I have several decks I'd like to share with you today: White Weenie, GW Heroic, GW Aggro, WB Warriors, Abzan Aggro, and a pair of spicy specials: "roflstomp" and "twin combo." If you're looking to turn creatures sideways in this new Standard format, I have everything from synergistic to methodical to bounce-off-the-walls-crazy.
Let's begin where I always begin...
When I first put this deck together, it looked pretty weak and I figured it was going to quickly get outclassed by everything. To my surprise, it was actually quite potent. It is a little light on removal, but that could easily change if we move some of the Suspension Fields and/or Devouring Lights to the main. I didn't want the creature count to go too low though, and there aren't a whole lot of good options besides these creatures:
Herald of Anafenza performed way beyond expectation. At first it looked slow and clunky and doesn't hit hard enough early. I overlooked the fact that it was a one-drop that gave me inevitability in the midgame. It's one of those cards that looks rather innocuous until you've played with and against it. It provides bodies to pump Eidolon of Countless Battles, and those tokens get bigger with Phalanx Leader, Hall of Triumph, and Spear of Heliod. And it grows itself all the while.
Seeker of the Way is another card that performed above expectation. In conjunction with Ajani's Presence it is a surprise 4/4 lifelink indestructible creature. Similarly if you play the Seeker on turn two and then Hall or Spear on turn three, you attack for four and gain four life. Let's not even talk about how good it is when you bestow Eidolon of Countless Battles on it!
Brimaz, King of Oreskos is quite possibly my favorite card in Standard so far. It dodges a lot of the common removal in the format (Ulcerate, Bile Blight, Lightning Strike, Anger of the Gods) while being a card that can win a game on its own, all while playing both offense and defense!
Soldier of the Pantheon is especially good against all the multicolor creatures in Khans of Tarkir, and it hits just as hard as it always has.
Beyond these creatures, we had only a few options. I went with:
2 Phalanx Leader4 Vanguard of Brimaz
In order to play the heroic creatures, I need a certain threshold of spells that target them. Hencefour Eidolon of Countless Battles. The others are:
2 Hopeful Eidolon2 Ephemeral Shields2 Ajani's Presence
That's 10 spells that trigger heroic, which is about the minimum I would need to make the heroic creatures playable. A different direction could be:
4 Ajani's Pridemate2 Vanguard of Brimaz
These creatures would allow us to play these spells:
3 Devouring Light3 Suspension Field
So basically the tradeoff is whether you want to play more removal or more ways to make your creatures better. The removal route would also open up some more sideboard space and could look like this:
The Wind-Scarred Crags are only in there for the Ajani's Pridemates, and the third in the board is for times when you bring in Spirit Bonds and Dictate of Heliod and thus want a 23rd land. I personally prefer this second build to the first, though only because I expect to face more creature decks than control decks. If you expect more control, then I'd go with the first build instead.
Another thing we can do is branch out into a second color. Continuing with the heroic theme from the first deck, green allows us to go this route:
Unlike the first White Weenie list, this deck is more dedicated to the heroic theme. Hardened Scales is a pretty big payoff for playing heroic since it essentially doubles the amount of counters for each trigger. This gets especially insane when combined with things like Reap What Is Sown, Phalanx Leader, Launch the Fleet, Setessan Tactics, or Ajani's Presence on multiple creatures.
The deck has a lot of synergy and a variety of tricks that all provide +1/+1 counters in some capacity. Like the first White Weenie deck, however, it lacks removal spells in order to make room for all the heroic enabling spells.
If you want to move away from the heroic theme in order to play more removal spells, here's a way to do that:
This list aims to curve out as quickly as possible with the best early threats that green and white have to offer, and then to play Suspension Field and Banishing Light to clear out blockers. In this deck Ajani's Pridemate really shines. Our life gain package includes:
4 Soldier of the Pantheon4 Seeker of the Way4 Courser of Kruphix1 Ajani Steadfast 4 Blossoming SandsSB: 1 Ajani SteadfastSB: 2 Nyx-Fleece Ram
That's 20 cards in the deck that gain life for the cat, several of which can trigger him multiple times – most notably Courser of Kruphix.
Courser not only combos with the Pridemate but also with the fetchlands, ensuring that you will draw a high density of non-land cards for the rest of the game. Fetches also trigger the Courser of Kruphix (and thus the Pridemate) twice.
Out of the board we get access to even more removal spells, including: Devouring Light, Reclamation Sage, Setessan Tactics, and Polukranos, World Eater. We also board in the 23rd land when we bring in the four-drops.
Instead of green, we could go black in order to play the new Sorin, Solemn Visitor:
The general theme of the deck is fairly straightforward: pump my creatures, kill your creatures, and attack. There are a few subtle synergies I'd like to point out though, mostly involving Bloodsoaked Champion.
First there is the synergy between Bloodsoaked Champion and Spirit Bonds. When you bring him back, you can make another Spirit Token. Secondly, the champion also works well with Mardu Hordechief in case you just want to trigger the raid and have no otherwise good attacks since he can attack by himself and bring himself back post-combat .Thirdly, he is also a warrior to get the Chief of the Edge bonus, as are many of the other creatures in the deck.
The anthems in the deck include:
2 Spear of Heliod4 Sorin, Solemn Visitor4 Chief of the EdgeSB: 1 Dictate of Heliod
The anthems allow us to keep attacking into creatures that would otherwise be larger than ours, and Sorin's lifegain makes it such that were are basically never going to lose a race.
Since we're white and black, two fairly removal heavy colors, we have a lot of removal options at our disposal. This is the combination I went with:
3 Hero's Downfall3 Banishing LightSB: 4 ThoughtseizeSB: 4 UlcerateSB: 1 Banishing LightSB: 1 Hero's Downfall
I decided not to play any copies of Suspension Field, Devouring Light, or Bile Blight - though those would probably be the next best options if you wanted to add even more. I wanted to include Thoughtseize in the board to deal with control decks, most notably Anger of the Gods. That card can be problematic without access to discard.
A different deck that plays a little bit better against Anger of the Gods, albeit with slightly more painful mana, is Abzan Aggro:
The biggest decision I had to make with this deck was whether to run Sorin, Solemn Visitor or Polukranos, World Eater. I went with Polukranos since it kills stuff and eats worlds. This is about as heavy removal as you're going to find in an attack deck. Our removal spells include:
4 Ulcerate4 Suspension Field3 Banishing Light4 Polukranos, World EaterSB: 2 Setessan TacticsSB: 2 Reclamation SageSB: 3 Hero's DownfallSB: 1 Banishing Light
That's 15 removal spells main and an additional eight in the sideboard. Basically what I'm going for here is making sure that my creatures are the only creatures that will be on the battlefield and that anything I choose not to kill will be forced to chump block because my monsters are big enough to attack into it. And what if the monster plan doesn't quite get there? Well, then Herald of Anafenza will just have to keep outlasting until we eventually get there.
Herald of Torment was also a card I strongly considered for this deck but opted against it since we already have so many cards that cost three mana. I suppose our removal options are varied enough such that we can use narrower removal spells that cost one or two mana (e.g. Bile Blight) in order to fit another three-drop threat into the curve. Regardless of how you choose to fine tune it, this is a deck I would recommend in Week One. It has all the tools to win an FNM or Open Series event.
If this deck is a bit too tame for your taste and you want to go a little bit crazier, this next deck cares less about what its opponent is doing and more about just doing something awesome:
This deck basically moves all the removal spells to the sideboard in order to make room for Butcher of the Horde and some mana fixers to be able to cast it. It can produce some really nutty draws:
Turn 1: Land, Ornithopter, Springleaf Drum, Elvish Mystic.Turn 2: Land, Butcher of the Horde, sac the Ornithopter for haste, attack for 5.Turn 3: Land, Butcher of the Horde, sac Elvish Mystic for haste, attack for 10.
I considered slowing it down a notch by replacing the Ornithopters and a couple Springleaf Drums with Sylvan Caryatids, but if we're already on the sparse removal plan, I figure might as well go with the fastest mana possible.
I called the deck "4-color Green" in testing, but due to the high variance nature of the deck's mana and the polar extremes of hands, I would usually either find that I curve out and my opponent gets quickly roflstomped or I sit there doing nothing all game and get roflstomped. [Note: 'roflstomp' is when you stomp or get stomped so badly that the stomper rolls on the floor laughing]
Other such "stomp" hands include:
Turn 1: Llanowar Wastes, Elvish Mystic.Turn 2: Plains, Anafenza, the Foremost.Turn 3: Mana Confluence, Butcher of the Horde, sac Mystic for haste, attack for 10, putting Anafenza's +1/+1 counter on the Butcher.
Of course some hands you draw look like this:
ForestLlanowar WastesOrnithopterHerald of AnafenzaElvish MysticButcher of the HordeBrimaz, King of Oreskos
You obviously mulligan this hand, but just a fair warning that this deck is going to punch itself in the face some amount of the time. But if your goal is to have fun and you don't mind your deck losing to itself once or twice, I say go for it!
I was going to stop here, but I'll share one last deck with you, mostly because so many people liked the combo after I posted this twitter comment:
There's a new lethal 2-card "twin" combo in Standard. pic.twitter.com/i9irgoTaCI— Craig Wescoe (@Nacatls4Life) September 16, 2014
So here's the deck in all its glory:
The idea is to accelerate into Dragon-Style Twins as quickly as possible, preferably via Generator Servant so that they have haste. Then attack and cast Become Immense, triggering prowess, making it a 10/10 double striker. Ranger's Guile keeps it from getting broken up by a removal spell. And we have Polukranos, World Eater and Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker as alternate win conditions. Prophetic Flamespeaker is also another way to make Become Immense good.
The ideal nut draw is:
Turn 1: Fetch a Forest, Elvish Mystic.Turn 2: Fetch a Mountain, Generator Servant + Elvish Mystic #2.Turn 3: Fetch a Mountain, sac Servant (2RRGGG mana total, 4 cards in grave) to cast Dragon-Style Twins (3RR) and Become Immense (delving for 4 cards + 1G mana). That's exactly 20 points of haste damage for a third turn kill!
What are you going to play in new Standard?
Craig Wescoe@Nacatls4Life on twitter