Mana Confluence is very likely to be the card from Journey into Nyx that has the biggest impact on Standard. Paying life is too steep a cost for most control and midrange decks when compared to just running Temples and Shocklands, but for aggressive decks the life loss is less relevant and very much worth paying in exchange for mana fixing from a land that enters the battlefield untapped. So today I am going to explore fourteen distinct aggro deck lists that highlight some of the many directions made possible by Mana Confluence.
In order to touch on so many decks in one article, there is only enough time to briefly introduce each deck. I categorized the decks into three themes (Heroic, Enchantment, and Tri-color Nonlinear) for ease of reading. I also added a couple bonus decks to the end if you're looking for something really wild to play. The goal of the article is to show you a whole bunch of options so you can choose which one(s) to explore further.
If you have specific questions or comments about a deck, make your voice heard in the comments section. Also vote in the comments for which deck you want me to write about next time. Whichever decks get the most votes I'll write about at greater length in my next article. So pick a favorite and place your vote!Theme 1: Heroic
Deck 1: UW Heroic
I would probably take out two Elspeth, Sun's Champion and two Nkythos, Shrine to Nyx from this build in favor of more creatures. I would also cut down on the number of basic Islands. Some versions also run Trait Doctoring and/or Hidden Strings as efficient heroic enablers. Gods Willing is also a card to consider as it allows you to pump all your Launch the Fleet Tokens at instant speed by targeting your Phalanx Leader. Retraction Helix and Ajani's Presence accomplish similar things and are likewise worth considering. Keep in mind you can target your own guys with Glimpse the Sun God. You'll usually want to do this at the end of the opponent's turn or during combat before blockers are declared.
Deck 2: UR Heroic
This version uses the blue spells I just mentioned, combining the cipher mechanic with heroic. Nivmagus Elemental works especially well in this deck because you target your heroic creatures with a copy of the ciphered spell, and then before the spell resolves you exile it to pump the elemental. I'm not entirely sure Sage of Hours belongs here, but it works reasonably well with Bioshift and Nivmagus Elemental, allowing you to take an extra turn or two at a critical juncture.
Deck 3: WR Heroic
This is the most aggressive of the heroic decks. It's focused on attacking quickly for the maximum amount, bestowing its heroic creatures, and pumping them with combat tricks. Hero of Iroas only reduces the cost of six cards in the deck, so I'd probably either run more bestow creatures or cut these in favor of Akroan Skyguards. I would also add the fourth Phalanx Leader regardless.
Deck 4: UWR Heroic
This deck is essentially the same as the UR version but with Favored Hoplite and Gods Willing. While splashing for a one-drop is not ordinarily a good choice, we have 12 untapped sources of white between four Mana Confluence, four Hallowed Fountain, and four Sacred Foundry. And everything in the deck costs one or two mana, so you don't need more than 18 lands. It even has room for a couple Mutavaults. This deck takes a lot of damage from its lands and it's probably not worth the added cost, but it highlights the sort of thing that Mana Confluence makes possible.Theme 2: Enchantments
Deck 5: Orzhov Enchantments
This deck is a much better fit for Hero of Iroas. He reduces the cost of the more expensive bestow cards. The deck is literally half enchantments, which makes Ethereal Armor ridiculously powerful! And most of the enchantments are also creatures, which makes Athreos, God of Passage very good. It is worth noting that Spirit of the Labyrinth does not turn off Master of the Feast's ability since the draw happens on your upkeep instead of on their turn. It's still a solid board card against Sphinx's Revelation. I would consider Eidolon of Countless Battles, Underworld Connections, Thoughtseize, and Underworld Coinsmith as cards worth testing in this deck's 75.
Deck 6: Golgari Constellations
The crux of the deck is drawing cards off Eidolon of Blossoms. It has eight discard spells (four Thoughtseize, four Brain Maggot) to disrupt the opponent, in addition to Ultimate Price and Hero's Downfall. It also has a pretty solid backup plan of attacking with undercosted monsters, many of which have evasion. Whip of Erebos is a strong addition as lifelink is great against aggro decks and the recursion ability is great against slower attrition decks. Both abilities work well with our giant monsters, and it's also an enchantment that draws us a card off the Eidolon.
Deck 7: Selesnya Enchantments/Hexproof
The gist of the deck is to play a hexproof creature and put some enchantments on it. Get rid of the opponent's permanents with Banishing Light or just fly over or trample them with your other spells. Ethereal Armor is not quite as good in this deck as it is in the Orzhov deck, but it's still pretty good. I would consider Oppressive Rays somewhere in this deck since it will essentially get rid of a blocker while also keeping it from attacking you.
Deck 8: Naya Version of Hexproof
This version is similar to the previous one except it runs red for Boros Charm and Madcap Skills. Given that we're the aggressor normally and we also have four Unflinching Courage maindeck, I would say there is a good chance the added power of red is worth the cost.
Deck 9: Junk Constellations
Nyx Weaver seems out of place in this build and I would probably rather have something else, but the general idea of the deck shows a lot of promise. The card advantage offered by Courser of Kruphix and Eidolon of Blossoms makes this deck worth considering. This particular list needs some work. For instance, two Brain Maggots and no other discard spells? No Ethereal Armor? As of now, I like the Orzhov and Golgari versions better, but this one shows promise since, at worst, it could be either one of those with a light splash for a slight power upgrade. You could also give it a dredge subtheme and run Commune with the Gods if you want.Theme 3: Tri-Color Nonlinear
Deck 10: Junk Aristocrats
This is mostly a Junk "good stuff" deck that aims to take advantage of both of the new three mana gods. Voice of Resurgence and Athreos, God of Passage is a sweet combo, especially with one of the six sacrifice outlets: four Cartel Aristocrats and two Varolz, the Scar-Striped. I would eventually like to see more Obzedat, Ghost Councils in this list and fewer singletons. With more testing these numbers should be pretty easy to figure out. As with the enchantments version of Junk, there are a lot of options and a lot of raw power in this archetype. The big questions are what to cut and what to max out on?
Deck 11: Brave Naya
This is essentially all the best white creatures for Brave the Elements and four of each of the white charms to force through damage and protect our creatures. It also runs Ghor-Clan Rampager almost exclusively for the bloodrush ability, which works great with the double strike mode of Boros Charm. This deck is very solid and can board into Unflinching Courage in matchups where the life loss from Mana Confluence is an issue.
Deck 12: BWR Minotaur Gods
So what happens when you put a bunch of Minotaur and red gods into one deck? The answer is you get this deck! It's a sort of tribal Minotaur god deck with some synergies. The tribal synergies make the whole greater than the sum of its parts and the gods offer additional angles of attack that make it harder for opponents to disrupt your overall strategy. I would consider more disruption such as Thoughtseize, though I can certainly get behind the present "all burn" plan to back Fanatic of Mogis.
Deck 13: Esper Notion Thief
This was one of the more interesting lists I came across. It starts out by playing a discard spell or two, and then it plays a big flying creature at three mana, followed by removal spells. It also has some built in engines around Notion Thief (Dakra Mystic or Master of the Feast). Pack Rat is a great way to discard all your excess discard spells against aggro decks or removal spells against control decks. If nothing else, this deck should have great game against Sphinx's Revelation decks. I mean, four maindeck Notion Thieves is about as good as it gets against mass card draw spells, and the numerous hand disruption effects should be able to take care of any other problem they can pose. Oh, and seven maindeck ways to kill a Planeswalker. Yeah, this deck certainly has potential and I can't imagine it losing to a Revelation deck. Kudos to whoever put this list together!
Deck 14: Bant Mutant Lifegain Launch
Bant can go in a few different directions. You can go the enchantment route or the heroic route or you can go a nonlinear route as I have done here. One plan of this deck is to play Master Biomancer and attack with Brimaz, making a 3/3 Cat Token. Another is to play Archangel of Thune and gain life by attacking with Fiendslayer Paladin, playing lands with Courser (gaining a life), or exiling a creature with Scavenging Ooze. My favorite combo, however, is Launch the Fleet with Master Biomancer, producing 3/3 soldiers tapped and attacking. That's a make-your-own Hero of Bladehold! I also like how the deck can play defense well with all its four-toughness creatures; and also how most of them are difficult to kill for one reason or another, which makes them also good in attrition fights. And, as mentioned, it has several synergistic combo pieces that can take over a game. Oh, and it sometimes has its explosive draws that begin with first turn Elvish Mystic; and thanks to Mana Confluence it has 14 sources of untapped green mana on turn one to cast it!
For whoever might be interested, here is the slower version from which I got the idea:
DECKID=1197515Bonus Section: Two Crazy Ways to Use Mana Confluence
Here is a list that answers the question I posed last week as to how you can gain infinite turns off Sage of Hours:
The combo is Sage of Hours + Vorel the Hull Clade + Ajani, Mentor of Heroes.
And this one is for all the Timmy mages out there, especially Ali Aintrazi:
So Control.Much Planeswalker. Very Chromanticore.
As you can see, there are many different directions Aggro decks can go in Standard, each of which is made possible by Mana Confluence. If you're an aggro brewer, now is the time to let your creativity Run Wild. The possibilities are seemingly endless right now!
Let me know in the comments section below which deck(s) you want me to write about in my next article. Also if you have questions, comments, or suggestions for any of the lists, please also mention those. That way I will know what to address when talking about the decks next time.
So go vote for your favorite!
Craig Wescoe@Nacatls4Life on twitter