Welcome to Kuala Lumpur and Kaladesh Standard

Posted in GRAND PRIX KUALA LUMPUR 2016 on October 22, 2016

By Chapman Sim

Pro Tour Kaladesh is in the books and we saw Shota Yasooka win his second Pro Tour. Aside from Kaladesh being an incredibly wondrous world, the Standard format also seems to be multitudinally diverse with combo, aggro, midrange, and control decks witnessed.

Let's take a quick look at what to expect this weekend in Kuala Lumpur (and Providence) based on the results from Pro Tour Kaladesh and how are our inventors adapting to the ever-changing climate?

The Combo Decks

  • Temur Aetherworks

It has been a while since we saw a full-fledged combo deck do its magic in Standard but the introduction of Aetherworks Marvel has certainly made it a possibility. Temur Aetherworks was the most played deck at Honolulu from among the field of nearly 500, even though the common consensus is that the surprise element is gone or that it is vulnerable to a more readily-prepared populace.

For example, Transgress the Mind, Ceremonious Rejection, and Negate are great options to prevent a turn-four Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger from hitting the board!

Are there other options out there for the combo player?

Matthew Nass - Temur Aetherworks

The Aggro Decks

  • Red-Green Energy
  • White-Red Vehicles
  • Mardu Vehicles

If an aggro deck with a combo kill is your cup of tea, Red-Green Energy might just be right up your alley. Servant of the Conduit and Voltaic Brawler accumulate energy to abuse Electrostatic Pummeler and Bristling Hydra with, while the threat of being killed out of nowhere by Larger than Life, Built to Smash, Blossoming Defense, and Uncaged Fury continue to keep opponents on their toes.

Smuggler's Copter leads the charge in pushing the format into a more aggressive direction. Crewing vehicles is made easier in decks that run upwards of sixteen or twenty creatures and the fact that vehicles evade sorcery-speed removal make them resilient threats that are coherent with the aggro players' game plan.

White and Red cards form the core of the Boros and Mardu decks, thanks to the existence of Toolcraft Exemplar, Veteran Motorist, and Depala, Pilot Exemplar, all of which have seen heavy play in the past weeks. In some cases, players have also taken the liberty of making a black splash for Scrapheap Scrounger and Unlicensed Disintegration.

Lee Shi Tian - Mardu Vehicles

The Midrange Decks

  • White-Blue Flash
  • Black-Green Delirium
  • Temur Emerge

After Joey Manner's impressive run at Honolulu, White-Blue Flash has become a heavily-favored choice going into this weekend simply because it is a deck that offers a nice mix of threats and countermagic. Spell Queller, Archangel Avacyn, and Stasis Snare are not only difficult to play around, it can be devastating if handled inadequately.

On the other hand, Black-Green Delirium has much less finesse but have significantly more removal. They can attempt to control the board with their removal suite, tear apart an opponent's hand with discard spells or offer pressure via Grim Flayer, Liliana, the Last Hope, and Tireless Tracker. Traverse the Ulvenwald can search for Ishkanah, Grafwidow or Emrakul, the Promised End when required. Alternatively, they can just grind you out with the good old Tireless Tracker.

Last but not least, Temur Emerge seemed to have died down a little after Pro Tour Eldritch Moon, but it is capable of preying upon players who underestimate it. Filigree Familiar can enable premature Elder Deep-Fiend, along with complimentary board wipes in the form of Kozilek's Return before closing the game with Emrakul, the Promised End.

Joey Manner - White-Blue Flash

The Control Decks

  • Grixis Control
  • Jeskai Control
  • Blue-Red Spells

Control decks are back in full force thanks to the printing of Torrential Gearhulk in Kaladesh and it was not surprising to see Shota Yasooka take down Pro Tour Kaladesh with a couple of these bad boys. The finalist Carlos Romão was also sporting the powerful gearhulk.

Grixis Control lends strength from Painful Truths, Unlicensed Disintegration, and Essence Extraction, while Jeskai control prefers to utilize Immolating Glare, Blessed Alliance, and Fumigate, among other tools. Either way, both archetypes are happy to include Harnessed Lightning and Radiant Flames to help them survive to the late game where the deck can shine.

Dynavolt Tower is another card which helped blue control decks make a resurgence and only time will tell if Pierre Dagen's "counter burn" strategy will become a mainstay. Whatever it is, we expect Kaladesh Standard to be as exciting as ever!

Shota Yasooka - Grixis Control

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