Hello my fellow Zoners! Standard has been on a real rollercoaster ride these last couple of months. After Worlds in Hawaii, it seemed like UW had a stranglehold on the format and we were in for a dull March forward until the next set was released. Little did we know that Dreamhack Anaheim would unleash Temur Clover on the unsuspecting control mages and open Pandora’s box, leading to a metagame the likes of which we haven’t seen in years. I mean, I knew because I played Clover in Anaheim ;). But, even I didn’t see the ramifications of what was to come in a format no longer kept in check by UW.
While the Azorius menace has been sidelined, with the introduction of bad matchups and being forced to stretch itself in too many different directions at once. As a result, we’ve seen the format open wide. In this past week of qualifiers, Jeskai Fires returned to dominance, only to immediately be countered by three color control decks like Bant Ramp, Temur Rec, and the new kid on the block, Sultai Ramp. We’ve also seen new takes on old strategies like Mono Green and Selesnya Aggro. This is where I’ve found my new home, with the resurgence of my favorite archetype of the last two years: Simic Flash.
With that, I present to you my GP-Qualifying deck, affectionately named Goose-Goose-Go:
This deck was originally built to prey upon Jeskai Fires from a format ago; Jeskai hasn’t changed much since then so the match up is still great. All of the three color go-big decks are also good matchups, minus Clover which I suspect is a bad one; that being said I have yet to lose a game to it.
This list is very similar to older versions of UG Flash, but with some important distinctions. First, we are running the full contingent of Aether Gust. In the current metagame, only UW counts among the decks that Gust is dead against – and the UW mages are few and far between. I can’t speak highly enough of this card; matchups like Mono Red used to be almost unwinnable but with the addition of Gust, we stand a fighting chance. I’d even go as far as to say we might be a favorite on the play and close to even on the draw, or better.
In fact, I faced a gauntlet of bad matchups in my Qualifier. Instead of beating up on slow decks, I was paired with 2 Mono Red decks, 1 Rakdos Sacrifice, 1 Temur Clover, 1 MonoGreen Aggro, and 1 Temur Flash/Rec. I ended up 5-1, dropping one of the matches to mono red. However, I made a misplay one game that cost me and was also unlucky enough to have my opponent Robber of the Rich one of my Frilled Mystics when he was attacking, to stop me from being able to Petty Theft after blocks and win the game. I bring this up to show the sheer power of the deck; when your worst matchups are very winnable, you’re in a good place.
The other major changes are Gilded Goose in place of Paradise Druid. I’ve long been a fan of the Goose and even went so far as to run Paradise Druid, Goose AND Growth Spiral in my deck. One of the main reasons I wanted it over Druid was so we could keep our mana up on turn two, and often for the rest of the game. I think the manabase needs to be tweaked to allow for more green sources coming into play untapped, I’m going to try cutting the Fabled Passages for one Forest and one Island. There is also the possibility of playing no second ramp spell, or of trying Arboreal Grazer. Which option is correct, I’m not sure but I would be willing to try them all, though currently I am happy with the set up I have.
This brings us to the Sideboard, which is as important as ever, with the format being wide-open and both players having the ability to change their decks’ whole gameplan. I often sideboard out a lot of counter magic and bring in Krasis and Uro to play more of a go-big ramp game; this plan has worked well for me so I wouldn’t cut these two. This swap happens vs any match ups that are able to get underneath our counterspells.
Next, we have the more precise counter suite of Mystical Dispute, Negate, and Return to Nature. We want to stop Teferi, Ovens, and Lucky Clovers. It’s possible we want a second Return to Nature and I would most likely cut a Negate for it; that being said I am most likely going to stand pat on these cards.
There are a couple of cards that I might consider cutting. Firstly, Questing Beast; I never once boarded it in and frankly it doesn’t go with our game play or seem particularly necessary, since it comes in against matchups that should already be pretty good. I would rather have more cards to bring in against Rakdos Sac, Mono Red, and Temur Clover. I’m considering bringing in something to attack graveyards such as Soul-Guide Lantern.
The second card is Lovestruck Beast, I was mostly happy with the best vs Mono Red but there might be better options available. I was advised by the old man on the hill himself, Terry “I haven’t played Standard in a Millenia” Tsang, to try out Cerulean Drake as my Mono Red hoser of choice. I think it’s important to both try the Drake vs Mono Red, and also see if the Beast is useful vs Rakdos Sac, Jeskai Fires, or aggressive matchups. I did find some use for the Beast against Mono Green and it was very solid for me in my Mono Red matchups, even when my opponent stole it with Robber of the Rich and I was able to bounce it back to my hand.
That’s all I have for you today. I will be streaming Goose Goose Go Saturday morning at 8am PST in the first ever Online Grand Prix! I hope you’ll drop in to say hi and as always you can reach me in the MTG Arena Zone Discord.
Wishing you and your loved ones all the best,
Jason “Ghosted” Fleurant