This past weekend was the StarCityGames Invitational, in addition to a Standard and Legacy Open. This means there are quite a few new tournament results to look at for both formats!
Reid Duke won the Invitational with the Bant control deck that he has played to exceptional finishes in recent weeks. The addition of Silklash Spider in the sideboard helps against Angels, Dragons, and Aristocrats (as well as being a near-unkillable wall for the RB decks), while Rhox Faithmender has replaced Centaur Healer as Thragtusk’s life-gaining partner in crime and Jace, Memory Adept contributes to the mill plan against other Blue decks.
The rest of the top 8 consisted of Naya Humans (essentially GW Humans with Conscripts and Huntmaster), three UW Flash decks (UW, UW+Geist, and UWR), Naya Midrange , BG Zombies, and Esper Control. Looking out to the top 16 we see more blue decks – both Midrange and Flash – a Human Reanimator deck, and another Naya Midrange list.
As the Invitational results can be a bit skewed due to being multi-format, we can also take a look at the 7-1 and higher finishing Standard lists, where we see a number of top 8 competitors and an additional Bant control list that was played by Lauren Nolen to an 8-0 record (he ultimately finished 21st overall).
Meanwhile, a RB aggro deck eschewing Zombies and leaning towards a more aggressive Red deck won the Standard Open, piloted by Ian Kendall. The top 16 was rounded out by a number of different decks, including Reanimator, Bant aggro, UW(R) Flash, another RB aggro list, and the variety of midrange decks that we’ve come to expect from this format.
So, after several weeks of Rakdos dominating Standard and being hailed as “clearly the best deck”, we see only two high-finishing lists (three if we include the GB Zombie list) in both tournaments! There was a large resurgence in Blue decks, particularly at the Invitational, and the various Midrange decks continued to do well. Additionally, the Human Reanimator deck from GP Nagoya had a high finish this week as well, so it may end up being a strategy with legs rather than simply a flash in the pan.
Moving on to Legacy, the highest-finishing decks were two RUG Delver, ANT, Jund, UG Enchantress, and High Tide. RUG has consistently been a top performer, though in recent weeks it has fallen to the wayside a bit in favor of BUG. As for the rest, Adam Prosak added Abrupt Decay to his ANT sideboard to help against Counterbalance, and when combined with the various Duress effects this may be enough to turn the tables on what has notoriously been a very difficult matchup. UG Enchantress first appeared a few months ago, but this is the highest showing the deck has had in quite a while. As for Jund, it’s exactly what you’d think – Bloodbraid Elf, Dark Confidant, Deathrite Shaman, Lightning Bolt, Liliana of the Veil, and Hymn to Tourach tagging in for Blightning.
The decks played by the players that made the top 8 of the Invitational were quite different – there were a number of BUG decks, for starters. These were split into two camps – those that opted for a control shell, and those that went for a tempo plan. The tempo decks played Shardless Agent, the new Cascade creature from Planechase 2012, because Cascading into Ancestral Visions is pretty good. If it doesn’t hit the Visions, you are hitting Tarmogoyf, Brainstorm, Thoughtseize, and a collection of BUG’s other greatest Legacy hits, and the Agent can be powered out on turn 2 thanks to new powerhouse Deathrite Shaman. Shaman has given BUG decks the power boost they’ve needed to compete in Legacy, and between these new Shardless Agent builds, the Control versions, and the Delver variant, they are beginning to impact Legacy in a big way. Legacy tends to be a bit slow to adopt new decks and technology, in part because of the format’s higher barrier of entry as compared to Standard, but expect to see a lot more Underground Seas, Tropical Islands, and Bayous moving forward.
The rest of the top 16 is filled out with other Legacy mainstays – RUG Delver, UW Miracles, and Stoneblade, as well as Elves, ANT, and two Show and Tell decks. Nick Spagnolo, who finished 5th, played an interesting four-color control list that has Deathrite Shaman and Knight of the Reliquary in the same deck, along with Jace the Mind Sculptor, Abrupt Decay, and Baneslayer Angel. If this sounds like a mana base you want to rock, check the list out here.
As for the Legacy Open, Jack Fogle won playing BUG Delver, beating Sam Black and his Walking Dead deck in the finals. No one but Sam seems to do well with the deck, but he always finishes highly, so it might be worth another look if you want to kill your opponents with Zombies in Legacy. The rest of the top 16 is about what we’ve come to expect from the Legacy metagame, though Mono Red made an appearance and Lands, Aggro Loam, and DreadStill all came out of retirement and put up high finishes. Former mainstay Maverick was nowhere to be seen – the GW deck has always had problems with combo decks, and the recent rise in Show and Tell has scared off Mother of Runes and company. Lest all blame be laid on Emrakul and Griselbrand, the tag team of Sensei’s Divining Top and Terminus has also done quite a bit to send the honest, hardworking GW deck into hiding.
Congratulations to Reid Duke, Ian Kendall, and Jack Fogle!