GRN Standard Week 5 – The Eve of the Pro Tour

Welcome back to the Strictly Standard Meta Report.  This Guilds of Ravnica format has been quite the roller coaster.  We started with aggressive decks setting the pace, and ended up getting midrange Golgari decks that preyed on those with an onslaught of two-for-one threats to swing the format in a slower direction.  Then the control decks AND the aggressive decks adopted some great technology like Tocatli Honor Guard to nullify the Golgari gameplan, and we are now in a place where it is really anyone’s game.  Now, with another week in the books, we are on the doorstep of Pro Tour Atlanta. There will undoubtedly be some new technology brought forth by the top players in the world to take these archetypes to the next level.  And don’t count out the mad brew that takes the early rounds by storm.

Down to 32 total decklists in the Thursday, November 1st Magic Online Competitive Standard League 5-0 results, it would appear as though the excitement of last weekend’s first Standard GP’s has waned and the correct builds of each archetype are returning to form. The flavor of the week Arclight Phoenix managed to carry two different lists into the results. I believe it is Shalomas Izzet list that is the better of the two, and one we will see a lot of this weekend.  This deck has the storm-like ability to snowball in a single turn and get two or three Phoenixes out for an out-of-nowhere 9 damage. Layer that on top of whatever may have been dealt with random Shocks, means that an unsuspecting opponent sitting pretty at 10 or more life can all of a sudden find themselves on the wrong end of a beat stick.

Moving to the only other set of results, we are back up to 40 decks for the Monday, November 5th edition of Magic Online results. I have a feeling that the weekend brings out a few extra pilots and that gives us the variety in decklists; however it doesn’t necessarily mean that the format is not being “solved.”  This posting is loaded with multiple copies of the usual suspects in Teferi, Hero of Dominaria (Jeskai and Esper Control), Golgari, mono-red Frenzy, Niv-Mizzet, Boros and Selesnya Angels, and Grixis Control.  While those are the known powerhouses of the format, it is in the one-off and fringe archetypes that I like to look for the potential breakout decks for the pro tour meta.  JRK264’S mono-blue deck that mimics the runner up from GP Lille is a likely candidate for finishing up the top-8.  It gives the perfect mix of aggressive attacking pressure and disruptive tempo to be able to sneak in under the bigger midrange decks, right past the control decks, and blow right by the red aggro decks.

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Going with some unproven archetypes from a tournament results perspective there is a nice dinosaurs list, but this goblins deck really piqued my interest.

There is definitely something to be said about a decklist that consists of 38 creatures and 22 lands.  Zero non-creature spells main. Nada.  Pure unadulterated Goblins coming straight at ya.  With as versatile as these Gobbo’s are at answering just about anything that an opponent can throw at them, at the low, low cost of sacrificing themselves, it would not surprise me in the least to see a version of this classic tribe sleeved up and in action this weekend.

With only a few days until we see the real action coming from the Dirty, it is anyone’s guess as to which of the powerhouse archetypes will dominate the weekend, and which of the belles of the ball will manage to become darlings of the Magic community’s collective eye.  My bets are on the known quantities getting some previously unexplored technology, and an old favorite returning to prominence.  Our Standard Queen, Vivien Reid shall reign supreme…Long Live the Queen!

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