Hello everyone! This past weekend brought us SCG Dallas, and with it a host of new standard decklists. Last week, I advised that Mardu Vehicles and BG Constrictor would be the best decks to play in Week One, because of their proactive strategy and ability to punish stumbles.

Mardu Vehicles by Julian John at SCG Dallas – 1st

Creatures (21)
1 Ammit Eternal
3 Hazoret the Fervent
3 Veteran Motorist
4 Bomat Courier
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Toolcraft Exemplar
2 Pia Nalaar

Non-Creature Spells (16)
2 Aethersphere Harvester
4 Heart of Kiran
2 Fatal Push
4 Unlicensed Disintegration
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 Lightning Strike

Lands (23)
2 Canyon Slough
4 Spire of Industry
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Inspiring Vantage
2 Aether Hub
1 Dragonskull Summit
3 Mountain
3 Plains

Sideboard (15)
1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
2 Settle the Wreckage
2 Abrade
1 Scavenger Grounds
1 Cast Out
1 Sweltering Suns
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Fumigate
1 Magma Spray
3 Duress

BG Constrictor by Andres Campion at SCG Dallas – 2nd

Creatures (27)
2 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
4 Winding Constrictor
3 Ravenous Chupacabra
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
3 Jadelight Ranger
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
4 Walking Ballista
3 Verdurous Gearhulk

Non-Creature Spells (9)
2 Vraska’s Contempt
3 Fatal Push
2 Blossoming Defense
2 Aethersphere Harvester
Lands (24)
2 Ifnir Deadlands
2 Hashep Oasis
3 Foul Orchard
4 Blooming Marsh
4 Aether Hub
5 Swamp
4 Forest

Sideboard (15)
2 Golden Demise
4 Duress
2 Vraska, Relic Seeker
1 Naturalize
2 Deadeye Tracker
2 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
1 Vraska’s Contempt
1 Fatal Push

Alright, there we go, article done.

In all seriousness, I am glad that my suspicions were confirmed. This past weekend, with the bans in Standard leaving the meta wide open, led to the two best proactive decks making it to the finals. These decks punished what other players brought, simply because they have a very strong early game and have enough resiliency in the late game to win matches that go long.

The archetype that had the least success this weekend was control. I think this is indicative of Week One formats, as control decks simply do not know what to attack. Sure, you can say that aggro as a whole is the primary focus, but the way you need to play against Mardu Vehicles and BG Constrictor are completely different. Once you throw in Temur Monsters, RB Aggro, and Mono-Red Aggro, the game becomes too difficult. The times we will see control getting better is in the next few weeks, when a solid metagame arises and the control decks know what their targets are.

One of the cards that impressed me the most this weekend was Angrath, the Flame-Chained. This card showed up in the sideboard of Julian John’s Mardu Vehicles deck, and it did a ton of work in midrange matchups. The plus one by itself can be amazing, and the two life adds up quickly, especially when surrounded by a shell that is able to run the opponent over. The fact that it crews Heart of Kiran is also fantastic, and the card just slots into the deck very well.

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Another card I was very impressed with is not a new card, but rather a card that is much better in Mardu Vehicles than I had anticipated. Hazoret, the Fervent was a house this weekend, and it killed off unsuspecting enemies in the blink of an eye. I for one, did not expect to see this pop up as abundantly as before, and my version of Mardu Vehicles only ran one. I think lowering the curve and jamming more Hazorets into your deck is a great strategy, especially for Week One, where punishing stumbles is the name of the game. As with Angrath, Hazoret can crew Heart of Kiran, which will come up more than I thought it would before. Hazoret also throws extra lands at your opponents face, and that resiliency is extremely important out of Vehicles.

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Something I’d like to see out of the Mardu Vehicles deck that didn’t pop up in the first place list is Rekindling Phoenix, this card, quite simply, is absurd. We saw it come out of William Ho’s 6th place Temur Monsters deck this weekend, and every time it was on screen I was extremely impressed. The card gives the deck a huge four drop, which is insanely hard to deal with in this format. The cards that are widely played that answer it include Vraska’s Contempt and… that’s about it other than counterspells. Besides, drawing out a Vraska’s Contempt is fantastic in Vehicles, as it allows you to jam Hazoret without fear next turn.

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Out of BG Constrictor, we saw Ravenous Chupacabra, which put in a ton of work. I think this card will become a mainstay of the format, and it was amazing when we saw it on camera. The ability to come down and take out any creature is already great, and when combined with a Verdurous Gearhulk or Rishkar, Peema Renegade, the card can kill your opponent in just a few swings.

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The sideboard of Constrictor also included Golden Demise, a card which I did not get to see on camera but love in the deck. I think Golden Demise is fantastic against decks like RB Aggro or even Mono-Black Aggro, and getting through those low to the ground Aggro decks can be a challenge for BG Constrictor. Golden Demise can sweep your opponents board while you attack with your creatures, swinging the race firmly in your favor.

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Overall, I’m very happy with where Standard is at right now, and I hope the format solidifies a little bit, but stays fairly open. Having another Theros-Khans or Innistrad-RTR style Standard format would be a dream, especially after an abysmal two year period filled with rampant bannings and degenerate decks.

Enough of that, here is my suggestion for next week:

Temur Monsters by William Ho at SCG Dallas – 6th

Creatures (26)
1 Bristling Hydra
1 Rhonas the Indomitable
4 Glorybringer
4 Jadelight Ranger
4 Rekindling Phoenix
4 Servant of the Conduit
4 Thrashing Brontodon
4 Voltaic Brawler

Non-Creature Spells (10)
3 Harnessed Lightning
3 Magma Spray
4 Abrade

Lands (24)
1 Mountain
3 Forest
4 Sheltered Thicket
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Aether Hub
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Rootbound Crag

Sideboard (15)
1 River’s Rebuke
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Struggle / Survive
2 Spell Pierce
4 Negate
3 Chandra’s Defeat
1 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary

I think this deck is the next step. While Mardu and Constrictor were great picks for Week One and will continue to be for the next few weeks, I think the format will move more towards midrange. This deck has a good matchup against both Mardu and BG from what I can tell, and it has a better sideboard than either of the decks. Temur is also much more adaptable to a metagame, which I think will make it shine in the coming months.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this article, and I’ll see you all next week!

Riccardo Monico

Are you a fan of Control decks or the Black Eyed Peas? If so, check out Jonah Gaynor’s article about his favorite Standard deck, UW Approach! 

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