Showdown Recap: Jan 29th – Standard


Welcome to our fifth weekly Showdown Recap, where we take a look at what happened at Face to Face Games Toronto’s weekly Sunday Showdown, a series of 1k events feeding into the Ultimate Showdown 5k Invitational. This week, a host of familiar faces turned out for the first Aether Revolt Standard Showdown.

Of course, Standard was recently shaken up significantly by not only the powerful cards of Aether Revolt, but also the significant and unusual bannings of Smuggler’s Copter, Reflector Mage, and Emrakul, the Promised End. That immediately invalidated most of the leading strategies of Kaladesh Standard, which were either aggressive decks fueled by the Copter, or a variety of decks trying to efficiently cast Emrakul, through Delirium or the powerful Aetherworks Marvel. Instead, as the SCG Open the previous weekend showed, the week one format was dominated by the Saheeli Rai/Felidar Guardian combo, trumped by Walking Ballista BG and GW decks.

The format already began to evolve in its second week at the Showdown, with several powerful aggressive decks taking advantage of people trying to prepare for the existing metagame. Showdown mainstay Liam Kane made it to the finals with Mardu Vehicles, unfazed by the banning of Smuggler’s Copter. Instead, the even-larger Heart of Kiran beats down, with the mirror-breaker Aethersphere Harvester as backup. Erik Traikov, on the other hand, looked further back, to the RW Tokens strategy featuring Servo Exhibition and Reckless Bushwhacker that we saw at Pro Tour Kaladesh. Capable of explosive starts and powerful Surge turns, this deck is definitely one to keep an eye on in coming weeks as players cut anti-aggro cards from their sideboards.

Jeskai Saheeli continued to put out results despite this, with two of Face to Face Games Toronto’s own, Em Cuthbert and Anthony Cameron making it to the quarterfinals with control variants of the combo strategy. Em brought my updated list from my article on the deck, while Anthony chose to add some midrange resilience in the form of Chandra, Torch of Defiance and sideboard Nahiri, the Harbinger/Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, powerful planeswalkers.

A couple players took advantage of the new wide-open Standard format to brew a bit. Tanner Ramussen brought an innovative blue-black tribal Constructs deck, featuring a lot of resilient artifacts alongside Metallic Mimic and Tezzeret, the Schemer. With powerful disruption in Fatal Push and Metallic Rebuke, this deck could prove to be a serious player! Adrien Foucal, on the other hand, took an RG Energy shell and added a dash of midrange spice to it, with Rishkar, Peema Renegade fueling 5-drops like Verdurous Gearhulk and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship.

However, in the end, Standard tends to be a format that rewards consistent and reliable strategies, and Jeff Swaluk took down the whole event with the BG Delirium Aggro deck that Brennan DeCandio won SCG Columbus with. Never discount the sheer power of an aggressive deck with Tireless Tracker!

With his win, Jeff becomes the fifth player to qualify for the Ultimate Showdown, and pushes forward into second place in the standings! Liam’s finals finish not only qualifies him, but pushes him right into a comfortable lead on the scoreboard. Congratulations to our top 8, and as always, thanks to everyone for coming! Join us this Saturday for a 3k Toronto Modern Open, followed by a Modern Showdown on the Sunday! Preregister for both events now!

Jeff Swaluk – BG Delirium Aggro – 1st

Liam Kane – Mardu Vehicles – 2nd

Tanner Rasmussen – UB Constructs – 3rd/4th

Erik Traikov – RW Tokens – 3rd/4th

Adrien Foucal – Temur Energy – 5th-8th

Em Cuthbert – Jeskai Saheeli – 5th-8th

Jack Cooke – RG Energy – 5th-8th

Anthony Cameron – Jeskai Saheeli – 5th-8th