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5 Decks You'll Play This Weekend

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Standard's been adapting to the post-Pro Tour metagame, and there are Grand Prix in Warsaw and Santiago this weekend to adapt it further. Where might the metagame go?

More like Santi-Draw-Go, Amirite?

Here are the 5-0 decks on Magic Online from October 11 to 24:

U/W Flash 23
R/G Pummeler 12
Grixis Amalgam 11
B/G Control 9
B/R Aggro 8
B/G Aggro 6
Grixis Emerge 6
R/W Vehicles 6
Jeskai Control 5
R/G Energy 5
R/W Tokens 5
Jeskai Aggro 4
Four-Color Colossus 3
R/W Aggro 3
B/W Aggro 3
The Rest 31

Many of the decks could be lumped into macro-archetypes that change these rankings a bit. Prized Amalgam decks are deciding whether to include Eldrazi; Metalwork Colossus decks aren't sure whether to have two, three, or four colors; R/W decks don't know what they want. Maybe the weekend will consolidate some of the options. Until then . . . 


This isn't that far off from Joey Manner's top eight list. Where this one parts company is with Joey's Rattlechains, opting for more removal. And with that change comes a beefier sideboard; where Joey had Blessed Alliance, this deck has Cataclysmic Gearhulk.

One of the biggest secrets of this deck is that, with Languish out of the format, Archangel Avacyn plus Selfless Spirit is the best sweeper in Standard, given that it can be instant speed and therefore a Smuggler's Copter killer. When combined with the now-time-honored disruption of Reflector Mage and Spell Queller (the latter of which also deals efficiently with Smuggler's Copter), it's a formidable deck, and it's one of the best performers since the Pro Tour.

R/G Pummeler decks had a fine showing over the last two weeks, even after its anonymity at the Pro Tour:


With four Servant of the Conduit and a low curve, the deck gets to play only 20 lands. That allows for a few more business spells and tinkering, like with Fleetwheel Cruiser in this list. But the real experiment is with the Blue splash for Fevered Visions and Negate. With so much energy in the deck and eight ways of using energy for any color of mana, Blue mana can show up quicker than its being a splash color implies, and bringing in anti-control cards is certainly surprising when all the opponent saw in the first game was Voltaic Brawlers and Electrostatic Pummelers. In my small experience playing with dedicated energy decks, the mana is the smoothest I've ever experienced in Standard multicolored decks, and that ability to splash might give the deck more staying power than initially expected.

Going the other way with its mana is the aggressive version of Prized Amalgam decks:


As Eric Froehlich has explained, ditching ways to make Blue mana — this is Grixis in color identity, not in mana production — allows a greater chance to cast Voldaren Pariah, especially with madness. If Archangel Avacyn is secretly the best sweeper in the format, then Voldaren Pariah is second-best sweeper; it takes more commitment, but it can be cast earlier, it hits just as hard when transformed, and on most boards removing three creatures is enough to get the job done. Plus, this deck is far and away the deck that gets the most mileage out of Smuggler's Copter's looting, even more so than delirium decks; with Voldaren Pariah, Haunted Dead, and Fiery Temper, Smuggler's Copter virtually adds 2 mana when it's involved in combat. As if the card wasn't good enough already . . . 

If the Prized Amalgam shell isn't running Smuggler's Copters, it's running Eldrazi for an emerge shell. Elder Deep-Fiend is the primary reason to go for a slower emerge game, but Distended Mindbender (present even in this aggro version's sideboard) has plenty of upside as well.

B/G Delirium is also trying to decide whether it wants Eldrazi or not:


There are versions with Smuggler's Copter, and those tend to run Blossoming Defense as well for a more aggro build; those for obvious reasons don't run an Emrakul, the Promised End like this version does. They share enough cards — Grim Flayer, Ishkanah, Grafwidow, Liliana, the Last Hope, Grasp of Darkness, and Traverse the Ulvenwald — that both styles can be put under the same umbrella for now, but that might change soon. Either way, the deck works with the synergies of filling the graveyard and finding the right card for the job, whether through Grim Flayer, Traverse the Ulvenwald, Grapple with the Past, and sometimes Vessel of Nascency.

Mindwrack Demon shows up in some builds; its being bigger than Smuggler's Copter is quite useful (although the deck already running Grasp of Darkness and Ishkanah, Grafwidow might give it enough game against the Copter anyway). With as much graveyard recursion/tutoring as this shell has, there are many singletons available for the long game, so there's a lot of tinkering at the margins. The fact that you can build this without Smuggler's Copter will give this deck a leg up if everyone starts regularly main-decking Ceremonious Rejection and Fragmentize. And in general, delirium decks being so un-Kaladesh seems to give it a couple percentage points against the aetherpunk-filled metagame.

One Spicy Metaball

The extension of Battle for Zendikar's Standard shelf life means that, even though Zulaport Cutthroat feels like it's been gone for ages, it's still available for brewing. And fabricate gives it a new angle:


As the shell for a host of unexplored cards, there's a lot to look at. Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim and Zulaport Cutthroat have been friends for awhile, but there's much more lifegain here than in previous Ayli builds; Kambal, Consul of Allocation and Angel of Invention (the way I typed it makes it read like Kambal's got the grandest title ever) can give small amounts of life if dealt with quickly or large amounts if they get to stick around. That lifegain makes this the only deck in the metagame positioned to run Anguished Unmaking, which is a big upside.

Besides Westvale Abbey and Zulaport Cutthroat being new best friends, there are several new synergies that complement the main ideas. Syndicate Trafficker joins Ayli as a sacrifice outlet that's just for artifacts; with a number of artifacts to sacrifice (the Clue token from Thraben Inspector, Scrapheap Scrounger, and several fabricated creatures), it can be a 4/2 indestructible attacker quite often, giving the deck a surprisingly aggressive angle.

This is a pretty cheap deck, so if you aren't sure what you want to play at Friday Night Magic, you might want to give this a shot. If you liked Rally the Ancestors or Disciple of the Vault, why not have some good fun?

Conclusion

A lot of decks are figuring out whether they want to be the fast or slow versions of themselves. It's currently unknown if that will be purely a metagame call moving forward or if one version is superior. The weekend's Grand Prix may go a long way to clarifying for decks like B/G Delirium, Grixis Amalgam, and the other decks fighting for a top place in Standard.


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