With Standard being driven by aggressive strategies, races have become more common than ever. Trying to sit back and block against Earthshaker Khenra and Ahn-Crop Crasher won't end well, and the other top decks, Zombies and B/G, threaten to pump their creatures on any turn, so any block you set up against them is far from a safe bet.
When you're in a race, lifelink and haste are the most important abilities for a creature to have, and today's deck does a lot to leverage that fact. Heron's Grace Champion is incredibly powerful and can lead to huge life total swings of ten or more points in a single attack step. Glory-Bound Initiate isn't quite as powerful, but four life every other turn is still quite significant.
As for haste, you won't find many such creatures in the deck, just Hazoret the Fervent, but Thalia, Heretic Cathar shuts down opposing haste creatures while also making blocking more difficult. It's hard for me to imagine losing a race with this deck unless you stumble hard.
The three-color manabase certainly makes stumbling more likely when compared to the sleek one- and two-color decks we've seen so far this season, but Aether Hub does a lot of heavy lifting here with Voltaic Brawler to help fuel it. The two copies of Hanweir Battlements are definitely greedy, but they too are great in races and give you a powerful late-game option with the meld.
Should you find yourself in a more interactive game of Magic, Tireless Tracker and Archangel Avacyn are there to give you some card advantage, and the eight Anthems in the deck should let you compete with the likes of Liliana's Mastery and Verdurous Gearhulk. You even get to go up to ten Anthems after sideboarding, adding two copies of Always Watching.
Humans have become the forgotten tribe, with the days of Tom Ross winning every tournament in sight with a pile of one-drops well in the rearview mirror. You still don't have that same density of cheap creatures, but this bigger version is more than prepared to take on the decks that do.
- 4 Glory-Bound Initiate
- 4 Hanweir Garrison
- 4 Heron's Grace Champion
- 4 Thalia's Lieutenant
- 4 Thraben Inspector
- 2 Tireless Tracker
- 4 Voltaic Brawler
- 2 Archangel Avacyn
- 2 Hazoret the Fervent
- 3 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
- 4 Abrade