It’s almost been a month since Pro Tour: Battle for Zendikar wrapped up, and it’s been exciting to see how Standard has changed since then. We’ve seen Abzan win the Pro Tour, GW Megamorph, Mono Green Ramp, and Abzan Aggro (winning two!) win Starcitygames.com events, and Abzan Aggro and Jeskai win Grand Prixs. Abzan also won the most recent MOCS on MTGO as well.
Apparently it’s a good time to be a Green mage that splashes some colors. Of course Anafenza the Foremost and Siege Rhino are powerful cards. Abzan Charm is quality removal, and every single time my opponent plays a Canopy Vista I shake my head a bit and prepare to either be blown out by a quick Warden of the First Tree followed up by Hangarback Walker. I dislike Abzan but I appreciate its power, and I respect its popularity.
I’m struggling finding something to play in Standard. I wanted to get Christmas shopping started earlier than normal this year so I got rid of my copies of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, that killed a lot of options like Jeskai, Esper and 4color Rally. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar was next to go, so that killed Abzan, Tokens and Megamorph. When all was said and done in my culling of the collection for Christmas presents, I was left with a bunch of ramp decks, which I love to play, but ended up incinerating 115 tickets on MTGO with during the Battle for Zendikar Standard Champs qualifiers, and a neat Temur Jeskai mashup from Pro Tour: Battle for Zendikar.
Dan Ward played the deck at the Pro Tour (as did Thiago Saporito who went 6-4 with it as well) and finished in 90th place with 27 points on the weekend. While not the hoped for results, the deck has some promise, and was featured in a deck tech during the coverage.
Let me just leave that here for you.
Dan also wrote about the deck here. In the article you can see some suggested changes for the deck, and had I found it first I for sure would have tried a few of them out. I came to the same conclusions that he did about Savage Knuckleblade and one of the suggestions that he had was Skyrider Elf. I feel as if Woodland Wanderer is one of the best cards in the deck, and the converge elf would make for an additional huge flying threat! Big Knucks has its uses, it’s a great four drop, but in a world of Hangarback Walkers, it’s easily neutralized. Going over the top with huge flying dorks in Icefall Regent and Thunderbreak Regent is pretty awesome! The eight mana creatures, while unimpressive allow us to play huge monsters on turn three. Woodland Wanderer is pretty awesome as a trampling 6/6 on turn three, and Thunderbreak Regent is nothing to laugh at as well. Draconic Roar consistently deals three damage to both creature and player, Stubborn Denial protects the lumbering dorks, and Jeskai Charm is a pretty neat trick. Lifelink is pretty huge on the charm, as is the ability to “remove” a blocker in response to a fetch land activation. Four damage has been the least used mode for me, but four damage for three mana is a pretty good deal!
Let’s take a look at the list:
Dan Ward Temur Dragons
I’ve been pretty sick and tired over the past couple of weeks, I’m not sure why, but I guess the Daylight Savings Time change hit me pretty hard, and it has messed up with my sleep schedule. That has snowballed into messing with everything else, and as I write at 4am on Tuesday, I feel as fresh as a spring chicken. Anyways, I’ve not been able to stream as much as I would like because I am taking naps in the middle of the day, waking up in the slightly later parts of the middle of the day, and trying my best to get back on a normal person sleep schedule. Of course it’s still 4am, so that’s working out rather swimmingly! I did find the strength to stream (weird saying that I found the strength, but feeling run down and feverish all day I guess saps that out of you.) last night, and while we went 2-3 with the deck, it was a lot of fun! I undervalued Stubborn Denial in just about every match that I played and sided it out a lot.
That was wrong.
Stubborn Denial is misprinted in this deck. It should say “Counter target removal spell.” Having access to it is super important in a format full of Abzan Charms and Dromoka’s Commands. We also struggled against Abzan, and I feel like I might have played the matchup wrong. Our creatures are almost on par with theirs, and in some cases bigger. Woodland Wanderer is super important here, as a converged one is bigger than Siege Rhino outside of a Gideon Emblem or Anafenza trigger.
Let’s watch the stream, and you’ll notice that I forgot to change the title to it, so while it says Sealed, I’ll just pretend that not changing the title was my tribute to the sites other streamer, bigheadjoe, of Yo! MTG Taps fame.
So a part of me wants to add a single Sunken Hollow or Smoldering Marsh to the deck. I’m super greedy and love the converge cards. Having access to the black mana outside of Beastcaller Savant would be neat, and would make our Wanderer and Exert Influence a tiny bit better. It would not be super hard on the mana base, as it is fetchable by Wooded Foothills and Flooded Strand. Would the fifth color make things better? Maybe, as it stands now, Wanderer only gets to be a 6/6 and Exert Influence only gets to take 4 or less power. Both of those are pretty outstanding as is. If we were to run Skyrider Elf it would be a 4/4 flyer as well. Is the black mana worth it? We would upgrade to a 7/7, 5 power creatures and a 5/5 flier. The issue I really have with adding a black source is where would I put it? I think it would be easiest to shave a Lumbering Falls off and replace it with a black source, but in that case it would make it slightly harder to cast a mana dork on turn two, and that is super important to the deck. It may just be correct to wait to add the black splash. If it’s added at all I would imagine it would be easier with a BG or UG battleland. Of course that is just all greed!
A similar version of the deck recently went 4-1 in a Champs qualifier. It removes the Jeskai Charms for Dromoka’s Commands and that might be worth looking in to as well. To facilitate the third command they removed a copy of Beastcaller Savant, and while I have went on record in the Owensboro local magic group as to that card being terrible, it plays such a crucial role in this deck that having less than a full set would be weird to me.
As it stands the only change I would make to the deck as of now is to replace the Savage Knuckleblades with Skyrider Elves. I would also fit in the fourth Stubborn Denial to the sideboard, and honestly I might just load it in to another champs qualifier later on today with those changes!
With that said, thanks for hanging out at the site today. Thanks for watching the stream and putting up with my words! It’s been fun playing a non ramp deck, and as I research the champs qualifier results the siren song of a Temur and UG ramp deck call to me, alluring me to set my ticket boat ashore with it’s song of hardcasted Ulamogs and Nissa’s Renewals!
Have a great Tuesday and thank you again!
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