I’m stoked to be writing to you this week about the upcoming Standard format. I’ve been playing a ton of Standard as of late and loving every moment of it. Last weekend at the Star City invitational we saw an actual healthy standard environment. For the first time in almost a year we weren’t forced to play cards such like with Emrakul, The Promised End, Aetherworks Marvel, Felidar Guardian, or Smuggler’s Copter. You could actually do what you wanted!
I’m hoping this trend continues going into Hour of Devastation. The only card that I see being potentially as devastating is Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. While I believe it’s going to be a big player in Standard, even that I don’t think will be as dominant as the cards on the current ban list.
The newest iteration of Nicol Bolas is one of the cards I’m most excited to play with and build around. Here is my first take on a BR based midrange deck splashing the powerful planeswalker
Grixis Super Friends by Dylan Donegan
So why is my deck black-based rather than blue? Well for those of you who saw my BW control deck I brewed up last format, you know I’ve shown some interest into building a black-based control deck. The black removal suite of Fatal Push, Grasp of Darkness, Oath of Liliana, and Never // Return covers all your bases in this format. In my opinion it is often times more effective than trying to line up your counterspells in the right spots.
Another big reason I configured my deck like this is because Chandra, Torch of Defiance is the best way to abuse Nicol Bolas. Curving turn 4 Chandra into turn 5 Nicol Bolas is going to be a thing in Standard and I’m struggling to think of decks that can reliably beat it. When Chandra, Torch of Defiance is in your deck, you want to be able to cast the spells off of her +1, another big reason on why I’ve chose to exclude all the counterspells from my main deck. Abrade and Doomfall are two of the best cards in the set for constructed, along with Supreme Will. These cards are basically one color charms, which we’ve seen be incredibly powerful in the past. These cards are especially big for control and midrange decks like this.
UR Control by Dylan Donegan
Speaking of control, here’s an updated version of a stock UR control list. This deck got some huge upgrades. I already mentioned how Abrade and Supreme Will are great as versatile removal spells. However, my pick for best card in Hour of Devasation for this archetype is the actual card Hour of Devatsation.
This card is completely bonkers! I think it’s going to be top 3 highest impact cards from the new set. The biggest weakness with UR in the past was it was so hard to catch up from behind without a real sweeper. Hour of Devasation does that in the best way possible. You have a Gideon, Selfless Spirit and Avacyn mana up? How about we mop all that up with one card and you can’t do a thing to stop it. Hour of Devasation is going to be a huge player in Standard.
Also this is a deck that can effectively utilize the mono colored cycling lands. UR lacking a cycling land before really stunk, but that time is no more!
Also before we move on to the next archetype I just wanted to specify that I don’t believe you want to play Nicol Bolas with Torrential Gearhulk. You have to pick one or the other. As I stated earler Nicol Bolas plays so well with Chandra, Torch of Defiance which is not what you want in your all reactive counterspell deck. Both are tremendous win conditions that can overpower a game by itself, so I guess we will just have to find out which one will rule.
Another deck I’m interested in revisiting is UW tempo. This deck was dominant with Smuggler’s Copter and saw brief play during the Marvel era. I’m hoping Nimble Obstructionist does a number on making this deck more playable. This is also likely the best deck in the format at maximizing the power of Supreme Will. You put enough pressure on them to where the Mana Leak half is good and it plays very nicely with the rest of your flash spells. With Elder Deep-Fiend and control decks on the slow rise, this deck could certainly shine. Thraben Inspector hasn’t let anyone down before!
Speaking of Elder Deep-Fiend, check out this Temur Emerge list Shaun McLaren posted!
Temur Emerge by Shaun McLaren
Notable SCG grinder Brennan Decandio brought this archetype to the invitational last week to battle rather than his trademarked Grim Flayers, so there has to be something good going on here! Brennan actually is on my testing team for this upcoming PT (we are testing with team Cardhoarder). Kozilek’s Return is particularly well positioned since all the main decks are creature decks going into this format. Champion of Wits is a great new value three drop that is ideal to emerge of off.
Strategic Planning is another card that might be a nice addition to this type of strategy. Perhaps it doesn’t make the cut in the green build because Grapple with the Past is so good, but I think in the UR build of the deck the card seems amazing.
This is quite the brew I’ve got here, but one I’m excited to try. It seems like every format Tom “the Boss” Ross builds a new white Humans deck for the first week. People always play it week one it almost always seems to fade away. I’m skipping a step by cutting half the one-drops and sculpting it to look more like a midrange deck. Resolute Survivors is a powerful new card and there are a lot of powerful synergies going on here. Combat Celebrant might way too cute but I imagine there are some disgusting combat steps that happen with multiple exert guys and an Always Watching. Overall this deck might be too cute when you can just play Heart of Kiran in your aggro deck, but I’m looking forward to taking it for a spin.
This format is shaping up to be fresh, innovative, skill intensive, and fun. I’m so thrilled to be able to play this format at the Pro Tour and not one where I’m forced to play a certain archetype. Let’s hope I pick a good one!
Until next week,
Latest posts by Dylan Donegan (see all)
- The Decks I’d Consider for SCGCIN and Standard Predictions - July 14, 2017
- Brews with Hour of Devastation - July 7, 2017
- Standard Thoughts for the SCGINVI - June 30, 2017