Deck Tech: Green-White Tokens with Jasper Grimmer

Posted in GRAND PRIX MANCHESTER 2016 on May 28, 2016

By Tobi Henke

The name Jasper Grimmer may not mean much to you, but the up-and-coming player from Germany already reached the Top 8 of a Grand Prix three times before, and regularly makes our shortlist of players to watch. This weekend, he had brought one of Standard's standards in Green-White Tokens.

"I've been playing the deck ever since the Pro Tour. I strongly believe having a deck that you know inside and out is the most important thing in Standard," Grimmer explained. "Because in Standard matchups are very close, in the 45 to 55 percent range mostly, rarely up to 60/40, nothing like, for instance, in Legacy where you get some 70/30 matchups. So knowing your deck and being able to pilot it optimally has a much greater influence on your win percentage than actually having the optimal deck.

"That's why I decided to settle on a deck as early as possible. So I figured, yeah, why not pick the Pro Tour champion's," said Grimmer. Of course, that list was only the beginning and changed somewhat during the following weeks of testing and tuning. Grimmer was quick to point out the value even of minor improvements, although in this case he replaced about eight cards from Steve Rubin's PT winning list.

Jasper Grimmer

Grimmer was an early adopter of Lambholt Pacifist and Declaration in Stone, for example, which were missing from Rubin's main deck. "Both of these inclusions seem to be the consensus nowadays," said Grimmer. "I guess everyone realized you simply need the Declaration. It's not just that you want more removal than just Dromoka's Command, but also that Dromoka's Command can't handle a lot of problematic cards, especially if you don't have an active Gideon, Ally of Zendikar; Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is a problem, killing Dragonlord Silumgar with the Command is sometimes hard and always a bad trade, and killing Ormendahl, Profane Prince is obviously impossible."

The addition of Lambholt Pacifist was a little trickier. "The beauty of the original deck was that it was almost immune to −4/−4, whether in the form of Grasp of Darkness or Languish. The tokens would die, but Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar would remain and rebuild; Thraben Inspector and Hangarback Walker leave behind their artifact tokens; and you could often hold back Sylvan Advocate until it was 4/5," Grimmer explained. "I think, in the Pro Tour Top 8, Seth Manfield even took out Languish when sideboarding against Rubin."

On the flip side, Lambholt Pacifist gave the deck more play both against aggressive Human decks and against control strategies. "You just need one activation of Nissa, Voice of Zendikar or one Dromoka's Command to turn the Pacifist into an interventionist. And it's quite important to be able to put some pressure on planeswalkers early, in the mirror and elsewhere. Also, control players can't just pass their turn to keep up mana for a counter or a removal spell anymore."

Grimmer had played four copies of Lambholt Pacifist for a while, but shortly before the Grand Prix he removed one and went down to two Hangarback Walkers to make room for a Den Protector and a Tireless Tracker. "I've always been impressed with Tireless Tracker after sideboarding, so much so that I wanted to try it out in the main deck. Obviously, the card is much better post-sideboard when games go longer and center on attrition."

Other cards Grimmer considered to be possible cuts were Secure the Wastes and the third Oath of Nissa. "I have played the deck on Magic Online almost everyday for weeks now, but I still haven't it all figured out yet. There are so many options ..."

Nevertheless Grimmer did put up some minor results with the deck already, finishing in the Top 16 of the Shadows over Innistrad Standard Championship on Magic Online a week ago. "I wouldn't mind replicating that result this weekend," he said with a smile.

Jasper Grimmer: Green-White Tokens

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