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This weekend, the SCG Tour® is coming to Baltimore for a Team Constructed Open, and I couldn't be more excited. Not only do I get to play one of the best formats for a tournament ever created, but I also get to play with my friends! Team tournaments are like no other, so make sure to head out to Baltimore this weekend.
Since SCG Baltimore is a Team Constructed tournament featuring the three major Constructed formats, there's going to be a lot of information to digest before going into the event. And luckily, there have been quite a few events in each format in the last few months, so we have some data to work with.
My gut tells me that Standard and Legacy will be the two most important formats to pick the right decks for, simply because the volatility of Modern can make for some unlucky streaks. Maybe your deck isn't all that great against Burn or Affinity and you awkwardly get paired against both for three or four rounds straight. In those scenarios, you need your other two pals to carry you to victory. Both Legacy and Standard have a lot more back-and-forth play, regardless of the matchup, which means there's a lot of room to gain an advantage during in-game play.
Regardless, I'm going to cover the three decks I want my team to play this weekend. Much like you, I'm sure, they might not exactly be receptive to the idea, but that's how team tournaments work. People will play the deck in their respective format that they think will give them the best chance to win. Whether or not those are the three best decks in their specific format is irrelevant. How a person plays a specific deck is much more important than the deck itself. For example, I'm currently leaning on Lands being the best choice for Legacy, but neither I nor my teammates can pilot it effectively. As such, we're stuck going a different route.
My teammates for the event, and our format lineup:
Brennan DeCandio: Standard
Todd Anderson: Modern
Tannon Grace: Legacy
Let's jump right into each format.
Everyone loves to hate Standard, but I'm actually quite enjoying it at the moment. My thoughts on Standard only go so far, and I talked extensively about Four-Color Energy last week, as well as my desire to play it.
Brennan is known for his grindy B/G midrange decks in Standard, which he's played to great success over the last year. But with the format rotating out Battle for Zendikar and Shadows over Innistrad blocks, Brennan needs to be a little more receptive to the idea of playing an Energy deck. While it isn't quite the same thing, both are midrange green decks with solid mana, powerful late-game spells, and removal that can clear most annoying threats. The games will last longer than usual, which gives him a chance to outplay his opponents. His sideboard can push him into a more controlling or more aggressive strategy, depending on the matchup.
I'll be honest here, as I don't want to seem misleading, but we're also considering the "Big Red" deck that Ben Stark took second with at Grand Prix Atlanta last weekend.
- 4 Bomat Courier
- 3 Glorybringer
- 3 Rampaging Ferocidon
- 3 Sand Strangler
- 3 Soul-Scar Mage
- 1 Hazoret the Fervent
- 2 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
While we haven't yet tested the deck ourselves, that's what I'll be doing all night tonight to see just how good (or bad) the deck actually is. Ben Stark deserves a lot of credit as a player, but this deck could start to bolster his credibility as a deckbuilder. From what I've heard, he's the only person on his team who played the deck, and everyone else thought he was crazy.
My gut tells me that the "Big Red" deck is solid, and ultimately just a maindeck version of what the deck often looks like after sideboarding. He has more physical Deserts to turn on Sand Strangler, effectively turning it into Flametongue Kavu (one of my all-time favorites); more removal; and something I never thought I'd see in an aggressive deck:
And truly, I don't get it. I've seen people try to use Treasure Map in conjunction with Marionette Master, but here it just feels like a strange ramp spell that could end up drawing you three cards. As a deck with a potential late-game burn element, this seems a little appealing, but I'm not sure it makes as much sense as just playing a few more early creatures. Perhaps I'm missing something.
If we end up playing the Desert Red deck, we'll probably make a few changes. Here's where I'm going to start in testing.