Weekend Magic: 4/3-4/5

Last weekend brought us Star City Games: Syracuse. This Open featured Standard as the main event with a side of Modern and Legacy. Let’s see what the results were and note any trending cards amongst the lists.

Star City Games Open – Standard (Syracuse, USA)


Deck Finish Player Deck Finish Player
G/R Aggro 1st Chris VanMeter Jund Midrange 9th Gerard Fabiano
Abzan Aggro 2nd Jesse Grogan R/G Aggro 10th Aaron Garitillo
Temur Aggro 3rd Andrew Nacci Jeskai Tokens 11th Todd Anderson
Mono-Red Aggro 4th Michael Egolf Abzan Aggro 12th John Davison
R/g Aggro 5th Ryan Sandrin R/g Aggro 13th Chris Thomas
G/R Aggro 6th Stephen Rice G/R Aggro 14th Xavier Biron
Bant Heroic 7th Tom Ross G/R Aggro 15th Brandon Pascal
G/R Aggro 8th Van Nguyen Abzan Aggro 16th Max Mitchell

Chris VanMeter took down the event piloting G/R Aggro, which also put three other people into the Top 8 and another four into the Top 16 (basically half the top 16 was G/R, though there were differing archetypes among these decks which I’ll get to later). This has been an established Standard archetype ever since [card]Xenagos, the Reveler[/card] was introduced to Standard with Theros block but it definitely looks like Dragons of Tarkir has given this deck some tools to make it really strong. Chris is playing three Xenagos along with some new additions from Dragons of Tarkir. The deck featured a playset of [card]Thunderbreak Regent[/card], two [card]Dragonlord Atarka[/card], a playset of [card]Draconic Roar[/card], and two [card]Roast[/card]. Last week, we saw that Roast is one of the most played uncommons in Standard at the moment, because five damage for two mana is extremely efficient.  The deck also played three copies of [card]Haven of the Spirit Dragon[/card], which I’m sure was nice to recur killed Atarka’s for value. Even getting back [card]Thunderbreak Regent[/card] and [card]Strombreath Dragon[/card] is pretty nice too, especially if you can play them on curve the turn that you sacrifice the land to return them to your hand. In the sideboard, there is another [card]Roast[/card] along with [card]Seismic Rupture[/card] from Dragons.

G/R Aggro Decks in general were playing the following cards from Dragons:

  • Midrange Version
    • [card]Thunderbreak Regent[/card] (playset)
    • [card]Surrak, the Hunt Caller[/card] (two to three copies)
    • [card]Draconic Roar[/card] (two to four copies)
    • [card]Haven of the Spirit Dragon[/card] (one to three copies)
    • [card]Deathmist Raptor[/card] showed up in two lists as well
  • True Aggro Version
    • [card]Lightning Berserker[/card] (two to four copies)
    • [card]Zurgo Bellstriker[/card] (three to four copies)
    • [card]Atarka’s Command[/card] (three to four copies)

The second place deck, Abzan Aggro, featured a playset of [card]Dromoka’s Command[/card] across the main deck and sideboard. Other notable cards included were a playset of [card]Siege Rhino[/card], [card]Rakshasa Deathdealer[/card], and three [card]Anafenza, the Foremost[/card].

Notables from the rest of the Top 8:

  • Three [card]Frostwalker[/card], four [card]Savage Knuckleblade[/card], three [card]Thunderbreak Regent[/card], and two [card]Surrak, the Hunt Caller[/card] in Temur Aggro
  • Four [card]Lightning Berserker[/card] and three [card]Zurgo Bellstriker[/card] in Mono-Red Aggro
  • Four [card]Dromoka’s Command[/card] in Bant Heroic

Notables from the rest of the Top 16:

  • One [card]Dragonlord Atarka[/card] and two [card]Sidisi, Undead Vizier[/card] from Jund Midrange. This deck is pretty interesting as we’ve never seen a deck before that’s tried to combine [card]Outpost Siege[/card] into a G/B deck build but as we’ve seen over the past several months we should just learn to expect as much from Fabiano!
  • One [card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/card], three [card]Anticipate[/card], and two [card]Secure the Wastes[/card] in Jeskai Tokens
  • Three [card]Dromoka’s Command[/card] in Davison’s Abzan Aggro, along with three [card]Ultimate Price[/card] out of the sideboard
  • Two [card]Surrak, the Hunt Caller[/card] and two [card]Dromoka’s Command[/card] in Mitchell’s Abzan Aggro

Though it would appear that G/R or R/g strategies dominated this Standard Open, there was still plenty of innovation going on even in established lists like U/W/x Heroic.

Star City Games Premier IQ – Modern (Syracuse, USA)


Deck Finish Player Deck Finish Player
Affinity 1st James Harrod Hatebears 9th David Gree
G/W Hate Bears 2nd Kyle Dauch Abzan Midrange 10th John Boccardo`
Jund Midrange 3rd Andrew Boswell Abzan Collected Company 11th Max Brown
Abzan 4th Jacob Lee Abzan Midrange 12th Kevin Florio
U/R Twin 5th Nick Kent G/R Tron 13th Taylor Stovenson
Affinity 6th Andrew Skorik UR Delver 14th Edgar Bustos
Jund Midrange 7th Rudy Briskza Grixis Twin 15th Dan Jessup
Abzan Midrange 8th MIchael Derzco Affinity 16th Randy Belcher

Affinity took down the Modern portion of the event, with another copy of Affinity, two Abzan, and two Jund decks also placing in the Top 8. The second place deck was G/W Hatebears, which is a deck that can do well at Modern events if they are packing the right type of hate. Key cards from Dauch’s deck included four [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card], four [card]Leonin Arbiter[/card], four [card]Noble Hierarch[/card], three [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card], and three [card]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/card]. The deck was strangely packing many 1-of’s without any way to tutor for them, which is interesting but allows easier sideboard decisions I guess. [card]Horizon Canopy[/card] also helps filter through the deck, so maybe that was the reason he didn’t want to play more than one [card]Gaddock Teeg[/card] or [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card]. Either way, the deck did well and will continue to put up results in Legacy as Wizards continue to print more “hate” creatures in green and white.

Who says [card]Dark Confidant[/card] is irrelevant in Modern? Boswell’s Jund Midrange was packing a full playset of Bob and he seemed to do pretty well at this event coming in third. Though it should be noted that the other Top 8 Jund Midrange did not play any copies of Bob and also reached about the same level of success. We even have our first Dragons of Tarkir card featured in this deck, one [card]Kolaghan’s Command[/card] out of the sideboard. Speaking of which, looking at Briskza’s list he was playing two copies of [card]Kolaghan’s Command[/card], one in the main deck and one in the sideboard. Another card featured in the decks was [card]Huntmaster of the Fells[/card], with one version opting to play two copies main deck and the other version playing two copies in the sideboard.

Rounding out the rest of the Top 16, another copy of Hatebears appears along with a new deck called Abzan Collected Company. Featuring four Dragons of Tarkir [card]Collected Company[/card], the deck also utilizes [card]Congregation at Dawn[/card] in order to setup some pretty C.C situations where you’re going to get a ton of value. Is this the new direction that the old [card]Birthing Pod[/card] deck are going to go? I’m not sure if its good enough to play at larger events but the build is so unique that I would love to see it continue to see more results. It even plays [card]Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit[/card] for value with [card]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/card]!

Star City Games Premier IQ – Modern (Legacy, USA)


Deck Finish Player Deck Finish Player
Jeskai Stoneblade 1st David Melendez Death and Taxes 9th Adam Quinlon
Deadguy Ale 2nd Wilkin Chau Deadguy Ale 10th Aaron Webster
Miracles 3rd Drew Brantner Elves 11th Erik Burger
Grixis Control 4th Jason Smith Storm 12th Bryant Cook
Miracles 5th Ronald Mackenzie Dark Maverick 13th Jesse Adams
Shardless Sultai 6th Ted McCulskie Burn 14th Nicholas Herbs
Mono-Red Burn 7th Jacob Shannon Jund 15th Douglas Wilson
Sultai Delver 8th Elliot Wolchesky Sultai Delver 16th Paulo Cesari

Deadguy Ale is the story of this Legacy event, which put two people into the Top 16. A deck that hasn’t put up any results in quite some time, Deadguy Ale is pretty much your classic B/W discard heavy deck that plays efficient threats while tearing the opponent’s hand apart. More recently, the deck has been called Pikula since Chris Pikula brought it back as an Abzan-based deck, however the original name hearkens back to the days when it was only black and white.

[card]Hymn to Tourach[/card] is usually seen, but not always. In this case, Chau’s opted to play Hymn while Webster chose to splash green for [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] and [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]. Chau’s deck stuck to a main deck of black/white only spells with a splash of green for sideboard answers like [card]Engineered Explosives[/card] and [card]Gaddock Teeg[/card]. [card]Chrome Mox[/card] is an interesting addition to the deck, which allows it to play [card]Lingering Souls[/card], [card]Vindicate[/card], or [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] a turn earlier than expected. You could even have a turn one [card]Dark Confidant[/card] or [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card]! Certainly an interesting deck to say the least.

Dark Maverick is also a more unique deck. Notables included four [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card], four [card]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/card], and four [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card]. Dark refers to playing black for [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] and some choice sideboard cards. [card]Sigarda, Host of Herons[/card] also showed up in this build as a nice GSZ target against [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card].

Rounding out the rest of the Top 16 is pretty much your average Legacy metagame these days. Nothing really innovative or exciting in the rest of the lists.

That’s all for this week! Keep checking back for more weekend Magic results.

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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