Khans of Tarkir has made its mark on Standard after the first Open Series weekend with the new fall set. The winning Standard decks from New Jersey and Indianapolis both had 18 cards from Khans of Tarkir in the main deck and the impact didn’t stop there. The winning Legacy deck from New Jersey even included eight new cards, not including the already legal fetch lands.
Starting in New Jersey, Kevin Jones won the Standard Open with Jeskai Tempo. Jones, the seventh ranked player on the #SCGPC, will jump up to third/fourth place, tied with Gerard Fabiano at 146 points, after piloting the deck with four copies of Mantis Rider and Jeskai Charm to his first Open Series victory. Other new nonland cards in the tempo strategy include Seeker of the Way, Dig Through Time, and Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker. Jadine Klomparens also made the Top 8 with a similar Jeskai Tempo build opting for Titan’s Strength and Gods Willing over the extra card drawing spells Jones ran.
Jones defeated Jon Gross in the finals, who was playing Mardu Midrange with four copies of Butcher of the Horde and Crackling Doom to go along with a Despise, and two copies of both new Planeswalkers, Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker and Sorin, Solemn Visitor. The other new deck to make the Top 8 in New Jersey was R/W Control by David Fulk.
Four green devotion strategies rounded out the Top 8 with two splashing red, one with black, and the other sticking to just green. Ross Merriam notched his sixth Open Series Top 8 of the year with G/B Devotion, using black just for four copies of Doomwake Giant and one Pharika, God of Affliction in the sideboard. Merriam’s list didn’t include a single card from Khans of Tarkir. The two G/R builds by Mario Martinez and Chris Kvartek utilized varying numbers of Crater’s Claws while Joey Manner’s Mono-Green Devotion used Rattleclaw Mystic and Hooded Hydra.
Bob Huang took down the New Jersey Legacy Open with an updated version of U/R Delver using Monastery Swiftspear and Treasure Cruise in conjunction with Delver of Secrets, plenty of burn, and a bunch of free spells. Huang bested Jake Muldowsky and Reanimator in the finals. Manaless Dredge and Dredge made the elimination rounds along with Miracles, Sneak and Show, and two copies of Sultai Delver.
The second half of the double Open Series weekend went down in Indianapolis, where Samuel Valentine won with Abzan Midrange. The midrange decks had a slight graveyard theme to fuel Murderous Cut, Empty the Pits, and Necropolis Fiend while allowing Whip of Erebos to generate value alongside creatures like Siege Rhino, Hornet Queen, and Ashen Rider. Valentine defeated William Comminos in the finals, also playing Abzan Midrange, but with a more controlling build with Utter End, Abzan Charm, and Wingmate Roc.
The Top 8 was filled out with three green devotion strategies, two Monsters builds (R/G and Jund), and a Naya Midrange deck. The Monsters and Naya Midrange deck all used Sarkhan, Dragonspeaker — the most successful Planeswalker of the weekend. The high numbers of midrange decks kept both hyper-aggressive strategies, Mono-Red and Mono-Black, out of the elimination rounds in both Opens this weekend.
The Legacy Open in Indianapolis was overrun by Elves with the entire Top 4 consisting of the resilient combo deck. Bobby Colgrove came out on top of the green foursome, beating Jon Johnson in the finals. The four decks to fall to Elves in the quarterfinals were Maverick, Reanimator, Sneak and Show, and Abzan Depths.