My Top 5 Decks from 2017

2017 is now in the past and it was a good year of Magic for me. I finished 2016-2017 with 47 Pro Points, and a great start to the new season. I also immensely enjoyed playing Legacy around the world, which doesn’t give out Pro Points, but is a ton of fun!

Today I’ll show you my five favorite decks that I played in 2017, in chronological order among multiple formats.

#1) Legacy: Death & Taxes

Top 32 at Eternal Weekend Paris April 1, 2017

Death & Taxes is one of my favorite decks in Legacy. My love affair with the deck began in December of 2016 as I practiced over three months to prepare for this Eternal Weekend.

The metagame back then was very good for Death & Taxes because Miracles, Delver, and Show & Tell were the most popular decks. Nowadays, the presence of Kolaghan’s Command in 2+ copies in many decks makes Stoneforge Mystic and Aether Vial way worse than they used to be.

Death & Taxes still has a place in my heart. It’s an intricate deck to play and creates some wonderful scenarios. Flickerwisp is such a unique card and being able to abuse it is great.

The event was eight rounds of Swiss plus Top 16, which is an awful formula. I picked up my second loss in round 7, and despite a win in round 8, I missed the Top 16 on breakers.

#2) Vintage: Jeskai Mentor

Top 32, April 2, 2017

The following day I played another wonderful deck that isn’t a part of the environment anymore, not because of a metagame shift, but because Monastery Mentor, Gitaxian Probe, and Gush are now all restricted, so Shops and Oath reign supreme in a format I was loving a year ago but that I totally despise now.

The mirror match between Vintage blue decks is Magic in its purest form. It’s skill-intensive and rewarding. Right now, however, Vintage is more about whether your opponents draw Mishra’s Workshop or Bazaar of Baghdad, and if you draw your sideboard hate cards—so I’m better off spending my time in some more interactive formats.

But back then, it was great. Granted, Monastery Mentor is a messed up card, and was keeping those non-interactive strategies away from the table.

I remember playing against 4 Eldrazi decks at that tournament, another deck that got killed by the B&R and the restriction of Thorn of Amethyst.

Just like the previous day, I picked my second loss in round 7 and a final win didn’t help me cash in the Top 16.

I tried to play Vintage again a couple of months later at the Eternal Weekend in Pittsburgh. It was a miserable experience playing against 3 Shops and 3 Dredge decks, and it really made me regret buying the Power 9.

#3) Standard: Mono-Black Zombies

13th place at Pro Tour Hour of Devastation, July 29, 2017

Pro Tour Hour of Devastation was memorable for so many reasons:

  • It was held in Japan, one of the best places on Earth. I won’t have many chances to visit, so thank you Wizards for this wonderful location! It was a great opportunity to discover a culture so much different than my own.
  • I ended up in 13th place, which is a great result and the first time I’ve finished that high in more than a year! I locked the Italian Captaincy for just a couple of points—that granted me my third Top 4 at the World Magic Cup in a row.
  • Two of my best friends and teammates, Christian Calcano and Javier Dominguez, locked Platinum and Worlds, which they have never done before!
  • It was my first time playing Zombies, I had a lot of fun and I was thrilled with the deck, despite facing zero copies of Mono-Red, the most popular deck and our best matchup.

#4) Legacy: 4-Color Leovold

Top 64 at Eternal Weekend Pittsburgh, October 22, 2017

Just after Eternal Weekend in Paris, I started toying around with Leovold, Emissary of Trest, and 4-Color Control was eventually the shell that I settled on. I changed the list a lot during this time and finally arrived at these 75, super prepared.

The location was insane (as most U.S. events are) but the tournament structure was pretty bad: 11 rounds of Swiss in just one single day with 0 byes! It’s a factor that will make me think twice about going next year. I’d suggest something like a GP: 9 + 6 + Top 8 isn’t that unreasonable for an event with 1,200+ players like this one!

I ended up 8-3, beating every single blue deck and losing to 3 nonblue decks (Nic Fit, Elves, and Reanimator). Playing 4-Color Leovold was a blast and the deck felt powerful. It is still a great choice for future Legacy events.

#5) Standard: Temur Energy

23rd place at GP Warsaw, November 12, 2017

Despite the fact that lots of people hate Standard, I like it. Energy is a broken mechanic, but it’s very skill-intensive, and the mirror match is usually a close game full of small and important choices.

I said this multiple times, but diversity doesn’t mean that the format is healthy. For me, Modern is unhealthy and Standard is. I’d rather play 10 matches of the Temur Energy mirror than 10 matches against random uninteractive Modern decks.

I loved Temur Energy both at GP Warsaw and even more at Pro Tour Amonkhet, where I ended up 11-5. I think Temur is better than its cousin 4-Color Energy because it has a better mana base and a better matchup versus Mono-Red, the second most popular deck in Standard.

Another peculiar thing in my list are the 4 Vizier of Many Faces, a trump for the mirror to overwhelm your opponents with Hydras or Glorybringer.

2018 has just begun, and I hope to maintain my lucky streak and lock up Platinum by the end of the season. It’s a lofty goal, but I have an insane team and together we can do it!

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