Hour of Devastation’s exposure to the world is on the horizon and we are about to see just how much it impacts Standard.
This new set has only has a few in-your-face cards in terms of power level. The cards that fall under that category are things like Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, Hour of Promise, and the set’s namesake, Hour of Devastation. However, after my initial testing, I don’t think these will be the cards that impact Standard the most.
Nicol Bolas, for example, has been quite unimpressive so far. When I watched Brennan Deccandio streaming his Grixis Midrange deck it looked like a cheaper planeswalker such as Chandra, Flamecaller or Ob Nixilis Reignited would have easily won him the game and came down a turn earlier. Often times Nicol Bolas was just a glorified removal spell.
Hour of Devastation has also surprisingly underperformed for me. First off, it does not play well with your deck when you’re trying to develop your board in any way. The deck I’ve found that utilizes it best is UR control. The card has been important for dealing with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Bristling Hydra, so I’d make sure to keep a couple. But I expect as the format goes on that we see both less Temur aggro and Mardu Vehicles going forward. Hour of Promise is certainly player for as long as you can be playing Shrine of the Forsaken Gods.
While I’ve been testing a lot, I haven’t been able to test with Ramp yet which is why I can’t give you a list of my own creation. The list above is Todd Anderson’s, which I’d highly recommend. It looks straight forward and focused.
I believe Ramp is going to be one of the decks people will be trying to “break,” especially for the Pro Tour. A lot of the midrage and aggro decks are already fine tuned and have little cards from the new set that will make the cut. But ramp, New Perspectives, and Elder Deep-Fiend strategies all got some serious percentage points in my book.
Speaking of Elder Deep-Fiend decks, let’s take a moment to talk about those. I think these decks do a great job of going over the top like the ramp decks do, but they do it in a more reliable and faster way. Champion of Wits is a big part of that and may actually just be the best card in the set for Standard. I purchased myself a nice 20 copies at $1.25; I have some high hopes. It enables your broken interactions, whether it’s Prized Amalgam/Stitchwing Skaab or Elder Deep-Fiend/Kozilek’s Return.
There are two main decks I’ve been testing with that utilize Champion of Wits.
This deck is similar to the old 4-Color Dredge/Emerge decks back in Bant Company Standard. This version of the deck is more all-in than the other, but it has more powerful draws. I think it also handily crushes control which the delirium build below might struggle with, being slower and more midrange. This is the version I’d be more interested in playing if I were going to be in attendance this weekend.
This is Brennan Deccandio’s Temur Delirium build of the deck. As I said above it’s a bit more midrangey. The deck also looks a lot more scattered compared to the more all-in build. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This gives the deck a few other angles of attack with cards like Glorybringer and Goblin Dark-Dwellers. It also means you get to play a more normal Magic. It does mean you won’t be doing the emerge thing as much but you do have a good plan b. Brennan’s numbers might look a bit odd but he has done a lot of testing and been playing this archetype for some time. I wouldn’t fault anyone for playing his deck this weekend.
The last deck I’d be considering for this weekend is my old faithful, Mardu Vehicles.
The newest additions to my latest build are the blue cards! With both ramp and emerge being on the uptick, Nimble Obstructionist and Metallic Rebuke are incredibly well positioned. Glorybringer is another new addition over Archangel Avacyn which has just continuously underperformed for me. Everyone just respects it and knows how to play around it nowadays. Glorybringer gets value right away almost all the time and is less expected. If I was still playing Walking Ballista though, I’d stick to my Archangels.
Mardu and a Temur Emerge deck would be the decks I’d choose between this weekend. I think it’s hard to go to wrong with either and both decks are proactive and powerful which is a good place for week one. Hopefully I get to keep riding one of these decks for the Pro Tour. I’ll certainly have a better idea after this weekend!
Until next time,
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