by Josh Bennett
Pro Tour: Chicago is the first Standard Constructed Pro Tour in four years. In the past, Chicago was usually fought on the Extended battlefield, and as such has been a showcase for creative deckbuilding. Hopes are high for similar ingenuity in this, the most common format outside of the Pro Circuit.
In the wake of the Standard Championships of America, Canada and Australia, a number of decktypes have emerged as powerhouses, defining the metagame. While some embrace this foreknowledge, giving them an opportunity to build "the deck that beats the best deck," many feel that there is no such deck, and choose instead to polish one of the established types.
This is not to say that innovation is lost, only that it is outnumbered. Walking between the tables, one is in a sea of white mana. Rebel decks of various descriptions are everywhere, alongside old-school blue-white control. The much-touted Fires of Yavimaya deck seems to have waned in popularity, but it too has a significant following.
The myth of Chicago is that it is won each year by a relative unknown who then goes on to greatness. This was the case in 1997 when Randy Buehler burst on the scene with his B/r Necropotence deck, and again with Dirk Baberowski in 1998's Rath Cycle Limited event, and most recently in 1999 with Bob Maher Jr. piloting his Oath of Druids deck. Speculation is rampant as to who this year's winner will be.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the weekend!