Games Haven Monthly $1K Series 2018

21st Jan 2018

Games Haven Paya Lebar

Matthew (Lightning Bolt) Yee

Format: Standard Constructed

Head Judge: Andre Mitchell (L2)

Once again, we returned in the New Year, new month and new set to award a huge wad of cash to those deserving of it! Literally 2 days after a controversial banning took effect and Rivals of Ixalan went legal, we held our first Standard $1K Series event, in the hopes that we would help contribute to the efforts to kick off the new set’s introduction with a bang, as well as reward players for their attempts to discover the new Standard landscape.

Our event had a total of 31 players - many kudos to all of you for braving uncharted waters - and because of your valiant deckbuilding and piloting, we’ll go a bit more in-depth with our write-up this time. Normally it’s just a description of the day’s meta, cold jokes of varying quality, maybe a golden quote or two, and then decklists. This time however, precisely because the format is nowhere near solved yet, we’ll go a bit deeper so you can all have some greater takeaway from all this. Of course, you can just happily scroll all the way down to the decklists if you’d like.

Going into the format, based on stray comments here and there after prerelease, we expected there to be a much greater number of God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks and UW(b) control decks, because these were the decks that were completely unaffected by the bans, and also because The Scarab God is still an incredibly strong card.

However, we were presented with an almost equal distribution across the trifecta of broad archetypes. We had 9 control decks, 10 aggro decks and 12 midrange/value-based decks, which really put piloting skills to the test. Furthermore, even within the three broad archetypes there was diversity in theme.

Control had the expected UW cycling, UW(b) Approach, and even a BR grinder deck with Torment of Scarabs.

Aggro had HazoRed (proving that you just can’t keep the OG aggro deck down) and Merfolk as expected, along with a healthy sprinkle of Mardu Vehicles.

Midrange/value-based decks exploited the synergy between Winding Constrictor and the explore mechanic to give birth to a whole new type of BG Snek, while God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks remained virtually unchanged. 2 dinosaur decks also snuck into the scene (how exactly does someone sneak with dinosaurs?), because sometimes, big beatsticks will do the job for you well enough.

A special shoutout goes to the Grixis colour combination. Grixis had an aggro deck, control deck, and midrange deck all present. Amazingly, all three versions looked like they played differently, while still retaining many common elements like Whirler Virtuoso, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, and The Scarab God.

Perhaps there is a great deal of potential there to find the right build, or perhaps the Grixis card pool is too unfocused. Either way, the opportunity for exploration is there. (A bit of shameless advertising - if you’d like to hear impressions on the aggro version, it was piloted by Mister Platinum Pro Kelvin Chew, someone much more qualified to give analysis on it than this writer)

A notable absence in Sunday’s metagame were Procession decks. There were absolutely no Procession decks to be found, despite early impressions that the Rampaging Ferocidon ban would lead Procession decks into a revival. Our champion for the day even went down a harder Path of Mettle to improve the chances against 1/1 tokens that never appeared. Time will tell what the ideal Procession build is. Perhaps in our March $1K Series event, the procession will march down.

Top 3 Impactful Rares/Mythics

The Scarab God

This should not surprise anyone. Even before the bans, Mister Scallop God was a known quantity, and known for being an extremely strong card capable of grinding out wins and card advantage just by being present on board. Any deck running UB found some way to jam it in, from the previously mentioned trifecta of Grixis decks, to the Esper Approach and God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks. It’s hard to pass up on a card that is a win-con, a card selection machine and a board filler all in one.

Hazoret the Fervent

She’s so fervent, it doesn’t even matter to her whether or not she has less deserts to walk on, or she has no dinosaur buddies. She just discards all attachments and hits like a truck, confident that the only thing that can stop her is (for some reason) Vraska frowning at her or finding a shipwreck somewhere. Wizards went on record saying that they wanted to hurt but not cripple Ramunap Red, and truly, as the Sunday results showed, Hazoret is still large and in charge. She even appeared in the Mardu Vehicles decks as a backup threat for when the drivers ran out of gas. As a certain Platinum Pro muttered at dinnertime, “Actually Hazoret [is a] damn stupid card.”

Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Guess no one was expecting this!! Ghalta was a surprise addition to the midrange decks that, in retrospect, honestly shouldn’t have been very surprising at all. Ghalta’s straightforward effect synergizes with midrange strategies in general, she can’t be beaten in a fair fight (shoutout to that one game where a random Dire Fleet Poisoner appeared), and her appearance is always accompanied with a glorious “WHAT THE F-”. Her inclusion in this list is less because she’s a game-changer per se, but more to illustrate that you can find the strangest synergies in the weirdest places.

Top 5 Impactful Non-rares

Ravenous Chupacabra

I said it a lot of times yesterday and I’ll say it again, being ravenous puts dogs at the top of the food chain. As all the Pro articles across the Internet were telling us for the whole of last week, the dog is simply monstrous. It eats robots, fish, dinosaurs, birds and dragons without mercy, and still asks you where’s the upsized meal.

Merfolk Branchwalker

It seems stupid to have this here because you would naturally put these in any Merfolk deck, but it’s worth mentioning that explore’s synergy with Winding Constrictor meant that the Constrictor decks also could go fishing.

Winding Constrictor

Speaking of Winding Constrictor, the loss of the Temur decks meant that the old value cards have started to slither back out of the woodwork.

Whirler Virtuoso

Yeah, still value on a stick. Even if you don’t make any Thopters, a common virtuoso play from the Grixis decks on Sunday was to attack with a Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and then cast Whirler Virtuoso, meaning 2 cards were already waiting to be siphoned off the deck unless the Siphoner was removed.

 

Baffling End

It’s quite baffling how we keep on getting worse and worse versions of Detention Sphere being printed and yet they still manage to stay relevant. Forsake the Worldly, Thrashing Brontodon and Naturalize are a thing and are already being used to combat God-Pharaoh’s Gift Decks, so it might end up as one of those give-and-take dances until Dominaria is released.

We would like to thank all our players who came down and played as well as our Head Judge for the event, Andre Mitchell, for being an excellent judge by helping the players with clear and decisive rulings and much more.

We’ve reached the end of this writer’s indulgence, now it’s what you’ve all been waiting for:

Top 8 Decklists.

RW HazoRed’s Mettle piloted by Ju Yaqiong

Winner

Main Deck

4x Shefet Dunes

4x Inspiring Vantage

4x Plains

11x Mountain

3x Hazoret the Fervent

4x Bomat Courier

3x Fanatical Firebrand

4x Earthshaker Khenra

4x Ahn-Crop Crasher

2x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider

3x Relentless Raptor

2x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

4x Shock

4x Lightning Strike

1x Abrade

3x Path of Mettle//Metzali, Tower of Triumph

Sideboard

1x Cast Out

2x Magma Spray

1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2x Invigorated Rampage

3x Pia Nalaar

2x Abrade

2x Chandra’s Defeat

2x Aethersphere Harvester

Grixis Value piloted by Albertus Law

2nd Place

Main Deck

4x Spirebluff Canal

3x Canyon Slough

3x Dragonskull Summit

4x Aether Hub

3x Fetid Pools

3x Drowned Catacombs

2x Swamp

2x Island

2x Mountain

1x Hostage Taker

1x Gonti, Lord of Luxury

3x Glorybringer

3x Whirler Virtuoso

4x Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

2x The Scarab God

3x Sailor of Means

3x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2x Supreme Will

2x Vraska’s Contempt

4x Harnessed Lightning

3x Abrade

3x Fatal Push

Sideboard

3x Negate

2x Chandra’s Defeat

2x Jace’s Defeat

2x Vizier of Many Faces

2x Torrential Gearhulk

2x Vraska’s Contempt

1x Gonti, Lord of Luxury

1x Sweltering Suns

BG Exploring Snek piloted by Taxi Beng Ong Shu Liang

Top 4

Main Deck

6x Forest

6x Swamp

4x Blooming Marsh

4x Foul Orchard

2x Evolving Wilds

2x Hashep Oasis

4x Walking Ballista

4x Merfolk Branchwalker

4x Wildgrowth Walker

4x Winding Constrictor

4x Jadelight Ranger

3x Rishkar, Peema Renegade

2x Deadeye Tracker

2x Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

4x Fatal Push

3x Vraska’s Contempt

2x Blossoming Defense

Sideboard

1x Journey to Eternity//Atzal, Cave of Eternity

1x Lifecrafter’s Bestiary

1x Lost Legacy

1x Nissa, Vital Force

2x Heroic Intervention

2x Naturalize

3x Duress

4x Gifted Aetherborn

Esper Gift piloted by Sia Pei Ren

Top 4

Main Deck

4x Aether Hub

4x Concealed Courtyard

4x Drowned Catacomb

2x Fetid Pools

5x Island

4x Swamp

4x Walking Ballista

4x Minister of Inquiries

4x Dusk Legion Zealot

4x Seekers’ Squire

4x Champion of Wits

1x Trophy Mage

2x Hostage Taker

3x Ravenous Chupacabra

4x Angel of Invention

1x The Scarab God

4x Gate to the Afterlife

2x God-Pharaoh’s Gift

Sideboard

2x Duress

2x Fatal Push

3x Negate

3x Dreamstealer

2x Forsake the Worldly

2x Vraska’s Contempt

1x The Scarab God

HazoRed piloted by Lucas Wong

Top 8

 

Main Deck

18x Mountain

4x Sunscorched Desert

1x Scavenger Grounds

4x Bomat Courier

4x Fanatical Firebrand

2x Soul-Scar Mage

3x Earthshaker Khenra

2x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider

4x Ahn-Crop Crasher

2x Rekindling Phoenix

4x Hazoret the Fervent

4x Shock

4x Lightning Strike

3x Abrade

1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Sideboard

3x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2x Chandra’s Defeat

2x Aethersphere Harvester

2x Pia Nalaar

1x Magma Spray

1x Abrade

1x Kari Zev’s Expertise

2x Invigorating Rampage

1x Rekindling Phoenix

BG Snek piloted by Jason Loh

Top 8

Main Deck

4x Blooming Marsh

4x Aether Hub

6x Swamp

6x Forest

2x Hashep Oasis

2x Ifnir Deadlands

4x Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

4x Jadelight Ranger

4x Merfolk Branchwalker

4x Longtusk Cub

3x Verdurous Gearhulk

4x Walking Ballista

4x Winding Constrictor

3x Rishkar, Peema Renegade

2x Blossoming Defense

4x Fatal Push

Sideboard

4x Naturalize

4x Duress

2x Driven//Despair

3x Vraska’s Contempt

1x Vraska, Relic Seeker

1x Aethersphere Harvester

UW Cycling Haven piloted by Calvin Ong

Top 8

Main Deck

8x Island

4x Glacial Fortress

4x Irrigated Farmland

6x Plains

1x Shefet Dunes

1x Desert of the Mindful

4x Censor

4x Renewed Faith

4x Countervailing Winds

4x Settle the Wreckage

4x Hieroglyphic Illumination

3x Fumigate

1x Abandoned Sarcophagus

1x Nezahal, Primal Tide

1x Baffling End

4x Drake Haven

2x Search for Azcanta//Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin

4x Cast Out

Sideboard

3x Authority of the Consuls

3x Nimble Obstructionist

1x Nezahal, Primal Tide

2x Torrential Gearhulk

3x Negate

1x Abandoned Sarcophagus

2x Forsake the Worldly

Jund Midrange piloted by Foo Zhi Jie

Top 8

Main Deck

4x Aether Hub

4x Forest

3x Mountain

1x Dragonskull Summit

4x Sheltered Thicket

4x Rootbound Crag

4x Blooming Marsh

4x Merfolk Branchwalker

3x Jadelight Ranger

2x Pia Nalaar

1x Rhonas the Indomitable

1x Deathgorge Scavenger

4x Rekindling Phoenix

4x Scrapheap Scrounger

4x Glorybringer

2x Ghalta, Primal Hunger

3x Heart of Kiran

2x Magma Spray

4x Abrade

2x Driven//Despair

Sideboard

2x Deathgorge Scavenger

2x Chandra’s Defeat

3x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2x Sweltering Suns

1x Dire Fleet Daredevil

3x Naturalize

1x Blood Sun

1x Thrashing Brontodon