First off, congratulations are in order for one Gerry Thompson, from myself and the rest of the team. We would be hard pressed to find a more deserving human being to take home the trophy.

Your Amonkhet champion has given Standard players something to be excited about, as it’s been a while since a deck came out of left field to win it all, and what a way to do it! Zombies, a tribal deck, beat the almighty Aetherworks Marvel, not to mention keeping Mardu out of the top 8 entirely.

Put simply, Mr. Thompson has renewed my hope for a great Standard season.

(Side note: check out an interview we had with him back in March)

Looking at the PT results is reassuring, and points to a Standard that will enjoy more diversity, but I’m predicting it won’t resemble the top 8 a whole lot. Typically the PT is a highly metagamed tournament, with many players and teams gunning for what they percieve as the best deck. Sometimes this results in the best deck morphing into a more normalized strategy, for example Temur to GR Marvel from PT: Kaladesh’s top 8, while at other times this results in an archetype disappearing from the metagame altogether, like GB Seasons past of PT: Shadows Over Innisitrad.

Let’s look at the top lists and see if they have what it takes to exert themselves past the Pro Tour.

[d title=”Mono B Zombies by Gerry Thompson - 1st PT:Amonkhet”] Creatures 4 Cryptbreaker 4 Dread Wanderer 4 Metallic Mimic 4 Relentless Dead 4 Lord of the Accursed 4 Diregraf Colossus

Sorcery 4 Dark Salvation

Instant 2 Fatal Push 3 Grasp of Darkness

Enchantment 3 Liliana’s Mastery

Lands 2 Westvale Abbey 22 Swamp

Sideboard 1 Grasp of Darkness 2 Lost Legacy 3 Liliana, the Last Hope 3 Scrapheap Scrounger 2 Gonti, Lord of Luxury 2 Transgress the Mind 2 Aethersphere Harvester [/d]

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Unfortunately, tribal strategies are pretty straightforward to target and hate out. Typically, someone who comes prepared with sweepers and plenty of removal will have an easy time dispatching hordes of the undead.

Now granted, zombies generally have some sort of recursion which can help against removal, but these ones are a little weaker than the past zombie decks with [mtg_card]Geralf’s Messenger[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Gravecrawler[/mtg_card]. This build plays a bit more like Merfolk, which builds a large board with creatures that grow with the help of “lords” like [mtg_card]Lord of Atlantis[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Master of the Pearl Trident[/mtg_card].

The lords in this case offer some extra insurance against red removal, but they’re still pretty weak to things like [mtg_card]Fumigate[/mtg_card] as well as [mtg_card]Radiant Flames[/mtg_card], both of which I expect to pick up in the coming weeks.  I don’t think Mono Black Zombies will fall off the map, but it will have to change and splash a color to facilitate a more robust and malleable gameplan. Which brings us to:

[d title=”BW Zombies by Chris Fennell - Top 8 PT:Amonkhet”] Creatures 4 Dread Wanderer 4 Cryptbreaker 4 Wayward Servant 2 Binding Mummy 4 Diregraf Colossus 4 Lord of the Accursed

Sorcery 4 Dark Salvation

Instant 4 Fatal Push 2 Anguished Unmaking

Enchantment 4 Liliana’s Mastery

Lands 4 Concealed Courtyard 4 Shambling Vent 6 Plains 10 Swamp

Sideboard 1 Anguished Unmaking 4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar 4 Transgress the Mind 4 Scrapheap Scrounger 2 Declaration in Stone [/d]

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I predict BW Zombies will be the premier zombie list in the coming format. The sideboard plan of [mtg_card]Gideon, Ally of Zendikar[/mtg_card] gives control decks that would prey on zombies a huge headache, and [mtg_card]Anguished Unamking[/mtg_card] gives zombies a better catch-all answer to [mtg_card]Aetherworks Marvel[/mtg_card]. Still, I predict zombies as a whole won’t do much better than their admittedly excellent Pro Tour showings.

[d title=”Temur Aetherworks by Eric Froehlich - Top 8 PT:Amonkhet”] Creatures 4 Rogue Refiner 3 Whirler Virtuoso 4 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger 1 Torrential Gearhulk

Sorcery 4 Attune with Aether

Instant 4 Harnessed Lightning 4 Censor 4 Glimmer of Genius 2 Magma Spray

Artifact 4 Aetherworks Marvel 4 Woodweavers Puzzleknot

Lands 4 Aether Hub 4 Botanical Sanctum 4 Spirebluff Canal 1 Lumbering Falls 1 Sheltered Thicket 1 Mountain 2 Island 5 Forest

Sideboard 1 Torrential Gearhulk 3 Tireless Tracker 3 Negate 2 Dispel 2 Aether Meltdown 2 Radiant Flames 1 Ceremonious Rejection 1 Chandra, Flamecaller [/d]

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Now here’s a list that’s here to stay. Aetherworks Marvel is an absolute, proven powerhouse and this build has a lot of new innovations that will keep it competitive long after the metagame settles.

The biggest upgrade from the PT is going to be the four copies of [mtg_card]Glimmer of Genius[/mtg_card] as a method of energy production and card advantage. This significant change lets the deck play an exceptional fair game on top of its busted Ulamog draws. Cutting [mtg_card]Servant of the Conduit[/mtg_card] means there are less bad draws in the deck, and pulls it away from being a fundamentally “all-in” strategy.

If this deck changes at all, it’s to combat zombies.  Instead of [mtg_card]Censor[/mtg_card] we might see [mtg_card]Sweltering Suns[/mtg_card] or more copies of [mtg_card]Magma Spray[/mtg_card]. The nice thing is that these changes make room for a more flexible list that can easily be adapted for your local metagame.

[d title=”Mardu Vehicles by Sebastian Pozzo, PT: Amonkhet”] Planeswalkers 4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Creaturues 2 Archangel Avacyn 2 Pia Nalaar 4 Scrapheap Scrounger 4 Thraben Inspector 4 Toolcraft Exemplar 4 Veteran Motorist

Instants 4 Unlicensed Disintegration 2 Fatal Push

Artifacts 4 Heart of Kiran 2 Cultivator’s Caravan

Lands 2 Canyon Slough 4 Concealed Courtyard 4 Inspiring Vantage 3 Mountain 1 Needle Spires 4 Plains 1 Shambling Vent 4 Spire of Industry 1 Aether Hub

Sideboard 2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance 1 Nahiri, the Harbinger 2 Fumigate 1 Painful Truths 1 Oath of Liliana 2 Release the Gremlins 3 Transgress the Mind 1 Cast Out 1 Anguished Unmaking 1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship [/d]

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Mardu is a deck that won’t falter despite a poor Pro Tour showing. Mardu players had a target on their back, and their usual build has a poor matchup against zombies. In the coming weeks I think we’ll see slower builds with more main deck planeswalkers/sweepers. These slower builds are naturally weaker to Marvel, which should form a nice metagame wheel that gets us away from a two deck format.

What’s also important in Standard right now are the decks that did not show up at the Pro Tour. There have been a couple of dominant decks on Magic Online that didn’t show up at the PT and I believe that these decks simply weren’t fleshed out by a lot of the pro teams, and thus are relatively endemic to Magic Online. Still, these decks look extremely powerful and are something you should be ready to play, or play against soon enough.

[d title=”UW Midrange by GHETT_SMART, 5-0 Competitve League”] Planeswalkers 4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Creatures 4 Archangel Avacyn 1 Devoted Crop-Mate 4 Glory-Bound Initiate 4 Selfless Spirit 4 Spell Queller 4 Thraben Inspector

Instants 4 Censor 2 Void Shatter

Enchantments 3 Cast Out 2 Stasis Snare

Lands 4 Irrigated Farmland 5 Island 7 Plains 4 Port Town 4 Prairie Stream

Sideboard 1 Bruna, the Fading Light 2 Declaration in Stone 1 Dispel 1 Fragmentize 2 Fumigate 2 Gisela, the Broken Blade 1 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets 1 Linvala, the Preserver 3 Negate 1 Thalia’s Lancers [/d]

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This deck did show up in small numbers at the PT, but it has been putting up consistent results on MTGO, and looks to be well positioned against the Marvel decks that will be the default choice going forward. I have this pegged as UW Midrange but it looks a lot like the UW Flash decks pre-Reflector Mage and Copter ban.

[d title=”4C Goodstuff by KAL-C-LUCHO, 5-0 Competitive Leauge”] Planeswalkers 1 Arlinn Kord 3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance 3 Nissa, Steward of Elements 2 Saheeli Rai

Creatures 3 Glorybringer 1 Manglehorn 4 Rogue Refiner 4 Servant of the Conduit 4 Whirler Virtuoso

Sorcery 4 Attune with Aether

Instants 4 Harnessed Lightning 1 Magma Spray

Enchantments 2 Oath of Chandra 4 Oath of Nissa

Lands 4 Aether Hub 4 Botanical Sanctum 1 Cinder Glade 4 Forest 1 Game Trail 1 Island 1 Mountain 1 Sheltered Thicket 3 Spirebluff Canal

Sideboard 1 Glorybringer 1 Manglehorn 2 Magma Spray 2 Ceremonious Rejection 2 Dispel 3 Negate 2 Sweltering Suns 2 Tireless Tracker [/d]

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It’s hilarious that this is essentially 4 Color Saheeli deck without Felidar Guardian, and it’s still great. When I first pictured this deck without the combo I didn’t expect it to look this good on paper.

The interaction between [mtg_card]Saheeli Rai[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Glorybringer[/mtg_card] is still good enough, and I especially like how Glorybringer and [mtg_card]Arlinn Kord[/mtg_card] play together. The first thing I want to test is going up to 2 in the maindeck.

I do want a few more creatures for [mtg_card]Nissa, Steward of Elements[/mtg_card] but overall I think this is a great alternative to Marvel if it gets hated out of the format. Perhaps there’s even a tranformational sideboard to be made one way or the other. I can’t really put my finger on it but this list is doing something great and it’s just a tweak or two away from busting the format.

Well, that’s what I think going forward. Hopefully this has helped you navigate the post-PT: Amonkhet world a bit better! Also, since I missed my pre-Pro Tour article I figured I’d show you the list I would have brought had I been qualified:

[d title=”UB Zombie Haven by Nick Peternell”] Creatures 4 Cryptbreaker 4 Dread Wanderer 4 Haunted Dead 4 Prized Amalgam 2 Scrapheap Scrounger 4 Voldaren Pariah

Instants 2 Fatal Push 3 Grasp of Darkness

Enchantments 4 Call the Bloodline 4 Drake Haven

Lands 4 Choked Estuary 2 Fetid Pools 1 Geier Reach Sanitarium 2 Island 4 Sunken Hollow 12 Swamp

Sideboard 2 Archfiend of Ifnir 2 Censor 2 Collective Brutality 4 Dispossess 2 Liliana, Death’s Majesty 3 Negate [/d]

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