Choose Your Weapon!
Everyone has been asked the same question when a tournament is coming up; What deck are you playing? It is a question that we ask ourselves from week to week regardless of the format your tournament is. Sometimes you have a deck that you are comfortable and it looks like a good choice for a given weekend; and sometimes that deck isn’t well positioned so we go on the hunt for a replacement. That is why I’m here today, I’m going to go over each deck I would sleeve up this weekend if I wanted to win my tournament. So, let’s get to it!
Hello, My Name Is Inigo Montoya…
Our first stop is Standard and to be honest, I believe, there is only one deck up for consideration if you are wanting to snag that first-place spot. This also happens to be the same archetype that won Mythic Championship VI in Richmond, Virginia this past weekend.
This list is based off of Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa’s second place deck from MC VI. I really think that this is the best build of Simic Food. Regardless of the common belief, through games and practice, I believe that Simic is favored against Sultai.
There are numerous aspects of this list that I like, starting off with the main deck Brazen Borrower. This card continues to impress me the more I play it. It is a very versatile tool for affecting the tempo of the game in your favor with a 3-power flier with Flash on the back end.
Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about “stealing” effects in Magic. However, Mass Manipulation in the main deck is the biggest trump card you can play now. The mirror is very prevalent in any given tournament and it is unbeatable in almost every way.
Finally, I want to cover Gadwick, the Wizened out of the sideboard. I have been high on Gadwick for a while now; just play it and you’ll see what I mean. This card gives that deck another way to accrue extra cards in the late game, that combined with the tempo advantage that his other ability gives you when casting blue spells is perfect for what this deck is trying to accomplish.
If the “safe bet” isn’t your thing, then I offer an alternative. While the game plan of it is very similar to Simic Food, this next deck can grind!
Many of you have faced off against the dreaded Cauldron Familiar+Witch’s Oven combo; boy can it be annoying and difficult to overcome. In conjunction with the enchantment Trail of Crumbs and the combo, the grind is turned up to eleven. Most of the cards in the deck produce Food in some fashion, making the recursion of your “cats” trivial.
Another tool gained by this deck is Murderous Rider thanks to a heavier presence of black sources in this list’s mana base. This list was inspired by Abe Corrigan’s GP Richmond winning deck.
You Get Hurt, Hurt ’Em Back. You Get Killed… Walk It Off
Welcome to everyone’s favorite…er…former favorite format, Modern. This format also seems to have a top dog, Urza deck…in every shape and size. If you have been living under a rock somewhere and didn’t already know, Oko is a powerhouse in this format as well. So, what do you get when you put both Urza, Lord High Artificer and Oko, Thief of Crowns in that same deck?
This list is what has been in the hands of the guys from Lotus Box on the SCG Tour for the past couple of weeks. Lotus Box has been at the forefront of innovating the Urza deck and they have the results to prove it. Numerous members of the team have made the Top 8 of recent events with the list or won the tournament altogether. Dylan Donegan won one of the PTQs at MC VI with the above list.
Emry, Lurker of the Loch is another tool this deck has picked up from Throne of Eldraine and what a powerful card it is. The ability to recur Mishra’s Bauble and Engineered Explosives throughout a game is insanely powerful.
What is better than a turn four Urza? A turn three Urza, that’s what! Gilded Goose is perfect for this deck as well. Your mana dork produces artifacts for your artifact deck…Nice! This is great without rehashing the synergy with the four copies of Oko in the deck.
One of the most fun things in Magic is getting to play old cards that you loved from years gone by. This deck lets me do that in Lorwyn’s classic counterspell Cryptic Command. Who doesn’t love Cyptic Command? It slices, it dices, it makes julienne fries; everything a blue mage could want or need.
The largest selling point for this deck to me is the possibility of a quick kill and the mana base. Previous iterations of the Whirza decks have won through the combo of Sword of the Meek and Thopter Foundry and this version is no different. Those two cards with Urza can produce infinite life, thopters and blue mana; at that point you just win at your leisure if your opponent hasn’t scoped. Being almost entirely blue and any fixing that is required can be done through the little artifact-that-could, Arcum’s Astrolabe, the mana is about as good as it gets for Modern.
Whosoever Holds This Hammer…
Finally, we get to the format everyone (including myself) are excited about, everyone’s NEW favorite format, Pioneer! From the results of the last couple of Challenges and PTQs on Magic Online, you can play just about anything you want and have success with it. So what list is worthy of this section of my article? I present to you.
At this point, I feel comfortable calling Gingerbrute one of the powerhouses of the format. Those are words I never thought I would type, but here we are. This deck offers a quick kill through large and numerous artifacts that are efficient and interchangeable. Just think about turn one Gingerbrute into turn two Ensoul Artifact. You now have a pseudo-unblockable 5/5 attacker. Now that is one quick clock, not to mention the utility of Shrapnel Blast, Ghost-Fire Blade and Smuggler’s Copter.
A neat trick that you do is if you enchant a Smuggler’s
Copter with an Ensoul Artifact it just becomes a 5/5 Copter without the requirement to Crew. This is the same with Stonecoil Serpent, it becomes a 5/5 and keeps the +1/+1 counters that it had previously; making it one big robot. Skilled Animator from Core Set 2020 serves as additional copies of Ensoul Artifact, allowing for much more consistency.
This next deck is something that was pointed out to me by a friend and I’m in love. I haven’t had a chance to really delve into it yet, so I don’t feel comfortable recommending it just yet. Here it is in all its glory.
At first glance this is just a grouping of cards that I have either loved to play or still love playing. I’m an Izzet mage at heart and that means from time to time I become a sucker for a blue/red deck. The synergy between Rekindling Phoenix, Champion of Wits or Flamewake Phoenix and Elder Deep-Fiend is one that I overlooked at first, but I cannot wait to play with them.
The Royal Scions is a card that I think really shines in this format as well. All of the abilities of this planeswalker are relevant and powerful in Pioneer. There are a lot of powerful cards here, and while I do believe this list is unpolished, it is a great place to start.
I Will Give You A Name...And I Shall Call You Sting
Lastly, we have Legacy…the dead format. I say that in jest, though due to recent events it may be true soon. I am referring to the recent release of the list of events and formats for the next year of the SCG Tour, where Legacy is noticeably absent.
I apologize in advance for the shortness of this section, I don’t have the opportunity to play Legacy much. Regardless, I still want to throw my two cents in the ring…or give you my hat… you know what I mean.
Wrenn and Six have become ubiquitous in Legacy, so it should be no surprise that I would recommend playing a deck with that card in it.
Delver has long been a great archetype in Legacy. A quick clock backed up with disruption and mana-denial is nigh unbeatable when everything comes together. The addition of Wrenn and Six has only made that more consistent and with the deck a very robust back-up plan.
It’s Legacy so play blue cards. This list has some of the best ones; Brainstorm, Force of Will, Daze, Stifle. What more could you ask for?
Look To My Coming, At First Light, On The Fifth Day. At Dawn, Look To The East.
Pioneer has a banned and restricted announcement imminent and the normal B&R announcement is on the horizon. What do you think will be banned in Pioneer? (Nothing yet) What do you think, or hope, will be banned in the other formats? Oko in Standard? A show of hands? I know everyone has their hand up right now, or they should.
I hope that I was able to help you choose what weapon you are going into battle with or that I at least pointed you in the right direction. Good luck and let me know what you will be battling with this week in the comments below.