While Naya Aggro isn't a tier one deck in Standard right now, it has been putting up good results even though it isn't seeing a ton of play. At Pro Tour M15 those looking to pilot aggressive decks were more likely to play a base-red strategy or Green-White strategy, yet there was a copy of Naya Aggro in the top eight of the tournament. In my opinion there are two different directions Naya Aggro can be taken: one involves Brave the Elements and one does not.
Leading up to Pro Tour M15 Naya Aggro without Brave the Elements was a frontrunner as far as my deck choice, but I did not end up playing the deck. Pat Cox on the other hand did sleeve up the Brave Naya deck and was quite successful when doing so. Here is his top eight decklist from Pro Tour M15: DECKID=1209372
Since his deck packs four copies of Brave the Elements, that means that he needs a critical number of white creatures. Starting at the one-drop slot are the obvious Dryad Militant and Soldier of the Pantheon. The deck needs at least a couple of two power threats for a single white and these guys fit the bill. The fact that Dryad Militant can be cast for a single green is also an obvious upside. Of course the ideal draw for this deck pretty much always involves a first turn Soldier of the Pantheon or Dryad Militant.
The two-drop slot gives the deck a trio of cards for one green and one white as well as two copies of a certain first striking 2/2 for two white. Those players who have experience with Brave Naya may know the cards I am referring to but I will go over them in greater detail. Voice of Resurgence is perhaps the most obvious and necessary two-drop inclusion. Not only is he a white creature himself, but the Elemental Tokens made by Voice of Resurgence are also white.
Pat Cox opted to play the full four copies of Fleecemane Lion. Fleecemane Lion is a card that hadn't been seeing a ton of play until relatively recently, but has become a staple in any aggro deck with green and white creatures. This guy is above the power and toughness ratio of the average two-drop, and while he doesn't become monstrous that often, when it does happen he becomes almost impossible to deal with.
The last actual two-drop creature is Precinct Captain. Precinct Captain and Brave the Elements have traditionally worked quite well together, as producing small white creatures is exactly what this deck wants to be doing. The deck has a variety of ways to get Precinct Captain through, so it is actually not that hard to start making Soldier Tokens.
Yes, I did mention a fourth way of producing a creature on the second turn, but this last card is a spell. This card serves as a way to get creatures like Precinct Captain through, take out a large threat on the opponent's side of the board, and if you do decide to make a creature, it might be at instant speed. By now it should be apparent that the card I'm referring to is Selesnya Charm. By the way, 2/2 vigilant Knight creatures also happen to be white!
There is one more white creature in the deck, but this one is a three-drop. Boros Reckoner is the card that makes the aggro matchups so great for this deck. It is easy to overlook how powerful Boros Reckoner still is, because it isn't seeing a ton of play. Many people seem to have moved in a different direction, because a lot of the time Boros Reckoner just immediately dies the turn after it's cast to an opposing removal spell. In this deck it can be correct to wait until reaching four mana, so as to be able to cast Boros Reckoner with Brave the Elements backup. Boros Reckoner is one of those cards that has the ability to beat some archetypes almost single-handedly.
Moving onto the spells or, more accurately, cards that act as spells, we have Ghor-Clan Rampager. Why is the deck playing a creature that works so poorly in conjunction with Brave the Elements? Ghor-Clan Rampager is of course not usually cast as a creature, though it can be if needed. The card gets smaller creatures through, which is especially important when running guys like Precinct Captain. A card that fills a similar role to Ghor-Clan Rampager is Ajani, Caller of the Pride.
Ajani, Caller of the Pride serves as yet another way of making creatures larger and evasive, but perhaps the ability to give a creature double strike is the most important here. The pump effects may seem redundant, but they actually work very well together. In the same way that Boros Charm and Ghor-Clan Rampager work with each other, Ajani, Caller of the Pride of Ghor-Clan Rampager work well together. Making a large double striking creature is still one of the best ways to close out the game, and yes there is actually one maindeck copy of Boros Charm for even more redundancy.
The last spell which I have been referring to throughout is Brave the Elements. This is the card that the deck is centered around. For only a single white this card can save a guy or simply make all your creatures unblockable. Brave the Elements is still one of the most versatile and unique spells in the format, and it is the reason why there are so many white creatures here. People are still surprised when they see a Brave the Elements cast against them.
The manabase may seem dangerous upon first impression as there are no basics. This means you will be taking a lot of damage from lands. The Temple of Plenty may seem out of place but after playing with the deck they seem to work quite smoothly. Having every source in the deck work towards casting Boros Reckoner means he can always be cast on time.
Pat made some interesting card choices for his sideboard in preparation for a large tournament like the Pro Tour. Starting with the most important inclusions we have Setessan Tactics. Setessan Tactics serves as a way to fight any opposing creature deck, especially Monoblue Devotion. Boros Reckoner is especially great with Setessan Tactics as he loves being dealt damage after fighting another guy. The other three-of is Boros Charm. While there is one Boros Charm main, this is the card that nullifies Supreme Verdict and puts the control matchups over the top.
The other sideboard options fill in some of the other potential holes. The deck is lacking on removal, and Banisher Priest is a removal spell and white creature rolled into one. Mizzium Mortars is very important and right now if I were playing the deck I would likely go up to three copies in the board as this is the best way to combat Blood Baron of Vizkopa. Advent of the Wurm can combat Blood Baron of Vizkopa but only if you get extremely lucky and get to block with the Wurm Token. Advent of the Wurm is mostly here for another large instant speed threat against control which is particularly good at killing planeswalkers. I have a feeling one of the primary reasons Pat isn't maindecking Advent of the Wurm is that Wurm Tokens aren't white, and don't work with Brave the Elements.
Rounding out the sideboard are a few different one-ofs. I'm happy to see Ajani Steadfast here, as the ability to give a guy lifegain can be a big deal for the deck. Back to Nature is a card that is great against hexproof and constellation, while also being able to take out a Banishing Light or Detention Sphere if necessary. The last card is Xenagos, the Reveler, which seems to play the role of another difficult to answer threat versus control and decks with lots of removal.
Alright this is the Naya Brave the Elements deck! I'm impressed with the list Pat put together, and I think the deck is well positioned. Now I would like to go over my own take on a bit more of an all-in approach to Naya Aggro. Here is the list I was testing for the Pro-Tour:
I wanted to find a red-green based deck working around Burning-Tree Emissary. Burning-Tree Emissary remains one of the cards that allows for some of the most explosive draws in Standard. This is a deck that is high risk and high reward, which is why I opted not to play it. The deck doesn't leave room for a ton of decision making. The white splash for Chained to the Rocks and Boros Charm does add some extra power to the deck though.
The primary plan of the deck is to Overload on one-drops and back them up with cheap pump effects and removal. Winning the die roll can become very important. The one-drops in the deck are Firedrinker Satyr, Dryad Militant, Experiment One, and Rakdos Cackler. Notice that all of these cards can be cast off off Burning-Tree Emissary. Generally it is correct to start off with Experiment One because he evolves, but there are exceptions to this rule.
The ideal start is one-drop into Burning-Tree Emissary and two more one-drops. For the sake of Burning-Tree Emissary I am going call Experiment One and Dryad Militant green one-drops and Rakdos Cackler and Firedrinker Satyr red one-drops. If for instance you are holding two red-one drops and onegreen one-drop(say Experiment One), I will cast one of the red one-drops first, so as to be able to cast two one-drops off Burning-Tree Emissary on the second turn. This deck needs to get ahead on the first couple turns of the game, as if the game draws out it becomes very difficult to win.
Gore-House Chainwalker may seem like an underpowered creature that is somewhat out of place, but it fills an important role. Having a cheap three-power creature which helps Experiment One evolve and can be cast off Burning-Tree Emissary is very relevant. The additional point of power also works nicely when going for the kill with Ghor-Clan Rampager and Boros Charm. Slaughterhorn can be a Gore-House Chainwalker for one more mana, or another effect to go with Boros Charm.
The endgame for this deck usually involves Ghor-Clan Rampager or sometimes Slaughterhorn and Boros Charm to give a creature double strike. While it is certainly possible to win without Boros Charm, it is the best card later in the game. Chained to the Rocks is also important as a way to deal with any problematic creature, including something like Voice of Resurgence. The other removal spell, Shock, is a cheap spell which can best cast off a Burning-Tree Emissary and can kill Tidebinder Mage, which is very important.
This deck is capable of having some very explosive draws, but it can lose to itself on occasion. The manabase is somewhat fragile with only 19 lands. Since the curve is so low though I don't really recommend adding additional lands. The deck wants painlands, but can't play them because of the importance of having enough mountains for Chained to the Rocks. I am not going to go over the sideboard, as I think it is pretty self-explanatory. For those looking to try a deck that is very fast and explosive I would recommend this version of Naya Aggro. On the other hand, for players looking for an aggressive deck with a little bit more play to it I would suggest the Brave Naya deck.
Thanks for reading,