Games Haven Monthly $1K Series 2019

6th Oct 2019

Games Haven Paya Lebar

The pages turn and a new fable begins, with Standard rotation promising us a new metagame and a fresh look at the Standard tables. But how fresh can it be? 41 players joined us on Sunday to find out who could free the sword from the stone and become the once and future king.

Let us start with the card that literally doubled in price since prerelease - the God of Mischief himself, Tom Hiddleston. Hmm, might be mixing up universes here, let's try that again. Oko, Thief of Crowns, everyone's favourite shirtless hot guy, was poised to make a dramatic entrance into Standard. Many years back, when Domri Rade blew apart Standard by landing on Turn 2 and ticking up to 4 loyalty, we thought we had already seen the worst. We were wrong. Oko lands one turn later thanks to the timely rotation of Llanowar Elves, but he ticks up to a whopping 5 or 6 loyalty and continues to churn out advantage every single turn without stopping, as both of his board-advantage abilities are plus abilities. 

As befitting of the Loki references, because his abilities are so simple, they have wider range of applications than one might think on the surface. Oko can shrink opponent's creatures, remove the abilities of any troublesome artifact or creature, and of course, the obvious application of feeding any food-hungry card. Oko was underplayed on Sunday, but that was probably more of a price-tag problem rather than a performance problem. We think you can safely expect to see lots more of Oko in the weeks to come.

Having likened Oko to Loki, we might as well go all the way with the references and talk about Thor. Our resident Lightning Bolt enthusiast was extremely pleased to have correctly noted "Torbran is the new face of mono-Red" during spoiler season. The less-handsome Chris Hemsworth supercharges ping triggers, sends burn spells into overdrive, and rewards go-wide strategies as long as you stay mono-red, all of which can be found in abundance in a typical mono-red strategy. Builds vary at the moment because of an internet-wide argument about whether Cavalcade of Calamity is worth it or too much of a good thing, but Torbran himself might actually end up as the new face of Marvel comics I mean mono-Red. Thor-bran has overperformed in preliminary testing on Magic Arena, and the deck's popularity was boosted by a StarCityGames article that honestly only needed one line to be effective.

"Turns out killing your opponent before blockers are declared is a good thing."

Ok, sold. Where are my foil Acolytes of Flame?

Another popular standout in the early Arena skirmishes is a deck completely devoid of Marvel comic references (booo!), Esper Stax. A control deck with a "stax" or passive resource-draining shell, the deck is played as a tap-out form of control that relies on Doom Foretold and Dance of the Manse as a recurring board-clearing mechanism. Dance of the Manse also allows the player to turn the corner incredibly quickly, often in one turn. A savvy player might ask the deeper question of why play tap-out control and not traditional instant-speed control, and the reason for that is both simple and deep, but can be traced to one card - Teferi, Time Raveler. Oh, there's the Marvel reference!

Not content to define Standard for just one Standard rotation, the king of Wakanda is poised to be a major player in this one as well. Teferi, ironically, might hurt traditional draw-go control more than help, as Teferi secretly makes all spells uncounterable and thus helps tap-out decks much more than counterspell decks. With this in mind, it is no surprise then that Doom Foretold is able to flourish in this early period of Standard, and while the metagame warps around Teferi, plenty of tap-out strategies can be expected to come and go (both aggressive and controlling).

Now that we're done with the holy trinity (because there must always be a holy trinity), what of the deviants?

 

Simic Flash looks to try and beef up its roster with Brazen Borrower, but for now it doesn't seem like the deck is capable of combating Oko and Doom Foretold at the same time. Perhaps it requires a metagame shift before it can once again enjoy the spotlight. Meanwhile, away from Torbran, Mono-Red has split into an RB variant with Rotting Regisaur and Spawn of Mayhem for extra oomph, and a RG variant with Gruul Spellbreaker and harder-hitting RG creatures. Aggressive strategies always have at least a chance in the metagame because of their proactive nature, so if Torbran doesn't suit you, go for it.

 

Last but not least, Fires of Invention has found a new home in Jeskai Superfriends and looks to revitalize the archetype after a lackluster overall performance in War of the Spark Standard. If you can only effectively play spells on your own turn because of the ubiquity of Teferi, then Fires of Invention leans into that restriction and makes sure that you can double spell on your turn. And if those double spells are both planeswalkers, you'll be getting a lot more bang for your buck, and have the added advantage of freeing up your lands to activate Castle Vantress any time at all.

A couple of notable absences were the fabled (heh) BG Adventure deck and the Golos deck making waves on MTGO, having only 1 of each at the event, but that only showcases the variety of choices available to Standard players at the moment. At the beginning of a new Standard, it is a worthwhile endeavour to explore all avenues, even if Explore has already rotated out of Standard.

After an extremely grindy day, the one at the top was Joseph Torrijos with an overperforming Questing Beast! Many congratulations to him and to all our Top 8!

Top 8 Decklists

1st Place - Joseph Torrijos

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
OKO PUT A SHIRT ON

 

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

Nissa <3

 

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

Arboreal Grazer -> Oko -> 3/3 Elk.

 

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

Very grindy, need to manage a lot of counters and food!

 

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

Jay Vin cast my Hyrdoid Krasis from his Robber, then I bounced it back to my hand with Teferi.

 

What is your favourite card from Throne of Eldraine, and why?

Questing Beast

 

Oko invites you out for "some food". When you ask him what food, he tries to evade your question. What's the play?

Just put your shirt on first!

 

Bant Value - Main Deck

4x Breeding Pool

1x Castle Vantress

3x Fabled Passage

4x Forest

4x Hallowed Fountain

2x Island

2x Plains

4x Temple Garden

4x Temple of Mystery

4x Arboreal Grazer

4x Gilded Goose

4x Hydroid Krasis

4x Growth Spiral

2x Mass Manipulation

2x Time Wipe

4x Oko, Thief of Crowns

4x Teferi, Time Raveler

4x Nissa, Who Shakes the World

Sideboard

2x Veil of Summer

1x Devout Decree

1x Mystical Dispute

2x Narset, Parter of Veils

1x Questing Beast

1x Trostani Discordant

2x Shifting Ceratops

2x Agent of Treachery

1x Time Wipe

2x Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

2nd Place - Erickson Borabo

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Esper Stax

 

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

Dance of the Manse. It is the closer to the deck, and generating value through synergy

is simply icing on the cake.

 

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

Murderous Rider. At face value I could already see that the card was exceptionally good,

but was uncertain if it fit well with the deck. The lifelink on the creature side worked 

wonders against my matchups.

 

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

I was only able to try out the deck now, so it took me some time to get used to the triggers. I tried the best I could, but I do remember missing a Doom Foretold knight trigger, which almost cost me that game.

 

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

I had a buzzer-beater game where I won on the last turn of the last 5 turns. Fetched an Oath of Kaya via Wishclaw Talisman, casted it, bounced it with Teferi, and then cast it again to clear 2 blockers and swing for lethal.

 

What is your favourite card from Throne of Eldraine, and why?

I would have to say meme-wise it's Prince Charming, there's something about announcing "casting Prince Charming" that brings a smile to my face. But seriously, Once Upon a Time is simply broken (I think).

 

Oko invites you out for "some food". When you ask him what food, he tries to evade your question. What's the play?

Feign massive food poisoning or supreme IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

 

Esper Stax - Main Deck

4x Godless Shrine

4x Hallowed Fountain

1x Island

2x Plains

2x Swamp

4x Temple of Silence

4x Watery Grave

1x Castle Vantress

3x Fabled Passage

2x Murderous Rider // Swift End

1x Dovin's Veto

4x Kaya's Wrath

3x Thought Erasure

3x Dance of the Manse

1x Legion's End

1x Planar Cleansing

4x Oath of Kaya

3x Doom Foretold

4x Golden Egg

4x Guild Globe

1x Wishclaw Talisman

4x Teferi, Time Raveler

Sideboard

2x Ashiok, Dream Render

1x Cry of the Carnarium

2x Disenchant

1x Disfigure

2x Dovin's Veto

2x Duress

1x Legion's End

1x Realm-Cloaked Giant // Cast Off

2x The Elderspell

1x Unmoored Ego

Top 4 - Jonathan Lim

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Golgari Stompy

 

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

Rotting Regisaur, it stops opponent's big creatures from attacking and enables a "free"

play of The Great Henge on Turn 4.

 

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

Rotting Regisaur. I actually did manage to curve into The Great Henge and did not discard

myself to death.

 

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

Rotting Regisaur biting my backside through discarding.

 

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

Topdecking Growth-Chamber Guardian after putting The Great Henge and then drawing Murderous Rider for lethal.

 

What is your favourite card from Throne of Eldraine, and why?

The Great Henge, it just wins the game when I draw it as it generates a lot of value, especially with Growth-Chamber Guardian.

 

Oko invites you out for "some food". When you ask him what food, he tries to evade your question. What's the play?

Swift End and Noxious Grasp.

 

BG Stompy – Main Deck

4x Overgrown Tomb

1x Castle Locthwain

1x Castle Garenbrig

4x Temple of Malady

3x Swamp

11x Forest

4x Growth-Chamber Guardian

3x Lovestruck Beast // Heart's Desire

4x Questing Beast

4x Paradise Druid

3x Barkhide Troll

4x Rotting Regisaur

2x Voracious Hydra

3x Murderous Rider // Swift End

3x Once Upon a Time

3x The Great Henge

3x Vivien, Arkbow Ranger

 

Sideboard

2x Duress

4x Noxious Grasp

2x Shifting Ceratops

2x Thrashing Brontodon

3x Veil of Summer

2x Vivien, Champion of the Wilds

Top 4 - Kelvin Chew

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Mono Red

 

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

Experimental Frenzy, it allows me to outgrind my opponent.

 

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

Slaying Fire, it is a 4-damage removal or burn.

 

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

When my opponent casts Oath of Kaya.

 

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

Topdecking Chandra with Torbran in play for lethal.

What is your favourite card from Throne of Eldraine, and why?

Oko. Is there anyone who doesn't like free food?

 

Oko invites you out for "some food". When you ask him what food, he tries to evade your question. What's the play?

Turn him into food.

 

Mono-Red Aggro - Main Deck

18x Mountain

3x Castle Embereth

4x Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

4x Fervent Champion

4x Rimrock Knight // Boulder Rush

4x Runaway Steam-Kin

4x Scorch Spitter

2x Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

4x Light Up the Stage

4x Shock

3x Skewer the Critics

4x Slaying Fire

2x Experimental Frenzy

Sideboard

2x Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

2x Experimental Frenzy

4x Lava Coil

3x Tibalt, Rakish Instigator

2x Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

2x Claim the Firstborn

Old picture because more or less same energy

Top 8 - Izaak Ong

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
4C Ramp-Control

 

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

Field of the Dead

 

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

Guild Summit

 

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

Slow early game.

 

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

NIL

 

What is your favourite card from Throne of Eldraine, and why?

Realm-Cloaked Giant

 

Oko invites you out for "some food". When you ask him what food, he tries to evade your question. What's the play?

Noxious Grasp

4C Golos Gates - Main Deck

1x Forest

2x Gateway Plaza

4x Orzhov Guildgate

3x Dimir Guildgate

3x Golgari Guildgate

1x Selesnya Guildgate

2x Azorius Guildgate

3x Simic Guildgate

1x Blast Zone

4x Field of the Dead

4x Plaza of Harmony

4x Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

2x Realm-Cloaked Giant // Cast Off

1x Archway Angel

2x Kaya's Wrath

4x Circuitous Route

4x Despark

4x Growth Spiral

2x Finale of Glory

4x Ritual of Soot

4x Guild Summit

1x Chandra, Awakened Inferno

Sideboard

3x Negate

3x Veil of Summer

2x Mass Manipulation

2x Unmoored Ego

1x Archway Angel

4x Noxious Grasp

Top 8 - Mark Ng

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Mono Red

 

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

Experimental Frenzy, untapping with it changes the advantage bar.

 

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

Rimrock Knight, makes combat different especially with Runaway Steam-Kins.

 

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

Facing green creatures.

 

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

Swinging for 22 with a topdecked Torbran. Better lucky than good.

 

What is your favourite card from Throne of Eldraine, and why?

Brazen Borrower. For Modern faeries.

 

Oko invites you out for "some food". When you ask him what food, he tries to evade your question. What's the play?

Beat him up.

 

Mono-Red Aggro - Main Deck

18x Mountain

3x Castle Embereth

4x Scorch Spitter

4x Fervent Champion

4x Runaway Steam-Kin

4x Rimrock Knight // Boulder Rush

4x Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

2x Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

4x Shock

4x Light Up the Stage

3x Skewer the Critics

4x Slaying Fire

2x Experimental Frenzy

Sideboard

1x Redcap Melee

4x Lava Coil

1x Embereth Shieldbreaker // Battle Display

2x Flame Sweep

1x Tibalt, Rakish Instigator

2x Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

2x Experimental Frenzy

2x Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

Top 8 - Soh Weng Heng

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Embercleave Gruul.

 

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

Maindeck Embercleave. I can flash it onto my creature for the win. Gruul Spellbreaker

holding Embercleave gave me 99.9% kill rate. Also Redcap Melee sideboard, this card

has been fantastic against red decks and 4 toughness creatures.

 

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

Once Upon a Time.

 

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

The deck is lacking card draw. So you have to utilize your spells wisely.

 

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

I had 2 Gruul Spellbreakers (1 3/3 and 1 4/4) on board. My opponent attacked with Robber of the Rich and Gutterbones. Before blocks, he Noxious Grasp-ed my 4/4 Spellbreaker and attempted to follow up with Swift End on my 3/3 Spellbreaker. Countered with Veil of Summer for a blowout.

 

What is your favourite card from Throne of Eldraine, and why?

The Great Henge. I call it the Great Heng! If I manage to Top 8 MagicFest Nagoya 2019.

 

Oko invites you out for "some food". When you ask him what food, he tries to evade your question. What's the play?

Proceed to order food with Foodpanda!

Gruulcalibur - Main Deck

8x Mountain

9x Forest

4x Stomping Ground

2x Castle Embereth

4x Pelt Collector

4x Zhur-Taa Goblin

4x Gruul Spellbreaker

3x Robber of the Rich

3x Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

2x Skarrgan Hellkite

3x Questing Beast

4x Shock

2x Collision // Colossus

4x Once Upon a Time

2x Embercleave

2x Domri, Anarch of Bolas

Sideboard

2x Veil of Summer

3x Thrashing Brontodon

2x Shifting Ceratops

2x Sorcerous Spyglass

3x Flame Sweep

3x Redcap Melee

Top 8 - Lim Jay Vin

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Rakdos Aggro

 

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

Legion's End - kills Field of the Dead zombies.

 

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

Robber of the Rich - stole a Nissa and cast her on the same turn.

 

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

Mana base not stable.

 

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

Kelvin Chew playing Mono Red.

 

What is your favourite card from Throne of Eldraine, and why?

Murderous Rider - 2 for 1.

 

Oko invites you out for "some food". When you ask him what food, he tries to evade your question. What's the play?

-5: Switch food for girl and leave Oko alone.

BR Aggro - Main Deck

8x Mountain

10x Swamp

1x Castle Locthwain

4x Blood Crypt

4x Knight of the Ebon Legion

4x Gutterbones

4x Robber of the Rich

4x Stormfist Crusader

4x Murderous Rider // Swift End

4x Rotting Regisaur

4x Spawn of Mayhem

3x Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

3x Legion's End

3x Drill Bit

Sideboard

1x Legion's End

1x Drill Bit

3x Experimental Frenzy

3x Lava Coil

2x Duress

2x Noxious Grasp

2x Angrath's Rampage

1x Witch's Vengeance