So this past weekend was the Kaladesh prerelease weekend, which means that this Friday is the first day that Kaladesh is legal for Constructed play. This also means that we’ll be losing Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins due to rotation, which means most of us will need to either update our existing decks, or find new decks to play. Last week I expressed my thoughts about how I thought existing archetypes would do after rotation. This week I’d like to show a couple of lists that I’ve been playing around with for post rotation Standard.
The first list here is for a deck that I’m very high on at the moment. It’s very fast, pretty consistent, and is a blast to play for Standard.
R/W Artifacts Matter Aggro
The idea here is to just dump your hand as quickly as possible in the early few turns with as many efficient creatures as possible. Thraben Inspector slots perfectly with cards like Inventor’s Apprentice and Toolcraft Exemplar, and is the perfect pilot for a Smuggler’s Copter. Pia Nalaar is a great curve topper that can provide the artifact necessary for the few creatures you have that get better with the artifact, and is also poised to be a fine card in this sort of deck anyway.
Stitcher’s Graft may be pushing it, as it combos really well with Always Watching, but isn’t great without that card, and I’m not sure at the moment if this deck even wants either of those cards. A few Incendiary Flows help either kill Sylvan Advocate or dome your opponent to finish the game when you need a bit more reach.
The really cute thing here is Lypine Prototype. In order for it to do its job, you need to empty your hand by turn three, assuming you play the prototype on turn 2. It’s certainly more than doable, fits the plan of your low cost, aggressive creatures where artifacts matter, and is a great rate if you can get it active. It’s sort of a lower downside, higher upside Lambholt Pacifist.
Bomat Courier is also pretty good at driving cards, and can allow you the extra cards you need to push through to end the game later on. However, I think this card may be better when playing with Reckless Bushwacker, so you can sort of draw a card or two to combo with your bushwacker.
Anyway, this is the current iteration of the aggressive side of my gauntlet so far. It’s testing ok, and of course still needs to be updated.
Next is the deck that I am the most excited about. I know that B/W midrange isn’t the most exciting deck for some, but it looks to be like the deck that’s casting the most powerful spells on each turn of the game. This is my current list:
BW Gearhulk Midrange
When this deck is clicking, it just feels better than any other thing I could be doing. Bruna and Gisela bring powerful inevitability. The weakest turns are the first three, but even in those spots I feel like you have very powerful actions to be doing. Declaration in Stone and Grasp of Darkness and Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim are able to defend against most creatures you’ll face in the early game, your turns three and 4 are spent building powerful creatures and planeswalkers, like Gisela, the Broken Blade, or Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Turn 5 you’re either playing a Cataclysmic Gearhulk and getting insane value out of it, or an Archangel Avacyn. Your six mana spells are Noxious Gearhulk for even more value, and Sorin, who can kill 90% of the gearhulks, outside of Verdurous Gearhulk with 3 or 4 counters on it. You’re ending the game with either all of the powerful spells you’ve already cast, or with a Brisela, Voice of Nightmares.
I think this sort of Black White, or at least white based midrange deck, will be the control deck of the format. Since Languish is no longer going to be around to keep Selfess Spirit and Archangel Avacyn in check, Planar Outburst and Fumigate are going to be weak cards. This means control decks will have to stay alive two additional turns beyond the turn 4 they were used to Languishing on in order to cast Descend Upon the Sinful. I don’t think this is going to be a very good strategy, and I believe that the Cataclysmic Gearhulk sort of midrange deck will be preferable to sweeper based strategies.
This last one is a modification to a friend’s brew. We wanted to build a ramp deck, as there are a lot of powerful payoff cards for a ramp type of strategy. Everything from Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, to Emrakul, the Promised End, to Part the Waterveil and Crush of Tentacles. However, Nissa’s Pilgrimage and Explosive Vegetation are rotating. We’ve been struggling to find replacements, but I think you have to look at card synergies, not just card for card replacements to find new routes to ramp.
First, we were thinking of playing Hedron Archive in the Explosive Vegetation slot. However, there is a four mana card that has higher upside than Explosive Vegetation, especially with all of the self-milling that goes on in Standard already. Splendid Reclamation, while not a new card, is the new twist on ramp.
I was a sneaky fan of the U/G Crush deck in last Standard. This sort of tries to emulate that deck. The biggest hits to the U/G Crush deck in current Standard are the ramp spells in Nissa’s Pilgrimage, Explosive Vegetation, and Den Protector. Wildest Dreams and Greenwarden of Murasa try to play that Den Protector line as well as they can, although it’s difficult to loop them.
Splendid Reclamation allows you to take advantage of the self mill cards in the format, especially with very little graveyard interaction. It has the potential even to be better than Explosive Vegetation, allowing you to get back your Lumbering Falls.
Although I don’t have any new cards in this deck outside of Botanical Sanctum and Wildest Dreams, there are some that might slot in here, but this is the deck that I’ve tested the least of these three. Cards like Attune with Aether might be better than Traverse the Ulvenwald if that’s what this sort of deck is looking for if you’re able to find a suitable way to spend energy, but I don’t think this deck wants anything that energy is able to do. Also, you can play Wild Wanderer if that’s the sort of thing you’re in the market for, or if Splendid Reclamation turns out to be a bust.
I’m still brewing over here, since I have four more PPTQs left this year that I’m still looking to win to get that final checkmark of the year for my goals. Hopefully I can break it, and beat the other folks who think they’ve broken it. I’m really super excited for Kaladesh, and am very excited to see what the Pro Tour reveals to be the best decks in the new standard.
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