WSD - ProTour Gatecrash in Montreal
Weekly Standard Discussion on PTGTC
Posted on: 2/24/2013 9:06 PM By KeirandtheWhale
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Hey MTGDeckbuilder community,
My name is KeirandtheWhale, but you can just call me Keir.
This week, on WSD, we'll be taking up ManaLeak's suggestion from the previous week and cover the results of PTGTC, a quick examination of each deck and how to play, or play against it.
We'll start off with congratulations to Tom Martell for winning, and Melissa DeTora for being the first female top 8er at ProTour. Without further ado, here's the top 8:
1) The Aristocrats - Tom Martell
2) UWR Midrange - Joel Larsson
3/4) Esper Control - Ben Stark
3/4) Naya Aggro - Eric Froehlich
5/8) Jund Control - Owen Turtenwald
5/8) Jund Control - Stephen Mann
5/8) UWR Midrange - Gerry Thompson
5/8) Bant Run - Melissa DeTora
1) The Aristocrats - This is a spicy number that I think is very very interesting, but will lose a bit of potency as people begin to figure out it's tricks. The key part of this deck is establishing a board in it's favor early (Champion of the Parish into Doomed Traveler into Silverblade Paladin) and then leveraging it into your favor using over the top cards (Skirsdag High Priest, Falkenrath Aristocrat, Boros Reckoner), while having enough tricks to get you through stale boards.
I'm not going to claim that I understand all the innerworkings of this deck, as it has some absurd plays. Because of that, I went out to find a deck tech from Tom Martell so that anyone interested in this deck can hear directly from the man why he made some of his choices.
2) UWR Midrange - UWR Flash is the product of Boros Reckoner's introduction to UW Flash. The fact that they now have all their shock lands, plus him being a wizard, makes UWR a dangerous colour combination to be playing against in the future forward. Sometimes, this deck plays the control role, removing creatures and playing lands untill it plays a Sphinx's Revelation for 5+ and just wins there. Other times, it gets very aggressive and just plays Boros Charms, searing spears, Restos on an open board and gets in for lethal.
3) Esper Control - God, I love this deck. I love playing Esper control. I'm going to come right out and say it to everyone, I'm the guy who plays 4 Nephalia Drownyard, and mills you out. I'm the guy who plays the control deck silently. I am a very sociable person when I'm not playing, but I've been told that when I sit down to a match, and I draw my 7, I turn into a clinical, unreadable opponent. It's a gift I suppose. I also think I should talk about this deck. Why do I think this deck is good. Essentially, there are 4 cards you're playing
Lands/Wincon - You want to play a land every single turn. You want to play a shock land on turn 1, an M10 land on turn 2 and Nephelia on turn 4. You don't want to be milling by then, but getting you that point is ideal. 27 land may seem like a lot, but it's so important to hit those land drops.
2 Mana Removal - This is the lifeblood of the deck. You're running 4 Azorius Charms, 2 Devour Flesh, 1 Ultimate Price, 1 Dramatic Rescue and 4 Augur of Bolas and 2 Snapcaster Mages. These cards are your 1-1s against aggro and midrange decks, and they're what let you get to the late game.
4+ Mana Wraths - 4 Supreme Verdict, 3 Restoration Angel, 2 Planar Cleansing. These guys are all here to X-1 your opponents threats. Planar Cleansing is something I wasnt sure of at first, but after playing with it, I love it. You'd used to wrath the board and have a Garruk played against you on the back swing. You'd just lose the game there. Now, you can wrath both garruk, but his token as well and hit anything else your opponent has.
Card Draw - 4 Think Twice essentially let you play a 56 card deck, and Sphinx's Revelation is huge when you play 27 land.
4) Naya Aggro - I like this deck. You just have a ton of value creatures that are difficult to deal with, Baby Jace (Domri) to fuel your deck, and Mizzium Mortars to clear your way. You get some explosive starts with Burning-Tree Emissary and Flinthoof Boar. Gyre Sage can ramp you into some big creature drops and when your not ramping with him anymore, he's a 3/4 or a 4/5 for 2. Sounds a lot like some 2 cost green creature that dominates modern, hmmm? This deck is a very strong creature deck that has a ton of reach, and is a good starting point for players wanting to make an enterance into more competitive play.
5/6) Jund Control - These lists are both very similar in their play styles, being only different in their creature choices and forms of removal. This allows this deck to shift with the changing meta, while still being a viable deck week to week. One list runs Arbor elf, while the other runs Vampire Nighthawk. One runs Mizzium Mortars, while the other runs Bonfire. One runs 3 Liliana of the Veil and 2 Garruk Primal Hunter, while the other runs.... well the same cards. Personally, I think the Stephen Mann list is stronger in both the mirror and against other decks, while Owen Turtenwalds deck has more blow out potential with the posibility of a turn 3 Liliana and miracled Bonfires. It all depends on how you'd prefer to play, but I'd rather take the more stable list personally.
7) UWR Midrange - "Wait Keir," you may say "didn't you already discuss America Midrange?" Well, yes. But this one is very different than the other one. This is the more control oriented shell. While opting out for the Izzet Charms, this one adds in a single counterflux and Rewind, with Thought Scour and Think Twice to draw you into your relevant cards in any particular match up. Having the Harvest Pyre/Boros Reckoner combo available lets you blow away an unexpecting opponent.
8) Bant Run - This is a great deck that plays on a very different level than most control decks. Rather than killing your threats, Bant Run just plays creatures that gain life, Farseeks and gets ahead on lands, Sphinx's for a bunch, plays one Kessig Wolf run, and any creature they play after that point is a lethal threat. Detention Sphere takes care of any permanents that get past your Dissipates or Syncopate. Supreme Verdict wipes creature decks away and Azorius Charm acts as removal against aggro and a cantrip against control. I do like this deck a lot and have to congratulate Melissa on the build.
How To Play This Deck:
1) The Aristocrats - Sorry. Heck if I know. It takes a very special person to play this deck right. The more you play it, the more tricks you'll see. Honestly, the best way to get to know it is to watch Tom Martell's Matches.
2) UWR Midrange (aggressive) - This is an aggressive deck with control elements. If you're playing against aggro, run them out of threats and get them into topdeck mode. Against midrange, get to Sphinx's Revelation for 4 range. Get yourself into a position where you just have more cards than your opponent. Against other control decks, you need to be the aggressor. If you can get a Boros Reckoner and Snapcaster Mage on the field at the same time, do it and start swinging. If you can put them into the 12-15 range, you can probably burn them out. You need to win the Revelation fight in this match.
3) Esper Control - Aggro and Midrange, one for one your opponent until you can just pull ahead. Don't let yourself fall into burn range and make sure you don't get into topdeck mode. You will lose from there. Against control, play lands and draw cards. Your lands are your wincon and they wont be able to answer it, unless they have ghost quarter. Your deck is much more of a control list than most others, so play accordingly.
4) Naya Aggro - Against aggro and Midrange, your Boros Reckoners are invaluable, and your creatures are larger than most. You can afford to be the control list here, and block until you're safe to start swinging. Against control, don't over extend and keep turning your guys sideways. Against Midrange and Control, Domri Rade is your bread and butter.
5/6) Jund Control - In your aggro and midrange matchups, you should get to your creatures faster than most with either Farseek or Arbor elf. Make sure your removal is tuned to your meta and you should do fine. Against control, play one creature and ride it to the finish. Force your opponent to answer your creature and land a walker if they ever tap out.
7) UWR Midrange (control) - Very similar to how you'll play the aggressive version of UWR, only really being different in the mirror. Harvest Pyre will win you games, but don't be tricked into playing more than one. Your graveyard is a resource and you should play that accordingly.
8) Bant Run - Aggro and Midrange should be fairly easy matchups. Play creatures that gain life, Wipe the board, draw cards, gain life and when you've seen half your deck, you should be able to win. Against control, they just have more counters and removal than you. Thragtusk with Wolf Run will be your best cards against control, so don't be careless with them. If you tap out for wolfrun, they can tap out for revelation, so be aware of that.
How to play against these decks:
1) The Aristocrats - .... um.... Kill their guys. But it's hard to do that. Just grind them out.
2/7) UWR Midrange - Kill their creatures and keep an eye on their graveyard. If your opponent starts throwing Boros Charms at your face on turn 2-3, they probably have enough to burn you out, so don't attack and leave up blockers.
3) Esper Control - Just keep on pressure. Don't over extend. They wont start milling until they feel safe, so they'll be playing very defensively. Break through their defenses close it out quickly.
4) Naya Aggro - Kill Domri Rade. Kill Him immediately. He draws cards for an already very greedy deck. Kill their draw engine and then worry about their guys. Just grind them out, but keep their walker off the field.
5/6) Jund Control - If you can stop their turn 2 farseek, or turn 1 Arbor elf, do so. They have removal and they have creatures, but they cannot draw cards very efficiently. Unfortunately, this deck topdecks very well, but getting them to a position where they have to topdeck their threats puts you very far ahead.
8) Bant Run - Keep pressure on them. Keep playing creatures and attacking. Kill their centaurs and Thragtusks and force them into blocking. Kessig Wolf-run is very bad if you're not able to attack.
Finally, I'd just like to give a quick spotlight to cards that really shined that weekend, plus some decks that look like a lot of fun to play:
Boros Reckoner - See last week's blog. House
Orzhov Charm - When this card was spoiled, I was pretty disappointed with it. Now I realize that if you have a deck built around it, it is very very strong.
Kessig Wolf-Run - Every creature is a threat. Not just for titans, also for elves and augurs
Burning-Tree Emissary - While not being in more than 1 deck in the top 8, this showed up in 4 of the top 16. For those of you that remember the value of a free 2/2 (frogmite) you'll know to watch out for this beast.
Abrupt Decay - Non-counterable, non-damage answer to Boros Reckoner? Get your hands on these asap
Mono-Black Control - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7TxJpsOc9A This! Looking good, turn 5 Griselbrand.
Brg Zombies - As Pillar of Flame falls out of favor, Geralf's Messanger gets stronger and better. This deck is essentially Br Zombies with green for Abrupt Decay and Deathrite Shaman, which are both very great cards right now
Human Reanimator - Alright, combo kills can happen. This deck has grown on me, even though it's very glass cannon-y.
Anyways, thanks everyone for reading. Feel free to leave comments below and look out next week for another WSD and as always, keep flipping those Delver