Top 8 Magic: Grand Finals Deck Review: Omnathematics

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The decklists are not fully revealed at the time of this recording but the metagame has been made public and many players have already shared their lists on social media. Omnath is towering over Standard with 72% of the field playing either one of the two big decks that have sprung up around the elemental. Only NINE players chose to play without it in Standard. 

Omnath has even nabbed the top of the metagame list for Historic at 34%, pushing Jund Sacrifice, Rakdos Arcanist and Goblins, which had been such a big part of the last event down into much smaller percentages of the field. 

Brian David-Marshall and Magic: The Gathering Hall of Famer Zvi Mowshowitz talk their way through the metagame breakdowns, look at the various publicly known lists, and make their predictions for who they think will emerge on top of the insanely competitive field. 

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Top 8 Magic: Omnath’s Bodyman

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With less than a week until the Grand Finals Brian David-Marshall and Magic: The Gathering Hall of Famer Zvi Mowshowitz discuss the state of Standard post-Uro ban and pre-grand reveal of the 32 Standard decks the players will bring to the virtual tables. 

Topics include:

-Has the over/under on the number of Omnath’s changed? 

-Why aren’t people playing Arboreal Grazer in their Omnath lists? 

-Red Bull Qualifier decklist discussion. 

-What does the Walking Dead Secret Lair mean? 

-Has WotC lost our trust? 

-Has the Free to Play Arena business model hurt Magic? 

-Why are the NY Giants and the NFC East soooooo bad right now?

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Top 8 Magic: Mythic Invitational Deck Review

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Normally Brian David-Marshall and Magic Hall of Famer Zvi Mowshowitz would be doing a preview show for the Mythic Invitational — showcasing the Arena-only Historic format — but with the decks being revealed so close to the starter pistol for the event that was not possible. Instead they are looking through the decks while the early rounds of the event play out in the background. 

Metagame Breakdown

Mythic Invitational Decklists

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Top 8 Magic: Quest for the Messed-up Magic Cards

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With Zendikar Rising previews in full swing, Brian David-Marshall and Magic Hall of Famer Zvi Mowshowitz go on a quest to find the most messed-up Magic cards in the set so far. The duo go through the 41 rares and mythics that had been previewed as of Thursday Sept 3rd looking for the cards that most like to party, which ones are going to impact your Commander games and which ones meet the highest honor Zvi can bestow upon a card — “That’s a messed up Magic card!”

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Exclusive Zendikar Rising Spoiler: Shell Shield

A new set is on the horizon and I am very thankful to the kind folks over at Wizards of the Coast for giving me this free preview and allowing me to be part of the unveiling of a brand-new card! I’m going to tell you all about my expectations for it and a little about why I think it signals great things for this next set.


My favorite part of this is that kicker is back. It adds extra levels to games that enhance the experience for those seeking challenging lines of play. Now while this may not be a Standard powerhouse like some rares of mythics tend to be. There have been plenty of decks that utilized these kinds of combat tricks to plenty of success. For instance, look at Autumn Burchett’s Mono-Blue Tempo deck that won Mythic Championship I last year:


You’d be hard pressed to find a mythic in this deck, but it utilizes powerful multi-card synergy and was obviously good enough to win a Pro Tour. The ability to save your creature from destruction for one mana has been a powerful effect for some time and we’ve seen cards like this being played for many years.

I suppose the original was Healing Salve and Giant Growth. It has certainly evolved over time and given us very powerful spells like Blossoming Defense, Veil of Summer, and Vines of the Vastwood. The first drawback to a card like Shell Shield is the hexproof piece is often the more important element in Constructed play and it only comes from the kicker. This means it’s a two-mana protection spell and those have traditionally been underwhelming. With the exception of cards similar to Shelter because of their two for one profitability thanks to drawing an additional card.

Now the strength of this card is going to be in Limited where the bonus of a +0/+3 is likely more relevant than hexproof. This is typically because creatures clash more often in Limited. Additionally, many cards have been printed that take advantage of a set mechanic. Kind of like how Drake Haven and cycling were bonded together. So too we could see a card that would be a cheap enchantment and maybe it would give some cool bonus like drawing extra cards each time we kicker a spell.

It’s also entirely possibly we could get another rotation of cards like Enigma Drake and Crackling Drake where we want instants to feed, protect, and evade until victory. That’s another scenario where I could see a card like this seeing Constructed play.

Almost makes me long for the days of Block Constructed events where cards like this take on a whole new power level due to limited options. This is a September set and while we are going to lose a bunch of cards in Standard it likely won’t limit our options nearly as much as the old Block Constructed days.

It’s a short article for today because there’s only so much to discuss until we see more of the new set. Check back later though as we continue to evolve the discussion and stay on top of the format each week!

Is Temur Reclamation really dead?

In case anyone didn’t already know. I was lucky enough to win the Starcity Games Championship Qualifier this past Sunday August 2nd. Of special note is that it was likely the last tournament where Wilderness Reclamation was Standard legal.

Here’s the list that took home the trophy for reference.


With the latest Banned and Restricted updates, we lost two key pieces to this build. Wilderness Reclamation and Growth Spiral. A mana accelerator and a gigantic mana producer. Luckily, we have a lot of toys in Standard and I found a couple replacements to keep the deck alive as it were.

Wolfwillow Haven cleanly fits in the role of Growth Spiral. It occasionally can even be preferable, but of course Growth Spiral would often be preferable. We make do with what we have at our disposal.

As for the gigantic mana payoffs, Wilderness Reclamation is hard to match but if we turn to a former Standard all-star in Nissa, Who Shakes the World, we can find a vehicle in which to do many sweet plays. To aid in this plan and because people are a lot less likely to have Expansion/Explosion, specifically the Expansion side, it’s my estimation that Cultivate will again be a main stay in the deck.

We found with old Standard that counter magic was the name of the game. With Combo and Control equally neutered it’s expected that aggressive decks will see an uptick. To combat that plan and increase consistency I have decided to give Fire Prophecy a go in the flex spots. It’s possible that some number of Arboreal Grazer (less than 4) may eventually be the right call as well. For now, I prefer cards with higher consistencies.

So, here’s how I have drawn up the changes to the deck. By moving the counter magic to the sideboard, we can ensure it comes in against the right opponents. Besides that, there is some additional removal spells for aggressive matchups. Theoretically we should already have a good control matchup.


Discontinuity can act as a Time Walk effect, but also a Uro enabler in the right matchups. It can be an important counter spell if needed as well. This part is clutch because Uro has certainly been the card to answer for a long time in Standard. Now that you can’t bounce it with a Teferi, we may see it be the next card with a banhammer target on its back.

Redcap Melee is one card I had been wanting to incorporate since Winota has resumed being a deck in the field. It’s nice overlap in that it helps in the mono Red matchups as well. Aether Gust will certainly be one of those cards that we find belongs in the main deck again, but until the format settles a little more I’ve delegated it to the sideboard. I’ll be watching to see how the format evolves though and can easily see it taking the place of the fourth Cultivate, fourth Uro, third Discontinuity or some of the other main deck flex slots.

I want to talk a little bit about the bannings that occurred on August 3rd before wrapping up. It has become commonplace for the voice of Twitter to target change. These changes are of course heard and often implemented nowadays. The problem is a mob mentality isn’t always seeing things the clearest.

It’s my hope that we start to see innovation rather than bannings. Print clever solutions instead of eliminating the problem. People will love the opportunity to get creative at figuring out solutions to problems. At the heart of this game we are problem solvers and that’s exactly what we want to be doing.

When we see or hear these ideas being floated around on social media. Often, we see divisive discussions follow. This can lead to somewhat toxic situations being created. My goal has always been to listen, learn, and then see if my opinion reverberates. Fully acknowledging it as an opinion and one that everyone can feel free to agree or disagree with.

Mistakes will always be made as long as we are human. Harping on the mistakes of others isn’t “cool”. Sympathy, understanding, and positivity are cool. I’ll sign off here before you have to listen to any more cheesy comments, but thanks for listening and let’s all make the world a better place to live together!