As I write this I’m sitting on a train to Hudson, NY to test with my teammates for the upcoming SCG Invitational . The Invitational is only days away, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I’ve never felt so prepared for a tournament yet so anxious. While Modern has been a breeze to prepare for, Standard has been a little tougher, even though it’s the format I play most often.

Modern

Even though most of my tournament success has come from Modern, I’ve never been one to really prepare too deeply for the format. With only so many competitive Modern tournaments a year, it’s not worth it to keep up with the changing metagame, unless you’re a SCG grinder that plays the format often. That being said, my deck choice for the Invitational was pretty easy, but it’s up to you to guess what I’m playing (wink). I can’t give away everything!

Hint: The card Deflecting Palm is somewhere in the 75.

Standard

I wish I could say I knew what deck I was playing for the Standard portion. I have one in mind, but it still needs tweaking. If I had to pick a deck right here and now I’d play Temur Energy.

Something along the lines of this:

Temur Energy by Roman Fusco

Creatures (27)
4 Servant of the Conduit
4 Glorybringer
4 Rogue Refiner
2 Whirler Virtuoso
4 Bristling Hydra
4 Longtusk Cub
3 Tireless Tracker
2 Elder Deep-Fiend

Non-Creature Spells (12)
4 Attune with Aether
4 Harnessed Lightning
2 Magma Spray
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Lands (21)
4 Aether Hub
4 Botanical Sanctum
3 Forest
1 Game Trail
1 Island
2 Mountain
2 Sheltered Thicket
4 Spirebluff Canal

Sideboard (15)
2 Essence Scatter
1 Negate
3 Radiant Flames
1 Skysovreign, Consul Flagship
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
1 Magma Spray
2 Dissenter’s Deliverance
1 Baral’s Expertise
1 Confiscation Coup
1 Release the Gremlins
1 Tireless Tracker

Even with Aetherworks Marvel out of the format, I’m not a fan of the current Standard. Sure there’s diversity, but all the decks are so linear there’s not much differentiation between them. Every deck is on the same playing field, Zombies, Mardu Vehicles, Temur Energy, G/B variants – there’s nothing that really stands out between each one. But with all these creature decks I’m a fan of jamming 4 Glorybringer.

B/G Constrictor by Strong_Sad on MtGO

Creatures (24)
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
2 Greenbelt Rampager
4 Longtusk Cub
1 Rhonas the Indomitable
2 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
3 Verdurous Gearhulk
4 Walking Ballista
4 Winding Constrictor

Non-Creature Spells (15)
3 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
4 Attune with Aether
1 Never // Return
3 Blossoming Defense
4 Fatal Push

Lands (21)
4 Aether Hub
4 Blooming Marsh
7 Forest
4 Hissing Quagmire
2 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
2 Aethersphere Harvester
3 Bristling Hydra
1 Manglehorn
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
2 Tireless Tracker
4 Transgress the Mind
2 Yahenni’s Expertise

This is the other deck I’m seriously considering for the Invitational. Winding Constrictor + Rishkar, Peema Renegade/Walking Ballista/Verdurous Gearhulk are still some of the most powerful things you can do in this format – and having access to Fatal Push and Never // Return basically answers every threat in the format, save for an active Bristling Hydra or Skysovreign, Consul Flagship.

I really wish I had time to test more and come up with something spicy, but I think for a bigger event like this where I want to maximize my game win percentage, I want to play something that’s powerful and consistent that has been putting up results. I don’t want to get trapped into a deck like U/R Control or B/G Constrictor that can get run over too quickly, I’d rather be doing the running over.

Believe me, I’ve been trying to find a way out of the aggro/midrange mess that is this Standard format. Descend upon the Sinful is still one of my favorite cards in this format, but while it shines against B/G, Temur and Zombies, it’s worse vs. Mardu with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Heart of Kiran being big problems. Stasis Snare also seems really powerful right now, as no one is playing any cards to destroy enchantments, save for the one or two copies of Dissenter’s Deliverance here and there. This makes me believe Quarantine Field is also a good option for this format. But is there a deck that can play defensively enough to turn the corner before getting run over? I don’t think so.

Although Standard is still in the works I feel the most prepped I’ve ever been for an event. With recent events such as GP Montreal and GP Omaha, I definitely did not put in the practice and suffered because of that. You have to pick your battles wisely when you’re trying to get on the PT train, or just excel in competitive events. Honestly, I should’ve just skipped Omaha and gone to GP Vegas instead, with my confidence in Modern being at an all-time high. After the Invitational I’ll try and make it to another summer GP or two, most likely GP Denver. But until the August RPTQ I don’t have much going on for me. Which is why I’m planning on crushing this Invitational.

Excited for Hour of Devastation? Don’t miss this article by Jonah Gaynor where he runs through the set’s Gods and analyzes their playability.

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