So Oath of the Gatewatch is finally out in all its color and it is time to brew some decks! When this set was first being spoiled it seemed pretty underwhelming, but once the ball got rolling and more cards were spoiled - it became pretty obvious that this set was going to be a very powerful one. So many of the cards are good and will greatly improve existing archetypes. For example, ramp got a lot of new toys to play with, from Kozilek, the Great Distortion to Matter Reshaper. Tutelage decks also got a boost with the help from Chandra, Flamecaller, Crush of Tentacles, and Oath of Jace. We also got another attrition card in the form of Goblin Dark Dwellers. Let's dive right in, shall we? First up, let's look at R/G Ramp.
First off, I just want to say I'm still not sure if the manabase is 100% correct for Ruin in Their Wake. You just need one Wastes to start going off with it and you have eight total ways to get a Wastes on turn one. Worst case scenario your first Ruin in Their Wake is forced to get a Wastes to turn all the rest of them on. In that scenario it is a worse Sylvan Scrying since you can't find nonbasics, but the upside of when it is just a Rampant Growth is huge. Since we can no longer really play Rattleclaw Mystics because we are playing maindeck Kozilek's Return, Ruin in Their Wake is the best way for us to ramp on turn two. Let's briefly go over all the cards in the maindeck.
Jaddi Offshoot: Just so good against any deck trying to kill you with creatures. It can buy you enough time to start doing your big things. I don't like playing this card maindeck but your matchup against aggro decks can just be downright awful.
Matter Reshaper: Usually Hangarback Walker is found her. I like Matter Reshaper more because against aggro decks it can trade with a creature and potentially ramp you. If it doesn't ramp you or put a permanent into play it will still at least cantrip for you which is very nice. The only downside here is that Matter Reshaper will never trigger Sanctum of Ugin where Hangarback Walker could. I believe that is fine to give up however for this little Eldrazi.
World Breaker: FINALLY! An Eldrazi that can Swat down fliers! Why don't the rest of the Eldrazi have reach again? World Breaker is the best seven cost Eldrazi that will trigger Sanctums and the "flashback" on Kozilek's Return. He curves nicely into Ulamog kinda making this deck have a mini land destruction theme. The fact that you can recur him over and over if need be is just gravy.
Thought-Knot Seer: I started out only playing two Thought-Knot Seers. I was wrong, this card is just awesome! It takes their best card in hand and then they can replace it only if they can kill the Seer. Even if they do it's usually not as good as the card you took. On top of all that it has a 4/4 body for four mana! This card is just fantastic, love it!
Kozilek, the Great Distortion: A nice way to refill our hand. Usually Ulamog is just better but there are times where Kozilek is better. Kozilek is better when you need to refill your hand and your opponent has no relevant permanents on the battlefield. Also, if you're playing against control and want some cards and counter magic, Kozilek is for you!
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger: This card is absurd, what else can we say about it? Kills your opponent's two best permanents and then kills them in two swings.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: This card spells game over against a lot of the standard decks. If a devoid deck picks up steam I can see shaving an Ugin off for another Kozilek's Return maindeck, but right now I just really like hitting Ugin on eight against what I expect the meta will be like.
Nissa's Renewal: Nice segue into Ugin, Kozilek, World Breaker, and Ulamog, all the while buying you time by gaining you seven life. I like this card more than Oblivion Sower. The seven life can be crucial. Also happens to play well with Jaddi Offshoot.
Kozilek's Return: Usually Pyroclasm style cards are in the sideboard, but since this card can be replayed to basically become a Plague Wind we play it in the maindeck. Cast World Breaker and getting to wrath your opponent's board isn't very fair at all.
Ruin in Their Wake: Really trying to fill that two-mana ramp spot with this card. If this card doesn't work out, we can adjust the manabase and play more ramp or some Sylvan Scryings.
Explosive Vegetation: Not much to say about this. Keep in mind however that it can grab you a Wastes if need be.
Nissa's Pilgrimage: Nissa's Pilgrimage, grabbing you all the Forests you'll ever need...and then some.
This deck will need to be played a little more to see if Ruin in Their Wake is worth it to jam. Otherwise I believe this deck is a fantastic choice to play at your next Standard event! The board of this deck combats control decks and other decks with removal or Infinite Obliteration by diversifying your threats. After boarding you shouldn't have more than two of each big Eldrazi making Infinite Obliteration not that great against you.
This next deck is inspired by Frank Lepore's "Mossy Mardu" deck that he took to a Top 64 finish at Grand Prix Oakland.
Nothing too crazy here. We basically just added Goblin Dark-Dwellers to the deck because that card is just amazing! Seriously think that card is severely underrated. Let's briefly go over some of the cards in the deck.
Goblin Dark-Dwellers: Again I think this card is just fantastic. Would you pay RR for a 4/4 creature with menace? That's basically what you're doing if Goblin Dark-Dwellers flashes back a three cost spell. It's a Flame Tongue Kavu with so many more options. If Siege Rhino wasn't enough reason to play this deck, then Goblin Dark-Dwellers should be.
Oblivion Sower: This deck can get very mana hungry with all of the spells it plays and you also are playing four colors so you'll basically take any land that your opponent offers you. No fetch land is a dead land in this deck unless you've already fetched out all your battle lands. The 5/8 body isn't anything to scoff at either. It will block opposing creatures all day. You also have a mana sink in Soulfire Grand Master.
Siege Rhino: What can I say that hasn't been said about this card? You know what's most exciting about Shadows of Innistrad? That Siege Rhino will finally leave Standard.
Soulfire Grand Master: A great card to combat aggressive strategies. Untapping with it can be backbreaking for any aggro player and in the late game it's basically unbeatable. The only things that goes over are the ramp decks.
Crackling Doom: One of the of the best removal spells in the format. A fantastic target for Dark-Dwellers too.
Abzan Charm: The best charm in Standard! Are you seeing a theme yet? This deck is playing some of the best cards in the format and reusing them as much as possible.
Fiery Impulse: Closest to Lightning Bolt as we will get.
Kolaghan's Command: I hate this card so much. It generates so much value over time. You will annoy your opponent when you loop this card with Goblin Dark-Dwellers and Siege Rhinos.
Murderous Cut: I feel like every deck can support at least one big delve spell. Murderous Cut is our go-to for this deck.
Utter End: Not a fan of this card because it costs so much mana for a removal spell, however it is a nice catch-all.
Duress: Every deck in Standard is playing noncreature spells. Duress can take the key ones away and allow you to plan your plays out accordingly.
Read the Bones: This isn't Painful Truths because Goblin Dark-Dwellers can't get Painful Truths back with its ability (well, not successfully anyway). So I opted for Read the Bones instead.
Roast: Gotta kill that Rhino somehow. Also really great with Soulfire Grandmaster.
The sideboard of this deck allows you to morph your deck into whatever you want. You'll get to become a better attrition deck depending on what you're playing against. Dark Petition is a nice way to double up on any sideboard. With it in your board you can basically play two Flaying Tendrils, three Infinite Obliterations, or two Virulent Plague. I like having access to it.
The last list I want to talk about is the U/R Tutelage list. Melissa posted one earlier mine is very similar with some slight adjustments.
Nothing too crazy here. As you can see it's slightly different with a transformational sideboard. I honestly don't know if these type of decks are good enough though with all the ramp and rally decks that will be running around. Milling Rally is where you want to be and the R/G Ramp decks will be playing World Breaker which is a nightmare since it kills Sphinx's Tutelage on its way to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. I also know how fun this type of deck can be though. Let's go over some of the newer cards in the deck.
Wandering Fumarole: This land allows the deck to kill with damage, not just milling which is a huge plus for the deck.
Crush of Tentacles: A fantastic way to reset the board and this deck can trigger surge very easily. An 8/8 octopus will make quick work of any opponent. Keep in mind while bouncing Sphinx's Tutelage can suck, you will also bounce Oath of Jace which is pretty nice. I almost always try to make an 8/8 too so my opponent is already behind when I pass the turn.
Alhammarret's Archive: I think this card is too good in this deck not to run one maindeck. Imagine playing Sphinx's Tutelage into Alhammarret's Archive into Chandra, Flamecaller and then using her zero ability. That's a lot of cards and a lot of milling. Sign me up!
Talent of the Telepath: So many good spells in Standard currently. This deck also turns on spell mastery quite quickly. This deck is also focused on milling the opponent so you should have plenty of targets to choose from. You can cut this down to one card and play the third Crush of Tentacles, Oath, or Chandra and it would be completely reasonable.
Oath of Jace: Fantastic way to filter, works great with Jace, Telepath Unbound and Chandra, and is also very good against Dromoka's Command protecting your Sphinx's Tutelage. This card helped this deck a lot.
Chandra, Flamecaller: All of Chandra's abilities are fantastic here. Her plus ability can very quickly kill an opponent, especially if you throw an 8/8 Octopus into the mix or a Wandering Fumarole.
Well ladies and gents, that's all I've got for today. Hope you enjoy these brews and feel free to leave any comments or questions below and I'll try to get to as many as possible. As always thanks for reading and good luck in your tournaments!
Until next time,