Games Haven Monthly $1K Series 2020

12th Jan 2020

Games Haven Paya Lebar

Astute observers will notice that when a new set is about to be released, we usually run Standard for the month's 1K Series event, after the set has released. But this time, with the Chinese New Year weighing on the calendar, we let Fortune God have his rightful place in the priority order and started the Western New Year off with Pioneer instead. 39 fellow devotees of Fortune God joined us in the store on Sunday for the event.

The concept as well as rough core of the deck is not a new addition to the metagame, but it took a ban of Leyline of Abundance and everyone's favourite boogeyman Oko for us to finally get here. Up and coming for the past 1.5 months has been Mono Green Ramp, a deck mostly ported over from Oath of the Gatewatch Standard with some Pioneer cardpool additions. Not to be confused with Devotion Ramp that uses Nykthos, this deck just aims to ramp the traditional style, as we have been doing for the past 26 years. When you land World Breakers on Turn 4, someone's world is definitely going to break. Also, with Oko no longer present to completely neuter World Elkers and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Elk, the coast is clear for the deck to do big flashy plays. It's no Modern Tron, but expect to see much more ramp decks in the near future, as its sheer power and inevitability given by Ulamog is something immediately obvious.

Oko's ban and Ramp's gradual surge in representation in the metagame is something that has affected the distribution of decks at a deeper level. Aggressive decks no longer need to worry about a constant stream of Food tokens, so they have returned with a vengeance, and with greater speed to boot. Aiming to shut down ramp decks before they draw and land threats, decks like Mono-Red Aggro, Gruul Beats and UR Ensoul Artifact are prioritizing damage and speed in their builds. In other news, Brazen Borrower is enjoying an uptick of play in UR Phoenix decks as well, if only to temporarily remove blockers with reach so they can push damage through. It seems like a bad tradeoff since there are so many cast triggers in the ramp deck, but to use the classic Singaporean phrase - sometimes bobian.

Speaking of reach, a deck with a significant drop in power level is UW Spirits. Previously already at a dubious spot because of the lack of Drogskol Captain, the significant number of creatures with reach in the Ramp deck might consign the deck to oblivion for now. Between the reach creatures and Spell Queller losing its effectiveness because of its own slow clock and the ramp deck having high cmc spells, it might be safer to save the deck for the day when midrange needs a beating instead. UW Control is also slightly disfavoured against Ramp, as the deck has an inbuilt threat recurrence package, strong effects on cast triggers, and Ulamog is indestructible. It's not all doom and gloom as it is with Spirits though, as the matchup is salvageable with some tweaking, mostly involving exile effects.

At this point it sounds like all our decks on Sunday were Ramp, but rest assured that there was plenty of diversity to go around. We had many players playing their pet decks, the only sign that they were concerned about metagaming at all being their sideboard choices and to a lesser extent, funky maindeck one-ofs. We had Abzan Midrange, BR Beatdown, Mono-Black Devotion (we seriously need more of these), Grixis Control, God-Pharaoh's Gift, and Mono-Green Not-Ramp. It is at this point where we turn to the one and only Sun Tzu for a relevant quote - "If you know thy enemy, and know thyself, then you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." Bet you never thought you'd see that line here.

Despite Ramp looking like the de facto Level 0 deck, we had a winner in an old classic. Leong Jiacheng, affectionately known by his nickname from his dark past Bakaboii, dismantled the competition with Arclight Phoenixes, Young Pyromancers and a sprinkling of Petty Theft (the card not the... you know)! Many congratulations to him as well as the rest of our Top 8!

Top 8 Decklists

1st Place - Leong Jiacheng

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
UR Phoenix

 

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

Young Pyromancer, makes too many tokens.

 

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

Negate, very clear cut.

 

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

Too many 1-lander "bait hands".

 

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

1 Finale of Promise for X=0 just to make a Young Pyromancer token.

 

Theros spoilers are finished! What card from Theros: Beyond Death do you think can impact Pioneer, and why?

No comment because no new toys for Phoenix.

 

Heliod is being ganked by the other gods for his misdeeds in Theros 1! Whose side are you on?

None, I want more UR toys.

 

Izzet Phoenix - Main Deck

2x Fabled Passage

4x Steam Vents

3x Sulfur Falls

4x Spirebluff Canal

4x Island

3x Mountain

4x Arclight Phoenix

4x Young Pyromancer

2x Brazen Borrower//Petty Theft

1x Crackling Drake

4x Opt

4x Wild Slash

4x Lightning Axe

4x Izzet Charm

4x Chart a Course

4x Strategic Planning

1x Finale of Promise

4x Treasure Cruise

Sideboard

2x Magma Spray

2x Fry

2x Mizzium Mortars

3x Negate

2x Mystical Dispute

1x Narset, Parter of Veils

2x Saheeli, Sublime Artificer

1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2nd Place - Ong Shu Liang Taxi Beng

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
UG God-Pharaoh's Gift

 

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

Zetalpa, Primal Dawn because it is too hard to deal with.

 

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

Agent of Treachery. At Games 2 & 3 in Round 4 it stole my opponent's creatures which
almost had me at lethal.

 

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

Not easy to pilot this deck when you don't have God-Pharaoh's Gift on the battlefield.

 

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

Unfortunately not, although there were some questionable plays in R4 G3 against Chye Hwee, not sure if those moves were played correctly or not.

 

Theros spoilers are finished! What card from Theros: Beyond Death do you think can impact Pioneer, and why?

Haven't decided.

 

Heliod is being ganked by the other gods for his misdeeds in Theros 1! Whose side are you on?

I don't know any god, I don't pray to Satan either. I don't listen to heavy metal music and I don't use goats for rituals.

 

Simic God-Pharaoh's Gift - Main Deck

4x Aether Hub

4x Botanical Sanctum

4x Ipnu Rivulet

3x Forest

2x Breeding Pool

2x Yavimaya Coast

1x Geier Reach Sanitarium

1x Hashep Oasis

1x Island

4x Walking Ballista

4x Minister of Inquiries

4x Satyr Wayfinder

4x Champion of Wits

3x Emry, Lurker of the Loch

3x Verdurous Gearhulk

2x Elvish Mystic

2x Llanowar Elves

2x Glint-Nest Crane

2x Zetalpa, Primal Dawn

1x Agent of Treachery

1x Resolute Archangel

4x Gate to the Afterlife

2x God-Pharaoh's Gift

Sideboard

1x Padeem, Consul of Innovation

1x Pithing Needle

1x Scavenging Ooze

2x Agent of Treachery

2x Damping Sphere

2x Knight of Autumn

2x Plaguecrafter

2x Reclamation Sage

2x Tormod's Crypt

Top 4 - Faizal Rosmaruddin

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
RB Midrange

 

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

Glorybringer. Lives up to its name.

 

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

Rekindling Felix [sic]. Resilient threat.

 

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

Combating graveyard decks. I had no GY hate.

 

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

Surprised to see Taxi beng playing again.

 

Theros spoilers are finished! What card from Theros: Beyond Death do you think can impact Pioneer, and why?

Don't remember the spoilers.

 

Heliod is being ganked by the other gods for his misdeeds in Theros 1! Whose side are you on?

Gogo Elspeth!

 

Rakdos Midrange – Main Deck

4x Canyon Slough

9x Mountain

4x Dragonskull Summit

4x Blood Crypt

4x Ramunap Ruins

4x Soul-Scar Mage

4x Scrapheap Scrounger

4x Goblin Chainwhirler

4x Bonecrusher Giant//Stomp

4x Rekindling Phoenix

4x Glorybringer

4x Wild Slash

2x Lightning Strike

2x Dreadbore

2x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

1x Heart of Kiran

 

Sideboard

2x Abrade

3x Damping Sphere

2x Duress

2x Mizzium Mortars

1x Noxious Grasp

4x Thoughtseize

1x Chandra, Awakened Inferno

Top 4 - Daston Lam

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Izzet Ensoul

 

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

Ensoul Artifact, because 5/5 scissors.

 

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

Shrapnel Blast for lethal everytime.

 

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

Having my Ensoul-ed artifact nuked early.

 

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

Nope.

Theros spoilers are finished! What card from Theros: Beyond Death do you think can impact Pioneer, and why?

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. Gain 3 life, draw a card and ramp...... 6/6 body. BROKEN!

 

Heliod is being ganked by the other gods for his misdeeds in Theros 1! Whose side are you on?

I am on any side who reads my MTG articles at Playy.World. I write Legacy, Pioneer and Modern deck techs as well as tournament reports. Any feedback is welcome.

 

Izzet Ensoul Artifact - Main Deck

4x Shivan Reef

4x Spirebluff Canal

4x Darksteel Citadel

3x Steam Vents

3x Spire of Industry

2x Mutavault

1x Island

4x Skilled Animator

4x Gingerbrute

4x Bomat Courier

4x Stonecoil Serpent

2x Ornithopter

2x Hope of Ghirapur

4x Shrapnel Blast

2x Metallic Rebuke

2x Wild Slash

1x Stubborn Denial

4x Ensoul Artifact

4x Ghostfire Blade

2x The Royal Scions

Sideboard

1x Dive Down

1x Grafdigger's Cage

1x Tormod's Crypt

1x Abrade

1x Rending Volley

2x Roast

2x Scrabbling Claws

2x Stubborn Denial

2x Karn, Scion of Urza

2x Aethersphere Harvester

Top 8 - Maxwell Li

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Abzan

 

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

Heart of Kiran. Good body, flying, dodges sweepers.

 

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

Warden of the First Tree. Good in breaking symmetry, can become very big if it goes

unchecked. Never a bad time to draw him, good at all stages of the game.

 

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

Mana issues, colours might not come right. You'll lose if you draw 4x Overgrown Tomb.

 

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

N/A

 

Theros spoilers are finished! What card from Theros: Beyond Death do you think can impact Pioneer, and why?

Heliod, Sun-Crowned. Combos with Walking Ballista. Even if Ballista is banned, may be able to single-handedly support a lifegain oriented archetype.

 

Heliod is being ganked by the other gods for his misdeeds in Theros 1! Whose side are you on?

Heliod. He gives lifelink, how bad can he be?

Abzan Midrange - Main Deck

1x Blooming Marsh

2x Concealed Courtyard

4x Temple Garden

4x Spire of Industry

4x Godless Shrine

4x Overgrown Tomb

3x Fortified Village

3x Stonecoil Serpent

4x Toolcraft Exemplar

4x Warden of the First Tree

4x Scrapheap Scrounger

2x Lambholt Pacifist//Lambholt Butcher

4x Lovestruck Beast//Heart's Desire

2x Anafenza, the Foremost

2x Siege Rhino

2x Abrupt Decay

2x Abzan Charm

3x Glass Casket

4x Heart of Kiran

2x Gideon Blackblade

Sideboard

2x Knight of Autumn

2x Hushbringer

2x Noxious Grasp

2x Thalia, Heretic Cathar

2x Despark

2x Fatal Push

2x Damping Sphere

1x Kaya, Orzhov Usurper

Top 8 - Lim Jay Vin

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Mono Green Devotion

 

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

The Great Henge - Nothing beats lifegain and card draw combination.

 

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

The Great Henge with Growth-Chamber Guardian synergy - saved my neck and won me

the game a few times today.

 

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

Flooding.

 

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

Facing off against 5 red creatures, the Great Henge and Growth-Chamber Guardian built me a formidable wall and drew into Ghalta for a turnaround win.

 

Theros spoilers are finished! What card from Theros: Beyond Death do you think can impact Pioneer, and why?

Heliod. Who doesn't know the 2-card combo with Walking Ballista by now?

 

Heliod is being ganked by the other gods for his misdeeds in Theros 1! Whose side are you on?

Heliod - have developed a love for lifegain and +1/+1 counters after playing my deck.

 

Mono-Green Devotion - Main Deck

15x Forest

1x Castle Garenbrig

2x Hashep Oasis

3x Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

4x Llanowar Elves

4x Elvish Mystic

4x Burning-Tree Emissary

4x Growth-Chamber Guardian

4x Lovestruck Beast//Heart's Desire

2x Rhonas the Indomitable

2x Surrak, the Hunt Caller

4x Steel Leaf Champion

1x Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig

3x Ghalta, Primal Hunger

3x Aspect of Hydra

4x The Great Henge

Sideboard

2x Roar of Challenge

2x Blossoming Defense

2x Heroic Intervention

2x Shifting Ceratops

2x Reclamation Sage

2x Prey Upon

2x Tormod's Crypt

1x Scavenging Ooze

Top 8 - Heng Chye Hwee

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
The Sorcerer's Apprentice

 

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

Darksteel Citadel. Because it is part one of the combo.

 

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

Stonecoil Serpent. Because it has reach. And trample. And protection from multicoloured.

 

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

Losing the dice roll.

 

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

Almost suiciding my Gingerbrute into a Monastery Swiftspear. [Editor's Note: Monastery Swiftspear has haste and can thus block Gingerbrute.]

 

Theros spoilers are finished! What card from Theros: Beyond Death do you think can impact Pioneer, and why?

Heliod.

 

Heliod is being ganked by the other gods for his misdeeds in Theros 1! Whose side are you on?

Why did you spoil me? I haven't watched it yet.

Izzet Ensoul Artifact - Main Deck

4x Darksteel Citadel

1x Island

1x Mountain

2x Mutavault

4x Shivan reef

3x Spire of Industry

4x Spirebluff Canal

2x Steam Vents

4x Bomat Courier

2x Emry, Lurker of the Loch

4x Gingerbrute

2x Hope of Ghirapur

4x Skilled Animator

4x Stonecoil Serpent

1x Metallic Rebuke

4x Shrapnel Blast

2x Stubborn Denial

2x Wild Slash

4x Ghostfire Blade

4x Ensoul Artifact

2x The Royal Scions

Sideboard

2x Karn, Scion of Urza

1x Damping Sphere

2x Aethersphere Harvester

2x Hangarback Walker

2x Aether Gust

2x Roast

2x Tormod's Crypt

1x Metallic Rebuke

1x Dive Down

Top 8 - Alex Keng

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Esper Doom

 

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

Doom Foretold, it's the namesake card. It poses so much dilemma for the opponent.

 

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

Trial of Ambition. It can be recurred with Starfield of Nyx and Teferi, Time Raveler.

Most of my matchups made it relevant to target the opponent over the creature too.

 

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

Land base is the issue, lost a crucial game due to having 3 ETB tapped lands.

 

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

Sided in Blightbeetle against Mono-Green in the hopes to chump block all day with its protection from green, but surprisingly it turned out to be really good against Growth-Chamber Guardian as well!

 

Theros spoilers are finished! What card from Theros: Beyond Death do you think can impact Pioneer, and why?

Many strong enchantments and/or creatures that enable synergies with the graveyard (i.e. the Elder Giants) that will potentially make Dredgeless Dredge stronger than it is now.

 

Heliod is being ganked by the other gods for his misdeeds in Theros 1! Whose side are you on?

Heliod lor.

Esper Doom Foretold - Main Deck

1x Castle Locthwain

2x Drowned Catacomb

2x Fabled Passage

3x Glacial Fortress

3x Godless Shrine

3x Hallowed Fountain

1x Island

1x Plains

2x Swamp

2x Temple of Silence

1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

3x Watery Grave

1x Obzedat, Ghost Council

2x Dance of the Manse

2x Fatal Push

3x Supreme Verdict

2x Thoughtseize

2x Cast Out

1x Demonic Pact

4x Doom Foretold

4x Oath of Kaya

1x Starfield of Nyx

2x Trial of Ambition

4x Golden Egg

2x Prophetic Prism

2x Narset, Parter of Veils

4x Teferi, Time Raveler

Sideboard

2x Aether Gust

1x Blightbeetle

2x Dovin's Veto

2x Duress

1x Fall of the Thran

3x Infernal Reckoning

1x Kaya, Orzhov Usurper

2x Noxious Grasp

1x Pithing Needle