Timothy Garner has either been around competitive Magic for a while or he did some serious homework. His deck, white-based aggro with a splash of red, is clearly derivative of the deck that Paul Rietzl and Kai Budde took to the Top 8 of Pro Tour Amsterdam almost seven years ago, with Rietzl lifting the trophy after a dominant 9-0 performance in games on Sunday.
But when you get to beat up on scrubs like Brad Nelson in the finals, that feat isn't nearly as impressive.
What is impressive is that, outside of the manabase, these lists are only one card different from each other in the maindeck. I thought for sure that the Ethersworn Canonists, which is easily the card that stands out the most, were a new addition meant to combat things like Ad Nauseam, Snapcaster Mage, and Storm, that didn't exist in Extended back then.
As it turns out, perusing the top lists from that event, Ad Nauseam was a deck of concern, and rather than Snapcaster Mage, Ethersworn Canonist was shutting down Bloodbraid Elf. So there are some neat similarities between the two formats. Ethersworn Canonist is also good against cards like Traverse the Ulvenwald and Serum Visions that various Death's Shadow decks play, so it pulls its weight in the current Modern metagame.
The rest of the deck is good threats on a low curve backed up by the very powerful but difficult-to-use Brave the Elements. Spectral Procession and Ranger of Eos are great against all the spot removal floating around, especially when combined with Honor of the Pure. And if you should flood, you have two great mana sinks in Figure of Destiny and Student of Warfare.
It's a very well-designed deck, which is probably why Garner was able to make so few changes and still put up a solid finish in a different format with seven more years of cards printed. I'm sure there are some more upgrades to be made, perhaps splashing for Lingering Souls over Spectral Procession or one of a thousand different cards, but it's rarely a bad idea to start by standing on the shoulders of giants.
- 3 Ethersworn Canonist
- 4 Figure of Destiny
- 4 Knight of the White Orchid
- 2 Ranger of Eos
- 4 Steppe Lynx
- 4 Student of Warfare