Going for the Gold: The Breakout Deck of GP Denver
GP Denver and Madrid are coming up this weekend and mark my words, RG Aetherworks will be the “breakout deck” of the entire tournament. If you’ve been on Magic Online or watching Twitch streamers in the past week, the deck has picked up a lot of momentum since Jabberwocki used it to win the Standard showdown and finish in the Top 4 of the Magic Online Standard PTQ. Aether Marvelworks still offers the most powerful play in Standard when it is able to hit an Emrakul, the Promised End or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.
But wait…How can it be a breakout deck, if it’s already dominating Magic Online? Well, it’s not considered a breakout deck until it dominates a Grand Prix or Pro Tour. Since everyone is testing it on Magic Online, it will be the “new contender” come Saturday. This deck really only has 2 bad matchups:
1) UW Flash (depending on how game 2 and 3 configurations are)
2) RG Energy Aggro (combo version)
RG Aetherworks being weak to UW Flash is enough to keep me from picking up the deck, but a majority of the UW Flash decks have been reducing the number of counterspells in their sideboard, which originally made them successful versus this type of combo deck. If that trend continues, then RG Aetherworks will find itself stealing many games from UW Flash players this weekend. If you are playing in all 15 swiss rounds, you can expect to play UW Flash between 4-5 times.
So here’s my Public Service Announcement: If you are playing UW Flash this weekend, ensure that you are running 2 Negates, 4 Spell Shrivels in your 75.
Okay I’ve done my part, so let’s move onto the actual deck:
RG Aetherworks by Jabberwocki
Here is the breakdown of the deck and why it is positioned well currently in the format:
Aetherworks Marvel – The most powerful card in the format, and the engine behind this deck. It’s ability to cast spells (from the top six of the deck) is highly variant and can lead to “Collected Company syndrome”, where one of the 2 players is always upset by the outcome. Despite this, the payoff is so great that it can usually easily the game on turn 4.
Attune with Aether – card that is able to provide mana fixing and 2 energy for a very low cost. (1/3rd of an Aetherworks Marvel activation)
Chandra, Torch of Defiance – card draw engine that allows you to cast Emrakul, the Promised End much earlier on some boards. It also gives you another way to interact with Spell Queller.
Tormenting Voice – having discussed this with Jabberwocki, he mentioned that this was superior to Cathartic Reunion since it allows you to plan out the game better.
Harnessed Lightning – one of the best removal spells in the format, only rivalled by Stasis Snare and Grasp of Darkness. Spell Queller continues to be a nightmare for Aetherworks decks and Harnessed Lightning is a solid answer to protect the most important card in the deck.
Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot – not spectacular but gains 6 life and 6 energy for a relatively low investment. In the presence of Aetherworks Marvel, this is a great top-deck. Without it, this card is unplayable and one of the worst top-decks.
Vessel of Nascency – fuels delirium to help cast Emrakul, the Promised End earlier but is also able to find Chandra, Torch of Defiance ,Ishkanah, Grafwidow and Aetherworks Marvel
Kozilek’s Return – The sweeper of choice in this format and one of the most versatile cards in the format. Your opponent has to choose to respond to the trigger before you decide to use it, which puts you in a very favourable position.
Servant of the Conduit – the mana ramp creature of the format that comes with 3 energy and half of the requisite mana to spin the wheel on Aetherworks Marvel. Depending on the texture of the matchup or the board, it can be right to use it for mana and other times it is right to chump block and buy time.
Ishkanah, Grafwidow – A threat that can take over the game by itself, and buys a lot of time versus UW Flash. Aether Hub and Servant of the Conduit, allow you to use the drain ability of the Spider without a real black mana source in the deck.
Emrakul, the Promised End – the biggest reason to play a control deck in this format, and a Mindslaver on a 13/13 flying trampler has proven to be outrageously good in Standard. Being able to cheat this in as early as turn 4 has made this deck viable. Unlike most of the original Aetherworks Marvel decks, this deck is able to reduce Emrakul, the Promised End's cost greatly and play it earlier due to Chandra, Torch of Defiance.
Tireless Tracker – a great midrange sideboard card that allows you to keep pace against opponents who are looking to disrupt your main game plan. Usually unexpected until the decklist was public but now this forces your opponent to keep in a lot of removal that would otherwise be ineffective against the deck.
Tears of Valakut – these are extra answers to Spell Queller that cannot be countered and other threats out of the UW flash deck
Natural State – a great answer to Stasis Snare (4 of in a typical UW flash deck) and Smuggler’s Copter for a very low investment.
Nissa, Vital Force, World Breaker & Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger – extra threats to bring in against disruption to help increase the potency of Aetherworks Marvel
This deck is definitely the real deal and you should have a plan to beat it if you are not playing it. I hope that reading this article has explained the fundamentals of the deck to you . Good luck at whichever Grand Prix you attend this weekend and if you are absolutely not going to play UW flash, you could do a lot worse than RG Marvelworks.
Until next time,