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Emrakul and Company


With the close of the Pro Tour it is nice to see the format shaken up in a big way. In fact there was so many new decks and sweet variations on old ones I had a tough time narrowing down the ones to talk about, or which version of each archetype to cover. Given two spicy brews made Top 8, I figured it would be good to focus this week on the decks that showed up at the top and leave the rest to tool around with while we now await rotation, and the departure of Collected Company.

It wouldn’t be right to talk about the PT and leave out the winner. So, though the deck is nothing crazy or new it does seem to be a refined list of what we have been seeing at the SCG level over the past few weeks.

With nothing to out of the ordinary it makes sense that rather than pushing the Angel shell we have seen Lukas instead decided to just jam the best White and Black spells together and figure out a winning configuration. Any time I see a list with this many cards between one and three copies I have to imagine it is meant to catch a broader metagame, perfect for the PT. Always having answers to anything your opponent may do is a sound strategy and makes this a great place to start. If your local metagame seems to heavily favor a certain deck or two you can easily bump the right cards to a four of and push anything else that may be a catch card for another deck to either the board or out of the seventy five.

First place might not have been all that exciting, but it was nice to see Bant Company pushed out of the top spot, in fact it didn't truly have that great of a showing for how many copies showed up to the Pro Tour, which I am sure is a nice relief for anyone looking to play Standard for the next few months.

Second place was taken by one of the two newest hall of fame elects, Owen Turtenwald. Watching him pilot this deck made me instantly want to pick up the list as it seems like a blast to play the Modern age Mistbind Clique and wrath the board by doing so. While the verdict may still be out as to what the best Emrakul, the Promised End list looks like I think this is a strong start in the right direction and certainly one I did not see coming before the weekend.

The stock in Kozilek's Return certainly went up this weekend as the pros showed us that it rarely needs to be cast to have a huge impact on the game, and, with all of the Bant Company running around, this proved to be a great way to shut them down at their own game, all at instant speed, which seems to be the only reliable way to beat that deck.

Between this and Delirium there was some insanely awesome games to watch from this weekend with constant haymakers and consistent draws leading to well thought out gameplay and a lot of maneuvering to stay one turn ahead of your opponent on the way to an Emrakul. While this deck does lose a few enablers after rotation the core shell is still there, meaning if you want something to play in the mean time that won’t plummet in value after rotation this may be the optimal list for you.

Speaking of Delirium it seems the code has finally been cracked on how to push Ishkanah, Grafwidow and Emrakul while still keeping consistency in your draws and a good mix of enablers and threats. Many times with decks like these you can end up with some very clunky draws that require the right series of cards to line up in order to curve out; but, with the inclusion of the early game creature package that can double as card advantage this deck really does seem to find what it needs when it needs it.

Traverse the Ulvenwald is likely the main reason this deck is even plausible. I feel stock in that card has nowhere to go but up once people figure out not only how to maximize it in Standard but in more than one Modern deck as well. Early game setting up for the color intensive spells this deck has while then turning into a tutor and allowing shaved numbers on the creatures really pulls this list, and many like it together.

I did want to get at least one list that didn’t make top eight in this week; and, while there were multiple contenders Pedro Carvalho won due to how much I enjoyed the Thing in the Ice deck from last season. This deck takes a less cute approach to U/R and cut the Pyromancer's Goggles for more burn. I like the more aggressive approach but would have liked to see more Sphinx's Tutelage somewhere in the list. I feel with all of the draw effects you have it can close out control games just as fast as Fevered Visions, overloading the number of spells that are must counters for them.

Thermo-Alchemist and Collective Defiance are huge additions to this deck allowing you to be a much more streamline spell deck and avoid cards like Pyromancer's Goggles and Chandra, Flamecaller for finishers. I am still not sure I like this exact 75 but it certainly does seem like it has a great match against all of these slower decks that don't have much of an early game. You have the burn to deal with the few cards like Tireless Tracker or Grim Flayer and hope to race before they can hit Emrakul. I also would like to see more Bedlam Reveler but I can see how hard it is to get down to a nearly empty hand when you are playing the full set of Fevered Visions, another great tool against all of the slower decks.

Coverage for the weekend was thoroughly entertaining and even the Bant Company matches seemed like a pure power struggle with a lot of haymakers rather than two decks going wide just to sit for multiple turns until someone just barely eeked out an edge. I am sure now that we have finally broken the format right open another wave of decks will be showing up. If anything, I would want to be on a fast burn strategy as this format has grinded to a halt as far as aggro decks go and there is a plethora of solid burn spells in the format right now. Additionally burn is typically cheap meaning you can play the deck through rotation and not feel bad about sinking money into something you cannot hope to get back.

If there are any other decks you would like me to talk about from the PT or any other events I may have missed this weekend feel free to share them below or on Twitter. Next week will feature any PT decks I may have missed and any anything extra that comes this weekend. Then, the following week I have an announcement to make and a change to this series. I hope everyone else enjoyed the PT as much as I did and, until next week, keep on brewing!

Ryan Bushard


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