In this article, I’m going to rank the Pro Tour gauntlet decks selected from the best finishing decks at the Pro Tour. You can play with all of these decks for a pretty modest price on MTGO. If that isn’t really you’re thing, I would suggest picking one of them up in real life because, while I believe some are better than others, they are all certainly viable options. I’m ranking these decks based on what I believe will be best positioned going into this weekend’s tournaments.
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t actually think this is the objectively worst deck in a vacuum of the 14 gauntlet decks. However, the real reason that this is ranked last is that I can’t find a compelling reason that you would want to play this version over the Temer Aetherworks deck. Kozilek’s Return is simply much more important than Tamiyo, Field Researcher or Spell Queller could ever be. This is why I have Bant Aetherworks last in my rankings.
This deck is ranked low for a similar reason to the last deck. I feel that when ranking things of any sort, one of the great places to start is which things that are strictly worse than other things. This deck is slower and less reliable than the R/W aggressive strategies, and while the deck may have explosive capabilities, I think that the R/W decks are where you want to be.
I like Verdurous Gearhulk, but honestly that’s about all I like out of this list. I feel that it uses Smuggler’s Copter the least effectively and that Skywhaler’s Shot and Always Watching are cards that I would want to replace. This deck’s benefits include that it is one of the few midrange decks you can play in this format and it is a comfortable safe starting point, with a lot of possible tweaking that could make it a lot better. Also, Gideon remains an insane card.
Michael Goud – R/G Energy – 7-3 (decklist found on this page)
There has to be some way to break Electrostatic Pummler in Standard. I have no idea if this is it (it probably isn’t). However, this is a good starting point. Don’t sleep on a variant of this deck becoming one of the dominant forces in this Standard format. I just think that more tweaking has to be done and maybe it will take new cards from Aether Revolt to fully power out a dominant Electrostatic Pummler deck.
Oliver Polak-Rottmann – Temur Colossus – 7-3 (decklist found on this page)
This deck is very powerful and I expected it to be a lot more of a formidable force than it turned out to be at the Pro Tour, despite an uptick in a matchup where the deck can struggle (control). The synergies in this deck will certainly help it potentially become a big player in Standard, but I see not a ton of evidence that this specific build is going to be best for upcoming weeks of competition.
Dynavolt Tower is a ridiculous Magic card in more ways than one, and it is no surprise to me that this deck had a good showing at the Pro Tour. However, this deck is easily adaptable for and it is highly reminiscent of U/R Burn decks of the previous Standard rotation. I have a lot of experience with these kinds of decks and I just don’t like them after the first couple weeks of Standard. I think this deck will get slightly better in the next two weeks than it will be after that, just because players’ ability to play against this deck dictates how well the deck performs frequently.
Here is another case of my strictly worse argument. This Mardu Vehicles list here is pretty compelling and I like some of the additions that Lee Shi Tian made such as Scrapheap Scrounger and Unlicensed Disintegration. However, I fail to see a compelling reason why Cultivator’s Caravan is that much better than Fleetwheel Cruiser. If I were picking a deck for next week, I would much rather be packing Declaration in Stone and the regular R/W Vehicles list.
This deck confuses me, even after watching Romão’s matches from the Pro Tour. Dovin Baan and Fumigate really looked quite awful in my eyes and without the card draw of Painful Truths, the deck just lacked cards for its strategy far too often. Archangel Avacyn is quite good, but I would back up and realize that you probably want to be playing more instant speed effects for as long as decks featuring vehicles are dominant. This deck certainly isn’t bad and I rank it at 7th because I think blue-based control decks are a great place to be, however I don’t think this list is close to the best decks of the format.
This deck is my metagame selection for next week. With Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Grasp of Darkness, the deck has a better main deck plan against Smuggler’s Copter and Vehicles decks than most. Additionally, I don’t think anybody will be packing any sideboard hate for this matchup or testing it extensively. This streamlined list seems like a great place to be starting out the next format and I think that this is going to be an underrated, low-variance, choice for the next few weeks. This deck may not be the most explosive or aggressive, but it is consistent and powerful and Verdurous Gearhulk continues to be underrated.
My explanation for this ranking is simple: this deck is a higher variance version of what I believe to be the best deck. With Servo Exhibition, Outnumber, and of course Reckless Bushwhacker, this deck is just so all in. The thing that terrifies me is that often your Bushwhackers will be 3 mana 2/1 haste creatures. If you believe yourself to be a good player, unless in cases of huge disparity, you want to lower variance. This may have worked out for Makis Mastuokas, however I would play R/W Vehicles unless you just love being as aggressive as possible.
If you haven’t heard about this deck, you have been living under a rock. This deck is the most powerful and linear deck in format. This deck is absurdly powerful a huge amount of the time, and there is really only one knock on this combo deck masterpiece: while I love the inclusion of Kozilek’s Return so much, the fact is that sometimes this deck just whiffs. In fact, you get a lot of clunky hands that just don’t do anything. You find this with any deck that relies so heavily on one card, you have a lot of variance, besides that, this deck is great for obvious reasons and I would recommend it to anyone, just know you are gonna lose a lot of games that you can’t chalk up to skill.
I love Spell Queller, Archangel Avacyn, and Reflector Mage more than ever and this deck seems like the best of the streamlined midrange decks to me. It gets to play with Copter and the best one-drop in the format in Thraben Inspector. I just love this deck from top to bottom and I think that people won’t be expecting it in the coming weeks as much as other decks. Gideon (as I’ve said before) remains insane and I think that this deck is playing all the best cards that I want to be playing, so I consider it at the top of the midrange strategies by a solid margin. The fact that the deck hasn’t gotten more attention kind of bugs me. Additionally, this deck is just so much more robust then the other midrange decks against Grixis and Jeskai Control, because you have access to playsets of Selfless Spirit, Gideon, and Avacyn in your main deck. This deck is one of the best places to be right now if you want to beat control and seems like an excellent metagame choice.
I love control right now! Thing in the Ice allows the deck a proactive turn 2 play that can block in a ton of matchups, and the fact is that this deck just has everything that you need. Torrential Gearhulk is obviously excellent, but I honestly don’t have as much to say about this deck, it just has the same benefits of Jeskai Control, but has the added card draw of Painful Truths and valuable discard in Transgress the Mind. This seems like the best control shell you can have right now. The biggest knock against this deck is that people know it’s coming because it just won the Pro Tour.
Mark my words, this is the best deck in the format. It is hard to play against, it is resilient, it is low-variance, and it is powerful. Smuggler’s Copter has its best home here and this deck shows no signs of slowing down. If you have been watching professional Magic, you realize that this deck is a great one, and many “week 1” aggressive decks fade away. However, I have seen no evidence that this deck shows any signs of slowing down. It has enough versatility in its builds that it can adapt to hate cards being played against it. This deck needs to be on your radar if you aren’t playing it. If you consider yourself a good player, this deck is skill-intensive and fun, and I don’t think any matchup is terrible and you will learn a lot by playing it.
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