Ever wanted the inside scoop on deck selection? Craved that little edge that comes from having a sideboard card to break open a crucial matchup? Welcome to my brand new and exciting column, the Goblin Guide, where I take a quick look at what’s going on in tournament Magic, and keep you up to date on how to approach your event, every single weekend. No longer is my advice relegated to the DMs, and I won’t even make a Patreon joke. This week, in the inaugural column, we’ll take a quick look at all three major formats ahead of Grand Prix Atlanta, Face to Face Games Opens in London and Winnipeg and the Team Trios Sunday Showdown at Face to Face Games Toronto.
First off, there’s been a lot of nonsense going on in Legacy lately. Arcum’s Astrolabe has broken everyone’s brains across every format where it’s legal, and people are pushing mana to its absolute limits. The biggest change as of last weekend’s SCG Open is the addition of Astrolabe to the Miracles shell, turning the deck into Jeskai Mentor and letting it compete with the powerful card advantage engines in the latest evolutions of the Grixis Control deck. The arms race from these control strategies is going to continue to push them in a midrange direction, opening up new angles from which to attack them. We’ll get back there in a minute.
I’ve been a huge advocate for Dark Depths as of late, as despite the popularity of Swords to Plowshares — the deck’s natural predator — the strategy is remarkably resilient and able to take advantage of Legacy’s complexity to uniquely exploit play errors. Unfortunately, the deck’s reign of dominance might be coming to a close, as the Delver decks it preys on are losing so much metagame share to Swords to Plowshares, and an ugly resurgence of Life from the Loam strategies spells doom for Vampire Hexmage and friends. Two Loam variants made the elimination rounds of the SCG Open, and combined with the exploitability of the midrange direction taken by the control decks, this means one thing: combo.
Storm has often been an awkward deck in Legacy. I’ve dissuaded friends from playing it by explaining that, while powerful, the play-skill and deck knowledge necessary to take it anywhere above a 50 per cent deck can be better spent playing an interactive deck to a minimum 60 per cent win-rate. It’s just too hard to win the last few matches, and it’s not good enough to justify it. It didn’t get easier, but chances are that it’s getting way better. If you have any background in Storm, this weekend might be the right time to pick it up. My experience is that the Ad Nauseam Tendrils build is consistently better than the Burning Wish versions, and that the majority of the sideboard is set in stone. I would avoid Xantid Swarm and keep the amount of Death & Taxes hate to a minimum.
Moving on to Modern, featured heavily this weekend at Face to Face Games Opens in both Winnipeg and London, you might be unsurprised to hear what my recommendation is: you guessed it, it’s the Mono-Red Prowess deck that I won an MCQ with last weekend! Yes, this is a brag. Modern is as mixed a bag of decks as it’s ever been at the moment, with people trying an absurd number of wacky strategies, all of which seem difficult for reactive decks to consistently handle. That means it’s time to be proactive, and linear land-based decks are dreadfully boring, so give Bedlam Reveler a spin! You can read more about the deck, the decisions that went into building it, and some tips over at yesterday’s article.
1st place Toronto MCQ, Mono-Red Prowess – Daniel Fournier
I have to preface this quick Standard hit with a warning: I haven’t played a real game of Standard in, well, quite a while. I’ve tried my best to keep up, and my ears are always close to the ground, but this format is about to rotate, and the urge to grind it out just isn’t there. That said, a lot of very insightful pro players have still been playing the format in online Arena tournaments, and talking a lot about their decks and the metagame. Despite my lack of experience, I can say confidently that you should be playing one of these two Teferi, Time Raveler decks this weekend:
4th place Fandom Legends, Kethis Combo – Ondrej Strasky