Category Archives: Pro Tour Coverage

Pro Tour Kaladesh: Top 8 Coverage

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Check out our Top 8 Deck Analysis, Day 2 and Day 1 Coverage to get caught up and then follow along as we track the progress of the march to greatness today at Pro Tour Kaladesh.

Matches are best of five today, but the first two games are played without sideboards.

Our bracket looks like this today, forcing the bottom half of the bracket to battle four times today (a potential twenty total games) if they want to take it all home:

bracket

Both Makis (R/W Tokens) and Shota (Grixis Control) are safe until the semi-finals, giving their decks a better than average shot at the title. Notably the bottom half of the bracket forces most of the aggro decks to eliminate each other before facing combo, control or the red/white tokens list.

Quarter-Finals Stage 1: Ben Hull (R/W Vehicles) vs. Lee Shi Tian (Mardu Vehicles)

Game 1 plays out as expected here with Ben Hull managing to stabalize and managing to transition into a Skysovereign, Consult Flagship late game that quickly turns the corner and puts Shi Tian away. Off camera Hull takes the next game as well, but Lee takes Game 3 quickly to fight back, but falls in the next game to put the fledgling Canadian in the Top 6.

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Quarter-Finals Stage 1: Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control) vs. Joey Manner (UW Flash Spirits)

Carlos takes Game 1 off camera. In Game 2 Manner gets Carlos down to 1 life, but a Dovin Baan is able to stabilize the game for a few turns, and Romao starts to drown Joey in card advantage until Torrential Gearhulks are able to close things out. Joey loses the third game as well, but Romao’s roll is not to be stopped this weekend, and a series of kill spells sees Manner knocked off the podium for the weekend, putting the Brazilian one step closer to his third big tournament win in as many months.

carlos1

Quarter-Finals Stage 2: Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control) vs Matt Nass (Temur Aetherworks)

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Game 1 finds Nass predictably running multiple copies of Marvel Aetherworks into counterspell after counterspell, and eventually Romao gets his Torrential Gearhulks down to close the game. Game 2 goes much the same and Carlos is up by two.

Quarter-Finals Stage 2: Ben Hull (R/W Vehicles) vs Pierre Dagen (UR Control)

Ben Hull is able to quickly dispatch Dagen, who never really manages to establish his control of the board over the course of a quick three games. Hull moves on to the semi-finals vs. Shota Yasooka and his Grixis Control deck.

semis

Semi-Finals: Makis Matsoukas (R/W Tokens) vs Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control)

LSV points out Torrential Gearhulk as the key card for Romao.

Had to take a quick break, but upon my return I find Romao up 2-1 on Makis. The final game is a grind and Makis nearly gets his aggro amped up high enough to win a few times only to be met by stiff control opposition in the form of Torrential Gearhulk and multiple kill spells, including a key Radiant Flames. Romao is on to the finals!

Semi-Finals: Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control) vs Ben Hull (R/W Vehicles)

The players trade the first two games, with Thing in the Ice and Smuggler’s Copter featuring prominently. Yasooka in Games 3 and 4 however is a lesson in tight control play and when Hull stumbles on land in Game 4, the writing is on the wall. Yasooka is going to a Pro Tour final yet again.

Finals: Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control) & Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control)

All control finals featuring multiple copies of Torrential Gearhulk on both sides of the table. Definitely the card of the tournament, despite the heavy presence of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in the Top 8, and most copies are now in the $30-35 range online.

Game 1 lasts nearly forty minutes, with both players trading resources left and right in typical control fashion. Shota had even chosen to draw rather than play, a hallmark of control mirrors. Late in the game Carlos has Dovin Baan in play and seems to be setting up shop, only to have Shota squeak through the exact amount of damage necessary with a pair of Wandering Fumeroles and an Unlicensed Disintegration.

Game 2 puts the spotlight on Dovin Baan once again, with Carlos managing to ultimate the control-centric Planeswalker to prevent his opponent from untapping more than two permanents per turn. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, Shota is able, through masterful play, answer only the threats that he absolutely had to, and the Japanese Hall of Famer manages to run Romao out of every threat in his deck, with more gas in the tank. The players move to sideboarding, removing a lot of their dead cards against each other.

In Game 3, Romao starts a bit behind on land drops, but manages to steady the ship by dropping a Torrential Gearhulk in against a Transgress the Mind from Shota, forcing the Japanese master off a Summary Dismissal in hand. A few turns later a large scale counter war over Shota’s Torrential Gearhulk, ends in Carlos favor and he’s able to glide Avacyn home to take his first game of the match.

In Game 4 however, Shota gets a Gearhulk and an awakened Thing in the Ice into the red zone, and Shota is able to clear away both a knight token and Dovin Baan with a Delirium enabled To the Slaughter, putting Carlos on the back foot. A turn later, Carlos attempts an Immolating Glare on the incoming attackers, only to be met with a final Negate and Shota Yasooka with Grixis Control is your Pro Tour Kaladesh champion!

finals

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Pro Tour Kaladesh: Top 8 Deck Analysis

Pro Tour Kaladesh Top 8 Deck Analysis

After sixteen rounds of excellent draft and Standard play full of fantastic strategic matches and a plethora of viable decks, the Top 8 of Pro Tour Kaladesh is shaping up to be one of the most varied and interesting in years.

Here are what has made it to the final stage of the tournament and the relevant cards:

  1. Makis Matsoukas (R/W Tokens): 2x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, 4x Smuggler’s Copter, 4x Declaration in Stone, 4x Toolcraft Exemplar, 3x Pia Nalaar. Sideboard: 2x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
  2. Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control): 2x Torrential Gearhulk, 4x Thing in the Ice, 1x Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
  3. Pierre Dagen (UR Control): 1x Torrential Gearhulk, 4x Dynavolt Tower. Sideboard: 4x Niblis of Frost, 4x Thing in the Ice, 1x Torrential Gearhulk
  4. Matt Nass (Temur Aetherworks): 4x Aetherworks Marvel, 4x Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, 4x Emrakul, the Promised End, 3x Kozilek’s Return
  5. Carlos Ramao (Jeskai Control): 3x Torrential Gearhulk, 2x Dovin Baan, 2x Archangel Avacyn, 2x Fumigate. Sideboard: 3x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
  6. Ben Hull (R/W Vehicles): 2x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, 4x Toolcraft Exemplar, 3x Selfless Spirit, 3x Depala, Pilot Exemplar, 2x Pia Nalaar, 4x Declaration in Stone, 2x Fleetwheel Crusier. Sideboard: 2x Gideon, 1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance 
  7. Lee Shi Tian (Mardu Vehicles): 4x Smuggler’s Copter, 4x Toolcraft Exemplar, 4x Scrapheap Scrounger, 3x Depala, Pilot Exemplar, 2x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Sideboard: 2x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, 1x Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
  8. Joey Manner (UW Flash): 4x Selfless Spirit, 4x Spell Queller, 4x Archangel Avacyn, 4x Smuggler’s Copter, 4x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, 2x Westvale Abbey, 3x Rattlechains. Sideboard: 2x Jace, Unraveller of Secrets, 1x Linvala, the Preserver

The Most Financially Important (Non-Land) Cards in the Top 8 By Copies Played (Main and Board) Are:

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  1. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar: 19
  2. Smuggler’s Copter: 16
  3. Toolcraft Exemplar: 12
  4. Declaration in Stone: 9
  5. Torrential Gearhulk: 7
  6. Selfless Spirit: 7
  7. Archangel Avacyn: 6
  8. Depala, Pilot Exemplar: 6
  9. Aetherworks Marvel: 4
  10. Dynavolt Tower: 4
  11. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger: 4
  12. Emrakul, the Promised End: 4

Note: There are 22 Harnessed Lightning, and 18 Ceremonious Rejection in the Top 8 but I removed these from list as lower rarities. Ceremonious Rejection was as popular in the Top 8 as the $4 Aether Hub (also an uncommon) so it might be good for some minor gains.

The biggest under the radar story here is that Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is by far the most important mythic in the Top 8, with a tremendous seventeen copies across four of the top decks, including two different archetypes (RWx Vehicles & UW Flash). With copies still available under $20, it makes little sense if this card doesn’t swap prices with Chandra and head for $30 soon.

Smuggler’s Copter may not be dominating to the extent many feared, but is certainly included in nearly every major aggro strategy as a four-of and the folks that were counting this card out based on camera coverage Friday were dead wrong. Looking at the bigger picture, this is a great sign that the format is healthy and likely to feature many options for players at the local level. The Copter that could shows up in every aggro deck in the Top 8, including four decks and three archetypes (RW Tokens, RWx Vehicles and UW Flash). I suspect it will continue on as an acceptable monster in lower level tournaments through the rest of the fall. Holding $12-15 seems likely for now, pending further SCG Open level results in the next few weeks. Toolcraft Exemplar is also a persistent four-of in the RWx Vehicle/Token strategies and could be a rare with room for growth at $2.50 or so.

Despite the dominance of the Temur Aetherworks decks on both Day 1 and Day 2 of the metagame at 18% of the field, our Top 8 is full of unique decks that made up relatively small percentages of the field throughout the weekend. And while Aetherworks Marvel lead to both amazing and terrible turns all weekend as it’s pilots embraced the combo deck variance, Torrential Gearhulk looked fantastic every time it was on screen and in several different decklists, including Jeskai Control, Grixis Control and UR Control. The blue behemoth was definitely one of the breakout cards of the tournament (alongside Marvel) and is now carrying a $20 price tag as a result. Keep in mind that control cards tend to sell worse than aggro cards in Standard, and most of the decks running this card aren’t running the full complement.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance seems doomed to failure this season, and I’d expect the card to fall towards $15 in a hurry now. Panharmonicon, which spiked earlier this week on speculation that it could be at the Pro Tour, was nowhere to be found, and is quite likely to fade back toward $5.

Metalwork Colossus decks didn’t make the Top 8, but seem like a potentially more reliable combo strategy vs. Aetherworks Marvel, especially when combined with Sanctum of Ugin to chain the Colossi. The card is up to $4 from $2 this weekend, but may have trouble holding that price point pending further results at a high level. Likewise, Dynavolt Tower has made the Top 8, and has proven effective in both UR and Jeskai control builds throughout the weekend. This Kaladesh rare is available under $3 so far (up from just $.50), but could spike toward $5 if Degan makes the finals.

If we include lands in the mix, here are the non-basics that dominate the Top 8 field and may indicated demand heading into next week:

  1. Aether Hub: 17
  2. Inspiring Vantage: 15
  3. Spirebluff Canal: 12
  4. Wandering Fumerole: 10

Join us at 3pm Sunday EST (5pm PST) for Top 8 Coverage!

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 Kaladesh: Day 2 MTGFinance Coverage

Editor’s Note: Relevant financial details in blue, folks.

Coming into Day 2 of the largest (466 players) Pro Tour field of all time, the field has proved to be a mix of the expected and a plethora of attempts to get ahead of the metagame with cards previously thought to be nearly unplayable in constructed Magic.

Aetherworks Marvel decks were the archtype that showed up in the greatest numbers, constituting nearly 18% of the total field on Day 1. When they work, the various flavors of Marvel decks can drop a gigantic threat such as Ulamog or Emrakul into play as early as Turn 4. They have also generated some truly embarrassing moments for their pilots however, with too many of their top end threats stuck in hand resulting in fail to find adventures when activating the Marvel. Heading into Day 2 it will be important to identify whether a proportional number of these decks have made it through to Day 2, or whether the group think on going big was off the mark. The spike has already taken place however, with the card pushing from $10 to $20 early Friday evening. It will need to make Top 8 to avoid a wholescale sell off by the speculators come Monday.

Coming out of a highly aggressive first couple of weeks in the new Standard, many wondered aloud whether a control deck could be configured to beat the variety of aggressive and combo strategies in the meta. So far it has been Grixis Control in the hands of Hall of Famer Shoota Yasooka that has been most impressive in controlling the field.

grixis

Shoota’s deck has put both Thing in the Ice and Torrential Gearhulk back in the spotlight on the financial front, with Gearhulk spiking Friday night up toward $20 before fading back a bit to $18 on significantly lowered inventory.

Heading into the weekend, Smuggler’s Copter was the card that seemed to define the format, but we haven’t seen a lot of the card so far on camera, and it is unclear how many Copter decks have made it into Day 2.  Metalwork Colossus decks were sprinkled through the field, and a couple of them may be doing well enough to make a bid for Top 8. Consequently the card has moved from $1.50 to $5 overnight. Dynavolt Tower, as seen in the Travis Woo championed Jeskai Control build (with three players over 50% Day 1) and the Degan UR build, is also on the move. The card is currently available around $2, but inventory is draining and this card can easily top $5 if it makes Top 8.

Dynavolt TowerAetherworks MarvelMetalwork ColossusTorrential Gearhulk

The RG Double Strike aggro deck hasn’t had a good showing so far, with Brian Kibler looking fairly foolish with a few obvious misplays during his feature match with the deck. Electrostatic Pummeler may still end up a popular card at the LGS level however, as the deck is fairly cheap and easy to play.

As I expected, Chandra, Torch of Defiance has not made it on camera as of yet, and by all accounts she is essentially absent in the format. Look for this Planeswalker to crash hard heading out of the weekend. Panharmonicon spiked earlier this week on the back of a prominent video series by Saffron Olive, but the card is not in the field this weekend, and seems likely to slide back toward $5 from $10. Foils on the other hand, propped up by EDH demand, are likely to hold their current plateau a bit better.

Day 2 Meta looks as follows as reported by coverage staff:

  • Temur Aetherworks holding steady, 1.17% up to 18.77% of the total field
  • BG Delirium down 1.5% to 10.24%
  • BR Aggro steady at 8%
  • RW Vehicles steady at 7%
  • RG Energy steady at 6.5%

Ten other decks between 2-5%.

Worth noting that no one deck has gotten blown out of the format thus far, nor have any of the newer decks proven to be true solutions to the format. Meta is looking wide open at present. The continued prevelance of the Aetherworks decks may indicate upward pressure forthcoming on Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Emrakul, the Promised End.

Follow along with us as we track the final 5 rounds of constructed play before the cut to Top 8 and the establishment of the new Standard metagame.

Round 9 (6th Standard Round): Lee Shi Tian (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Kentaro Yamamoto (Grixis Emerge)

The Tian deck is splashing black for Unlicensed Disintegration. Yamamoto’s deck leverages the Prized Amalgram/Scrapheap Scrounger engine via Perpetual Timepiece instead of the red discard spells favored by other pilots. In Game 1, Tian overruns Kentaro, essentially unopposed, within the first five turns. In Game 2, Tian comes out to another aggressive start but this time Yamamoto is able to stabilize with a Kozilek’s Return and turn the corner to put it away. Game 3, a key Ceremonious Rejection off a freshly played Cultivator’s Caravan allows Shi Tian to brush past a Kozilek’s Return and put the match away.

Round 9 (6th Standard Round): Matt Nass (Temur Aetherworks) vs. Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control)

Matt Nass concedes Game 1 after being unable to ruin Nass with an Emerakul trigger.

Round 9 (6th Standard Round): Makis Matsoukas (R/W Tokens) vs Rich Hoaen (Temur Aetherworks)

We come into this match with the players tied one game a piece. In Game 3 we quickly see Hoaen spin his Aetherworks Marvel, only to whiff on a solution to the quick RW clock from the Greek player, and Makis takes it.

Round 9 (6th Standard Round): Steve Rubin (BR Aggro) vs.  Mike Hron (Mardu Vehicles)

These players split the first two games before we check in as well. The weakness of aggro decks in this tourney is looking to be premature. There are plenty of aggro decks keeping the combo and control players honest in the top ranks.

Deck Tech #5: Zac Elsik (UR Control), 5-1 in Standard so far

  • 4x Torrential Gearhulk
  • 2x Nahiri, the Harbinger
  • 3x Dynavolt Tower
  • 4x Galvanic Bombardment
  • 4x Incendiary Flow
  • 4x Harnessed Lightning
  • 2x Void Shatter
  • 1x Spell Shrivel
  • 2x Negate
  • 4x Glimmer of Genius
  • 4x Anticipate

Dynavolt Tower has moved up to $3.00 online, but vendors are adding copies as low as $.50. One of these decks needs to Top 8 to avoid a backslide.

Cut for Top 8 is being reported as likely to extend only to 13-3.

Ben Weitz is talking to Marshall Sutcliffe about his White/Colorless Eldrazi brew, which went 5-1 on day 1.

Round 13 (7th Round of Standard): Oliver Polak-Rottman (Temur Colossus) vs. Pierre Dagen (UR Spells)

Both players come into the round at 10-3, needing to win to stay live for Top 8. Oliver takes Game 1 by repeatedly bashing in with 10/10s artifact creatures. In Game 2, he manages to get three copies of his signature beatstick into play and Dagen is forced to lean heavily on Niblis of Frost activations to hold off the metallic offensive. One stunning turn later however, Dagen pushes the match into a tie-breaker, by eeking through eleven damage between prowess triggers on both Niblis of Frost and the activation of a Dynavolt Tower.

Plenty of Metalwork Colossus inventory now posted in the $3.50-$4 range. Deck feels a bit niche to me, and I don’t see it taking more than 10% of the meta moving forward.

In Game 3, a Confiscation Coup from Oliver is met by Void Shatter, but it is countered by Ceremonious Rejection and Oliver manages to steal a Dynavolt Tower, leaving another on Dagen’s side of the board. Oliver is then able to get a Metalwork Colossus into play on the back of the extra non-creature artifact now in play on his side.
Dagen however, has a super-powered Harnessed Lightning to take down the first Colossus, with Oliver quickly following up with another from his yard. LSV calls out Niblis of Frost as doing amazing work out of the board, especially when opponents take out their removal. Indeed, Dagen uses the Niblis to hold back the remaining Colossus, gets a Torrential Gearhulk down and starts rolling a train of instants and energy generation to take control of the game. Dagen takes the match and stays live with his innovative UR Dynavolt Tower deck.

Reid Duke (RW Vehicles) vs. Kenji Tsumura (BG Delirium)

We come in on this and Duke finally puts Chandra, Torch of Defiance on camera out of his sideboard. The beleagured planeswalker is quickly killed however, and the match is split, heading to a third game after a key Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet makes combat too tricky for Reid. Off camera a bit later however, Reid is able to take the match.

Deck Tech #5: Frank Karsten (Mardu Zoo)

zoo

  • 4x Inventor’s Apprentice
  • 4x Toolcraft Exemplar
  • 4x Thraben Inspector
  • 1x Depala, Pilot Exemplar
  • 3x Pia Nalar
  • 3x Veteran Motorist
  • 4x Scrapheap Scrounger
  • 4x Smuggler’s Copter
  • 2x Fleetwheel Cruiser
  • 1x Incendiary Flow
  • 1x Declaration in Stone
  • 4x Fiery Temper
  • 1x Key to the City
  • 1x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Franks mentions that he found that the other aggro decks were step behind this build in presenting early game pressure.

Standings after this round look like this:

rnd13

Decks in contention are all over the map so far, with no clear theme. RB and RW Aggro, Grixis Control, Aetherworks Combo, Colossus, UR Control and UR Emerge are all live.

Round 14 (Standard Round 8): Lee Shi Tian (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Raphael Levy (UR Emerge)

Lee Shi Tian’s consistent aggro plan plays out as per normal again this round, allowing him to claim first blood yet again. In Game 2 Levy is forced to mulligan on the play against the last deck you want to stumble against. Levy is running a copy of Nahiri’s Wrath out of the board, which boasts nice synergy with Stitchwing Skaab and Prized Amalgam. He puts the power to use to clear the early assault cluster from Lee.


Round 14 (Standard Round 8): Makis Matsoukas (R/W Tokens) vs. Rob Pisano (Temur Aetherworks)

Matsoukas has Reckless Bushwacker in his deck to assist in the go wide plan and he makes great use of it in Game 2 to take down the match in record time when he applies it to five attackers.

Round 14 (Standard Round 8): Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control) vs. Rich Hoaen (Temur Aetherworks)

The control is real as Yasooka takes this down without a lot of trouble. Counterspells are showing their value every round, but this one has a truly great sequence at the end.

Yasooka is at four cards in library and has a Thing in the Ice with two counters. He casts Painful Truths for three, and then Negates it, flipping his Horror and drawing a concession. Hoaen was stuck with multiple not-yet-castable Eldrazi in hand, later versions of this deck may adjust the threats. More Gearhulks anyone?

The final Feature Match of the round doesn’t have more to add, except to show us how bad Chandra is against Vehicles. Her price is still on the decline until she’s able to stay in play.

Round 15 (Standard Round 9): Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control) vs. Reid Duke (RW Vehicles)

Game 1 felt over after two early Galvanic Bombardment from Yasooka blunted Duke’s early creatures, but aggro takes it down anyway.

Game 2 shows us the spell-Negate my spell trick to flip Thing in the Ice again, and only a couple of attacks are needed to win it. Yasooka is still playing Jace, Unraveler of Secrets, which seems amazing. If Duke attacks it, Jace has replaced himself and gained some nice life. If he doesn’t, the card advantage is real. It’s only a two-of, though, so big movement is probably unlikely.

Game 3 is a clinic, as the control deck uses life totals and Weaver of Lightning triggers very well, even managing to fire off a Jace ultimate! A late Chandra, Torch of Defiance just isn’t enough and Duke picks up his fourth loss. Will we get to see Chandra be good on camera as these rounds progress?

shota

 

Jun Ishihara (Temur Emerge) vs. Tyler Hill (BG Delirium)

This games ends up in a draw after an epic Game 2 with multiple Emrakul’s in play between the two players.

Matt Nass is in with Temur Emerge, so is Makis Matsoukas (R/W Tokens).

Deck Tech #6: Oliver Polak-Rottman (Temur Colossus)

Oliver describes how Sanctum of Ugin allows you to chain Metalwork Colossus, with the dream draw leading to four copies on Turn 4. It’s a combo deck and Sylvan Scrying adds consistency by finding the Sanctum of Ugins. More reliable than Aetherworks in his opinion. Colossus is pushing $4 at this point.

  • 4 Sanctum of Ugin
  • 2 Inventor’s Fair
  • 4 Sylvan Scrying
  • 4 Metalwork Colossus
  • 4 Hedron Archive
  • 4 Prophetic Prison
  • 3 Deadlock Trap
  • 4 Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot
  • 3 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
  • 3 Cultivator’s Caravan
  • 4 Glint-Nest Crane
  • 1 Elder Deep-Fiend
  • 2 Select for Inspection (Oliver says he’d replace these with more artifacts)
  • 1 Hanweir Battlements

Pierre Dagen manages a tough match win against Ondrej Strasky, to keep his Top 8 hopes alive, making UR Control live for Top 8. Predicting Top 8 to include: Grixis Control, UR Control, Temur Emerge, R/W Tokens so far. This format is wide open.

My gut says that Temur Aetherworks is going to be dust binned after this tournament as a strategy that is simply too inconsistent. Need to see the win %s on this deck on Day 2.

Round 16 (Final Round of Standard): Tyler Hill (BG Delirium) vs. Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control)

Both of these players are playing for access to the Top 8, at 11-3-1. Hill’s delirium deck isn’t much different than versions from a month ago. Romao is running Dovin Baan, Torrential Gearhulk, and many of the UR control components we’ve seen all weekend.

Game 1 Carlos gets off a two target Quarantine Field on Kalitas and Mindwrack Demon to empty the board. This opens up a sequence a few turns later where Carlos finds himself with a pair of Torrential Gearhulks in play, and the onslaught is too much for Hill to deflect. Romao is now a game away from making Top 8 of the Pro Tour only a week after winning his 2nd GP of the season. Impressive!

In Game 2, Romao gets a Dovin Baan out onto an empty board, but it gets answered quickly by Hissing Quagmire. Hill then answers with Liliana, the Last Hope, only to have it countered. Another Liliana is answered just as quickly by a Torrential Gearhulk into Harness Lightning. A late Quarantine Field later takes out three threats on Hill’s side, and the board opens up for aggression by the Jeskai player and Romao pulls another control deck into the Top 8.

Round 16: Matt Nass (Temur Aetheworks) vs. Pierre Dagen (UR Control)

Dagen has taken the first game off camera. Pierre takes the match as well, and clinches Top 8 for both players.

Joey Manner is ghosting into Top 8 with a UW Flash Spirits deck, running Archangel Avacyn, Smuggler’s Copter, Spell Queller and co, knocking a Temur Emerge deck out of the final day.

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 Kaladesh Finance: Standard Day 1

Check out our Pro Tour preview over here, and join us for round to round coverage in live blog style below all day.

Round 4 (1st Round of Standard) started at 8pm EST/5pm PST, Friday, October 14th.

Round 4: Martin Muller (Temur Colossus) vs. Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control)

Right of the bat we have Muller bringing Metalwork Colossus to the forefront in a Temur brew that veers off from the UB varieties that have been in evidence on Magic Online this week. It is Yasooka that draws first blood however, taking Game 1 on the back of Torrential Gearhulk, which is already showing signs of a spike. Mueller strikes back in Game 2 to even things up. Yasooka takes Game 3 and puts Grixis Control on the map for this format, running four Thing In the Ice, a card that has been languishing in the $5 range.

Round 4: Jelger Wiegersma vs. Lee Shia Tian (Mardu Vehicles)

This brew is running elements of WR Vehicles with Depala and Copter, as well as Scrapheap Scrounger and Unlicensed Disintegration. Tian loses the first game, but takes the second one.

Off camera, Oliver Tiu has a turn 4 Emrakul in play off of Aetherworks Marvel.

Day 1 Metagame is reported by WoTC Coverage as follows:

  • Temur Aetherworks 17%
  • Black-Green Delirium 12%
  • Black-Red Aggro 8%
  • Red-Green Energy 7%
  • Red-White Vehicles 7%
  • Black-Red Madness 5%

Aetherworks Marvel is drying up at online retailers but we’ll have to see if Marvel can weather the storm of aggro decks that still seem to be out in force.

Deck Tech #1: Willy Edel w/ GR Pummeler

This deck, which aims to deliver 20+ double-strike damage as fast as possible, features the following relevant cards from a financial perspective:

Torrential Gearhulk just took the crown from Smuggler’s Copter for most valuable Kaladesh card on #mtgo. Will it last?

torrential

 

Round 5 (Standard Rnd 2): Pierre Dagen (Blue-Red Spells) vs. Raphael Levy (Blue/Red Emerge)

Pierre Dagen is running a Dynavolt Tower deck.  Levy is on a Blue-Red Emerge deck that eschews the green cards usually seen in similar decks in favor of more meta specifics answers and recursion from Advanced Stitchwing. Game 1 goes to the Hall of Famer, as Levy leverages recursive pressure and some burn spells to close it out.

In Game 2, Levy starts on two copies of Sanctun of Ugin. Dagen boards in Thing in the Ice and Niblis of Frost, to help with board control against the recursive plan of his opponent. Dagen is running Take Inventory, another first on camera this season. A Torrential Gearhulk later, and Levy packs it in to try and preserve his clock for Game 3.

Game 3 finds Levy in need of a mulligan, but he does manage to find his lands on the next hand. Levy gets Dagen down to just two life, but Dagen is able to use Niblis of Frost to stave off the final points of damage for several turns and takes the match.

Round 5 (Standard Rnd 2): Eric Froelich (GB Aggro) vs. Reid Duke (RW Vehicles)

This match is mostly showing off the aggressive decks that were expected coming into the tournament. Fairly telling that two names this big, that enjoy the benefits of testing with some of the world’s best teams, still chose to go this route. Under intense pressure, Reid takes Game 2, and evens things out to one game each.

Round 5 (Standard Rnd 2): Thomas Hendriks (Metalwork Colossus) vs. Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control)

Hendriks is running Thought-Knot Seer, Elder Deep Fiend, Metalwork Colossus, Skysovereign and various enabling artifacts. Carlos is on a fresh Jeskai brew, with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and Torrential Gearhulk. A key Void Shatter prevents an incoming Colossus, and acts as turning point for the game and we move to Game 3.

Deck Tech #2: Chris Botelho (Dynavolt Tower/Fevered Visions)

Dynavolt Tower

Dynavolt Tower back on camera in an impromptu deck tech with brewmaster Chris Botelho on a deck he hilariously calls “FTTF 4000“.

  • 4x Dynavolt Tower
  • 2x Harnessed Lightning
  • 4x Glimmer of Genius
  • 2x Fumigate
  • 3x Consulate Surveillance
  • 4x Fevered Visions
  • 3x Radiant Flames
  • 2x Lightning Axe
  • 3x Anticipate
  • 3x Declaration in Stone
  • 2x Blessed Alliance

Dynavolt Tower is spiking on MTGO.

At the end of Round 5, here are the standings:

rnd5-results

Round 6 (Standard Rnd 3): Pat Cox (Temur Aetherworks) vs. Brian Kibler (GR Energy)

LSV calls the Temur Aetherworks deck the most powerful deck in Standard, but notes that it is especially vulnerable to sideboard cards.

In Game 1, Cox manages to get Emrakul on the table early on and Kibler immediately scoops with no hope of answering the most dangerous threat in the format. In Game 2 however, Cox has trouble finding an Aetherworks Marvel and Kibler puts him on a fast clock with early aggro creatures, that lets him even it up. LSV notes that Kibler is running multiple copies of Ceremonious Rejection out of the board as a splash.

Game 3 Pat Cox uses Glint-Nest Crane to find the Aetherworks Marvel he needs to set up a win. Kibler has an aggro plan in action with Lathnu Hellion and company, but he is forced to let Cox search for a threat with his Marvel after forgetting to pay energy to keep his Hellion in play in a major punt. The Marvel activation fails to find a real threat, but Cox does get a green puzzleknot to boost his life and restock some energy. This sequence of events gives Pat enough time to take another swing with the Marvel, and this time he gets to choose between Emrakul or Ulamog. Cox goes with Emrakul, the Promised End and takes control of Kibler’s next turn as well as setting off a Kozilek’s Return from the yard. With no threats left, Brian is stuck without a way out, and yields the match.

Round 6 (Standard Rnd 3): Yuuya Watanabe (Bant Aetherworks) vs. Zac Elsik (Jeskai Control)

We move over to this match mid-game. LSV notes that Watanabe is running Tamiyo, Field Researcher, but loses Kozilek’s Return based on his color preferences. Elsik is also running Dynavolt Tower as well as Nahiri into Torrential Gearhulk, flashing back Glimmer of Genius. These Jeskai lists also run multiple copies of both Wandering Fumarole,  Needle Spires, and Spell Queller too. Elsik runs a value train and takes the game.

In Game 2, Yuuya boards into a more aggressive plan with Longtusk Cub and manages to take the game relatively easily. Game 3 sees Watanabe with Tamiyo, Field Researcher in play in the mid-game, facing down some creature lands and a Spell Queller. Yuuya tries for a Spell Queller, only to have it exiled by a Spell Queller from Zac. The Japanese player has an Aetherworks Marvel in play, but with no other relevant permanents left in play and opponent holding a grip of counter spells that can interact profitably with the Marvel. Yuuya elects to hard cast Emrakul, which hits a counter from Zac, shutting down the Eldrazi threat, but opening the door for Yuuya to mess with his opponent’s board state by taking control of his turn off the cast trigger. Watanabe does manage to burn a ton of cards in Zak’s hand and remove some threats, but creature land attacks the next turn still manage to drive home a win, putting Zac Elsik to 5-1.

Deck Tech #3: Raphael Levy (UR Emerge)

  • 4x Cathartic Reunion
  • 3x Fiery Temper
  • 4x Lightning Axe
  • 3x Tormenting Voice
  • 4x Elder Deep-Fiend
  • 4x Prized Amalgam
  • 4x Kozilek’s Return
  • 3x Wretched Griff
  • 4x Advanced Stitchwing
  • 4x Stitchwing Skaab

The deck can’t even cast Prized Amalgam from its’ own mana base, relying entirely on graveyard recursion to pop it back into play after discard. 3/4 flyers in the deck often match up well against Copter. Levy details why he likes the blue flyers over Haunted Dead, due to their ability to apply significant pressure in the air.

Round 7 (Standard Rnd 4): Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control) vs. Reid Duke (RW Vehicles)

Game 1, Reid has his first threat answered by Immolating Glare, but a Veteran Motorist gets a Smuggler’s Copter in soon after, and the beat rush is on. Romao has a surprise Dovin Baan, a card thought to align poorly against the copter, but it does have the option to shut off an existing crew member by reducing its power to zero. A Selfless Spirit from Reid does allow him to crew up the Copter and clear Dovin from the board. Romao manages to counter a Depala, but Reid still gets in for eight, dropping the Brazilian to eight, and Reid takes Game 1 on the next attack step after adding Fleetwheel Cruiser to the board. In the second game, Duke brings the beats in equivalent fashion, and Romao again loses an early Dovin Bann to a massive attack. A Fumigate clears some of the threats but it leaves behind two clues, a Gideon and a Fleetwheel Cruiser and the control decks falls on the next attack step. Duke moves to 6-1.

At a side table, Ari Lax takes control of a Grixis Zombies/Emerge deck via Emrakul, and pulls off a crazy sequence that shuffles dozens of cards back into Kentaro Yamamoto’s deck to deprive Yamamoto of future graveyard recursion options, leading to a quick scoop. Yamamoto does manage to take the match however on the back of two copies of Ceremonius Rejection in Game 3, putting him at 5-2.

In a BG Delirium semi-mirror between Kenji Tsumura and Eric Froelich sees Gonti, Lord of Luxury stealing a Kalitas, Lord of Ghet from Eric for solid value. The Froelich build features Catacomb Sifter, a card that most players have left aside. Both of these players at 6-0 coming into this round.

LSV calls out Aetherworks Marvel as the biggest splash of the tournament, an opinion underscored by the fact that the card is spiking over $20 at present.

Deck Tech #4: Christian Calcano (UW Spirits)

Spirits is still a thing in this evolving Standard meta.
Spirits is still a thing in this evolving Standard meta.
    • 2x Skywhaler’s SHop
    • 1x Ceremonious Rejection
    • 4x Smuggler’s Copter
    • 4x Thraben Inspector
    • 4x Selfless Spirit
    • 4x Spell Queller
    • 4x Reflector Mage
    • 4x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
    • 3x Archangel Avacyn
    • 2x Rattlechains
    • 2x Negate
    • 2x Stasis Snare

Calcano called out Gideon and Avacyn as excellent top of curve threats that are well adapted against the current meta. Deck is 3-1 in Standard at this point.

Round 8 (5th Round of Standard): Eric Froelich (BG Delierium) vs. Matteo Moure (Temur Aetherworks)

In Game 1 Matteo whiffs on a couple of Aetherworks Marvel activations, and is overrun by consistent pressure from Eric. Game 2, Matteo manages to Ulamog, removing Froelich’s lands and casting a Kozilek’s Return out of the yard to clear the board and earn a concession. On to Game 3. Eric gets to 8-0 as Matteo ends up with too many giant Eldrazi stuck in his hand without a way to cast them, and without a hit off his Marvel, after a mulligan.

Round 8 (5th Round of Standard): Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control) vs Valentin Mackl (Grixis Emerge Zombies)

Yasooka takes Game 1 with some Torrential Gearhulk/Unlicensed Disintegration action. Yasooka takes Game 2 as well, to go to 8-0, as one of the only undefeated players left on Day 1.

Round 8 (5th Round of Standard): Pierre Dagen (UR Spells) vs. Matt Costa (RW Vehicles)

Off camera these players trade a game each. In the final game Costa follows up a Veteran Motorist with Depala, with a Thing in the Ice on the other side of the board. Dagen is able to answer the threats with a combination of Niblis of Frost and some timely burn spells, and the French player goes to 8-1.

That ends Day 1, and we’ve seen a good mix of new and expected decks. Join us Sat evening for Day 2 Standard coverage.

day1

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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