Deck Tech: White-Blue with Steve Hatto

Posted in Event Coverage on October 29, 2016

By Tobi Henke

No one went 10-0 in Standard at Pro Tour Kaladesh, but four people finished the Constructed portion with a 9-1 record. All of them did so with white-blue. One of the decks used a somewhat lower curve and included Rattlechains, two had more Angels but were missing a few Gideons. Steve Hatto, a Silver Level pro from Luxembourg, meanwhile took the middle ground and registered a list for the Pro Tour which came closest to what white-blue players all over the globe would later play.

"I wouldn't say my list was the best of the bunch, just the most conservative," said Hatto. "I think my version also got a lot of attention because it was listed first on the page, thanks to alphabetical sorting," he added with a chuckle.

"24 lands, though, which two of the 9-1 decks at the Pro Tour had, now that's definitely wrong," was the only criticism Hatto was willing to offer.

Steve Hatto's White-Blue at Pro Tour Kaladesh

Download Arena Decklist
Planeswalker (4)
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Instant (4)
2 Skywhaler's Shot 2 Negate
Artifact (4)
4 Smuggler's Copter
Enchantment (3)
3 Stasis Snare
Land (25)
11 Plains 6 Island 4 Port Town 4 Prairie Stream
60 Cards

Now tied for first place in the race for the title of Standard Master, Hatto was an obvious choice to talk to about the deck's future. In fact, he was playing an updated version here at Grand Prix Warsaw and was 4-1 so far.

Many people had argued that the metagame had moved on, that white-blue wasn't a good choice anymore. The theory being that white-blue beats Aetherworks Marvel (which had been popular at the Pro Tour) and Black-Green Delirium beats white-blue (popular at Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur and Grand Prix Providence last week). Hatto didn't agree.

"I believe the matchup against Black-Green Delirium isn't as bad as people say. One needs to be aware of what the major players are, which would be Grim Flayer and Ishkanah, Grafwidow, and play accordingly, but I'd say the matchup is about even," Hatto claimed. "If Ishkanah is not present, because it's not drawn or because it gets countered, or if there's no delirium, then they're in trouble. Admittedly, that's why I upgraded my Negates to Spell Shrivels.

"It also is one of those classic matchups where the pilot can make a big difference. It's great fun, beautiful Magic really. Not two players each playing at their own game, like in an Aetherworks Marvel mirror. Not a game of chicken with Smuggler's Copter. But lots of interaction!"

He concluded with some anecdotal evidence: "I tested the matchup against Florian Koch yesterday. We split the preboard games, but after sideboarding I absolutely crushed him. So much so that he didn't win a single game and wanted to play no more."

Hatto had no doubts that white-blue would remain a pillar of the metagame, saying, "Obviously you lose some percentage points because people know exactly what you're doing, but the deck, as long as it's being played, will dictate what other decks are viable. Before the Pro Tour every deck needed to pass the Copter test, now they need to pass the Reflector Mage, Spell Queller test as well."

And if Aetherworks Marvel returns in full force to the metagame (because that's considered to be strong against today's favorite, Black-Green Delirium) again, white-blue would prosper in turn, right?

"Aetherworks Marvel sure is a good matchup. You don't even need infinite copies of Ceremonious Rejection in the sideboard. Most often you have to counter one Marvel, and that's that. Even if it resolves … if they get Emrakul, the Promised End, you can hopefully exile it with Stasis Snare and then you only lose, like, a turn and a Selfless Spirit," said Hatto.

"But generally speaking, all of this talk about metagame calls is overrated. Players would do much better to pick a deck and really learn how to handle it, all the ins and outs, the tricks, the matchups. In doubt, I'd rather be the player with the wrong deck but the experience than the player with the correct deck but no idea how to stack triggers and sequence stuff correctly."

Steve Hatto's White-Blue at GP Warsaw

Download Arena Decklist
Planeswalker (4)
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Sorcery (1)
1 Declaration in Stone
Artifact (4)
4 Smuggler's Copter
Enchantment (3)
3 Stasis Snare
60 Cards
Sideboard (15)
1 Island 1 Declaration in Stone 2 Immolation Glare 2 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets 1 Void Shatter 1 Thalia s Lancers 1 Bruma, the Fading Light 2 Gisela, the Broken Blade 2 Fragmentize 1 Ceremonious Rejection 1 Summary Dismissal

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