It was little surprise to me that a Red deck would run wild at the Pro Tour. I had suspicions going into that weekend that the Pros would find comfort in a fast aggro deck and I suspected that Earthshaker Khenra would be a key component in this deck. I was so confident that I went to my Patreon Chat and told the guys in there that they should buy this card when it was $.96. I bought in myself, a total of 4 playsets, and sold off 3 sets this week at $5 a piece.
Sick brags aside, the Top 8 of Pro Tour Hour of Devastation had 6 variants of RDW, 1 copy of Black-Green Constrictor, and 1 copy of Mono B Zombies. A lot of players will misread these results, and assume that RDW is the only deck to play in this Standard format. Do not get me wrong; it is a great deck. I considered sleeving it up for Game Day. However, after a bit more thinking I realized that this may not actually be the best deck in my hands coming up this weekend.
A lot of players misread tournament results, forgetting that there is so much more than just the final results that matter in an event where limited is also involved. Someone could have had the absolute best deck, and lost to variance. Or possibly could have 0-3d their draft pod, and never made it deep enough into the tournament to make a splash. The idea of the Pro Tour is to be a giant commercial, and sell product for Wizards of the Coast. To me, a Pro Tour dominated by mono red decks is an indicator that the format is wide open, and the Pros haven’t figured out the format already. This sounds silly to think about, but with the current state of Standard the past few Pro Tours were just rehashes of decks that were broken and an indicator of an unhealthy format. I believe Standard has been turned on its head, and the field is wide open for the next best deck to emerge.
I do not have a crystal ball, and probably would break it if I did. I cannot tell the future, nor predict what the best overall deck is going to be. I believe the new gods have yet to be heard from. I think Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh can power a sweet Grixis List. I like that I am seeing people play sweet cards like Storm Chaser mage in random events. I will admit that I was super happy to see the emergence of Black Green Constrictor Decks at the PT, and have been wanting to play a similar deck for some time. I love Winding Constrictor and have really wanted to do some damage with this card.
I decided that I really liked Paul Rietzl’s deck, and wanted to do some testing with it. So far, the results are great. I am testing over on XMage, and as expected I have run into copy after copy of Red Decks. This is an interesting phenomenon in Magic, where everybody wants to play the deck that won the Tour. This means I will assuredly see multiple opponents on this deck this upcoming weekend. So far I have learned the play lines that will give me most chance to win verse the horde of red I am encountering, and feel well positioned with this deck. I have only changed out 2 cards in the sideboard, adding 2 Collective Brutality in place of the Tireless Tracker, and Ob Nixilis Reignited in the sideboard. I am also playing around with finding room for Rhonas the Indomitable, and more Aethersphere Harvester in the main board. I think both of these cards can prove to be really good against the RDW strategy.
I am not claiming that this is the best deck in the format, I just feel like it plays well against what the majority of the field has thrown against me this week in testing. I enjoy this deck so much that I am acquiring cards on MTGO to make it run. It is a solid choice and loses very little come rotation.
Feel free to comment and let me know what you plan on playing this weekend at Game Day. I will be attending two, possibly three events, so I am sure I will either have lots of stories of victory, or some great bad beat tales,
Good luck, and have fun.
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Jeremy aka “Strictly Average” is an ‘average’ guy with ‘average’ plans. He is the creator and overboss of Strictly Average Gaming, which includes the Patreon group and StrictlyAverageMTG.com