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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
Jun 10 2015 11:00am
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     As I mentioned in the summary this has been an interesting week for Standard. The Invitational was in Columbus and had some great matches of both Modern and Standard. I would highly recommend checking out the coverage there is always a lot to learn by watching really talented magic players play. Ali Aintrazi was the eventual Champion. His Modern deck was nothing new, but let's look at his Standard deck.

Everything appears to be quite normal until you see Xenagos, God of Revels. That card has been almost nonexistent in Standard but how insane is it when paired with the Dragonlords. Dragonlord Atarka can pretty much kill your opponent on the spot and Dragonlord Dromoka is 10 points of damage that your opponent cannot answer, not to mention the huge amount of life gain. This just seems to be able to stabilize against the aggro decks thanks to Courser and Caryatid and beat the midrange decks by going big with the Dragonlords. In the board he can go even bigger with Ugin and Colossus and go late with Mastery. Overall I enjoy the deck and would recommend it if you are into casting big fast dragons.

Now on another end of the spectrum is a clan that has not fallen in and out of the limelight. Mardu was popular for a time then was pushed aside and fluctuated in popularity. Jeff Hoogland another innovative deck builder took down the Standard Premier IQ with this sweet Mardu Aggro deck.

     This deck is nothing really crazy or spicy. It is just efficient powerful cards that work together well. Until now Monastery Swiftspear has been relegated to the Atarka Red or Mono Red decks but Jeff puts him to work in this spell heavy aggressive deck. Having Seeker of the Way and Soulfire Grand Master help against other aggro decks and there is a ton of great removal. I am not a huge fan of the Outpost Siege but I am sure he tested it thoroughly and did not expect to see a ton of Dromoka's Commands running around. I am sure Read the Bones could also be in that slot due to the fact that all of the life gain would cancel out the life loss from the card draw spell.

     Those are 2 of the newer or innovative decks I have seen do well in paper but online there was another one that 4-0'd a daily. 

     The King has returned... This deck looks like a blast to play! Sure the mana might be a little tough sometimes but I am sure Mana Confluence would smooth it out some. Otherwise there are 6 basics and 7 fetches to get them so it can't be bad all the time. The creatures are great though I would love to see a Surrak, The Hunt Caller or 2. I am sure he was thought about but double green, double white, and double red, is a bit ambitious. This deck also takes advantage of 8 of the Commands! This deck could have a problem against a dedicated control deck but I see it being able to beat out some of the Midrange type decks and it should outclass other aggro decks.

    Those 3 decks are all really sweet in their own way and seem to have been great metagame choices. The question is will they still be good going forward? From what I am seeing either online or in paper it seems they will.

     Red Green Devotion was another deck that showed up in force and ended up winning the TCG Player invitational in the hands of Chris Fennel. He ended up beating Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa who played Esper Dragons. Once again watching the coverage would be very beneficial this Invitational was also full of very talented players and watching them pilot a deck you plan on playing can teach you a ton.

     This seems to have been a great choice for the meta as well but does it have what it takes going forward? There is no doubt that it is powerful with access to a ton of mana and turns where they can power out giant Genesis Hydras or Dragonlord Atarka a few turns early. Most decks  just have no answer for that kind of power. This is also one of the few decks that Polukranos, World Eater is still used and he is not just used he is very good in this shell. These types of decks have always been good against aggro and this gets even better after board. Hornet Nest, Nylea's Disciple, and Arc Lightning are great answers to any type of aggressive strategy. Also bringing in extra planeswalkers like Nissa, Worldwaker and Ugin, The Spirit Dragon make everything a must answer threat for control decks. I would say it is worth keeping your eye on this and other devotion strategies and make sure that you have a way to beat it.

     What else is doing well online you ask? Looking at the 4-0 lists it ranges from decks like UW or Bant Heroic, Abzan (all flavors), Esper Dragons, and even a mono black aggro list similar to the one I posted here.

     At this point I would say there are 10 decks that can all be top decks and can get you some wins. The best advice I have is to find one that you like and that fits your playstyle. Once you do that you can put time and practice into that said deck and really learn it so that you play with minimal mistake making.

     It also helps a great deal to know what the other decks in the format are. If you know what kind of counters Esper Dragons has or how much removal Abzan is packing it can really help you to play without walking into their traps. Of course there are still best decks to play and my vote is still for some type of control deck. I am also a big fan of the Courser of Kruphix decks.

     I am actually working on some type of Jund brew due to some budget and card availability issues. I plan on using Courser and Sylvan Caryatid and a bunch of removal and winning with Stormbreath Dragons and Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker. I know Abzan might be the best Courser deck but I really want to use red because I still feel that Anger of the Gods is a great card with all of the Deathmist Raptors running around. Once again I would welcome any input you have because the last time I played any type of Jund Deck was Shards of Alara block and I was happily casting Blightning, Sprouting Thrinax, and Bloodbraid Elf. So please give me some ideas on what you think would be good in a Jund good stuff type of deck for Standard. I hope you all get to look at some of the great Standard matches that happened this weekend and if you want to talk Standard feel free to shoot me a message on MTGO.

     Until next time!

4 Comments

Standard is wide open. I by CalmLittleBuddy at Wed, 06/10/2015 - 23:40
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Standard is wide open. I think Standard right now has right now is more diverse and interesting than Modern. And that's not saying Modern is stale, just that Standard is so good right now. I honestly believe you can pick 3 colors or 2 colors, put in the best cards from those colors, or at least cards that work well together, and you've got a chance to win against a top Tier deck. Not a guaranteed great chance, but a chance.

Completely Agree by Plainswalker83 at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 06:16
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There is so much you can do in this Standard Format! I am actually having a lot of fun with it. I actually got back into it on MTGO because of your articles and to help me better prepare in the paper world.

Glad you are enjoying it! by CalmLittleBuddy at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 15:12
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Yea I wish I had 8 more hours in a day to practice, play and write about Magic. I'm enjoying your articles as well. Its good to get other perspectives, especially in such a wide open format like we have. I'm willing to bet that with all the attention on the Dragons that there is an as of yet undiscovered deck that's very different than what we are seeing. Kinda like how GW with Mastery of the Unseen popped up before DTK.

This should be fun over the next few months. Imagine this final summer with the new core set... jeez. (I'm pretty sure they are doing one last corse set this year, right?)

I'm sure by Plainswalker83 at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 21:12
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I bet there are still a few decks that can be viable if not very good. (I am trying to work on some) And yes this is supposed to be the final core set.. and it looks like it will be quite the Standard format when Origins joins in.