Throwback Standard Gauntlet 8: Innistrad Standard

Posted in Magic Online on October 25, 2017

By Randy Buehler

This gauntlet covers September 2011 through August 2013: the two years when Innistrad was legal in Standard. Delver of Secrets was certainly one of the defining things going on, but there were several other things you could do: mid-range/big creature decks to satisfy your inner Timmy, plus sacrifice-based combo shenanigans to keep your inner Johnny happy.

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

Innistrad Standard Throwback Standard Gauntlet League

  • Dates: November 1-8
  • Location: Play Lobby -> Limited Tournaments -> Leagues
  • Entry Options
    • 10 Event Tickets
    • 100 Play Points
  • 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

Pod

While the power of Birthing Pod was only fully realized in the bigger card pool of Modern, where multiple infinite combos could be stitched together, it also saw a fair amount of play in Standard purely as a value card. Gavony Township is an unsurprising superstar, with the rest of the deck consisting primarily of mana creatures and creatures that provide value when they either enter or leave the battlefield.

Pod

Tempered Steel

Team ChannelFireball had one of their most dominant Pro Tours ever at Worlds 2011. At that event, they put four different team members into the Top 8, each piloting this artifact-based beatdown deck in Standard. Metalcraft was not as dominant as Affinity was in its day, but you’ll still recognize several of these cards from the current Modern incarnation of the deck.

Tempered Steel

Wolf Run Ramp

CFB did not actually claim that Worlds title. Instead it went to Jun'ya Iyanaga with an archetype that continued to shape Standard throughout the next year. Four months after Worlds, Brian Kibler won Pro Tour Dark Ascension with his version, sporting six Titans and a full playset of Huntmaster of the Fells to ramp into.

Wolf Run Ramp

Delver

It may not have won a Pro Tour, but the most dominant deck of 2012 was without a doubt Delver. There were seven Standard-format Grand Prix held in the first half of the year, and Delver decks won fully six of them! Yuuya Watanabe won two of those, so it is his list, with six hexproof creatures and a trio of Runechanter's Pikes, that we're using here.

Delver

Rakdos Aggro

Once Return to Ravnica replaced Scars of Mirrodin in Standard, Delver faced some stiff competition from another beatdown deck. There were several different ways to leverage the new aggressive black and hybrid-black cards. Some played around more with Zombie synergies, but pretty much all of them included Geralf's Messenger. Versions of Rakdos won GP Charleston and GP San Antonio, and placed in the Top 8 of Bochum and Quebec as well.

Rakdos Aggro

Bant Auras

While there are no actual Bogles in this list, the strategy will look familiar to anyone who enjoys tormenting their opponents by putting piles of enchantments onto those small hexproof creatures. Two copies of this deck actually met in the finals of Grand Prix Atlantic City in January 2013, with Jon Stern emerging victorious over Josh Utter-Leyton.

Bant Auras

Aristocrats

This is a quintessential Sam Black deck, and Tom Martell benefitted from his design wizardry to win Pro Tour Gatecrash. I couldn’t hope to tell you all the intricacies of the ways these creatures interact in a single paragraph so just accept that you will miss something every time you play, and you will nonetheless enjoy all the stuff you do figure out.

Aristocrats

Esper Control

The control decks at that Pro Tour took a couple of different forms, but the one that had the most staying power was an Esper build with very few creatures and a game plan built around trading answers for threats one-for-one until it could pull ahead with Sphinx's Revelation. This one is for all of you who have been waiting patiently for Gauntlet-time to advance far enough to play with Sphinx’s Rev again.

Esper Control

Junk Reanimator

When Martin Juza won Grand Prix Bochum with a crazy Craterhoof Behemoth concoction, he credited Brad Nelson for the deck design. As the year continued and more cards got added to Standard, the Craterhoofs (and Somberwald Sages) were left behind in favor of Thragtusks and Angels of Serenity. The fundamental synergy between Grisly Salvage, Mulch, and Unburial Rites formed the core of this deck, relying on support from mana Elves. Altogether, variations of this deck won two more Grand Prixs before the format rotated.

Junk Reanimator

Jund

Cascade might have rotated out of Standard by this point, but that didn’t stop people from playing grindy black-green decks. No one did better with this archetype than Reid Duke, who used it to win Grand Prix Miami before piloting it to an impressive second-place finish at Worlds 2013.

Jund

UWR Flash

Worlds 2013 was won by Shahar Shenhar, wielding what we would now call Jeskai Control as his Standard deck. It’s similar to the Esper control decks, in that it can trade resources and win with the card advantage from a big Sphinx's Revelation. But unlike those decks, this one has a lot more creatures, most of which can be played at instant speed, making it capable of shifting roles and winning the game surprisingly quickly.

UWR Flash

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