New Standard is in full force and boy is it sweet! I’ve been playing a lot of the format this week, trying basically all of the main decks of the format – Temur, GB Energy, Mardu, and Zombies – as well as a couple of brews. I’ve also noticed a lot of nice innovation this week on Magic Online. Today I want to talk about some of these decks you may not be familiar with yet in Standard, but that might have real legs in this format.
This is the first deck that should be on your radar. Yes, you’re reading that right: 19 plains!
This deck’s stand out card is Oketra’s Monument which lets you virtually “go off” with Aviary Mechanic. Bygone Bishop also manages to feel like a white flying Tireless Tracker, as things get out of hand very fast. The combination of this deck having main deck Wraths in Dusk // Dawn as well as Avacyn, being the best Westvale Abbey deck in the format, and the fact that it just clogs the ground really well makes it a really problematic deck for strategies trying to beat down on the ground. GB, Temur, Mardu, and Zombies all have serious issues with this deck which makes it a real contender.
Keep in mind though that if decks like New Perspectives and Metalwork Colossus pick up it’s not going to be a good time to bust out the 19 Plains special. For the time being though, this is one of my top choices for the SCG Invitational.
The next deck I’d like to talk about 5-0’d a league last night in the hands of the Eldrazi man himself, Todd Stevens.
This is an archetype we’ve seen in previous Standards although none were quite like this. Essentially this is is just a midrangey mono red beat down deck albeit one which appears to have quite a bit of staying power between his 7 hasty dragon-like threats and 4 Chandra, Torch of Defiances. This deck looks like it does a nice job combating other ground pounder decks like Zombies and Temur but looks quite vulnerable to Unlicensed Disintegration and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. I don’t expect Mardu to be the super star archetype we’ve seen it be in the past, so who knows.
The next deck I wanted to mention is the very spicy Metalwork Colossus deck.
We’ve seen iterations of this deck show up briefly for a bit, but none achieved great success. Now that there aren’t any degenerate turn-four combo decks killing you anymore, 2-3 10/10’s on turn 4-5 is actually going to end most games! Between that and Elder Deep-Fiend chains, this deck actually is quite powerful. It also takes good advantage of Skysovereign, Consul Flagship which I believe will be on of the best cards in the format.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this format is a race to 5 mana. Zombies has Dark Salvation and Liliana’s Mastery, Mardu has Avacyn or Glorybringer, Temur having Glorybringer and Skysovergn, and GB has Verdurous Gearhulk. The race to get to 5 in this format is realer than ever. That is where games are won.
Here is a Bant deck that 5-0’d a league this week, one reminiscent of the old Bant Company decks. It’s not that much different than the Temur Energy deck – and should likely play Attune with Aether – although it’s trying to play a bit more of a Fish style flash game with Spell Queller and the instant speed enchantment removal.
As a result of losing the red, you sacrifice the efficiency of Harnessed Lightning and Magma Spray. Another huge loss is Glorybringer which has proven to be an absolute powerhouse in this format and is good against virtually every deck. Still, Selfless Spirit and Archangel Avacyn are certainly real draws to playing a style of deck like this. Also Tamiyo, Field Researcher is a card we’ve seen be quite powerful in both 4 Color Saheeli and Bant Company. Perhaps now in the format full of creature combat it will be her time to shine again?
Finally, here’s Gabriel Nassif’s UW control deck he has been championing on his stream.
I’ve got to say, this deck looks bad on paper but has been quite impressive every time I tune in. Gab himself has said he certainly has over an 80% win rate with the deck, and almost every time I watch he’s either going 4-1 or 5-0. Although his deck (like most control decks) is going to struggle with Mardu, I actually think it lines up quite nicely with the rest of the format.
I have been playing a bit this week with a BW control deck because I believe it has the tools to compete against the top four decks. However, it struggled with all of these more “fringe” decks. If someone was playing New Perspectives, Metalwork Colossus, or Torrential Gearhulk, I felt incredible behind. This deck however attacks the creature decks from a similar angle while also being able to have counter spells to help fight the random stuff. I think this deck is heavily favored vs BG and Zombies, while also being slightly ahead against Temur energy too. If GB and Temur energy remain to be the formats “de facto best decks” and Mardu continues to be overshadowed than this deck is in prime position. Nassif is even going as far to sideboard in a whopping 14 cards by transforming into a midrange deck to combat Mardu. I’m not 100% sure that’s the most effective way to beat the deck but it’s certainly a start.
Fumigate and Cast Out are really the big draws to adding white to your control deck. Fumigate really is just so insane right now in this format. I think this deck has the tools to compete, it has some match ups that are very favorable. The 16 different cycling cards are really what makes this deck tick. It makes it so your cards are good early and late, makes your deck less prone to mulliganing, and helps prevent both flood and screw. Cycling is truly amazing, and I’m looking forward to playing with this deck with some additions from Hour of Devastation.
Standard is a brewer’s paradise once again, and we are finally seeing a much fairer and balanced format. Once the Invitational rolls around I expect we will have a much more established meta game with less fringe decks. For now though, we have to figure out which ones are here to stay.
Until next week,
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