The Top 8 of Grand Prix Shanghai was pretty boring this weekend. Energy. Red. Energy. Red. Ener—whaaat? OK, this deck is pure spice!

It does utilize the energy mechanic, but not in the way we’re all used to. This is a Thopter deck through and through. Whirler Virtuoso cashes in your energy to go to the skies and gets the opponent dead quickly.

Aether Swooper is like a miniature version of Whirler Virtuoso. It comes down a turn earlier and can start producing Servos or just allows you to use your energy to make more Thopters shortly thereafter.

Maverick Thopterist uses your Servo and Thopter tokens hit the board early in the game and allows you to go wide both on the ground and in the skies. This gives you even more Thopters to help improvise out your other spells, giving this deck some excellent synergy.

Pia Nalaar adds to the Thopter force, can pump your army of artifact creatures, and makes your opponent unable to block in a pinch.

Outside of the ability to produce tokens, all of these creatures have something else in common. They’re all Artificers! This makes Inventor’s Goggles an awesome weapon in this deck. You can get an early Goggles out, or have it go on your Swooper to get in for extra damage. You can have it jump around as you add to the battlefield, forcing through extra damage, and also use it as a mana source for your improvise spells!

Speaking of improvise, you have Reverse Engineer as everything Thoughtcast could ever hope to be. Just 2 mana and a few artifacts lets you totally reload your hand. Likewise, this deck is the perfect home for Metallic Rebuke. Rebuke is a great counter as every deck is trying to establish tempo, and Grixis Thopters can cast it for 1 open mana.

Your removal suite starts with Harnessed Lightning as you have plenty of extra use for the energy. From there, you go to Magma Spray to exile problematic creatures. Chandra, Torch of Defiance provides additional removal and some card or mana advantage when needed.

The Vehicles provide you more artifacts for improvise and the ability to turn your smaller tokens into big flying threats. Skysovereign, Consul Flagship rules the skies and can take down Glorybringers in combat while shooting down smaller creatures and planeswalkers. Aethersphere Harvester requires just a lowly Servo to crew, provides energy, and gives you a lifelink threat.

With it being relatively easy to produce 3 colors of mana thanks to Aether Hub and Spire of Industry in an artifact deck, The Scarab God gives you a great late-game threat and mana sink.

The card that will turn the most heads is one that many players will likely have to read. It was the weakest of the cycle for Limited, but it can do some serious work here. Decoction Module provides you an extra energy whenever a creature enters the battlefield. For this deck, that includes tokens, so it can create some exciting board states. Aether Swooper can churn out Servos for only a single energy with a Module in play as the Servo will get 1 of the 2 back, but 2 Modules makes it completely free. If the game goes long and you’re able to acquire 3 Modules in play, Whirler Virtuoso can produce infinite Thopter tokens as each will grant you 3 energy when entering the battlefield—the perfect amount to create another token! In the middle stages of the game, just returning Virtuoso or Thopterist to your hand can produce you a ton of extra energy in exchange for a bit of mana, and it can even protect your creatures from removal spells!

This is one of the sweetest decks in Standard and it’s safe to say that it’s the real deal after putting up a Top 8 finish at GP Shanghai!

Grixis Thopters

OKADA NAOYA, Top 8 at GP Shanghai