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Red Bull Untapped Finals & Decklists

2019-08-05 | Share: Twitter | Reddit | WhatsApp

On the 4th of August 2019 Lino Burgold proved he is a MTG master. With Bant Scapeshift he took down Thomas Holzinger on Bant Ramp in the finals of the Red Bull Untapped tournament series. Red Bull invited players all around the world to compete in paper Modern tournaments to qualify for the top eight finals on Arena. I love the approach of Red Bull Untapped. It combines multiple formats and ways to play Magic. Paper magic isn't neglected while Arena is promoted too. To mix paper and digital Magic is something I want to see more often in the future.

Here's how the contenders finished (you can find Arena exportable lists on the bottom of this article):

  1. Lino Burgold - Bant Scapeshift
  2. Thomas Holzinger - Bant Ramp
  3. Javier Dominguez - Bant Scapeshift
  4. José Neves - Esper Hero
  5. Ricardo Beja - W/B Vampires
  6. Anton de Smet - Jund Dinosaurs
  7. Alex Majlaton - Bant Scapeshift
  8. Luca Simonato - Naya Feather

I think the deck choices of the players represent the current meta of Standard well. Also I like the deck diversity of Standard. It's a nice blend of controlling combo decks (Bant Scapeshift), aggressive decks (Jund Dinos, Naya Feather, W/B Vampires) and midrange style decks (Esper Hero, Bant Ramp). To expect more different top tier decks in Standard is utopian to me due to the small card pool of Standard.

Continuing with this article I want to talk about the winner's deck configuration in detail. The other decks I'll examine briefly.

The Winning Deck - Bant Scapeshift by Lino Burgold

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For everyone not familiar with Bant Scapeshift in Standard I'll explain it's main idea. You want to ramp to seven or more lands. Then you cast Scapeshift fetching at least seven lands with different names including Field of the Dead. Field of the Dead "sees" all lands entering the battlefield at the same time triggering seven times. The more lands you can fetch with Scapeshift the better. Especially when you have multiple copies of Field of the Dead on the board. For example: You sacrifice eight lands and get two copies of Field of the Dead plus six lands with different names. Each copy of Field of the Dead will be triggered eight times resulting in sixteen zombies. There are more ways - too many to list them all - in the deck to create zombies with Field of the Dead. Another important part of the deck is the interaction between Scapeshift and Teferi, Time Raveler. You can use the +1 ability of Teferi, Time Raveler to be able to cast Scapeshift in your opponent's end step. There are three reasons why this is powerful.

  1. Because your army of zombies is created in your opponent's turn they can immediately attack in yours.
  2. Scapeshift can't be countered because of the passive ability of Teferi, Time Raveler.
  3. Flame Sweep can't be cast as an answer to your zombies thanks to the passive ability of Teferi, Time Raveler.

The core of the deck is similar for all Bant Scapeshift decks in the top eight. The flexible slots of the deck are:

  • The choice between Deputy of Detention (Javier Dominguez, Alex Majlaton) and Time Wipe (Lino Burgold)
  • The amount of copies of Arboreal Grazer
  • Whether to include Grow from the Ashes (only Alex Majlaton didn't play it)

I think Lino Burgold used Time Wipe in the mainboard to have a better answer against the aggressive, creature based decks of the format. This is a smart call because the current meta decks win by attacking with creatures. Admittedly Deputy of Detention is able to hit all non-land permanent types but can't always clear the board of a horde of attackers threatening to kill you. That's why I think Time Wipe is currently the better safety line than Deputy of Detention. When you're playing against a deck that presents non-creature threats that need to be dealt with you can board in Deputy of Detention.

To omit Grow from the Ashes in Bant Scapeshift is a mistake. Lino Burgold seems to think so too. The more ramp is at your disposal the quicker you can assemble enough lands to activate Field of the Dead. At three mana Grow from the Ashes fits into the curve nicely. At five mana you can maximize the card. With Field of the Dead activated it basically turns into a five mana sorcery putting two lands and zombies into play.

What made Lino Burgold's version of Bant Scapeshift better than others is his sideboard. I already talked about the decision between Time Wipe and Deputy of Detention. It's a smart call to put the Deputies in the sideboard to replace Baffling End. Veil of Summer is just a great answer to decks using counter spells, black removal and hand disruption (e.g. Thought Erasure, Duress), or control magic (e.g. Mass Manipulation). Aether Gust is a powerful speed bump against aggressive decks such as Naya Feather or Jund Dinosaurs. Shifting Ceratops plays well against Teferi, Time Raveler, Deputy of Detention and control magic. In addition the dino can beat down slow opponents. Dovin's Veto doesn't need much explaining. It reliably counters opposing planeswalkers, sweepers or specific sideboard hate against Bant Scapeshift (e.g. Unmoored Ego, Alpine Moon). Ashiok, Dream Renderer comes in when playing the mirror match. She does a good job shutting down Scapeshift, Grow from the Ashes and Circuitous Route. Lastly there is Finale of Glory. It's an alternative win condition when your opponent could play Unmoored Ego to remove all of your copies of Field of the Dead. Conveniently Bant Scapeshift is also a ramp deck able to produce lots of for Finale of Glory.

The Other Decks

  • Orzhov Vampires: Basically it's a deck relying on cheap creatures to develop a respectable board in a few turn. Your rather small beaters can be pumped by Legion Lieutenant or trigger Sanctum Seeker for an even faster beat-down. Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord pushes the deck over the top right into tier one. He grows your vampires, he brings removal and reach, and his -3 ability is incredibly powerful. To put Champion of Dusk into play on turn three is often lights out for your opponent. It's a respectable creature that draws cards equal to the number of vampires you control. This is important to refuel your hand to keep pressuring your opponent. When your deck is humming your first three turns look like this: 1) Play a vampire for one mana. 2) Play a vampire for two mana. 3) Play Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord putting Champion of Dusk into play drawing three cards. From there on your probability of winning is very high.
  • Jund Dinosaurs: The way this deck wins is to put a mana accelerating creature into play on turn two. In the best case it's Marauding Raptor because it grows into a huge attacker every time a dinosaur enters the battlefield. Then play huge dinos for cheap killing your opponent in a few attack steps.
  • Naya Feather: It's an aggro deck that feels like a combo deck once it gets rolling. Tenth-District Legionnaire is the ideal target for your pump and protection spells. Every time you target this creature with a spell (also Reckless Rage) it gets a +1/+1 counter. If Feather, the Redeemed is in play you get your pump spells back to loop them in all of your coming turns. Dreadhorde Arcanist enables you to replay your one mana instants and sorceries from your graveyard. If Feather, the Redeemed is in play you'll get the returned spells back into your hand. The synergy between the three creatures I talked about and the spells targeting them is just powerful and fun to play.
  • Esper Hero: This deck should be well known by now. With the release of M20 it didn't really evolve except for Tomebound Lich in the mainboard and some M20 cards in the sideboard. The deck is a mixture of a midrange and control deck. It's composed to be able to beat all currently existing Standard decks without being a clear favorite against any of them. When you're a master of the deck it will reward you with a high win rate because you can win against every other deck.
  • Bant Ramp: I like this deck. It uses elementals and Risen Reef to construct a satisfying card draw and ramping machine. It creates huge amounts of mana - especially with Nissa, Who Shakes the World - to cast a giant Hydroid-Krasis, Voracious Hydra or Finale of Glory. The removal as well as the sideboard lines up with the rest of the format making it a very good deck choice.

Arena Exportable Decks

You can find the Arena exportable decks here:

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