Unfortunately as I was going to Rome, I didn’t have anything special or interesting for Standard. On the other hand, I did feel pretty confident in the card choices we made for our Jund deck. Pretty much all of your writers here at channelfireball who played Jund ended up agreeing on what the seventy-five cards should be. This is the list we ran:
LSV/Wraptor (Josh Utter-Leyton) came up with Master of the Wild Hunt as a solution to the protection from black guys people tend to run against Jund. I decided that Putrid Leech was also really bad against all the protection guys we expected to face, and it was also a target for Celestial Purges people would sideboard in and it was just all-around not an overly effective card against what we expected to be the three most popular decks (Jund, Boros, and Elves). So that’s how we ended up with all the extra removal and masters instead of Putrid Leech and Garruks. I think that you really miss Leech against combo decks like any version of Time Warp or Mana Ramp, but against those big three it is definitely correct to not have them, so depending on how narrow the Standard field is, you may or may not want them. Web (David Ochoa) added the Borderland Rangers, which have been fantastic and PV came up with the Malakir Bloodwitches which have been a super strong sideboard against what has been quite a few Naya, Mono-White, and Boros decks.
Looking around the room here, our predictions as far as what people were going to play definitely seems about right. Jund and Boros are not really a surprise. However, there are a handful of rogue decks and combo strategies.
Round 1 I played against a Naya deck that I was quite happy to not have Leech against because it would have been very ineffective against his creatures. I watched my friend Zach Efland, who also played our Jund list, play against a Time Warp/]Pyromancer’s Ascension deck and got pummeled because our deck doesn’t apply pressure well without the Leech and we have extra removal which is dead against them, so it’s pretty hit or miss. The Japanese apparently went with Siege-Gang Commander and Rampant Growth, where we have Master of the Wild Hunt and more removal. Honestly I have no idea how good Siege-Gang is in the deck, but I will be trying it on Magic Online when I get home though, because it looks pretty spicy.
I am writing this right now in the middle of the day, live from the tournament site at Worlds, so I don’t have access to the numbers as far as what decks were actually played. It seems to me though that there is quite a bit of diversity. The French seem to mostly be running either Bant or cool combo decks in some form or another. The Michigan crew seems to be the only well-known players running 4-5 color control but I am sure there’s a smattering of other control decks all around the room. I happened to play against a nice Canadian opponent in round 2 who’s playing a RWB control deck. It seemed to have a good assortment of creature control cards and Baneslayers and Guardian Seraphs to really stick it to beatdown decks. It couldn’t really keep up with the card advantage generated by the Jund deck though. A lot of the better Americans who didn’t play Jund seem to have chosen Boros. I am not really a big fan of the choice because I think its an easy deck to hate against if you want to. But that said, Jund, not Boros, is supposed to be the staple deck of the format, so I am sure their reasoning was that people will neglect Boros a little in their attempts to make their deck beat Jund. I am not sure exactly who has what lists but we saw one Arkasan Squire in some of the Boros decks. That seems like a very good addition that any Boros deck featuring Ranger of Eos should have from here on out. I was told that Ben Rubin came up with that tech.
Also there was splattering of WG decks. Cedric Phillips piloted a spicy brew involving Eldrazi Monument and Conqueror’s Pledge along with Lotus Cobra and Noble Hierarch to a 4-2 finish. Martin Juza was seen at 5-1 with a WG brew of his own but he was splashing black probably for Maelstrom Pulse (I didn’t actually see his list). There were actually quite a few different takes on WG. Our own Josh Wraptor put up a rather unspectacular record with a little different take featuring Vines of the Vastwood to protect Baneslayers and other such boom booms. I am sure he ran bad because the deck seemed pretty good when we played it before the tournament. It should be interesting to see if WG emerges as a new tier one deck by the conclusion of Worlds.
So there was a lot of Jund, Boros, and Elves as we thought. Well maybe a little less Elves than we thought, but it was played. Also WG and Naya decks seemed to make an unexpected splash into the Standard metagame. I was disappointed to not see very many people running Vampires, but I guess it would be tough for it to compete in such a Jund heavy field. While the new decks seemed to have more differences in card choices than the more established decks like Jund, we were still able to do some pretty radical things to our Jund deck and put up pretty good results as a whole.
The day is over now and here’s a little update on most of channelfireball in case you didn’t get to check the standings. Web continued his bashing with a 5-1; that’s the best record for our Jund list. Keep a lookout for David Ochoa at the top of the standings, he seems to be playing great Magic right now, and is probably long overdue for a Pro Tour top eight. Conley also went 5-1 with a deck featuring [card]Mold Shambler[/card] and [card]Violent Ultimatum[/card]. Brad Nelson went 4-2 with Boros. LSV went 2-4 with the Jund but he just continues to run terrible, I personally think he might be tanking matches to let the light shine on the rest of the players writing for the site (just joking). I finished out my day after the 2-0 start going 1-1 in the Jund Mirror, losing to a Naya deck that I feel like I was a big favorite against, and beating a “Dredge” deck that didn’t draw very well against me, leaving me at 4-2.
I would strongly recommend our Jund list. I only missed Leech against the Dredge deck and unless there is a resurgence of blue or an abundance of combo in your fields, I don’t think that you will miss them either. I definitely am looking forward to the upcoming Standard tournaments. The field appears a lot more wide open than people thought and there should be a healthy variety of decks played in the foreseeable future.