After the surprising results of Pro Tour Aether Revolt, it’s become painfully obvious that Mardu Vehicles was the deck to beat in this Standard format. Many pros believed that the two best decks were Mardu Vehicles and Jeskai Copycat, but that Mardu was favored in the matchup and they were afraid that other teams would come to the same conclusions, so they played Vehicles. This resulted in everyone was playing Mardu Vehicles, or at least all the kool kidz.
Going into Grand Prix Pittsburgh this weekend, the big question that all players should be asking themselves is, “should I beat them, or should I join them?” Well, if you’re looking to join them, this article isn’t for you, but you should read this article by Austin Mansell. If you’re looking to beat them, you’re in the right place! Today, I’ll be talking about B/G Constrictor, which is the deck that I’ll be playing at GP Pittsburgh this weekend and I think is an excellent choice for this metagame.
The Pro Tour top 8 featured 6 copies of the Mardu menace, one copy of an innovating Jund Energy deck, and a copy of B/G Constrictor. However, this is not the B/G Constrictor variant that I’ll be playing this weekend. Instead, I’ll be playing the variant that Ken Yukuhiro played to an excellent, but not top 8, finish at the Pro Tour. The metagame going into the Pro Tour was fairly unknown, but I think that Ken’s overall deck choice was excellent.
The next logical question is, why this energy-focused B/G variant over a more traditional Sylvan Advocate variant or a newer, controlling delirium-focused deck? Well, the energy package in this deck is excellent against Mardu Vehicles. Longtusk Cub is frequently a 3/3 on turn 2, Aethersphere Harvester gaining life every single turn is fantastic at keeping us out of range of Vehicles’ burn spells, and Greenbelt Rampager is very frequently a 3/4 for 1 mana. The obviously powerful line of play is Attune with Aether turn 1, and Greenbelt Rampager plus Fatal Push on turn 2. Fast and powerful starts like that are what makes this deck appealing and is what gives it a very positive matchup against Mardu Vehicles. Of course, it also offers the same lines of play with a snake, a renegade, and a certain powerful artifact creature that was made for walking…and pinging.
Here’s my list for this weekend, subject to some last-minute changes, of course:
B/G Constrictor by Jonah Gaynor
My list is very similar to Ken’s list from the Pro Tour, but I think the small changes I made will make the deck better-suited to the expected GP Pittsburgh metagame.
Firstly, I cut one Glint-Sleeve Siphoner. I had originally cut 3, then 2, and now only 1. The reason the number that I cut went down over time is that I, like many others, assume that the GP Pittsburgh metagame will feature Mardu Vehicles as the #1 deck, and it will definitely be the most popular there. Heck, that’s why I’m playing this deck to begin with. When testing this matchup, I found that B/G was favored overall, but certain cards were very ineffectual, like Glint-Sleeve Siphoner.
So, I cut most of them. However, in the days since, it’s become clear that people will be playing B/G to try to combat Vehicles. So, putting a few more copies of Glint-Sleeve Siphoner back in to help in the mirror match seemed logical. I added the 4th mainboard copy of Fatal Push in its place, as it’s excellent against Mardu Vehicles and the mirror match, which I’m expecting to be the two most common matchups this weekend.
I also made a few changes in the sideboard. I added another copy of Appetite for the Unnatural, and may add another before submitting my decklist Saturday morning. I also cut a Transgress the Mind and a Nissa, Vital Force for 2 copies of Tireless Tracker. The reasoning behind this is that I feel that Transgress the Mind is fairly poorly positioned in this metagame. It’s straight-up bad against Mardu Vehicles, and is rather poor most of the time in the mirror. It’s excellent against Jeskai Copycat, so I’m not cutting them entirely, but I don’t think having more than 2 is needed.
I put in 2 copies of Tireless Tracker as a bit of a hedge against the unknown. It’s very possible that people could show up with control decks or grindy removal decks. I think that Tracker in the mainboard in this format should be considered a vanilla 3/2 for 3 mana, but it’s an excellent card if the mirror-match games go long and it can be unbeatable against the slower decks of the format. It’s another threat that demands an answer in our deck full of those type cards, so removal-focused decks will need to stretch their removal against us.
Standard Grand Prix the weekend after the Pro Tour are always very exciting. I played in Grand Prix Providence the weekend after Pro Tour Kaladesh with U/W Flash. I wasn’t sure of my deck choice then, but found throughout the tournament that the deck had a lot of very favorable matchups in the format. I finished a respectable, but not incredible, 10-5. This time around, I’m feeling very confident in my deck choice. I feel that it has a great matchup against the deck to beat in the format, and has a lot of play in the mirror match. Who knows, maybe this time will be even better than last.