Category Archives: Pro Tour Coverage

Hour of Devastation Pro Tour Coverage: Day 1 Lessons/Day 2

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Welcome back. Day 1 of Pro Tour Hour of Devastation in Kyoto, Japan is now in the books and it’s time to take stock of what we’ve learned and see if there’s still any fresh money to be made or saved.

Heading into this tournament there was plenty of chatter on social media suggesting that ramp or UW God-Pharoah’s Gift or Vizier of the Menagerie might be the top secret tech for the tournament. With that in mind, let’s review how the meta actually shaped up at the start of Day 1:

The first point worth making is that many of the best pros clearly came out of their testing regiments believing that aggressive Ramunap Red decks were even better positioned than they had seemed heading into last week. Whereas the deck was already a significant 10% of the online meta (as best as anyone could tell), at the Pro Tour we see a whopping 25% of the players on the punishing, low slung red deck that attacks opponents from multiple angles.

Now just because the red deck was set up for success, didn’t mean it was going to plow through the field. In the last few Pro Tour stops decks that showed up in even larger quantities ended up butting up against the wall of fresh tech only to fail out of Day 2. This time however, at the end of eight rounds of play (including five rounds of Standard) the top tables were showcasing an even higher percentage of red decks than the Round 1 meta count would have suggested. Paul Cheon went so far as to name Ramunap Ruins as the card of the day, citing the reach that a nearly unanswerable late game damage source gives the red decks.

Ramunap Ruins

So where did all the cool combo/control decks go that were being heralded as approaching dooms? Day 2 coverage is now up and running, and control decks are being called out tonight as being largely relegated to the lower tables. With nearly 60% of the players on aggro decks at this tournament, the odds were already low that the rogue decks were going to find their footing and drive deep, but a day later we can now clearly see that many of the fancier brews just weren’t ready for prime time.

Instead, our top tables are largely crimson, with occasional sightings of zombies decks. Financially speaking, the likely dominance of red and black aggro decks doesn’t leave us with many targets since many of the zombie cards have already spiked and the red decks are running relatively few relevant mythics and rares. I have noticed that Falkenrath Gorger inventory is draining, and at $2 this has a solid shot at $5-6 if red fills up the Top 8 overnight. Hazoret the Fervent has inched up closer to $7 than $5, but many of the red pilots aren’t running enough copies to make clear this is even a valid target to accelerate.

Falkenrath Gorger

Champion of Wits, Gate to the Afterlife, Angel of Sanctions and Cataclysmic Gearhulk seem very unlikely to earn some price action this weekend, but keep an eye out for a rogue deck to navigate the aggro gauntlet and excite some purchasing power Saturday morning. The tournament location and timing is also likely to dampen financial speculation this weekend, since by the time many interested parties see something sexy happen over their breakfast cereal tomorrow morning, they will be able to reality check their ideas.

So far this tournament looks like a washout for specs, but I’ll be posting notes of interest through the night to flag any changes to that evaluation.

10PM EST: Donald Smith of Team Lingering Souls calls out Hazoret as the card that allows mono red to plow past the meta. Started testing three copies, moved up to the full four. Spec might not be dead.

1am: Cheon just ran us through the baseline lists for the most prevalent archetypes at the tournament:

 

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Paul spent some time detailing that Abrade & Ramunap Ruins are the two cards that ultimately moved a quarter of the field away from some of the other Tier 1/2 options.

5am: We are facing a murder’s row in the Top 8 with PVDDR making his 12th (!) Pro Tour T8, and Sam Black, Sam Pardee, and Seth Manfield along for the ride. Five of the eight decks are Ramunap Red, and there’s one RB deck as well, all with a total of 20 copies of Hazoret, the Fervant. There are also 24 copies each of Falkenrath Gorger. Earthshaker Kenra (coverage Day 2 Card of the Day) and Bomat Courier so may see some some action on those rares, though Kenra has already spiked.

Here is the Top 8 participant list:

1st Place – Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa – Ramunap Red
2nd Place – Sam Pardee – BG Constrictor
3rd Place – Sam Black – Ramunap Red
4th Place – Wing Chun Yam – Ramunap Red
5th Place – Shintaro Kurata – BR Aggro
6th Place – Felix Leong – Ramunap Red
7th Place – Yusuke Sasabe – Mono B Zombies
8th Place – Seth Manfield – Ramunap Red

6am: The single B/G Constrictor deck in the Top 8 is pretty stock at unlikely to move much on the finance side. Ditto the single instance of mono black zombies. Might be time to start thinking about the control cards that address this meta appropriately.

7am: Overnight hype has pushed Hazoret, the Fervant copies very close to $10. Will be interested to see if they can push for $15 this week or whether the meta will immediately react by trying to hate RDW out of the format.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

 

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Pro Tour Hour of Devestation: Financial Preview

The third Pro Tour of 2017 is about to go down in Kyoto, Japan.  Mercifully, the oncoming festival of excellence lands just as the Standard format has finally escaped the shadow of recent card bannings.  After two seasons ended up requiring the banning of cards, the entire community wants to see a diverse and balanced metagame emerge at this tournament.  With Emrakul, the Promised End, Reflector Mage, Smuggler’s Copter, Aetherworks Marvel and Felidar Guardian[/mtg_Card] all banned, the format is by all accounts in a pretty diverse and health spot heading into the weekend.

As per usual the world’s best players have been hunkered down in their various Oni dens in Kyoto, Japan for the last week or two, all seeking to answer the only query that matters: is there a fresh deck or reconfiguration of existing archetypes out there that will allow them to catch the field off balance while offering consistent play against the known quantities in the field?

With $250,000 USD on the line, and  $40,000 for the champ, players looking to Top 8 need to marshall both luck and skill to lock down the trophy.

Taking a look at the results from the last major StarCityGames Tour Standard tournament, the Top 8 field features elements both familiar and relatively recent. Here was the Top 8 from SCG Open Cincinnati.

  1. Four-Color Control
  2. W/U Monument
  3. Four-Color Emerge
  4. B/G Energy
  5. W/U Monument
  6. Mono-Red Aggro
  7. Mono-Black Zombies
  8. Temur Energy

Meanwhile over on Magic Online, the meta seems to be featuring variations on the following decks:

  • Mardu Vehicles (11%)
  • UR Control (11%)
  • Mono-Red Aggro (10%)
  • W/U Monument (8.5%)
  • Temur Energy (8%)
  • GB Energy (6%)
  • G/R Pummeler (5%)
  • Mono-Black Zombies (3.5%)
  • U/B Zombies (2.5%)

For we finance types, this is not a super exciting scenario. With a wide open field, play skill and nuanced sideboard choices + luck may carry the day, and that’s without accounting for the six rounds of draft factor. All of that adds up to an event that is likely to generate the usual number of hypes spikes, but may not be able to sustain those prices heading into next week unless a truly dominant strategy emerges.

‘As per usual, it is worth noting that the Pro Tour currently requires that players succeed in a mixed schedule of booster draft (HOU/HOU/AMK) and Standard play with 3 rounds of draft Thurs night , followed by 5 rounds of Standard starting around 2pm EST/11am PST, Friday.

Will any of the teams find a way to unlock a hot new deck with solid game against the entire field? Will a fringe deck from the early weeks of the format suddenly end up perfectly positioned to take off? Will there be a chance to get in on a must-have card that shows early promise or will the hype train leave the bandwagon speculators out in the cold without enough buyers come Monday morning? Follow along as we explore Pro Tour Hour of Devestation all weekend!

Editor’s Note: We will not be providing round by round coverage this weekend, due to vacation scheduling but we will provide relevant notes as the weekend progresses. 

Cards to Watch

Heading into this Pro Tour stop, many of the most obvious specs have already played out and plenty of advance speculation has been going down. The potential for further spikes is still on deck, but so is the strong likelihood that some of these specs will collapse when they inevitably fail to join the central meta narrative of the weekend.

Here are a few of the interesting cards that seem like they should be on our radar this weekend:

God-Pharoah’s Gift: Grind King?

Gate to the AfterlifeGod-Pharaoh's Gift

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There are at least a few versions of the God-Pharoah’s Gift decks floating around and they all look like a ball to play. Basically, you get a bunch of good creatures in your yard and then start overwhelming your opponent by bringing them back more often than they can find removal or good blocks to deal with them. If the format isn’t dominated by aggro, this might be a great place to be and at $3 (up from $0.50 or less), there’s still some room to grow here. I won’t be surprised if this pairing of cards makes the Top 8, but I will be surprised if they dominate the tournament. As such, the spec seems too risky in the fact of better options, and I think I’ll sit this one out.

Current Price: $3
Predicted Price Monday: $4-5
Odds to Top 8: 2 to 1

Champion of Wits: Good to Go

Champion of Wits

Originally underestimated and available under $1 during pre-order season, actual play with this flexible card selection/card draw spell sandwiched between two different bodies has proven it out as one of the better cards in the format. Four-color emerge decks run the full four in the main, alongside play sets of Elder Deep-Fiend, Grim Flayer, Haunted Dead and Prized Amalgam.  From a financial perspective, as a rare from a new set that is already close to $10, this one feels like an auto-sell to me. There could be a few more dollars left to reap here, but if you were in early I think you need to be happy with $24 play set exits and move on.

Current Price: $7
Predicted Price Monday: $8-10
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1

Hazoret, the Fervant: Ripping Red

Hazoret the Fervent

Mono-red aggro decks make up a solid 10% of the online meta, and their most promising spec (now that Earthshaker Khenra has popped) is likely the hasty god from Amonkhet. This will end up more promising if the decks that show up at the Pro Tour are running more than the usual two copies. with a full 15 months left in it’s Standard life, this is a solid spec with multiple possible inflection points given how frequently we see this deck post up in the meta. Alternatively you might look at Falkenrath Gorger, but generally mythics will beat rares for gains.

Current Price: $5
Predicted Price Monday: $10+
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1

Torrential Gearhulk: Can Control Get it Done?

Torrential Gearhulk

It’s hard to believe we had a shot at this card around $8 when it first released last fall. The power level on Snapcaster Mage’s big brother is undeniable, and the number of good control cards to flash back has only gotten better between all of the card draw, kill spells and counter spells now in the format. U/R Control is the most likely home for the big blue brute this weekend. This card featured a $30+ price tag a few months back but the weak interest in Standard in combination with a broadening format has weakened it’s ability to hold a higher price tier. There is an argument to be made to pick up a few playsets looking to unload them in the fall closer to $120 per play set, since it’s hard to imagine a shrunken Standard card pool not leaving this card near the top of the creature heap, but I’m going to stay away from this until I’m certain the format is regaining some of the bodies that were lost in the first half of the year.

Current Price: $20
Predicted Price Monday: $20
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1

Cataclysmic Gearhulk: Emergent Tech?

Cataclysmic Gearhulk

With U/W Oketra’s Monument decks spewing out a ton of tokens, there has been some early chatter that this card might show up in a God Phraoah’s Gift build that looks to reset the board in the mid-game and take over with a heap of Eternalized creatures. This deck is still emerging, but has been gaining momentum over the last couple of weeks, and the only problem is that the Cataclysmic Gearhulk slot is not necessarily a lock, given that there are multiple ways to build the deck.

Current Price: $2
Predicted Price Monday: $8+ (on a Top 8 presence or strong early camera time)
Predicted Price Monday: $2 (on a muted presence or absence)
Odds to Top 8: 6 to 1

Fatal Push: Nowhere to go but down?

Fatal Push

The price of Fatal Push has fallen a bit since the last Pro Tour, but it’s future in Modern and Legacy is super secure for the foreseeable future. In Standard things have been getting very grindy and mid-game focused, and as a result there are likely to be less copies of the card in the Top 8 versus last time. That being said, your first play set is an easy hold since you’ll be using them for years. Beyond that, trading out next fall or early winter may be your best bet, but remember that there is a sweet FNM promo that may head off your road to profit.

Current Price: 7
Predicted Price Monday: $7
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 2

Heart of Kiran: Dominating the Skies

Heart of Kiran

Through all the bannings Mardu Vehicles has remained a very steady presence in the Standard meta, especially at the local level, where many players who started on the deck are likely still on it. Some versions of the deck have taken to running Gideon of the Trials instead of the Zendikar version, but otherwise all the usual suspects are still in attendance in most lists. Heart of Kiran is still a four-of, but with the deck likely to represent a much more muted presence at this event, I think this card is likely to stall until rotation gives it a shot at being a strong gainer as the fall meta shapes up.

Current Price: $7
Predicted Price Monday: $7 ($15+ possible by Nov)
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1

Angel of Sanctions: Ready to fly?

Angel of Sanctions

U/W Monument may not be running this main most of the time, but they certainly enjoy pulling three or four copies out of the board in their grindier matchups. This powerful angel is just $2 at present, so any kind of significant showing could easily push it up over $6 on a hype spike, with your resale potential strongly dependent on how many copies make the Top 8. This is a risky pick, but in a field this open, most of your options are.

Current Price: $2
Monday Price: $5
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 2

 

Stay tuned for our MTGFinance coverage of Pro Tour: Hour of Devastation throughout the weekend!

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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Pro Tour Amonkhet: Financial Preview

The third stop of the 2016-2017 Pro Tour season finds the Standard scene feeling tentatively hopeful for a rebound in format health and interest. After two seasons ended up requiring the banning of cards, the entire community wants to see a diverse and balanced metagame emerge at this tournament.  With Emrakul, the Promised End, Reflector Mage, Smuggler’s Copter and Felidar Guardian all banned, and Mardu Vehicles decks looking dominant in the latest tournaments, the format really needs a win this weekend.

Many of the best Magic players in the world have been stealth testing in Nashville, TN for the last week or two, all seeking to answer the question of the day: is there a brew out there that will allow them to catch the field off balance while offering consistent play against the known quantities in the field?

Gideon, Ally of ZendikarHeart of Kiran

Fatal PushScrapheap Scrounger

Can anything unseat the most defining cards in the format?

With $250,000 USD on the line, and a cool $40,000 for the champ, players looking to Top 8 need both the fortune of the gods, and excellent skill to take home the trophy.

Taking a look at the results from the first major StarCityGames Tour Standard tournament since the release of Amonkhet, the Top 8 field has still been dominated by Mardu Vehicles builds, with five of the Top 8 decks from SCG Atlanta being of that lineage. Looking over the remainder of the Top 16 decks from that tournament however, glimmers of hope do jump out, with all of the following decks posting at least one result in that group:

As per usual, it is worth noting that the Pro Tour currently requires that players succeed in a mixed schedule of booster draft (AMKx3) and Standard play with 3 rounds of draft Friday morning, followed by 5 rounds of Standard starting around 2pm EST/11am PST, Friday.

Will any of the teams find a way to unlock a new archetype with hot game against the entire field? Will a fringe deck from the early weeks of the format suddenly end up perfectly positioned to take off? Will there be a chance to get in on a must-have card that shows early promise or will the hype train leave the bandwagon speculators out in the cold without enough buyers come Monday morning? Follow along as we explore Pro Tour Amonkhet all weekend!

Cards to Watch

Heading into this Pro Tour stop, many of the most obvious specs have already played out and plenty of advance speculation has been going down. The potential for further spikes is still on deck, but so is the strong likelihood that some of these specs will collapse when they inevitably fail to join the central meta narrative of the weekend.

Here are a few of the interesting cards that seem like they should be on our radar this weekend:

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar: Time To Get Out

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

There is no debating that Gideon, Ally of Zendikar has been an important card in Standard for virtually the entire time it has been legal. The card seems safe from a ban at this point, but with rotation looming in October, the odds of this card showing gains are slim to none whether or not it performs well this weekend. In an outcome where it maintains a dominant role, excitement for the format will be weak, leading to lower singles demand, and if it is finally laid dormant, there’ll be no impetus for the price to jump. Either way this is a card you should have sold months ago, and if you’re holding copies you aren’t using, you should be selling now.

Current Price: $20
Predicted Price Monday: $20
Odds to Top 8: 4 to 1

Torrential Gearhulk: Can Control Get it Done?

Torrential Gearhulk

It’s hard to believe we had a shot at this card around $8 when it first released last fall. The power level on Snapcaster Mage’s big brother is undeniable, and the number of good control cards to flash back has only gotten better between all of the card draw, kill spells and counter spells now in the format. U/R Control is the most likely home for the big blue brute this weekend. As recently as late April you could get the blue construct for $14 or so, but recent gains have left us at limited supply with a $35 price tag. This card is a sell at this price, as any further gains are purely theoretical, since even Gideon failed to hold over $40 as one of the top 3 most played cards in the format.

Current Price: $35
Predicted Price Monday: $35-40 (on a strong Top 8 presence)
Predicted Price Monday: $20-25 (on a weak showing)
Odds to Top 8: 2 to 1

Aetherworks Marvel: New Best Combo Deck?

Aetherworks Marvel

Aetherworks Marvel decks have been floating around in the format since the first few weeks of Kaladesh last fall, but with the printing of Felidar Guardian, Marvel has spent some time on the sidelines. Now that Guardian is banned, and with Marvel decks having gained some new tools and end game options, the stage may be set for the deck to make a comeback. We now have Temur builds using Dynavolt Tower (10% of online meta) as well as Bant versions running Approach of the Second Sun, as well as at least a few other possible configurations.

We were practically yelling for months that the card was too cheap under $4, and now that there are hardly any copies available under $10, a strong showing this weekend could set the stage for this fall set mythic to hit $15-20+. Watch for two things to figure out whether you should be selling or holding: firstly, how many major teams are on the deck, if any, and secondly, what % of the total field is on Marvel vs. the win through rate for Day 2.

Note: Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger ($20) is still a 4-of finisher of choice in nearly all Marvel builds, and regardless of what happens this weekend, it’s fall rotation makes it a strong sell moving forward.

Current Price: $10
Predicted Price Monday: $20+ (on a strong Top 8 presence)
Predicted Price Monday: $8-12 (on a muted presence or absence)
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1

Fatal Push: Nowhere to go but down?

Fatal Push

Heaven forbid Fatal Push had been a rare! It’s not often that we see $10 uncommons from in print sets, but strong cross-format demand for one of the strongest removal spells of all time has been driving this price for weeks. Contacts in Europe have been offering to trade me Masterpieces for piles of Fatal Push, which speaks volumes about how liquid this instant staple has become. Inventory is currently pretty solid, but there isn’t going to be a lot more Aether Revolt opened this year, so there is a decent chance that Fatal Push gets to $15 heading into the fall. Foils at $50 are pretty crazy, and I’m a bit worried that this card could get a promo version this year or show up in a supplementary product to challenge the price. There might be money to be made here, but I’m steering clear for a less volatile playing field.

Current Price: $10
Predicted Price Monday: $10
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 4

Heart of Kiran: Dominating the Skies

Heart of Kiran

The future for Heart of Kiran is at least partially tied to the continued  dominance of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Toolcraft Examplar and Scrapheap Scrounger, the creatures most likely to crew it, but as a two-mana colorless mythic from a small set, further opportunities for gains seem likely before it finally rotates in fall of 2018. I don’t think major movement is in the works for this card this weekend given the depth of current supply, but if the format plays out well and leads to renewed overall player interest at the local level then this is a card that should be able to hit a fresh peak in the next 18 months.

Current Price: $13
Predicted Price Monday: $13 ($20 before fall)
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 2

Sphinx of the Final Word: Unlikely to Soar?

Sphinx of the Final Word

Some MTGFinance folk seem to have made a move on this card leading into the Pro Tour, but I can’t fathom why. Sure, this has all the hallmarks of an excellent control finisher, but it hasn’t even cracked the Top 50 Standard cards on Magic Online. Further, despite showing up in multiple control shells, it is usually played as a 1-of, which is hardly a recipe for a sustained spike. As an Oath of the Gatewatch card, the clock is likewise ticking on fall rotation and I want nothing to do with this. Sure, getting in at $1.50 and out at $5 after fees is some decent math, but it’s a lot more attractive when you can sell a play set at a time. You probably have a couple of these lying around from draft leftovers and I think you should be selling now before this guy falls back to reality.

Current Price: $6 ($1 last week)
Monday Price: $5
Odds to Top 8: 6 to 1

Relentless Dead: Zombies MVP?

Relentless Dead

Heading into the weekend, the copies of this powerful zombie mythic that I stocked up on last summer at $4 have been selling well over $16. That’s a great return, but is there more meat left on this bone? Well, inventory is very low online and a solid showing this weekend at the Pro Tour might push this zombie staple, usually played as a 4-of, up into the $25-$30 range. 4-of mythics that only fit into one deck aren’t always your best bet, but when they rest at the intersection of zombie tribal and aggro in a format that rewards speed and a smooth mana base, the stage may be set for the undead to steam roll the tables.

Current Price: $20
Monday Price: $30 (On a strong zombie showing)
Monday Price: $15 (On a weak showing)
Odds to Top 8: 3 to 1

Liliana’s Mastery: Rolling in the Deep?

Liliana's Mastery

The zombie deck pilots have been quickly coming around to the benefits of having this combined creature creation spell and team buff effect sitting at the top of their curve. Most of those decks are running three or four copies of the card at this point, and I suspect that Zombies is going to be a lot more popular at your local LGS than all of the combo and control decks combined. This is one of the only cards I’ve been buying into a bit, on the basis that Standard success or not, this card will be an auto-include in casual and EDH zombie decks for years to come.

Note: Dark Salvation is also in a similar boat.

Current Price: $1
Monday Price: $1 ($4-5 Long Term)
Odds to Top 8: 2 to 1

Glorybringer: Flametongue Kavu 2.0?

Glorybringer

There isn’t any doubt this card is going to be a part of the format. It pressures Gideon, gets in tough to block damage and eliminates opposing threats when you have the breathing room to exert. If you were on the ball during pre-order season you have a chance to enter at $2 and exit over $10 when the hype was flowing, but now the card has settled back toward $6 as Amonkhet marches toward peak supply. There’s a good chance that this card gets a shot at a higher price point during its tenure in Standard, but we really need a dominant showing or an increase in copies played (typically 2-3) to push the price. I’m holding off for now, but it’s a card to look at if it generates repeated big plays on camera this weekend.

Current Price: $6
Monday Price: $10 (on multiple Top 8 showings)
Monday Price: $5 (on a weaker showing)
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 2

Approach of the Second Sun: Dawning Champion?

Approach of the Second Sun

This card is sweet, and there are Aetherworks Marvel builds that run it, but it’s rarely a full playset, and the Temur builds seem to be favored. It could also show up in the New Perspectives combo deck, but it only plays one copy as well. I don’t think this is where you want to be for speculation right now, given that this card has building supply and modest demand.

Current Price: $.50
Monday Price: $.50
Odds to Top 8: 20 to 1


New Perspectives: Last Minute Contender?

New Perspectives

Saffron Olive posted a video series on a recently discovered combo deck revolving around this card and those videos might end up with more viewers than the Pro Tour. Supply has been draining out of the market and there is currently less of this card out there than most of the other cards on this list. I went ahead and grabbed twenty copies on the expected reach for the deck list via Saffron, but combo is generally less attractive to a broad audience than aggro, and if the deck fails to show up at the Pro Tour, it won’t help move the needle. The more cycling cards we print however, the better this card gets as a build around long term in casual circles, so I’m fine sitting on my copies for as long as it takes to show a reasonable gain given that it’s nearly always a 4-of when played.

Current Price: $1
Monday Price: $3-4
Odds to Top 8: 20 to 1

Do you have an outsider pick for the tournament? Share it in the comments!

Stay tuned for round by round MTGFinance coverage of Pro Tour: Amokhet all weekend!

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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Pro Tour Aether Revolt: Top 8 Analysis

Check out our Pro Tour Aether Revolt Preview, Day 1 and Day 2 coverage to get caught up.

So here we are, heading into a Pro Tour Top 8 dominated almost entirely by Mardu Vehicles, with only a single copy each of Jund Energy Aggro and BG Delirium to try and keep the highly efficient vehicles deck in check.

The competition includes a Hall of Fame inductee (Paulo Vitor Dama De Rosa) and a likely future Hall of Famer in Martin Juza. Matches are best of five on Sunday, but the first two games are played without sideboards so main deck inclusions matter more than usual.

Let’s take a look at the Day 2 conversion rate for the various deck types:

And here are the decks that did better than average getting their pilots into Day 2:

Despite having three decks in the Top 8, there is actually a fair amount of overlap between the key cards. The full list of Top 8 decks can be found here.

Heart of KiranScrapheap Scrounger

So what insights can we glean from these stats? Well, first of all, Mardu Vehicles is clearly the new deck to beat looking forward. Despite a large sample size of 95 players from many different teams, a full 75% of players on this deck made Day 2, which is very impressive indeed. Across all six copies that managed a Top 8 finish, five cards were included at the maximum of four copies in each build: Concealed Courtyard, Inspiring Vantage, Toolcraft Exemplar and Scrapheap Scrounger.  All of these cards are still cheap given this level of play, and if the deck keeps doing well, I would expect both Scrapheap Scrounger and the dual lands to show gains, especially since they are often played in the competing decks as well, as Inspiring Vantage shows up in Jeskai lists as a four-of, and Scrounger is also in the rest of the aggro lists as well.

Inspiring VantageConcealed Courtyard

Keep in mind that many of the pros that didn’t field Mardu Vehicles seemed surprised at the percentage of the field that brought the deck, so the control decks will now be reworking their game plan to skew more towards defending the early game vs. aggro plans and less against the Saheeli Rai combo. Jeskai Control, UR Control and Grixis Control all still have a shot at making inroads at future Top 8s, and you can expect them to get better at doing so as the aggro decks become more predictable. The core control color thus far has been blue, largely due to the power of Torrential Gearhulk, so I still have faith that the card will get to $25-30 at some point this spring.

Speaking of Saheeli Rai, despite the combo not putting a single copy in the Top 8, and representing a brutal Day 2 conversion rate of just 41%, there is reason to believe the narrative isn’t over yet. Josh Utter-Leyton and seven other pros brought 4 Color Aetherworks/Saheeli Combo to the tournament and managed an impressive 75% Day 2 conversion rate that could allude to further refinements of the shell contributing to greater competitive potential.

Also worth noting is that there are plenty of GB decks of both the Delirium and Winding Constrictor varieties in the Top 32 and 64, and with conversion rates around 70% it seems likely that the staples of this archetype, including Verdurous Gearhulk, Winding ConstrictorMindwrack Demon, Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Walking Ballista should stay on your radar if the tables turn. GB deck success has been the most consistent aspect of the Standard season thus far, so take the single Top 8 player with a grain of salt.

On Friday I predicted that the Top 8 would include a single dark horse deck, and indeed, we were gifted with a sexy new Jund Aggro Energy build in the hands of Martin Juza to mull over as an alternate approach to the early game on the go forward. This deck leveraged Scrapheap Scrounger alongside Longtusk Cub and Greenbelt Rampager and Voltaic Brawler to attempt to field an aggro army with slightly more power than the competition. According to Juza, he cut a few cards from the middle of his curve to install a late game package of three copies of Chandra, Torch of Defiance and a single copy of Nissa, Vital Force.

Chandra, Torch of DefianceNissa, Vital Force

You should also keep an eye out for Inspiring Statuary decks or Aetherflux Reservoir decks like the one written up over here, to possibly evolve into a more competitive form in the coming weeks.

With the odds stacked for a Mardu Vehicles finish Sunday, and this handy guide to the results in your hands, we’re going to call our coverage for the weekend here and regroup again in a week or two once we see the results of the next big tournament.

Take care and may your specs all be double ups!

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