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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week: #PTM15 Edition

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It's one of the most exciting times of the Magic year: Pro Tour weekend. What kind of new, exciting decks can the game's best build out of Magic 2015? It's time to find out who's found the most powerful and synergistic combinations cards that's going to define Standard for the next two months. What's the first level of the format look like after five rounds of Standard? Here are five decks to get you started:


Let's start with the obvious. Mono-Black Devotion has been the dominant deck in Standard for several months, and has shown no signs of stopping. A few powerful pickups from Magic 2015 may have only cemented Mono-Black's position at the top of the food chain rather than shaking things up. Let's take a look at Dan Jessup's no-nonsense list from last weekend:

No splashes. Nothing cute. No nonsense. Dan isn't even playing very many Temples in this deck. He's identified that the most powerful thing he can do is curve Thoughtseize into Pack Rat and Nightveil Specter. Those cards just kill people, and Dan has decided that Temples aren't worth messing up your opportunities to curve out.

Urborg and Sign in Blood are the two big additions from Magic 2015, and these cards have been in varying numbers in every successful Black list since the new set hit. Dan has just one Urborg so he doesn't Legend rule himself but still has the opportunity to use Mutavaults for colored mana. He also has just two Sign in Blood over one of the Underworld Connections.

Many other lists have started cutting one Grey Merchant of Asphodel for a Liliana Vess, since Liliana's ability to tutor gives you access to a number of your powerful one- and two-ofs in key matchups and mitigates the downside of some of the high variance cards like Grey Merchant.

One thing's for sure: Mono-Black isn't going anywhere. The deck is rock solid and plays several of the most powerful cards in the format. The biggest questions seem to be Lifebane Zombie versus Nightveil Specter and exactly which suite of removal spells is best suited for a particular weekend. If you can answer those questions, then it's pretty hard to argue against Mono-Black coming out on top.


Standard is all about creatures right now. Sphinx's Revelation decks haven't quite caught up to the rest of the format, so there's a lot of space for more proactive midrange decks in the style of Modern Jund to maneuver their way to the top of the format. That's exactly what Barry Smith did last weekend with his awesome take on Jund Planeswalkers.

If people are playing decks like Mono-Black and midrangey creature decks, this is where I want to be. Plenty of powerful removal and card drawing. Ramp and color fixing courtesy of Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix. Most importantly, you have a ton of powerful topdecks that can dominate the board in Xenagos, Chandra, Liliana, and Garruk.

Courser of Kruphix[/car] and [card]Sylvan Caryatid are fantastic at ramping out these Planeswalkers against empty boards, but also do a fantastic job of defending them if the ground is stalled. Once you start sticking more than one Planeswalker, this deck gets to start doing brutally unfair things. Xenagos helps you cast extra spells off of Chandra, Pyromaster. Liliana Vess controls the cards you exile to Chandra or finds a Temple for you to play with Courser of Kruphix.

Barry even has five maindeck ways to fight over Detention Sphere and Banishing Light at instant speed to set up powerful turns against control decks. This deck is built to grind out resources in a very powerful and proactive way, and is the kind of deck I love to see at the beginning of a new format. It has game against the aggressive decks and control decks, but has a ton of room for customization and tuning.


We all know that Necromancer's Stockpile is a powerful attrition engine, but I'm not sure most people expected to see it at Pro Tour Magic 2015. Conley Woods doesn't think like most people. Conley has put up a respectable record on Day One with this Black-Green take on Necromancer's Stockpile:

This is a deck built on two engines: Necromancer's Stockpile and Lotleth Troll. These guys give you the ability to just overpower your opponents with powerful graveyard interactions. Necromancer's Stockpile lets you get some Walking Corpse beatdowns going while you churn through your deck to find key players. You can even discard scavenge creatures like Slitherhead and Dreg Mangler and pump up your Mutavaults to win that battle as the games go long.

This is a deck that is largely made possible by the combination of Llanowar Wastes and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. These lands give you the ability to cast your spells on time much more reliably, which is of critical importance when tempo is at such a premium. Urborg makes it much more reasonable for you to be able to rebuy Jarad repeatedly to start throwing creatures at your opponent when you're trying to sneak the last few points in.

We have not gotten a chance to see this deck in action just yet, but if there were to be a Necromancer's Stockpile deck, this is certainly a fantastic place to start. There are other options, such as splashing red for Tymaret, the Murder King for a powerful card advantage engine, but this seems like a format where consistency is rewarded over additional power.


Is it time for Craig Wescoe to run back his vitory at Pro Tour Dragon's Maze? You'd think so looking at the ragtag crew of White creatures that he sleeved up for the Constructed portion of Pro Tour Magic 2015. Aggressive Green and White creatures is right in Craig's wheelhouse, and this deck is in a fantastic position in the metagame as a beatdown deck that goes just a little bit bigger. Let's take a look at Craig Wescoe's Green-White Midrange:

Aggressive creatures at every point in the curve that are just a little bit bigger than the Red decks. Enough flash creatures to fight against Black removal and Supreme Verdict. This deck strikes a careful balance between efficiency and versatility that can be difficult to find in straight Green-White creature decks.

Magic 2015 added a very powerful mana sink to this aggressive deck: Sunblade Elf. This deck isn't the most aggressive one-drop, but comes with a great ability attached that you can threaten to activate as a combat trick or use to force through the last few points of damage.

What we've seen from Standard in the last week is that it is currently defined by aggressive creature decks. We've learned from formats past that, in aggressive formats, you want to be the creature deck that goes just a little bit bigger than everyone else. This weekend, we'll find out if Craig went big enough.


Thus far, we've seen a lot of fair, midrangey decks. Some are more controlling, some are more aggressive, but they tend to focus around three and four drops before they really start kicking into gear. Alex Sittner doesn't plan on giving you until turn three or four. Instead, he's looking to kill you on turn four. This is Alex's all-in Soldiers deck:

Is Obelisk of Urd naming Soldier a thing that you were expecting to see at the Pro Tour? While other decks are fussing around with Xenagos, the Reveler and Courser of Kruphix, Alex is curving one creature into two more creatures into Obelisk of Urd to end up with twelve or more power on the board on turn four. There are not very many decks that can fight through that kind of start, and that's exactly what Alex has relied on to get him to a positive record in the Constructed portion of Pro Tour Magic 2015.

So what kind of powerful draws can you expect from this deck? Let's try Akroan Crusader on turn one. Launch the Fleet plus another one-drop on turn two means you've got four guys in play. On turn three you can cast Raise the Alarm, another one-drop, and still cast Obelisk of Urd to have eighteen power in play. Seems. Fair.

This is the kind of all-in deck that's exciting to see in a format packed with people trying to grind out value with Planeswalkers and Underworld Connections. Sure, it's inconsistent. Sure it loses to cards like Shrivel, Golgari Charm. and Supreme Verdict. Your opponents still have to play and draw those cards before you just kill them, and this deck is pretty good at killing opponents dead.


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