Rumblings in the Magic: The Gathering community have surfaced regarding the Standard metagame reverting back to Esper and Mono-Red Aggro (pre M20). But the Denver Grand Prix proved that this isn’t the case.
The top eight of the MTG Grand Prix main event at Denver showcased four Bant Scapeshift decks (LSV’s winning deck), along with a single version of Boros Feather (Hunter Cochran), Jeskai Superfriends (Drew Stewart), Simic Nexus (Gregg Keithley), and Orzhov Vampires (Eric Hawkins).
The true power of Bant Scapeshift comes from the combo of Scapeshift and Field of the Dead. When used together, with seven or more lands, the combo creates a horde of two/two black zombie creature tokens—one for each land put into play.
Getting lands onto the battlefield as quickly as possible is the main purpose of the Bant Scapeshift deck. This is accomplished through Arboreal Grazer, Elvish Rejuvenator, Circuitous Route, Grow from the Ashes, and Growth Spiral.
Providing protection while stacking lands is also imperative. Using cards like Hydroid Krasis provides a beefy flyer with card draw while Teferi, Time Raveler controls the board state.
For many, the biggest surprise on this list is Orzhov Vampires. Jumping to the top of the metagame following the release of M20, the archetype was predicted to slip back to a tier-two status. And yet it continues to land in the top eight against decks that should destroy it.
The key to Orzhov Vampires is the M20 planeswalker, Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord. Placing vamps onto the battlefield for no mana cost (minus three) while beefing up with his plus-one, Sorin has given the Orzhov Vampire deck new life. In addition, Adanto Vanguard provides early aggro attacks while Knight of Ebon Legion continues to make the deck better than it ever was before.
Finishing second at the MTG Denver Grand Prix, Keithley and his Simic Nexus deck continued to prove that Nexus of Fate still works in the current Standard meta. The only M20 card added to the main deck is Drawn from Dreams. His sideboard, however, featured M20 cards like Aether Gust, Cerulean Drake, and Veil of Summer.
Of all the new archetypes popping up in the Standard metagame following the release of M20, Feather is by far the most enjoyable for those who like to punch opponents in the face every chance they get.
Many tried to get Feather, the Redeemed to work with War of the Spark, but couldn’t. Thanks to the addition of Dreadhorde Arcanest from M20, it’s now a tier-one deck in Standard. The other component that keeps this deck alive is the instant Gods Willing in the main deck and Fry in the sideboard.
Maybe it’s the instability of the meta or perhaps Jeskai Superfriends is still a top deck in Standard. Stewarts Grand Prix deck showcases all the top planeswalkers, including the addition of Chandra, Awakened Inferno. Other cards from M20 being used in the sideboard include Aether Gust and Fry.
Jeskai Superfriends is powered by three main War of the Spark planeswalkers: Teferi, Time Raveler, Narset, Parter of Veils, and Sarkhan the Masterless. Without a way to stop these three from working together, Jeskai Superfriends takes control and hits hard.
The next major Magic: The Gathering event is Mythic Championship IV, which will take place in Barcelona from July 26 to 28, featuring the Modern Format.