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Bizarro World


With the Pro Tour hype winding down and the metagame finally settling, we managed to find two very different metagames this past weekend. The first, Grand Prix Rimini, showed us that Bant Company may still be the top dog, while over in Portland it paints a much healthier more diverse metagame.

As much as I would like to completely ignore Bant Company at this point, it is hard to do. Instead, I just wanted to give a snapshot of where the deck currently sits and what changes have been made over the past month since Eldritch Moon was released. While the shell is still the same, we did gain a few new players, most notably Spell Queller. There is something to be said about consistency, and even with the departure of the namesake card, Collected Company, it is likely a Bant deck with these same pieces will still be very viable.

The most common ways to attack these decks in the past was through the continual use of board sweepers as no one card by itself is likely to win the game for Bant Company. By keeping the deck from overrunning you it was easier to find time to fight back. Now with Selfless Spirit that plan is certainly still viable, but has become much more difficult giving this deck even more resilience than it already had. While there are certainly other options, I believe Company and friends are likely to remain the overall top dog up until rotation.

I talked about Lukas’s deck from the PT last week and just wanted to make sure I covered the evolution of what that deck would look like for a GP metagame. Typically these lists are much better to play in a local area as they encompass more of the metagame as a whole rather than what the Pros are expected to bring. So, if you are as interested in pinging your opponent to death, as I am, this would be the ideal place to start. Stormchaser Mage has been a true house; and, though I am still not 100% sold this is the best list, I think it is quickly coming to that point and each version looks even more enjoyable to play.

The other major boon which I already mentioned but is even more true now is just how cheap this deck is. Both in Paper and Magic Online this may be the most viable tier one deck for the cost and that is always a major boon when you are approaching rotation. With the deck dropping Jace, Vryn's Prodigy completely to the board, suddenly this looks so reasonable it may just be worth throwing together to play with for the next month as you lose almost no value at all.

Speaking of evolution, this build of Delirium takes the best part of filling the grave and combines it with the Temur Emerge strategy of using Kozilek's Return to sweep the board, making stock in that card go up even further. Combined with how well it works at getting around Selfless Spirit, I can certainly see why one would make the change and add the Red to this list.

I have been on Ishkanah, Grafwidow since day one, and every new list I see running the spider makes me even more excited for her future in Standard. This list sports almost an entire set, which seems a bit odd to me with the Kozilek's Return also being a main part of your plan, but it does make sense that each card is so powerful in their respective matchups. The lack of synergy is worth having both answers in force.

Harmless Offering
So, of course, I had to save the most exciting deck for last, and, if there was anything this season to get hyped for, this is the deck. Harmless Offering and Demonic Pact have been a fairly clear combo from the moment that cute cat was revealed; but I, like most, dismissed it for FNM and kitchen table Magic. I am so glad a skilled pilot had the courage to jump on this list and manage to top eight, as it certainly has style points that cannot be measured.

Unfortunately, with the mainstay of the deck departing next month, there is not much here to speculate on for the post rotation frenzy that will happen. That does not mean we cannot simply sit back for a moment and realize that even now, twenty plus years later, Illusion/Donate is still a deck. If you have no idea what I am talking about, do some research on Ice Age Standard, that deck was a blast and far scarier than this list given the modern era of Magic but for any old school players who see this list, I hope it just brings a smile to your face.

It was a nice relief to see the metagame still have some new players this week and while I don’t expect that every week until rotation it is good to see people still brewing. While it can be so easy to play it safe and stick to Bant Company a lot of people are pushing this format in some unfamiliar directions and playing some cards I don't think most expected to see in a game of Standard and I personally could not be happier.

Next week I have an announcement to make that will take me away from Standard but if you have been reading my series for any amount of time it would be relevant to check out the article anyway. I am already looking forward to preview season for the next set and while Conspiracy does look cool it just is not where my focus in Magic lies, so I am having a tough time being content seeing cards I can never play in Standard, or really anything more than Cube or Casual. If you have any questions or comments about this past weekends decks, as usual, you can either leave a comment below or find me on Twitter. I am really looking forward to getting back into paper Standard after my upcoming move and will be happy to see Collected Company rotate about the same time. It has been an ever growing itch to start brewing, one I hope you all share as well!

Ryan Bushard


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