Standard Moving Forward: Post-Pro Tour: Amonkhet

Hello, hello everyone! It’s Corey here again to talk a little Standard in this new Zombie-Marvel infested world and maybe some other options moving forward. Let’s go!

But before we get into the nuts and bolts of everything I need to give Gerry Thompson yet one more shoutout. He is a good personal friend of mine, and I want to take a moment to reflect on what an inspiration GerryT has been to me, not only as a friend, but as someone whose game I seriously admire.

Gerry has always been the guy that would team up with new, younger players, most of whom weren’t nearly as good as him. Some would ask him why? Why would he do that when he could easily be on a super team and very likely have greater success? It’s because Gerry has always cared more about seeing his friends succeed more than himself. It’s truly admirable to see the amount of care he has for the game and his friends. A HUGE congratulations to a stellar player and a true ambassador to the game of Magic. One last note about Gerry: he is going to be selling off a bunch of his Pro Tour Amonkhet swag and donating the proceeds to Planned Parenthood. Check it out over here and show him some more love.

So, with his win we learned a few things about Standard last weekend:

  1. Something can indeed beat Aetherworks Marvel.
  2. Marvel will also have the biggest target on its head moving forward.
  3. Mr. Mardu performed terrible! The deck was nowhere to be seen at the top tables of day 2 at all. Myself included, finishing at a very disappointing 3-5.
All my prizes from Pro Tour: Amonkhet

With this shift in the way the format is shaping up, we are going to see some very interesting things come out of the next few weekends. I believe we’ll be see a big uptick in decks like UW Flash, Esper Vehicles, and UR control. Why would these particular decks see a spike? If you can look at Magic objectively, it’s almost always in a state of rotating Rock, Paper, Scissors matches.

After a tournament where Rock (not to be confused with G/B decks) wins, most people’s minds go “Oh okay, I’ve got the solutions! I’ll play Paper next weekend!”. Then Paper wins the next Grand Prix, and then someone has the great idea to play Scissors, and so on. The cycle continues like this until we get new cards or there is real, meta-breaking innovation. [Nick touched upon this briefly in this article ]

Right now, the big 3 choices, in my opinion are Aetherworks Marvel, Mardu Vehicles, and the various flavors of control. (I think Zombies is going to be too easily hated out.) The problems come up when you prepare for a lot of scissors, or paper, but then just play against rocks all day.


My prediction is that this weekend at GP Montreal is going to feature a lot of Marvel, and a lot of Marvel haters, which in turn will make Mardu better and can start to prey upon the Aetherworks decks.

It’s a vicious cycle, and as a player trying succeed at the top levels of Magic, you always try be on level 3, with everyone else on level 2. (one step ahead of the rest of the room.) A trap I’ve fallen into, is trying to be level 4 and getting crushed because I tried to game the meta too hard. Sound a little inane? Excellent, that’s high level Magic for you.

However, every deck is so close in power level right now, it really does open people up to at least play one of the 4 established archetypes: Aetherworks Marvel, control, Mardu, and Zombies. This is simultaneously a problem and one of the best solutions for a healthy format. Let me explain.

One drawback with an established meta is the drop from “tier one” decks to tier 2 decks is steep, which really puts a damper being able to explore a format. It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, it’s probably not going to compete with turn 4 Ulamogs or the power level of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.

On the flip side, a positive thing about this, is that everyone who sits down with a competitive deck is just exactly that, competitive. It’s a double-edged sword and people will complain about the format either way. But let’s be real, us Magic players are hard to appease, and Wizards of the Coast maybe hasn’t been on their A-game all the time lately.

Moving on, here’s the list I’m probably going to play for the Magic Online Championship Series, as well as GP Omaha.

Temur Aetherworks by Corey Baumeister & Brad Nelson

Planeswalkers (3)
Chandra, Flamecaller

Creatures (15)
Servant of the Conduit
Rogue Refiner
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Whirler Virtuoso

Instants & Sorceries (11)
Attune with Aether
Harnessed Lightning
Glimmer of Genius
Dissenter’s Deliverance
Artifacts (8)
Aetherworks Marvel
Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot

Lands (23)
Forest
Aether Hub
Spirebluff Canal
Mountain
Game Trail
Lumbering Falls
Botanical Sanctum
Sheltered Thicket
Island

Sideboard (15)
Tireless Tracker
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Confiscation Coup
Dispel
Manglehorn
Negate
Sweltering Suns

I know, I know, I am falling into the trap that I just described avoiding, but here’s the deal, Standard may still be a rock-paper-scissor format, but that doesn’t mean that the rock cant smash the shit out of paper with a good plan.

With the post-PT meta, the creature version is just better than being all-in on Ulamog, mostly because you can just win games with Rogue Refiners and Whirlers. Being able to have a plan B when you get Disposses‘d or just playing a very controlling sideboard plan, is key.

Big Chandra is not exactly great in the mirror, or against control, but game one against zombies she is a HOUSE. We always have the option to shrink into Chandra, Torch of Defiance when players are trying to sideboard in hate for your other 4 mana threat – Aetherworks Marvel. I refuse to Mardu Vehicles (more like the Tilt Train) again after my sad showing with it last weekend, so if you cant beat ’em, join ’em, and spin them!

I’d be happy to help anyone that’s looking to play this deck, hit me up on Facebook or my Twitter anytime!

Well, that’s all I got. I would love to hear your interpretation on the health of the format, along with the direction you believe Standard is heading. Or throw me some sick brews if you’ve got it solved.

Until next time! Thanks for reading and supporting myself and the website.

Corey Baumeister

Corey Baumeister is a professional Magic: The Gathering player, degenerate gambler, brother to Brad Nelson, Grand Prix champion with 5 total Top 8’s to his name, and a lover of music festivals.

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