Event Spotlight: Grand Prix Memphis (2/19)

Another weekend has passed us by and another large tournament went with it. You, our appreciated readers, have made it clear that you wanted more Standard content. So we are back in the saddle to break down the Top 32 of GP Memphis. This is the first event at this level since the release of Ravnica Allegiance so it will be interesting to see how things have changed since our SCG Indy analysis last month. All decklists are available here.

The More They Stay the Same
Sultai Midrange continued its reign as the deck to beat. In fact, it managed to take up the exact same number of Top 32 as it did at SCG Indy. Hydroid Krasis is an absurd card; gaining life with a blocker against aggro and drawing cards against control through counterspells. I would expect Sultai to be a great choice in the format going forward. The big change from SCG Indy is the rapid adoption of Mono-Blue aggro. While it has been playable since rotation it did not manage to place as a recognized archetype until recently. Pteramander was a significant boon for the deck and they have a positive matchup against Sultai. It was only a single player placement away from doing as well as Sultai at this tournament; it is much more than a budget deck. Not so far off was Esper Control, which missed Top 8 but was very popular in the Top 32. As long as Teferi is legal and there is a playable wrath in the format you should expect to face control decks. Beyond this we have the decks that had three pilots or fewer. White Weenie continues to be a respectable choice. It has been seen splashing Blue recently but the highest placing list eschewed other colors entirely. Nexus decks receive an enormous amount of hate and have been banned in Arena’s best-of-one format. They are perfectly legal in Standard though and are reasonable but far from broken; putting a single player into Top 8. Lastly, we have Standard mainstay Mono-Red Aggro. This archetype is pretty much always playable and currently it is good enough to make Top 16 on the Grand Prix level. One of the pilots utilized Experimental Frenzy and the other prioritized aggressive burn spells.

Rogue Decks
These decks are labeled as Other because they only put single pilots in the Top 32. However, you absolutely should not dismiss them. The champion of the event is in this group with his inventive Rakdos Midrange deck. It is similar to the Big Red decks from a couple months back but added Black for new cards such as Rix Maadi Reveler. This is a testament to the rewards of getting off the beaten path and brewing your way to success. We also saw a Gruul Midrange that was quite similar but opted to go Green for Gruul Spellbreaker. The other rogue decks were generally well-known archetypes. Gates is currently driving people crazy on Arena and Esper Midrange has been around since SCG Indy. However, Izzet Drakes’ performance was somewhat surprising. This deck has been quite popular since Guilds of Ravnica was released and was a top deck going into this tournament. Surprisingly, the only pilot that did well with it just barely made it into our dataset at 32nd place. We will be keeping an eye on this to see if it can bounce back.

Wrap-Up
Congratulations to the top thirty-two players of Grand Prix Memphis. This was the first top-level proving ground for Standard’s top decks and it did not disappoint. Overall, we are seeing a respectable amount of archetype diversity and Hydroid Krasis is powerful but does not appear to deserve a ban. Standard is the best it has been in recent memory so we will continue to cover it going forward. You can expect at least one more Standard article to come this week. Until then my friends.

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