All the American names are here, and they’ve brought their A-game to the first big Eventide-legal Standard tournament on our soil. So what’s the pros’ take on the Standard format? Does Eventide provide that one hidden answer to the Faerie menace?
From some quick interviews, it seems like many pros are a bit skeptical of Eventide's impact on the format thus far, and would answer in the negative. It’s hard to dismiss that opinion at first, as there haven’t been any splashy new archetypes debuted today. But some digging unearths a few interesting finds. Eventide's influence is subdued, but it’s definitely having an impact.
Steve Sadin, Chris Lachmann and Jacob Van Lunen (or "Lach & Lude"), all playing the Swans combo deck (with records of 1-1, 2-0, and 2-0 respectively), are only looking for lands, but a new filter land for their awful mess of colors certainly takes some of the stress off Lotus Bloom. Cascade Bluffs is also showing up in those myriad Cryptic Command decks looking for a little red in their life.
Past the ubiquitous new enemy duals, the most prevalent card is Figure of Destiny. Single-handedly tripling the popularity of Mono-Red, Figure of Destiny is proving itself to be a thorn in everyone’s side. Kyle Sanchez, piloting his token Zur deck, was dispatched handily in Round 2 on the back of a few Figures (and more than a fair share of Flame Javelins). Coupled with Stigma Lasher, Magus of the Moon, and some Demigod of Revenges, Figure of Destiny will be a mainstay throughout this weekend, though most pros don’t think Mono-Red has the legs to compete in the later rounds. But the power of the self-pumping maniac doesn’t stop there. It appears Tim Aten has taken a cue from the red-lovers and fought valiantly against David Williams (sporting an unusually typical green-black Rock deck) with his Plains- and Avatar-powered Kithkin deck.
Though there might not be an obvious Faerie-stomper in Eventide, Kyle Sanchez, Gerard Fabiano, and Gadiel Szleifer, all playing "Zur.awesome," have found a new buddy in Rise of the Hobgoblins. It may not scream "GG," but the Faerie game seems to end pretty quickly after the hybrid red-white enchantment comes down... along with six or seven first-striking Goblins. As a little aside: Gerard has officially called himself in the Top 8—you heard it here first. With all his gushing praise of that deck, I kind of want to play it myself.
Wake Thrasher is an obvious include in Merfolk, which seems to be performing well so far. Though not a lot of people are playing the deck, a bunch of them are hanging around the top tables (but again, it’s a deck the pros seem to be avoiding). Specifically, Ben Lundquist and his Cryptic Commands and Kitchen Finks were having a large problem with the islandwalking Lord of Atlantis and tap-happy Merrow Reejerey.
So, at first glance, the biggest impacts from Eventide seem to be the filter lands, Figure of Destiny, Wake Thrasher, Stigma Lasher, and Rise of the Hobgoblins. But there may be a few cards yet to show themselves. I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t mention the Nettle Sentinels floating around. And the big surprise (I almost don’t want to write it) is Patrick Chapin’s Nucklavee.
The Anarchist-Scrivener-in-a-blender is offering massive card advantage to his Neo-Teachings deck. It looks very interesting, but he was one of the many pros taken down a peg by Figure of Destiny and Mono-Red. Will this be the time when the red deck can finally win again in a Standard environment? A few more rounds will answer that more definitively, as the massive amounts of Faerie Rogue tokens seems ever-growing, but it looks like though Eventide hasn’t offered us any new archetypes thus far, it might just have a few tricks up its hybrid sleeve.