Grand Prix Toronto and Game Day

Posted in Competitive Gaming on April 28, 2016

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

Following Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad, the Standard metagame has proven to be a wildly diverse format featuring some very powerful card synergies and plenty of time for evolution. We'll see the first step in the transformation of this new Standard format with Grand Prix Toronto—and you will also have an opportunity to show how your Standard prowess has shifted at your local game store, as Shadows over Innistrad Game Day takes place this weekend!

Grand Prix Toronto

It's Standard transformed, as Grand Prix Toronto features our first look at the Standard format following last weekend's Pro Tour. Given that last weekend featured eight different decks in the Top 8, along with one of the most star-studded Sundays in ages, what sorts of evolutions can we expect to see this weekend? Join us for LIVE video coverage on twitch.tv/magic starting Saturday at 1 p.m. local time (ET)/10 a.m. PT/6 p.m. UTC and find out!

The commentators for this weekend are Marshall Sutcliffe, Randy Buehler, and Frank Karsten, joined by Tim Willoughby, who will be hosting features in between rounds. Operating behind the scenes are Rashad Miller, Neil Rigby, and Steven Leeming. The showrunner for Toronto is Corbin Hosler, and he is joined by writer Josh Bennett.

Toronto is sure to be a great look at the continuing shifts in the new Standard format, so check out the coverage to see the latest brews and who will walk away with the $10,000 first-place prize!

Game Day!

Can't make it to Grand Prix Toronto? Then head to your local game store to show your Standard Constructed skills off during Shadows over Innistrad Game Day! These events offer competitive tournaments at game stores worldwide, where players can prove themselves as their store's best.

Game Days offer a participation promo (while supplies last) to anyone who enters this event, so you are extremely likely to get something special for your efforts. The participation promo for Shadows over Innistrad Game Day is a beautifully mad full-art version of Incorrigible Youths.

The Top 8 players will receive a stunningly beautiful (as well as heartbreaking) full-art promo version of Anguished Unmaking.

And of course, the winner of Game Day will receive the coveted Game Day Champion's playmat, featuring the artwork from the set version of Anguished Unmaking.

Looking for some inspiration on what to bring to your Game Day? Check out the Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad coverage for over 100 Standard decklists that performed at 6-4 or better, along with these key strategies that propelled the top finishers of the Pro Tour to Sunday's Top 8:

The Goggles were a popular choice at last weekend's Pro Tour. We saw two players reach the Top 8 with two different decks that utilized the Goggles to maximum efficiency (congratulations, by the way, to Brad Nelson and Luis Salvatto on those Top 8 finishes!).

Pyromancer's Goggles, combined with cards like Tormenting Voice and Magmatic Insight, gives red decks a very rarely seen and powerful level of card draw. Copying one of the latter mentioned red cards with the mana spent via the Goggles only copies the effect of drawing two cards, meaning you only pay the cost for initially casting your Tormenting Voice or Magmatic Insight. This let Nelson and Salvatto power through their deck to find either big creatures, hard-hitting planeswalkers, or huge burn spells like Fall of the Titans.

Looking for a way to out-card the blue control decks? Jonny Magic himself, Jon Finkel, earned an incredible sixteenth Pro Tour Top 8 using a powerful black-green control deck built around lots of removal, discard, Dark Petition, and the deck's namesake: Seasons Past.

Seasons Past lets you re-buy the disruption you've been casting all game, along with cards like Dark Petition...which can then fetch up that Seasons Past you put on the bottom of your deck once you brought a bunch of cards back from your graveyard. Rinse, repeat, and be the only player left with any gas in the tank.

Also important to the above deck, Languish has a key role in this Standard environment: it comes down and sweeps away the many, many creatures that the Humans and Bant Company decks are capable of producing. Languish also found a home in Seth Manfield's Esper Control deck—which was built around removal such as Languish and a suite of planeswalkers—as well as in Shota Yasooka's Esper Dragons deck as a means of staving off early aggression before Dragonlord Ojutai is brought online. Languish has become one of the central cards in this Standard format's control decks.

Perhaps one of the key cards to come out of Shadows over Innistrad is Westvale Abbey, a card that found a home in a multitude of successful Pro Tour decks—notably in Luis Scott-Vargas's Black-Green Aristocrats and Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad Champion Steve Rubin's Green-White Tokens.

Westvale Abbey presents a very real threat when combined with token creatures, as it transforms into a legendary Demon that finds itself very well-positioned against this format's creature removal. Add in lifelink and haste, and the card is a real winner. While Scott-Vargas had plenty of black and green creatures to surround himself with before transforming his land, Steve Rubin could either build up a board of plant tokens from Nissa, Voice of Zendikar or cast a big Secure the Wastes at the end of the opponent's turn, letting him do some truly brutal stuff out of nowhere.

May last weekend's Pro Tour coverage and this suite of...well, sweet cards inspire you to take on your local store's Game Day. Good luck this weekend!

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