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Breaking Down SCG Indy

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This past weekend we had our first major Standard event with RNA cards in SCG Indy. Today, I would like to go through the results of this event, break down some of the things I think they might mean, and highlight a few of the deck lists that finished well which stand out to me.

To start with, I would like to take a peek at some of the data we have from the event. While we do not know the starting distribution of all 690ish players in the event - we do know what the 68 players who made day two were playing:

The archetypes listed above all had four or more copies in day two. The large “other” segment was composed of an additional 16 archetypes:

Bant Climb

Four-Color Gates

Nexus of Gates

Mono-Blue Aggro

Rakdos Aggro

Azorius Aggro

Bant Midrange

Izzet Phoenix

Mono-Red Phoenix

Golgari Midrange

Boros Aggro

Grixis Control

Temur Climb

Bant Tokens

Gruul Aggro

Jund Midrange

The best way to judge the performance of these decks is by comparing the day 2 distribution of decks with how the top finishing decks from the event did. The top 32 of SCG Indy looks something like this:

At a glance, it looks like not much changed. Upon a closer look though, you will notice that an entire archetype is missing - Bant Nexus. That is right - not a single copy of Bant Nexus was found in the top 32 of the open. In fact, not a single copy of Nexus of Fate in general was found in the top 32.

Outside of Nexus falling short, another observation about all of the more popular decks in day two for me is that they all had fairly average performances. Sultai started as 25% of the day 2 field and converted into 25% of the top 32. Mono Red and Esper variations both had small gains, but finished relatively close to their starting amount. The other category took in the gains that were lost by Bant Nexus falling flat.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the results of this first major Standard event. The top 3 performing archetypes represent midrange, aggro, and control. This gives spikes a variety of archetypes to pick from depending on what they enjoy.

The fact that the fringe decks also had a good weekend means that there is almost certainly room to still be brewing in this format. Three decks filling up 50% of the top finishes gives you a pretty clear target of what you need to be aiming to beat when working on new ideas.

Speaking of brews, I would like to wrap up today by looking at some sweet decks from the top finishes at the open.

First up we have a more controlling build of Sultai that I would expect has a bit of a leg up in the “mirror” match against the Sultai decks playing the Wildgrowth Walker package:


Four copies of Ritual of Soot should be good at playing clean up against the smaller Sultai configurations. After Hydroid Krasis, Biogenic Ooze seems like it could easily be one of the most impactful cards against midrange decks. Any time you get to untap with this threat it likely takes over the game by giving you an endless mana sink.

Making the finals of the open was a Bant deck that is fairly close to the Bant Flash deck I had been loving after my first weeks of testing:


This build adds additional threats to play early such as Growth-Chamber Guardian and History of Benalia, which I really like. The cheap removal in Bant leaves a lot to be desired, so simply playing threats that can trade in combat against aggro, or apply pressure against control, seems quite fantastic.

The last couple of decks I would like to touch on are a couple of interesting control decks that finished in the top 32. First up, we have an archetype that I was not expecting to be competitive this Standard season:


After playing against variations of this deck of this deck on MTG Arena a few times now, I think it is safe to say that in my initial evaluation of the “gates matter” cards fell short specifically with regards to these two payoffs:

Guild Summit
Plaza of Harmony

Guild Summit is just an incredibly powerful card advantage engine because not only does it draw cards on every gate you play after, it also lets you draw cards for every gate you’ve played previously if you want to. This means you get a lot of flexibility on when exactly you play out your Summit, since you are always going to get card advantage from doing so.

Plaza of Harmony is probably the key card in making this archetype function against the aggressive decks in the format. Playing with gates means that you are going to be playing from behind, so being able to jump your life total back up, while also providing color fixing, is very powerful in helping you catch back up.

Finally, I would like to wrap up today’s article highlighting a fan favorite color combination - Grixis Control:


There are a couple of things I really like about this list. First is that while most of the spells in the main deck are 2 and 3 ofs, there are a full four copies of Thought Erasure. This card is extremely good in these ub midrange / control shells. Not only does it punch a hole in our opponent’s plans while giving us valuable information, but the fact that it surveils adds consistency to our early game. It helps us not stumble or flood if we are in danger of doing so early.

The second thing I really like, is that the main deck has both Crackling Drake and Niv-Mizzet, Parun to allow us to close games out quickly when we need to. Because Grixis lacks flexible answers to things like enchantments, there are going to be times where we need to simply race what our opponent has going on. These large, evasive threats allow us to do that nicely in many situations.

Wrapping Up

All in all, these early results for RNA Standard make me pretty excited to keep exploring the format. Having decks to beat, while still having room to brew, is exactly where you want Standard to be if you want to be working outside of the box. While the Nexus / Wilderness Reclamation decks fell short this weekend, I do not think I would count them down and out just yet. These new style of combo decks generally take a bit more time to optimize fully, so I would not be surprised to see them start to put up some numbers as the format matures.

What are your thoughts / take away on the first weekend of Standard results? What do you plan on playing moving forward?