In the last competitive season on Magic Arena, I obtained Mythic rank in both Constructed and Limited. While Limited was dictated by the format that the client presented, Constructed was dictated by the tier 1 metagame that changed from week to week and even day to day.

Getting ready for the AMCQ

Finding a deck that beats the top metagame

Hero of Precinct One from Ravnica Allegiance

Hero of Precinct One from Ravnica Allegiance

I talked a lot with Thiago Rodrigues, who is the one who posts social media updates for our team when we play our hearts out at the Mythic Championship. We were kind of at the same place and mindset going into the AMCQ, the Arena Mythic Champions Qualifier. We had to be able to win against Red, and we had to have a 50/50 MU against the Dreadhorde deck. And so, the tuning began, from an original Esper Hero created by Gerry Thompson. I had already made minor changes during my grind to Mythic on the Constructed ladder, but with our expected metagame in mind, we came to the following list.

Esper Midrange by Michael Bonde

Creatures (12)
Hero of Precinct One
Thief of Sanity
Deputy of Detention
Basilica Bell-Haunt

Spells (22)
Thought Erasure
Mortify
Duress
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
Oath of Kaya
Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord
Teferi, Time Raveler
Tyrant’s Scorn
Vraska’s Contempt
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Lands (26)
Island
Swamp
Glacial Fortress
Hallowed Fountain
Godless Shrine
Watery Grave
Drowned Catacomb
Isolated Chapel

Sideboard (15)
Narset, Parter of Veils
Lyra Dawnbringer
Search for Azcanta
God-Eternal Kefnet
The Elderspell
Dovin’s Veto
Basilica Bell-Haunt
Hostage Taker
Disdainful Stroke

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The Current Standard

Innovation gets rewarded

Oath of Kaya from War of the Spark

Oath of Kaya from War of the Spark

Standard is in a sweet spot, where if you have the time to innovate, you really get rewarded. On top of that, to be able to innovate its takes hours of grinding, to understand how the different decks interact, and then find a hole in the meta, that you can exploit. This also takes a lot of understanding of the available card pool that is available. The people who are good at this impress me a lot. I am more of a player and tuner, so I stuck to a tested shell and tried to optimize it for what we expected.

The deck did extremely well. Thiago had a 10-0 run, prior to registration of the deck, and myself on a 11-1 record in Bo3 against Monored. As always, our sample size with the specific version or games played in general isn’t going to be enough in any way – but playing the games, you get some knowledge about how the “good” draws play out against each other. If my Monored opponents never stumble and pretty much play their strategy perfectly, and I still win with medium, medium+ or good draws, then you can start to make some assumptions. And with more time, tries and tests, you find out if it’s actually the case. But with time of the essence, we submitted the above deck and did poorly because we lost to non-Jeskai planeswalker control, which seems to be the bane of this deck.

Going forward, this deck is still a very solid deck to play on the ladder, until Mythic at least, since it crushes almost every aggressive strategy and plays well against most non-control decks. Cutting a few of the stabilizer cards in the sideboard going forward could be a thing to do to beat planeswalkers.

One thing you could also do, is turn to the enemy and tune the deck in a bit different direction like our own Mage hero Martin Müller. He decided to go with 0 Thief of SanityThief of Sanity and a bit more grindy shell, which did impressive work. For more information about this deck, I would advise you to check him out on twitter and twitch and give him the appreciation that he deserves for his innovation.

Sideboard Guide

How to fight the metagame

If you choose to stick with my approach, here is a sideboard guide for the most popular matchups.

Narset, Parter of Veils from War of the Spark

Narset, Parter of Veils from War of the Spark

Sideboard against Esper

Sideboard In (9)
Disdainful Stroke
Search for Azcanta
The Elderspell
Dovin’s Veto
Narset, Parter of Veils
God-Eternal Kefnet
Sideboard Out (9)
Tyrant's Scorn
Deputy of Detention
Mortify
Basilica Bell-Haunt

Sideboard against Monored

Sideboard In (6)
Lyra Dawnbringer
Hostage Taker
Basilica Bell-Haunt
Sideboard Out (6)
Duress
Thief of Sanity
Lyra Dawnbringer from Dominaria

Lyra Dawnbringer from Dominaria

Sideboard against MonoWhite

Sideboard In (6)
Lyra Dawnbringer
Hostage Taker
Basilica Bell-Haunt
Sideboard Out (6)
Duress
Thief of Sanity

Sideboard against Dreadhorde

Sideboard In (4)
Disdainful Stroke
Search for Azcanta
The Elderspell
Sideboard Out (4)
Oath of Kaya
Deputy of Detention
Basilica Bell-Haunt
God-Eternal Kefnet from War of the Spark

God-Eternal Kefnet from War of the Spark

Sideboard against Phoenix

Sideboard In (7)
Narset, Parter of Veils
God-Eternal Kefnet
Hostage Taker
Lyra Dawnbringer
Sideboard Out (7)
Tyrant's Scorn
Basilica Bell-Haunt
Deputy of Detention

Sideboard against Jeskai

Sideboard In (8)
Disdainful Stroke
Search for Azcanta
The Elderspell
Dovin’s Veto
Narset, Parter of Veils
Sideboard Out (8)
Basilica Bell-Haunt
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
Tyrant's Scorn
Mortify
Deputy of Detention
Hostage Taker from Ixalan

Hostage Taker from Ixalan

Sideboard against Gruul

Sideboard In (7)
Hostage Taker
Lyra Dawnbringer
Basilica Bell-Haunt
God-Eternal Kefnet
Sideboard Out (7)
Thief of Sanity
Thought Erasure
Duress

That was it for now, if you need any help with grinding online or just with upcoming tournaments, tune in next time I stream, and I’ll try to give my 2 cents! Until next time – I hope that you get to Mythic rank at #69

 

This article was written by Michael Bonde in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com