Games Haven Monthly $1K Series 2019

14th July 2019

Games Haven Paya Lebar

Thanks to the renovation, the pictures are staring to look a LITTLE different now. 37 Standard players joined us on Sunday for the M20 Standard 1K Series Event! Partly due to early discussions enabled by early release of the set on Magic Arena, the mood was slightly more tense - a telltale sign that there weren't many or any homebrews in the room. So, armed with the latest and greatest from Arena and the Internet, what does M20 Standard look like in hot-as-Chandra Singapore?

We are currently at the densest point of Standard, the glorious golden moment just before rotation where 2 Core Sets are legal and all hell breaks loose. Some newer players might not be familiar with the pattern as we had a pretty long gap with no Core Sets after Magic Origins, but basically, what one really needs to know is that anything goes. Yes, the tried and true strategies will still attempt to assert themselves. Yes, historically Core Sets don't shake up Standard THAT MUCH. But generally, with the card pool at its largest, you typically find the wackiest builds at this timing (that actually work).

Say hello to Risen Reef. Whomever told you that Core Sets don't impact Standard that much needs to take a reality check and get locked in a room with Risen Reefs lining the walls. In the early release of the set on Arena, Elemental Tribal absolutely demolished all the lower-to-middle ranks of Arena ranked and looked to establish itself as a Standard powerhouse. Risen Reef does much to carry the deck, with its Coiling-Oracle-on-steroids impression giving steady card advantage for each and every elemental that enters. And that's not even talking about multiples. However, perhaps its own spotlight worked against it, because there were barely any Elemental decks on Sunday, implying that either everyone was overprepared for it, or they wanted to play Elementals but thought that everyone would be overprepared for it. Didn't matter either way, two Elemental decks still smashed their way into the Top 8.

The really surprising resurgence was Mono-Blue Tempo. With new toys like Aether Gust, Spectral Sailor and Brineborn Cutthroat, they find their late game bolstered a bit as compared to before. Aether Gust also carries the day's record for the most ruling questions - no less than 7. You might consider adding this to your sideboards for the confusion-fu factor (please don't, not for that reason at least).

However, perhaps the biggest beneficiary of these cards is a total newcomer, Simic Flash. Depending on build, the deck operates entirely or almost entirely at instant speed and due to this quality, makes cards like Brineborn Cutthroat and Nightpack Ambusher insane. The deck does take some getting used to though, as it is not truly a tempo deck in the vein of Mono-Blue, instead playing out closer to the more midrangey flash decks of old. Restoration Angel and Spell Queller would be proud.

Beyond that, it was the rest of Standard that we already knew, with differing degrees of M20 updates. The little tweaks are usually the fascinating part of Standard, because as we know, sometimes a deck is really just missing one piece of cardboard glue to tie a deck together and become truly formidable. In that vein, there were a hearty number of RG Dinosaur decks on Sunday, an Ixalan fan-favourite that has reappeared for one last hurrah before rotation, having been bolstered by just one more dinosaur, Marauding Raptor. The angry bugger turned out to be a pretty good enabler, as one of the key problems of the dinosaur deck was that you would always struggle to gain enrage payoffs as almost all your moves would be telegraphed and your opponent would not play into them. With Marauding Raptor, the fact that the moves are telegraphed won't matter one bit. I'm drawing that card off Ripjaw Raptor unless you kill it now. Can you? CAN YOU? RAWWWWRRRR!!! And so on. The problem is that starts without Marauding Raptor tend to make your blood run cold (geddit?). The deck may or may not roar one last time before rotation turns it extinct, but it sure is fun to play. Unlock your inner Timmy!

Don't be alarmed at the prospect of having to drop cash on a whole new deck though, the old ones work just fine. Esper Hero, Mono-Red, Mono-White, Mass Manipulation - they were all there, the bulwark of Standard, probably Standard's most lasting legacy of archetypes up till rotation hits. There's plenty to choose from till then, so we're confident you'll find something you like (even if it's the same deck you were playing in War of the Spark Standard).

It was even one of the old guard that made it to the top of the event! Ju Yaqiong, Queen of the Pride, Drawer of Lions, Craig Wescoe's biggest fangirl, took down the event with an incredible display of sustained skill, using classic White Weenie deck whose only M20 cards were the tokens! Many congratulations! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to run away from some Savannah Lions.

Top 8 Decklists

1st Place - Ju Yaqiong

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Savannah Lions x 20.

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

20 one-drops. To clock faster and interrupt the opponent's game plan.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Demystify in the sideboard. No one saw it coming!

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Which one-drop to play first.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Kelvin Chew playing Mono-Blue.

 

What is your favourite M20 card, and why?

Chandra, Awakened Inferno. MTGA bots passed me 3 copies.

 

Are you a believer in our Lord and Saviour Risen Reef?

Nope.

 

White Weenies - Main Deck

20x Plains

4x Law-Rune Enforcer

4x Snubhorn Sentry

2x Tomik, Distinguished Advokist

4x Dauntless Bodyguard

4x Skymarcher Aspirant

4x Benalish Marshal

4x Venerated Loxodon

4x Legion's Landing//Adanto, the First Fort

4x History of Benalia

2x Baffling End

4x Conclave Tribunal

Sideboard

2x Unbreakable Formation

2x Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants

3x Gideon Blackblade

2x Baffling End

4x Tocatli Honor Guard

2x Demystify

2nd Place - Kyler Jia Jie

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Jurassic Park Dinosaurs (RG Dino)

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Shifting Ceratops. Mono-Blue dies. Shoutout to Loh Han Boon.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Shifting Ceratops. So good pro blue!

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

NOT ENOUGH SLEEP.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Kelvin Chew Aether Gust my Shifting Ceratops [spell] 3x in a row.

 

What is your favourite M20 card, and why?

Vilis. Always win pack war with it.

 

Are you a believer in our Lord and Saviour Risen Reef?

NO.

 

RG Dinosaurs - Main Deck

4x Stomping Ground

4x Rootbound Crag

8x Forest

8x Mountain

4x Marauding Raptor

4x Regisaur Alpha

4x Otepec Huntmaster

3x Ghalta, Primal Hunger

4x Ripjaw Raptor

4x Shifting Ceratops

1x Thrashing Brontodon

1x Charging Monstrosaur

4x Commune with Dinosaurs

3x Collision//Colossus

3x Domri, Anarch of Bolas

1x Chandra, Awakened Inferno

Sideboard

2x Fry

3x Thrashing Brontodon

3x Flame Sweep

1x Shapers' Sanctuary

2x Chandra, Awakened Inferno

2x Veil of Summer

2x Lava Coil

Top 4 - Calvin Ong

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Sultai Elementals

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Cavalier of Night. Nearly always 2-for-1 and also reanimates Jadelight Ranger or

Risen Reef.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

See above.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Never drew lifegain against monored.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Killed my own Cavalier of Thorns to put Hydroid Krasis on top of my library.

 

What is your favourite M20 card, and why?

Yarok, doubles all my triggers.

 

Are you a believer in our Lord and Saviour Risen Reef?

YES.

 

Sultai Elementals – Main Deck

1x Temple of Malady

4x Overgrown Tomb

4x Breeding Pool

3x Watery Grave

2x Forest

4x Woodland Cemetery

3x Hinterland Harbor

4x Drowned Catacomb

4x Wildgrowth Walker

4x Merfolk Branchwalker

4x Jadelight Ranger

4x Risen Reef

3x Hydroid Krasis

2x Cavalier of Thorns

2x Cavalier of Night

2x Yarok, the Desecrated

2x Cast Down

2x Assassin's Trophy

2x Command the Dreadhorde

2x Vraska, Golgari Queen

2x Nissa, Who Shakes the World

 

Sideboard

3x Duress

2x The Elderspell

1x Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

1x Narset's Reversal

2x Negate

1x Unmoored Ego

2x Veil of Summer

2x Cry of the Carnarium

1x Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Top 4 - Joseph Tan Boon Kiat

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Temur Elementals

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Split between Risen Reef and Chandra, Awakened Inferno

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Living Twister. Screws up opponent's combat math!

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Keeping Risen Reef alive in the early game.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Staring down at 2 Rotting Regisaurs on turn 4!

What is your favourite M20 card, and why?

Risen Reef is like Rogue Refiner, except that the value never ends if it stays alive!

 

Are you a believer in our Lord and Saviour Risen Reef?

Yes!

 

Temur Elementals - Main Deck

4x Steam Vents

3x Sulfur Falls

4x Stomping Ground

4x Rootbound Crag

4x Breeding Pool

1x Hinterland Harbor

2x Temple of Epiphany

2x Temple of Mystery

1x Forest

2x Cavalier of Thorns

2x Living Twister

4x Omnath, Locus of the Roil

4x Risen Reef

4x Creeping Trailblazer

4x Leafkin Druid

1x Hydroid Krasis

2x Lava Coil

3x Lightning Strike

3x Shock

2x Chandra, Awakened Inferno

4x Nissa, Who Shakes the World

Sideboard

1x Veil of Summer

3x Fry

2x Negate

2x Disdainful Stroke

2x Lava Coil

2x Thrashing Brontodon

2x Ripjaw Raptor

1x Mass Manipulation

Top 8 - Kok Gao Le

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Mono Red aggro

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Goblin Chainwhirler. Mainly because it has first strike and there are a lot of 1-toughness

creatures and planeswalkers that will go down to 1 loyalty from their abilities. They will

all get hit by its ability and cause a lot of difference in the game.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

FRY. When I fought some matchups today, I won because it was instant speed and it can

remove blue/white creatures & planeswalkers effectively.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

When you fight Gruul or Elementals or Sultai it is quite hard due to all the 4-or-more-toughness out there.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Sometimes just don't be greedy and slam Experimental Frenzy on turn 4 [regardless of hand size].

 

What is your favourite M20 card, and why?

Fry, because it removes blue and white creatures and planeswalkers easily.

 

Are you a believer in our Lord and Saviour Risen Reef?

No.

Mono Red Aggro - Main Deck

19x Mountain

4x Goblin Chainwhirler

4x Runaway Steam-Kin

4x Viashino Pyromancer

4x Ghitu Lavarunner

4x Fanatical Firebrand

2x Skewer the Critics

4x Wizard's Lightning

4x Light up the Stage

4x Lightning Strike

4x Shock

2x Experimental Frenzy

1x Chandra, Fire Artisan

Sideboard

2x Shivan Fire

2x Fry

2x Lava Coil

2x Fight with Fire

3x Dire Fleet Daredevil

4x Legion Warboss

Top 8 - Derrick Koh

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Simic Flash (Wolves for the win!)

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Wolfpack Ambusher! [Nightpack Ambusher]

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Quench.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Mono-Red is hard to win.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Elementals are strong.

 

What is your favourite M20 card, and why?

Risen Reef.

 

Are you a believer in our Lord and Saviour Risen Reef?

Yes!

 

Simic Flash - Main Deck

4x Hinterland Harbor

4x Breeding Pool

2x Temple of Mystery

8x Island

6x Forest

4x Frilled Mystic

4x Nightpack Ambusher

4x Spectral Sailor

4x Merfolk Trickster

4x Brineborn Cutthroat

4x Sinister Sabotage

2x Syncopate

3x Unsummon

4x Quench

3x Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer

Sideboard

4x Cerulean Drake

4x Aether Gust

2x Flood of Tears

2x Thrashing Brontodon

3x Shifting Ceratops

Top 8 - Kelvin Chew

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Mono Blue Aggro

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Spectral Sailor, flash creature for Curious Obsession and helps to draw cards in

the late game.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Aether Gust, helps to delay Shifting Ceratops

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Opponent casting Shifting Ceratops on Turn 3.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Nope.

 

What is your favourite M20 card, and why?

Chandra, Awakened Inferno. Pack war eat all.

 

Are you a believer in our Lord and Saviour Risen Reef?

Yes sir.

Mono Blue Tempo - Main Deck

19x Island

4x Spectral Sailor

4x Siren Stormtamer

2x Pteramander

3x Brineborn Cutthroat

3x Merfolk Trickster

3x Tempest Djinn

4x Opt

3x Dive Down

3x Spell Pierce

4x Lookout's Dispersal

2x Wizard's Retort

2x Unsummon

4x Curious Obsession

Sideboard

4x Aether Gust

3x Cerulean Drake

3x Entrancing Melody

2x Negate

3x Surge Mare

Old picture reused because we'd

really like it if you could purchase a Challenger deck or two :)

Top 8 - Tay Wen Kai

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Good old Esper

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Obviously Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Anticipate, helped me look for answers and filter my hand.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Not drawing lands.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Kelvin Chew drew the 3rd Lookout's Dispersal after I discarded 2.

 

What is your favourite M20 card, and why?

Noxious Grasp and Aether Gust. Cheap removal.

 

Are you a believer in our Lord and Saviour Risen Reef?

Not really considering I saw none today.

Esper Control - Main Deck

4x Isolated Chapel

4x Glacial Fortress

4x Drowned Catacomb

4x Hallowed Fountain

4x Godless Shrine

4x Watery Grave

1x Swamp

2x Basilica Bell-Haunt

2x Kaya's Wrath

4x Thought Erasure

3x Anticipate

2x The Elderspell

1x Dovin's Veto

2x Cast Down

1x Noxious Grasp

1x Command the Dreadhorde

1x Mortify

1x Cry of the Carnarium

1x Despark

2x Oath of Kaya

1x Search for Azcanta//Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin

1x Bolas's Citadel

4x Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

3x Teferi, Time Raveler

3x Narset, Parter of Veils

Sideboard

2x Aether Gust

2x Noxious Grasp

1x Lyra Dawnbringer

2x Duress

2x Nightveil Predator

1x Cavalier of Gales

1x Ixalan's Binding

2x Cry of the Carnarium

2x Despark