Theros Block announced, new Dragon’s Maze info, You Make the Card – Enchantment

At this past weekend’s PAX event, Wizards of the Coast announced that the upcoming fall set would be known as “Theros”. Additionally, the names of the two small sets in the block were also released: “Born of the Gods” and “Journey into Nyx”. From the set names, as well as the released promotional art, it looks as though Theros will take place in a Greek/Roman mythological setting. Look forward to lightning gods, immortal hydras, and sphinx’s riddles this September!

Go here to read the official announcement.

Additionally, the names of the twelve Guild Champions in Dragon’s Maze have been released. They are:

Azorius – Lavinia of the Tenth
Boros – Tajic, Blade of the Legion
Dimir – Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker
Golgari – Varloz, the Scar-Striped
Gruul – Ruric-Thar, The Unbowed
Izzet – Melek, Izzet Paragon
Orzhov – Teysa, Env(o)y of Ghosts
Rakdos – Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch
Selesnya – Emmara Tandris
Simic – Vorel of the Hull Clade

Come Dragon’s Maze, get ready for 10 new Commanders!

ruricthartheunbowed

Finally, last week’s You Make the Card decision concluded, with Enchantment defeating Land in a very close vote. The next step – determining the color of the card – will begin on April 2nd, but in the meantime you can read about the color pie (to help inform your choice) and the previous voting results here, and discuss You Make the Card on twitter with the hashtag #ymtc.

Weekend Update: GP San Diego, GP Utrecht, SCG DC

Quick Hits:
– Nathan Holiday wins GP San Diego (Modern) with Eggs
– Jonathan Bergstrom, Tomas Westling, and Fredrik Carlsson win GP Utrecht (Team Limited)
– David Bauer wins Standard Open with Junk Reanimator
– Bryant Cook wins Legacy Open with The Epic Storm

With the Modern PTQ season coming to a close this past weekend as well, it seems somehow appropriate that the season ended how it began – with Eggs mercilessly killing people that came to play a fair format. The top 8 was filled out with some old decks, some new decks, and a few that had interesting new tweaks for the metagame. Ken Yukihiro brought a “multicolor Jund” list that looks to play out much closer to a midrange Zoo deck, with mana creatures, Tarmogoyf, Geist of Saint Traft, and a ton of burn, and in coverage lamented his lack of Thundermaw Hellkite, which would have helped against the return of the White Jund decks that returned this weekend thanks to ChannelFireball (and were represented by Eric Froelich in the top 8). In addition to Lingering Souls, this new Jund packed three copies of Ajani Vengeant (and two Thundermaw Hellkites!) and Path to Exile, along with Stony Silence in the board. While we’ve seen most of these White cards before, Ajani is a new (old) addition that hasn’t seen any real play in Modern prior to this event. With the format coming to a close, it remains to be seen if he is one-tournament-tech, or if he’ll become a major player moving forward, but by all accounts, Ajani Vengeant was incredible this weekend.

Next we have Sammy Tukeman, with a UWR Control deck. Early on in the season, krazykirby4 unveiled the UWR Geist deck when he won a MTGO PTQ. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the deck split into the aggressive Geist version, and a more controlling version that drops almost all creatures, in favor of more counterspells and removal. PT Nagoya Champion David Scharfman opted to play Scapeshift, while Bryan De La Torre battled with Affinity. Matt Ferrando, meanwhile, played Junk, using the standard GB core that makes up most Jund decks, but opting for White support cards rather than Red. Finally, Brian Kibler, lover of all creatures Naya, appeared with an aggro deck that he specifically tailored to be resistant to Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix, and packed in three copies of Domri Rade to ensure that his stream of monsters never let up.

So, we had a top 8 with 8 completely different decks, some of them brand new. All in all, a very interesting way to end the season. Jund is still a powerhouse, Blue hasn’t overtaken the format with the banning of Bloodbraid Elf, and combo decks are still very much a possibility despite the banning of Seething Song.

GP San Diego Coverage

Meanwhile, four Swedish teams smashed through the other 2000 players at GP Utrecht. Pro Tour Gatecrash Finalist Joel Larsson and his team came looking for that win that had eluded him earlier in the year, meeting fellow countrymen Jonathan Bergstrom, Tomas Westling, and Fredrik Carlsson in the finals. Bergstrom and co. had defeated Larsson’s team in the Swiss, and did it again here, forcing Larsson to be content with yet another second-place finish. Still, with two impressive showings in as many months, we can expect to see him at top tables again soon.

GP Utrecht Coverage

Back in America, Junk Reanimator continues to crush the competition, with three copies in the top 8 of SCG DC, two of which faced of in the finals. They were joined by a Dark Naya deck that ran Black for Falkenrath Aristocrat and Undying Evil, of all cards. With a number of Hasted must-answer monsters like Thundermaw Hellkite and Aurelia, the Warleader, Undying Evil was presumably chosen to combat the other popular deck in the top 8 – Esper Control. With two copies in the top 8, and a third just outside, Esper is clearly a deck to watch. However, while it is solid against most of the field, it has an atrocious Reanimator matchup, which may hold it back. Moving forward, Esper needs to find a way to beat Reanimator, or hope aggro sees more play to combat Unburial Rites strategies, opening a hole for it to attack. Speaking of aggro, Naya Blitz and BW Zombies took 7th and 8th place in DC, with a number of other aggro decks in the top 16, so we may see exactly that situation play out next weekend.

SCG DC Standard Decklists

While the past two Legacy Opens have been won by Miracles, the control deck failed to top 8 this weekend (though it did put three copies in the top 16, all of the Rest in Peace variety). Instead, the day was won by Bryant Cook piloting The Epic Storm (the Burning Wish variant of Storm), defeating UR Delver in the finals. There were additionally three copies of Esper Stoneblade – all different. James Higgenbottom in 3rd chose a Legend-heavy version with Vendilion Cliques and Venser, Shaper Savant, Sam Roukas played a fairly stock list (with 4 Lingering Souls), while Javier Arevalo paired the popular Deathrite Shaman/Liliana of the Veil/Dark Confidant team with Geist of Saint Traft, and added them to a Stoneblade core. It uses discard to back up its threats, rather than Force of Will, continuing to blur the line between BUG and Stoneblade.  The deck plays some of the most powerful creatures in Legacy, drawing from three different decks, and seems like it could certainly be a viable evolution of Stoneblade and BUG moving forward. Incidentally, the top 16 had an additional three copies of Stoneblade, so while it didn’t win the event, Stoneblade certainly had a strong showing this weekend. Continuing on, we have a Metalworker deck (always fun to watch!), a Junk deck, and a new RUG Cascade deck. Essentially the Shardless BUG deck from a few months ago, only swapping the black cards for Punishing Fire, Boom//Bust (!), and even Domri Rade, it is an exciting new Deathrite Shaman strategy. If you like Cascading, this might be the deck for you.

SCG DC Legacy Decklists

You Make the Card – Land vs. Enchantment

Wizards of the Coast recently began its latest “You Make the Card” contest. For those unfamiliar with the concept, fans are able to collectively design a card via online voting polls that are held throughout the year, and the final card will be printed in an upcoming Standard-legal set. The previous poll (to determine Card Type) resulted in a near-tie between Land and Enchantment, so this week WotC is holding a second poll to determine which is the victor. Both types have a huge number of supporters, with even popular Pros and WotC personalities themselves weighing in on the decision. You can follow the action on twitter at #YMTC, and cast your vote here.

Are you #TeamLand or #TeamEnchantment? Let us know in the comments!

GP Verona, GP Rio, SCG Indy

Quick Hits:

– Mike Kranitski wins GP Verona with Junk Reanimator
– Francisco da Silva wins GP Rio with the Aristocrats
– Adam Liu wins Indianapolis Standard Open with Naya Humans
– Alex Binek wins Legacy Open with UWR Rest in Peace Miracles

Starting things off with GP Verona, Unburial Rites returned from the dead to remind the Standard world what happens when people stop packing graveyard hate. Aside from a slight upgrade in mana, this deck is exactly the same as some of the Junk Rites decks that we saw before Gatecrash’s release – mana creatures, Thragtusks, Restoration Angels, and Angel of Serenity and Craterhoof Behemoth to destroy the opponent.

The rest of the top 8 was filled out with a Naya Human deck, a Human Reanimator deck packing Burning-Tree Emissary and Undercity Informer to aid in comboing off, a UWR Flash deck that chose to eschew Boros Reckoner entirely (and moved Auger of Bolas to the sideboard!) and returned to Geist of Saint Traft and Thundermaw Hellkite, two copies of Jund midrange, the return of RB Zombies, and a “standard” UWR Reckoner deck packing two copies of Assemble the Legion in the maindeck. All in all, a very diverse showing, with some very unique takes on common decks, and the return of a few old favorites.

GP Verona Coverage

Meanwhile, on the other end of the world, the Aristocrats took down GP Rio, after Arthur Villela scooped in the finals to his friend Francisco da Silva. Villela was playing the Jund aggro deck that has been appearing in recent weeks, sporting copies of Experiment One, Flinthoof Boar, and Ghor-Clan Rampager, among other RBG monsters. We also see two copies of Junk Reanimator, this time sporting Lotleth Troll as a discard outlet, a RG aggro deck, a 4cc Human Reanimator deck, Jund Midrange, and an additional copy of the Aristocrats. If it seemed like Verona had a high number of Rites decks, GP Rio managed to beat that. Moving forward, Standard players had best be prepared to combat graveyard shenanigans.

GP Rio Coverage

Our final Standard tournament of the weekend gives us a third look at the format, and yet another different spread of top decks. Naya Humans ruled the day, but it was followed up by two copies of Prime Speaker Bant, along with a copy of the more “traditional” Wolf Run Bant, two copies of Jund, a Junk Reanimator deck very similar to the one in Rio, and a copy of Esper control. Looking at the top decks from each tournament, it is clear that Rites strategies are very powerful, as are Jund Midrange strategies. Beyond that, though, we see a very diverse collection of decks – all manners of aggro and control seem to be able to to do well, so know your metagame, and be prepared to beat Jund and Unburial Rites, and you should be able to succeed.

SCG Indy Standard Open

Over in everyone’s favorite Eternal format, UW Miracles take down a Legacy Open for the second week in a row. As the format continues to correct itself after swinging heavily towards the BGx end of the spectrum, Miracles has returned to destroy combo and creature decks alike. Alex Binek chose to pilot a version of the deck with the Rest in Peace/Helm of Obedience combo finish to end games immediately, along with a singleton maindeck Blood Moon to lock any non-basic heavy decks out of the game. Blood Moon replaced the more risky Energy Field, which Binek chose to move to the sideboard instead. The rest of the top 8 is filled with combo decks – Elf Combo, ANT, and Sneak and Show all make appearances – along with two copies of RUG Delver, preying on the combo decks, 12-post, and the return of Aggro Loam. If you plan on playing in a Legacy event in the near future, have a plan for the format’s various combo decks, and make sure that you don’t lose to having your team swept to the bottom of your library during your attack step.

SCG Legacy Open

 

Weekend Update: GP London, SCG Edison

Quick hits:

– Timothee Simonot wins GP London (Simic)
– William Postlethwait wins Standard Open (Jund Midrange)
– Zack Mullin wins Legacy Open (Sneak and Show)

This past weekend we had our first taste of large-scale Gatecrash Limited at GP London. Timothee Simonot emerged victorious out of a field of almost 2000 players, with a Simic deck featuring two copies of 1-drop Experiment One, a Cloudfin Raptor, and a number of other aggressive Green and Blue creatures, with Mystic Genesis to prevent his opponent from trying to get back in the game with a large bomb.

In the coverage team’s quick questions, Orzhov was a number of players’ favorite guild in both Draft and Sealed, thanks to the long-term advantage provided by the Extort mechanic, followed by Gruul and Boros. On the whole, aggressive decks seemed to be quite popular, and many decks played a large number of 1-drops, though Raphael Levy stood out from the pack with his pick of Dimir in both formats.

GP London Coverage

Meanwhile, development of Gatecrash Standard continued at SCG Edison.  Unfortunately, thanks to the Northeast US being hit by a snowstorm, the event only had around 300 competitors. Of those dedicated enough to brave the elements for a chance at a trophy, William Postlethwait ultimately conquered with his Jund Midrange deck. While the deck  packs the expected Thragtusks, Huntmasters, and Farseeks, Postlethwait spiced up his list with a wide variety of removal – Olivia Voldaren, Liliana of the Veil, Staff of Nin, Abrupt Decay, Searing Spear, Ultimate Price, Mizzium Mortars, Bonfire of the Damned and Pillar of Flame all make appearances, with even more removal residing in the sideboard. Making life even more difficult for creature decks, as if that wasn’t enough, are the three maindeck copies of  Vampire Nighthawk (with the fourth in the sideboard!). Postlethwait clearly expected aggressive decks to continue showing up, and was determined not to lose to them.

In second place we see Chris Marshall’s Esper Control deck, who took a similar route to victory, though with very different cards. Once again his deck is jam-packed with removal, though he seeks to win by milling his opponent out with Nephalia Drownyard and Jace, Memory Adept instead of attacking with Thragtusks. Interestingly, Marshall opted to play only one counterspell maindeck – a Dissipate – with a number of Negates and Dispels sideboarded for control mirrors. When the format is overrun with aggressive creature decks, this is the correct call to make, but it must have cost him in the Finals when facing down Postlethwait’s Rakdos’s Returns and Planeswalkers.

The rest of the top 8 consisted of Naya Zoo, Junk Midrange, Jund Aggro, 2 Boros Aggro, and Naya Humans. Out in top 16 were a number of other aggressive decks, including three copies of R/G Aggro. This week gave us a number of newer decks, unlike last week’s event, which featured mostly updated versions of old Standard decks. Check the link out below to take a look at the latest brews.

Standard Open Decklists

Meanwhile, in Legacy, combo finally decided to show up and teach those uppity GBx players a lesson. Zack Mullin Annihilated Amin Younes’s Shardless BUG deck in the finals, emerging victorious in a top 8 that contained an additional copy of Sneak and Show, UWR Delver, Ad Nauseum, Dredge, TwelvePost, and Esper Stoneblade. Just outside the top 8 we see two additional Storm Combo decks, Charbelcher,  Esper Stoneblade, UR Delver, and Elves. While it remains to be seen if this will be a permanent change in the format, for this week at least, there was a clear shift away from the midrange GBx Deathrite Shaman decks, and back to combo and decks designed to fight combo.

Legacy Open Decklists

Weekend Update: SCG Atlanta, Gatecrash Event Decks, New Trigger Rulings

Quick Hits:

– Naya Humans Wins Standard Open
– Jund Wins Legacy Open
– Simic and Boros Gatecrash Event Decklists Released (Thragtusk, Clifftop Retreat, Thalia, Silverblade Paladin)
– Geist of Saint Traft attacks for 6 again

While Gatecrash didn’t make any huge waves at the first large Standard event since release, there are still a number of interesting developments. Many decks from the previous format received slight upgrades in mana thanks to the additional five Shocklands, particularly Jund Midrange, which swarmed all over the top 16. Tyler Lindsey’s 4th place Jund Aggro deck is a more novel take on the RGB color combination, with Experiment One, a multitude of Haste creatures, and some Deathrite Shamans thrown in because why not.

In 3rd place is Andrew Schneider, with the Boros Deck that everyone expected to be coming. It is essentially mono-red splashing Boros Charm, with Boros Reckoner doing a lot of work at the 3cmc slot. One of the early breakout cards from Gatecrash, Reckoner quickly shot from $3 to $10 and is seen as Red’s solution to Thragtusk (along with Skullcrack to pick up the slack against Sphinx’s Revelation).

We also see a more defensive version of UWR Flash, with maindeck Jace, Memory Adept, Drogskol Reaver, and Supreme Verdict. So much for the Flash part of the deck! Geist of Saint Traft is relegated to the sideboard, as he is much weaker when your opponent has creatures (which they tend to do in early formats). Also on the Blue end of the spectrum is Eddie Walker’s Esper Spirits deck, which tops out with Obzedat, Ghost Council. The deck is essentially all creatures and removal, with Blind Obedience working quite nicely with Geist of Saint Traft.

Speaking of Blue one deck that didn’t have much of a showing was the Bant Hexproof deck that appeared at GP: Atlantic City a few weeks ago. One of the things that severely hindered the deck was it’s terrible mana, which would improve a great deal with the addition of Breeding Pool, so it’s a bit surprising that it was almost a complete no-show at this tournament.

As for the winning deck, Joseph Herrera took a modified version of the Naya Humans deck that was beginning to dominate at the end of last season to first place. Along with improved mana, Herrera added some Frontline Medics and Boros Charms to fight those pesky UW players, and smashed his way through the field.

Standard Decklists

On the Legacy end, we see a top 8 of three Jund decks, Charbelcher, Show and Tell, Miracles, Merfolk, and Stoneblade. Tony Chu, normally a Stoneblade player, made the switch over to Punishing Fire Jund for this tournament. Punishing Fire hasn’t seen much play in Jund lists yet, but it’s extremely powerful in the BGx mirror, where you are focused on grinding your opponent out, and less worried about dying on turn 2. Tony had a few more one-ofs than his fellow compatriots, but all three Jund lists were quite similar. Meanwhile, Show and Tell and Charbelcher did their best to punish the Punishing Fire players for being too focused on the fair decks, but ultimately they both fell short.

Meanwhile, team Force of Will was still well-represented by our three Blue players (although you could argue Merfolk is a traitor). We had a Rest in Peace Miracles player in 6th place – Rest in Peace is quite powerful against the BGx decks, and this was backed up by a Blood Moon that can lock them out entirely from casting spells (though the Jund decks have begun playing a few basics) and an Elspeth, Knight-Errant. Liliana of the Veil can be quite difficult for the Counterbalance decks to deal with, but Elspeth is able to take her down without much effort. The Merfolk and Stoneblade lists were mostly what we’ve come to expect from those decks.

Seriously, someone please bring Storm back to the format and kill all these people durdling around with Deathrite Shaman.

Legacy Decklists

Moving on from tournament results, the decklists of the two Gatecrash Event Decks were published. If you still need Thragtusks, here’s a solid opportunity for you!
The rares in each deck are as follows:
Thrive and Thrash: Deadeye Navigator, Dungeon Geists, Gruul Ragebeast, Sphinx of Uthuun, Thragtusk, Wolfir Silverheart, Yeva, Nature’s Herald (also 3 each of Rancor, Strangleroot Geist, and 4 Farseek)
Rally and Route:  Clifftop Retreat, Slayers’ Stronghold, Ash Zealot, Champion of the Parish, Silverblade Paladin, Spark Trooper, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben (also 2 Boros Charm, 4 Pillar of Flame, 2 Skullcrack, 4 Boros Elite)

Gatecrash Event Decklists

Finally, with the newest Missed Trigger update, cards work the way they’re supposed to again! You can read about the changes in more depth on the mothership, but for now, rest easy knowing that Geist of Saint Traft will no longer fail to bring an angel with him into combat.

Missed Trigger Update