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By: ricklongo, Rick Longo
Dec 22 2016 1:00pm
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Standard has been a disappointment to me for a while, and recently I realized why: there are just no good answers in the format. It's an environment that tasks you to deal with lots of highly oppressive cards, and offers no versatile options to do so. Declaration in Stone and Fumigate can kill multiple creatures at once, but can't touch a Smuggler's Copter. Grasp of Darkness deals with Copter, but it's a totally dead card against more controllish decks. Fragmentize deals with Copter, and even gets Aetherworks Marvel and Dynavolt Tower, but can't touch stuff like Skysovereign, Consul Flagship) and Metallurgic Summonings. And don't get me started on the absolute lack of answers to graveyard-based strategies.

Fact is, this is a highly varied format, with threats coming from a lot of different angles. The lack of answers generally means you have to either be uber-aggressive, or just hope to out-bomb your opponent. Which made me realize that there's one specific card that seems pretty good right now.

Unpleasant as the life loss is, right now no card is as versatile as Anguished Unmaking. It deals with creatures, including the almighty Copter. It deals with planeswalkers. It hits any of the build-around-me enchantments and artifacts, no matter their mana cost. And it even exiles stuff forever, preventing recursion and dodging delirium.

I started thinking about ways to exploit the Unmaking, and tried a whole lot of different things. I even tried to splash for it in a bunch of builds. In the end, however, I realized it was a perfect opportunity to try a straight white-black Superfriends control build, as those are the colors with the best suite of planeswalkers in Standard.

The one-two punch of Liliana into Gideon on turns three and four is a nightmare to pretty much every deck in the format, and Sorin is an amazing finisher that does everything, from card advantage to life gain to creature AND planeswalker removal. Ob Nixilis, while probably not good enough for a maindeck slot, can bring nightmares to opposing control decks out of the sideboard.

Of course, there was another problem: Liliana needs creatures to really be at her best. And not just any creatures, either - ones that are worth raising from the dead in a control deck. Which brought me to the third "color" of the deck.

This was a big eureka moment for me, for a few reasons. One, the Seer is extra hand disruption to deal with control in the maindeck, while providing an excellent body-to-mana-cost ratio to stop aggro on its tracks (while hopefully exiling their removal spell). Secondly, Smasher (and also the Seer, really - again, 4/4 for four) can provide a very good way to quickly close the game before your opponent can recoup their losses from all of your hand disruption and/or removal, and especially so when they're attacking alongside a certain super-hard-to-remove 5/5 planeswalker.

And of course, the third reason is this little wonder:

Aether Hub just does it all, doesn't it? It enters the battlefield untapped and can provide you with not only colorless mana for the Eldrazi, but also both your colors in a time of need.

The final piece of the puzzle ended up being an innocuous-looking but important one: Prophetic Prism. Not only does it complement Transgress the Mind as something to cast against an empty board on turn two, it also replaces itself and allows any of your colorless-producing lands to produce white and black mana, which can be a life saver.

After a lot of tinkering and a bunch of testing at 2-men queues, I became quite happy with my results. Here's the list I ended up with:

 

 

And of course, here's a Standard league for you to see the deck in action. If you're looking for something powerful, unexpected and fun to play that has a good shot against the top dogs in the format, I'd definitely recommend you give it a try.

Thanks for reading/watching, and see you soon.

Rick
@ricklongomtg  on Twitter