It's the last week before the Mythic Championship in Cleveland. Here we go.
After Alexander Hayne, Pro Tour Avacyn Restored Champion and charter Magic Pro League member, quickly climbed to the top of Magic Arena's ranked Constructed ladder with Mono-Blue Aggro, the deck because the consensus Best Deck In Standard™️ overnight. Everything in the deck is cheap, including the interaction, and Curious Obsession pulls double duty by speeding up the deck's clock and feeding it a steady stream of cards simultaneously. Its best draws completely lock an opponent out of the game, keeping them from doing anything of relevance.
The MagicFest Memphis Top 8 tells an interesting story: The bottom half is a pile of linear decks—either hard aggro or hard control—and the top half features the midrange decks that preyed on them.
The mono-white deck featured Unbreakable Formation; I've only ever played against it in Limited, but the card is uniquely annoying. Making your creatures huge AND giving them vigilance + unkillable for a turn can be tough to deal with. Unbreakable Formation can neutralize a sweeper or help mono-white's small creatures win in combat. The card does a lot.
Every tempo-oriented blue deck has an efficient beater. In the absence of Delver of Secrets, a card like Tempest Djinn, the spiritual successor to Serendib Efreet, suffices.
It doesn't matter how big the Hydroid Krasis gets—when it's on the battlefield, it costs two mana. As it turns out, stealing a 6/6 Hydroid Krasis for four mana is pretty darn good.
More on this in a minute.
This SaffronOlive tweet will always sum things up better than I could ever hope to:
I've tried like 10 different builds of Persistent Petitioners and I don't think I've won a single game.— Saffron Olive (@SaffronOlive) January 26, 2019
It hasn't created any new Standard archetypes yet, but in addition to rocket-powering Mono-Blue Aggro, Pteramander also slots perfectly into U/R drakes, giving the deck an annoyingly cost-effective beater in all phases of the game. The biggest issue with U/R Drakes before Ravnica Allegiance was threat density; Pteramander solves the problem handily.
If you want to hard-target Mono-Blue, Mono-Red's a good choice. I think it loses to everything else though, and doesn't really have a good enough matchup against Mono-Blue to justify the choice. It's a great choice for grinding the Arena ladder though!
The breakout deck of MagicFest Memphis was undoubtedly B/R Midrange. The only holdovers from last season's world-crushing black-red deck are Rekindling Phoenix and Goblin Chainwhirler; this iteration plays a little less to the board in the early-to-mid game, sculpting its draws with Treasure Map and keeping opposing threats manageable with Lava Coil, as opposed to curving Scrapheap Scrounger into Goblin Chainwhirler into Chandra, Torch of Defiance into Glorybringer and making an opponent deal with a pile of durable threats that are, uh, aggressive on rate. Let's face it: this iteration is less powerful, but the silver lining is that it was good enough to win the main event anyway.
See you next week.