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The new Standard seems to be shaping up to be much like the previous Standard format…with a few major exceptions. The problem is that we didn't get to see much of the old Standard format because there was only one major tournament featuring the format after Aetherworks Marvel got banned. A lot of people on this fine website have been giving you useful information about new archetypes and new decks using Hour of Devastation cards, yet not going too deep on the established archetypes that are sure to crop up at the first few Standard tournaments over the next month.
While the Standard format will certainly change a bit, both as a response to some of the more powerful cards in Hour of Devastation and because there are a few new archetypes to worry about, many of the decks you've come to know over the last six months or so are mostly intact. B/G Constrictor, Mardu Vehicles, U/R Control, and a few others are still around and are still fine choices for your next Standard tournament, so long as you know how to build them. And with the cards from Hour of Devastation making an impact, it is more important than ever that you know what will show up, how to play around stuff, and what sideboard strategies are needed to fight off these new problems.
So today, in preparation for SCG Cincinnati and beyond, I'll be going over the three decks I think will have the biggest impact on the Standard metagame in the first few weeks and why. Plus, as a bonus, I'll try to throw in my two cents on where the format will be going leading up to Pro Tour Hour of Devastation. Let's get started!
First on my list of "decks to look out for" is G/R Ramp, mostly getting a boost thanks to this little gem.
Hour of Promise wouldn't be too much of a problem if it weren't able to fetch up two copies of Shrine of the Forsaken Gods, but here we are. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is back again, and this time we aren't trying to cast it by spinning a wheel. Instead, we're just casting it the old-fashioned way on the fifth turn. Not too shabby, eh?
While we saw something similar to this in the last few weeks of Aetherworks Marvel Standard with Ulvenwald Hydra ramping into Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Hour of Promise seems to be taking it one step further. There are a plethora of ramp spells that can get you to five mana on the fourth turn, and a timely Hour of Promise has you hitting Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger right on schedule. Is it as powerful as Aetherworks Marvel? Probably not, but that isn't all this ramp deck gains from Hour of Devastation. In fact, it also gains the marquee card of the set.
Casting Hour of Devastation on the fourth turn is also pretty hard for many decks in the format to beat. Archangel Avacyn and Selfless Spirit can't protect you from this battlefield-wiping effect, and it even cleans up most planeswalkers to boot. While Hour of Devastation won't always kill the biggest creature around, thanks to stuff like Verdurous Gearhulk, it has a way of buying you time. And as a ramp deck, all you need is time to cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger to take care of whatever your opponent is able to follow up with.
Hyper-aggressive strategies might be able to go under the G/R Ramp deck, but my gut tells me that Hour of Devastation will put an end to those hopes rather quickly. Or, alternatively, you can just get your nut draw Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger on the fifth turn and beat just about every deck in the format. Either way, the G/R Ramp deck is the real deal and is my top contender for what I'm going to play this weekend at SCG Cincinnati.
Here is the list I'll be starting with, though there is a good chance I make changes over the next few days leading up to the event.