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Decks from GP Copenhagen


In my article last week we took a look at some of the innovative decklists from Pro Tour Dominaria. With Grand Prix Copenhagen taking place this past weekend, we once again have an opportunity to see some innovation taking place in a tournament larger than your local Friday Night Magic. Can we find something that can stand up to the Red menace? Let's find out.

The Top 8

Looking at the decks that were in the Top 8, we find two uw Control decks, two Mono-Red Aggro decks, and three br Chainwhirler decks. We also find our first glimpse of innovation in the final deck, Mono-Red Flame. Let's take a look at that deck.

This is another style of Red aggressive decks, but it can explode from out of nowhere to win the game. The key to this is The Flame of Keld. You'll typically want to play out as many of the cards in your hand as you can before playing The Flame of Keld. If possible, deal the damage from your instants at your opponent rather than their creatures. Since the majority of your creatures only cost a single mana, you should be able to build up a large mass of creatures. Once you play The Flame of Keld, you'll have a couple of turns to hold off your opponent before making your alpha strike. Once the third lore counter is placed on The Flame of Keld, nearly every card in your deck will be able to deal an additional 2 points of damage when it hits your opponent. Sacrificing your Fanatical Firebrand to deal 3 points of damage instead of the usual 1 has never felt so good.

9th - 16th Place Decklists

The next eight places didn't offer much in the way of innovation. Don't get me wrong, they were all good decks, but they're either decks that I've written about before or solid decks that have been around for a while. These decks include three more copies of br Chainwhirler, one more Mono-Red Aggro, one more uw Control, one bw Benalia, one Esper Control, and one ub Midrange. Our search for innovation will have to look elsewhere. Luckily for us, there's one additional batch of decklists from this Grand Prix . . .  the Trial winning decks.

Trial Winning Decklists

The first deck that caught my eye was piloted by Rasmus Vilsgaard. Let's take a look at his rw Aggro deck.

This deck plays very differently depending on the amount of creatures your opponent has in play. When your opponent has a lot of creatures in play, you can use your Glorybringer and Chandra, Torch of Defiance along with your instant spells as a way to reduce those threats. If you've managed to transform Path of Mettle into Metzali, Tower of Triumph, your opponent might be hesitant to attack due to the second activated ability of it that can destroy a random creature that attacked this turn. If they attack with a small amount of creatures, you can try to pluck off the weaker ones with your spells and hope to destroy the strongest one with Metzali, Tower of Triumph. Or, if you're ahead you can choose to activate the first ability of Metzali, Tower of Triumph and deal direct damage to your opponent instead. By doing it at the end of their turn, you hope to minimize their attack with your threat of activation.

The next deck showing real signs of innovation is the gw Midrange deck piloted by Yuriy Gladkikh. Let's take a look at it.

Shalai, Voice of Plenty is a card that I think is an all-star from Dominaria. By playing her, you protect your entire team (including yourself) and force your opponent to find a piece of removal for her before they can do anything about the rest of your threats. Alongside Lyra Dawnbringer, Shalai becomes even better, allowing you to come back after taking damage that otherwise could make you vulnerable. This deck also has a lot of potentially strong creatures, depending on how exploring goes for you. Plus there are other ways to gain additional +1/+1 counters, so your opponent might have difficulty when your creatures suddenly get bigger than they expected.

The final deck I have for you this week takes us back to the jungles of Ixalan and shows us that the Vampire tribe is far from dead. Let's take a look at Per Eckerberg's bw Vampires.

Sometimes innovation isn't about using a new card in an unexpected way. I consider this deck to be very innovative even though Isolated Chapel is the only card from Dominaria in the main deck. The reason it's so innovative is because most people had written off the tribes from Ixalan once Dominaria came out. Per shows us that they can still be a viable choice in the current metagame. A lot of people fall into the trap of only looking for decklists that are made up of the most recent cards. Keep in mind that strategies that were once good can be good again and can take people by surprise. These kinds of decks are not what people are expecting to see, so use that to your advantage.

Wrapping Up

So Grand Prix Copenhagen strengthened the belief that Red decks are the best route to take to victory currently in Standard. But it also showed that there are still decks being played that are doing well that are not the typical Red deck. Which of these decks is your favorite? Do you have a different suggestion for defeating the Red decks? Let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

-- Mike Likes

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