Grand Prix Pittsburgh presented us a Top 32 with a serious lack of diversity. The refresh you, here’s what the best-performing 32 players at GP Pittsburgh were playing:

16 B/G Constrictor
9 Mardu Vehicles
6 Copycat (both variations)
1 BUG Control Deck

What has changed in the last two weeks? Fortunately for us, we had another Grand Prix this past weekend, in Utrecht, where we got another shot at cracking the Standard nut. So, did GP Utrecht depict a different Standard format than the one we saw in Pittsburgh? Here’s the Top 32 from the European Grand Prix:

9 B/G Constrictor
13 Mardu Vehicles
3 Copycat
3 Temur Dynavolt Tower
1 BUG Control
2 U/R Emerge
1 W/B Control

Although there was more diversity in Utrecht, Mardu and B/G still stand on top yet again. Some new tech of note:

Temur Dynavolt Tower by Ondrej Stratsky at GP Utrecht – 11th

Creatures (10)
3 Shielded Aether Thief
3 Torrential Gearhulk
4 Rogue Refiner

Non-Creature Spells (29)
4 Dynavolt Tower
4 Attune with Aether
1 Incendiary Flow
3 Anticipate
4 Glimmer of Genius
4 Harnessed Lightning
1 Natural Obsolescence
2 Shock
3 Negate
3 Disallow

Lands (21)
4 Aether Hub
4 Botanical Sanctum
1 Mountain
2 Island
2 Lumbering Falls
4 Forest
4 Spirebluff Canal

Sideboard (15)
1 Negate
2 Confiscation Coup
3 Dispel
1 Release the Gremlins
3 Whirler Virtuoso
2 Dragonmaster Outcast
1 Natural State
2 Radiant Flames

Although this deck is unfamiliar to those who don’t play online, Temur Dynavolt Tower was a pick among some of the European Pros such as Joel Larson, Ondrej Stratsky, and Oliver Polak-Rottman. The deck takes the shell of U/R Dynavolt Tower, adding green as a free third color for more energy-synergistic cards such as Rogue Refiner and Attune with Aether. Shielded Aether Thief acts as a wall that can generate some energy in combat, and the deck’s main way of ending the game come from closing out with Torrential Gearhulk and multiple Dynavolt Tower activations. I can see Temur Dynavolt Tower being a solid choice in a heavy B/G metagame, which was probably what many pros expected, but I have a hard time believing it has a favorable Mardu Vehicles matchup, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar seems like a nightmare to deal with.

Speaking of Mardu…

Mardu Ballista by Samuel Vuillot at GP Utrecht – 1st

Creatures (18)
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Toolcraft Exemplar
4 Walking Ballista
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar

Non-Creature Spells (18)
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
4 Heart of Kiran
4 Fatal Push
4 Unlicensed Disintegration

Lands (24)
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Inspiring Vantage
4 Aether Hub
4 Spire of Industry
2 Plains
2 Mountain
2 Swamp
1 Needle Spires
1 Foreboding Ruins

Sideboard (15)
1 Authority of the Consuls
4 Release the Gremlins
3 Oath of Chandra
3 Oath of Liliana
2 Nahiri, the Harbinger
2 Ob Nixilis Reignited

Mardu retook the champion title, this time including four Walking Ballista main, cutting out Veteran Motorist. Less Vehicles this time around, Mardu Ballista is a more focused midrange deck, packing six planeswalkers main with two copies of Chandra, Torch of Defiance main. Having both an edge against traditional Mardu Vehicles decks and an edge against B/G, Mardu Ballista is definitely the deck to beat going forward. The one thing I like most about this 75 is the access to three Oath of Liliana post board. Being able to Oath away an early threat followed by a forthcoming 2/2 Zombie puts you at such an advantage against any creature-based strategy in this metagame.

Mardu Ballista is definitely top dog, and will shape the metagame going into the next SCG Open and Grand Prix New Jersey in two weeks. I have no clue what the answer is, or what deck I’m even going to play in that event. Mardu Ballista might just be the best deck to play.

W/B Control by Bernardo Santos at GP Utrecht – 22nd

Creatures (11)
1 Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
3 Gifted Aetherborn
3 Selfless Spirit
1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
3 Archangel Avacyn

Non-Creature Spells (23)
3 Liliana, the Last Hope
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
1 Oath of Liliana
2 Fumigate
4 Fatal Push
3 Grasp of Darkness
3 Anguished Unmaking
2 Murder

Lands (26)
4 Forsaken Sanctuary
4 Shambling Vent
4 Concealed Courtyard
1 Westvale Abbey
5 Plains
8 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
1 Gifted Aetherborn
2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
1 Fumigate
4 Transgress the Mind
2 Gisela, the Broken Blade
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
1 Linvala, the Preserver

This is one of the other deck ideas I’ve been bouncing off some people in the last week, but I’d build my list a little differently. I’m a fan of the planeswalker package and access to Anguished Unmaking, but going forward I’d cut down on the creature package to mitigate my opponent’s removal spells and instead focus on including cards like Ruinous Path and Gonti, Lord of Luxury. There could be some potential there.

W/B Control by Roman Fusco

Creatures (3)
3 Gonti, Lord of Luxury

Non-Creature Spells (31)
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 Sorin, Grim Nemesis
4 Fumigate
2 Live Fast
Ruinous Path
1 Sram’s Expertise
2 Transgress the Mind
3 Anguished Unmaking
4 Fatal Push
3 Grasp of Darkness
1 Murder

Lands (26)
4 Aether Hub
1 Blighted Fen
4 Forsaken Sanctuary
4 Plains
4 Shambling Vent
6 Swamp
3 Westvale Abbey

Sideboard (15)
2 Fragmentize
1 Descend upon the Sinful
2 Transgress the Mind
2 Blessed Alliance
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Linvala, the Preserver
3 Reality Smasher
2 Thought-Knot Seer

The stage is set and the pieces are in place. Grand Prix New Jersey is coming up and with Mardu Ballista at the front of everyone’s minds, I’m torn between joining them or finding another route to victory.

What’ll be your weapon of choice in New Jersey?



Are you looking for a different route to victory in Standard? Read this article for a look at a blue control deck that looks well-positioned in this metagame.

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