After not doing so well in the Regional Pro Tour Qualifier held on Friday, I thought I would take my chance at redemption by playing Standard at Grand Prix Indianapolis on Halloween weekend. I originally went into the event to see how many planeswalker points I could get, because I needed to get a couple of byes for next year, and never expected myself to end up going 12-3 and get 14th place by the end of the Grand Prix.

I originally planned on playing GW Megamorph in this GP. I had played it at the most recent Game Day and decided I wanted to play a deck that has more removal; I audibled to Abzan Aggro the Thursday before the event.

The Decklist

Abzan Aggro

Creatures (22)
Warden of the First Tree
Hangarback Walker
Den Protector
Anafenza, the Foremost
Siege Rhino
Wingmate Roc

Spells (13)
Abzan Charm
Dromoka's Command
Murderous Cut
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Lands (25)
Canopy Vista
Sunken Hollow
Smoldering Marsh
Flooded Strand
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Shambling Vent
Caves of Koilos
Llanowar Wastes

Sideboard (15)
Den Protector
Ultimate Price
Murderous Cut
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Sorin, Solemn Visitor
Mastery of the Unseen
Utter End
Transgress the Mind


I actually played a wide variety of decks throughout the two days and was ecstatic that I was able to dodge the dreaded RG Eldrazi Ramp deck that I have seen people talk about over the past week after Grand Prix Quebec City last weekend.

Dark Jeskai

I played against this deck three times throughout my tournament, and ended 3-0 against them. It was an interesting matchup—you have to focus on maintaining your threat count so you can keep your opponent on the backfoot. Hangarback Walker isn’t too exciting in this matchup; it is too slow and isn’t very impactful when Dark Jeskai’s main win condition is Mantis Rider. Den Protector also falls in the “too slow” category, so I found myself boarding them out a lot for things like Silkwrap and Transgress the Mind—they are both all-stars in the matchup.

RG Landfall

I played against this deck twice, once on day one and again in round 15. Overall, I think this matchup favors us since we have so much targeted removal. Silkwrap, Abzan Charm, Dromoka’s Command—just to name a few. You want to make sure you keep them off of their early creatures and beat them down with a big threat (Siege Rhino, Warden of the First Tree, etc.) while holding up removal for when they try to combo you. Cards you bring in here are more cards that are great targeted removal—Ultimate Price, Silkwrap, and Murderous Cut.

In my round 15 feature match, I had an interesting play. I have watched the replay of the match and still stick beside my decision. There was a moment when my opponent had two face down Den Protectors in game two and I had an Ultimate Price and an Abzan Charm. I had to stabilize or he was just going to kill me by doing nothing, so I cast a Siege Rhino. He then had to have the one combination of cards that could kill me, and sadly he did. I don’t think I made the wrong decision because if I didn’t present a threat and a way to stabilize, he was going to kill me in one more swing with the face down Den Protectors. Sometimes, Magic is hard.

WBx Tokens

The one thing you need to remember when playing against the token style decks is that they are going to clog up the ground really fast. You need to take advantage of creatures like Siege Rhino who have trample and Wingmate Roc to take to the skies and fly over your opponent’s tokens. Wingmate is a “Roc” star in this match up.

Both variations of this deck I played against, Esper and Abzan, are sweet. The Abzan Tokens match was the one I had on camera in round 12 and I had some sweet interactions with my opponent. In game one, after the cliffhanger everyone was left on, I ended up being able to swing my Hangarback Walker in to make three tokens and kill a Wingmate Roc token. I was able to close out the game by flying over all of his tokens with my 2/2 thopters, as they were being buffed by a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar emblem.

GWx Megamorph

The GWx Megamorph decks are super grindy midrange decks. With cards like Deathmist Raptor and Whisperwood Elemental at their disposal, we want to take to the air and win with the Wingmate Roc and thopter tokens. Transgress the Mind and Utter End are all-stars here, as they deal with their recursion engine they have in Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor. I am not a fan of Silkwrap because they have access to Dromoka’s Command so I prefer running the Transgress the Mind over an effect like Silkwrap.

Post-Tournament Sideboarding Thoughts

After playing the tournament, I realized that some of my initial sideboarding thoughts were a little off. I think implementing these changes would’ve helped me in the tournament and I will be trying these out in my list for next weekend’s PPTQ.

Wingmate Roc vs. Tasigur, the Golden Fang

After playing in the event, I realized that I would’ve much rather had a 4th copy of Wingmate Roc in my sideboard over Tasigur. I never really could figure out where to bring in the Golden Fang. Aggro? Control? The mirror? I felt like all of these matchups didn’t want another 4/5 body on the ground. Wingmate Roc is an amazing card in the mirror and I don’t think my sideboard was prepared for that matchup nearly as much as I wish it had been.

Silkwrap vs. Sorin, Solemn Visitor

I originally thought I would put a copy of Sorin in the sideboard because it seemed very well positioned against the aggressive red decks. This is true but had more impact before Battle for Zendikar released and Theros rotated out of Standard. Halfway through the tournament, I realized that another copy of Silkwrap would be great against the Mantis Rider decks and the GR Landfall decks—including the one that beat me in round 15 of the tournament.

Transgress the Mind vs. Duress

Transgress the Mind over-performed this weekend. I realized that it could be useful in almost all of my matchups and I realized that I wanted four a lot of the time. It’s just as good as Duress in the matchups you were going to bring in Duress. The fourth Transgress the Mind is by far better than the second Duress.

The Experience

The experience I had at Grand Prix Indianapolis was amazing. I played some of the best Magic games I’ve ever had. Audibling to Abzan Aggro may have been the best decision I made all weekend—the deck was very well positioned in the metagame. I met a lot of awesome people and had such a great time. My confidence and drive to get to the Pro Tour have now skyrocketed and I know that I will pursue that dream even more; my next stop will be Grand Prix Pittsburgh later this month. My goal by the end of day one was to get on a feature match and not only did I accomplish that, I was able to have two feature matches! I hope I have the opportunity to do that again, as it was one of the highlights of the weekend for me.

All of my day two opponents signed my playmat – making memories!


The support I felt throughout the tournament was overwhelming, and I want to thank everyone who was out there rooting for me.

Thanks for reading!

Lexie Mettler is a Level 2 judge from Fort Wayne, Indiana. By day she is a student, by night she streams MTGO and practices for tournaments all over the Midwest

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