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"Everything in life is temporary. So if things are going good, enjoy it because it won't last forever. And if things are going bad, don't worry. You will both Top 8 together again eventually."
- Ancient and Wise Bard
Just like the philosophical Bard predicted, good things eventually will come to an end.
This past weekend at #GPDC I didn't hold up my end of the bargain by finding my way into the Top 8. I wasn't looking bad, but a few quick losses eliminated me from the event. My brother, on the other hand, continued to show his dominance in Standard by making his third consecutive Top 8, and fourth out of the last five Standard Grand Prix. I can safely say, "I've created a monster."
Watching my brother go from simply that into a household name in this game has given me more confidence to say that I really do believe I've cracked the code when it comes to how one should approach Standard. Now, both of us are talented when it comes to playing the game, but I truly believe it's been more nurture than nature for the both of us, almost as if a followed recipe is what got us here.
I've done my best to write it down over the years, and will continue to do so. This streak of dominance has even made me question the idea of writing a book solely to make the readers better at Standard. A daunting project, yes, but one that may be worth it to those aspiring to follow in our footsteps. I'm getting ahead of myself, though.
These next two weekends may not be that important to those in the United States, but many other countries are preparing for their Nationals. Since I reside in the US, I haven't been keeping up with Standard as well as I have in previous weeks, but I still want to do my part in helping those who are competing to represent their country.
After that, I'm ready to dive headfirst into the wonderful world of Ixalan and talk about Dinosaurs, Pirates, and all the other random concoctions that makes up this next set.
- 4 Walking Ballista
- 3 Eldrazi Displacer
- 4 Matter Reshaper
- 3 Selfless Spirit
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
- 4 Thraben Inspector
- 4 Archangel Avacyn
This past weekend, Corey and I played Mono-White Eldrazi, not because we wanted to play with cards about to rotate or we wanted to have a little fun after a few great weekends. No, we thought it was good. Well, I did, at least. Sometimes you just have to drag your little brother kicking and screaming, which was the case when it came to getting Corey to play the deck. It didn't take long before he was happy with the decision.
What makes this deck good is that it has good Temur Energy and Ramunap Red matchups, something no other deck we knew about could say. These two decks were poised to be number one and two at the event, making it that important to beat them. That's the other good reason for why we played this deck. Everyone else would be thinking the same thing, and trying to do their best at defeating both titans of the format.
Many of these other decks broke a golden rule of mine, which is to never bend over backwards to beat a bad matchup. You saw this time and time again in the lists people were playing. Many decks would be well-positioned against one of them, yet need to sideboard upwards of ten cards to have a reasonable matchup against the other. This left these decks very rigid by design and unable to deviate from their base strategies when the time came to do so. This is something I try to stay away from as much as possible. I never want to be the less flexible player in any given matchup, which is why I scoured for a deck that could facilitate my needs.
Props have to be handed out to both Eric Hawkins and Jonathan Job. Eric Hawkins, for those who don't know him, is a pretty well-known SCG Tour® grinder from Minnesota. He's a good player without a break, and one who hasn't let that discourage him. We talked in Denver about deck selection, and I sent him to review a few of my old articles on the subject. Little did I know that this conversation would help me come time for #GPDC, as Eric ended up suggesting I try Mono-White Eldrazi.
Jonathan Job is practically the father of this brainchild, as he's played it for over a month, now tuning it to become what we played this past weekend. His insight on the deck was invaluable, and one of the main reasons our list was so tuned for the weekend. Both players played a hand in our decisions, and both have found themselves owed a favor from me down the road. Hopefully I can repay the favor and help get both of them onto the Pro Tour sometime down the road.
So for the deck itself, Mono-White Eldrazi did what we wanted it to. We won almost all of our Temur Energy matches and crushed every Ramunap Red deck we played against. We split matches against Ramp and struggled against non-U/W Approach control decks. This is pretty much what the deck was supposed to do, and played out to expectations, even down to the philosophy that the deck would win most games where it didn't draw too few or too many lands. I wouldn't change much about the deck, but would consider trying to improve the Torrential Gearhulk matchups, as they can be rather difficult.
We did work hard on a sideboard guide for the deck, and everything about it stayed true throughout the event. For those of you playing it this weekend, I suggest making changes to the deck as you see fit, but using this information as a foundation for your sideboarding decisions.