After I finished my studies last year, I was able to devote all of my time to Magic for the first time in my life. As soon as I returned from Worlds, I started playing Magic Online, grinding Standard and Draft in preparation for the Pro Tour.
This also means I played lots and lots of Standard Leagues to fight for the trophy leader position I’ve always aimed for in the past. Back then, I couldn’t really compete because of time constraints, but now I’m out there ready to prove my Standard skills!
I currently sit on five trophies, and today I’ll show you my decks and thought processes through these early days of Standard.
Trophy #1 & 2 – 5-0 on 2018-10-08
I liked Aurelia, and wanted to exploit her as much as possible. I tried some Boros Angels lists, but really hated them. Deafening Clarion just wasn’t what I wanted to do. I like Militia Bugler a lot in Modern Humans, and I thought it could work in Standard too, so I decided to jam an aggressive deck that could exploit it.
I love it versus control, as Militia Bugler and Adanto Vanguard do a great job there and Banefire from the sideboard is just huge. I love it versus red aggro, as History of Benalia gums up the board and Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice makes sure that I can protect and attack.
I tried Experimental Frenzy in the sideboard and I saw its strength there, though I couldn’t really exploit it since the mana curve of this deck is too high to chain spells. I decided to try something new with Experimental Frenzy, and with the help of my fellow Australian, Anthony Lee, I snagged my third trophy.
Trophy #3 – 5-0 on 2018-10-10
This deck is lots of fun to play, as your whole plan relies on resolving Experimental Frenzy and gaining value with it. You also have Treasure Map and Dismissive Pyromancer to make sure you never run out of gas. I didn’t like Ghitu Lavarunner or Fanatical Firebrand—I wanted to go big.
While I played my Leagues on Magic Online, I watched some of the finest streamers: Yellowhat and Misplacedginger are my two Standard gurus and Sqlt is my Limited guy! I love watching each of these players.
Yellowhat is Hall-of-Famer Gabriel Nassif, who came up with a sweet B/G Menagerie deck, and as a diligent student I decided to take it for a spin. It was glorious!
Trophy #4 – 5-0 2018-10-11
Wildgrowth Walker was the reason I won my trophy. The metagame was very aggressive back then, and that card shuts down anyone who is trying to attack you.
Plaguecrafter is really nice with Gruesome Menagerie, since you have total control over it and can decide to sacrifice a 1-, 2-, or 3-drop in order to gain as much value as possible. I don’t think this is the best version of B/G, but it would be the best if red or white starts to dominate.
After losing a bunch with this deck, I decided to return to my first love: Boros Bugler.
Though the deck needed refining, it just couldn’t beat Wildgrowth Walker. I needed a tool to fight B/G. Then, as I was sorting my real-life Standard cards, I saw the answer:
Tocatli Honor Guard is a beast versus all of the explore creatures, and many Black-Green decks were unable to deal with it because their only removal spell was Ravenous Chupacabra. We now see more Assassin’s Trophy and Vraska, Golgari Queen in the current metagame, but this little guy was the reason of my fifth trophy.
Trophy #5 – 5-0 on 2018-10-12
Tocatli Honor Guard doesn’t work well together with Militia Bugler and Siege Gang Commander, so your sideboard plan is to cut your six creatures to put in Rekindling Phoenix and Tocatli Honor Guard. Phoenix is very annoying for B/G as its only a 1-for-1 answer is Vraska’s Contempt.
Jeskai Control started adapting to Adanto Vanguard, and what was an unbeatable threat is now very beatable as I see more and more white enchantments for it.
Then the PTQ happened. Six B/G Midrange in the Top 8 proved that B/G is the new tier 1. I guess it’s time to play that deck to aim for trophy number 6, and many more!