aggro 3rd Michael Evans G/R Devotion 11th Seth Eggenburg
Abzan Delve 4th William Wingler Mono-red Aggro 12th Walker Landry
Abzan Aggro 5th Chad Kastel Mono-red Aggro 13th Brendan Mckay
Abzan Constellation 6th Kenneth Barron G/R Devotion 14th Taylor Page
Abzan Rally 7th Nick Patnode Bant Heroic 15th Lyle Bumbaugh
Mono-Red Aggro 8th Eric Lee Mardu Dragons 16th Justin Moss

Looks like [card]Hangarback Walker[/card] has even made its way into Bant Heroic, since it can provide additional bodies to use all of the enchantments and pump spells on if the main creature dies. Certainly a great innovation by Todd Anderson to enable him to win the Standard IQ. UR Thopters took second place, on the back of the Pro Tour where the deck was prominently featured. Many new cards were seen in this deck – [card]Chief of the Foundry[/card], [card]Hangarback Walker[/card], [card]Whirler Rogue[/card], [card]Ghostfire Blade[/card], [card]Ensoul Artifact[/card], [card]Shrapnel Blast[/card], and even four [card]Stubborn Denial[/card] main deck.

Rounding out the Top 8 were two Mono-Red Aggro, Abzan Delve, Abzan Aggro, Abzan Constellation, Abzan Rally. So, lots of Abzan decks that all are slightly different from each other! Mono-Red is doing quite well these days, since the introduction of [card]Abbot of Keral Keep[/card] and [card]Exquisite Firecraft[/card] have been introduced in Magic Origins. However, Abzan Delve is something new. This deck features multiple copies of cards like [card]Hooting Mandrills[/card] and [card]Gurmag Angler[/card] to take advantage of other cards played like [card]Satyr Wayfinder[/card], [card]Gather the Pack[/card], and [card]Commune with the Gods[/card]. Definitely an interesting take on the Abzan archetype, which proved to do quite well that weekend in a field full of crazy new brews. Abzan Midrange has adapted [card]Hangarback Walker[/card] into the build, which is unsurprising given how versatile the Walker can be, along with [card]Tragic Arrogance[/card] as a way to control the board after dropping a [card]Siege Rhino[/card] or some other such threat. Abzan Rally, yet another take on the archetype, is similarly pretty crazy – the deck operates completely differently from other Abzan strategies due to the fact that you want value creatures like [card]Shaman of the Pack[/card] in order to generate value from [card]Collected Company[/card] and [card]Rally the Ancestors[/card]. I think that this is a deck that could possibly survive through rotation, as long as a decent replacement for [card]Satyr Wayfinder[/card] is included for Battle for Zendikar.

Star City Games Premier IQ: Modern (Washington)

Decklists

Deck Finish Player Deck Finish Player
Naya Zoo 1st Jonathan Anghelescu Grixis Twin 9th Nate Balk
Jund 2nd Yoel Izsak Affinity 10th TJ Shillingburg
Goryo’s Vengeance 3rd Hank Zhong Goryo’s Vengeance 11th Christopher Calhoun
Grixis Delver 4th Justin Ouimette Jund 12th Michael Baller
G/W Auras 5th Ellen Cantor Affinity 13th Aaron Webster
Affinity 6th Steven Curran Jr Mono-White Aggro 14th John Gniadek
Jund 7th Chris Hair Affinity 15th Alex Majlaton
W/B Hate Bears 8th Anthony Williams Dredgevine 16th Michael Woolwine

Finally, Jonathan Anghelescu took down the Modern portion piloting Naya Zoo, which is still using Collected Company in order to generate card advantage from cheap creatures off the top of the deck. Rounding out the rest of the Top 8 were two Jund, Goryo’s Vengenace, Grixis Delver, G/W Auras, Affinity,  and something called W/B Hate Bears.

W/B Hate Bears is definitely a misnomer – the only strictly “black” card in the deck was two copies of [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card], a B/W card that used to be played heavily in the old [card]Birthing Pod[/card] decks of yore but was selected for this deck because of his great ability to kill cards like [card]Delver of Secrets[/card] and [card]Young Pyromancer[/card]. Also, [card]Lingering Souls[/card] was in here for value. Other than this, it was basically a Modern version of Death and Taxes, playing cards like [card]Serra Avenger[/card], Thalia, [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card], [card]Brimaz, King of Oreskos[/card], and [card]Aether Vial[/card]. Definitely an interesting take on Hate Bears, since the usual builds splash green for cards like [card]Collected Company[/card] and [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card].

The rest of the Top 16 included Grixis Twin, three Affinity, Goryo’s Vengeance, Jund, Mono-White Aggro, and Dredgevine.

Mono-White Aggro is the most unique Modern deck I’ve ever seen. Literally every single card in the deck is a one-drop – check out the list to see for yourself how John Gniadek had playsets of everything from [card]Boros Elite[/card], to [card]Figure of Destiny[/card], to [card]Champion of the Parish[/card]. The deck seems to be built around the newly released [card]Kytheon, Hero of Akros[/card] from Magic Origins since the planeswalker is transformed when you attack with three or more creatures, which this deck aims to always complete by turn three. What a totally crazy brew, and one I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of (as long as [card]Chalice of the Void[/card] stays out of Modern sideboards!!).

Dredgevine is another deck we haven’t seen place in some time. This deck uses the power of [card]Golgari Grave-Troll[/card] and other Dredge enablers in order to make use of “free” casts from the graveyard like [card]Bloodghast[/card] and [card]Vengevine[/card]. Also, cards like [card]Grisly Salvage[/card] and [card]Faithless Looting[/card] keep the engine going. Even [card]Satyr Wayfinder[/card] made it into the deck! Looks like Modern is still a viable place for graveyard strategies to do well since [card]Gurmag Angler[/card] and other Delve cards of its ilk continue to be major threats in the format.

That’s all for this week, keep checking back for more weekend Magic updates. As always, thanks for reading.

About the Author
Jared is a longtime Magic player who has been slinging cardboard since Odyssey block (back when creatures came into play). He was introduced to the financial side of Magic during Return to Ravnica block and hasn't looked back since. He is a resident of the VA area located just outside of DC. His favorite MTG formats include Limited, Legacy, and Commander. Regardless of format, he prefers making creature tokens. You can follow him on Twitter: @gildedgoblin.

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