Those of you that follow my stream series know that I was scheduled to have Jacob Van Lunen on board to go through one of my last Standard decks before plunging into the Modern testing gauntlet for GP Boston. I was scheduled to run some Naya Hexproof, since it seemed like it was going to be one of the better decks in standard with the release of Journey into Nyx. JVL (as he’s affectionately known…) was one of the first to post a good article about the deck, and as such, I called him to give us the rundown on it. In our discussions however, Jacob suggested that we look at another deck which had him very excited in Standard, one that had come from Tom Ross actually, as he made Top 8 at his States with this deck;
Here are the Games:
Jacob holds Tom Ross in very high regard, and has him as one of his top 2 favorite deck builders right now. This deck looks very good against the expected field, and plays out very much like the Esper Humans deck which became popular for a while after Born of the Gods became legal, but with far superior mana costs. The Ephara archetype has traditionally lent itself to a flexible midrange deck which tends more towards the aggro side of things. Precinct Captain has long been a great source of white devotion, and also does a great job of keeping the cards coming with Ephara through the token generation. The deck needed to reach into black before JOU for some additional threats in Desecration Demon and Obzedat, with quality removal in Ultimate Price and Doom Blade. With Journey into Nyx bringing us a second playset of Detention Sphere, and a big synergistic threat in Brimaz, King of Oreskos. The top end closer combo of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and the ability to completely alter the shape of combat with a timely Dictate of Heliod really rounds out the list and it’s midrange potentials, giving our aggro deck access to a solid late game. The real trick comes out of the sideboard, when the access to 4 copies of Supreme Verdict turn some of the potentially horrific matches into absolute cakewalks. Most of the other creature based decks have to over commit to match us creature for creature, and when we can reset the board, our creatures and late game cards can quickly turn the tables in our favor.
I was very impressed with the deck during play. It seriously is a wonderful list to battle with if you have a relevant Standard tournament in the next couple weeks. The threats are well suited to the metagame, and access to 8 Vindicates is wonderful (as indicated in the Junk article) in today’s standard. As JVL mentioned in the wrap up, if you are interested in trying it out, the deck can also perform well with Boros Reckoner in the Lyev Skyknight slot, but the two UB Temples should then become the 3rd and 4th WB Temples to accommodate the WWW casting cost. I was very impressed with Skyknight though, as it’s ability to Detain any non land permanent turned out to be very valuable against a ton of cards, as it often shut down blocks or attacks from the opponent, froze and threatened Planeswalkers, and even just kept the opponent down on life by stifling a Scavenging Ooze or Whip of Erebos. Keening Apparition in the main deck always gave me an out to Courser of Kruphix, and with there being a high volume of Detention Spheres and Banishing Lights being played, it always felt like a Live card that passively interfered with the opponent’s game plan, changed combat math, and killed a bunch of roadblocks, all for 2 mana. Remember when Disenchant was just a spell for 2 mana? Now it can kill your opponent; literally two points at a time. I’m sorry to see Standard PTQ season close at this point, as this one could very well have been a good contender.
Huge thanks to JVL for joining me on the stream. We had a ton of fun and I hope that he will be back in Modern Season, both on the stream, and as part of the gauntlet!
Speaking of, this weeks marks the first week of our Modern review, as we start to narrow down the decks that I will be considering for GP Boston. The first one on hand will be UWR Twin, which is quickly becoming pretty popular around my neck of the woods. Joining me and showing me how to properly play blue cards will be returning stream guest, Andy Peters(@andyawkward). Andy has been playing this list to excellent success locally, so I am very excited to see how we do. Come check it out!! 930PM EST!
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