With the second major Aether Revolt Standard tournament in the books, it’s time to look at the major changes since last weekend.
Well, nothing really changed at all.
To recap, B/G Delirium was the winner of the previous SCG weekend, even though it did not present the most copies in the top 64. B/G was clearly the deck to beat going into this weekend, but many still held faithful to the Saheeli-Cat combo.
Here’s the Metagame breakdown from Day 2 of SCG Richmond:
G/B Aggro – 21
B/G Delirium – 18
Jeskai Saheeli – 16
Four-Color Saheeli – 8
Jeskai Control – 5
U/B Control – 4
Mardu Vehicles – 4
B/R Zombies – 3
G/W Tokens – 3
U/R Control – 2
Esper Aggro – 1
Temur Control – 1
Grixis Control – 1
W/B Midrange – 1
Temur Eldrazi – 1
Temur Energy – 1
U/R Emerge – 1
U/B Colossus – 1
Jeskai Colossus – 1
Esper Control – 1
U/W Spirits – 1
W/R Humans – 1
Temur Aetherworks – 1
Mono-Red Aggro – 1
B/R Constructs – 1
U/W Reservoir – 1
This weekend, various G/B strategies made up 39% of Day 2, with Saheeli decks making up only 24%. However, Jeskai Saheeli proved to be top cat, putting three copies in at first, third, and sixth, with Four-color Saheeli in second. In the end, Dylan Donegan emerged victorious with Jeskai Saheeli.
Not much has changed in Dylan’s list from Daniel Fournier’s, which placed seventh last weekend. Donegan’s list cut down on a Felidar Guardian to slot in Nahiri, the Harbinger, another powerful planeswalker that can tutor for the combo and remove Authority of the Consuls. Another note about Dylan’s list, and the Saheeli decks in the Top 8 of the tournament was that every one of these strategies was playing 3 Torrential Gearhulk main, as opposed to two copies.
Another important note about the Jeskai Saheeli deck is the copies of Spell Queller in the sideboard. When asked about Queller for his victory interview, Donnegan commented on the card saying it was reserved most for the G/W Tokens matchup. However, that deck in particular put up very few copies in the top 64 and thus going forward, Spell Queller might be a potential cut from the sideboard as Saheeli and B/G Delirium stand out as the two pillars of the format.
In second place we have Four-Color Saheeli by Jeffrey Ashkin.
As some maindeck insurance against the Saheeli Rai–Felidar Guardian combo, Ashkin packs 2 Implement of Combustion in his list, which shuts down the combo by allowing you to ping Saheeli Rai when she downticks to blink Felidar Guardian. With lists turning towards Nahiri, the Harbinger as a maindeck inclusion, Implement gains even more value because it can’t be targeted by Nahiri and stands out as a more powerful option to stop to the combo than Authority of the Consuls (although you’ll never get a chance to cycle it in that matchup).
This deck seems to have an edge in the mirror, relying on Cloudblazer and Rogue Refiner to generate card advantage (as well as the surprise copy of Panharmonicon too!). The deck is greedier and hungrier on its mana base than the traditional Jeskai deck, and also has no Torrential Gearhulk – but it’s still capable of out-grinding the mirror.
B/G Delirium finished 6th in the hands of Maxwell Paustian.
The B/G Delirium decks are still powerful, nonetheless. However, there isn’t one universal list – numbers vary between numbers of Nissa, Vocie of Zendikar, Walking Ballista, Rishkar, Peema Renegade, and the removal package. Some lists rely on more energy-centric cards, such as Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Aethersphere Harvester, with varying numbers on multiple cards. There doesn’t seem to be one correct list but the base of the deck is there – and it’s extremely powerful.
Just missing out on Top 8 was a deck that no one expected to show up, Temur Eldrazi in the hands of William Bingham.
This is one of the more surprising decks from the weekend. While Donegan did say that he got crushed in Day 1 by this deck and that Jeskai Saheeli probably has an unfavorable matchup, I’m unsure if this deck is worth playing over the B/G strategies, which seem to be doing much more powerful and explosive things at a faster rate. The deck plays a lot of value creatures, such as Matter Reshaper, Rogue Refiner, and Thought-Knot Seer. I’m not sure how this deck fits into the metagame going forward, but if it has a favorable Jeskai Saheeli matchup this might be something to look out for next weekend.
Control decks popped up here and there too, with Jeskai Control and U/B Control being the 2 most popular among them.
Jeskai Control and U/B Control
These were the next two most popular decks following B/G and Saheeli combo. There’s not a lot to say about these decks, I’m personally drawn to Jeskai over U/B just to have access to Fumigate, which seems very well-positioned in this metagame. These dedicated control decks probably have a somewhat good matchup against Saheeli combo, I’d personally play Jeskai over U/B though because of the reason I listed above.
While watching the Richmond Open round up, these are the takeaways from coverage that will be relevant going into the Pro Tour next weekend:
- While B/G had higher numbers than the Saheeli decks in Day 2, Saheeli put 4 copies into top 8 and won the event.
- Implement of Combustion answers the combo and cannot be answered by Nahiri.
- 4 Color Saheeli can out-grind the Jeskai mirror.
- G/W Tokens lost popularity and seems much less powerful than B/G and Saheeli.
It’ll be interesting to see if any new strategies emerge at the Pro Tour. There are many viable decks in the format, but G/B Delirium and Saheeli Combo are the two winners over the past two weekends and are shaping up to be the major pillars of the format. With G/W losing popularity, will there still be a powerful Gideon, Ally of Zendikar deck no one has taken advantage of yet? While the Pro Tour will be filled with snakes and cats, I’m interested in seeing what ends up taking the prize.
Until next time,
There are a lot of versions of the Saheeli Rai + Felidar Guardian combo running around. Read this article to explore the different versions of it and a look at which ones are well-positioned moving forward.
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