Throwback Standard Gauntlet 9: Recent Past

Posted in Magic Online on November 1, 2017

By Randy Buehler

The last period we’re exploring with a Throwback Standard Gauntlet runs from the release of Theros through last summer. This does mean there won’t be any decks from the last 12 months, because it wouldn’t be much of a “throwback” if there were, right? However, this doesn’t mean we’re done with Throwback Standard. The final Gauntlet will be a “Gauntlet of Greatness,” pitting the top-performing decks from each event against one another to compete across eras!

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

Recent Past Throwback Standard Gauntlet League

  • Dates: November 8-17
  • Start Time: November 8 at 10:00 a.m. PT
  • End Time: November 17 at 10:00 a.m. PT
  • 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

Blue Devotion

The breakout deck when Theros made its Pro Tour debut was Mono-Blue Devotion, with Jeremy Dezani defeating teammate Pierre Dagen in a mirror match in the finals. The deck didn’t get many more cards over the course of its time in Standard, but it stayed very relevant and continued to put up results throughout the year.

Blue Devotion

Black Devotion

While the blue devotion deck dominated the Pro Tour, it was not the most relevant devotion deck throughout the whole year. Kentaro Yamamoto quietly made that Top 8 with a Mono-Black Devotion deck sporting two copies of draft bomb Pack Rat. One week later, the trio of Brad Nelson, Brian Braun-Duin, and Todd Anderson all made Top 8 at Grand Prix Louisville with the same deck, and BBD took home the title. A month later, Owen Turtenwald used a version with four Pack Rats to win Grand Prix Albuquerque. The rest is history.

Black Devotion

Sphinx’s Rev Control

White-blue-based control decks were a fixture of Standard throughout the time Sphinx's Revelation was legal. The ability to trade cards in the early game, focusing on staying alive and making land drops, paired remarkably well with the ability to eventually draw X cards and gain X life. Pretty much every color showed up as a splash in various versions of the archetype, but we’re using the version that won the Pro Tour in the hands of Ivan Floch, and it didn’t use a splash color at all.

Sphinx's Rev Control

Sidisi Whip

Khans of Tarkir introduced quite a few powerful three-color cards to Standard, and all five of its clans showed up in Top 8s over the two years it was legal. Sultai (blue-black-green) probably peaked in the hands of Shahar Shenhar when he used this deck to win his second consecutive World Championship. His deck combined the graveyard-filling power of Sidisi, Brood Tyrant with the reanimation ability of Whip of Erebos to harness a constant stream of both power and value.

Sidisi Whip

Abzan

The most successful of the clans must be the Abzan. Premier event Top 8s were littered with versions of this deck, ranging from Aggro to Megamorph all the way to Control. All of them featured what is perhaps the most powerful four-mana creature of all time: Siege Rhino. The version we’re using here is the one Seth Manfield used to win his World Championship in a thrilling five-game mirror match against Owen Turtenwald.

Abzan

Red-Green Monsters

This was a good era for ramp decks, as three different cheap mana creatures were all legal at the same time. Beyond that, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx provided crazy amounts of mana early enough in the game that players could actually run four copies of a seven-mana Dragon and feel good about themselves for doing it. Variations of this basic strategy ranged from Dragon decks to Megamorph decks, but we’re going with the version that made Top 8 at the Pro Tour by leaning heavily on devotion and the power of Nykthos.

Red-Green Monsters

Red Aggro

Martin Dang was the first one to show us the power of red decks in the allegedly three-color world, winning Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir with Atarka Red. Joel Larssen then refined the strategy after Magic Origins was added to Standard, streamlining the deck into this mono-red version he used to win that set’s Pro Tour.

Red Aggro

Esper Dragons

The control deck of choice after Sphinx's Revelation rotated out used anywhere from six to ten Dragons alongside “dragon-matters” cards like Silumgar's Scorn, Foul-Tongue Invocation, and (sometimes) Crux of Fate. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the most successful of these control players was Shota Yasooka, who used this version to put up the Pro Tour Top 8 that helped push him into the Hall of Fame.

Esper Dragons

Green-White Tokens

Steve Rubin won the Pro Tour with this deck, and it went on to be the defining deck of Standard for quite a few months. It’s not always the case that the deck that wins the Pro Tour goes on to dominate Standard, but that’s what happened in this case. This list was able to weather the early aggro storm from the Humans deck that dominated the previous weeks while also going over the top of the Collected Company decks via Archangel Avacyn.

Green-White Tokens

Bant Company

Whether it was fueling Cryptolith Rite and “Aristocrats”-style combos, putting tons of synergistic Humans into play, or just putting lots of good three-mana green creatures onto the table, you couldn’t play Standard without at least a few of your opponents tapping four mana and looking at their top six cards to see what company they could collect. This specific list is the one Brian Braun-Duin used to win his World Championship.

Bant Company

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