I’ve not been able to play as Standard as I would like to since rotation happened. Part of that is because I’m a poor, and the other part of that is because I’ve had to get my house ready for my son to hang out for the week, and getting a lot of stuff clean does not leave for a lot of time to play Magic. I’ve tried very hard to keep an eye out towards the format as it develops though, because outside of Pauper, it really is the cheapest way to play constructed Magic. It just sucks that I can’t do 1v1 or Modern stuff, because bills have to be paid and supplies bought and being an adult, even though I am just a shell of one, is really lame!
While I have been looking at the new Standard, I’ve largely ignored stuff like Energy, Approach of the Second Sun, Ramunap Red and God-Pharaoh’s Gift. Energy is a powerful build around mechanic, the other two cards as well known and were expected to be a part of the new Standard as we moved forward. Looking at results so far we can see plenty of Energy, in Electrostatic Pummeler or traditional builds, which are now adding Sultai and to a lesser extent, Jund, to the mix instead of just Temur. We see Approach of the Second Sun in its former UW glory with new cards, and finally God-Pharaoh’s Gift is going is a lot of directions, UW is still around, UB was the direction at the beginning of the week, and by the time the week ended, it was firmly in Esper colors. Ramunap Red will never be cool no matter what anyone says, so it is super easy to ignore!
Those established decks are of course super easy to port over from the old Standard. What decks are seeing new life now that Ixalan is in the format? Dinosaurs seems like a pretty easy one to talk about, since the archetype really didn’t exist until the set became legal. To be fair though, it’s just a tribal aggro deck. Some of them really just added Dinosaurs to BG Constrictor, which is fine I guess, but if I am casting dinosaurs, I want to be in Red Green to take full advantage of Regisaur Alpha, Drover of the Mighty and Otepec Huntmaster. That to me seems a lot easier on the mana and allows you to be a bit more streamlined than forcing yourself into a third color, be it white or black. Let’s take a look at a sample RG Dinosaur list from the week.
Staying with the tribal aspects of the new set, we could look at a Merfolk deck, but no one has really played with them yet, or at least put up any results. That would leave Pirates and Vampires as the next tribes to make an impact. Pirates I’ve seen hanging out in Red Black Ramunap builds, and those are less exciting than this WG Vampire list that Jack Kiefer played at Dallas. While a top sixty appearance is nothing to be super excited about, looking at the beginning stages of the build I think is. Also it’s a 50 ticket deck on MTGO, so really, you’re playing what might essentially be a bunch of draft left overs and a set of Angel of Inventions that you had left from last season. I think the deck looks fun, but I also have a soft spot in my heart for WG green beatdown.
Speaking of WG beatdown, Vampires were not the only tribe to take advantage of Sunpetal Grove. Cats were played to a 27th place finish in the classic. Right meow the tribe might not have staying power, but it’s purrfectly fine for the first week. Also another super cheap deck here, as Metallic Mimic will be the card that sets you back the most!
So far we’ve briefly looked at an aggro Dinosaur deck, an aggro Vampire deck, and an aggro Cats deck. The first week of the new format has been all about the aggro stuff, and I am sadly not going to be able to change course here, as well, I said Approach of the Second Sun is not cool anymore, and that seems to be our best control option. I understand that people are getting ready for the Pro Tour and may be hiding their best options still. It’s just weird to me to write about so many tribal options. I’m not usually one to think that these are cool!
Ok, on to the next tribal deck, which I guess is a stretch because I am calling tokens tribal, but I can do what I want, because this is my article!
Anointed Procession makes a ton of tokens, and you just overwhelm your opponent with with a bunch of small threats, which is what I think the cool kids call going wide. Going wide seems fine since mass removal is expensive and with Hidden Stockpile you can rebuild easily. This deck also looks to make Legion’s Landing flip as soon as possible and become a way to make a steady stream of creatures in the late game. I think this deck really wants more anthem effects, but Master Trinketeer is just about all we can get from that. Abzan may also be the better way to go with the Tokens archetype as it gives you access to the new Vraska, which after two turns of making pirates should make your opponent’s life total one, and make the win a little bit easier from there!
The final deck I want to look at is a Grixis Tezzeret deck, which is where I would be going instead of Revel in Riches now. Zac Elsik won the Standard Classic with this build over the weekend.
This deck reminds me of, if I recall correctly, Willy Edel’s improvise list from a few PTs ago. The Scarab God is for some inane reason a forty ticket card on MTGO and that’s a real downer. However this is probably the coolest deck of the past week, so congrats go out to Zac for winning with a super cool list!
That’s it for me this week, as I am supposed to be playing games with my son instead of writing articles, but he’s playing Republic at War now, so he’s a bit understanding of where I am coming from right now. We are getting closer to the Pro Tour and hopefully some great decks will there will help us shape the Standard format for the next few weeks, until it’s time to talk about the next set!
What are you playing in Standard right now? Let us know in the comments!
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