The StarCityGames Open Series rolls into Washington DC this weekend with three fresh formats awaiting it. The Standard Open will mark the first marquee event with Fate Reforged, while the Legacy and Modern Premier IQs will showcase the formats following the updates to the Banned & Restricted list. This week, however, all eyes will be on the Standard format with an influx of new cards bringing fresh takes to established archetypes and new decks altogether.
The Columbus Standard Open at the start of the year provided a good snapshot of the format, highlighting the three most successful archetypes on Day 2 being W/U Heroic, Abzan Aggro, and Jeskai Tokens. A smattering of aggro decks and reanimator strategies revolving around Whip of Erebos rounded out the most represented decks, though the Top 8 showcased three W/U Heroic decks. Fate Reforged brings plenty of goodies to all these strategies, including Valorous Stance, Monastery Mentor, Soulfire Grand Master, Warden of the First Tree, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Crux of Fate, and Tasigur, the Golden Fang to name a few.
For what has been described as one of the healthiest Standard formats in recent memory, with 20 different archetypes making Day 2 in Columbus, Fate Reforged looks to make it even more diverse. Underrepresented decks like U/B Control, Mardu Midrange, and Temur decks of all shapes and sizes got new tools. Cards like Soulflayer, Frontier Siege, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, and Brutal Hordechief all have the potential to spawn new archetypes this weekend. With the upcoming Pro Tour being Modern, players have no incentive to keep their best ideas hidden, leading some of the Open Series' top players to hold nothing back.
#SCGDC will mark the first Open since Richmond in November where Brad Nelson, Brian Braun-Duin, Todd Anderson, and Chris VanMeter will all be playing in the same event. The Roanoke foursome spent this week testing, throwing around ideas and decks like Mono-Green Devotion--a powerful ramp deck capable of playing a Turn-4 Ugin, updated R/W Aggro and Jeskai Token builds, as well as U/B Control and revamped Reanimator builds of the Sultai and Abzan persuasions.
Washington DC will also bring out a large number of the top players on the #SCGPC leaderboard. The last time the Open Series hit DC, Steve Rubin won his first of two Standard Opens, and Jake Mondello won the Legacy Open. Other Open Series regulars who have taken home trophies from the nation's capital include: Anderson, Reid Duke, Bryant Cook, and Gerry Thompson.
The points race for Season One is heating up after just a handful of events with Joe Lossett just one point ahead of Ross Merriam. 12 of the 13 top players on the leaderboard all played in the Players' Championship in December and are looking to make it back. Players like Lossett, Steve Mann, and Logan Mize already showed their dedication by flying to the Columbus Open, and all three made the Top 8, with Lossett wining the whole thing. This week, Mann and Mize are making the trek from Tampa, FL, while Lossett takes the week off from traveling. Season Two and Three Invitational winner Tom Ross and Season Four Invitational winner Dylan Donegan will also be in attendance.
While the points race is tight for the time being, there are still six Opens, StarCityGames.com Regional Championships, and the Season One Invitational in Richmond, VA left to determine the Season One points winner. The new Standard format will begin its transformation this weekend, so tune into SCGLive for all the action with Cedric Phillips and Patrick Sullivan calling all the action from the booth along with the rest of the SCGLive crew!