Weekend Magic: 5/15-5/17

Last weekend brought us Grand Prix: Shanghai and Star City Games: Dallas. In other words, plenty of Standard action with a side of Modern and Legacy. Let’s see what the results were.

Grand Prix: Shanghai

Format – Standard


“Abzan Megamorph Control” is quite a mouthful yet is an apt name for the deck that won GP Shanghai. Yuuki Ichikawa had the full playset of [card]Deathmist Raptor[/card]s and [card]Den Protector[/card]s in this build in order to generate tons of value together along with board clear [card]Crux of Fate[/card] and spells [card]Abzan Charm[/card] and [card]Hero’s Downfall[/card]. [card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/card] is the big finisher in the deck with [card]Nisa, Worldwaker[/card] and [card]Sorin, Solemn Visitor[/card] coming in from the sideboard to help clean things up against control mirror matches.

The rest of the Top 8 wasn’t very diverse. Two other Abzan decks and five G/R decks made it in. Notably absent is Esper Dragons – it seems that G/R dragons and Abzan decks are good counters to the control deck’s counterpart.

Some notable cards from the G/R lists include [card]Thunderbreak Regent[/card], [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card], [card]Dragonlord Atarka[/card], [card]Whisperwood Elemental[/card], and [card]Rattleclaw Mystic[/card].

Star City Games Open: Standard (Dallas, TX, USA)


Deck Finish Player Deck Finish Player
G/R Dragons 1st Nathan Fabilenia Abzan Aggro 9th Edward Eng
Abzan Control 2nd Jon Lim U/B Control 10th Nick Schoolcraft-McCuen
Abzan Aggro 3rd Gabe Joglar Mardu Dragons 11th Clifton Beech
Atarka Red 4th Nathan Zamora Mardu Dragons 12th Josh Crowe
Mardu Dragons 5th Michael Villavicenci Abzan Megamorph 13th Nathan Waxer
G/W Megamorph 6th Jonathan Berg Abzan Megamorph 14th Richard Shade
Esper Dragons 7th Sam Berkenbile Bant Heroic 15th Logan Mize
Mono-Red Aggro 8th Drew Iafrate G/B Constellation 16th Erick Ramirez

G/R Dragons took down the Standard portion piloted by Nathan Fabilenia. There are plenty of example G/R Dragons decks from GP Shanghai, so we’ll focus on other lists that made the Top 8.

Mardu Dragons made an appearance in the Top 8, along with two other Top 16 appearances. After being featured in the finals of GP Toronto the deck is still doing well in the Standard metagame. Key players in this deck include [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card], [card]Thunderbreak Regent[/card], [card]Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury[/card], [card]Crackling Doom[/card], [card]Draconic Roar[/card], and [card]Foul-Tongue Invocation[/card].

Abzan decks also did well in Dallas last weekend, so you should continue to expect them in the Standard metagame. G/W Megamorph featured four [card]Avatar of the Resolute[/card] this time, along with a playset of [card]Collected Company[/card] however no [card]Mastery of the Unseen[/card] in the main deck (though it still made the sideboard). Mono-Red Aggro is still looking as fast as ever though interestingly only two [card]Goblin Rabblemaster[/card]s were main deck with the other two relegated to the sideboard to increase the clock against slower decks.

Rounding out the Top 16, Bant Heroic and G/B Constellation made appearances. Though becoming more “old school” Standard as the days go on, they can still put up impressive results if the pilot is skilled enough. Cards like [card]Hero of Iroas[/card], [card]Doomwake Giant[/card], and [card]Eidolon of Blossoms[/card] are still powerful in the right build and you should still expect to see these decks pop up from time to time until rotation.

Star City Games Premier IQ: Modern (Dallas, TX, USA)


Deck Finish Player Deck Finish Player
Grixis Twin 1st Roland Hinajosa Abzan 9th Dylan Backham
Affinity 2nd Christopher Arico Burn 10th Matthew Hudson
Grixis Control 3rd Dan Jessup Jund 11th Todd Anderson
Affinity 4th Brandon Borowicz Obliterator Rock 12th Jason Blackmor
Slivers 5th Bryan Dubois Jund 13th Jason Clark
Merfolk 6th Ty Elrod Restore Balance 14th Robert Garza
Abzan Company 7th JB Milo U/R Twin 15th Benjamin Autin
Jund 8th Eddie Leza Burn 16th Anderes Hernandoez

Moving on to the Modern portion of the weekend, Grixis Twin took down the event piloted by Roland Hinajosa. Remember, the black splash is for [card]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/card] and [card]Kolaghan’s Command[/card] main deck with multiple sideboard options including [card]Engineered Explosives[/card], [card]Murderous Cut[/card], and [card]Bitterblossom[/card], and more copies of [card]Kolaghan’s Command[/card].

Rounding out the rest of the Top 8, Slivers has finally made a break into Modern and even Merfolk was able to place well. Grixis Control is nicely tuned deck that made third place. It is able to take advantage of cards like [card]Vedalken Shackles[/card] and [card]Blood Moon[/card], along with [card]Cryptic Command[/card] and other Modern powerhouses to take control of the game and prevent the opponent from advancing their game plan.

Slivers is all kinds of out there – with so many one-of’s in the deck, it would be better to check it out for yourself rather than have me list them all here. The core slivers which were played as four copies include [card]Galerider Sliver[/card], [card]Predatory Sliver[/card], and [card]Sinew Sliver[/card], along with three copies each of [card]Homing Sliver[/card] and [card]Manaweft Sliver[/card]. Of course, cards like [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] are insane in this deck and even four copies of [card]Sliver Hive[/card] and [card]Reflecting Pool[/card] are pretty awesome too for rainbow mana. [card]Aether Vial[/card] seems pretty important for this deck, and of course [card]Collected Company[/card] is going to pretty much always get you two slivers off the top at instant speed.

Merfolk seems to be appearing more and more in the Top 8 of the Modenr IQ’s, so it is definitely a deck to watch out for these days. Elrod’s version is very streamlined, with pretty much every copy of the card in the deck being a playset (even in the sideboard!). [card]Kira, Great Glass-Spinner[/card] just seems so broken in this deck – if you have at least three creatures in play and if you resolve it, it can be very sad times for the opponent.

Rounding out the rest of the Top 16, Obliterator Rock and Restore Balance are the innovative decks that did well this week. Cards to watch out for in Obliterator Rock include [card]Phyrexian Obliterator[/card], [card]Vampire Nighthawk[/card], [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card], and [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]. Cards to watch out for in Restore Balance are [card]Greater Gargadon[/card], [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card], [card]Huntmaster of the Fells[/card], and [card]Restore Balance[/card].

Star City Games Premier IQ: Legacy (Dallas, TX, USA)


Deck Finish Player Deck Finish Player
Storm 1st Dustin Carriere U/R Delver 9th Dustin Buckingham
U/R Delver 2nd David Houghton Grixis Control 10th Harold Williams
Reanimator 3rd Austin Palmer Miracles 11th Patrick Tierney
Storm 4th Caleb Scherer Miracles 12th Shane Remelt
Miracles 5th Collin Rountree Sultai Delver 13th William Lo
Miracles 6th Bo Zhang Sultai Delver 14th Tannon Grace
Miracles 7th Skyler Goy Show and Tell 15th Kayleb Koslowsky
Omni-Tell 8th Nick Loiacono Omni-Tell 16th Dennis Wilder

Storm took the top spot in Legacy piloted by Dustin Carriere. Storm is always a Legacy staple, so if you play Legacy you know to expect it fairly often. You must be careful and counter key parts of the combo in order to slow them down enough to kill them. Key cards include [card]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/card], [card]Infernal Tutor[/card], and the various rituals that the deck uses to get enough mana to combo off.

The rest of the Top 8 is not very diverse, and includes many decks that have been seen in Legacy over the past several months. Miracles made numerous showings throughout the Top 16, as did Omni-Tell / Show and Tell builds along with U/R Delver and Sultai Delver builds. Not a ton of innovation in Legacy this week, however Legacy is a fairly stable format and doesn’t change that much from week to week.

That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for future Magic updates.

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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