At last weekend’s Invitational, the new Standard format began to take shape. Like Gozer the Gozarian asking the Ghostbusters to “choose the form of the destructor,” in Standard, the players have spoken and requested they be destroyed by Collected Company and white cards for the next 3 months or so.
Collected Company is not particularly surprising when the best deck last season (4-Color Rally) was oppressively good and played CoCo. Company is the best card in Standard. The card facilitates one of the best strategies in Modern and is just as potent in Standard. I would have predicted that Collected Company would be one of the best decks post-rotation without even seeing a single card from Shadows Over Innistrad on the reputation of Company alone!
The rise of the white cards, on the other hand, was completely context driven and based on 2 significant factors:
- The best cards in Shadows Over Innistrad are white cards.
- The best 3-color spells and great fixing went away with the rotation.
Standard has become a format where most of the decks are going to be limited to 2 colors and white appears to be the deepest color. So if you can pick only two, chances are that a lot of people are going to play with white cards.
Both of these cards have shot up to the very tippy top of my short list of “the best cards in Standard” and are right alongside Collected Company. In fact, even if you are playing Collected Company in Standard, chances are that these 2 cards are in your 75 somewhere, despite the fact that they have no direct synergy with Collected Company, which says a lot.
I was very fortunate to have a fantastic list for the Standard portion of the Invitational this time around. I played the same Big White deck that James Wagner used to make Top 8 of the event. I went 4-0 in the Standard portion of the event before the wheels fell off and I managed to not win a single game of Modern playing Infect (bad matchups, lost every die roll, mulliganed a ton—it happens, and I move on).
The Standard deck was an absolute delight. It was designed by Andrew Tenjum, Kent Ketter, and Chris Anderson—3 of the best, brightest, and hardest working pros in the game right now. They always have great decks and consistently put up noteworthy finishes in every event they play, and I was very excited to get a chance to play a deck they worked on.
The deck is a collection of all the best white removal spells and all the most powerful white cards in the format—and it lines up well against a lot of what people are doing in Standard. The white removal is fantastic and the white threats are over the top.
The other card that really shines in this deck is Eldrazi Displacer.
The addition of this card pushes the deck over the top in the late game and gives you a lot of play when the game comes to a stall. The ability to “blink” out Thraben Inspector to generate a never-ending stream of Clue tokens or Avacyn to continue to protect your team is big.
I never would have thought this card would be so amazing, but it is. When you play the card on the first turn off a Plains and suddenly have 3 permanents in play, it feels like playing Affinity.
The card is powerful and is seeing a lot of play already but it shines in this deck. It also gives you a 1-2 punch of things to do on the first 2 turns when you are waiting for your Knight of the White Orchid to come online.
The deck is so elegant in design and concept that it is kind of surprising that more people didn’t figure it out: if white is the best color in Standard and is deep on great removal and threats, play all the best white removal alongside all the best white threats!
The sideboard is also pretty sweet because it allows you to easily morph into an Eldrazi-themed deck when you need to become the beatdown. You essentially have a transformational Eldrazi sideboard with Thought-Knot Seers and Smashers! I played against far more controlling decks than aggressive decks and I used my Eldrazi cards a lot.
One thing I did notice was a lot of tension between Archangel of Tithes and the mana. The card was great but I felt like its stock was in decline between Friday and Saturday. People were better prepared to deal with it and less susceptible to losing to it.
Speaking of the dwindling stock of Archangel of the Tithes and how impressed I was with my Eldrazi sideboard:
Big White Eldrazi
The Eldrazi-in-the-main-deck version is more grindy and would be better against more controlling strategies. I’m also thinking that with Collected Company being the deck to beat that Hallowed Moonlight out of the sideboard is probably a must from now on.
I enjoyed playing the deck a great deal and would again like to thank Andrew, Kent, and Chris for sharing it with me. There is something pretty baller about sleeving up 15 basic Plains and going into battle with it. 25% of the cards in the deck are Plains.
I am also intrigued by the Eldrazi angle. It is possible that the BW Eldrazi decks are simply a better version because they give you more card options to explore, but there is something to be said for playing with all lands that enter the battlefield untapped and having more consistent mana to cast your spells.
So I guess the only question left to ask is what form of the destructor will you choose? Will it be Collected Company or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? Either way, the format has some pretty exciting new decks to offer and I’m looking forward to seeing where it all leads. Anybody got a Clue?
I’m look forward to continuing to investigate Standard.