Another weekend of Eldritch Moon Standard, another weekend of Bant Company being the safe, consistent choice of competitors. The deck is solid and there are other options to be sure, but it's clear there's concern on the horizon for Standard.
Meanwhile, Ali Aintrazi was denied on back-to-back win-and-ins for Top 8 at the Open in Baltimore. Sultai Control is the real deal, friends.
Let's take a look.
Grim Flayer made an appearance in an interesting wrinkle on aggression. Incendiary Flow is still burning it up. Collective Brutality can be just the beating you need. Ishkanah, Grafwidow is great value when your game goes long.
Liliana, the Last Hope is a three-mana planeswalker with two amazing modes. The first blunts and even kills some of the opposing creatures out there. The second gets back a nice creature, and anything from Spell Queller to Ishkanah, Grafwindow can be insane value on the second run.
Zach Kanner's Abzan Control was just the evolution W/B Control was looking for, and it was good enough for a Top 8 slot in Baltimore:
Thalia's Lancers finds a legendary creature. This is super exciting for Commander and the card is one of my personal favorites in the set. The reason it's selling well too is because assembling Brisela from Bruna, the Fading Light and Gisela, the Broken Blade is a Top 8 competitive thing to do in Standard.
Nicely done, Evan Buchholz:
Wild Mongrel is back, and now it has reach! As one of the top-selling cards over the weekend, it's clear players are ready to turn on madness and fight flying enemies. It might have been nostalgia or wishful thinking carrying this card if not for its four-of appearance in Cory Dissinger's Top 8 deck:
Keep that list in mind.
Both Dissinger's Blue-Green Crush deck as well as Ali Aintrazi's Sultai Control use Traverse the Ulvenwald to get mana early or, more likely, tutor up exactly what they need later in the game. Travese the Ulvenwald is looking better every week:
Spell Queller isn't #1, or even in the Top 5, presumably because everyone looking to compete in Standard has already picked up their copies. If you need a reminder how good Spell Queller is, Zachary Plott's finalist finish in Baltimore should do the trick:
Collective Defiance is another efficient red burn spell. Incendiary Flow is selling well—outside the Top 10—so it makes sense the slightly more modal version of "deal damage, kill things" would see action as well.
Look at Plott's deck above again. Selfless Spirit is great in there. It's also fine if not casting Collected Company is your thing as Ted Felicetti's Bant Spirits add some of the best of Bant Company to W/U Spirits:
If you're not into Bant Company and Control shenanigans, then something like Bedlam Reveler is going to pop up for you. Add in Incendiary Flow, Collective Defiance and other ways in blue or red to empty out your hand of instants and sorceries to see why Bedlam Reveler is either underrated or overhyped. You decide.
Players really want Eldritch Evolution to be a thing. So far the biggest bust of preview season was the presumed Evolution deck in Standard or Modern. Neither have appeared—at least en masse and with competitive credentials—but as the price dips and players keep picking it up a question remains: Will Eldritch Evolution every make a Breakthrough?
If it does, you'll want to have your playset handy.
First, Allen Sun was rocking it at Grand Prix to modest success. Then, Seth Manfield took a deeper look at the deck. Now, with Eldritch Moon, it's finally found a Top 8 spotlight. Take another look at Cory Dissinger's decklist and marvel at the untapped potential of Standard:
Join us Friday for a sneak peek at how the Pro Tour changes up the Bant Company arms race. See you then!