The Aftermath of Pro Tour Vancouver

Pro Tour Vancouver is now in the books and the decks that rose to the top are not exactly what many people would have expected. Find out some of the hot new tech to come out of the Pro Tour, and see if there are any decks that get you super excited for the upcoming Standard PPTQ season starting in a few weeks.

The biggest deck at the Pro Tour, to the surprise of very few, was mono red aggro. The big surprise were a few of the key players in the deck that many did not anticipate….

Mono Red Aggro (Joel Larsson) (39)
Abbot of Keral Keep
Firedrinker Satyr
Lightning Berserker
Monastery Swiftspear
Zurgo Bellstriker
Exquisite Firecraft
Fiery Impulse
Lightning Strike
Searing Blood
Stoke the Flames
Wild Slash

Land (21)
21 Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Chandra, Pyromaster
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Satyr Firedancer
Arc Lightning

While many were quick to look to cards like Exquisite Firecraft along with the burn spells we’ve become accustomed to over the past few months, the biggest addition to the deck was Abbot of Keral Keep. Not only did this give the deck another early Prowess creature to attack with, it’s one of the few forms of card advantage that mono red decks have at this point. A lot of pros were super into this card during spoiler season, but it was met with mediocre demand that kept the price low at first. No more, as the card has since almost tripled in price since before the Pro Tour, and others in the deck have also seen a quick rise.

While mono red was the deck that put the most people in the top 8 and ended up winning the entire thing, it certainly was not the deck that got me the most excited. Our next entry also made it to the finals, until very recently would have been considered a budget deck, and looked super powerful on camera all throughout the event.

Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact (Mike Sigrist) (39)
Chief of the Foundry
Hangarback Walker
Phyrexian Revoker
Whirler Rogue
Collateral Damage
Shrapnel Blast
Stubborn Denial
Ghostfire Blade
Springleaf Drum
Ensoul Artifact

Land (21)
Darksteel Citadel
Foundry of the Consuls
Mana Confluence
Shivan Reef
Temple of Epiphany
Sideboard (15)
Disdainful Stroke
Rending Volley
Seismic Rupture
Thopter Spy Network

This deck has many similarities to the mono red deck, in that it can get a lot of early damage in and then finish opponent’s off with burn (though much less overall). Whirler Rogue helps make sure you can get your guys in, maindeck Phyrexian Revoker can be a nuisance to a number of planeswalkers, and the power of Hangarback Walker has become very apparent lately (increasing to almost 10 times it’s preorder price). Ghostfire Blade and Ensoul Artifact do much of the heavy lifting as far as reducing your opponent’s life total to 0, but the deck seems very capable of grinding out long games with flying creatures and unblockable attacks.

The final deck I wanted to showcase was built on the power of one of Origins’ black mythics that almost nobody thought would be any good. Demonic Pact has the possibility of just costing you the game, but the card looked very impressive on camera and the deck looks like tons of fun to play.

Black-Green Demonic Pact (Antonio Del Moral Leon) (34)
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Reclamation Sage
Invasive Species
Den Protector
Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Courser of Kruphix
Woodland Bellower
Read the Bones
Ultimate Price
Bile Blight
Hero’s Downfall
Demonic Pact

Land (26)
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Haven of the Spirit Dragon
Opulent Palace
Temple of Mystery
Temple of Silence
Llanowar Wastes
Jungle Hollow
Temple of Malady
Sideboard (15)
Read the Bones
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Nissa, Worldwaker
Back to Nature
Agent of Erebos
Drown in Sorrow
Crux of Fate
Liliana Vess
Stain the Mind

I think the real beauty of this deck is that, to my knowledge, it was a complete rogue brew brought by a single person. There was no team behind refining the list to be the best it could be, it was a single man’s passion to play what he liked. I am super excited to see what the community does now that it has been shown that Demonic Pact can be a real player. There are also tons of options for adding a third color, as either Abzan or Sultai give flexible spells that can destroy your pact if necessary (Dromoka’s Command and Sultai Charm). Now I just wish I’d been smart enough to follow the advise I found online last week naming Demonic Pact as one of the best speculation targets going into the Pro Tour….

Chris Wendelboe

Chris is a level 2 judge from Ashland, New Hampshire. He enjoys Scapeshift, modern, and putting on the best events possible.