A STANDARD WORLD TOUR

Posted in GRAND PRIX STOCKHOLM 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 26, 2014

By Frank Karsten

This is week three of a four-week Standard world tour. The format took off two weeks ago with Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir, where Abzan and Jeskai were the big decks to emerge. The next stop was last weekend in Los Angeles, where the other three clans broke out and red aggro decks emerged in the Top 8. This weekend we're in Stockholm, and next weekend we'll be in Santiago.

There are only very few globetrotters who competed in all of the stops so far. I sat down with three of them---Platinum pro Martin Jůza, No. 5 Ivan Floch, and No. 10 Stanislav Cifka---and asked them about their journeys and how their deck choices changed from weekend to weekend.

Martin Jůza, in his natural habitat, at a Grand Prix table.

 

Jůza played Abzan Midrange at the Pro Tour and Jeskai in Los Angeles. "Both decks were equally good in our testing and I liked how they played, but I didn't do well with Abzan at the Pro Tour, so I played Jeskai in LA," he explained when asked about his deck switch. He also mentioned that he didn't have time to play Magic in between those two events because he was spending the week at the beach in Honolulu with his girlfriend. An acceptable excuse, one might say.

 

For Stockholm, however, he did have time to test. "After Grand Prix Los Angeles, I was expecting Abzan, Jeskai, and a little bit of Mardu, Mono-Red, and Temur. You have to find a deck that beats these," he said.

Jůza's starting point was Brad Nelson's Mardu deck from LA. "Hordeling Outburst is great against Jeskai and Chained to the Rocks is great against Abzan," Jůza continued. "I tried a lot of different versions, but I found that red doesn't add all that much: Butcher of the Horde is not that great and Lightning Strike doesn't kill much. Moreover, people starting playing more Anger of the Gods to answer Hordeling Outburst, and Chained to the Rocks is very demanding on the mana base."

"I was about to give up on the deck and switch to Abzan Aggro because Herald of Torment is great against all the ground creatures, but then Brad messaged me with this black-white deck on Friday. He had brewed it on the plane, and I liked it a lot. I tested it all night and made some little tweaks in the morning."

That's right: While most people were getting a good night's sleep before the GP, Jůza was testing his deck on Magic Online. Jetlag had befallen the world traveler. It's just one of the downsides of traveling through so many time zones. "I threw a game yesterday because I was so tired, and I woke up this morning at 2 am," Jůza said.

Well let's hope that he doesn't fall asleep at the table during the Sunday competition. If you want to learn more about his B/W deck, check out the deck tech that will be posted later today!

(5)Ivan Floch, in his natural habitat, at a Grand Prix table.

 

Ivan Floch played U/B Control at the Pro Tour and G/B Enchantress in Los Angeles. "We felt that Green Devotion, the worst matchup for G/B Enchantress, wouldn't be played as much in Los Angeles because it didn't make Top 8 at the Pro Tour, so we made the switch," he explained when asked about his deck switch.

 

"Nothing changed after LA for me," he continued. "I don't think the metagame has changed that much...it's just slowly evolving, and the decks that were in the Top 8 of LA are relatively good matchups for me. I can beat Mono-red with cheap removal, lots of blockers, Doomwake Giant, and Whip of Erebos, for example. So I thought the deck is still a good choice, even if it's not a special deck---just fine."

Another reason why Floch stuck with his tried-and-true choice was that he found out that he had a cat allergy. "I stayed with Martin last week, and he has a cat. So I lied in bed all week and was unable to build a new deck."

That's a little unfortunate, but at least Floch was able to reason out a few minor changes to his deck: he cut Strength from the Fallen (which was too cute) for Pharika, God of Affliction (which is insane against Abzan). He also added Arbor Colossus and Hero's Downfall to the sideboard to improve against Jeskai.

Unfortunately, Floch came one match short of making it to the second day. Maybe there was a cat in the room?

(10)Stanislav Cifka, in his natural habitat, at a Grand Prix table.

 

Just like his friend and teammate Ivan Floch, Stanislav Cifka played U/B Control at the Pro Tour and G/B Enchantress in Los Angeles, but he wasn't as happy about it. "Overall I had mixed feelings about the enchantress deck," Cifka said. "You need to draw both acceleration and a graveyard engine, and there are many things that can go wrong with the deck."

 

Cifka tried to find something else, but failed. "Since Jeskai was the loser of GP LA, I was trying to find something good against Abzan, but wasn't able to. So I switched back to U/B, even though I'm not satisfied with it either. I did change a few cards to the deck. For example, I added Ætherspouts to the maindeck and sideboard to improve my matchup against Abzan."

The metagame continues to march ever onwards.