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.
- Scrapheap Scrounger (Rare, KLD): 31 of 32 possible copies, sitting at $2.50, up from $2 Friday
- Unlicensed Disintegration (Uncommon, KLD): 28 of 32, $0.30 steady
- Heart of Kiran (Mythic, AER): 26 of 32, sitting at $20, up $5 from $15 Friday
- Inspiring Vantage (KLD, Rare): 24 of 32, steady steady at $4.50
- Concealed Courtyard (KLD, Rare): 24 of 32, steady steady at $4
- Toolcraft Exemplar (KLD, Rare): 24 of 32, steady at $1.25
- Gideon, Ally of Zendikar (Mythic, BFZ): 23 of 32, sitting at $22, steady from Friday
- Spire of Industry (AER, Rare): 23 of 32, slightly up at $4
- Aether Hub (KLD, Uncommon): 18 of 32, up slightly to $3
- Depala, Pilot Exemplar (Rare, KLD): 9 of 32, sitting at $0.60
- Blooming Marsh: 8 of 32, steady at $7
- Verdurous Gearhulk (Mythic, KLD): 4 of 32, up slightly at $18
- Walking Ballista: 4 of 32, steady around $10-12
- Rishkar, Peema Renegade: 4 of 32, steady around $6
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.
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 Constrictor, Mindwrack 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.
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!