With the Pro Tour just days away and the first Standard format in years that has held up to months of heavy play, we're at a really interesting moment in Magic's history.
Is this a turning point?
An unusual outlier?
A watershed moment?
First, Mono-Red ran the tables. Then, Selesyna got a chance to shine and diversity among blue decks was the highest it had been in some time. From there, Golgari took the top spot, while Izzet Phoenix was raising some eyebrows. From there, Jeskai surged in popularity, given how well it can be suited for combating Golgari. Izzet Phoenix decks have become better and better tuned, and all manner of Experimental Frenzy decks put a different kind of pressure on the format. While the Golgari decks had increased their focus on cards like Carnage Tyrant, now they have a new adversary to deal with...
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants speaks to a new breed of Selesnya, packed with tons of individually powerful cards, rather than relying on token-making and anthems. Ajani, alongside Vivian Reid, provides diverse angles of attack to help offset the exposure to Deafening Clarion and Cleansing Nova.
- 3 Adanto Vanguard
- 3 Knight of Grace
- 4 Resplendent Angel
- 3 Thorn Lieutenant
- 4 Tocatli Honor Guard
- 3 Lyra Dawnbringer
- 3 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
The package of Resplendent Angel, Shalai Voice of Plenty, and Lyra Dawnbringer give the deck many of the same tools Boros Angels have had for outmuscling the other aggro decks. Finally, this diverse and powerful mix of twos both synergize well with Ajani and allow the Selesnya deck to get started early, without needing to rely on Llanowar Elves.
While this strategy is a little bit of a wildcard going into the event, I'm kind of in the camp that it's a slightly worse Boros Angels and would still consider Brad's list the jumping off point for the evolution of the archetype. There's a lot to like here, but I think the ability to utilize Deafening Clarion is just too good of a thing to miss out on.
The cat is out of the bag on this one, but it's still not trivial to play around. Teferi about to ultimate is not a given, even with permission to protect it. Settle the Wreckage is much worse than it otherwise would be. Control decks need to actually get it over with, because if things stretch, this one is a killer. You can't even Expansion it to steal the win since it costs six or more most of the time.