Rees’ Pieces #16 – Battle for Zendikar Standard part 2: Draw back the Curtain

That’s not too bad, and while it doesn’t tell the tale of the tournament, it does give you a reasonable idea of what to expect if you’re going to FNM or a PPTQ any time soon. Abzan Aggro in the hands of Kazayuki Takimura took down the tournament, defeating Ryoichi Tamada’s Jeskai deck in the finals. The Abzan Aggro deck looks pretty much like what you would expect and not a lot has changed since last format so I’m not going to go into much detail about it, just the addition of Gideons and the new lands along with new early removal all star Silkwrap in the sideboard. Silkwrap is so efficient dealing with Jace or Hangarback Walker because exiling stops the Hanagrback making tokens and Ojutai/Kolaghans Command tricks, while it is vulnerable to Dromokas command it doesn’t make a difference vs Walker (most of the time) and decks playing Jace don’t tend to play the card. The ‘new’ deck here is Jeskai Tokens, an old friend we haven’t seen in a while but is now back in the fold. The core of the deck is still the same: Jeskai Ascendancy plus instant/sorcery token producers and Treasure Cruises. Gideon Ally of Zendikar popping back up here again, and four copies of Silkwrap yet again. An interesting point about this deck is that it had fallen out of favour due to how Dromoka’s Command is so good against it, killing the Ascendancy. However with Hangarback Walker being around and Silkwrap being a really good card at the minute you have protection against the Command, plus again if its a Hangarback you exiled with it sacrificing the Silkwrap loses you nothing.

jeskai ascSilkwraphangarback walker

Those are the new decks in the top 8 but again that’s not the whole story of the tournament. So to close off the article I’m going to talk about my favourite cool new decks coming out of the Pro Tour: Bant Tokens. This what boils down to a Retreat to Emeria landfall deck brewed up the night before the Pro Tour designed by Sam Black and played by his team-mates Justin Cohen and Ben Stark who all went 8-2 or better with the deck.  These numbers are kinda crazy especially as there was only one other player on the deck at the Tour. The key cards to the deck are Retreat to Emeria and Gideon Ally of Zendikar as your prime token producers backed up by the likes of Hangarback Walker, Secure the Wastes and Wingmate Roc. Retreat is an insanely powerful card it turns out especially with fetch lands and Blighted Woodland. This deck really wants to hit all its land drops which leads it to splashing green for just three Elvish Visionary and a full four Nissa Vastwood Seer; Sam saying that Nissa is just the best card in the deck. A last minute change was also made the morning of the Pro Tour to add blue for a couple of Lumbering Falls and a pair of Dispels in the maindeck. Dispel is a really well positioned card at the minute with all the Instants running around and has become maindeckable even on the splash because it is so efficient against so many cards in the format. It’s especially important here as the deck almost straight up loses to Dromokas Command. Its a really sweet deck and can really kill you out of nowhere with a fetch or two in play. Sam did a great deck tech for Pro Tour coverage you can find here.

retreatnissa 1nissa 2

And thats it from me again this week. I had a slight delay getting this one out there and seeing as the Pro Tour was fast approaching I decided to wait til then so I could give a better overveiw and have a better grasp on the format. So thanks for being patient and as always thanks for reading!

Alastair

 

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