SCG Richmond was the first large Standard event with WAR legal so of course we covered it; twice actually. Mono-Red Aggro was especially dominant, which is typical for uncertain Standard formats. Many of our readers were quick to point at that the trend was typical for week one Standard formats. However, Mono-Red stayed strong through another event while every archetype around it washed out. Let’s take a closer look. As always, all decklists are available here.
Mono-Red Aggro was less dominant here than it was at the Richmond Open and, if it follows the typical trend, we should see it fall into the pack as time goes on. However, with a high density of burn spells and one drops as well as a way to prevent lifegain postboard, Mono-Red may just stick near the top. It did take three players to the Top 8 after all. The biggest breakout star of the event though was the UWx Planeswalker deck. This archetype ended up comprising half of the Top 8 in the end. The majority of them, including the eventual winner, went with Jeskai as it gives them access to Sarkhan; who plays quite well with other planeswalkers. Esper performed admirably as well though because black affords them a true Wrath as well The Elderspell. Either build appears to be a great choice going forward. Though only one pilot made it into the Top 16, White Weenie decks also did very well throughout the Top 32. All of them apart from the pilot in 32nd place opted to splash blue as it provides much better sideboard options such as Dovin’s Veto.
The other two archetypes that did well enough to be recognized were quite surprising to me. Up until this point, Izzet Phoenix had been off of most players radars for some time. This is due in part to Saheeli, who is quite absurd in a spellslinger deck. Finale of Promise is no slouch either. Close behind is an archetype that I had never even heard of before this event; Dreadhorde. The decklists appear quite similar to the Sultai Midrange decks that we saw pre-WAR but with additional planeswalkers. Of course the deck now has a nasty top end of Command the Dreadhorde. It is worth noting that though the archetype is known as Four-Color Dreadhorde, the highest placing among them was actually on straight Sultai instead. I am not sure I can trust in the shaky manabases but clearly there is potential here.
As the metagame begins to develop around the new WAR cards it is clear to see that there is room for experimentation. Esper Midrange, the Hero of Precinct One deck, managed to put a player into Top 8 and another into the Top 32. We also saw two Bant decks in Top 16. One was another Hero build while the other was playing something more similar to the Richmond lists. Also in the Top 16 was a very classic Sultai Midrange list that eschewed Dreadhorde entirely. Lower in the rankings were Bant Nexus, GW Tokens, Esper Control, and Grixis Control; quite a step down for these once proud strategies. Of course it is too early to say but for the time being it looks like it is best to play Planeswalkers or Mono-Red over these archetypes.
I have not had this much fun in Standard in years. If you are not giving it a chance you are really missing out. You could buy in right now and not have to worry about rotation for many months. It is early but what would you bet is the best deck in Standard? How are you dealing with these hordes of planeswalkers? Let us know in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back tomorrow with one final Modern Horizons wishlist. Until then my friends.