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By: kelvinmai, Kelvin Mai
Sep 17 2013 10:09am
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Hello and welcome to spoiler season. On this edition it's the Greek mythology based set called Theros which has no shortage of Heroes, Monsters and Gods. And with every spoiler season it brings out the most creative thinking of all brewers as we brainstorm what kind of decks can be created and played in the new standard season. Well enough with the exposition, let's delve deep into the cards and ideas.



First up is Elspeth as she's the face of the set. And I know a lot of people are bashing on her since she costs 6 but after looking at most of the cards I believe that standard is going to slow down quite a bit so 6 may actually not be overcosted at all. And I see her fitting into a mono white control list and even working together with Gideon, Champion of Justice. Also side note but it seems to come up with a white planeswalker's title it seems all you have to do is throw in the word 'Champion'. But think about it, you can float 6 mana while you ultimate Gideon and then play Elspeth off the floating mana and suddenly your opponent has to stare at two planeswalkers on an empty playing field. And thanks to M14 there are some great mono white control colors like Silence and Celestial Flare. Scry also makes a comeback which can help with white's lack of true card draw, but of course going blue white provides plenty of ways with the big bad Sphinx's Revelation leading the card draw group.

Purphoros Combo

Next on the list of possibilities is the red god. Many people see him as just a big guy that makes aggro more of a force than it already is. However I see him as the heart of a token combo deck. He works really well with Young Pyromancer and Guttersnipe and we still have some good red token makers like Molten Birth. Of course Battle Hymn is rotating out so we can't have those super huge turns that we used to have with the Burn at the Stake combo. M14 has also graced us with Ogre Battledriver which is the Hellrider of the token decks and it even got a pretty promo version from the duels of the planeswalkers. But of course you might want to go a different route, a more control-y one and less combo-y, and finish them off with Assemble the Legion with this red god out. It's an inevitable defeat as the tokens just start to slowly bleed them to death.

Defender Ramp

Defender Ramp is back! Or rather, it will be back. Just imagine combining this card with something like (Axbane Guardian)! That Worldspine Wurm doesn't seem so far away anymore. But that is still within the realm of magical christmas land. The more realistic version would play like the current elf combo where it'll puke it's hand onto the board but will be able to refill it with Garruk, Caller of Beasts. And a nifty little finisher is combining Polukranos' monstrosity to make it even bigger than the even the Wurm which can also work as a board wipe for game. If only his monstrosity trigger said any creature instead of just opponent's creatures cause then I'd even add in the idea of him being the new Blasphemous Act onto Boros Reckoner.

Daxos of Meletis

This guy has me written all over him! I am a very big fan of stealing stuff and using them against my opponent. Just look at some of my past decks, Rise from the Grave has been one of my favorite sideboard cards and more recently I've forced (Rise from the Dark Realms) to work in my super friends list. But this philosophy is not just limited to creatures from their graveyard, I have also used Zealous Conscripts and Act of Treason many times. So now what do we do with this guy? To be honest I'm not entirely sure yet as he's blue white and his effect isn't usually in those colors. I would think maybe in an esper control shell and even in conjunction with Ashiok the new blue black planeswalker for optimum steal-age. Or we could go the Bant route for all the green ramp so that we can be able to cast the bigger spells in our opponent's deck when they can't.

Jund Reanimation


At first glance what does this guy look like? Anti-reanimation right? Except that's the archetype I feel he fits the best in! If you think I'm a mad man well you may very well be right but I think he's the missing piece in making it work with things like Scavenging Ooze floating around. And exiling my big bad fatties in my yard is the only weakness in this type of deck with the ooze so prevalent in standard. But if we take away their ability to target our yard then it's not a problem anymore. But how do we reanimate if we can't target? Well the answer is Deadbridge Chant! Reanimation every turn that doesn't target. In addition Erebos' whip can hold its own as a backup reanimation effect. True it's much weaker against Scavenging Ooze but it can be quite devastating to start reanimating things a couple turns earlier. And don't worry there will still be some self-mill cards like the new Commune with the Gods and our old friend Grisly Salvage. But if you're in the mood for straight rakdos control there's something else you can do with the little Cerberus. Let's make sure your opponent can't do anything! Sire of Insanity, Shrieking Affliction and Rakdos Charm all say hello. The charm has one effect that has rarely been used "exile all creature cards in target player's graveyard" and at instant speed we can do it if and when the Cerberus dies so they don't get any of their creatures back but we will.



The auras deck is still good after rotation and like I said last week it can only get better from here because Theros is an enchantment block. And with the spoilers so far there definitely are some goodies for the shell. First up is the Gift of Immortality which is a great sideboard card if nothing else. The power of hexproof is that the creature can't be targeted so game one is usually a breeze. Game two however they are able to bring in sacrifice abilities to take care of your one hexproof threat. This aura allows you to eat up a sacrifice spell and continue the beating. And after rotation with both Invisible Stalker and Geist of Saint Traft leaving the only guarantee is that the new auras deck is going to be green white based. Luckily we get this little cat in those exact colors for an aggressive start. The hex deck that I built was in Naya colors for rotation, because of the absence of good blue cards I felt this color shift was necessary but theros seems to think we should stay in the Bant colors because they introduced Battlewise Hoplite. The weakness to these decks is that it can always draw badly but the hoplite can easily smooth out the draws so you can focus on the beats instead of the top decks. Bant and Naya are probably the most popular versions of the deck but Junk colors also offer some interesting choices. For instance Grim Return can be a great sideboard card against sacrifice effects because you'll get your hexproof creature back! And it would make it much easier to cast Gift of Orzhova, easily one of the best auras from RTR.

Resurgence of Cards

Flames of the Firebrand Nightveil Specter

After rotation there is going to be a large resurgence of cards that are deemed unplayable at this moment. So I'll go over some of them. If Heroic is going to be as powerful as it looks we will see the enablers to show some presence in standard. One of these cards is going to be Flames of the Firebrand which is able to target and deal one damage to your heroic guy so you can get the trigger. The downside to it is that it doesn't work very well with creatures that have a toughness one or less and it's a little risky if your opponent has a burn spell of their own but the upside is that this spell is versatile and not completely useless even when you don't have your heroic creature out. The multiple targeting spells in Ravnica are the complete opposite, they are very safe to use but needs creatures to be out for it to work. I'm talking about both Martial Glory and Common Bond, these also have the upside of being able to trigger heroic twice because you can use both targets on the same creature. Moving on to devotion, there is a surprisingly good amount of devotion enablers. The Ash Zealots and Precinct Captains are pretty obvious but then you're forgetting that hybrid mana means that you're devoted to both colors. Things like Burning-Tree Emissary and Boros Reckoner are going to be even better than they are right now just because of this mechanic, but it also means cards like Nightveil Specter and Rakdos Shred-Freak can finally come to the forefront of standard.

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed Lord of the Void

It's true that some cards will come back into the forefront of standard but we should look at the bulk rares and predict what will rise in value as the rotation happens. The format does look like it's going to slow down a bit so all the flashy cards from RTR block can actually make it's way into standard the same way Olivia Voldaren and Falkenrath Aristocrat doubled it's price at the start of Return to Ravnica. My pick would definitely be Ruric Thar! He didn't get much love in this standard and made one appearance as a substitute for Thundermaw Hellkite but I see him picking up some steam as he's one of the best answers against control decks and especially the Domri/Xeganos fatty deck would love him in it as the finisher. Another card I think might make it's way into the scene is Lord of the Void who can really get value off his effect. Since the format is going to slow down and decks are going to be running more monstrous threats it would be great to steal them outright.


longtimegone's picture

This doesn't actually work.

* Heroic abilities will trigger only once per spell, even if that spell targets the creature with the heroic ability multiple times.