Mat Bimonte: Standard is Great Again

A lot of time has passed since I’ve done an article about Standard.

Felidar Guardian is banned, Amonkhet is released, and Standard has been turned on its head. We’ve had an SCG Open, and a new, innovative deck called “Mardu Vehicles” took down the event.

OK, OK, all snarkiness aside, Standard has been pretty awesome for a while now, and the banning of Felidar Guardian in theory leaves the format more wide open than it was.

Let’s start with the early bogeyman of the format:



Mardu Vehicles, or Vehicle if you will, is a deck I often joke as being the best aggro deck, the best midrange deck, and best control deck in the format. I’m not entirely sure that it’s a joke at this point. Obviously the aggressive strategy is plan A, but the deck often transitions into Gideon/Avacyn Midrange to slam the door on our opponents. You can also easily see that in the sideboard of this configuration, the planeswalker package and more removal lets us go over the top of decks trying to be faster than us.

Send Help!

Breathe, everything is going to be ok (I hope). I’ve found the other mistake card! Aetherworks Marvel has been busted in half since the second it was spoiled. I would be very surprised to not see a big team playing this card over the weekend. This is basically the stock list currently, and it does very powerful things.


One big omission from this deck is Dissenter’s Deliverance. Not only does it kill Scrapheap Scrounger and Heart of Kiran, it just exchanges itself for a new card when it is bad, and obviously digging through your deck is big game in this particular deck.

An interesting addition to this deck is Pull From Tomorrow, which could be the breakout card from Pro Tour Amonkhet if someone figures out how to best maneuver into a control deck.

Speaking of control, I really liked where Aaron Barich started a few weeks ago with this U/W list. Although not utilizing Red or Black could be a mistake, there is something to be said about being a fluid two-color deck. Here is his list for reference:


This deck is really something. It certainly churns through its deck at a pretty rapid rate, and even the win condition is able to be cycled away when you don’t need it, or don’t need extra copies. Props to Aaron for finding a reasonable foundation for the Pro Tour teams to check out.

One last deck I want to look at is Jim Davis’s U/B Control deck from a few months ago, which could be updated with Pull from Tomorrow. Here is where he was:


Now obviously the format is a little different, but I think the core idea is still fine. A card I would like to explore more as a win condition is Metallurgic Summonings. That card was a powerhouse in this type of shell, and I also wouldn’t be surprised to see it take off. This deck gets some pretty clear upgrades in the cycle lands, new win cons to explore, and card such as Never // Return and Censor, but it remains to be seen if this type of strategy can be good.

Wrap Up

I went from almost zero chance of watching Pro Tour Amonkhet, to almost zero chance of missing a Standard match. Shaking things up is both good and bad for the game — which is a whole different can of worms — but I am more excited about this Pro Tour than I have been in a while. Will Mardu Vehicles be heavily played? Almost certainly. This doesn’t mean teams aren’t gunning for it, so it will be interesting to see where they land this weekend, and how the format evolves.

Are there cards you think will break out this weekend?

Are there decks you have been testing that seem good in the format?

Drop me some comments below, or come see me this weekend at the Modern NRG CTQ in Normal, Illinois at Collectible Corner, and let’s chat!

Thanks for stopping by,

Mat Bimonte

Mat Bimonte first picked up the game during Theros block, but already has a Modern 5K championship under his belt, as well as a number of smaller Standard tournament wins. Based out of Bloomington, Ill., Mat is a regular on the SCG Tour, with future aspirations of qualifying for the Pro Tour.

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Mat Bimonte