What a great week for Magic the Gathering! Last weekend saw the prerelease of Modern Horizons, major standard events with the Star City Games Invitational, Star City Games Summer Championship, Grand Prix Taipei, and two Mythic Championship Qualifiers. Plus, on Tuesday we got our first look at Core Set 2020 with the preview of three new Chandra Nalaars. Based on the released information about the set, Core Set 2020 will explore Chandra’s history from acolyte to Awakened Inferno. You can find out more about these new planeswalkers here.

The five major standard tournaments produced an interesting variety of results. On Friday, June 7th, the Mythic Championship Qualifier in Roanoke was won by Even Lee piloting a Sultai Dreadhorde deck. You can look at the deck here.

Sultai Dreadhorde, by Evan Lee 1st place at a tournament in Roanoke, Virginia, United States on 2019-06-07

Creatures (22)
Hostage Taker
Hydroid Krasis
Jadelight Ranger
Llanowar Elves
Merfolk Branchwalker
Wildgrowth Walker

Instants (3)
Assassin’s Trophy

Legendary Planeswalkers (8)
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
Vraska, Golgari Queen

Sorceries (3)
Command the Dreadhorde

Lands (24)
Forest
Breeding Pool
Drowned Catacomb
Hinterland Harbor
Overgrown Tomb
Watery Grave
Woodland Cemetery
Sideboard: (15)
Ripjaw Raptor
Thrashing Brontodon
Cast Down
Negate
Cry of the Carnarium
Duress
The Elderspell

Earlier in the day, Mythic Champioship Qualifier Taipei was won by Kevin Anctil piloting a Bant Ramp deck that is listed below.

Bant Ramp, Kevin Anctil, 1st place at MCQ Taipei

Lands (26)
x Glacial Fortress
x Hinterland Harbor
x Temple Garden
x Hallowed Fountain
x Breeding Pool
x Forest
x Island

Creatures (22)
x Llanowar Elves
x Paradise Druid
x Incubation Druid
x Hydroid Krasis
x Ripjaw Raptor
x Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves
x Lyra Dawnbringer
x Shalai, Voice of Plenty

Spells (12)
x Nissa, Who Shakes the World
x Teferi, Time Raveler
x Mass Manipulation
x Entrancing Melody
Sideboard (15)
x Negate
x Ripjaw Raptor
x Lyra Dawnbringer
x Thorn Lieutenant
x Deputy of Detention
x Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves
x River's Rebuke
x Frilled Mystic
x Mass Manipulation

At Grand Prix Taipei, a second Bant Ramp deck piloted by Kim Seok Hyun won. Kim’s deck centered around the use of Mass Manipulation. Here’s the deck.

Bant Ramp Kim Seok Hyun 1st Place at Grand Prix on 6/8/2019

Creatures (19)
Frilled Mystic
Hydroid Krasis
Incubation Druid
Llanowar Elves
Paradise Druid
Shalai, Voice of Plenty

Planeswalkers (8)
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Teferi, Time Raveler

Lands (25)
Forest
Island
Breeding Pool
Glacial Fortress
Hallowed Fountain
Hinterland Harbor
Sunpetal Grove
Temple Garden

Spells (8)
The Immortal Sun
Entrancing Melody
Finale of Glory
Mass Manipulation
Time Wipe
Sideboard (15)
Ripjaw Raptor
Thrashing Brontodon
Ixalan’s Binding
Negate
The Immortal Sun
Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves
Trostani Discordant
Entrancing Melody

Back in Roanoke, Star City Games Summer Championship was won by Jonathan Blank and his Simic Mass Manipulation deck that is listed below:

Simic Mass Manipulation Jonathan Blank 1st Place at Summer Championship on 6/9/2019

Creatures (22)
Frilled Mystic
Hydroid Krasis
Incubation Druid
Llanowar Elves
Paradise Druid
Ripjaw Raptor

Planeswalkers (4)
Nissa, Who Shakes the World

Lands (26)
10 Forest
Island
Breeding Pool
Hinterland Harbor
Simic Guildgate

Spells (8)
Growth Spiral
Entrancing Melody
Mass Manipulation
Sideboard (15)
Frilled Mystic
Thrashing Brontodon
Negate
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
Vivien Reid
Entrancing Melody

Finally, Collin Roundtree won the Star City Games Invitational with his Esper Superheroes deck.

Esper Superheroes Collin Rountree 1st Place at Star City Games Invitational on 6/7/2019

Creatures (8)
Basilica Bell-Haunt
Hero of Precinct One

Planeswalkers (12)
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Narset, Parter of Veils
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Teferi, Time Raveler

Lands (26)
Plains
Swamp
Drowned Catacomb
Glacial Fortress
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Isolated Chapel
Watery Grave

Spells (14)
Cast Down
Despark
Tyrant’s Scorn
Oath of Kaya
Command the Dreadhorde
The Elderspell
Thought Erasure
Sideboard (15)
Ixalan’s Binding
Cast Down
Despark
Lyra Dawnbringer
Command the Dreadhorde
Duress
Kaya’s Wrath
The Elderspell

Here are my take a way from the weekend. First, the overall metagame is at a great place with over a dozen Tier 1 decks that can win a tournament from one week to the next. It has been a long time since standard has had this level of competitive diversity. Each week players tweak decks to fine tone them for the current metagame. Making this an exciting time to play standard.

Second, this week’s breakout card was Mass Manipulation. With so many games going long, Mass Manipulation makes a lot of sense. The card lets you take control of a few your opponent’s creatures and/or planeswalkers. The card costs four blue mana plus X mana for each creature and/or planeswalker you take control of when it is cast. In the matches I have seen and played, having eight to ten mana in the late game. This commonly occurs and the ability to take control of a significant portion of your opponent’s board crippling an opponent. It will be interesting to see if more counter spells enter the format to limit the power of Mass Manipulation.

Third, the Ixalan explore package continues to play a key role in a few strategies. When you look deeper into last weekends results, you will find the package all over the format. I expect it to remain a strong strategy until rotation this fall.

Finally, Bant Midrange/Ramp/Mass Manipulation had twelve decks place in the Top 8 or Top 16 this past weekend. Bant’s ability to produce large quantities of mana from mana dorks and with Nissa, Who Shakes the World makes the decks explosive.

Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!