VARIETY IN EARLY ROUNDS

Posted in NEWS on December 9, 2013

Even with Standard’s card pool at its post-rotation smallest, there is still a wide variety of decks being played in the format. GP Santiago is no exception, as a quick walk around the floor in round one revealed nearly a dozen different decks being played—plus the odd brew or two.

Mono Black is the current kind of Standard, thanks to its performance at Grand Prix Louisville, but players are starting to branch out with the deck. Here we see Black Devotion Classic against Black-Green Devotion’s new hotness. Abrupt Decay supposedly gives an edge in the mirror by destroying Underworld Connections, but when I walked by, Black Devotion Classic was having his way with the board, despite a Reaper of the Wild.

Orzhov Midrange, ala Patrick Chapin and Paul Reitzl at Pro Tour Theros, has mostly faded since Dublin, but several players are trying to keep it alive this weekend. Standing in this particular Orzhov mage’s way is…Maze’s End? The standout from Pro Tour Dragon’s Maze hasn’t made much impact on new Standard, but maybe this is the weekend it finally breaks out.

Maybe.

Truthfully, Maze’s End’s spot in the metagame is pretty well occupied by Esper Control, a deck which has been putting up solid results almost since the start of the format. However, it has a pretty rough matchup versus Mono Red, a deck that has become increasingly rare in recent weeks…

…because of a certain Master of Waves. Mono Red has very few ways to match or overpower the Mythic Merfolk, and Mono Blue’s rise has been one of the reasons Mono Red has taken a back seat recently.

It’s also a big reason why Green White Aggro decks are having a hard time. Main deck Tidebinder Mages are just a bit too much hate for GW to really get a foothold in the metagame. That doesn’t mean GW won’t be played by many players this weekend. The spirit of Craig Wescoe always prevails.

Just to show that Heliod is getting some love, even if it’s not as much as the other Gods. Granted, it’s sitting in the exile zone thanks to Lifebane Zombie, but, still. Someone is showing the Sun God some devotion.

Yeah, yeah, Esper again, but check out the lands on the other side of the table. Junk hasn’t been particularly popular, but the deck offers a number of powerful options in the current metagame. Brian Braun-Duin thought enough of the archetype to take it to the Pro Tour a week before his Grand Prix win (albeit with a different deck), so there could be something there.

Lest you think every match either involves Black or Blue cards, we spotted several Mono White decks making the rounds against various flavors of Red/Green decks, including this aggressive, non-Devotion version. Sometimes, people just want to attack.

And, of course, the biggest, splashiest deck in the format, Green-Red Devotion, is easy to spot. Here, it takes on UW Control, demonstrating that Esper isn’t the only option when it comes to keeping the board as clear as possible.