August TGS Magic Arena 1K Standard: Top 8 Report

August TGS Magic Arena 1K Standard: Top 8 Report

The Gaming Stadium hosted its first ever Magic: The Gathering Arena tournament this Saturday. 27 players competed in a $1,000 prize pool to see whose deck reigned supreme. The tournament welcomed players of all skill levels to meet the community and try their hand against the abundance of other decks that have surfaced since the drop of the Core Set 2020 (M20). Some of the decks that were featured throughout the day included Jeskai (3), Vampires (2), Esper Midrange (3), and Scapeshift (4). Here is a breakdown of our top eight players of the night.

Winner

Jordan “Heisenb3rg” Cairns dominated the competition with his Jeksai Feathery Wizards set, securing first place. This deck is a homebrew red, white, and blue deck built to sustain against the higher-paced meta picks like the Vampire deck at the expense of a poor match-up into control decks like Esper Midrange—the same deck that he would be playing against in the finals. He was able to overcome his self-proclaimed “hardest match-up” for a 2-0 victory against our second-place finisher.

Jeskai Feathery Wizards

Creatures (21)
Dreadhorde Arcanist
Lightning Stormkin
Tenth District Legionnaire
Deputy of Detention
Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
Feather, the Redeemed

Spells (17)
Shock
Defiant Strike
Reckless Rage
Gods Willing
Infuriate

Land (22)
Steam Vents
Plains
Sacred Foundry
Temple of Triumph
Clifftop Retreat
Hallowed Fountain
Glacial Fortress
Temple of Epiphany
Sideboard (15)
Aether Gust
Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
Dovin’s Veto
Devout Decree
Lava Coil
Gideon Blackblade
Fry
Teferi, Time Raveler
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants

Finalist

Gavin “Hierarch17” Bennett placed second at the tournament, representing the Esper Midrange deck. He chose to play this deck in the competition because there are “so many decks out right now, and there aren’t any horrible match-ups.” He would end the swiss round with three wins, one tie, and one loss, and would go on to win his quarterfinal (2-1) and semifinal (2-0) match. In the final match between Hierarch17 and his opponent “Heisenb3rg”, Gavin seemed to have secured a lead in his draws alone but would be punished by Heisenb3rg for waiting too long to execute some of his higher value cards.

Esper Midrange

Creatures (10)
Hero of Precinct One
Elite Guardmage
Deputy of Detention

Spells (24)
Teferi, Time Raveler
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Bolas’s Citadel
Noxious Grasp
Oath of Kaya
Tyrant’s Scorn
Thought Erasure
Dovin’s Veto

Land (26)
Drowned Catacomb
Hallowed Fountain
Isolated Chapel
Watery Grave
Glacial Fortress
Godless Shrine
Island
Swamp
Sideboard (14)
Despark
Devout Decree
Disfigure
Duress
Golden Demise
Kaya’s Wrath
Narset, Parter of Veils
The Elderspell
Time Wipe

Top 4

Alastair “Allegations” Pickett was our fourth-place finisher, tied for first place with seventh place finisher Mr. Sparkle in the swiss round. He played a Temur Elementals deck, which he felt was very strong in dealing with the zombies in the ever-popular Zombie deck. He was able to use his deck to send him into semifinals on a 2-1 record but went 0-2 when facing the winning Jeskai Feather Wizards deck.

TEMUR

Creatures (25)
Llanowar Elves
Leafkin Druid
Risen Reef
Omnath, Locus of the Roil
Hydroid Krasis
Incubation Druid
Cavalier of Thorns

Spells (9)
Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Lava Coil
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Mass Manipulation

Land (26)
Hinterland Harbor
Temple of Epiphany
Steam Vents
Breeding Pool
Stomping Ground
Temple of Mystery
Island
Rootbound Crag
Forest
Sideboard (15)
Veil of Summer
Entrancing Melody
Aether Gust
Cerulean Drake
Fry
Lava Coil
Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Negate

Anthony “Sisicat” Song was the only member of the top 8 that did not have a single loss throughout the swiss match. Sisicat won three games and tied two, securing his position at third place going into the quarterfinals. He chose to run a black/white Vampire deck because he believed that it was the best deck, noting that he climbed to top 200 and was invited to the Mythic invitation with that very deck. While he had a very impressive run, he would go 0-2 in the semifinals and would ultimately come up short; regardless, he holds his head high knowing that he will continue to find success with his deck.

Vampires pepeLaugh

Creature (21)
Skymarcher Aspirant
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Vicious Conquistador
Adanto Vanguard
Sanctum Seeker
Champion of Dusk
Vona, Butcher of Magan

Spells (17)
Legion’s Landing
Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord
Legion Lieutenant
Legion’s End
Cast Down
Mortify

Land (22)
Swamp
Plains
Godless Shrine
Isolated Chapel

sideboard (15)
Gideon Blackblade
Devout Decree
Duress
Despark
Noxious Grasp
Legion’s End
Vona, Butcher of Magan

Top 8

Nick “Epk” Bideshi used a standard Scapeshift decks to secure his spot in the top eight, although admitted in an interview that he wishes he competed with the Vampire deck. Epk ended the swiss round with three wins, one tie, and one loss, and felt solid about his odds moving into the quarterfinals. He would put forth a solid effort in the quarterfinals but would ultimately go 1-2 in the best of three against Allegation’s Temur Elementals deck.

Scapeshift

Creatures (13)
Arboreal Grazer
Elvish Rejuvenator
Hydroid Krasis
Deputy of Detention
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

Spells (19)
Teferi, Time Raveler
Growth Spiral
Circuitous Route
Scapeshift
Drawn from Dreams
Time Wipe

Land (28)
Island
Plains
Azorius Guildgate
Blast Zone
Blossoming Sands
Breeding Pool
Field of Ruin
Field of the Dead
Hallowed Fountain
Hinterland Harbor
Selesnya Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Sunpetal Grove
Temple Garden
Temple of Malady
Temple of Mystery
Thornwood Falls
Tranquil Cove
Golgari Guildgate
Izzet Guildgate
Forest
Sideboard (15)
Deputy of Detention
Baffling End
Aether Gust
Dovin’s Veto
Root Snare
Veil of Summer
Ashiok, Dream Render
Time Wipe

Sebastian “Mr. Sparkle” Denno made his way into the top eight with an impressive four wins out of five in the swiss play. He used a black/white Vampire deck to secure his victories, noting to us during his mid-tournament interview that the success of the Vampire deck was held solely in the power of Sorin. His successful run would be cut short by the victory of second-place finisher Gavin Bennett with an Esper Midrange deck. While his Vampires had a slight advantage given the nature of their decks in addition to the play/draw order, he noted that he “was not shocked” at the result.

Vampires

Creatures (27)
Skymarcher Aspirant
Legion Lieutenant
Vicious Conquistador
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Adanto Vanguard
Sanctum Seeker
Champion of Dusk

Spells (11)
Legion’s Landing
Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord
Legion’s End
Mortify
Cast Down

Land (22)
Plains
Swamp
Godless Shrine
Isolated Chapel
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Despark
Noxious Grasp
Gideon Blackblade
Vona, Butcher of Magan
Legion’s End
Devout Decree

Throughout the tournament was Joey “Joeystorm” Tsoi to make his fellow “spikes” proud. Joeystorm played a Mono-red deck, which excels in its ability to life gain and keep up with the rapid pace of the current meta through cards such as Experimental Frenzy. While he would fall short to the champion in the quarterfinals, he promised that he would return to give Mono-red the victory and recognition it deserves.

Mono-Red

Creatures (20)
Runaway Steam-Kin
Ghitu Lavarunner
Goblin Chainwhirler
Fanatical Firebrand
Viashino Pyromancer

Spells (20)
Shock
Lightning Strike
Wizard’s Lightning
Experimental Frenzy
Light Up the Stage
Chandra, Fire Artisan

Land (20)
20 Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Alpine Moon
Lava Coil
Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
Fry
Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
Risk Factor

Thanh “Starch” Nguyen came into the top eight feeling great about his chances at victory with his Grixis Contol deck. He is a firm believer in following the meta “because it is statistically better to do so.” However, for this competition Starch was able to pick a deck that he genuinely enjoyed playing and that would hold its own against some of his top competitors. Although he fell short to a Vampire deck in the quarterfinals, he felt that the match was already in his opponent’s favor and was just happy to be competing.

Grixis Control

Creatures (4)
God-Eternal Kefnet
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager

Spells (30)
Search for Azcanta
Ashiok, Dream Render
Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God
Narset, Parter of Veils
Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Angrath’s Rampage
Thought Erasure
Bedevil
Cry of the Carnarium
Ritual of Soot
Discovery

Land (26)
Steam Vents
Blood Crypt
Dragonskull Summit
Drowned Catacomb
Watery Grave
Sulfur Falls
Swamp
Interplanar Beacon
Unmoored Ego
Bloodfell Caves
Sideboard (15)
Unmoored Ego
Duress
Moment of Craving
Thief of Sanity
Negate
Noxious Grasp
Bedeck
Blood Sun

Given the size and success of the tournament, the Gaming Stadium plans to introduce monthly MTG Arena tournaments to its monthly calendar of events. You can expect our next tournament to land around late September to October. Don’t want to miss out on our next tournament? Make sure to follow us on Twitter at @GamingStadiumCS and join our Discord community.