The Tireless Tracker of a Standard Meta!

Watching the last few major live standard events, we have seen some odd results.  On the side of things, you see Tom Ross crushing the dreams of every player in his path.  The man is playing White Weenie with a splash of red for Needle Spires and Reckless Bushwacker, genius.  We will discuss this strategy a little later on.  Meanwhile, the format has developed into a fairly stable meta-game.

Grand Prix Pittsburgh is really going to be a lot of fun.  I have been fortunate to have a huge network of powerful wizards to conjure up powerful magic.  And we all know, I love me some powerful magic.  In the wake of this GP, I have found myself theory crafting as many strategies as I (my network) can come up with.  I personally find this to be very enjoyable, and often times more fun and beneficial then jamming mindless games.  After a lot of debating and some folks saying they disagree with my layout, I have assembled a coherent rambling, discussing this standard Grand Prix.

After playing most of the current decks in the format, my personal best showing was with BW control.  The deck is strong and where we will start in this discussion of Standard.  On the play, I always felt in control and favored.  On the draw, it seemed like I had to battle a bit more in order to get the edge in momentum.  Once we have momentum its basically over.  We plop a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and wrap it up.  In my six and three record at the Star City Open in Atlanta, I ran 2 Myth Realized and 1 Linvala, the Preserver in my main 60.

BW Control

1 Blighted Fen
4 Caves of Koilos
4 Forsaken Sanctuary
3 Plains
4 Shambling Vent
6 Swamps
3 Westvale Abbey // Ormendahl, Profane Prince
3 Anguished Unmaking
3 Grasp of Darkness
2 Hallowed Moonlight
4 Languish
1 Planar Outburst
4 Read the Bones
2 Ruinous Path
3 Secure the Wastes
2 Transgress the Mind
2 Ultimate Price
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
3 Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 Sorin, Grim Nemesis

1 Bearer of Silence
2 Dead Weight
3 Duress
1 Eldrazi Displacer
1 Hallowed Moonlight
3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Thought-Knot Seer
2 Transgress the Mind
1 Ultimate Price

I personally feel the next deck we really want to be prepared for is Green/White Tokens.  A very powerful setup of spells that interact extremely well with each other.  These cards are very difficult to deal with from the other side of the table as well.  So this deck deploys the strategy of using inexpensive creatures to keep the heat off their Planeswalkers.  It’s pride and joy being Oath of Nissa, allowing us to look at the top three of our library and choose a creature, land, or planeswalker.  This is busted at one green mana— oh I forgot to mention, you can also use any color mana for any planeswalker.  Once we dominate the board state, we can almost always overwhelm them with 1/2 plants and 3/3 Knights thanks to Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.

GW Tokens

4 Canopy Vista
10 Forest
4 Fortified Village
8 Plains
3 Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier
2 Den Protector
4 Hangarback Walker
4 Sylvan Advocate
2 Declaration in Stone
4 Dromoka’s Command
2 Evolutionary Leap
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
4 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
4 Oath of Nissa
1 Quarantine Field

1 Declaration in Stone
1 Den Protector
2 Knight of the White Orchid
2 Lambholt Pacifist // Lambholt Butcher
2 Linvala, the Preserver
2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
2 Planar Outburst
1 Quarantine Field
2 Silkwrap

And now for the menace, Tom Ross’ insane white weenie list.  This thing is a BEAST.  One drops, one drops, one drops!  Step one, play dudes.  Step two, turn dudes sideways.  Step 3, win.  What a raw strategy that dates back to as early in magic as I can recall:  Just a straight “Get there”  deck, with lasting power.  Post board it has some really clever tricks.  It can expand its mana base out to support Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Needle Spires.  As I mentioned earlier, this also brings in Reckless Bushwacker, which is BONKERS!  To compete with this, have cheap removal and a sweeper handy.  Best we got, the deck is just flat out fast as hell.  Gryff’s Boon is the MVP of this deck, as it just keeps coming and doesn’t relent, giving them fliers.

White Weenies

4 Battlefield Forge
14 Plains
3 Annointer of Champions
4 Dragon Hunter
3 Expedition Envoy
2 Hanweir Militia Captain // Westvale Cult Leader
4 Knight of the White Orchid
3 Kytheon, Hero of Akros // Gideon, Battle-Forged
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Town Gossipmonger // Incited Rabble
4 Declaration in Stone
4 Always Watching
3 Gryff’s Boon

2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Gryff’s Boon
4 Needle Spires
4 Reckless Bushwhacker
1 Secure the Wastes
1 Silkwrap
2 Stasis Snare

There are certainly other decks out there to be weary of.  These decks however in my personal opinion are the decks to be on or prepared to see more then once.  Notable decks include: Bant Coco or Bant Humans, GBU(blue for sulimgar), Grixis, GB decks, Naya walkers, and last Jeff Hoogland’s SCG open top 8 list (I don’t like giving it a name, its a pile of good cards that worked well for a while).  These decks all represent loses if we don’t prepare for them.  We ideally want a decent match up against these fringe decks; otherwise, they’ll beat us because we won’t be expecting their strategy.   I personally would be landing on one of the three major archetypes I’ve noted above (BW control, GW tokens/walkers, and white weenie) as I believe these are without doubt the most powerful magic.  Standard has become this really neat watered down legacy feeling format.  It has a lot of neat interactions right now, and has some really potent and fast decks—with a combo deck!  Very diverse and there is even variance within the archetypes, you see this in the different GW lists Seth Manfield and Gerry Thompson play.

To wrap up, I am really excited to play one game at a time.  I really want to day two this GP as it’ll be my second day two.  I am incrementally gaining on my win percentages and am progressing further and further into this career.  As I develop my writing style and brand, please give me feedback as to what you’d like to hear written about or discussed.  It’s been a pleasure sharing my madness.

Thank you to everyone for all the support and Snap Keep Games for giving me this amazing opportunity!


P.S. The benefit to the Fanny Pack.  As I’ve learned carrying extra cards, binders, decks and stuff is cool for its versatility.  However the secret tournament killer is heavy back packs.  It Fatigues you far faster then needed.  You’ve seen it first from my friend and teammate Arya Roohi.  The Fanny Pack era is coming!  It’s just the winning line.


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