Hello everyone, It’s Petr again and today I am going to talk about Standard. I was considering to write about Grand Prix Lyon 2018 (Modern), where I lost playing for top 8, but then I realized that the format is going to change dramatically with 《Bloodbraid Elf》 and more notably 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 being reintroduced to the format and I don’t think the information I would present to you guys would be as significant as it could have otherwise been.
Standard is by far my favorite format (part of it is definitely that it’s also my strongest format and everyone likes winning) and even though there was a Modern GP coming up I played mostly Standard online. The new format is fresh, unexplored and a lot of fun and I have a blast playing it.
That being said I have decided to take a little bit of a break from Magic after the PT – don’t get me wrong I still play almost every day, but it has been just a couple of hours for fun instead of the usual grind. From this reason there are still many decks in Standard that I have yet to try, but from the ones I played Grixis Energy is a deck that I like the most.
This is my current list:
4 《Canyon Slough》
3 《Fetid Pools》
4 《Dragonskull Summit》
4 《Drowned Catacomb》
3 《Spirebluff Canal》
4 《Aether Hub》
-Land (26)- 4 《Glint-Sleeve Siphoner》
4 《Whirler Virtuoso》
1 《Gonti, Lord of Luxury》
3 《The Scarab God》
1 《Torrential Gearhulk》
4 《Harnessed Lightning》
2 《Supreme Will》
4 《Vraska's Contempt》
1 《Glimmer of Genius》
2 《Confiscation Coup》
1 《Search for Azcanta》
3 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》
I saw couple of decklists online, but I didn’t really like any of them. There were more controlling versions with a lot of countermagics and 《Torrential Gearhulk》 and then the so called tapout versions playing 《Whirler Virtuoso》 and I liked those more – 《Whirler》 got obviously way worse, but with Mono Red being the best deck in the format, it just seemed like an auto-include card to me.
The problem I had with these lists is that 《Whirler》 is a little low impact in the non red match-ups, so you need to have enough powerful cards otherwise to make up for that to not lose to the other midrange decks, but none of the lists I found really had that, so I eventually gave up and came up with my own list. Obviously it’s really hard to hit the mark on the first try, so my current version is a lot different from the one that I started with.
I think that my list is enough different from the stock’ version that I should explain my card choices.
Most of the lists I have found played only 25 lands and I think that is a horrible mistake – flooding out isn’t really going to happen very often with 《The Gods》, 《Chandra》 and Cycling lands in your deck, but being screwed is a very real issue and I don’t see a reason to not play the 26th one. If anything I think that it might be right to even play 27.
I started with a split of 《Fatal Push》 and 《Spray》 but I quickly realized that 《Spray》 is just so much better – the exile effect is a very real thing now (《Scrounger》, 《Khenra》, 《Phoenix》, 《The God》 etc.) and there aren’t many things that 《Push》 is better at killing + you can play it of 《Chandra》.
I can’t stretch this enough, but I think that 《Chandra》 is just an incredibly powerful magic card that is dramatically underplayed – sure there are some aggressive match-ups that it won’t be that great in (most notably Mono Red), but even then it’s still a 4 mana removal spell that gains you some life with a potential huge upside, and in the match-ups that it’s good in it’s completely insane – it’s almost always at least a 2 for 1 + sometimes they just can’t kill it and then it dominates the game.
Some people solve this by playing only 2 and boarding the 3rd one in, which is fine, but I think the upside is so high and it’s better to reverse that – play 3 main and then potentially board some out.
Don’t really think that this one needs any explanation – it is one of your best cards (especially in postboard games) and a huge reason to play 《energy》.
Same as the above.
This one is a huge sleeper of the format right now. I was incredibly surprised to not see 《Coup》 in any of the decklists that I was looking through and I just could not understand it. Sure it is a little harder to get 《energy》 nowadays, but you don’t really need that.
4 《energy》 is often already enough and it’s not very hard to have a random 《energy》 lying around to steel 5 drops and you don’t realistically need more than that. In the format revolving around 《The Scarab God》, 《Hazoret the Fervent》 and 《Rekindling Phoenix》, 《Coup》 seems great and it was MVP for me so far – I am even considering to add a 3rd copy to the board.
For the same reasons mentioned above I think that 《Contempt》 is just great right now and I don’t really understand why is everyone playing only 3 – yeah it’s a little expensive, but I don’t think that that matters as much. From my experience the Standard right now is more about having the right answer and not about it being cheap. It’s also great with 《Gearhulk》 which is a nice bonus.
For some to me unknown reason most lists play only 2, but I think the card is just completely busted and it a lot of cases you just win if you untap with it. There are also a lot of 《Vraska's Contempt》, 《Spray》 etc. around so it’s not like the second copy will be always useless.
I started with 2 and I can still see that being correct, but It has happened to me way too many times where I had a 《Gearhulk》 in my hand and I wasn’t able to cast (this is especially true with so many Cycling lands).
Therefore, I decided that it’s probably better to just put the second copy to the board – postboard you have the right answers for the specific match-ups which means that the game will go naturally longer + all of your cards will be active so even if you don’t have enough mana for the 《Gearhulk》 yet, you probably have other stuff to cast before you eventually get there.
So I don’t necessarily think that you would play 《Whirler》 without red decks being such a huge part of the metagame, but it is and it’s not like an embarrassing card elsewhere.
You can make an argument something like 《Moment of Craving》 would be better against red (not even sure about it, but let’s assume it is true), but that would just be horrible in a lot of match-ups, whereas 《Whirler》 is always passable and you need to have cheap plays.
At the beginning I played more 《Glimmers》, because I thought you need some incidental 《energy》 to put your deck together, but it turned out that wasn’t really a case and 《Glimmer》 is often just way to slow and I ended up replacing 2 of them with 《Gonti》 and 3rd 《Chandra》 to play more to the board.
There is only 1 《Search for Azcanta》 because I think it is not good enough to justify the times when you draw the second, but I think it is powerful enough to play the first.
I don’t particularly like 《Supreme Will》, but I felt like you need additional cheap plays. Problem is that the good cheap plays are very limited and playing more removal makes you exteremly weak to some strategies. 《Supreme Will》 isn’t great but it can counter whatever play on turn 3 while still being a powerful card in the grindy match-ups.
I don’t think that 《Abrade》 is great or anything, but I like having access to more removal (especially on the draw) in some random creature match-ups + it’s a best card against Mardu and 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》. Everything considered I think it deserves the spot.
I actually end up bringing in 《Duress》 way less that I thought I would have because there aren’t many dedicated control or combo decks (most of the decks are more midrange with a bunch of creatures), but it’s too powerful in the right match-ups so I think it still deserves the spot.
Same as above. You might be wondering why I play 3 《Duress》 and 2 《Negate》 and not any other number. They are both better at different things and in different situations, but I think 《Duress》 is slightly better overall. Also having 2 hard counters is necessary with 《Approach of the Second Sun》 still being in a format.
Already explained above.
I like it as an additonal cheap way to get value, while also being a pseudo answer to 《Carnage Tyrant》 – a card which is otherwise very hard to beat and most green decks play 2 in the board so it’s good to be prepared.
《Glimmer》 is one of your best cards in the grindy match-ups. In fact I would probably want to have the full 4 in those, but in the end I decided to replace some of them with for example the above mentioned 《Gonti》 to fill up some of the deck’s weak spots, that being said if you find a space or your metagame is shapen up in the right way, don’t be afraid to play more.
This is my hedge for 《Carnage Tyrant》, the card isn’t great and you never want to draw 2, which is why I play only 1, but I think the first one is pretty good and you should play it.
I can definitely see a second 《Search for Azcanta》 being better, but I had several games where I drew both copies and it was awful. There were points at which I even played more than 1 《Map》, but they have diminishing returns and I don’t think that you want to overload on them and it’s better to play a mix of value cards (《Glimmer》, 《Gonti》…), that being said it is a strong card and it shouldn’t be underestimated.
There are still many questions to be answered in Standard, but this is my current solution. I think the deck is great and a lot of fun to play so make sure to give it a spin!
Thanks for reading,