What a Wonderful Worlds

Worlds 2017 took place last weekend and as usual it was a great showcase of the finest Magic being played today… if you play Standard and Draft. If you wanted Legacy there was a tournament in Sheffield we’ll be talking about another time. Huge congratulations to William Jensen and his well-earned $100,000 prize (and a trophy that I can’t say I’d want on my mantelpiece…) With the tournament over I’m here to give you a rundown of the top decks, lessons learnt from the event for Standard and lessons to not learn.

So we’ll start off our decklists with the top dog – Jensen’s Temur Energy list.

Creatures (23)
Bristling Hydra
Glorybringer
Longtusk Cub
Rogue Refiner
Servant of the Conduit
Whirler Virtuoso

Instants & Sorceries (15)
Abrade
Attune with Aether
Commit // Memory
Confiscation Coup
Essence Scatter
Harnessed Lightning
Magma Spray
Lands (22)
Aether Hub
Botanical Sanctum
Forest
Island
Mountain
Rootbound Crag
Spirebluff Canal

Sideboard (15)
Abrade
Aethersphere Harvester
Appetite for the Unnatural
Chandra’s Defeat
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Confiscation Coup
Glimmer of Genius
Negate
Supreme Will
Torrential Gearhulk

There’s nothing overly exciting here mainboard, not even the light scattering of spice of The Scarab God that began to creep into lists near the end of old Standard. The sideboard does have a couple of Torrential Gearhulks, which as a control player sickens me to the core, but with a playset of Negate there’s a strong postboard against control and the removal suite and general high card value gives you strong matches against more aggressive strategies.

Next up is Kelvin Chew’s UB Control list, that got him into 3-4th place.

Creatures (5)
The Scarab God
Torrential Gearhulk

Instants & Sorceries & Enchantments (29)
Censor
Disallow
Essence Extraction
Essence Scatter
Fatal Push
Glimmer of Genius
Supreme Will
Vraska’s Contempt
Aether Meltdown
Search for Azcanta
Lands (26)
Drowned Catacomb
Evolving Wilds
Fetid Pools
Field of Ruin
Island
Submerged Boneyard
Swamp

Sideboard (15)
Arguel’s Blood Fast
Bontu’s Last Reckoning
Doomfall
Duress
Essence Extraction
Gifted Aetherborn
Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Negate

A beautiful testament to inducing sadness, anything that is permitted to resolve is either inconsequential or suffers to the might of diverse removal (with incidental lifegain). The Scarab God, possibly the strongest card in Standard, lets you recur your opponent’s threats against them or to protect yourself. Being able to Eternalize your own Gearhulk also increases your options in the lategame and Scarab himself is very difficult to deal with permanently, with many needing to be Magma Sprayed in addition to another removal spell. The sideboard lets you tailor as necessary though Arguel’s Blood Fast should be of particular note as if it resolve the card advantage is effectively free in the control mirror, with players happily dropping to 4 or so life when they know their opponent is as creature-lite as they are.

Last but not least there is Red Deck Wins (or Ramunap Red if you’d prefer) that Javier Dominguez piloted to third place.

Creatures (23)
Ahn-Crop Crasher
Bomat Courier
Earthshaker Khenra
Hazoret the Fervent
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
Soul-Scar Mage

Instants & Sorceries (12)
Abrade
Lightning Strike
Shock

Planeswalkers (1)
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Lands (24)
15 Mountain
Ramunap Ruins
Scavenger Grounds
Sunscorched Desert

Sideboard (15)
Aethersphere Harvester
Chandra’s Defeat
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Glorybringer
Pia Nalaar
Rampaging Ferocidon

Ixalan hasn’t added any complexity to the slash’n’burn streak this deck is known for. Overwhelming with creatures with instants that provide reach or removal leaves you hoping to strike like lightning. Against control pilots of this archetype found success in using their sideboard to increase their curve – a strategy that paid off. If your creatures that end up sticking are higher in power (and avoid Fatal Push) it makes games more winnable.

You might be wondering why I’ve only got three decklists and the reason is that, really, there were only three decks. Outside of a splash of 4c Energy lists, fan favourite Shota Yasooka on Grixis Control, and Donald Smith taking Treasure Red out for whirl everyone else was on variants of the same three archetypes. Even 4c Energy is Temur with a necromantic beetle-man thrown in, not exactly a whole new deck.

So in terms of things to learn from this event is that unlike a Pro Tour, where picking your deck from the top 8 can be quite hit or miss, you can’t go too wrong with one of these archetypes. They all have pedigrees from last Standard and are undeniably strong. Despite the top four being two UB, one Red, and one Temur the actual standings from just Standard (as six rounds of draft had influence) show the strength of Temur and the weakness of control.

Despite these results we are not going to be living in a three deck format, at least not this early into Standard. Each of these players was selecting a deck for an incredibly different meta than your FNM or a PPTQ or a GP, with many testing with each other beforehand. Sultai Energy, UW Approach, Esper Gifts – all of these decks made strong showings at the SCG Dallas Open and will still be contenders, maybe stronger contenders than some of these Worlds decks, moving forwards. With Ixalan Standard so new I have the feeling many of the decks chosen were done based on having a solid deck to build on top on that the players also have experience with, with few wanting to risk piloting something experimental when they could go for what they know works. Metagame predictions like a high proportion of Ramunap Red also would have swayed players from Approach etc.

I think that’s everything I wanted to cover but if you reckon I’ve missed something out then comment below or on Facebook! And to anyone hoping to build 4c Energy or UB Control, let’s just say I hope you already had some Scarab Gods lying around…

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