Thanks to everyone who participated in the Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar Brew Fest! The idea behind this exercise was to get actively involved in enjoying the Pro Tour, especially for those of us who couldn’t play in it. My enjoyment definitely increased as I looked for Retreat to Coralhlem and Jeskai Ascendancy in the coverage and considered how my builds would have stacked up.
The submissions were excellent with high levels of creativity and competitiveness. There were a good number of submissions that went on to place well at the Pro Tour—from Dark Jeskai to Red Aggro to Aristocrats decks. Congrats to anyone who picked those decks—the results vindicated your choice.
Of course, I am interested in focusing on some of the more unusual options that got no spotlight in the Pro Tour. These decks look both unusual and competitive. Although the Pro Tour has come and gone, these following lists instill hope for the format to continue developing.
Check out this alternative Top 8 that could have been at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar.
8. Rally Sacrifice
Rally the Ancestors – X = 3
Black sacrifice decks proved their worth at the tournament. Zulaport Cutthroat and Nantuko Husk make a strong core for cards like Hangarback Walker and Liliana.
This variation uses Taigam’s Scheming to set up game-winning Rally the Ancestors. The 4-color mana base works well enough to enable this alternative version.
7. Dragon Control
We know that Esper Dragons is a thing, so with the new mana base why not reach into 5 colors? This deck has flying Wall of Omens, Counterspells, Wrath of Gods, card draw, and an absurd suite of Dragon finishers. This is certainly not a budget brew, but a list that puts all of these cards together in one place looks epic.
Enchantress will surprise many as the format goes on. It didn’t appear at the Pro Tour, but I’ve seen a few builds that push this archetype into the competitive realm. Sigil of the Empty Throne is still available and the last two sets have been chock-full of great enchantments.
Ramp didn’t make much noise at the Pro Tour, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some power moving forward. Some of us just like to cast fatties. I am a fan of a clean ramp list, so this tuned GR build is awesome.
How about Standard REANIMATOR? Here is another one that is subtly viable with strong discard options like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Necromantic Summons to bring back Dragons for the finish. This version also abuses Emeria Shephard which is absolutely ridiculous when it gets into play with a stocked graveyard.
3. Land Control
The idea of a land control deck makes me happy. This deck is full of the usual removal, counters, and draw, but packs a plethora of utility awaken spells to wake up sleepy lands as finishers. This is a great one for lovers of lands.
2. Mono-White Aggro
I made an allowance for an imaginary budget, so it’s refreshing to see a list that plays 18 basic lands. Standard mana bases are intimidating, but if we can make mono-colored aggro decks work we can make the format available to many people who are priced out. This mono-white hyper-aggro deck could do just that, with blistering starts that could take down slower decks that stumble with their painful mana.
1. Tutelage Ascendancy
Joaquín Ossandon Busch
I’ve seen a good number of lists that make me think Sphinx’s Tutelage is a viable win condition in the right deck. This version pairs the enchantment with Jeskai Ascendancy and uses Treasure Cruise to churn through both decks. The use of Encircling Fissures is amusing to give the deck a turbo-fog feel AND creature-lands to power the Jeskai Ascendancy combo.
Thanks to everyone who submitted wondrous brews, whether your list was chosen or not. There were a lot of other good ones in there, but this Top 8 showcases the possibilities beyond what we see at the Pro Tour.
I’m interested what you think about these decks, and especially interested in which of these archetypes you would be interested in focusing on for a future Brew Fest. Which of these has you most excited?