Dragons of Tarkir is fully spoiled, and I have taken stock of the set as it applies to Standard. Dragons of Tarkir certainly provides tools to existing top tier archetypes, but it also breathes life into some long-forgotten archetypes, which are now poised for a comeback. Today I'll explore the exciting possibilities Dragons of Tarkir has in store for Necromancer's Stockpile, which has become fully powered with the inclusions of Risen Executioner, Corspeweft, and Sidisi, Undead Vizier. I'll also share a reincarnated Monoblue Devotion deck that fills its mana curve with a large swath of Dragons of Tarkir cards including Shorecrasher Elemental, Stratus Dancer, and Gudul Lurker. I'll go on to share some other brews, including a Monored Dragon deck and a deck that ramps into Ugin, the Spirit Dragon as early as turn four!The Walking Dead
Necromancer's Stockpile received a huge boost from Dragons of Tarkir with the printing of Risen Executioner and Corpseweft.
Risen Executioner is a Zombie lord, and it is a huge asset in what essentially amounts to a Zombie theme deck. Not only is this deck full of Zombies that benefit from the bonus, but counters from Necromancer's Stockpile benefit as well. Consider the curve of Necromancer's Stockpile on turn 2, activating it on turn 3, discarding Risen Executioner, and playing Risen Executioner from the graveyard on turn 4. Risen Executioner can be cast from the graveyard as a source of value, where it provides a way to grind out an attrition battle against opposing removal over a long game. To support this ability the deck needs to be able to Remove creatures from the graveyard, with Delve cards like Murderous Cut being the most obvious choice. This is where Corpseweft enters the picture.
Corpseweft provides the ability to generate value from the graveyard in the form of Zombie Horror Tokens. The size of creature created scales upward with the number of creatures removed from the graveyard, but the cost of the ability remains static. This sort of unchecked power is abusable, and this deck takes full advantage. Corpseweft is excellent for clearing out the graveyard and making Risen Executioner cost the minimum. Corpseweft is especially powerful with an active Necromancer's Stockpile, which will keep the graveyard stocked. Corpseweft can be used to make a steady stream of 2/2 tokens, a few larger 4/4 or 6/6, tokens, or perhaps one giant token.
The key to abusing Necromancer's Stockpile is a healthy Zombie count, and Standard offers various options:
At the bottom of the curve, Sultai Emissary is a great tempo play because with its Manifest ability it ensures board presence. It can create card advantage against small creatures or removal spells.
Gray Merchant of Asphodel is a Zombie and sits at the top of the curve as a finishing spell. It's equally useful for closing out a game after an aggressive draw or as a target card to look for during a Necromancer's Stockpile chain. Necromancer's Stockpile and Corpseweft are reliable sources of Devotion, as is the double-black costing Risen Executioner. This deck will regularly have multiple black permanents in play and thus powerful Gray Merchant of Asphodel triggers.
Gurmag Angler is a Zombie and a very interesting option in this deck and a great supplement and alternative to Corpsehatch. With Delve it allows Risen Executioner to be cast from the graveyard at a low rate, and it also serves as a way to take advantage of a graveyard stocked with cards from Necromancer's Stockpile. It can be supported further with fetchlands.
The new Sidisi, Undead Vizier is a Zombie and a perfect fit into this deck. The tutoring effect is great for finding a missing enchantment, a Gurmag Angler as a tempo play, or a Gray Merchant of Asphodel to win a race. The deck could support more copies if necessary.
There are multiple ways to build from the core of the deck.
One way to take the deck to build an Enchantment package into it. Grim Guardian is a Zombie, and it has some synergy with Necromancer's Stockpile and Corpseweft. Spiteful Returned is a two mana Zombie that is also an enchantment, so it provides additional synergy once Grim Guardian is in the deck. Once the deck has enchantment creatures, another Zombie, Odunos River Trawler adds extra dimension to the deck as a cheap Gravedigger that can create value against attrition or provide extra fuel for Necromancer's Stockpile.
Another Zombie with potential is Necromancer's Assistant. It acts something like a black Sylvan Wayfinder in that it adds three cards to the graveyard. In one sense it has poor synergy with Risen Executioner because it fills the graveyard, but it's actually a great way to dig for Risen Executioner to set up playing it from the graveyard later. Necromancer's Assistant generates fodder for Corpseweft and Delve. Necromancer's Assistant on turn three enables Gurmag Angler on turn four. Supplementing Necromancer's Assistant is Returned Reveler as an additional graveyard enabler.
The sideboard showcases various available options.
Hall of Triumph is powerful in a monocolored deck. Obelisk of Urd is a Zombie tribal option that offers a lot of power against control opponents or those who seek to gum up the ground.
Whip of Erebos has two roles, 1) as an excellent source of lifegain against Red decks, and 2) as a way to create value from the graveyard against control opponents.
Erebos, God of the Dead shuts down lifegain against cards like Mastery of the Unseen and it's a threat and source of card advantage against control opponents.
Gravepurge is interesting against control opponents with much removal. It's also interesting as a way to reset the graveyard to clear the way for Risen Executioner or to provide guaranteed fuel to Necromancer's Stockpile.
Empty the Pits has promise in the role of late-game haymaker.
Crux of Fate is a powerful tool that will take most opponents by surprise. When this deck operates as a Necromancer's Stockpile deck, Crux of Fate offers a way to clear the board and buy time to operate freely. This is strong against Green Devotion decks and aggressive opponents heavy on creatures like GR Monsters, Abzan Aggro, and the next deck I'll share today.
Thoughtseize is great out of the sideboard, and it could support more than the one I included, but I wanted to showcase the power of Brain Maggot. As a creature it interacts favorably with Necromancer's Stockpile and Corpseweft, and it has extra synergy in the enchantment version of the deck.Monoblue Devotion
Monoblue Devotion has been completely reinvigorated with the printing of Shorecrasher Elemental. This three-mana creature adds three blue Devotion, a luxury this archetype has not had since Nightveil Specter rotated out of Standard. This devotion is crucial for getting the most out of Thassa, God of the Sea and Master of Waves. Shorecrasher Elemental is particularly resilient against removal spells with its ability to temporarily leave play. It is similar to Ashcloud Phoenix because if functions as a four mana threat that requires two removal spells to be destroyed. Once Shorecrasher Elemental's controller has it in play with the seven mana required to unmorph and Remove it from play, it requires three removal spells to be killed. With the ability to shift power and toughness it's effectively a 5-power clock, and blocking it can stand up to Siege Rhino for two mana.
Stratus Dancer is also a great addition to this archetype as an evasive two-drop that gains extra value as a megamorph with a Counterspell attached. There are plenty of instant and sorcery spells in Standard, especially removal spells, and a two mana unmorph cost is very reasonable. Countering Dig Through Time will be especially fun.
Gudul Lurker is a one-drop with evasion that gains value as a megamorph. The option of getting an extra counter and doubling the power is great, and as a megamorph Gudul Lurker creates tension for the opponent because they will often have to respect it as Stratus Dancer.
With so many evasion creatures, Bident of Thassa becomes a very attractive option as a source of card advantage. It's a great source of Devotion as well, and it even has some value as a way to control combat.
Frost Walker as a powerful threat that is capable of dealing massive damage if unanswered. It attacks profitably into Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix. Frost Walker's Illusion ability offers built-in resistance to Bile Blight that protects any additional copies, which means they can be played with impunity. Alternatively, this slot could also go to an evasive creature, either Vaporkin or the new Palace Familiar.
Master of Waves provides a huge payoff for Blue Devotion and will dominate the game if not destroyed. The card can be abused with either Obelisk of Urd naming Elementals or Hall of Triumph. This will ensure Elemental Tokens will stay around after Master of Waves is destroyed, which cuts off targeted removal as an effective way to deal with the card. The combination will prove quite difficult for the opponent to beat.
Thassa's Rebuff is potent in this deck as a pseudo-Mana Leak that will efficiently disrupt midrange and control opponents.
In the sideboard, Counterspells are the gold Standard as a way to disrupt midrange and control opponents. Dissolve is the most powerful, while Disdainful Stroke and Negate are the most efficient. Efficiency is a valuable trait in this aggressive deck that wants to slip creatures into play while maintaining access to a Counterspell, so a 2/2 split on those with zero Dissolve could be correct, but some would argue four Dissolve is best.
Treasure Cruise provides the card advantage necessary to win an attrition battle against heavy control opponents like UBx.
The new Encase in Ice is excellent against green and red creatures, including Siege Rhino.
Icefall Regents is quite strong against creature opponents that won't have much removal, like Green Devotion decks.
Reality Shift is not ideal removal, but it does the job when the job needs done, like against Whisperwood Elemental and Polukranos, World Eater.
Polymorphist's Jest looks to be extremely powerful against Green Devotion and other creature-heavy opponents. It's certainly an unexpected card and can potentially lead to huge blowouts.
I have a few other brews that are not as fleshed out and tuned as Necromancer's Stockpile and Monoblue Devotion, but they have promise.Monored Dragon Aggro
Here is a Monored build that seeks to abuse Draconic Roar, which does a fine impression of the powerful Searing Blaze. Stormbreath Dragon is already a playable dragon, and the new Thunderbreak Regent fits right into the strategy as a powerful threat with evasion. It's a great card because it creates value even if the removal is able to destroy it with a targeted removal spell. With eight four-powered creatures, Flamewake Phoenix looks attractive as a way to generate value from the graveyard, and it is yet another threat with evasion.
Goblin Rabblemaster is simply an excellent card. Eidolon of the Great Revel is promising in this deck because the top-end creatures avoid the drawback.
Dragon Whisperer has the option of gaining evasion, and it's also a great late-game mana-sink with its Firebreathing ability. Perhaps this is Grizzly Bear creature red was looking for as its own Rakshasa Deathdealer or Soulfire Grandmaster.
Out of the sideboard, Roast offers Red a way to destroy Siege Rhino.Ramperator
Here's a deck that looks to abuse Explosive Vegetation and Sheltered Aerie to ramp into a powerful top-end headlined by Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.
Sarkhan Unbroken is an attractive card to ramp into, and along with Nissa, Worldwaker and Elspeth, Sun's Champion bridges the gap from the early game into Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Secure the Wastes looks quite powerful with so much mana available!
The sideboard features a transformational plan, something a deck like this could reasonably employ to good effect.Dragons of Tarkir
The new set is quite powerful and is everything a third set should be. It will have a lasting impact on Standard going forward and should make for some great games. What do you think of these brews? What other decks are out there? What other cards demand building around? Share your ideas in the forums, and I'll try to answer any questions.