Pro Tours are sweet, and few were sweeter—announcements aside—than Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad. Jon broke down the outstanding roster of players and decks in Monday's recap of the Weekend Winners, but today is all about how the rest of the week panned out.
Thanks to analysis from World Champion and Top 4 contender Seth Manfield, deep-digging Adam Yurchick and others, decisions on the decks players would go deep on were made.
Update: As I wrote this article I had the nagging suspicion I had seen most of these cards together. It turns out I had as part of the Budget Magic series on MTGGoldfish. SaffronOlive shared this fun budget Standard brew:
You can see him explain it all in his deck tech and the matches he played with it:
There's more gems in his Budget Magic series, so if this deck was for you there's plenty more where it came from. With the mystery (for me) finally solved, these are the Top 10 cards sold this week.
Let's use our noodle for this one: There's multiple decks running around casting multiple spells each turn, looking to capitalize on the bonuses of doing so. Things like Thing in the Ice and Seasons Past look for plenty of spells to be tossed around, and finishing with a brutal (and often Pyromancer's Goggles-enhanced) Fall of the Titans are all viable plays in different decks.
No wonder everyone's looking to pack a little extra brain matter this weekend.
If you're going to the long game, getting time to set up your plays is essential. While Languish and other sweeper effects are the obvious path, Engulf the Shore is how blue-based decks get by these days. It's not flashy, and doesn't kill anything other than tokens, but buying time against aggressive Humans decks is often all you really need to have a chance to stabilize.
With control confirmed as viable in Standard, going bigger and finding ways to trump other control decks is on the radar. Part the Waterveil takes an extra turn, provides a creature with haste late in the game, and generally lets you go up one against whatever deck you're playing when you resolve it.
Countermagic is pretty light in "control" decks these days, and taking extra turns is always sweet.
Another synergy spell for the "casting all the spells" plans, once you've taken control of the game with your Brain in a Jar and piles of instants and sorceries you get the payoff of a wide Zombie army. Desperate blue mages everywhere were relieved to find such a useful spell in their Shadows over Innistrad drafts.
Mage-Ring Network is the only storage land in Standard. Decks going long and looking to make a big move with a flurry of spells late in the game—or perhaps use the full potential of Part the Waterveil or Fall of the Titans—want to get an edge in mana. Charging up a Mage-Ring Network works.
Buying time and forcing aggressive opponents to overextend their hand, is exactly what Grip of the Roil does. Following up with Engulf the Shore or casting it as your second spell of the turn for value puts Grip of the Roil in the Top 10.
With a few discard outlets making their way around Standard, and many decks looking for silver bullets against a diverse metagame, Nagging Thoughts fits into any deck that wants to dig for something valuable. Players are in love with making a blue-based, spell-laden deck work, and it's thanks to cards like Nagging Thoughts that the nagging thoughts won't go away.
I'm not proud of what I just did there.
Another synergy piece for decks looking to cast plenty of spells, Pieces of the Puzzle can both load up a hand with the value and utility needed to progress the game or pack a graveyard with wonderful options to reload off Seasons Past. Pieces of the Puzzle is just one of the pieces of the puzzle for spell decks to assemble victory with.
I'm still not proud of what I just did there.
Devastating Summons is a fringe Modern card, finding its way into some Scapeshift builds as an alternative way to win by building up a force of lands. What's curiously timed about this is the recent success of Standard decks with Pyromancer's Goggles. Sacrificing half the lands for the creatures needed for victory—or doubling the number of tokens all your lands could produce—is an interesting thought.
And if we're in Magical Christmas Land already, pretend The Gitrog Monster is hanging out too. That seems downright fun!
Send to Sleep doesn't draw a card like Grip of the Roil, but with minimal effort from a spell deck the Magic Origins common does double the duty of the Oath of the Gatewatch uncommon. It's also an easy play to buy time early without spell mastery to help hand out naps. If you're going deep on all spells you need as much time as you can get.
Just outside the top 10 laid spell-heavy control cards like Void Shatter, Pore Over the Pages and Blighted Cataract. Some of the Pro Tour staples, like Westvale Abbey, Hissing Quagmire and Duskwatch Recruiter maintained their momentum.
One card that jumped out as interesting was Open the Armory, a tutor or an Aura or Equipment card. Anything that can grab exactly what you need when you need it are worth keeping an eye on, and if any powerful equipment pops up in Eldritch Moon or the two Standard sets beyond you can bet a tutor that pulls it up will be a handy pickup indeed.
Also the art is just awesome, which helps.