What to Expect at Pro Tour Amonkhet

Posted in Top Decks on May 11, 2017

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

Pro Tour Amonkhet features not only a format with the addition of a new set, but one that got shaken up by the removal of one of the pillars of the format. With Saheeli Rai losing her partner in crime, Felidar Guardian, the field has opened up significantly. As such, I expect to see representatives from each major archetype, which we will take a look at today.


Don't worry, Gideon isn't going anywhere, and Vehicles aren't either. Mardu Vehicles is still the premier aggro deck of the format and in fact is just the best deck in the format too. Most decks will be built with Mardu Vehicles in mind, and this will be one of if not the most-played deck in the field.

Yamimaru's Mardu Vehicles

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Game Plan: As before, Mardu Vehicles attacks early and often, getting started with Toolcraft Exemplar on turn one and curving out from there. It is resilient thanks to cards like Gideon and Heart of Kiran and has removal to clear out potential blockers.

It's worth noting that Mardu Vehicles is down to just Heart of Kiran as a Vehicle, but the deck still plays out mostly the same. This particular list has a cool transformational sideboard that many players have adopted, where Oath of Liliana and additional planeswalkers turn the deck into a Mardu Planeswalkers midrange deck.

The Zombie deck has risen from the dead and is viable once more. Not since the days of Geralf's Messenger can I remember such a thing, but thanks to Amonkhet, they are back. There are multiple versions (mono-black and white-black being the two I've seen have the most success), and it really comes down to how much you want access to Wayward Servant versus how bad of a mana base you are willing to put up with.

Charliexbrit's Mono-Black Zombies

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Game Plan: Attack the opponent with a horde of Zombies, taking advantage of multiple tribal payoffs. Lord of the Accursed, Diregraf Colossus, Cryptbreaker, Metallic Mimic, Relentless Dead, Liliana's Mastery, and Dark Salvation all give you significant bonuses for having a critical mass of Zombies, and added together that's almost every spell in the deck. Dark Salvation and Cryptbreaker were just waiting for assistance, and now that there are enough pieces to accompany them, the deck has become a real threat.

I like how resilient this deck is—Relentless Dead and Dread Wanderer are hard to kill, and Dark Salvation plus Liliana's Mastery make many tokens at once. That gives the deck a lot of gas, and normal removal spells often won't do enough to keep the horde at bay. Decks like this are why I like playing four Magma Sprays in any red control deck, as we will see later.


Delirium is another deck that is back on the scene, though this has less to do with new cards being printed than the absence of Saheeli combo. This deck did get a few new additions, and is bound to be a solid part of the metagame.

Jaberwocki's Delirium

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Game Plan: Control the board with removal spells and solid creatures like Grim Flayer. Acquire delirium thanks to Flayer and Vessel of Nascency, and use Traverse the Ulvenwald to search up the best answer for any situation. As with any midrange deck, the cards this deck plays tend to be good on offense or defense, and the deck is capable of playing either side fairly well.

It can lock up the game with Ishkanah and planeswalkers, tutoring up Noxious Gearhulk as removal, or it can curve Grim Flayer into Tireless Tracker and cast multiple removal spells. This deck is a combination of good cards that work together, and is a solid choice as a result.


I've been playing a lot with Torrential Gearhulk lately and am happy with how the deck is positioned. Magma Spray is such a huge addition, as the deck no longer scoops to a Scrapheap Scrounger or Dread Wanderer, and the deck has a few other new toys to play with as well. Here's the list I've been using:

LSV's Blue-Red Control

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Game Plan: Counter or kill everything the opponent plays, getting card advantage via Glimmer of Genius and Torrential Gearhulk. Eventually finish the game by attacking with Gearhulks or Fumaroles.

While the game plan of this deck is simple, actually playing it is not. You have a ton of removal, but you need to use it judiciously to keep the board clear. Using Censor when possible is an easier decision, but knowing what to use Disallow, Commit, or Harnessed Lightning on is a little trickier. As always, playing control decks requires a lot of format knowledge, so keep that in mind when deciding what to build.

Figuring out the metagame is also rewarding for control decks, as this deck could play slightly different removal and counterspell configurations depending on what you expect. This is what I've liked right now, but I could see changing numbers on Sweltering Suns, Essence Scatter, and Negate, if the texture of the threats change.

Another take on Gearhulk is white-blue, trading Magma Spray and Harnessed Lightning for better sweepers and Cast Out.

MDolphins1384's White-Blue Gearkhulk Control

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Game Plan: This is the same as blue-red, with the addition of Gideon of the Trials giving the deck some more aggressive openers.

I will say that I like this version less than blue-red, since Magma Spray really is that good, but I include it for completeness' sake. If you expect more midrange, the removal in this deck is better, and Cast Out is a powerful enough card that it can't be that bad to have it in your deck. I'd still go with blue-red, but I do expect to see some blue-white.


Now this is a combo deck. New Perspectives does as the name suggests, and this is a completely new addition to the scene.

KSK0601's New Perspectives Combo

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Game Plan: Here's how the combo works:

This deck is really neat. It can be vulnerable to enchantment removal and counterspells and straight-up doesn't work without New Perspectives, but it can buy a lot of time with the cyclers like Haze of Pollen and Cast Out. It also dodges most interaction, as creature removal does nothing against it.

This deck is a little newer, but it looks legit. I wouldn't be surprised if it showed up at the Pro Tour, though it's not quite as proven as the rest on the list. There's always an appealing thing about attacking from a new angle, and this certainly does that.

This isn't an exhaustive list of what might show up at Pro Tour Amonkhet, but it gives us a good start. Aetherworks Marvel is also something I've got an eye on, which means that every archetype will be represented. There are strong aggro, midrange, control, and even combo decks, which leaves us with a field that I'm very excited to watch (and in my case specifically, talk about).


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