In my article last week, I suggested a sample list of Jeskai Black. I strongly believe that this is the best deck in the format, and I also believe there are a few excellent ways to build it. I always find it interesting to look at different builds of what I believe to be the best shell in Standard.
It just so happens that the exact sample list I gave was taken by MTGO player Hypper to a near-Top-8 finish in the MTGO PTQ this weekend, narrowly missing on tiebreakers. It’s always cool to see a theoretical list backed up by actual success, so I’m gonna break down the new list of Jeskai Black.
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is a Standard all-star. I played 1 copy at GP Houston but strongly wish I had played 2. It’s a solid card in almost every matchup and truly outstanding in several. Monastery Mentor is a solid finisher, but I wanted to shave that number down to 2. It’s not a card I’m usually thrilled to see in multiples, and it’s not a great early game play in many matchups. 2 copies of each is where I like the deck.
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy is the centerpiece of the deck. It’s the best turn-2 play and your draws with it are so much better than those without. This is the reason I prefer Jeskai Black to Mardu Green.
I’m not 100% sold on Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, but it’s an excellent Magic card in a vacuum. It ends a game in short order and provides a nice army. Speaking of closing games quickly, Chandra, Flamecaller does it all. Chandra is my kind of planeswalker and I found myself wanting to draw her so often that I felt it appropriate to play a second copy despite the high mana cost.
I found Duress mediocre, especially in game 1, so 2 of them came out of my GP Houston main deck and went into the sideboard. There are a number of matchups where Duress is powerful, but the potential to miss against a popular deck like Rally is too severe. In their place went Disdainful Strokes.
Many of the changes I made from my GP deck to my sample list were based purely on theory. It’s awesome to see that theory working out. Shout out to Hypper for taking the deck and running with it to a very solid finish. Where does the deck go from here? You tell me!