Jeskai Super Friends and Deck Choice for the near Future

Immanuel Gerschenson

Immanuel Gerschenson

Introduction

Hello and welcome back. Some time has passed since I wrote my last article and I am sorry for the long wait, in case you were waiting. As in the coming weeks most people will look into Standard to be qualified to the Mythic Championship Barcelona, I will try to help you out a bit.

Last week I had the pleasure to be sick for almost the whole week, which means I spent some (quality) time at home. As I had some spare time, I decided to install MTG Arena. Yes, I have not played Arena before, as I wanted to focus on testing, although I was told how much fun it is. Not having played any Arena before meant that I had basically zero cards to play any constructed and needed to grind my way through with preconstructed decks into some Limited or do it the good old and fast way – spend some money. Some clicks later on PayPal and I was ready to play.

Looking for Sweet Decks

Thought ErasureKaya's WrathTeferi, Hero of Dominaria

My first deck of choice was Esper Control, which I used to play some of the Metagame Challenge, which was a great way to farm more (wild)cards. Esper felt strong, but sadly it also felt like all stars need to align, which in this case means you need to draw the right half of your deck for a given match-up, to actually win. At approximately the same time, I saw a tweet with a deck list, that left me baffled.

This deck looked like a lot of fun, but not very competitive-so thought I at least. It seemed funny enough to me to actually built the deck and play it some on Arena. As mentioned before, I only installed Arena, which meant I started at Bronze 4 and started climbing my way. I kept on playing, while changing some cards and kept winning, all the way through to the middle of Diamond 1.

I had a win rate of 95% with this deck and it certainly did not feel like a funny joke to me anymore. Eventually I also made Mythic, but I noticed that Mono Red did not feel like a great match-up and additionally people started adapting. “The best defense is a good offense” was the next step and I had to look no further than to John Rolf’s Stream. He had most of the Planeswalker the blue and white shell used, but additionally added red for some removal and more important 《Sarkhan the Masterless》. Sarkhan provided a new angle to this deck in form of actually attacking your opponent with more than just 2/2s and making your tired Planeswalker fly high again.

Surely, I have got your attention by now and you want to know why is this Planeswalker shell so strong, right?

In my opinion the strength results from its line up. What I mean is, that most of your Planeswalkers line up really well against what your opponent is trying to do, as they start coming into play at 3 mana and can protect themselves, while gaining you small bits of value as time passes. Planeswalkers are not creatures usually, so they stay untouched by most removal decks are packing nowadays. As turns pass by, you manage to get more and more Planeswalkers into play, while being able to destroy your opponents creatures and getting some value each turn.

Okay, but do not you just lose to 《The Elderspell》?

The Elderspell

In theory it seems great to get a 4 for 1 or something along those lines, but you usually have enough Planeswalker to just reload. The real problem here is if 《The Elderspell》 is backed up by something like 《Command the Dreadhorde》 or a Planeswalker of their own, which can abuse this loyality boost.

What are the Good/Bad Match-ups?

I will take this list as reference and try to describe how I feel about most match-ups:

White Weenie

Unbreakable FormationSpell PierceDovin's Veto

In my opinion it is very close here, as you basically need to draw 《Deafening Clarion》 to win or you just lose (most of the time). If your opponent packs blue, do not play into their countermagic and if possible, try to not play into 《Unbreakable Formation》. Post board gets a bit better for you overall, as you bring in more removal and 《Lyra Dawnbringer》, which can hold the ground for a very long time, if she is not able to race.

Mono Red

ShockLightning StrikeWizard's Lightning

This is probably the worst match up, as it plays out exactly the same as against White Weenie, but with the difference that they can burn you down in the end. This means you should also try to close out the game as soon as possible, which is possible thanks to 《Sarkhan the Masterless》. As I have not really played with this sort of Planeswalker deck for now, I cannot say if this is accurate, but you might want to slow roll 《Deafening Clarion》 until you have Sarkhan in play, as his + ability and the lifelink mode of 《Deafening Clarion》 should be game ending.

Esper Midrange

Hero of Precinct OneThief of SanityThe Elderspell

Probably the deck you want to face mostly. You have cheap mass-removal in case they go wide with 《Hero of Precinct One》 and you have many ways to not get out-valued by 《Thief of Sanity》. Besides their discard is not at the best here, as playing a turn 2 discard means they are not deploying any pressure and they might take a 3 drop, which is very replaceable anyways in your deck. Post board they might have 《The Elderspell》, so be careful to not play too much into it.

Sultai Midrange

Hydroid KrasisVraska, Golgari QueenCommand the Dreadhorde

Depending on their list, this is either a good or horror to face. The Golgari list, splashing blue mostly for 《Hydroid Krasis》 is what you want to face, as they are not really going over the top of what you are doing. The new lists, playing a bunch of Planeswalkers themselves and topping it of with 《Command the Dreadhorde》 might be scary tough, as they can just rebuild their whole board withing one turn.

Izzet Phoenix

Arclight PhoenixFinale of PromiseLightning Strike

Another one of those decks you actively want to face. Phoenix is dependent on chaining multiple spells a turn to activate their 《Arclight Phoenix》es. If you have 《Dovin, Hand of Control》 in play, it will cost them at least 6 mana, if you have 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 in play, their spells do not replace themselves and if you have 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 in play they cannot rely on 《Finale of Promise》. A neat trick here is to play Narset, but not use her ability and let her stick with 5 loyality counters. The reason for this is that she will survive a 《Lightning Strike》 or a hit from a 《Arclight Phoenix》.

Soon People will Realize, What can I Do to Stay Ahead of the Competition?

The ElderspellNicol Bolas, Dragon-God

That is an actual good question, that is hard to answer in my opinion. For now, there is no single best deck in the format. I think the Planeswalker shell is the best you can be doing, you just need to experiment a bit around. Maybe having an esper shell splashing red for 《Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God》 is the way to go, as this means you can play 《The Elderspell》, while also abusing the loyality boost, or just 《Sarkhan the Masterless》 with a good suite of non Planeswalker spells, only time will tell.

Do not hesitate experimenting around, as the format seems wide open to do anything, even a non Planeswalker deck could be the best one not found yet.

So, If You Had to Play a MCQ Tomorrow, What Would You actually Play?

Experimental FrenzyTeferi, Time Raveler

I am not sure to be honest, but I would be choosing between Mono Red or some sort of Planeswalker deck that has Blue-White as a core and plays at least a third color. The meta game is changing so fast currently, that it is hard to make an accurate choice, especially as I think that the real life meta is moving way slower than it is on Arena.

This difference of moving metas means that, for example, a deck that performed well a week ago on Magic Arena, but is now not a good choice, could be the perfect choice for the MCQ. Mono Red is one of my choices, because I think whenever people try to prepare for such a tournament, they do not give enough respect to the red deck and therefore lose more to it than they should.

Conclusion

I hope I could help you at least a tiny bit. Standard is moving fast, so just trying to work on your own brew does not sound wrong at all and might be the best time investment at the moment (regarding Magic). That said I wish you all good luck at your upcoming Standard tournaments!

I will be watching and hope to see some more sweet brews, as I really missed trying out new stuff lately.

Immanuel Gerschenson (Twitter)

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Immanuel Gerschenson

Immanuel Gerschenson Immanuel is skillful at Constructed formats and took trophies at GP Madrid 2014 (Modern) and GP Seville 2015 (Standard). He run a spicy Traverse Shadow list with 《Delay》 and went 14th place at Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan with an impressive 9-1 Constructed record. In addition, he was the runner-up of Austria Nationals 2018 it made him to be a Gold Level Pro. Read more articles by Immanuel Gerschenson