Grand Prix D.C. — the Changing Face of Standard

May 24th, 2010 by Ed Grabianowski

Although I’m still here in D.C. (flight home leaves tomorrow), Grand Prix D.C. has come and gone. Who won? More importantly, what did he win with? Morer importantly, what vastly underrated Rise of the Eldrazi draft card did I stumble across?

The winner of Grand Prix D.C. was Brad Nelson. The deck he piloted was U/W Control, defeating Jund in the finals. The U/W control archetype was quite popular — I was testing my own take on it until the day before the GP, when I realized if I wasn’t going to be competitive (testing was not going well), I might as well play a fun deck. Two Rise of the Eldrazi cards had a big impact in making the control deck a major force in Standard again: Gideon Jura and Wall of Omens. To a lesser extent, Deprive made a showing, but a lot of the control decks were called “tap-out control,” with little to no countermagic. They really acted more like mid-range decks, winning with Baneslayer Angel, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, Gideon or Celestial Colonnade. Interested in trying this awesome new deck at your Friday Night Magic? It’ll cost you about $800.

I’m not exaggerating. Literally, $800.

There’s also a Naya deck making a strong push. It’s similar to earlier Naya and Boss Naya variants, but uses Vengevine to great effect (and to make it more expensive). An all-Planeswalker deck called Superfriends was the talk of the convention center the day before the GP, and a brutal combo deck using Sovereigns of Lost Alara and Eldrazi Conscription could blow some people out of the water as early as turn 3, though it didn’t make a major showing among the top finishers.

I played in four Rise of the Eldrazi drafts, and didn’t do especially well (although in one draft I had an incredible deck but made a terrible, terrible misplay in game three of the first round and lost). However, I discovered a card that not many players were drafting, but was incredibly effective. I was repeatedly passed Battle-Rattle Shamans late in draft rounds. Keep it in mind as a sleeper pick if you’re in red — I wouldn’t splash red just for him, but a pair of these drafted late can get you a win or two. It can be as simple as that one flier winning the life race with that extra +2/+0 each turn, or as brutal as a Rapacious One with a Hyena Umbra smashing through and over any defense, and giving you tons of mana and chump blockers.

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10 Responses to “Grand Prix D.C. — the Changing Face of Standard”

  1. Comment by ggodo

    Battle Rattle is a good Limited card in most formats, but it seems like it would be better in Rise where its slower. I certainly wouldn’t run it in Zendikar draft, but that is just so fast there’s nothing that can be done about it.I’m still trying to cobble together my strange Black Bloodchief Ascension deck before it rotates out of Standard. I wish Zendikar wasn’t so hard to find. I also wish that I knew anyone with the cards I want. Oh well, I just sold my Baneslayer Angel for $40 and bought the last five packs of Zendikar I’ll probably ever see. Sad, I really liked Zendikar.

  2. Comment by Ed Grabianowski

    http://www.trollandtoad.com/p248563.html

  3. Comment by ggodo

    Thanks, last time I checked TrollandToad it was +$100 for a box and far more expensive than my local shops. I also thought it was out of print. Apparently not. I gotta get me some of this.

  4. Comment by Ed Grabianowski

    What’s been happening in the last year (apparently due to Magic’s increased popularity) is that demand is outstripping supply when a set is first released. Distributors just can’t keep up, and retailers are selling out. That pushes prices up temporarily. Later, when attention moves on to another set, the price of the prior set settles back down to the usual MSRP.

    Zendikar is a great set, and it should be in stores for a few years. When people are picking a set for a friendly booster draft, I think it could be the set of choice for a long time.

  5. Comment by ggodo

    Also, do you have a decklist for that U/W control, because I think an $800 deck is hilarious, and simply must know it’s contents.

  6. Comment by ggodo

    It’s my set of choice, I’m trying to convince my friends to do another draft sometime soon, would rather do Zen than anything else on the market. It’s one of my favorite sets in a while.

  7. Comment by Ed Grabianowski

    2 Arid Mesa
    4 Celestial Colonnade
    4 Glacial Fortress
    7 Island
    5 Plains
    2 Sejiri Refuge
    2 Tectonic Edge
    4 Baneslayer Angel
    4 Wall of Omens
    3 Day of Judgment
    2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
    2 Everflowing Chalice
    2 Gideon Jura
    3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Martial Coup
    2 Mind Spring
    3 Oblivion Ring
    4 Path to Exile
    4 Spreading Seas

    Sideboard
    2 Celestial Purge
    1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
    1 Jace Beleren
    3 Kor Firewalker
    1 Kor Sanctifiers
    1 Martial Coup
    4 Negate
    1 Oblivion Ring
    1 Sphinx of Lost Truths

  8. Comment by ggodo

    Geez, that’s all sorts of hyper-expensive crazy. That’s a deck that I’ll never play. Who affords this stuff?

  9. Comment by Ed Grabianowski

    I have no idea. But I’m definitely retiring from “serious” Magic. Limited only for me from now on.

  10. Comment by ggodo

    I love Limited, that’s the strategies I study, then me and my friends play Two Headed Giant whenever possible. Team deckbuilding is awesome. Making two decks to work together and cherry picking the best of the multiplayer cards, it’s awesome.