It would be a bold statement to say that Standard is good again, especially given the fact that we have seen so many standard decks that were cursed from Kaledesh block that is oppressing every other set with its energy variants.
So, let’s talk about the deck that I played. For this event, I played Black-Green Constrictor which has the energy mechanic in it. I think the deck is super well positioned right now and has been for pretty much the entire standard life of the deck. I really feel that Snake plus Ballista is just as good today as it was almost a year and a half ago when it came out.
At first glance, you will notice this is not a stock list for Snake. The differences being that I chose to run no Jade Light Rangers and to cut down on the amount of Chupacabras to 2.
Since GP Birmingham happened, there was one decklist in the top 8 that was a lot like mine, and I noticed that it was a good matchup vs. all these Blue-White Decks. After sideboard, I saw it was just getting beaten up and I felt that I couldn’t lose. So, after a full week of tweaking the deck, I was able to make some modifications that allowed me to bring this as my strong deck to my local PPTQ.
The biggest additions to this deck from Dominaria would be the Adventurous Impulse which isn’t Ponder, but as close as you are going to get in green right now. Moving forward we have the one and only Llanwor Elf, and my goodness is it good to have a 1 mana accelerant around in the deck. We can all agree that it feels like a nightmare right now to be playing a deck that has 8 1 toughness creatures with all the Chainwhirlers running around, but to get us to those fatties like Brontodon you really do want this acceleration.
This past weekend I played B/R vehicles, which can kill a heart of Kiran if needed. I am confused about how anyone can justify less than 4 Brontodons in this current Meta. It has such a versatile body and with all of the B/R and UW running around, not to mention all of the removal being enchantments and artifacts. On the other hand, Jade Light gets praised too much for digging through your deck in my opinion. If you have a better proactive game plan it really puts your deck on the back foot and highlights how good control decks can be.
I ended making the top 8 of the PPTW with my deck. The breakdown of matchups is below.
To start the day off I played against a Superfriends/taking turns deck. I lost game 1 in quick fashion to early Planeswalkers. Then we moved on to the sideboard which I felt great about since I had control added in.
Cuts were easy to take out: Fatal Push along with 2 Chupacabra and 1 Varaska Relic Seeker for 3 Duress and 1 Arguels Blood Fast.
The next two games were not very interactive. The early Glint-Sleeve Siphoners back up by a quick Verdurous Gearhulk made very quick work of the Planes Walkers/Baral which he needed
to be able to cast the spells. Game 2 was against Green/Red Monsters – these games were very quick since getting the Brontodon out and putting a counter onto it with either Rishkar or Verdurous Gear hulk made it so all the removal that the opponent had was dead. That was a 2-0 sweep only. The only card that I added was a Cast Down for the 1 Blossoming Defense.
Game 3 was against my own teammate – Joby Parish, so we drew and moved onto to round 4.
At the start of the game, we had a deck check. I had forgotten to write down an Arguel’s Blood Fast in the side so I was penalized with a game loss. I then started with B/R Vehicles, which seemed scary since I knew that he had Goblin Chainwhirler, but thankfully 2 early Thrashing Brontodon and 1 Rishkar followed by a Verdurous Gearhulk made the game move quickly. Game 2 was also easy as since I took out all of my 8 of my 1 toughness creatures. So, -4 Llanowar Elves, -4 Glint-Sleeves, +3 Duress, +1 Cast down, +1 Fatal Push and +3 Deathgorge Scavenger. Game 3 was not as close with those cards out there. Round 5 we just drew to get in the Top 8.
My final Top 8 game was against Sultai Good Stuff and I lost 2-1. Game 3 I started with 7 cards – Constrictor glint sleeve and a Rishkar. I chose to keep the hand and then drew 6 lands in a row so naturally, like most Standard games with Scarab God, I just lost.
All in all, it was a great run and I loved the deck I came in with and would play it again but I think that I would want to wait to see how the pro tour shakes out in the next few weeks so I could plan for the next outing.