Pro Tour Eldritch Moon completely changed Standard. Before last weekend, Bant Company, W/G Tokens, and W/R Humans defined the metagame. Now Eldritch Moon-centric decks like Temur Emerge and B/G Delirium are setting the pace. These decks take full advantage of the new cards, namely the emerge-fueled Eldrazi Elder Deep-Fiend, the delirium-powered Ishkanah, Grafwidow, and Emrakul, the Promised End. They are supported by hyper-efficient graveyard enabler Grapple with the Past, which adds consistency to these decks and helps them dig towards tools they can use from the graveyard, notably Kozilek's Return and Prized Amalgam. W/B Control has also come back from the dead, preying on a metagame where its old enemies are absent.
These new decks represent the full integration of Eldritch Moon into the Standard cardpool, but that's not to say the metagame won't continue to develop as players refine these strategies. Remember, Pro Tour decks are built in the time crunch between the set being spoiled and the tournament, so decks are often unrefined. They are built with incomplete information, because they are built to beat some perceived metagame that was unknown, and every team and deckbuilder is subject to a degree of tunnel vision. These decks should not be copied exactly but instead developed upon; this applies most to their sideboards, which need to be completely rethought given our new world of Eldrazi and delirium decks. What cards should we consider playing now?
Summary Dismissal cleanly counters both Elder Deep-Fiend and Emrakul, the Promised End along with their triggers. These cards are central to the decks that cast them and they are essential for establishing control over the game and then winning. Neutralizing these cards attacks these decks at the very core of their strategy, and because Summary Dismissal is also likely to generate a mana advantage, it will also set the opponent behind in a way that no other card can accomplish. What's especially potent about Summary Dismissal is that it will also counter any Kozilek's Return that trigger from the graveyard upon casting an Eldrazi. It will remain in the graveyard, but delaying the board sweeper for a turn will often be all it takes to win the game.
Summary Dismissal fits into into any deck with a lot of blue. It's ideal for Bant Company, which is already designed to hold up mana on the opponent's turn, and won't draw suspicion from the opponent when it does. Bant Company acutely suffers against Elder Deep-Fiend and especially Emrakul, the Promised End, and Summary Dismissal provides the perfect solution. It's no surprise that Yuuta Takahashi played a copy in his sideboard and I'd like to have another copy or two in future events. Summary Dismissal also saw play in emerge decks, and a copy in Owen's sideboard should definitely be increased to gain an edge on the mirror match. Summary Dismissal also seems useful in a control deck like Esper or Grixis, even maindeck, and it could bring upon somewhat of a resurgence in those decks, and perhaps even Spirits could put it to good maindeck use.
If you play a deck revolving around Elder Deep-Fiend and/or Emrakul, the Promised End, you may need to adapt to the increase of Summary Dismissal with countermeasures, such as counterspells like Dispel, or discard like Duress.
Elder Deep-Fiend is so difficult to deal with because flash allows it to play around sorcery speed removal, a fact compounded by its ability to tap the opponent's lands and prevent them from ever casting sorcery speed removal, particularly when multiples come on consecutive turns. The typical instant-speed removal spells, Dromoka's Command, Grasp of Darkness, and Ultimate Price, all miss the mark, which explains why B/G Delirium decks included a Murder. Emrakul, the Promised End is an even more difficult problem because it has protection from instants, and because it controls the opponents turn it contains their sorcery speed removal. Enter Stasis Snare.
Stasis Snare removes Elder Deep-Fiend and even gets rid of Emrakul, the Promised End, all while taking it out of the game beyond the reach of Grapple with the Past. Also Stasis Snare can't hit your own creatures, so in the worst-case scenario an opponent controlling your turn won't be able to make good use of it. Dromoka's Command is in sharp decline in the metagame, and that opens up space for enchantments like Stasis Snare to be very effective. The decks most vulnerable to Stasis Snare don't have much of anything in the way of enchantment removal, so Stasis Snare will be reliable.
Stasis Snare could be used in any deck with a lot of white mana. It used to be a staple in W/G Tokens and Naya, so it could breathe new life into those decks, but it would also be effective in Bant Company, W/B Control, any Human deck, and even W/U Flash Spirits.
We're living in a metagame where the fastest aggressive decks, namely W/R Humans, are almost nonexistent, while midrange, control and combo-esque decks compose the majority of field. It's a metagame weak to discard, and no discard spell is more effective than Transgress the Mind. It's an efficient and proactive answer to Elder Deep-Fiend and Emrakul, the Promised End, and removing them from the game takes them out of reach of Regrowth effects. These cards generate value when cast even if countered or destroyed, so the only real way to completely prevent them is discard, and Transgress the Mind accomplished that while remaining effective against the rest of the field.
Transgress the Mind is an option for any black deck, a necessary sideboard card and a realistic maindeck option for midrange and control decks. It was certainly instrumental in Blohon's win with W/B Control, and it should see more play in B/G Delirium decks and Haunted Dead decks.
There are no true graveyard hosers in Standard like Tormod's Crypt or Rest in Peace, but Learn from the Past does a fine imitation by shuffling the opponent's graveyard back into their deck. It's a bit unwieldy at four mana, but anything that can replace itself by drawing a card is worth a look. Hallowed Moonlight has earned a position as a Standard role-player for its ability to efficiently deal with Collected Company and Secure the Wastes, and Learn from the Past could do the same thing against Emrakul, the Promised End or against any other graveyard-focused strategy.
Four mana for Learn from the Past actually generates mana against Emrakul, the Promised End if it's shuffling away five or more card types, and it could potentially generate even more considering its ability to shuffle away any number of Prized Amalgam and Haunted Dead. It can also be cast in response to Grapple with the Past to limit them to choosing from the three cards they mill, or in response to Gather the Pack to turn off spell mastery. It outright counters the Regrowth trigger of a megamorphed Den Protector. In a pinch it can even shuffle in your own graveyard to restock your deck.
Learn from the Past could be useful in any deck with blue. It seems fantastic in Bant Company because it's already designed to hold up mana on the opponent's turn, which also applies to W/U Spirits. It could help to win Temur Emerge mirror-matches, and it would certainly be welcome in blue control decks like Grixis.
Hedonist's Trove functions as a powerful hoser against delirium decks and anything with Emrakul, the Promised End by removing their graveyard. It sets the opponent behind on delirium and Emrakul, the Promised End, so it buys a lot of time. The massive value it generates, giving access to the opponent's former graveyard, ensures its controller will have plenty of fuel to win the game with before the opponent can recover.
Hedonist's Trove would be effective in B/G Delirium mirrors, so it's something to explore in the sideboard of those decks. It might be even better in the sideboard of W/B, which has the disruption to go long and take full value of the free cards. Its strategy is especially susceptible to value from the graveyard, but it lacks other great options for managing it.
Day's Undoing is secretly a graveyard hoser because it shuffles away their graveyard and leaves them with a clean slate, at least temporarily. It does give them fresh cards, which will inevitably refill their graveyard, but it should buy a turn or two while refilling your own hand with action.
Day's Undoing would be fantastic in a deck like the U/R Thing in the Ice burn deck that went 9-1 in the Pro Tour because it can quickly convert the extra cards it draws into damage. Its use against graveyard decks could earn it space as a sideboard card in decks quickly able to deploy cards, like an aggressive-oriented W/U Spirits deck, or in control decks that will refill with efficient disruption like Dispel and Duress.
To the Slaughter is only useful if opponents are playing planeswalkers and creatures. It was particularly bad against Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, but W/G Tokens was mostly absent from the Pro Tour metagame, and even W/B Control cut it from the maindeck. On the other hand, Liliana, the Last Hope means that planeswalkers are in more decks than ever before. It particularly demands that decks play creatures, like in B/G Delirium or Blohon's W/B, and that's the perfect world for To the Slaughter. It's ideal against B/G Delirium, and it's the perfect way to counter their start of Grim Flayer into Liliana, the Last Hope. It's great against the winning list of W/B Control that plays many high-cost creatures and an assortment of Planeswalkers. It also answers Tamiyo, Field Researcher, which appears to be an important part of the future of Bant Company.
To the Slaughter is a great addition to the maindeck or sideboard of B/G Delirium, where it will help gain an edge in the mirror and seriously punish W/B Control. It would be great in any deck that can achieve delirium, so it would be great from the sideboard of Prized Amalgam "dredge" decks, and it could even work in black-based control decks like W/B.
Planar Outburst was mostly pushed out of Standard because of Archangel Avacyn, but in this new world the angel is not nearly as popular. Planar Outburst might be the perfect answer to the new metagame. For one, it cleany kills Ishkanah, Grafwidow and all of its tokens. The B/G Delirium decks are full of creatures, and taking care of them all in one fell is one of the few ways to keep pace with them. Planar Outburst also kills Emrakul, the Promised End on the extra turn it yields because the opponent will be unlikely to rid your hand of Planar Outburst when controlling your turn.
Planar Outburst is awesome against Spell Queller, but Selfless Spirit must be managed. Note that Yuuta Takahashi opted not to play Selfless Spirit, which seems like a great read on a format where Languish was the sweeper of choice. Assuming this trend continues, with B/G Delirium rising in popularity, then the correct move for Bant Company decks may be to take Yuuta's approach, and at that time Planar Outburst will be especially potent.
Some decks at the Pro Tour included these cards, but they were mostly absent, and decks that did include them only played small numbers, The metagame of the Pro Tour was unknown when players registered decks, but now the metagame picture is much clearer, so sideboards can be more focused and will incorporate more copies of these cards.
The new decks are dominating discussion, but don't discount Bant Company. Luis Scott-Vargas stated that its biggest strength is sideboarding, so because people in general don't test enough after sideboard, they overestimate their matchup against Bant Company. Access to three colors of cards combined with its flexible game plan means it has the ability to adjust to the new metagame. It can play many of the best cards mentioned today, and it will surely be a threat in the weeks to come.
The Pro Tour has a lot of implications for the metagame, because all of these decks will be widely imitated. Now these decks are in the hands of the masses, and we'll quickly see the best cards and strategies rise to the top. This coming weekend will paint a picture of where the metagame stands and what the future holds. What are your plans for your next Standard tournament? What technology are you using to beat the metagame? Share your ideas in the comments, and I'll answer any questions!