In my opinion Theros Block is one of the better block formats Wizards has created to date. As part of Team TCGplayer I put in a significant amount of work preparing for block, as it was a completely new format. Exploring a brand new format and finding a deck I could be happy with was a daunting task.
I am pleased to say that on a personal note I was happy with how the Pro Tour went. Ten out of the thirteen members of Team TCGplayer decided to play our unique version of Junk constellation. I was able to finish in the top 75 which gives me 35 pro points this year, and locks me for Gold status as a professional magic player this year. I am proud of both the team and individual accomplishments as a result of the Pro Tour.
When looking at the constellation cards and mechanic it seemed like the most powerful mechanic for constructed in Theros block. It pulls the enchantment theme together: of course in the deck each constellation card gets better the more enchantments that you play. Most of the major teams at the Pro Tour tested constellation decks; some versions were junk and others straight black/green. That being said I felt like the list I played was tuned for the entire field particularly when looking at the sideboard options.
Here is the deck that I played at the Pro Tour:
The Team TCGplayer version of Junk Constellation is one of the only versions running Kruphix's Insight. Kruphix's Insight gives the deck an extra card advantage engine, and is specifically good versus the midrange and control decks. I elected to run two copies because the card can be a little slow against the aggro decks. In my opinion this is a big part of why this was the best version of Junk Constellation, especially considering how popular the midrange decks were.
Kruphix's Insight also allows you to find your one of enchantments more easily. There will be games where being able to gain life with Whip of Erebos will be extremely important. Many thought the Kruphix's Insight was best used as a way to fill up the graveyard. While this wasn't its primary role in the deck, filling up the graveyard with creatures is nice, to provide more ways to get use out of Whip of Erebos and Pharika, God of Affliction.
In a format where good ways to gain card advantage are tough to come by, this deck certainly has many ways do so. Kruphix's Insight is certainly one of them, and of course one of the pillars of the deck is Eidolon of Blossoms. Anytime you can untap with Eidolon of Blossoms, it becomes very easy to start stringing enchantments together and go off. Eidolon of Blossoms is the most powerful card in the deck, and you are able to cast it on turn three pretty easily.
Most of the threats even if they are dealt with, can gain card advantage in some way, which is a luxury other decks don't have access to. Courser of Kruphix was played in a large variety of decks, but was at it its best in Junk Constellation. The fact that Courser of Kruphix is an enchantment gives the deck access to an enchantment creature that provides lifegain and card advantage. Courser of Kruphix is the card aggressive decks were most worried about facing. Part of the beauty of this deck is you don't need to play mediocre cards, just because they are enchantments.
Splashing white and having access to double black early is pretty easy because of the amount of fixing and acceleration in the deck. Many versions of constellation decks didn't make full use out of Font of Fertility, but that is one of the cards that makes the deck tick. Having a way to ramp and fix your colors that is an enchantment is sweet. It is also a way of triggering Eidolon of Blossoms, Doomwake Giant, or both, for just one green mana. I opted to run 10 forests in my decks, and was quite happy with that decision, despite the other color requirements. I don't like the heavier black versions running Herald of Torment. I have found bestow to be awkward in a format dominated by Silence the Believers and Feast of Dreams. Not only that but there are not always good creatures to bestow Herald of Torment. Also Dark Betrayal is another sideboard card to keep in mind.
Sylvan Caryatid is the only non-enchantment creature in the deck, but it is extremely important. Sylvan Caryatid was a common theme in all the green midrange decks, as it is necessary to fix your mana. One of the primary early concerns with how this block format would turn out related to the mana fixing, and Caryatid is one of the primary ways to enable playing more than two colors in a deck. Even this deck needs to run Caryatid for a third color as a splash.
The reason to go white is having access to Banishing Light. Banishing Light is a piece of removal that is an enchantment, and can be found with Kruphix's Insight. Banishing Light kills most threats in the format, though you still have to watch out for Stormbreath Dragon and Polis Crusher. While many versions opted to also run Elspeth, Sun's Champion, this is not something I recommend.
Elspeth as one of the most hyped cards in the format, but the tokens don't match up well against Doomwake Giant. It is pretty easy to sit with a Doomwake Giant in hand until your opponent casts there Elspeth, versus a white midrange deck. Doomwake Giant is not only good against Elspeth, but it is the card many aggro decks were most worried about. Not only is the format filled with one toughness creatures, but it also usually pretty easy to get a large number of Doomwake Giant triggers. Finding two Doomwakes is generally not that difficult, and once two are in play at the same time things can get out of hand.
Remember that Pharika, God of Affliction makes enchantment creature tokens which is another way to trigger Doomwake Giant, Eidolon of Blossoms, or both. There were times when I would hold my Eidolon to wait until I could play it and immediately make a creature with Pharika, God of Affliction in order to get as much value as possible. This deck also can turn Pharika, God of Affliction into a creature pretty easily.
I played four mirror matches at the Pro Tour and one of the most important interactions to be aware of is when do use your Banishing Lights. Casting Banishing Light on an opponent's Banishing Light can set off Doomwake and Eidolon triggers which is important to be aware. There was a situation where I had a Doomwake Giant in play, and I cat Banishing Light on an opponent's Banishing Light, which got back my Banishing Light which I then used to remove the other Banishing Light my opponent has on a Doomwake Giant, resulting in four Doomwake Giant triggers, and destroying my opponents board. The immediate trigger from your important creatures is very important to be in aware of, as it instant speed enchantment removal, when playing with Banishing Light.
Brain Maggot is a card I can't get enough of, and is the best form of hand disruption this deck has to offer. Having a way cheap enchantment creature is extremely important, just be aware when playing against opposing Doomwake Giants. There are four Brain Maggots main and only two copies of Thoughtseize in the board.
The two copies of Hero's Downfall and Silence the Believers were added to provide removal spells that could answer Stormbreath Dragon or Polis Crusher, as well as being instant speed. Silence the Believers is also another way to general late game card advantage. With the two Hero's Downfalls there are also six answers to planeswalkers main. The removal spells shored up some of the holes, and were very good in some of the more difficult matchups.
The manabase was something that a lot of time was put into to make it optimal. Originally Temple of Plenty was in the deck, but having another land that comes into play tapped is not where you want to be, especially when it doesn't produce black. It is important to have early access to green but be able to find a white source and two black sources pretty quickly. We debated about how good Mana Confluence is, and ultimately ended up playing one.
The sideboard is what makes this deck a true masterpiece. In the week leading up to the Pro Tour sideboard cards were brought up and tested. I am someone that believes sideboarding is one of the most important aspects of the game, and I wanted to have cards to cards bring in for every matchup.
One thing I liked is that as a team we sat down the night before the Pro Tour, and created a sideboarding guide. This guide had what to bring in and out in all the major matchups that we were expecting. Having additional ways to interact with the opponent in the board was very important.
Along with two copies of Thoughtseize the removal was diversified to make any sort of aggressive or midrange creature deck a very good matchup after board. The Dark Betrayals and additional copies of Hero's Downfall and Silence the Believers may seem like obvious inclusions, but my personal favorite removal spell was Feast of Dreams. Simply having access to a Doom Blade was very good against the aggro decks, as almost all of them had some type of enchantment creatures, and most relied on bestow or other auras to win. The two copies of Consign to Dust provided another way to gain advantage in the mirror during the late game, and having an enchantment removal spell in the board was a priority.
Drown in Sorrow and Extinguish All Hope provided yet more removal, this time mass removal. Extinguish All Hope was the best answer we could think of to Prognostic Sphinx. The card certainly be a six mana Plague Wind, as the only creatures in the constellation deck you lose are Sylvan Caryatids. I would not recommend playing extinguish main though, because of how bad it is in the mirror.
After going over the sideboard and matchups we realized that we still had two extra slots in the sideboard, after going over how to board for various matchups. We wanted a card that would be good against the mirror and random slow controllish decks. Enter the pig. Yes, I am referring to Archetype of Endurance.
Thought to be unplayable by many, Archetype of Endurance was the last card added to the board, and certainly had a major impact on the tournament. It happens to be a threat that the BUG deck has a very difficult time beating. Yes this is a card that barely sees any play in limited, but it ended being an all-star sideboard card. It is a threat that can be found with Kruphix's Insight and it was a pretty awesome feeling to win with it. Not only that, but there were times when making your opponents team lose hexproof was relevant, as all of a sudden you can kill a Prognostic Sphinx.
The sideboard was well constructed and I think it is a big part of why I was able to win so many game two and threes. There was also an Agent of Erebos in the board which I boarded in versus Reanimator, though I will say I think Reanimator is not very good in this block format. I enjoyed the process of helping contribute to creating the deck, though I was by no means the driving force behind the deck, and I expect other members of Team TCGplayer to talk about the deck more in greater detail.
Thanks for reading!