The Standard Battle

Posted in Event Coverage on April 17, 2016

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

Nearly 1000 players have been eliminated from the main event at Grand Prix Albuquerque. Still, there’s tons of Magic to be played this Sunday. Many players have opted to play in today’s big Standard side event, The Standard Battle. A lot of people are eager to see what Standard decks are finding success with Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad less than a week away. Let’s take a look at The Standard Battle!

Bant Company strategies that use Collected Company to find powerful creatures like Reflector Mage and Duskwatch Recruiter seem to be the most popular choice here. The deck has been doing very well at other Standard events and it seems to have all the makings of a powerful tier-one strategy.

Various Humans decks: Mono-White, White-Blue, and Green-White are also quite popular. There are a lot of great one-mana creatures that work well when played alongside Always Watching and Declaration of Stone is at its best in an aggressive shell that can punish an opponent for using their mana to sacrifice a clue.

Blue-Red Control variants using Pyromancer’s Goggles are more popular than one might expect. The deck controls the board with various burn spells before pulling way ahead with Pyromancer’s Goggles in conjunction with the Red draw spells like Magmatic Insight and Tormenting Voice. The deck eventually wins by simply burning out opponents. The deck also gets access to the very powerful Thing in the Ice for post-sideboarded games where opponents take out their removal in favor of more interactive cards.

Eldrazi decks are also present. Most are White-Black, but there’s at least one Red version of the deck doing some good work on the offensive end. Cards like Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher are powerful enough that Eldrazi decks should have a place in Standard for some time to come. Enemy painlands and powerful colorless lands means that the Eldrazi decks we see will likely be enemy colored of one color.

Then there’s the rogue contingent.

A lone copy of Esper control tries to make its presence known and a ramp strategy seems to be handily working its way through the event. There’s a lot of great card draw in Standard to make the control decks tick and cards like World Breaker and Dragonlord Atarka are some of the juiciest cards to ramp into that we’ve seen in a very long time.

The new Standard is just starting to be explored. Next weekend, we’ll have a chance to see which decks the best players in the world cook up for Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad. The Pro Tour always introduces new and exciting strategies. What cards do you expect to be Standard breakouts in Madrid?

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