Standard at Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica

As with any Pro Tour, the Top 8 does not tell the whole story. The Top 8 of Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica would have you believe that RW Aggro dominated the field, when in reality the constructed portion of the event was extremely diverse. Draft is a large portion of the Pro Tour: 6 rounds out of 16. Many of the people who make Top 8 do so not just because their Standard record was decent, but because they did well in the Draft. These are the decks that did well in the constructed portion of the Pro Tour:

 

10-0 or 9-1

2 Izzet Drakes

1 RW Aggro

1 Mono Blue

8-1-1 or 8-2

4 Jeskai Control

2 Izzet Drakes

4 Mono Red

3 RW Aggro

4 Golgari Midrange

2 Selesnya Tokens

 

In total, these 23 decks went 8-2 or better at the Pro Tour:

4 Jeskai Control

4 Izzet Drakes

4 Mono Red

4 RW Aggro

4 Golgari Midrange

2 Selesnya Tokens

1 Mono Blue Tempo

 

Metagame Analysis

Aggro did do well, which is pretty normal for a Pro Tour. It didn’t dominate the event though, like the Top 8 suggests. Most of those players got in to the Top 8, largely part due to their success in the draft portion. They did not have the top performances in constructed. Only three out of the top 8 made it onto this list of 8-2 or better—two of the Red-White aggro lists and the Jeskai deck. Despite this, many people will be looking towards RW aggro as the deck to beat in the coming weeks of Standard, if you plan to play the deck at FNM, expect to play against a lot of hate cards—and if you aren’t playing the deck make sure you have the hate ready to beat it.

Drake Decks

Crackling Drake also had a great weekend. All the Jeskai decks have looked towards this card as a win condition because Teferi just isn’t enough anymore. We also saw most of the Izzet Drakes decks cut Enigma Drake to max out on Crackling Drake and add a bit more interaction like Lava Coils and Beacon Bolts. They have also cut Maximize Velocity, making it a much more controlling deck.

Green/Black Midrange

The Golgari decks have moved towards Druid of the Cowl as a way to ramp into Carnage Tyrant and Doom Whisperer a bit sooner. Every one of these lists was playing at least 1 Cast Down as an answer to cards like Tocatli Honor Guard and 2 or more Vraska’s Contempts as an answer to cards like Rekindling Phoenix and Arclight Phoenix. Vivien Reid was the most popular planeswalker for Golgari, being a 2-of in every list. Vraska, Golgari Queen seems to be to choice 3rd option, being a main deck 1-of in half of the lists, and sideboarded in the others.

Aggro Decks

The Mono Red decks that did well have all moved towards 4 Experimental Frenzy and 2 Rekindling Phoenixes in the main deck. Every list that went 8-2 or better had 59 out of 60 cards identical in the maindecks as well as 13 out of 15 identical cards in sideboards. If you are looking for a deck that is well-tuned this seems to be the best choice.

The Red White deck is the only deck that is relatively new to the metagame. The base is a White-Tokens deck with cards like Venerated Loxodon, History of Benalia, and Legion’s Landing, and a smattering of 1 mana creatures. Adanto Vanguard is also a 4-of regularly because it is one of the hardest cards to answer in the format. The usual choice of Red cards in the main deck are Heroic Reinforcements, though a few choose to play Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice in the maindeck instead. Those that don’t have it in the sideboard.

Conclusion

There is still a lot of variations on these lists and tuning to be done, but there is a ton of diversity to this Standard format to look forward too. Every deck seems like it has potential to win in any given match up, and you can tune your decks to compete with pretty much anything. Check out my article about Green/Black Midrange for some tips on one of the top archetypes going into the PT!

~ Sean Armstrong