The Pro Tour Results Are In...


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…and they’re revolting!

A whopping SIX of the top 8 decks were Mardu Vehicles, and that’s just the surface damage.  A deeper view of the battlefield reveals that Mardu Vehicles was more dominant than any deck in a modern (not the format) Pro Tour.  Vehicles also had a huge conversion rate, and an even more impressive average finish.  A full 95 percent of the players who made day two with vehicles finished with records of 7-3 or better in constructed. Let’s take a closer look.

CARVALHO, MARCIO (Dex Army) – MARDU VEHICLES 

Planeswalker (3)

  • 3 [mtg_card]Gideon, Ally of Zendikar[/mtg_card]

Creatures (22)

  • 2 [mtg_card]Inventor’s Apprentice[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Scrapheap Scrounger[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Thalia, Heretic Cathar[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Thraben Inspector[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Toolcraft Exemplar[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Pia Nalaar [/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Veteran Motorist[/mtg_card]

Instant (7)

  • 3 [mtg_card]Shock[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Unlicensed Disintegration[/mtg_card]

Artifact (5)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Heart of Kiran[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Aethersphere Harvester[/mtg_card]

Land (23)

  • 2 [mtg_card]Aether Hub[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Concealed Courtyard[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Inspiring Vantage[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Mountain[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Needle Spires[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Plains[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Spire of Industry[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Foreboding Ruins[/mtg_card]

Sideboard (15)

  • 1 [mtg_card]Shock[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Needle Spires[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Selfless Spirit[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Skywhaler’s Shot[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Release the Gremlins[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Fragmentize[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Chandra, Torch of Defiance[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Fatal Push[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Fumigate[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Skysovereign, Consul Flagship[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Archangel Avacyn[/mtg_card]
This version of Mardu Vehicles gets my vote for stock list, in part because of it’s fantastic post-board control configuration.  The ol’ sweeper in the aggro deck always gets em.  In the coming weeks I’m sure we’ll see the numbers change a bit, especially for the removal suite, but with Copy Cat Combo likely trending down vehicle decks will be be better off not only playing cheaper removal, but more of it. Fatal Push over Unlicensed Disintegration and possibly even a creature like Inventor’s Apprentice seems very reasonable, as being able to answer Heart of Kiran and stay ahead on tempo is going to be important this Standard season.
But is Mardu Vehicles a “broken” deck?  There’s hate for it in the form of cheap artifact removal but it really just does attack on so many angles.  Taking into consideration the post-board control configuration, there is seriously nothing this deck doesn’t do.  It can play any role except combo.  It’s resilient AND fast, a combination that is very dangerous in an aggro deck.  I’m all for waiting and seeing on this, but if the PT is any indication this deck is every bit as strong as Bant Company or UW Flash ever was.

Saheeli Rai is dead. Long live Saheeli Rai!

The second most played deck at Pro Tour Aether Revolt was Jeskai Saheeli. If you go off these results alone you would think the deck is dead, and it very well may not be viable anymore. However, that being said, the PT isn’t always indicative of what the general meta will look like. Let’s check out another list.

Fujimura, Kazuaki – Jeskai Saheeli

Planeswalker (4)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Saheeli Rai[/mtg_card]

Creature (7)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Felidar Guardian[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Torrential Gearhulk[/mtg_card]

Sorcery (2)

  • 2 [mtg_card]Fumigate[/mtg_card]

Instant (19)

  • 2 [mtg_card]Shock[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Anticipate[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Negate[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Harnessed Lightning[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Disallow[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Glimmer of Genius[/mtg_card]

Enchantment (2)

  • 2 [mtg_card]Oath of Jace[/mtg_card]

Land (26)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Plains[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Island[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Aether Hub[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Port Town[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Inspiring Vantage[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Spirebluff Canal[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Wandering Fumarole [/mtg_card]

Sideboard (15)

  • 2 [mtg_card]Negate[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Gideon, Ally of Zendikar[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Dispel[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Oath of Chandra[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Radiant Flames[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Fragmentize[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Authority of the Consuls[/mtg_card]
With a day 2 conversion rate of only 36.1 percent,  Jeskai Saheeli was by far the worst performing deck of the expected metagame.  This makes sense when you consider it had the largest target on its head, coupled with a poor Mardu Vehicles matchup.  I wouldn’t expect Jeskai Saheeli to bounce back anytime soon.  The biggest problem the deck has right now is that not only is Vehicles a bad matchup, but control is poorly positioned right now in general.  The dedicated control decks struggled to keep up with Vehicles, and having 8 cards that don’t help the matchup at all only exacerbates the issue.

But This Cat’s Got 9 Lives (And Four Colors)

The best performing Copy Cat strategies were playing four colors and came in a whole lot of varieties.  Many were featuring [mtg_card]Aetherworks Marvel[/mtg_card], some others opting for a more midrange plan.

THOMPSON, GERRY (Mutiny) – FOUR-COLOR COPY CAT

Planeswalker (4)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Saheeli Rai[/mtg_card]

Creature (19)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Servant of the Conduit[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Whirler Virtuoso[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Rogue Refiner[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Felidar Guardian[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Elder Deep-Fiend[/mtg_card]

Sorcery (4)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Attune with Aether[/mtg_card]

Instant (4)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Harnessed Lightning[/mtg_card]

Artifact (2)

  • 2 [mtg_card]Aetherworks Marvel[/mtg_card]

Enchantment (4)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Oath of Nissa[/mtg_card]

Land (23)

  • 2 [mtg_card]Evolving Wilds[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Botanical Sanctum[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Spirebluff Canal[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Inspiring Vantage[/mtg_card]
  • 6 [mtg_card]Forest[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Island[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Mountain[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Plains[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Aether Hub[/mtg_card]

Sideboard (15)

  • 3 [mtg_card]Spell Queller[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Kozilek’s Return[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Tamiyo, Field Researcher[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Natural State[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Negate[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Baral’s Expertise[/mtg_card]

It’s notable that the 4 color version plays more like a midrange deck and as such matches up better against Mardu Vehicles. What I like about Gerry Thompson’s list is the inclusion of both Aetherworks Marvel and Elder Deep-Fiend. I’ve talked before about how I like Marvel in this deck as a way to filter and provide card advantage.  [mtg_card]Elder Deep-Fiend[/mtg_card] is a dual threat than can be either emerged or Marvel’d out for full effect.  Tapping either lands or a team of attackers gives this deck the kind of on board flexibility that straight-up Jeskai simply doesn’t have. The fact that this is the first time we’ve seen [mtg_card]Elder Deep-Fiend[/mtg_card] hints at how deep you can go with this archetype.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve only scratched the surface for building this deck.

Here’s my take on evolving this archetype:

4 Color Emerge Copycat – Nick Peternell (Test Deck)

Land (20)

  • [mtg_card]Aether Hub[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Botanical Sanctum[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Forest[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Island[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Mountain[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Plains[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Spirebluff Canal[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Sanctum of Ugin[/mtg_card]

Enchantment (6)

  • [mtg_card]Oath of Nissa[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Vessel of Nascency[/mtg_card]

Creature (22)

  • [mtg_card]Elder Deep-Fiend[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Felidar Guardian[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Ishkanah, Grafwidow[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Pilgrim’s Eye[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Primal Druid[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Rogue Refiner[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Wretched Gryff[/mtg_card]

Instant (6)

  • [mtg_card]Grapple with the Past[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Kozilek’s Return[/mtg_card]

Planeswalker (3)

  • 3 [mtg_card]Saheeli Rai[/mtg_card]

Sorcery (3)

  • [mtg_card]Traverse the Ulvenwald[/mtg_card]

Sideboard (15)

  • [mtg_card]Kozilek’s Return[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Lashweed Lurker[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Negate[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Nissa, Vital Force[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Release the Gremlins[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Shock[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Tireless Tracker[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Lifecrafter’s Bestiary[/mtg_card]

The next step in this format HAS to involve Ishkanah, Grafwidow.  It’s simply too good against Mardu Vehicles.  Now I’m not sure if 4 Color Emerge Delirium Copycat is the answer, but Gerry T’s made me really want to push this archetype to its limits. The question here is definitely “should we?” not “can we?”  The mana in these decks has proven to be reliable and the difference between [mtg_card]Primal Druid[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Servant of the Conduit[/mtg_card] isn’t really a big deal when you consider that they’re both likely dying anyway in a format of early creatures and removal.  Also potentially worth doing is blinking Ishkanah with Felidar Guardian. The aggro matchups seem impossible to lose at that point.  Going forward 4 color seems to be the way to go if you plan on copying cats in the near future.  There are certainly metagames where this is more or less true but in all honesty this point towards Saheeli decks just being a healthy part of the meta.

Snakes on a Plane

The last pillar of the post-PT world to discuss are the varying GB strategies running around.

YUKUHIRO, KEN (Musashi) – BLACK-GREEN CONSTRICTOR

Creature (28)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Walking Ballista[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Greenbelt Rampager[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Glint-Sleeve Siphoner[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Longtusk Cub[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Winding Constrictor[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Rishkar, Peema Renegade[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Verdurous Gearhulk[/mtg_card]

Sorcery (4)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Attune with Aether[/mtg_card]

Instant (5)

  • 3 [mtg_card]Fatal Push[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Grasp of Darkness[/mtg_card]

Artifact (2)

  • 2 [mtg_card]Aethersphere Harvester[/mtg_card]

Land (21)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Aether Hub[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Blooming Marsh[/mtg_card]
  • 6 [mtg_card]Forest[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Hissing Quagmire[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Swamp[/mtg_card]

Sideboard (15)

  • 1 [mtg_card]Fatal Push[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Noxious Gearhulk[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Transgress the Mind[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Appetite for the Unnatural[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Lifecrafter’s Bestiary[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Murder[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Nissa, Vital Force[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Ob Nixilis Reignited[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Skysovereign, Consul Flagship[/mtg_card]

Now, let’s take a look at a different list.

MCLAREN, SHAUN – BLACK-GREEN DELIRIUM

Planeswalker (4)

  • 3 [mtg_card]Nissa, Voice of Zendikar[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Ob Nixilis Reignited[/mtg_card]

Creature (23)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Grim Flayer[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Mindwrack Demon[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Rishkar, Peema Renegade[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Verdurous Gearhulk[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Walking Ballista[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Winding Constrictor[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Tireless Tracker[/mtg_card]

Sorcery (6)

  • 4 [mtg_card]Traverse the Ulvenwald[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Ruinous Path[/mtg_card]

Instant (5)

  • 1 [mtg_card]To the Slaughter[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Fatal Push[/mtg_card]

Land (22)

  • 3 [mtg_card]Evolving Wilds[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Blooming Marsh[/mtg_card]
  • 7 [mtg_card]Forest[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Hissing Quagmire[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Swamp[/mtg_card]

Sideboard (15)

  • 1 [mtg_card]Ob Nixilis, Reignited[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]To the Slaughter[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Appetite for the Unnatural[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Natural State[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Transgress the Mind[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Pick the Brain[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Yahenni’s Expertise[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Liliana, the Last Hope[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Ishkanah, Grafwidow[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Grasp of Darkness[/mtg_card]
It’s interesting that after three weeks there is still little consensus on the right build.  I have to imagine the delirium variants are better against vehicles.  [mtg_card]Mindwrack Demon[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Ishkanah, Grafwidow[/mtg_card] both measure up very favorably against [mtg_card]Heart of Kiran[/mtg_card] and friends.  Many lists were incorporating a small blue splash for sideboard countermagic.  With Saheeli being knocked down a peg I don’t see this trend continuing.  Having access to as many black sources as possible to enable the removal suite seems better than fighting a fight that other decks are winning for you.  A card I would stay away from in these decks going forward is [mtg_card]Liliana, the Last Hope[/mtg_card].  In theory she comes down and absolutely brick walls Mardu Vehicles, but Heart of Kiran is Just such a beating against her that I can’t imagine ever untapping with her in play.  I’m not saying don’t play her at all, but consider trimming her to maybe one or two. My instinct is that GB Delirium is ready to make a huge combeack.  Before I go I’ll leave you with my pick.  I would start with something like this:

GB Delirium – Nick Peternell – Test Deck

Creature (19)

  • [mtg_card]Grim Flayer[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Ishkanah, Grafwidow[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Mindwrack Demon[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Noxious Gearhulk[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Tireless Tracker[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Walking Ballista[/mtg_card]

Land (22)

  • [mtg_card]Blooming Marsh[/mtg_card]
  • 4 [mtg_card]Evolving Wilds[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Forest[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Hissing Quagmire[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Swamp[/mtg_card]

Enchantment (4)

  • [mtg_card]Vessel of Nascency[/mtg_card]

Sorcery (7)

  • [mtg_card]Ruinous Path[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Traverse the Ulvenwald[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Yahenni’s Expertise[/mtg_card]

Instant (8)

  • [mtg_card]Fatal Push[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Grasp of Darkness[/mtg_card]

Planeswalker (2)

  • [mtg_card]Liliana, the Last Hope[/mtg_card]

Sideboard (15)

  • 1 [mtg_card]Yahenni’s Expertise[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Ishkanah, Grafwidow[/mtg_card]
  • 3 [mtg_card]Transgress the Mind[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Natural State[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Lost Legacy[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Pick the Brain[/mtg_card]
  • 2 [mtg_card]Nissa, Vital Force[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Season’s Past[/mtg_card]
  • 1 [mtg_card]Root Out[/mtg_card]

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. See you next week!

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