Magic Pro League – Emerald Division Split Report

Luis Salvatto

Introduction: The Group of Death

I had the notice of being in the group of death (reference soccer World Cup), full of great players!

My schedule was:

Schedule Opponent
Monday 10am Martin Juza
Monday 12pm Seth Manfield
Monday 1pm Eric Froehlich
Monday 2pm Alexander Hayne
Tuesday 3pm Shota Yasooka
Tuesday 4pm Jessica Estephan
Wednesday 10am Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

The previous split was full of Orzhov Vampires (6 players), one Bant Scapeshift and one Dimir Control. Vampires and Scapeshift used to be the best Standard decks at that moment, and the metagame for my split will take that into account. After thinking it deeply, I decided to submit a deck that was forgotten, Jeskai Planeswalkers. You can see all decklists here (Core Split Emerald All Decklists).

Saheeli, Sublime ArtificerKasmina, Enigmatic MentorSarkhan the Masterless

Why I Decided to Play Jeskai Planeswalkers?

Skymarcher AspirantGoblin ChainwhirlerAdanto Vanguard

Because Jeskai Planeswalkers has an incredible good matchup against the deck with twenty 《Mountain》s and I thought Mono-Red could be the most popular deck on that week since it is a natural predator of Vampires.

I also imagined my opponent deck choices and I expected some Scapeshifts, some Vampires and some Mono-Reds but the most important conclusion was that no one will decide to play control, and even if they decide to play control, they will not submit too many 《The Elderspell》s.

The Elderspell

To beat such a Planeswalkers deck without 《The Elderspell》 is very tough since every Planeswalker does their job and 《the big daddy Sarkhan》 wins the game by itself.

I was happy with my metagame, but my predictions were not too accurate, however, I had 2 really good matchups, 3 OK/good matchups in the form of Esper Hero, and 2 bad matchups in Esper Control.

Interplanar BeaconDovin's VetoLegion Warboss

I decided to fold against control since I wanted to play 4 《Interplanar Beacon》s so my manabase couldn’t afford to play 《Dovin’s Veto》 and I preferred to have reactive cards against my expected decks. No 《Legion Warboss》 was a mistake and I should play 4 in my sideboard though.

A lot of people asked me why I rediscover this deck and my answer is that if you don’t face too many 《The Elderspell》s, the deck is just busted. As it used to be when all this Planeswalkers join forces in the first time. This article is not only about the deck but about how to approach a metagame.

I receive this question a lot of times: “What’s the best deck in format X?” and my reply is pretty much the same. In Modern, I always advise them to play a deck you know well and feel comfortable with. In Standard is all about the metagame and sometimes a week, a few days can be enough to shift a new metagame. In addition, this Standard is still unsolved since we have a lot of strategies to pick up and they have decent or good results. It is not necessary to start naming all decks, but for those who don’t play this Standard since the beginning, here is the list:

Coloring or Archetype Existing Decks
Mono-Color Decks Mono-Red
Simic Color Nexus
Midrange Esper Hero
Boros/Naya/Mardu 《Feather》
Bant Ramp
Jund Dinosaurs
Control Esper
(Kind of) Combo Explore package + 《Command the Dreadhorde》
(Yes! It is still legal and competitive!!!)
Izzet Phoenix

And of course the new star in the format from the master Stanislav Cifka, the brand-new Multi-Color Legend deck!

How to Approach a New Metagame?

Dauntless BodyguardKnight of the Ebon LegionFanatical Firebrand

Expert says always the same. If you don’t know what to expect, just attack and be oppresive with your deck choice since it is easy to attack, and hard to react in an unknown metagame.

But what about a shifting metagame like this one? Well, you need to know which decks are the Tier 1, and then pick one of them or try to find a build in your deck to have at least a fair matchup against those Tier 1 decks. It is really important to see if there is a fashion deck that the people is excited to play and counter that deck with yours.

Devout DecreeAether GustNoxious Grasp
FryVeil of Summer

Nowadays, aiming to beat particular deck is really easy since Core Set 2020 gave us ton of insane tools. In my opinion, the best card in the set is the new 《Cryptic Command》 that cost only one green mana.

MPL Core Emerald Round-Robin Tournament Report

My Monday started really well, I expect that most of the people reading this already know about my finish in the split, but I’ll share a few comments about my matches.

Round 1: Martin Juza on Mono-Red

Experimental Frenzy

The first match against Martin was one of the good matchups for me. Though, there is a way to lose which was acutually happened in our match and it was 《Experimental Frenzy》. 《Experimental Frenzy》 is the only card that can beat Jeskai and if you want to see a good game, I recommend this game 2 since I couldn’t stop the Frenzy but I died when Martin has only 9 cards in his deck. Therefore, just imagine how hard is for Mono-Red to deal with that quantity of Planeswalkers, and life gain.

Round 2: Seth Manfield on Esper Control

The second match was against Seth. I knew that it was hard for me since I didn’t have discards or counterspells but this is MTG and I try my best. The luck was on his side though, and of course, with a good matchup, being an incredible good player, and good draws, he destroyed me.

Round 3: Eric Froehlich on Esper Hero

Bolas's Citadel

The third match was against Eric. It was easy, the only problematic card in his list was just 1 《Bolas’s Citadel》 but he didn’t draw it in game one, and either in game two.

Round 4: Alexander Hayne on Esper Hero

The fourth match was against Alex. He has two copies of 《Bolas’s Citadel》 and one 《The Elderspell》, but the matchup is very good for me so I didn’t have troubles to close the match.

Round 5: Shota Yasooka on Esper Control

The fifth match was against the control master Shota who drew his only one copy of 《The Elderspell》 in game one and destroyed me game two. Sadly, this 0-2 result plus the game that Martin won against me give me worst tiebreakers and I miss the cut to top 4 in a super sad but in the end fair way.

Round 6: Jessica Estephan on Esper Hero

Narset, Parter of Veils

The sixth match was the one that hurts me more since it was against Jessica’s Esper Hero without 《Narset, Parter of Veils》. Though, maybe MTG Arena misunderstood that both we didn’t play Narset and I almost lost game 2 because of the lack of Narset and actually lost game 3 without drawing any single copy of Narset in my first 20 cards in the deck. I was super sad after this loss, because I felt the matchup being good for my side, but I had a last chance against the best matchup.

Round 7: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa on Mono-Red

The last match was against Paulo on Mono-Red and the matchup is very good for me. I lost game 2 because I just didn’t draw White mana, but in the end I won the match.

Total Score

Final result; 4-3. It was sad to miss the top 4 on breakers, but I was happy with my deck choice and performance.


Thanks for reading and please remember, the best way to learn in this game, and in life, of course, is trying new things and making mistakes. I only recommend follow decklists and sideboard guides if you don’t have enough time to make yours, because that is the way to learn and understand why certain card is good or bad in a matchup.

If you netdeck, you will always be in the wrong metagame with it because your deck “was” a perfect deck one week before, so it is not great anymore as it used to be.

Luis Salvatto (Twitter / Twitch)

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Luis Salvatto After breaking onto the scene with a Top8 at Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad in 2016, Luis became the first player from Argentina to win a Pro Tour in 2018 at PT Rivals of Ixalan. This feat put him in a position to fight for the Player of the Year title which went down to the wire with a play-off against Seth Manfield. Salvatto emerged victorious and secured the prestigious Player of the Year title and became recognized as one of the best South American players of all time. Selected for the MPL in 2019. Read more articles by Luis Salvatto