In Garruk's Wake (Standard after Pro Tour Magic 2015)

Posted in Perilous Research on August 7, 2014

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Welcome back to Perilous Research,'s exclusive Magic Online column. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Pro Tour Magic 2015 as a coverage reporter. The tournament was filled with exciting new decks and newer versions of existing archetypes. Some of these decks have significance, while others will fade into obscurity. Today, we'll be taking a look at the most successful decks from Magic Online Daily Events in an effort to pin down the new Standard metagame for the coming weekend.

Let's jump right into decklists!

White-Black Midrange

ESE7EN's White-Black Midrange (4–0 Standard Daily)

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White-Black Midrange was the biggest deck of the Pro Tour by no small margin. There were two copies of White-Black Midrange in the Top 8 of the event. Unfortunately, the deck feels like it could be in a very bad place going forward. It seems to have a less-than-stellar matchup against White-Blue Control and the new Planeswalker strategies. Additionally, it tends to be very bad on the draw against the more aggressive decks of the format. That being said, there's enough versatility and resilience here to make the White-Black Midrange deck a very serious contender in any Standard event.

Black Devotion

Dirge41's Black Devotion (4–0 Standard Daily) 

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Sorcery (6)
2 Sign in Blood 4 Thoughtseize
Instant (4)
4 Hero's Downfall
Other (51)
1   4 Mutavault  20 Swamp  1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth  4 Desecration Demon  4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel  4 Nightveil Specter  4 Pack Rat  3 Bile Blight  2 Devour Flesh  1 Ultimate Price  3 Underworld Connections 
61 Cards
Sideboard (15)
2 Doom Blade 2 Drown in Sorrow  4 Duress  1 Erebos, God of the Dead 3 Lifebane Zombie  1 Liliana Vess  2 Pharika's Cure 

Black Devotion was overshadowed by White-Black Midrange strategies at the Pro Tour, but recent Magic Online events have shown that it's still a tier-1 deck choice. The Pro Tour featured a slower version of Standard than we're used to. Some of the most successful decks at the Pro Tour were Selesnya and Naya decks with a penchant for being aggressive. Those decks are now part of the canon that we'll need to test against when preparing for Standard events. Traditional Black Devotion decks with access to Gray Merchant of Asphodel that take significantly less damage from their lands may be stronger than their White-Black Midrange counterparts right now, and I imagine it will remain that way for at least a few weeks.

White-Blue Control

SarahD's White-Blue Control (4–0 Standard Daily)

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Land (2)
2 Azorius Guildgate
Other (58)
4 Hallowed Fountain  6 Island  2 Mutavault  6 Plains  4 Temple of Enlightenment  1 Temple of Epiphany  1 Temple of Triumph  4 Azorius Charm  4 Dissolve  3 Divination  1 Elixir of Immortality  3 Jace, Architect of Thought  2 Last Breath  3 Planar Cleansing  4 Quicken  4 Sphinx's Revelation  4 Supreme Verdict  2 Syncopate 
60 Cards
Sideboard (15)
2 Last Breath  1 Deicide  2 Dispel  1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion  2 Fiendslayer Paladin 2 Gainsay  1 Jace, Memory Adept  4 Nyx-Fleece Ram 

Last weekend, Ivan Floch won Pro Tour Magic 2015 with a White-Blue Quicken Control deck. The deck is virtually impossible to beat once all of its cogs get moving. It plays more countermagic than any other deck in the format and all of its removal produces tangible card advantage if the opponent tries to apply any sort of real pressure. Other Sphinx's Revelation decks might struggle with creatures like Obzedat, Ghost Council, but this deck is unfazed, simply combining Quicken with Supreme Verdict or Planar Cleansing to great effect. The deck is even better on Magic Online than it is in face-to-face because time constraints are less of an issue.

Jund Planeswalkers

Polarbeer101's Jund Planeswalkers (4–0 Standard Daily) 

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Instant (1)
1 Abrupt Decay
Land (3)
3 Forest
Other (57)
1   1 Blood Crypt  2 Llanowar Wastes  2 Mutavault  3 Overgrown Tomb  4 Stomping Ground  4 Temple of Abandon  4 Temple of Malice  1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth  4 Courser of Kruphix  4 Elvish Mystic  4 Sylvan Caryatid  2 Chandra, Pyromaster  2 Dreadbore  1 Golgari Charm  3 Mizzium Mortars  4 Nissa, Worldwaker  1 Putrefy  1 Rakdos's Return  2 Thoughtseize  2 Ultimate Price  1 Vraska the Unseen  4 Xenagos, the Reveler 
61 Cards
Sideboard (15)
1 Golgari Charm  1 Mizzium Mortars  1 Rakdos's Return  2 Thoughtseize 2 Doom Blade 2 Magma Spray  4 Mistcutter Hydra  2 Scavenging Ooze 

Jund Planeswalkers did a much better job of winning than any other deck at Pro Tour Magic 2015. Pierre Mondon and Yuuki Ichikawa destroyed the Constructed portion of the tournament with the archetype. The Japanese players who brought the deck all had four copies of Nissa, Worldwaker. It's becoming very clear that Nissa, Worldwaker is the most powerful card in Magic 2015. The card only gets better in a world of Planar Cleansing. Our opponents might still be able to Supreme Verdict our 4/4s, but we'll still have a Planeswalker with a ton of loyalty. If they try to Planar Cleansing away the Planeswalker, we'll still have our 4/4s. Either way, it seems like a good deal for us. This strategy has a tremendously good matchup against Black Devotion and White-Black Midrange, a reasonably strong matchup against Sphinx's Revelation decks, but a weak to bad matchup against aggressive white or red strategies. Going forward, I expect this deck to do very well, especially when the format oscillates back to a place where there are a ton of midrange/control decks and very little in the way of aggression.

Blue Devotion

Dracuss's Blue Devotion (4–0 Standard Daily) 

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Creature (4)
4 Thassa, God of the Sea
Artifact (1)
1 Hall of Triumph
Other (56)
1   20 Island  4 Mutavault  4 Cloudfin Raptor  4 Frostburn Weird  2 Hypnotic Siren  3 Judge's Familiar  4 Master of Waves  4 Nightveil Specter  4 Tidebinder Mage  1 Vaporkin  1 Bident of Thassa  2 Domestication  2 Rapid Hybridization 
61 Cards
Sideboard (15)
1 Bident of Thassa  2 Domestication  1 Ætherling 2 Claustrophobia 1 Cyclonic Rift  2 Jace, Memory Adept  2 Negate  2 Ratchet Bomb 2 Staff of the Mind Magus

Blue Devotion is great at punishing the other aggressive decks in Standard, and it manages to have an even matchup against most of the midrange black strategies too. It's hard to say where Blue Devotion will land once the dust settles in the new Standard format. The deck is generally weak to Supreme Verdict strategies and, with Supreme Verdict just winning a Pro Tour, things don't look great for Blue Devotion in the immediate future. Nevertheless, Blue Devotion is exactly the deck we want to be playing against the new wave of aggressive decks like Rabblemaster Red and Selesnya Aggro.


Klent's Burn (4–0 Standard Daily)

Download Arena Decklist
Creature (4)
4 Chandra's Phoenix
Other (48)
1   2 Battlefield Forge  10 Mountain  3 Mutavault  4 Sacred Foundry  4 Temple of Triumph  4 Eidolon of the Great Revel  4 Boros Charm  4 Chained to the Rocks  1 Chandra, Pyromaster  4 Magma Jet  3 Searing Blood  4 Skullcrack 
61 Cards
Sideboard (15)
1 Chandra, Pyromaster  1 Anger of the Gods 1 Assemble the Legion  2 Blind Obedience 4 Boros Reckoner  3 Firedrinker Satyr  2 Mizzium Mortars  1 Pithing Needle 

Matt Sperling was finally able to penetrate the Top 8 at the Pro Tour level last weekend thanks to the power of Red-White Burn. The deck is tremendously strong with Magic 2015. Battlefield Forge and Stoke the Flames provide very nice upgrades. The deck is weak to the new versions of White-Blue Control, but it's certainly capable of beating any opponent and I expect this to be a major player in the Standard field for the foreseeable future.

Pro Tour Magic 2015 drastically changed the Standard metagame. Coming into the event, a lot of players were under the impression that Standard was already a solved format, but there's always room for innovation and improvement, and the most successful decks of last weekend are a testament to that. Going forward, we can expect the rest of the Standard world to be just as breakable. Don't fall into the trap of stagnancy. Evolve, adapt, and innovate the way to victory!

Knowledge is power!

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