Insider: The Real Story of the Pro Tour

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Every time the Pro Tour rolls around, you will see a mass migration towards the top eight decks that the pros have innovated. What most players don’t follow, though, is what happened outside of the top eight. My favorite decks to look at are usually not the top eight or top 16 decks, but rather, the most successful decks in the two Standard portions of the competition. These decks can sometimes be difficult to track down (you have to find them on the Wizards website, after all), but it's well worth the effort. (Also, you can always read my articles because I cover these decks after every Pro Tour.)

By looking at the top Standard decks, you gain valuable insight into what decks actually performed well in the format overall. For example, if you didn’t look at this list, you may not know the real story of this Pro Tour. I’ll let you in on some secret info: the real story isn’t the deck that won the event, or even the runner up. The real story of this tournament is Blue-White Flash. All four of the decks with the best Standard record, 9-1 or 27 points, were Blue-White Flash.

In other words, the deck may not have won the event, but it was the most successful archetype overall and produced the best results.

If you dissect this deck list, there aren’t many surprises to be found. One thing that did stand out to me was the inclusion of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. The rest of the deck is what you’d expect when you look for cards to fit into a Blue-White Flash archetype. For example, every pilot included the best flash creature in the format, Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier, and her counterpart, Spell Queller. In addition, most versions also played Rattlechains to add a Scion of Oona effect to the deck's repertoire.

Getting back to the surprising card, Gideon, I like this card in the list for one main reason. There is no better threat to follow up a flash spell than Gideon. You always want him to resolve and survive, so casting something at the end of your opponent’s turn and then playing him as your follow-up on your turn is an incredibly powerful sequence.

Another great aspect about this deck is the ability to bring in lots of counter magic during sideboarding. This is a strategy I’ve used a lot in combination with Collected Company, and I think it would fit like a glove with this assortment of cards, too.

This may not be the most surprising deck to come out of the Pro Tour – after all, we all knew going into this season that this was most likely going to be a tier-one strategy – but it is consistent and powerful. Many players will jump on board with this deck because it fits their play style. Come prepared to battle against this archetype at events.

Successful Metagame Picture

Let’s take a look at what the best decks look like when we break them down by archetypes.

UR Spells

BG Delirium
RW Vehicles
Gruul Energy

Aetherworks Marvel

Even just looking at the decks that had winning records in the Standard portion of the Pro Tour, there is something here for everyone. There are four different types of control decks, including UR Spells, which utilizes Dynavolt Tower to help control the game. Most of these decks just rely on Torrential Gearhulk to gain some card advantage and eventually win, but if that’s not how you’d like to win in this format, there are options.

There are lots of flavors of aggressive strategies as well. Most of them include Smuggler's Copter because it’s the best card in the format, but they all surround it with different things. If you like messing around with your graveyard, there are a couple ways to do that – or you can just smash your opponent with the fastest creatures the format has to offer until you're ready for them to pilot the vehicles.

Finally, if you are the type of player who likes combo or ramp decks, Aetherworks Marvel is sort of a hybrid of those two concepts. My friends tried to convince me that this strategy is consistent enough to compete, but I would never play something as unreliable as a deck revolving around looking at the top six cards and hoping to find one of your eight Eldrazi to cheat into play. Maybe with as much energy as the deck makes, getting multiple activations to see more than six cards is enough to consistently win games. But I think more often than not, if your Marvel doesn’t get countered, you will whiff. This is definitely a strategy you want to have an answer for, though, because if this deck is allowed to run its course, you’ll be dying to Emrakul, the Promised End  or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger rather quickly.

Financial Impact

Financially speaking, most of the cards have already peaked, so your window to buy has closed. One of our best services here at Quiet Speculation is the on-site coverage of Pro Tours. This gives Insiders the quickest information about what’s happening on the floor at the event so you can react and make some money.

If you bought in on any of these spiking cards, make sure you lock in your profit quickly. It seems like we’re in a bubble right now with Kaladesh. All the cards are currently rather expensive, and the set still has sweet Inventions cards that can be opened. Kaladesh is generating an enormous price per pack right now, and it cannot possibly maintain its current expected value. If you have cards, move them, because they are about to come crashing back down.

There are some cards that may not have popped up in value yet, and that’s because they are hidden at the end of the successful deck lists. Kibler may have spoiled the secret tech already, but let’s take a look and see what’s in store.

First of all, I think this deck is great and underrated. Gruul Energy didn’t top eight the event and is hidden at the end of the Standard results. Both of these factors make this look like a deck poised to crush a tournament, as it can clearly compete, but now people won't be preparing to battle against it. I also like both Lathnu Hellion and Bristling Hydra as potential spec targets. They may be at their peaks at around $1.50, or slightly above bulk, but I think if this deck finds a larger following, they could increase a bit more. You can probably find these still priced as bulk, so keep your eyes open.

Question of the Day

To finish up today, I want to leave you with one question I’ll be pondering in the next couple of weeks, as well as throughout the year: how will the rotation reset to the old, one-rotation-a-year model affect the price trajectory of card prices?

The main issue on my mind is whether the market will shift back into the traditional ups and downs under the old system, or if the structure of sets now including Masterpiece Series cards every time will cause prices to always stay low?

There are many topics to explore in the finance world. Let me know your thoughts below.

Until next time,
Unleash the Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

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