Oath of the Gatewatch is officially spoiled. There’s certainly a lot of information to absorb and with prereleases happening this weekend it’s easy to get caught up in the sealed deck hype. With many other websites focusing on limited reviews I thought I would go over some potential new brews and additions to existing lists. I also want to go over a quick recap of some of the not so obvious sleepers in this set that may make a big impact.
The first deck I want to go over is Suicide Black. This deck hasn’t been successful in quite some time. The most recent example of a moderately successful suicide black deck would be when Pain Seer was still in Standard fighting alongside cards like Tormented Hero and Mogi’s Marauders. Oath of the Gatewatch has added some new goodies to an existing shell. Let’s take a look.
Reaver Drone, Bearer of Silence, Grasp of Darkness and Inverter of Truth are the newest additions to this archetype and perhaps are enough to breathe some life back into it. The aggressively slanted deck could be the first true home for Drana, Liberator of Malakir. With the new addition of Reaver Drone it gives this deck a sweet spot of 10 one drops. Bearer of Silence does its best Gatekeeper of Malakir impersonation but does a better job at being aggressive thanks to the evasion it provides. Inverter of Truth is a card I’m still not sure on but it quite big and evasive to boot. I believe if your opponent is using their resources to deal with your other creatures it’s unlikely they can deal with a 6/6 flying creature. The drawback is negligible and could be considered helpful depending on a variety of factors thanks to delve on Murderous Cut or your opponent killing your creatures. It will often leave you with a spell only library. The removal suite is solid and Duress offers some additional disruption to help pave an avenue for your creatures to retain pressure. The mana is pretty straightforward and Blight Fen works double-time by giving you colorless mana for your Bearer of Silence and being a utility land later in the game as well. This deck is new for this current format and I hope that with proper testing it can stick around.
Next up we have a Waste of Time. Well not exactly a Waste of Time, but that’s what I called the deck. With Wastes lands being the new basic land on the block I thought I’d give a stab at a mono colorless deck utilizing the best colorless cards this format has to offer.
Waste of Time
The real motivation here comes from Walker of the Wastes. Paying five mana for often a 9/9 or 10/10 Trample creature is a pretty scary thing. Thought-Knot Seer offers protection curving into either the Walker or Reality Smasher. This is also the perfect deck to try out some of the new lands in Ruins of Oran-Rief and Sea Gate Wreckage. Utility lands always help out a lot when flooding can become an issue and you’re usually never upset to draw them. Warping Wail and Spatial Contortion are the removal spells of choice, mostly because there are no other choices. Still, these are surprisingly powerful effects for the cost and give us some early interactive spells if we’re not curving out or don’t need to. This most likely isn’t quite good enough to see competitive play, but thought bringing this concept to light maybe someone can figure it out.
I honestly have no idea what to think about this next deck. It’s somewhere between very good and very bad. There’s an obvious omission but I think that once you hear what I have to say it makes sense.
The obvious omission here is Relic Seeker. Let me explain that before jumping to any conclusions. Stoneforge Acolyte is a powerful card. It produces card advantage without having to spend any mana. The kicker here is it requires another Ally to be effective. To mitigate this I made sure the majority of the creatures in this deck are Allies as well. In addition, Captain’s Claws produce Allies which is also another nice boost to the theme. Finally, Stoneforge Masterwork also gives a Coat of Arms effect to the equipped creature. This effect generally works best if everything in the deck shares a creature type. Outside of Kazuul’s Toll Collector I have achieved this goal. Having the ability to obtain free equip is too powerful to pass up and is the reason he made the cut. The rest of the equipment is the best the format has to offer given the circumstances. The mana base is solid and I added additional basic lands to fully capitalize on Sword of the Animist. Without testing this deck it’s hard to know where it lands in the playability scale. My initial guess is this just isn’t that good, but I’ve certainly been wrong before.
This is probably my favorite list of the bunch. I really enjoyed Mardu Walkers when Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and Liliana Vess where in the format. With the departure of the six mana planeswalker we finally get a new shot with Oath of the Gatewatch.
A massive 12 planeswalkers highlighted by Chandra, Flamecaller packs this list. It’s able to utilize Oath of Gideon to its fullest potential. Oath of Chandra and Silkwrap provide cheap interaction and the Oath of Chandra even provides additional value throughout the game. Languish and End Hostilities serve as the sweepers to protect our planeswalkers and the rest is just effective removal. What I like best about this deck is how Chandra, Flamecaller lets us turn dead cards in certain matchups into effective spells in others with her 0 ability. I can imagine playing against an Esper dragons deck and sitting there with multiple Oath of Chandra or Silkwrap and being able to ditch those for more Planeswalkers is just terrific. The mana base is also fantastic with a whopping six man lands. This is definitely the deck I’ve brewed up that I want to try the most.
Jim Davis won the players’ championship on the back of his Eldrazi Ramp list. Oath of the Gatewatch offers a variety of new tools that will serve this deck well in the new metagame.
The most important card out of Oath for this deck is Ruin in Their Wake. A stipulating Rampant Growth is still a welcome addition. Since this deck is mostly mono colored it has no problem adding enough Wastes to make it worthwhile. Warping Wail and Kozilek’s Return are both welcome additions to this deck. Both do a reasonable job at interacting with your opponent and Warping Wail does a really good job at protecting this deck from Infinite Obliteration. World Breaker and Kozilek, the Great Distortion are new fatties that are welcome in this sort of deck. Finally a nice one of in Sea Gate Wreckage allows you to draw some additional cards when you run out of gas or draw mostly ramp spells. Sylvan Scrying is a nice way to find this if you already have Shrine of the Forsaken Gods or Sanctum of Ugin.
Those are all the brews and updates I have for you so far. There are a lot of obvious game-changers in Oath of the Gatewatch people have been talking about. There are a few I wanted to bring up briefly that could make a difference when no one is looking.
Goblin Dark-Dwellers: There has been a bit of talk about this guy with Kolaghan’s Command or Crackling Doom. What’s really interesting to me is how powerful he alongside Eldrazi Displacer. These two combined offer some insane value and even if these two never see play inside the same shell (I bet they do) Goblin Dark-Dwellers offers some real powerful card advantage and a very solid threat leftover. Get these while they’re cheap people.
Reckless Bushwhacker: The second coming of Goblin Bushwhacker. You thought Atarka Red was hard to beat before? Now they have two anthem effects for those Dragon Fodders and Hordeling Outbursts. I’m not sure how this deck will evolve to incorporate Reckless Bushwhacker, but you better bet it’s not going to be pretty.
Wall of Resurgence: This best mimics Blade Splicer from New Phyrexia. Three mana for an 0/6 and a 3/3 is a real good deal. Albeit it’s a tad bit risky in the sense that you open up your land to removal spells. I still believe this is something to watch out for. Even an 0/6 is nothing to laugh about in this day and age. There isn’t a whole lot that can fight through six toughness.
Dimensional Infiltrator: This card has flash people. It’s very possible we see a deck incorporate Esper devoid using things like this, Fathom Feeder, Reaver Drone, Eldrazi Displacer and Reflector Mage for some serious shenanigans. Esper Tempo could soon be a thing and I’m excited about the prospects.
Slip Through Space/Expedite: The last cards I want to go over is Slip Through Space and Expedite. These cards excite me as cheap cantrips that can fuel Treasure Cruise style decks and abuse the Prowess Mechanic. I’m looking at you Stormchaser Mage. Pair the Stormchaser Mage with Abbot of Keral Keep and Monastery Swiftspear and all of a sudden you have a scary looking deck.
That’s it for now. I’ve given you five different decks to consider in the coming weeks. There are still many ideas and concepts to be explored and many more updates to existing decks to come. For now look forward to your prerelease and have some fun. We’re almost a month out until the Standard RPTQ and now is a good a time as any to delve into Standard.
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