The end of this incarnation of Standard is quickly approaching. For most of us, the Standard season actually ends this weekend as the Standard PTQs finish up and we transition into the sealed PTQ season.
There are a few things you need to know for this last weekend of big events though. By things, I am referring to the metagame shift that occurred as tons of players gathered to represent their respective countries and compete for the world championship. Some of the best players in the world brought sweet new decks to battle with. Even the smallest tournament this weekend will be impacted by these new developments.
First up, we have a Kibler special. In a fashion only the Dragonmaster himself could muster, he brewed up one of the most aggressive yet resilient aggro decks of the season. Kibler played his new deck, which is really just an updated version of a variety of decks he's been working on all season, at the World Magic Cup.
By the time he was done crushing the Standard portion, similar to the most hardcore eight-man pod you've ever seen, the competitors in the World Championships were hustling behind the scenes to put together his deck list for their event. In America, our players rushed to shuffle up this new deck as well and used the new list to crush the SCG Open in Minnesota.
My friend beat me in the top eight of a small TCG Player event with the deck as well, so I know first hand how good it is. Even though it is similar to previous incarnations of the deck, do not take this new list lightly because it is miles better than anything that came before it. Here is Kilber's list with the minor recommended change he suggested.
by Brian Kibler
Before I get into the elegant deck list above I want to point out a few notable absent cards. This deck does not contain the extreme aggressive card Burning-Tree Emissary like so many others. Why is this significant? Your Burning-Tree decks are naturally vulnerable to be Bonfired out of the game by your Jund opponents. By not playing the essentially free two drop, you can run Strangleroot Geist instead for a more durable threat.
The second card that did not make an appearance in this deck is the new potent threat, Kalonian Hydra. There is not a card in this list I would cut to make room for the best Hydra printed so far. Again, with Jund being the end boss of the format, your Kalonian Hydras match up poorly against them. Unless you like your opponent winning with your threats or having them die to removal before they have impacted the game, stick to the Dragonmaster's kinfolk.
There are a few reasons this deck is so potent. So many of the creatures having haste is a big part of it. Because of that extra abilty, you are able to get in damage more quickly than the other decks in the field and effectively race almost any deck.
Domri Rade gives the deck some card advantage by drawing extra cards or by killing a couple of your opponent's creatures. He is at his best against a true control deck though because you can drop him turn two and force your opponent to play a different game trying to deal with it before it ultimates.
Finally, the mana curve of the deck is perfect. You have multiple plays at each casting cost which allows you to use your mana more efficiently than almost any other deck in the format. This deck is the real deal.
If you want a deck to compete against G/R Kibler, take a look at this next brew.
by Brad Nelson
When M14 was spoiled, I spent much of my free time brainstorming deck ideas that all started with Scavenging Ooze and Lifebane Zombie. If you're a regular reader of my column, you may not remember this idea ever coming up. That's because I could not fit them into anything resembling a good deck.
Well, luckily Brad Nelson has done that for me. This Rock deck definitely has what it takes to compete as he finished in the top 16 of the first SCG event he piloted it in. Rock fans everywhere will rejoice at this latest incarnation of the historic deck.
If you look closely, this deck has a lot going for it. The first strength of the deck is its ability to fight against the Jund "mirror". Starting with a good Jund match-up is a great place to approach Standard from. With the M14 cards, you should be able to slice through Kibler's deck as well.
Mutilate over Bonfire is an interesting debate, but both are effective in stunting your opponent's board presence.
Finally, you have the potent finisher of Desecration Demon. Being able to kill your opponents' creatures and have your finisher survive is a powerful tool for a deck to have. Overall, this is a potent control deck with a fast clock. That combination of things makes for a hard-to-beat deck. I expect the Rock to build a solid foundation in the remaining time it has in Standard.
The last deck you need to be familiar with is one that has been talked about a fair bit since the spoiling of Garruk, Caller of Beasts. The basic strategy is play creatures as mana acceleration and use Garruk to cheat Craterhoof Behemoth into play to kill your opponent on the spot.
played by William Jensen
designed by Zvi Mowshowitz
The pros are really hitting it out of the park lately with these new decks they are unleashing on the world's Standard metagame.
It is easy to underestimate how quickly this deck can get off the ground. With twelve one-mana accelerants, there will be plenty of times where you play a five-drop on turn three. This deck is designed with that idea in mind. When you think about how often you have three-mana on turn two, the two Loxodon Smiters start making more sense as well.
I really love the Gavony Townships in this deck also. They do a very important thing for the deck which is giving it stability during the times where you just have a bunch of little guys and no big threats. Playing white mana virtually just for Gavony Township is not just brilliant, but also a necessity.
My problem with this deck is the difficulty it has in beating any Jund deck. They kill all your mana elves with one spell and wipe up the bigger threats with targeted removal or Olivia Voldaren. Post board is a little better when you can attack their mana development, but I have not seen this deck defeat Jund many times. Against almost any other deck in the field, it is quite well positioned though.
Make sure you think about these three new decks when deciding your deck for this weekend. All of these decks will be played, most likely by many players at your event, so come prepared.
Updates to Aristocrats 3.0
Despite writing about it and telling everyone how awesome it is, not many players are paying attention. All is well though because I am content to keep crushing events.
Taking first at a big FNM is not something I celebrate, but it was a ton of fun. This past weekend was not a special victory or anything. In addition to my FNM win, I squeeked into eighth place of a very small TCG Player event and then lost in the first round to my friend playing GR Kibler. Three losses on the day is not my definition of success, but variance aside, the deck is still amazing.
With the above decks surging into the metagame some updates need to happen. Even with a combined record of 22-7-1 in matches over four events, I am still not content. There is a PTQ this weekend that I'm gunning for.
Here is the version I am working on right now in light of the new advancements in Standard.
by Mike Lanigan
As you may notice, there are no copies of Fiend Hunter in this latest update to my deck. With the metagame as it is, there are fewer and fewer decks that it is actively good against. Take G/R Kibler for example. They have maindeck Domri Rade and Mizzium Mortars to get their guys back. Against both Jund and UWR, Fiend Hunter is one of your worst cards most of the time. With so many matchups where the card does not perform well, I think it's time to find something more productive.
There were many cards I tried in this spot, but ultimately I wanted something with a similar effect. That is when I thought of Mark of Mutiny. When I have played Aristocrats previously, I loved Mark against all of the midrange decks. You haven't lived until you have stolen Thragtusk and sacrificed it so you get to keep the token! Oh yeah, you also get to attack with it. That's pretty cool too.
Fighting against so many lucky Jund players who hit multiple Bonfires per game makes Increasing Devotion a little less game ending. Zealous Conscripts is exactly the swingy card I was looking for to end games more quickly against decks with huge creatures. Most of the time it acts as a removal spell too since you can sacrifice them afterwards.
I am not certain Silverblade Paladin is the right human for the job, but he does add a potency to the deck like no other card can. I may change up the list before Saturday, but for now, this is where I am at with it.
PTQ report next week. Wish me luck!
Until Next Time,
Unleash the Aristocrats Force!
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