This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (M19 Standard Week 2)

OK, who broke it???  I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed…

sound the bugle horns, cue the slow march of finely dressed gentlemen (and women). Old Glory is flapping in the calm breeze as a somber mood consumes the air…
RIP M19 Standard: July 7 – July 23, 2018.  So young, so much potential…

As I was preparing for this week’s article, anxiously awaiting the SCG Classic reults to confirm my assertions from last week that Grixis Midrange would be the new deck that makes the biggest impact on M19 standard, I pulled up the Magic Online Competitive Standard Constructed League decklists that were posted on July 16 and record scratch…well, the title of this article really says it all…this is why we cant have nice things.

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Sai, Master Thopterist is a fine card.  Really, Sai isn’t the problem.  It is the same story that we have been dealing with as a Magic Community for nearly 2 years now.  Artifact themed sets are inherently broken.  Design simply cannot create new and interesting COLORLESS cards on a power level that is on par with other expansions without pushing the boundaries.  When you combine a full set worth of these pushes, it tends to break the game.  Giving Sai access to 0-mana artifacts like Mox Amber and Ornithopter, who really does a good Mox impression in this deck thanks to Inspiring Statuary, makes this deck is fast, explosive, and very hard to interact with.

This deck is scary good, and the Pro’s haven’t even had a chance to tune it.  I fully expect to see this deck at the top tables during the next Professional level event, which just happens to be Pro Tour 25th Anniversary on August 3-5.

Looking beyond the doom and gloom of the impending “Combo Summer”, and diving into the rest of the July 16 Online decklists, as well as the July 19 Online decklists and the Star City Games Open (another Team event, where the results are made up and the standings don’t matter) and Star City Games Standard Classic results, we see what WAS expected.  From the aggro end of the spectrum we are well represented by Gx Stompy and Rx Aggro, to the control end of the spectrum with Teferi’s and Scarab God’s.  We also see other old archetypes represented in Approach, GBx Constrictor, Green-Red Monsters, and various God-Pharaoh’s Gift builds.  While the newer Knight’s, Zombie’s, Monument, Tezzerator and Dragons archetypes that popped up after M19 was released are still alive, it looks like Wurm Ramp has fallen off.  Considering Grixis Midrange featuring Nicol Bolas, the Ravager won the SCG Classic, and managed to take down 5 of the 16 top-8 decks across the two SCG tournaments, I’d say that my analysis from last week was spot on and our new overlord Nicky B is here to stay!

As always, I want to leave you with a look into the new tech and any new decks that popped up and look like fun!

First off, a nice new addition to the Esper Control Archetype, several of the July 19 Online results are showing that they have ditched The Scarab God/Torrential Gearhulk plan and have gone a more hardcore control route with a single copy of Chromium, the Mutable for a main deck way to break the control mirror, and to complement Teferi, Hero of Dominaria as the alternate win con.

Finally I’d like to leave you with a 5-0 list from BOTH the July 16 and July 19 Online decklist results, to show that there is still plenty of fun to be had.  Check out these Kitties!

I’ve wanted Pride Sovereign to be a thing since reading the card, so I built a Green-White value deck on MtGArena, before they unlocked full Standard, featuring the fuzzy little guy and had a blast playing it.  The addition of Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants and his Leonin brethren from M19 has made this synergy machine really purr (sorry, not sorry).

While the Pro Tour in 2 weeks will give us a glimpse into what the Pro’s are doing with M19 Standard, it is still a Team Constructed event.  To be honest, there is pretty much zero likelihood that a Standard player would go 0-14 while their teammates put up 12-2 or better records in Modern and Legacy at an event like a Pro Tour, so we don’t REALLY have to worry about a bad deck cracking the top-4, so even though the results and standings are not truly representative of what the “best decks” in Standard are, it still gives us an idea of what the Pro’s were thinking and what direction the meta is headed.  We will have to wait until August 8-10 at Grand Prix Orlando and Grand Prix Brussels for a standalone Professional level Standard tournament to see how these SCG and MtGO lists fare on their own merits.

Eric has been an avid Magic fan and player since re-discovering the game in 2012. He is a Red mage at heart but likes to confuse himself with the varying decision trees presented by mid-range and control decks from time to time.
Eric plays mostly casually with his 9-year-old daughter, but manages to get out for every prerelease and a few FNM’s and GP’s every year.

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