Throwback Standard Gauntlet 7: Worldwake

Posted in Magic Online on August 23, 2017

By Randy Buehler

Standard in 2009 and 2010 is without a doubt one of the most powerful periods in the history of the format. It's the last time anything had to be banned before this year, and the culprits were a pair of incredible cards from Worldwake: Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Luckily for us, planeswalker rules have gotten a bit more forgiving since then; it used to be that when you played your Jace, your opponent's was destroyed. But those weren't the only powerful things you could do. Modern staples like Splinter Twin and Valakut were also running around, as was Jund. Jund, especially Bloodbraid Elf, was actually good enough to keep Jace kind of in-check for the eight months they overlapped.

Note: This event can be found in the Limited Leagues area of Magic Online play lobby.

Worldwake Standard Throwback Standard Gauntlet League

  • Start Time: August 30
  • End Time: Entries end September 6 at 10 a.m. Pacific, matches end September 6 at 2 a.m. Pacific
  • Location: Play Lobby -> Limited Tournaments -> Leagues
  • Entry Options:
    • 10 Event Tickets
    • 100 Play Points
  • Number of Players: 8-5,000
  • Product: One randomly-selected phantom deck from the below list. The cards in the deck will not be added to your collection.
  • Structure: Deck review, followed by 3 Swiss rounds
  • Prizes:
    • 3 wins: 150 Play Points
    • 2 wins: 100 Play Points
    • 1 win: 40 Play Points
    • 0 wins: 10 Play Points

Naya

Andre Coimbra won Worlds 2009 with a strategy not all that different from the one Brian Kibler used to win the Extended-format Pro Tour Austin a month earlier: when everyone else is playing Zoo, go bigger and bring on the Baneslayer Angels! Coimbra was also able to go over the top of the Jund decks as well, helped out by having his own Bloodbraid Elves.

Apologies in advance to Luis Scott-Vargas, whose Boss Naya deck helped him go 16-0 at Pro Tour San Diego. His was probably a slightly more powerful list overall than this one, since Worldwake got printed between these events and he had two Stoneforge Mystics. However, four main-deck Baneslayers is just cooler than two in the sideboard, plus Coimbra did win Worlds, so the "scoreboard" defense is in full effect here.

Naya

Jund

There were three Jund decks in the Top 8 of Worlds a few months earlier, and then Pro Tour San Diego was Jund versus Jund in the finals. Simon Görtzen won the PT with the list we are using here. The deck then went on to dominate Standard Grand Prix during the next month as well, with the only real difference in the lists being that most people preferred two main deck Terminates where Simon ran Rampant Growths.

For Gauntlet events like this one, players can change the deck configuration before playing any league matches, if you want to play the Terminates main instead of the Rampant Growths.

Let the record show that it took quite few months before Jace, the Mind Sculptor started to really throw his weight around. Worldwake was legal for Pro Tour San Diego, but only three copies of Jace, the Mind Sculptor made the Top 8. Even those were in a copy of the long-forgotten Open the Vaults "combo" deck. Even Luis Scott-Vargas surprised himself by choosing to shuffle up Wild Nacatl and Bloodbraid Elf at the Pro Tour instead of Jace.

Jund

Conscription

Once Rise of the Eldrazi was released, Gideon Jura gave a nice push to the Blue-White Control decks. And I don't know what sadist first started running Spreading Seas as a way to mess with the Jund decks' mana, but that card became shockingly popular. Brad Nelson won Grand Prix Washington, DC, in May with one of the five Blue-White Control decks to make Top 8, four of which used Spreading Seas. Jund was still having plenty of success, including Owen Turtenwald piloting it to a runner-up finish, but the flood of Jace decks really began there. Brian Kibler continued that trend by winning Grand Prix Sendai with a "Next Level Bant" deck. Note that I haven't included Brad's or Brian's deck in the gauntlet because the Blue-White Control slot was kind of taken by Caw Blade, but I thought the history and metagame evolution would be interesting.

The Jace deck that I am including is the one Josh Utter-Leyton used to win US Nationals in 2010 with a beautiful 10-0-1 record in Standard. In addition to Gideon, Rise of the Eldrazi also gave us Eldrazi Conscription, and for the four months when it overlapped in Standard with Sovereigns of Lost Alara, you could do some really naughty things. This deck is designed to summon a Sovereigns as soon as possible and then attack with whatever mana dork is left over. You get to search your deck for Eldrazi Conscription, which promptly gives that creature +10/+10 and trample. Your annihilator 2 does not trigger that turn, but whatever! It will trigger the following turn when you attack again in case the +10/+10 and trample (and potentially a second copy as well) isn't good enough. Jace is actually the backup plan in this deck, which is in my opinion one of the most underrated Standard decks of all time. I think most people have forgotten this combo ever existed, presumably because there was no Pro Tour when it was legal, but in my mind it's good enough to brawl with Stoneforge Mystic and Batterskull.

Conscription

Caw Blade

So you remember that Pro Tour Paris that was dominated by Caw Blade? Yeah that was one set before Batterskull was printed. Ben Stark won the PT with Sylvok Lifestaff in his deck! The version we're using here is from a Grand Prix won by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa after New Phyrexia came out. For what it's worth, the deck continued to win even after Jace and Stoneforge Mystic were banned, including a Yuuya Watanabe win at Grand Prix Pittsburgh 2011. Simply one of the most ridiculously dominant decks ever legal in Standard.

Caw Blade

Blue-Black Control

The Guillaumes Matignon and Wafo-Tapa, battled for the 2011 World Championship with this archetype, with Matignon winning and thereby forcing the legendary Player of the Year tiebreaker playoff match at the next Pro Tour (which was won by Brad Nelson). This specific list is from Grand Prix Barcelona, which was just after the Caw Blade era began at PT Paris, and which Wafo-apa also Top 8'ed.

UB Control

Boros Stoneblade

Again, I kind of wanted to use the list that the Hall of Famer used to make the finals of Pro Tour Paris. In this case, it was Paul Rietzl double-queuing a Grand Prix. However, the list became better once Batterskull was published. So we're going with the version from Grand Prix Singapore which Chikara Nakajima piloted to a semifinal victory over Owen Turtenwald's Caw Blade before losing in the finals to Paulo's almost-identical version of Caw Blade.

Boros Stoneblade

TwinBlade

Jace and Stoneforge were not the only crazy-powerful options running around during this iteration of Standard. You could also play the Splinter Twin combo, which many people ran in a shell that also included Stoneforge Mystic.

TwinBlade

Splinter Twin

Lots of versions of this archetype were floating around. This is the one Matt Nass used to Top 8 GP Pittsburgh, and it pretty closely resembles the basic strategy that became dominant in Modern.

Splinter Twin

Creature (7)
4 Deceiver Exarch 3 Grim Lavamancer
Sorcery (10)
4 Preordain 4 Ponder 2 Gitaxian Probe
Artifact (4)
4 Shrine of Piercing Vision
Enchantment (4)
4 Splinter Twin
60 Cards

Valakut Ramp

Speaking of strategies powerful enough to get (briefly) banned in Modern, Valakut was one of the defining decks of the format despite not having either Jace or Stoneforge Mystic. Pat Cox won a StarCityGames.com Open with this version, which invested heavily in improving the matchup versus blue via Summoning Traps and Oracles. For what it's worth, Eduardo Sajgalik Top 8'ed GP Barcelona with a very similar list, just with the Traps starting in the sideboard.

Valakut Ramp

Mono-Red Shrine

Of course, even with all those powerful cards available, some people just like to watch the world burn.

Mono-Red Shrine

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