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Insider: Pro Tour Aether Revolt’s Hidden Secrets

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One of the coolest parts about the Pro Tour for viewers is that it gathers the best players from around the world, and for players it's getting to travel the world to play ("play the game, see the world"). I know I’ve seen a lot of the U.S. just from playing Magic, but I think it’s awesome that some players are afforded the opportunity to fly to other countries to play. That’s a big part of why I’ve tried so hard to qualify for the Pro Tour. One of these times, I’ll spike an important tournament and not just a fun one like the Legacy Eternal Weekend. That event was a blast, but they need to work on the prize structure a lot.

Pro Tour Aether Revolt took place in one of my favorite countries in the world, the land of my heritage, Ireland. I went to Ireland a couple of years ago, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Dublin, where the PT was held, is a really cool city with tons of interesting things to do and see. I highly recommend going if you ever have the chance.

If we don’t qualify to play on the Pro Tour, at least we can watch from home. The coverage of this event was great. They had a great selection of matches for us to watch, and they didn’t throw the same matchups on camera every round. The Wizards coverage team made some excellent calls with their feature matches, and I definitely noticed.

In addition to the great adventures you can have traveling the world, the innovation the pros bring to the game helps form the metagame and show us more possibilities in the format. Looking at the top results from the tournament, you wouldn’t even know there was innovation in the format at all. In fact, just the opposite. The last two weeks, GB and Saheeli have dominated the meta, but the pros proved that Mardu Vehicles is, in fact, not dead and dominated the event with the archetype.

I hope you weren’t excited about me breaking down an already-existing strategy because I have much cooler info to share with you. After poring over the results from the tournament, I have gathered up the best of the rest of the results. I boiled it down into the best alternative choices for the meta. So, if you’re looking for a great option that’s not one of the big three decks, you’ve found the right place. If not, I’ll still share some financial info too, so take a look.

First up, we have the most exciting deck of the tournament, and the one I pegged as the breakout deck of the weekend. Black-Red Aggro helped two players achieve 8-2 records and another player reach 6-4. This blisteringly fast deck features two of the format’s most prominent two-drops, Heart of Kiran and Scrapheap Scrounger. Both of these format all-stars have seen price bumps thanks mainly to the success of Vehicles, but I’m sure this deck helps a little too. My favorite part about this deck is that it goes under the rest of the format. Anytime you can go faster than the pace of everyone else, you’ll be in a good spot, and that’s definitely the case here as well.

One other card in this deck that sticks out is Chandra, Torch of Defiance. I still think she is underrated, but she’s finally seeing play in multiple archetypes. I think this level of play will only increase over time, as will her price. I’ve been playing her since she was released. and she does so many good things. Her price is down to $18, and I think that’s a great number to get in at. If she dips lower, definitely get some copies to sit on for a little while.

Up next we have another Chandra, Torch of Defiance deck. Neither of these decks seem like they will utilize her to full effect and yet she still earns a maindeck slot. That just goes to show you her power.

I’ve spoken about the popularity of the GR Energy deck as a budget option for Standard, but Martin Juza included black mana and improved the deck. With a top eight appearance, I’d say this archetype won’t be under the radar any longer.

Still under $2, I think Greenbelt Rampager looks like a good trade option. Pick these up for cheap and trade them into bigger and better things to players building the deck. Old finance tricks still improve your collection.

I like the combination of removal spells over pump spells in the archetype, but the pump spells drastically increase your kill speed, so there are pros and cons.

If you’re looking for a more controlling route to victory in the format, check out this 8-2 deck, Sultai Delirium Control. What we have here is basically Black-Green Delirium but splashing blue for the semi-valuable Disallow as well as Torrential Gearhulk, who continues to stay strong at $20. I like the aggressive sideboard plan with the Grim Flayers as well as Tireless Tracker in the maindeck to provide a threat and some much-needed card advantage.

Although I thought Yahenni's Expertise would be a bigger part of the meta, it’s nice at least to see a copy in the sideboard as an option. It has some cool synergy with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet to generate an army for you while still getting to keep your finisher.

Pascal Maynard and his team certainly brewed up an interesting version of GW Tokens for the Pro Tour. This more aggressive version supports Toolcraft Exemplar! That isn’t a direction I expected this deck to go, but with Thraben Inspector, Walking Ballista and Heart of Kiran to turn it on, you should have an artifact available to make your 3-2 fight early in the game. I figured this archetype would find a home, but this iteration is more interesting than what I expected.

This Tokens brew helped one player achieve an 8-2 record, two 7-3 and one 6-4. If you needed more of a reason to believe in Toolcraft Exemplar outside of Vehicles, this deck's success makes it clear that it has game outside of Mardu.

Don’t forget about Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier in the format either. She’ll flash into combat and wreck your day if you aren’t preparing for her instant-speed ability. The combo between her and Walking Ballista is incredibly powerful as well, and one I think could fit into more than one archetype.

Most players might be jamming mirror matches between the big three in Standard, but they aren’t the only options. Keep on brewing or searching for viable archetypes and you’ll find some hidden financial treasures along the way too.

Until next time,
Unleash the Brewing Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

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