Moving into Aether Revolt Standard

So the set has been released and the first large standard tournament has been and gone, SCG Columbus. With the build up to Pro Tour Dublin this weekend I’m going to take a look at what new decks came out of this first tournament. Though SCG Columbus will be a good indicator it won’t be exactly what happens at the Pro Tour. Usually the best players that compete at the Pro Tour will have different takes on decks compared to the average competitive crowd.

TOP 8

The SCG Columbus top 8 seems like a logical place to start

Three GB strategies with +1+1 counter synergies
Three Saheeli Rai combo decks
GW Tokens
Mardu Vehicles

GB Snek

Whoever said GB delirium was finished after the Emrakul Ban was dead wrong. It may have lost the big finisher but it has now become more streamlined, replaced all the graveyard fillers like Vessel of Nacency with effecient, synergistic creatures. The biggest additions to the deck is the Snek, Winding Constrictor, and Walking Ballista. These cards work hideously well together and Walking Ballista is guaranteed damage, it can hit creatures, players and planeswalkers, making it the ultimate utility creature. The GB decks performed very well and the slightly more delirium based version won the tournament. I would expect this deck to make an appearance at the Pro Tour and to become a staple in the upcoming format, once the deck list has been fine tuned. Where do you think the deck will finalise? With Grim Flayer and Mindwrack Demon or with Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Aethersphere Harvester.

Saheeli Combo

For those that don’t know what the Saheeli Combo is it requires a Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian. Saheeli uses her -2 to create a copy of Felidar Guardian that has haste. When this new Felidar Guardian enters the battlefield it targets Saheeli. Now Saheeli is considered a new planeswalker and can use her -2 again. This will make infinite 1/4 cat creature tokens with haste until the end of the turn.

This deck had a massive showing during the tournament. There were two main types of this deck at the tournament; the Jeskai Control version and the 4-colour good stuff version. The Jeskai version ran the combo with control spells and Torrential Gearhulk, where the 4-colour version added green and used energy spells and cards like Rogue Refiner and CLOUDBLAZZZZZER. What this weekend did help clarify was that the combo is real but it does have good hate cards in most colours. If you are ready for the deck it is beatable but it is still strong. The decks for this combo were all over the place this weekend, so expect to see it at the Pro Tour and hopefully in the future it will be refined. This deck has the potential to be the boogeyman of standard which could lead to future bans.

GW Tokens

GW Tokens is an old archetype that was about during the Collected Company era. Now Emrakul is gone this deck looks like it has some traction again. Lambholt Pacifist can provide early pressure against Saheeli Decks and planeswalkers can be hard for lots of decks to deal with. I’m not 100% sure this deck will be as well positioned after the Pro Tour but it has a lot of strong pieces, especially the new vehicle Heart of Kiran. Gideon is still strong but if people are making 8/8 tramplers in BG or comboing out he may not be as good as he previously was.

Vehicles

The vehicles decks took a big hit from the loss of Smugglers Copter but Aethersphere Harvester is still strong and most of the creatures can crew Heart of Kiran as they have three power. The deck is still very strong and lightning quick with the right draw.

Cards that the pro tour could break

There are a few cards that didn’t see play at the SCG tournament but the Pros in Dublin could break:

Metalwork Colussus – This 10/10 can be cast for free and with lots of artifact synergies like Pia’s Revolution I hope this will become a thing. It just depends if multiple 10/10 on turn 5 is strong in this format.

Tezzeret the Schemer – I really rate this card. I think he is deceptively strong and with the Improvise mechanic he could see some play. Improvise was barely seen at the most recent tournament but I like the mechanic.

Paradox Engine – If there is one card that screams to be broken it is this. Untapping nonland permanents is very powerful and this might just need a few Pros sitting round a table to break it.

Marionette Master – This card with Tezzeret the Schemer, sac outlets like Ravenous Intruder and possibly Pia’s Revolution could be the real deal. I will be brewing with that combination.

So what do you guys think will be strong after the pro tour? Drop me a message and let me know. I will try and get a budget deck out this week but it may be next week. I’ll be heading to my local FNM with a spicy deck that is on this list, what about you? 

Also I have just read on the magic story that one of Liliana’s Demon Lords is on Amonkhet. He is supposed to be more powerful than Griselbrand. So if you like Black be prepared for a bad ass demon and Nicol Bolas.

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