The Evolution of Green-White Tokens with Christian Calcano

Posted in Event Coverage on May 7, 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

Before Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad, Standard seemed to be dominated by aggressive strategies like Humans and Bant Collected Company decks. The Pro Tour ushered in a completely new Standard landscape where control and ramp strategies had found the right mix of spells to weather the storm against aggressive opponents. However, when the dust settled, a new aggressive deck had risen to the top. Steve Rubin's Green-White Tokens deck bested all comers in the elimination rounds and became the deck to beat in Standard.

Rubin's deck attacked from a lot of different angles. Aggressive starts were backed up by planeswalkers that put control decks in difficult positions where they were forced to deal with very specific pieces of the Green-White plan, one at a time.

Let's take a look at Rubin's deck from Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad!

Steve Rubin - Green-White Tokens

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Standard has continued to evolve in the wake of the Pro Tour. Suddenly, Control decks of every flavor imaginable are going deep in tournaments. Bant Collected Company decks have mostly been replaced with Cryptolith Rite strategies that are usually taking advantage of Eldrazi Displacer .

Christian Calcano is defending home turf this weekend here at Grand Prix New York. Calcano follows the Grand Prix circuit around the world and it's finally come to him.

Calcano always wants to win, but this weekend carries a heavier burden.

Christian Calcano

With victory on the brain, Calcano practiced on Magic Online for countless hours in the week leading up to this event. Green-White Tokens became his weapon of choice.

Always looking for new innovations, Calcano went to work.

The format looked a lot different than it did when Rubin won Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad. Nowadays, Eldrazi Displacer is everywhere and there isn't as much focused aggression. Calcano expected a lot of Cryptolith Rite decks, Grixis Control, and other Green-White decks.

Calcano found himself sideboarding out Hangarback Walker against just about everything.

Hangarback Walker was great when I played it for zero to flip Archangel Avacyn , but it was pretty bad otherwise. It would get blinked by Eldrazi Displacer and give my opponent a free kill spell or just be generally unimpressive.”

Hangarback Walker kept coming out for games two and three while Den Protector and extra copies of Declaration in Stone kept coming it. Calcano decided to cut out the middle man.

“I realized that I could be playing my deck in a configuration that was close to how I would've sideboarded for most of the major matchups.”

The new changes gutted the deck's existing sideboard and gave Calcano enough space to experiment with new cards. Calcano found that Surrak, the Hunt Caller , Gryff's Boon, Tireless Tracker, and Seasons Past in the sideboard gave Green-White the malleability it needed to play as an aggressive, midrange, or controlling strategy, depending on the opponent.

“The new changes let me play a deck that's well positioned against my opponent and I know enough to know how the major decks want to sideboard against me and I can make my opponent's decks very bad for games two and three.”

It seems like a great plan. Will Christian “The Calculator” Calcano defend New York from an onslaught of outsiders and hoist a trophy in the air on Sunday evening? Stay tuned to continuing coverage of Grand Prix New York!

Christian Calcano - Green-White

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