The Pro Tour with the new set – and without Aetherworks Marvel! – is coming up in Kyoto this weekend. Today, I’m going to venture a guess at what to expect at the PT. The results from this weekend’s SCG Open – which is similar in structure and length to a GP, just with a bit less competition – should make for a good starting point for what to expect
First of all, the Top 16 contained of the following archetypes:
- 3 UW Monument
- 2 Mardu Vehicles
- 1 4c Control
- 1 Grixis Control
- 1 Temur Control
- 1 UR Control
- 1 Mono Red Aggro
- 1 Mono Black Zombies
- 1 4c Emerge
- 1 Temur Energy
- 1 GR Pummeler
- 1 BR Energy
- 1 Esper Aggro
This looks a bit more diverse than it really is. If you lump together all the blue-red control decks as variants, you end up with Urx Control as the most played archetype at four copies in the top 16 which is a solid 25%. This is followed by UW Monument and Mardu Vehicles. Mardu Vehicles was kind of bound to make a comeback as the last of the Kaladesh block top performing decks that didn’t get hit too hard by the banhammer other than loosing its trusty Smuggler’s Copter in the first ban wave.
Aside from those, we see a variety of archetype, both old and new. Various energy-based variants like Temur, BG and GR all which have been around before but were held back by Aetherworks Marvel’s dominance are now able to potentially shine. Mono Black Zombies and a variety of other aggro decks, including a traditional Mono Red aggro we haven’t seen for quite some time, also seem potentially viable.
Let’s first take a look at the newest kid on the block: UW Monument. As far as I know, this list was created by GerryT. It is probably the new home for what remains of UW Tempo and it’s turned into a grindy, go-wide deck with the help of Oketra’s Monument, Hanweir Militia Captain, Bygone Bishop and Cloudblazer.
UW Monument by Jonathan Rosum
The other lists were only off by few and minor changes. This deck is capable of generating ginormous boardstates and drawing TONS of cards thanks to Bygone Bishop and Oketra’s Monument or Westvale Cult Leader. The deck can overpower anything short of a sweeper as long as its core pieces go unchecked and it has some solid answers to problem cards thanks to Spell Queller and some flexible removal. Dusk provides a powerful and synergistic tool to stay ahead on the board versus bigger creatures while preserving all but Westvale Cult Leader. This deck looks well built and powerful and will surely be a force to be reckoned with going into the PT.
Next I want to take a look at the current face of Mardu Vehicles. With Aetherworks, one of Mardu’s worst matchups, now out of the way, it is primed make a comeback in Kyoto. So why don’t we take a look at the list of our own, Dylan Donegan:
Mardu Vehicles by Dylan Donegan
So nothing new here. Glorybringer replaces the more old school Archangel Avacyn and we have a singleton Abrade from Hour of Devastation for some extra diversity in the removal suite. Mardu is still very powerful and something you will likely see a fair share in Kyoto this weekend.
There is an interesting alternative take on the vehicles archetype in Esper Vehicles that has popped up lately that has its own benefits. Donovan Maddaison took his version to 10th place last weekend at the Open:
Esper Vehicles by Donovan Maddaison
This version basically trades some of the heavy hitters and Unlicensed Disintegration for maindeck disruption like Spell Queller and Metallic Rebuke. These changes likely make the deck a bit more robust versus the URx Control decks as compared to Mardu. The core and play style basically stay the same though so it is mostly a tuning shift depending on where you see bigger problems and need for improvement.
Next we have the new face of URx Control: 4c Control, which took down the event in the hands of Michael Hamilton:
4c Control by Michael Hamilton
This looks like a nice attempt at a UR-based control deck that tries to make up for the weaknesses of straight UR control by splashing various planeswalkers and some extra removal and sweepers. One could even argue that this is more of an UWx Control deck or Jeskai Control deck than URx since the black splash is only for a single Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh off of a single black dual and some Aether Hubs. The extra colors provide the deck with a wide array of flexible and powerful planeswalkers to up the power and grind potential of the deck significantly. Getting an actual hard sweeper in Fumigate and more sideboard options makes the deck a lot better at actually being able to control the game and answer whatever problem the opponent throws at it and Michael got rewarded with a win for his choices. I expect to see some URx Control variants at the Pro Tour next weekend. I’m not sure if they’ll end up being three colors or four, but I am sure one of the top teams will likely come up with the right way to build this format’s control deck. This list provides a nice starting point but still looks a bit unstreamlined and could use some more cleaning up and focusing on what problems it wants to solve.
The other URx Control decks were basically your typical UR Control with some Hour of Devastation tossed in. Some had a light splash for either Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh or green for some Attune with Aether for extra energy and sideboard Tireless Trackers to transform.
Last but not least we have the return of Mono Red Aggro, a deck that hasn’t been seen for quite some time in the broken world of Standard. Jonathan Job managed a 6th place finish at the Open with his list:
Mono Red Aggro by Jonathan Job
This is fairly straight forward but surprisingly big for a red aggro deck featuring some four and even five-drop Eldrazis and Glorybringers. But it still gets the job done it seems putting its pilot in the Top 8.
Aside from these decks we can potentially expect some old favorites that had been suppressed by Aetherworks Marvel and other now-banned cards. Decks like Zombies, GRx Energy, BG Energy and maybe even URx Emerge will likely make appearances, along with who knows what else people come up with after their testing bootcamps of the last week or so for the PT.cStandard is finally interesting and diverse again and this Pro Tour looks like it is going be really fresh and interesting unlike the last PT(s) that were rather stale and had little relevant innovation.
Tune in on Friday to find out!
Thanks for reading,
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