Hi everyone! This weekend I attended Grand Prix Warsaw, and today I want to talk about my preparations for the event. When I decided to go to the GP, I hadn’t played Standard in over a month. I had neither the time nor energy to do much testing. Still, I wanted to do well, so I had to figure out a way to prepare with what little time I had.


I knew that going into a tournament for which I wasn’t sufficiently prepared, I was going to be at a disadvantage. My goal therefore was to do whatever I could to minimize that disadvantage, and the first step in doing so was to choose the right deck.

Play the best deck

Normally when testing for an important tournament you will be able to look at and try many different decks and archetypes. Perhaps you’ll find a brew that you believe is well positioned in the current metagame, or a rogue deck that attacks from a different angle. With less time available however, you don’t have time to mess around, and your best bet is to go with a proven strategy and play a tier one deck. Raw power level can carry you to a lot of wins in Magic.

Play what you know

Whether it’s an archetype that you’re comfortable with, or a specific deck that you know from previous tournaments, you can mitigate the disadvantage that comes from your lack of testing by sticking to a deck you already know. If all you ever play is red aggro decks, it’s likely that you’ll be proficient with it in this format as well, even though you have little experience with this particular deck.

In my case preparing for GP Warsaw, I had experience with Temur Energy from playing it at Nationals. I might not have known the ins and outs of every matchup, but I knew the basics of how the deck works and could do a reasonable job of piloting it.

Play something proactive

Proactive decks are more focused around executing their own game plan as opposed to counteracting their opponent’s plan. Reactive decks rely on you knowing your opponent’s deck, and can be difficult to play well when you don’t know the format very well. That’s not to say that being familiar with your opponent’s deck isn’t important for more proactive strategies—it most certainly is. But proactive decks have an easier time getting away with not being a hundred percent familiar with the opponent’s deck.

Grand Prix Warsaw

For the listed reasons, I ended up taking Temur Energy to the tournament. I opted for the black splash since that’s what I was most familiar with, and because I felt that having access to The Scarab God could help carry me to victory in the Temur/Four Color mirror if and when the game goes long. I looked at a couple of different lists, but finally decided on a configuration quite similar to what I played at the Swedish Nationals.

Four Color Energy

Creatures (24)
Servant of the Conduit
Longtusk Cub
Rogue Refiner
Whirler Virtuoso
Bristling Hydra
The Scarab God

Spells (14)
Attune with Aether
Magma Spray
Harnessed Lightning
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Vraska, Relic Seeker
Lands (22)
Aether Hub
Botanical Sanctum
Spirebluff Canal
Blooming Marsh
Rootbound Crag

Sideboard (15)
Appetite for the Unnatural
Nissa, Steward of Elements
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
Confiscation Coup
River’s Rebuke
Vizier of Many Faces
Deathgorge Scavenger

This list is pretty straightforward. While I did consider a few more unconventional builds, I think I made the right choice in playing something closer to the stock version of the deck. And although I didn’t get the results I had hoped for—I ended up going 5-4 and missing day two—I was never unhappy with my deck choice.

The one thing I know for certain that I would change about it going forward is the maindeck copy of Magma Spray. That card should probably just be another Abrade, or perhaps Sheltered Thicket. One thing I really liked about this list was its ability to essentially transform into the Temur version when that’s what the situation called for. Versus Ramunap Red for example, I would board out Vraska, both copies of The Scarab God, and the Swamp in exchange for two copies each of Deathgorge Scavenger and Confiscation Coup.

As for my matches, I feel like I played well despite not having played the format for over two months. That being said, most of my losses were against various energy decks, and those matchups are really skill-testing. If I were to play Standard again any time soon, I’d want to make sure to grind the matchup until I felt comfortably ahead in the mirror.

In the end I had a good time in Warsaw despite my underwhelming finish. I enjoyed playing the format quite a bit, and I got to meet some really nice people. Still, next time I go to a big tournament I want to be better prepared, and so I need to do a better job of planning ahead. As of right now I have no major events coming up in the near future, but there are a couple of local tournaments in both Modern and Legacy this weekend, so I have that to look forward to.

Sandro is a Magic player from Stockholm, Sweden. He’s been playing Goblins in Legacy for years. Follow him on Twitter @SandroRajalin

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