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Five Decks You'll Play This Weekend

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Welcome to Gathering Magic's weekly quintet of Magic Online decks you should be aware of this weekend, whether you're playing a major online event, going to a Grand Prix, or hitting Friday Night Magic. In an era of big data, Magic Online provides some of the biggest data, so even a quick-and-dirty snapshot of recent activity gets you ahead of the competition. This week, with Grand Prix Providence being Standard and Grand Prix Copenhagen being Modern, I'll highlight three Standard decks and two Modern decks.

Provi-Dense Canopy

With as many Dragons as are around Standard right now, maybe a card like Dense Canopy would be legitimately useful for megamorph-type decks. Here's what 4–0'd Standard at least twice this week (Bold = won a Daily):

  • Red-Green Devotion: 10
  • Red Aggro: 6
  • Esper Dragons: 6
  • Black Warriors: 5 (2 wins)
  • Red-Green Dragons: 4
  • Abzan Control: 3
  • Mardu Dragons: 3
  • Five-Color Dragons: 2
  • Mardu Aggro won a Daily in its only 4-0 appearance.

Friday's winning list isn't even the list known as Dragons, but its biggest end game is a Dragon:

This deck's about as straightforward as it comes, using twelve ramp creatures to find huge things and win with them. That Dragons are all over the format is evident from the three Plummets in the sideboard and the Arbor Colossuses straddling the main deck and sideboard.

There are some variants—justabradjoke's Tuesday 4–0 deck splashed white entirely for the Dragonlord Dromokas in the sideboard, and Mob Rule and Display of Dominance were interesting tech. User hflorescu had Ashcloud Phoenix, Hornet Nest, and Goblin Rabblemaster in the sideboard that tournament, while Matter_Mixer agreed with the Hornet Nest and also put See the Unwritten in the main deck. (R/G Devotion was three of the seven 4–0 decks in that Daily.)

The major new entry in the recent metagame won back-to-back Dailies this past week:

Bloodsoaked Champion was in pokerswizard's winning deck from the Fate Reforged Limited Championship, and here, it's part of a consistent tribal strategy with Blood-Chin Fanatic and Obelisk of Urd as curve-toppers and Blood-Chin Rager and Mogis's Marauders as the main means of forcing the low curve through. The deck's taking advantage of an otherwise consolidated metagame—running two Self-Inflicted Wounds in the main deck is a sign of warp—but the basic strategy is good regardless. Blood-Chin Fanatic, dash, and non-Warrior Pain Seer give the deck just enough dimensions to avoid being all-in like red decks have to be.

One Spicy Metaball

If Dragonlord Ojutai is the improved Nightveil Specter in terms of flying card advantage, maybe it can inhabit one of the same slots:

Silumgar's Scorn
Thassa, God of the Sea and Master of Waves still comprise a great deck shell, and Shorecrasher Elemental is among the best available tools for this format’s devotion strategies. With a top curve of Dragons, blue devotion solves some of its previous problem in the 2-drop slot by employing Silumgar's Scorn to good effect. Counterspell has never been a bad 2-drop, and almost no matter what it’s countering on turn two, it enables a smooth curve in this deck.

I’m a particular fan of Profaner of the Dead in the sideboard, a card I’ve been trying to make work ever since it came out. There don’t seem to be major combos for it in here apart from Shorecrasher Elemental’s pumping its own toughness, but for what this deck needs—getting a few blockers out of the way—Profaner of the Dead bouncing 1- and 2-toughness creatures is probably good enough. Cyclonic Rift’s in Standard, but against aggressive token builds, Profaner of the Dead may as well be Cyclonic Rift.

Den-Mark-Se Canopy

You could play Dense Canopy in Modern if you wanted, though it's probably only the fourth-best Canopy in the format. (Sorry, Canopy Spider; somebody has to be last.) Anyway, here are some archetypes that might show up in Copenhagen this weekend:

  • Amulet Bloom: 8 (3 wins)
  • Jund: 6
  • Affinity: 5
  • Grixis Twin: 4
  • Elf Company: 3
  • Merfolk: 3
  • Grixis Delver: 3
  • White-Blue Control: 2
  • Abzan: 2
  • Blue-Red Twin: 2
  • Hexproof: 2
  • Grixis Control: 2
  • Jeskai Control: 2
  • Red-Green Tron: 2
  • Soul Sisters: 2
  • Zoo won a Daily in its only 4-0 appearance.

Amulet Bloom won Tuesday's, Wednesday's, and Thursday's Dailies, so it's probably worth talking about:

Amulet of Vigor
A lot of Grand Prix: Charlotte's coverage—not only from the linked article, but from Patrick Sullivan and Cedric Phillips's coverage—treated the tournament as a referendum on this deck, as it can win quickly and is hard to interact with due to so much of the combo involving lands. The list is mostly stock by now, but this one from Wednesday has a little spice. Dragonlord Dromoka has the chance of stabilizing against a mediocre burn Braw, but mostly, it stops several control decks from operating properly. Sigarda, Host of Herons has been a more frequent choice for this slot, but Dromoka is bleeding-edge tech for the most recent form of the metagame.

Also, while Seal of Primordium is normally an answer to Blood Moon and several other cards, there's a Chromatic Lantern to join them in the sideboard. Chromatic Lantern is among the savviest pieces of tech I've seen for any deck in the nearly five months I've been doing this column. A lot of decks with rough mana bases are packing Blood Moon on the theory that it will hurt the opponent more. Seal of Primordium is a great onboard answer to Blood Moon, but it doesn't deal with one that's already resolved. Chromatic Lantern is a colorless answer to Blood Moon that also breaks the symmetry; to whatever extent Blood Moon hurts its caster, it now will hurt only its caster, while the Amulet Bloom player is able to run the deck semi-normally. And although that scenario implies Ancient Stirrings will be hard to cast, Chromatic Lantern can be found with Ancient Stirrings before a Blood Moon. If Amulet Bloom stays unbanned and this prominent, Chromatic Lantern is a legitimate sideboard card to fight Blood Moon.

With heavy combo decks come heavily disruptive opponents, so it’s little surprise that Jund was also big this past week. From Sunday:

Jund Charm
Fairly well in line with the decks at the concomitant Grand Prix, Kolaghan's Command brings card advantage Jund had recently been low on. With so many great one-for-ones, every bit of card advantage matters to Jund, which is the reasoning behind the main-decked Grim Lavamancer, Huntmaster of the Fells, and Olivia Voldaren.

I haven’t seen much of Jund Charm in recent sideboards, but its first two modes are currently quite relevant against different decks (and, at least against a Grixis Delver deck with Tasigur, the Golden Fang, both of the modes are relevant). It’s certainly a nice choice for opponents who expect Scavenging Ooze is the only way to address graveyards or Olivia Voldaren is the main way to kill a swarm of creatures. If you’re facing Jund and know what creatures deal with your deck, Jund Charm might sneak around the back door and get the job done anyway. The color commitment might not make more than the one-of it is here, but of the Charms in Modern, it has above-average utility.

Conclusion

Charlotte was an exciting Grand Prix, and this weekend’s events should be as good. As R/G-centric as Standard’s become, it could stay that way or it could be solved by something rogue. And as many Blood Moons are in Modern right now, maybe there’s a way to solve that, too, although the current strategy of playing Blood Moons and living with the negative consequences for your own deck might continue. Either way, it’s a pivotal moment for both formats before Magic Origins, so it should be fun.


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