As usual, for Pro Tour Amonkhet I tested with ChannelFireball Ice along with the members of F2F. We were cooped up in a small hotel next to the Richmond Airport that we basically had to ourselves. I’d like to say that after 2 weeks of testing we came up with some brilliant deck that would crush everything.
But that would be a lie.
We tried a bunch of cool decks ranging from Temur Emerge to a Black-White Sacred Cat sacrifice deck. It’s true that we came up with one sweet B/G Rites deck, which some of my teammates even ended up playing. Personally, I believe that the deck is quite weak, even if it is really cool. I chose to go with a more powerful option. You may have seen this one before.
Good, old, boring Mardu. Like I said, we tried a bunch of options, but in the end I landed on this deck. After the banning of Felidar Guardian, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is now the king of Standard. It just made sense to play a deck including him, and Mardu is the best Gideon deck. I’m writing this article on the eve of the PT, and I’m not going to lie—I’m scared. Going into the tournament, Mardu is the clear public enemy number 1, so I’m naturally worried that the players have come up with a deck that can beat Mardu. On the other hand, our team couldn’t really come up with anything to do that, so I figure that other people might have failed too.
As for individual card choices, I don’t think this list is anything special. We are playing 25 lands, which is a higher number than usual, but we felt that with so many expensive cards post-board the extra lands are fine, especially with 3 Canyon Sloughs that can act as a spell in the late game. We are also playing 0 Aether Hubs. I’ve always hated that card in a deck that is so color heavy. The last feature of the mana base is that we only have 3 Spire of Industry. That’s a concession to post-board games where you sometimes side out artifacts when you expect them to bring in artifact removal.
The rest of the main deck is pretty self-explanatory. We went with Archangel Avacyn as our 5-drop, which I firmly believe is better than both Glorybringer and Angel of Sanctions. We also have a little curveball in the fun-of Anguished Unmaking. Other than that, it’s the classic creatures, Vehicles, and planeswalkers to stomp your opponents.
In the sideboard we have the planeswalker plan that’s become the norm for Mardu in the last couple of months. We also have another new card in Cut // Ribbons, which is really scary to play against. You can kill a creature early and then threaten a Fireball once your opponent stabilizes. I really like Sorin, especially in the mirror match. We have 3 Radiant Flames, which are there mostly because we expect Zombies to be quite popular, and this is the best card against them. Painful Truths was selected as the best card in the sideboard by my teammate Oliver Tiu. You basically side it in against everything and it’s always good. The last card I added to the deck was the Oath of Liliana that Oliver swears is good—but I have my doubts. It makes sense that it could be good in the mirror where you need any extra value you can find.
Post-board, you usually sideboard into the control cards., which means you usually take out Toolcraft Exemplar. Post-board, all the games get slower, so the value of this little Dwarf goes down. Other cards you side out often are the Fatal Pushes (bad against control and Marvel). Sometimes you cut 1-2 Unlicensed Disintegration and there are some matchups where you want to have 0 Scroungers. Overall, sideboarding is quite complicated and I’ll have a more cohesive sideboard guide for you later in the week.
That’s it from me today. The PT starts tomorrow, and I’m excited to see what the other teams came up with. I hope we didn’t miss anything major, and I hope I can draw Toolcraft into Heart of Kiran every single game. Mike Sigrist is already softly snoring in the bed next to me so it’s time to go to sleep. Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading,