So this is it. The death rattle of a Standard season many people will not miss. A format dominated by Black and Blue Devotion decks, by Sphinx’s Revelation and Supreme Verdict, by Jace, Architect of Thought and even Boros Charm. A Standard format so stale it caused Wizards to change the entire Block structure and rotation schedule to prevent future stagnation. Furthermore, spoiler season is upon us. Khans is shaping up to be another blockbuster Fall set for Wizards as well as for players around the world. The return of Fetchlands. The differing pronunciations of the new wedge-colored tribes. Card names like Flying Crane Technique that have me expecting SOME sort of Wu-Tang Clan reference somewhere in the set. Seasons change, and the Winter will wash what is left of the taste.
Regardless of the building excitement for Khans, there are 2 more weeks of Standard. Surely no one wants to play Mono Black at FNM for 2 more weeks right? No one with a soul anyway. I like to use this “lame deck” (this was legitimately a typo but it’s sooo appropriate) period to bust out half-baked ideas I’ve come up with over the past year that I might have dismissed previously and give them one final go before rotation. Since I exhausted most of those ideas over the past 2 articles, I solicited my friends Ryan Germor and Yo! MTG Taps! cohost Stephen Marshall to provide some of the worst (or most unusual) brews they’ve attempted over the past year, as well as a few more of my own, inspired from ideas those guys were tossing around during previous playtesting sessions. Since this is an article series about post-M15 Standard, some of these lists will be modified from their submitted versions to include M15 cards.
As I was compiling the decklists for this week, I quickly learned two things. First, Sphinx’s Revelation made Izzet decks clearly inferior to UW strategies, which might very well be the most disappointing thing about this Standard. There were so many potentially awesome UR decks that never saw the light of day because of the sheer power of the Azorius Senate. Most of these decks wind up looking like bad Control decks or bad Burn decks. Ryan and I brewed like crazy trying to make this guild presentable, with no success. Ryan shipped me this list as an example:
Izzet a Disaster? By Ryan Germor
Yup, that’s not a typo: 19 lands, 3 Stormbreath Dragons. He swears that all the cantrips and dig make the mana work just fine. The plan here is fairly simple: stall the board and fill the graveyard with spells until I can stick a huge Spellheart Chimera or land a Stormy.
Looking at this list, it actually looks like it would be a nightmare for Rabble Red or the other Aggro decks in the format. Unfortunately the deck would utterly crumble against Control since so many of the removal spells are dead cards versus, them. Mono Black has enough spot removal to make sticking one of the 11 creatures nearly impossible. And Mono Blue has Master of Waves, which I guess could be slowed by enough Pyromancer tokens, but probably not enough to stand a chance. Once again, the big 3 break up an otherwise fun party.
Speaking of fun parties, much to our detriment our playtesting sessions often become just that. I don’t drink, but I certainly don’t discourage the other members of our team from doing so. One night, Stephen was over and must have skipped dinner or something, because he got a few beers in him and started going on and on about how Riddle of Lightning plus Enter the Infinite was the best combo ever. He was THRILLED by the concept of making a Standard deck containing more than 60 cards, since he had 2 Izzet ideas that he wanted to make work but couldn’t settle on 60 cards for either of them. Alec jokingly suggested playing more than 60 and Stephen was ELATED. He quickly realized how ridiculous he was being and shelved the idea altogether.
Rather than take him to task again this article, I figured I’d take up the task of trying to make the combo work. In a previous Izzet build related to the deck above, Ryan and I had Boros Reckoner in there as a silver bullet when coupled with Spite of Mogis. We also loved the idea of Dictate of the Twin Gods causing 4x damage to a player paired with Boros Reckoner but never had the nerve to include the card. Until now.
Ride the Lightning
Simply put, revealing an Enter the Infinite off of Riddle of Lightning with Dictate of the Twin Gods on the battlefield deals 24 damage to the opponent. Also, targeting Boros Reckoner with Spite of Mogis while 5 Instants and Sorceries are in the graveyard is good for 20 to the head. Going with Anger of the Gods over Young Pyromancer might be incorrect, but I want to really be all-in on my 2 combos here, so I want as many instants and sorceries as possible. Jace, the Living Guildpact might not be correct either, but I do like the +1 as it relates both to Spite of Mogis and Keranos. I’m conflicted about the correct number to include of many of the gods. I would like more Keranos in the deck but the Gods are so hard to deal with that multiples almost always become dead cards. Fortunately Izzet Charm can help ditch some of those useless spells (see Enter the Infinite).
Can’t You Hear My Motored Heart
The second thing I learned when building this week’s lists is that I really want to abuse Generator Servant. I can see this card getting loads of play after rotation. I’ve already been thinking about a world where Turn 1 Mystic, Turn 2 Servant, Turn 3 Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is a very real possibility. I’m not saying pick up 16 copies of Ob Nixilis like I did, I’m just eager to see if he finds a home in a Standard environment full of fetchlands. I think Big Red ramping into Turn 3 Stormbreath is more realistic though.
The first deck Stephen submitted seemed like a good place to try out our little Generator. I replaced Voyaging Satyr in the following list with Generator Servant. Stephen based the list off of a deck that got 12th in a premier event. He says that deck was semi-competitive when Control and Mono Black were dominating the field, but that the rise of Rabble Red and other Aggro strategies have rendered this list virtually unplayable.
GET OFF MY LAND!!! by Stephen Marshall
LAND DESTRUCTION!!! Leave it to Stephen to jam an archetype Wizards has tried to bury. The first thing I think when I see some of the lists Stephen plays is, “why is that color in there?” I would much prefer playing this as a GR list and possibly add Courser of Kruphix in place of the Cyclonic Rifts, but I want to run Courser in every deck with Green mana. Generator Servant allows this deck to get to even faster starts than Stephen’s build. Powering out a turn 3 Frenzied Tilling almost seems more powerful that a turn 3 Stormbreath Dragon. Almost.
Then again, what do I know? I’m the guy who wants to make Aggressive Mining happen.
The one thing I didn’t expect to find when I was brewing this deck was a home for Deathrite Shaman in Standard. There’s this sick individual inside me that wishes Deathrite would still be legal after we get the fetchlands, but we’ll never be so lucky. The concept here can be executed in 2 stages. First, I want to ramp out a Stormbreath Dragon or Polukranos as fast as possible. When that gets dealt with, drop Aggressive Mining and start digging for Karametra. Once Karametra hits the battlefield, every creature cast digs for a land, which can be sacrificed for more cards. I didn’t have Courser of Kruphix in this list 5 minutes ago, but like I just said I can’t NOT have him in a Green deck.
Geez, I didn’t even realize I had a 3rd deck with Generator Servant.
This deck could also be called “Ryan Germor’s Wet Dream.” He wants to Shrapnel Blast a Scuttling Doom Engine so bad I’m certain he dreams about it. Continuing the trend of finding homes for cards that deserve one, Illusory Angel is a perfect fit in a deck with 8 free spells. Lots of possible explosive starts are possible with this list, and having Doom Engine at the top of the curve is scary for anyone who wastes their removal spells on my Ornithopters.
Well, that makes 15 decks. My obligation is fulfilled. BUT. I. CAN’T. STOP. BREWING.
Straight Edge But I Stay Token
Battlefield Thaumaturge is another card Ryan and I have been eager to make work. The problem is that there are too many directions to go with the card. Do we make the deck based around efficient removal or brew a dedicated Heroic deck? This is the version I prefer today, mostly ignoring both options and just dropping tons of tokens that can eventually be swapped out for 4/4 flyers at instant speed. I almost didn’t include Purphoros, but it seems too sweet to pass up. Being able to cast Launch the Fleet for W and getting as many free strive activations as I have creatures with a Purphoros out seems worth it.
OK that’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll be releasing new episodes of Yo! MTG Taps! for the next 2 weeks straight so we can cover the full spoiler for Khans of Tarkir without needing to cram it all into one 3 hour episode. My next article is going to release on 9/26, and I’m going to discuss Standard brews with Khans of Tarkir! One thing I’m forcing myself to do is not read any decklists posted by other writers before I write this article. I’m going to create what I foresee as the week 1 Standard metagame. I have a 36 hour bus ride to write this article during, so things could get very interesting!! I can’t wait to see how wrong I am!
P.S. Stephen sent me one more decklist that I can barely wrap my head around. He says it went 4-0 in a daily but didn’t get any attention. My guess is that anyone who saw it probably thought it was a joke. Of course Stephen tried it out and says he has a winning record with it in 2-mans. If any of you can figure it out, you’re officially smarter than me.
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