I don't need an intro. Y'all are just gonna skip to the decklists anyway.
- 4 Arbor Elf
- 4 Boneyard Wurm
- 1 Disciple of Bolas
- 4 Dreg Mangler
- 2 Ghoultree
- 2 Gravecrawler
- 1 Kessig Cagebreakers
- 2 Korozda Guildmage
- 4 Splinterfright
- 1 Tree of Redemption
- 2 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
I think we can do better. Gavin was trying to go deep on Jarad's Orders but Standard doesn't really give you the time to mess around nor are the Tutor targets all that exciting. If you're milling yourself you will find Jarad eventually. From testing the Innistrad Block Constructed version of the deck it was pretty clear the deck just wanted to be an aggro deck utilizing undercosted creatures.
Try something like this:
I would love to be milling harder or at least splash Faithless Looting but I'm not sure that's doable. Would Arbor Elf be playable if I replaced some Forests with Rootbound Crags? It's entirely possible that it's not even good at all as there isn't much to accelerate into on turn 2. However once turn 3 rolls around and you can cast Mulch and Boneyard Wurm in the same turn you'll be pretty happy.
Abrupt Decay is a possibility but I think a deck like this mostly wants to be ignoring creatures. You are going bigger than them so there's not much you're worried about killing. Also you really want your Mulches and such to hit a bunch of creatures to make your other creatures large so you don't have a lot of space for random spells.
Patrick Chapin posted a lot of interesting control decklists in his article this week. One of them was a U/W Miracle deck that Brad and I will be playtesting shortly.
My gut reaction is that this will not stand up to Zombies and will need Pillar of Flame and/or Oblivion Ring to be viable. Then again I usually err on the side of trying to play small-ball—I'd rather nickel and dime them out than ignore them and go over the top. Whether Miracles is the type of deck that can actually pull that off I'm not sure but we'll find out soon enough.
Maybe Azorius Charm and Feeling of Dread are enough to stem the early beats. Then again Hayne's Pro Tour winning deck had Devastation Tide over Azorius Charm so Chapin's list is losing a bit of punch there.
I played with a version of U/W/R Delver in the last playtesting video I did very similar to Patrick Chapin's build from his article earlier this week. I can't say that I was shocked at how much worse the deck flowed but it was very sad. Delver is still capable of winning but it's a shell of its former self.
Not only was the loss of Ponder a huge blow but Gitaxian Probe was a pretty big deal as well. With Thought Scour you have enough targets with Snapcaster Mage and you can make Runechanter's Pike matter but you have to play a higher land count and can't prevent flooding like a string of Ponders could.
Against Brad's Frites deck using Pillar of Flame to keep mana creatures in check was difficult. Pillar costing one mana slowed down my early game development a lot and reduced the effectiveness of Izzet Charm's Spell Pierce.
Cyclonic Rift is a card I'd like to have access to now. There are quite a few board stalls that develop between Delver and the green decks and getting to seven mana isn't that crazy. At least in current Standard if you get to seven mana on turn 7 chances are you dealt them some damage but can't quite close the game. That's about the only situation where something like Sleep is good but Cyclonic Rift could have been helpful in the early game as well.
I used to play a Disperse over a Vapor Snag mostly because I was an idiot but also because being able to bounce something like Gideon or Oblivion Ring on my Sword of War and Peace turned the tide in the control matchup. Those situations don't exist anymore though although maybe Oblivion Ring on Runechanter's Pike will be a common occurrence.
There's been some talk of Nivmagus Elemental but I don't think it's the real deal. For the most part you'd rather have your spell resolve than get some extra counters on your guy. If you think it's cool that you can exile spells that they are going to counter or when they are sacrificing the creature you targeted with a removal spell consider that Nivmagus Elemental is still not worth a card.
Regardless I assume people will try to make it work and I think the best way you can do that is by utilizing flashback. Changing a Thought Scour into a double Battlegrowth isn't a good use of the card but maybe exiling a flashbacked Think Twice is.
That's immediately what I pictured in my head when I saw that card. One thing to note is the Artful Dodge which helps Nivmagus Elemental get through but is another card that can give +4/+4 or +2/+2 if it was milled or discarded.
Not much has changed since I posted my last list. Brad convinced me that I would probably need some Tragic Slips against Zombies specifically cards like Lotleth Troll and Falkenrath Aristocrat and he was right. Abundant Growth was fantastic in testing and allowed Liliana of the Veil to be cast easier and made Kessig Wolf Run playable without ruining the mana base.
One card I'm excited to see in action is Underworld Connections. I love me a Phyrexian Arena which this card is very similar to. It's not likely that you jam this on turn 3 (unless you have an Arbor Elf); I see it as a card you'll play once your hand is empty. One of the most powerful things in Magic is using your mana more efficiently than your opponent and this allows you to do that by keeping the gas flowing.
Brad played with B/G Zombies last week and it looked very very good. A lot of people thought he should have been using Rancor which makes sense but it's also difficult to cast. Remember Zombies will be effective because right now it's the most brutally efficient deck in the format. When you start adding green cards with few ways to cast them the deck starts losing some of its punch. Granted Rancor is a fantastic card when it's castable but you have to keep that in mind.
The other suggestion we got the most was adding red or just being a B/R Zombies deck. Dreg Mangler and Lotleth Troll are both amazing cards and while Falkenrath Aristocrat is good I think B/G wins out at the moment.
Of course you could always play both colors but I imagine that mana base would be quite painful. With mirrors abound that's probably not something you want.
Earlier this week Brad played this deck in a playtesting video:
While his deck performed well I don't think Craterhoof Behemoth is where you want to be. There was some outcry in our forums about not using Jarad's Orders but that card seems too slow. You don't necessarily want to be Reanimating fatties all the time. Sometimes you need to slow the game down and deal with their threats first. That said if you do end up including Jarad's Orders a singleton Behemoth is probably a good choice.
Personally I like this style of Reanimator more. I feel like I'm more in control of my destiny since I get to play removal spells. Granted I miss Thragtusk. He'd be right at home in this deck. It would all be a matter of getting the mana to work.
Populate seems like it's being pushed but all the cards with populate are so slow or do nothing but populate. Right now I'm skeptical unless you're using something like Grove of the Guardian or Geist of Saint Traft to populate things that matter. With most of the token generators making 1/1s populate just doesn't strike me as very powerful. The fact that there is no shortage of sweepers also makes populate look worse. All in all the mechanics in Return to Ravnica appear to be value-based and not things that demand you build around them such as dredge.
W/B Tokens was a solid deck for a while there so what would an update look like? It would probably contain these cards:
Past that I'm not quite sure where to go. You could go the whole Champion of the Parish / Doomed Traveler route. Champion doesn't seem all that impressive to me but you probably want some one-drops. Precinct Captain seems fine in the archetype as well. The Human subtheme really misses Honor of Pure though.
Tokens won't hit as hard as they used to versus control so I'd have the full amount of Sorins mostly for the emblem effect. The chump-blocking Vampires are solid versus Zombies too. While sweepers (and Detention Sphere) seem like a huge problem you can play around them with Lingering Souls or just force them to use a sweeper on two or three tokens. At that point you should easily refuel. When your guys only have one or two power it's tough to force them to sweep you often.
Gavony Township and Garruk Relentless are possible splashes or you could go the populate route with the Selesnya cards. As I said earlier those cards mostly seem slow and not very effective. In order for populate to be good you need to be able to populate more than just a 1/1. Hopefully some of the commons make bigger tokens. Even more Selesnya Charm effects would be a welcome addition.
This deck might be good if only because it gets to play Knight of Glory and Elite Inquisitor. Honor of the Pure is a huge loss but it might be able to function regardless. Most of your creatures are pretty good on their own. Instead of pumping up your whole team to invalidate theirs you might have to go back to clearing blockers.
Bonds of Faith doubles as anti-Bonfire and anti-Thragtusk. Ajani Sublime Archangel and Champion of the Parish give you some nice nut draws. Perhaps a splash for Lyev Skyknight would be warranted. Either way the deck seems efficient and could very easily be a player especially with all the Zombie hate maindeck.
I'll be using this in a future playtesting video:
- 2 Arbor Elf
- 4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
- 2 Borderland Ranger
- 4 Loxodon Smiter
- 4 Restoration Angel
- 4 Strangleroot Geist
- 4 Thragtusk
The G/W cards all seem pretty good but you need a way to break through. Obviously Bonfire of the Damned is the man for the job. Grove the Guardian looks fantastic especially with Rancor but do you really want to play it over Gavony Township? They do different things so having a mix seems good.
With Stomping Ground not out yet Arbor Elf is a little worse than I'd like it to be but I fixed that by adding Farseek. Once Stomping Ground is out the deck should function like a 1-3-4 deck instead of a 2-4-5 deck. After all the goal should be casting Loxodon Smiter on turn 2.
Never thought I would see the day when I actually want Gladecover Scout to be legal. Right now there are a lot of solid things to pump with but not too many hexproof guys. Eight early ones might seem like a lot (with Sigarda to finish) but I want more!
Is there a Storm deck? If there is it's probably using cards like Battle Hymn and Infernal Plunge to generate mana and Past in Flames or Reforge the Soul to keep it going. Of the available cards we have:
Dudes to Sac
That brings our list to:
Note: I have no idea if this actually works or not.
If this deck is going to be viable it's probably going to because you're splashing Thragtusk. The big argument will be if Mutilate is better than the Jund cards. Right now I'm a pretty big Jund fan but that's mostly because of Pillar of Flame. Huntmaster of the Fells and Bonfire aren't all that impressive versus Zombies so there's needs to be some midrange deck that becomes popular such as the above Naya deck.
That's it for this week. We aren't even halfway through the set and I can already see fifteen or so viable looking archetypes. It certainly won't end there. What's looking good to you guys? What would you like to see in some upcoming playtesting videos? And the most important question:
Does anyone have a good Standard Storm list?