Now that we’ve had a couple weeks worth of Standard events with War of the Spark, the metagame is starting to take shape for SCG Syracuse this weekend, and I have to say . . .

It’s Teferi’s world, we’re just living in it.

Teferi, Time Raveler has started popping up in every deck that can cast him: Bant Midrange, Esper Midrange, Esper Control, Azorius Aggro, Azorius Planeswalkers, Jeskai Planeswalkers, and just about every single other deck with Hallowed Fountain. With Teferi being so popular, playing on your opponent’s end step can be more of a liability than an advantage, so here are some cards to leave at home for SCG Syracuse.

Frilled Mystic

It pains me that the format has shifted the way it has. I’ve always had a natural draw to Mystic Snake and I was over the moon when Frilled Mystic first got spoiled. I think two weeks ago at SCG Richmond was the perfect time to be playing Mystic since the format had not yet started to revolve around Teferi, and I had my own Teferi to make my opponent play on their turn into it. I hope Mystic has another time to shine in this format, but this weekend is not it.


It seems kind of silly to have multiple counterspells on the list (don’t worry there’s another one right after this), but I wanted to break down my reasonings for each individually.

Absorb is one of the cards that has made Esper Control a dominant force Standard up to this point. It’s what separates Esper from Grixis since having to play twelve shocklands in your control deck is a very real cost, and Absorb goes a long way towards mitigating that cost. However, in our new little Teferi format, counterspells just aren’t what they used to be, and that’s why things have trended away from Esper Control and towards Esper Midrange featuring Hero of Precinct One.

Control may be ahead in the Midrange matchup head to head, but Hero is better equipped to handle the metagame surrounding it by being proactive instead of reactive. If you really want to play Thought Erasure and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria like it’s 2018 again, I recommend putting down the Absorbs and picking up the Hero of Precinct Ones.

Disdainful Stroke

Disdainful Stroke has been a staple sideboard option for its entire career in Standard, but then little Teferi came along and ruined it. Not only does Teferi, Time Raveler shut off everyone’s third favorite tempo-positive counterspell (after Daze and Spell Snare of course), but Stroke doesn’t even help keep the Teferi off the board! This by itself wouldn’t keep Stroke from seeing the sideboard play it’s become accustomed to, but Teferi has pushed the natural targets for Stroke out of the format, too. Put down down your Disdainful Strokes and pick up those extra Negates that have been collecting dust.

Chemister’s Insight

We can all agree that Divination is not a constructed playable, right? Well, how about four-mana Divination? Because that’s what Chemister’s Insight is these days. Insight has other natural enemies in the format aside from little Teferi, too. Narset, Parter of Veils has been increasing in popularity partly due to the dominance of Teferi, Time Raveler, but also because it hoses conventional card advantage engines like Hydroid Krasis, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and Chemister’s Insight. I recommend leaving your (arguably worse) Divinations home this weekend.

Wilderness Reclamation

I would stay away from Wilderness Reclamation strategies this weekend. The number one Reclamation deck is Simic Nexus, which has a good tool for answering little Teferi in Blast Zone, but the format has become much more proactive to combat Teferi, Time Raveler. As a result, Nexus has less time to find and set up their Blast Zone to get the Teferi off the battlefield. While Teferi is in play though, the Nexus deck has to play at sorcery speed just like everyone else, while Wilderness Reclamation only generates at instant speed and is a prime target for Teferi’s minus. I don’t think trying to take infinite turns is a wise decision for Syracuse.

Finale of Promise

This is the last card on the list, and I’m not telling you to leave every copy at home, but I am telling you to be careful of how many you put in your deck.

I’ve played a lot with Izzet Phoenix (as you might have imagined), and these new builds are awesome! Finale of Promise offers a huge power boost to your your primary Arclight Phoenix plan, but can be poor in multiples. It can sometimes be hard to find a sorcery for your second Finale, which greatly diminishes the power level of the card. Couple that with the fact that the card does nothing with a Teferi, Time Raveler in play and you have you have a card that you want in your deck, but not in large numbers. I think two copies of the card is correct until either the deck starts playing more Tormenting Voices or Teferi sees a downtick in popularity.

What are the odds one of these cards wins SCG Syracuse this weekend? (Just to punish me for writing this, I’m sure!) I’ll be in attendance so feel free to come tell me how wrong I am and how much better you’re doing in the Open than I am, while playing one of the cards on this list!

As always, I’m happy to answer any questions or take any feedback on Twitter!

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