Welcome back, faithful readers! I promise no banlist whining this time!
It’s that time of year again. A new set has been released and, unless you’ve been living under a rock, youl know that Pro Tour Amonkhet is this Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. Even if you’ve been living under a rock you would’ve still known so long as that Rock was BG Delirium (get it?).
Anyway, I could go over the top decks and throw some lists in here. I could profile the top teams and players, their strengths and weaknesses. I could. But I could also party, so let’s just do that, okay? Welcome to the Standard house party, Pro Tour Amonkhet edition. (For those looking for actual Pro Tour predictions, I’m including some at the bottom of the article).
You’re nervous. The tension of the night ahead is thick in the air. You’ve been wondering what to wear all week. (Psst: go with the salmon shorts and a long sleeve button down, never fails. Or a sundress, those are great). You know the doorman can be strict for this party and wants to make sure you’ve got the style to get in. If you don’t have the style you could always show up with a few lady friends and hope that gets you through.
This is gonna be tough though. Out of your three best female friends, Thalia has already been at the party this whole time. Emrakul got expelled from school for wrecking everything and causing major trouble although if you asked her though she would say it’s ’cause she was just too marvelous and the haters couldn’t handle it. Lastly, Pia Nalaar took some time off. She was on the scene a lot a few months back and just got burnt out. You know how it gets.
So, you’re flying solo to the biggest party of 2017. I say no problem! I went stag to senior prom and we all know how great I turned out. This cast of characters will help you know who’s who at the Standard house party.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
You won’t have to go far to bump into this guy. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is the bouncer now. He keeps everyone honest and makes sure nobody tries anything funny. He was good buddies with the old bouncer, Reflector Mage, and learned a few tricks from him before he bounced a few rowdy characters a bit too hard and got himself thrown out instead. Gideon is the fun police. The science kids were in the corner messing around with their Dynavolt Towers and their Glimmers of Genius and just when they thought they had something sweet going on Gideon showed up and let them know they were getting a bit too loud. They can stay, just tone it down a bit. Censor yourselves, if you will. Gideon runs the show these days and all the other party-goers know they best not get too out of control cause he’s the standard to which they must measure up.
Heart of Kiran
Gideon’s right hand man. He makes sure the other planeswalkers pay the price to stay loyal too. Another important member of the fun police, Heart of Kiran often does the dirty work so Gideon can keep his hands clean. Heart has knocked off a few mouthy planeswalkers at Gideon’s urging. While he’s pretty strong himself, he’s rarely the type to venture off on his own. He prefers to hang next to Gideon. They’re quite the crew.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
You know that really loud, intimidating guy who’s always dressed in flannel and cutoff jean shorts and leans on the hood of his souped up car glaring and yelling at people? That’s Ulamog, always on the edge of the party ready to get in there and mix it up if threatened. He sits there on the hood of his marvelous aethermobile, counting his energy in groups of 6 out loud and occasionally wiggling his several arms in a weirdly attractive way. Ulamog only drinks light beer but he drinks a lot of it and is quick to name drop his brother and sister in arguments. He’s actually a really solid dude when you get to know him, I promise. He never goes anywhere without his fancy car though. It’s legendary and so is he!
The “it” girl. She’s the flyest lady in the party, everyone knows it, and she knows everyone knows it. She flaunts it too; you could say she’s flashy. She’s got a temper though and might flip if you mess with her girls. She’s pretty tight with Thalia and has been known to hang with Gideon and the Heart as well. She loves mirrors and thinks she looks quite good in them. There’s one other girl that she’s had some trouble with in the past though, this weird girl who hangs out along the wall with her three little friends.
She’s the wallflower who doesn’t talk to much anyone except her three little friends, who worship her every move, and Liliana, who doesn’t even party that much but still turns heads whenever she enters a room. She’s got Ishkanah’s back for sure but the spider girl doesn’t need much help as she’s able to handle most anything on her own. She’s especially good at dealing with Gideon and Heart. Even when they come at her in more heated arguments she puts up a wall of her little friends that’s basically impenetrable. Ishkanah is quick to exit when Kozilek makes his return but that’s rare these days. Kozilek is already “over it” and is looking at internships in the city.
Did anyone have that nerdy friend who made a robot for a science project that’s bigger than they are? That’s Torrential Gearhulk. The robot of course, not the nerdy kid. Torrential Gearhulk was supposed to be a bit of a support for the blue kids who kept getting kicked when they were down. It’s so much more than that now though as the robot wizard is right in the thick of the party. Gearhulk’s temper is a problem too and its been known to harness lightning when it gets really unhappy. The hulk daddy sits in the corner with its science buddies but has recently shown an interest in hanging with the big bad boy himself, Ulamog.
Passed out in an upstairs bathroom. Nobody even knows he’s there. He might never have left after Reflector Mage’s and Smuggler’s Copter’s going away party in January. He’s already dodging calls from the student loan people.
After a great year in 2015 where he was dominating beer pong almost every weekend, the Outcast is, well, an outcast. He’s rarely been sighted at parties in the past year but still wanders in through the side door to flex on the dance floor at 1am.
The basic partygoer. She knows what she wants and doesn’t try to be anything special. She’s content to do her job and hang out awhile without making a scene. About 30% of the people at the party are Thraben Inspectors. She likes Gideon and Heart quite a bit and is often seen chilling out on the edge of their clique.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
The redhead with a fiery personality is either the face of the party of barely there. She’s often seen with her friend, Servant of the Conduit, and while they start the night out strong, they’re nowhere to be found when midnight hits. She was very close with Felidar Guardian, but since they banned cats from all future parties she’s been hanging out on the back deck, enjoying the view and the respite from all the drama of the party.
Now for some of the new kids on the block.
This guy is really quick to barge into the party and tire himself out on the dance floor. He does some major damage amidst all the exertion though and wins almost any fight that doesn’t involve Avacyn, the queen bee! Glory Days, as he’s known after tilting back a few, even roughed up Daddy Gideon a few times. He says “bro” a lot and has more than a few patterned t-shirts with deep v-necks.
Liliana, Death’s Majesty
She’s that older girl who stopped going out last year and is just content to sit on her throne and gossip. She wasn’t even supposed to come to the party tonight but she was “just so bored.” Now she’s content to just hang in a chair in the corner and laugh at the younger party-goers. Liliana knows what she’s good at but doesn’t have much to offer most of the people at the party. She really likes Ishkanah though, they have each other’s backs.
This guy is aware that he’s new and still keeps throwing himself into fights. He’s content to hop right back in after getting knocked out when the fight starts. He threatens to come back and bring those weirdos that do the zombie walk on campus every spring.
Pro Tour Predictions
Okay! That was certainly fun. But aside from my mastery of puns and the occasional nugget of information this was written more to entertain than to inform.
What do I think will happen at Pro Tour Amonkhet? Here are my 10 predictions:
- Mardu will be heavily played but will only perform well, not absurdly well. I would imagine there’ll be close to 3 copies in top 8, maybe less.
- Aetherworks Marvel (likely Temur Marvel) will be the other best deck of the known decks. Gearhulks give the archetype some much needed flexibility and added power. Chandra and Bounty of the Luxa are also great additions that might help you cast an Ulamog you accidentally drew. Versions not playing those cards should seek to play at least one Nissa’s Renewal as that’s another reasonable way to cast Ulamog.
- Someone will play a totally new deck and do well with it. Maybe even cycling combo.
- Approach of the Second Sun will kill someone in the feature match area, either in a control deck, a Marvel deck, or even as the win condition for New Perspectives combo.
- Nobody will play Spell Queller and I will still be sad.
- Avacyn is better than Glorybringer in Mardu and people will realize that. They’ll likely sideboard the dragon to take out planeswalkers, especially in the mirror.
- A blue control deck, likely UR, will make top 8. Temur Tower is a bad version of UR.
- BG Delirium will perform well once again. Despite being underrated lately the deck is still very good and consistent.
- Nobody will be casting Collective Defiance or Fateful Showdown with Shadowstorm Vizier or Flameblade Adept in play. This is probably a good thing.
- The most played Amonkhet card will be Magma Spray by a wide margin. Glorybringer and Censor will follow. Cast Out doesn’t have a deck to let it shine but it’s great and will see play eventually.
I passed Insult to Injury in a team draft at GP Richmond. I tried to defend myself for a while then I accepted my stupidity and hung my head. I was red as well. Don’t ever pass that card.
Also, if you can tell me what Siren Song Lyre does without cheating and looking it up, tell me at the next event I see you at and I’ll give you a signed Mantis Rider (Limit this to 5 people so I don’t have to buy a bunch of Riders).
Thank you, everyone. I’ll be watching the Pro Tour this weekend and I hope you will be too! See you next week.