Looking in on Five Video Deck Techs

Posted in GRAND PRIX PARIS 2015 on May 10, 2015

By Frank Karsten

Early on Saturday morning, the video team invited several well-known players to talk a bit about their Standard deck of choice. I took a moment to watch and listen to what these masters had to say.

Platinum level pro Martin Jůza opted for Sultai Megamorph. We may have called this style of deck Sidisi-Whip in the past, but in Jůza's list, the legendary enchantment has been replaced by Deathmist Raptor. This change makes the deck less vulnerable to Dromoka's Command while retaining a Sidisi-fueled recusion engine. Jůza mentioned that his deck had Standard master Brad Nelson's stamp of approval, and you can't go wrong with that.

He also had some insights to share with regards to matchups. "This deck is good in the Raptor mirror because you mill yourself more than your opponent does. If not for the Raptor mirror, I hope to be paired against Stormbreath Dragon decks because I have 1-mana Murderous Cuts or against Mono-Red because I have access to multiple Bile Blights. I don't like the Abzan Aggro matchup, however, so I hope to avoid that. Esper Dragons is also not great because I have so many removal spells in the maindeck."

Martin Jůza's Sidisi Megamorph – Grand Prix Paris 2015

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After three byes and six rounds of competition, Jůza had only dropped a single match and was confidently sitting at 8-1.

Gold level pro Fabrizio Anteri chose to go with Black/Green Megamorph featuring Whisperwood Elemental. "Eight is not enough morphs for Deathmist Raptor, and Whisperwood Elemental does it all after they tap out or have their removal discarded with Thoughtseize."

His two-color deck is less powerful than Abzan Megamorph or Sultai Megamorph, but his mana base is much better. He has fewer lands that enter the battlefield tapped and will take less damage from his lands than the three-color decks, and that improves his matchup against aggro decks like Mono-Red. Additionally, he felt the white or blue creatures wouldn't add much. "Siege Rhino and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant are more creatures, but I wanted more spells."

Fleecemane Lion was not a draw to white either. "Satyr Wayfinder might in fact be better because of the synergy with Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor." In addition, when Satyr Wayfinder teams up with Read the Bones, Anteri can sift through his deck quickly and eventually turn Den Protector into a pseudo-tutor for the various one-ofs in his main deck and sideboard. "Ugin is better than Garruk, for example, but getting the choice and variety is valuable in a Den Protector deck."

Fabrizio Anteri's Black/Green Megamorph – Grand Prix Paris 2015

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At the end of Day 1, Anteri had snuck into the Sunday competition at 7-2.

Hall of Famer Gabriel Nassif is known for his prowess with control decks, so people may not expect him to be on Abzan Aggro when sitting down for the match. As a result, they might keep an awful hand versus his creature deck. But throwing off opponents wasn't the main reason for his deck choice. "I didn't play much since the last Pro Tour and wanted to pick a deck I am comfortable with so that I won't make too many mistakes," Nassif explained.

"I played Abzan Aggro a decent amount while testing for the Pro Tour, and I copied Paul Rietzl's 75 from the Top 16 of Grand Prix Toronto. It's designed to do well against Esper, and I trust him." Rietzl's Abzan Aggro list features four copies of Warden of the First Tree in the main deck to enable fast starts. His removal mix gives preference to Abzan Charm (over Ultimate Price, Valorous Stance, or Bile Blight) because a lot of people are playing Deathmist Raptor. And, as always, the deck can just go Thoughtseize into Lion into Anafenza into Siege Rhino, which is nigh unbeatable.

Gabriel Nassif's Abzan Aggro – Grand Prix Paris 2015

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However, Nassif failed to make Day 2 and dropped out at 5-3.

Pro Tour Born of the Gods Top 8 competitor Patrick Dickmann registered a deck that is somewhat reminiscent of the Jeskai Dragons deck that he ran at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir, but now with black instead of blue. This gives him a good answer to Dragonlord Ojutai in the form of Crackling Doom. "Thunderbreak Regent and Stormbreath Dragon are well-positioned because they fly over the ground guys," he explained. "I've been playing this deck for two or three weeks now, so I wasn't happy to see Edgar Magelhaes put it on the radar with his second-place finish at Grand Prix Toronto last weekend, but I think it's well-positioned right now."

His deck features several sweet combos with Soulfire Grand Master. You can easily gain 6 life with Draconic Roar, and you can do even better with Anger of the Gods from the sideboard. Gaining 15+ life is not unheard of, and Dickmann was full of praise for the red sweeper. "Anger of the Gods is good against Red Aggro, but it's also an answer to Deathmist Raptor, which has grown more popular and successful recently."

Patrick Dickmann's Mardu Dragons – Grand Prix Paris 2015

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Dickmann made Day 2 with a 7-2 record.

The last Grand Prix in Paris was won by Javier Dominguez, and he had come back in the hope of renew his title. This time, he was piloting Green/White Company, featuring 27 creatures of three mana or less. As determined here, this gives him 1.84 creatures per Collected Company on average. To take full advantage of Collected Company, Dominguez has twelve 3-drops, and to support a curve heavy on threes, he has four Elvish Mystics for acceleration.

Like many players in attendance today, Dominguez is also sporting the Deathmist Raptor plus Den Protector engine, in addition to two Hidden Dragonslayers as further morphs. However, in contrast to most other megamorph decks, his deck also includes Boon Satyr. "It's great on Den Protector because it essentially makes it unblockable. If the opponent casts Elspeth, I can just kill it with a 6/3 Den Protector."

Javier Dominguez's Green/White Company – Grand Prix Paris 2015

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At the end of Day 1, Dominguez made it in with eight wins and one loss.