Pro Tour Kaladesh was a failure for me.
After a 2-1 in Draft, where I felt pretty comfortable with drafting green, I proceeded to go 0-4 in Constructed, playing Jeskai Control. Overall, my list was very close to the one that Carlos Romao brought to the finals—so what went wrong?
I will start by showing you my deck list, followed by 2 Jeskai Control lists that went 8-2 or better.
Carlos Romao, 10-2-1 Finalist
Matthew Anderson, 8-2 Top 16
Land Count and Mana Base
Playing 27 lands was definitely a mistake. I lost 3 matches out of 4 to flooding—I was scared of not hitting the fourth and fifth land drop in time, and thought that Glimmer of Genius would help me scry those lands to the bottom.
I lost some games just by missing one spell to interact with my opponent. Otherwise, the mana base was perfect—in fact, the same as Romao’s. No Evolving Wilds, no Needle Spires. Aether Hub reliably fixed all 3 colors thanks to Harnessed Lightning and Glimmer of Genius, or occasionally made turn-2 Lightning able to kill a 4/4 Copter.
The new fast lands made this even better, since you want to be casting your early removal at the beginning of the game more easily, and you can afford some taplands in the late game. Keep in mind that we play 4 Port Town and no battlelands, so play your basics last.
I thought that Archangel Avacyn would be a fine win condition, since it doesn’t require you to tap out on your turn. It can ambush Smuggler’s Copter and kill Gideon, Ally of Zendikar right away.
On the other hand, it was very easy to kill, and gave my opponents targets for their Unlicensed Disintegrations or Grasp of Darknesses. On top of that, it was almost impossible to flip, making this powerful Angel a slightly better Serra Angel, and too underpowered for Standard.
Nahiri, the Harbinger or Dovin Baan
I never wanted to tap out at sorcery speed, but these 2 planeswalkers could have definitely made it worth it. Nahiri mostly helps by mitigating the flood, and she’s able to kill annoying cards like Aetherworks Marvel. On top of that, using the -8 to get Gearhulk, trigger it, then put it back in your hand is a card advantage monster. Dovin Baan, on the other hand, I found too weak for Standard.
I was afraid of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and that’s why I wanted to have as many Stasis Snares as possible. R/W Vehicles was our top deck in testing and Gideon was usually the only way they beat you. Double-white tripped me up sometimes—so did Fragmentize. Dynavolt Tower could have been a nice answer to it that we didn’t consider.
Blessed Alliance and Immolating Glare
I chose to run 4 copies of Blessed Alliance between the main deck and sideboard because of R/G Energy. The deck was very popular on MTGO and widely played at the PT as well, even if it didn’t perform well.
I’ve never faced it, and I lost with a bunch of Blessed Alliances in hand while getting beaten down by a Thraben Inspector and a Smuggler’s Copter. I guess a split is more appropriate.
I’ve never played 3 copies of Negate in the main deck in my life, but I felt this was the right moment. Aetherworks Marvel, Vehicles, and control decks were all over the place, and you can’t really go wrong with Negate.
The same can be said for Ceremonious Rejection.
I was surprised to see 2 Summary Dismissal in the main decks of both Romao and Anderson (Anderson also has 2 Confirm Suspicions to go along with it!) because I felt the format was very fast between R/W Vehicles, R/B Aggro, and R/G Energy, and you don’t really want to have a 4-mana counterspell there.
On the other hand, Romao faced many Marvel Aetherworks decks, where he managed to Summary Dismissal Emrakul multiple times. I’m not sure if Marvel will remain one of the most played decks in Standard, but if so, you definitely want Dismissal main deck.
Spell Queller is a fantastic card versus Marvel and R/G Energy because it acts like Vendilion Clique in Legacy Miracles, able to disrupt your opponent and start a clock. It also cannot be countered by Negate or Dispel, which is huge in the matchups where it matters.
Descend Upon the Sinful was a card that I considered, mostly to beat R/B Zombies, which was an awful matchup. After playing with the card, I noticed that the deck never reached delirium and that it was too overcosted for a Wrath of God.
Linvala, the Preserver was never a consideration for me, but it was probably a good sideboard card against midrange decks. It impacts the board and gains a bunch of life, which is always useful in a deck like this.
Doing poorly at PTs is always disappointing since I put a lot of effort into Standard, but I haven’t found a deck that suits my playstyle yet. I will try harder next weekend during GP Warsaw, which will be Standard as well, and where I’ll try to rebound after this bad start to the season.