Standard is the best it's been in months.

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I'm hesitant to say that it's fixed now, given that the last four sets have all broken Standard. But Zendikar Rising, once Wizards removed Omnath, Locus of Creation, is built around mechanics that lend themselves to back-and-forth game play.

All of the absurd, over-the-top strategies that we've seen dominate the metagame since Throne of Eldraine was released are gone, whether by rotating (Nissa, Who Shakes the World, Hydroid Krasis) or by uhh… involuntarily leaving Standard (Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, Fires of Invention, Omnath, Locus of Creation, etc.). What's left is a format that has powerful, but not format-warping, cards.

In retrospect, Wizards bans amounted to, "ban everything until Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is the best thing to do, then ban Uro." Even if they got there in a backwards way, they eventually made all the right moves. If Uro were still legal, it would run over this format, because there is no way to interact with Uro in a one-to-one way. Fortunately nothing of that sort still remains, and the benefits of the remaining recursive cards like Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger and Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis don't directly draw the opponent more cards to fuel the next escape.

Engines overall have not disappeared, but they have become more fair. While Lucky Clover is gone, Edgewall Innkeeper is still present, and if ever unchecked is perfectly capable of taking over a game with creatures cantripping until the opponent is worn down to nothing. Lotus Cobra, on the other hand, is able to generate enough mana early if it survives that it can deploy multiple cards early. And Ruin Crab on turn one or two can single-handedly enable the entire Dimir Rogues deck on its own.

However, unlike something like Lucky Clover, these are all creatures you can easily interact with. Glass Casket, Spikefield Hazard, Bloodchief's Thirst and, of course, Stomp, all do a perfectly reasonable job of removing most of the early plays that can threaten to take over the game. Spot removal is not only legal again, it's encouraged as a way to interrupt the synergy-based strategies.

And, maybe most importantly, ramp… fingers crossed… is mostly gone. There are some late-game payoffs, but few cards (Lotus Cobra being the prime exception) will put a player up more than one mana per turn. You're allowed to play Wolfwillow Haven or Cultivate or Beanstalk Giant, but if you want more, you're going to need the Cobra to live or pay four mana for Migration Path. Once you're there, you can cast Genesis Ultimatum for some value, or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, or… that's about it. If there are ramp builds out there, they're niche.

All of this has led to a format that's surprisingly fair, reminiscent of a world that we haven't seen in a long, long time, possibly all the way back to Guilds of Ravnica or Ravnica Allegiance. Two-for-ones are good, not omnipresent. The best card draw spell is Into the Story, and needs some setup to draw multiple cards, instead of just making it to five mana and casting Escape to the Wilds. Spot removal matters, aggressive strategies matter, and it's possible to have a midrange mirror where both players play one land at a time.

A couple days in, three major archetypes have emerged. While I doubt this is anywhere near the end point for the format, it's a great starting point as we try to brew.

Rakdos Midrange

The prior format barely had enough time to settle on this deck as viable, let alone a concrete build, but the general pieces are similar enough that they'll do in the meantime. If it's an archetype you're interested in, I wrote about it extensively last week, and I'm mostly fine with that version of the list.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Rakdos Midrange by Michael Jacob

'Rakdos Midrange' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Michael Jacob

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $218.09

Cards

Elspeth's Nightmare

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207053_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Destroy target creature an opponent controls with power 2 or less.
II — Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.
III — Exile target opponent's graveyard.

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Liliana, Waker of the Dead

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215353_200w.jpg

+1: Each player discards a card. Each opponent who can't loses 3 life.
−3: Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your graveyard.
−7: You get an emblem with "At the beginning of combat on your turn, put target creature card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. It gains haste."

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Feed the Swarm

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.65

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221953_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or enchantment an opponent controls. You lose life equal to that permanent's converted mana cost.

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Spikefield Hazard

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221957_200w.jpg

Spikefield Hazard deals 1 damage to any target. If a permanent dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

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Sorcerous Spyglass

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198975_200w.jpg

As Sorcerous Spyglass enters the battlefield, look at an opponent's hand, then choose any card name.
Activated abilities of sources with the chosen name can't be activated unless they're mana abilities.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/208391_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.94

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199035_200w.jpg

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Embereth Shieldbreaker // Battle Display

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198550_200w.jpg

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Soul-Guide Lantern

Market Price: $2.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206867_200w.jpg

When Soul-Guide Lantern enters the battlefield, exile target card from a graveyard.
{T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Exile each opponent's graveyard.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Draw a card.

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Shredded Sails

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212051_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target artifact.
• Shredded Sails deals 4 damage to target creature with flying.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Inscription of Ruin

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222016_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B}{B}
Choose one. If this spell was kicked, choose any number instead.
• Target opponent discards two cards.
• Return target creature card with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.
• Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less.

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Skyclave Shade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222127_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B}
Skyclave Shade can't block.
If Skyclave Shade was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, if Skyclave Shade is in your graveyard and it's your turn, you may cast it from your graveyard this turn.

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Tymaret Calls the Dead

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206625_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I, II — Mill three cards. Then you may exile a creature or enchantment card from your graveyard. If you do, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.
III — You gain X life and scry X, where X is the number of Zombies you control.

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Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.73

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199388_200w.jpg

Castle Locthwain enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp.
{T}: Add {B}.
{1}{B}{B}, {T}: Draw a card, then you lose life equal to the number of cards in your hand.

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Agonizing Remorse

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207044_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it or a card from their graveyard. Exile that card. You lose 1 life.

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Bloodchief's Thirst

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221776_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
Destroy target creature or planeswalker with converted mana cost 2 or less. If this spell was kicked, instead destroy target creature or planeswalker.

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Shatterskull Smashing

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $7.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222030_200w.jpg

Shatterskull Smashing deals X damage divided as you choose among up to two target creatures and/or planeswalkers. If X is 6 or more, Shatterskull Smashing deals twice X damage divided as you choose among them instead.

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Mire Triton

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215956_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
When Mire Triton enters the battlefield, mill two cards and you gain 2 life.

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $5.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Extinction Event

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.65

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212261_200w.jpg

Choose odd or even. Exile each creature with converted mana cost of the chosen value. (Zero is even.)

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Hagra Mauling

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222096_200w.jpg

This spell costs {1} less to cast if an opponent controls no basic lands.
Destroy target creature.

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Ox of Agonas

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206651_200w.jpg

When Ox of Agonas enters the battlefield, discard your hand, then draw three cards.
Escape—{R}{R}, Exile eight other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Ox of Agonas escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it.

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Heartless Act

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212369_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target creature with no counters on it.
• Remove up to three counters from target creature.

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Savai Triome

Color Identity:B,R,W

Market Price: $4.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212693_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}, {W}, or {B}.)
Savai Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Magmatic Channeler

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222062_200w.jpg

As long as there are four or more instant and/or sorcery cards in your graveyard, Magmatic Channeler gets +3/+1.
{T}, Discard a card: Exile the top two cards of your library, then choose one of them. You may play that card this turn.

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Scorching Dragonfire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215894_200w.jpg

Scorching Dragonfire deals 3 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If that creature or planeswalker would die this turn, exile it instead.

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Rankle, Master of Pranks

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $12.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198584_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
Whenever Rankle, Master of Pranks deals combat damage to a player, choose any number —
• Each player discards a card.
• Each player loses 1 life and draws a card.
• Each player sacrifices a creature.

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Murderous Rider // Swift End

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198749_200w.jpg

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Temple of Malice

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $1.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206635_200w.jpg

Temple of Malice enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Malice enters the battlefield, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{T}: Add {B} or {R}.

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Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $19.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206855_200w.jpg

When Kroxa enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped.
Whenever Kroxa enters the battlefield or attacks, each opponent discards a card, then each opponent who didn't discard a nonland card this way loses 3 life.
Escape—{B}{B}{R}{R}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222820_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Despite being from "last format," it's only a week old, and lists haven't developed too much more. Your strategy is still generically strong: stop them from doing powerful things, and win via pressure with Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger. Even something like Shredded Sails remains reasonable as an answer to The Great Henge, which you need to contain in order to keep your opponent out of cards in hand.

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Fighting this deck isn't too difficult, however. Soul-Guide Lantern or Scavenging Ooze do most of the job on their own by removing Rakdos's endgamee. Mazemind Tome as a maindeck card isn't popular (yet), and without Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, the quickest way Rakdos can end the game is… a swarm of 2/2 Zombie tokens? A 4/3 Bonecrusher Giant? Nothing too concerning.

Mazemind Tome or other card draw also works well against Kroxa, helping you keeping pace on actual cards. After Kroxa, their discard is mostly symmetrical in the form of Liliana, Waker of the Dead or Rankle, Master of Pranks. If they have to make themselves hellbent to keep up with your card draw, they eventually will draw a land or two and lose their grip on the game.

Your third option is pressure them with creatures that dodge Bonecrusher Giant, and planeswalkers. Creatures with 3 or more toughness and 3 or more converted mana cost, hit a sort of sweet spot against Rakdos: Bloodchief's Thirst now costs four mana, and Stomp can't kill them. Most of these lists only have around four cards to destroy planeswalkers, those being Bloodchief's Thirst and Murderous Rider, neither of which are particularly efficient.

Dimir Rogues

Another archetype that isn't new, but is strong, the previous Omnath, Locus of Creation-killer still exists in the format. The deck is reasonable enough on its own, and preys on people who aren't prepared for it.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Dimir Rogues (Lurrus) by Seth Manfield

'Dimir Rogues (Lurrus)' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Seth Manfield

Event: 2020 Season Grand Finals

Rank: 5th-8th

Standard

Market Price: $155.40

Cards

Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222820_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.73

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199388_200w.jpg

Castle Locthwain enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp.
{T}: Add {B}.
{1}{B}{B}, {T}: Draw a card, then you lose life equal to the number of cards in your hand.

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Bloodchief's Thirst

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221776_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
Destroy target creature or planeswalker with converted mana cost 2 or less. If this spell was kicked, instead destroy target creature or planeswalker.

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Skyclave Shade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222127_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B}
Skyclave Shade can't block.
If Skyclave Shade was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, if Skyclave Shade is in your graveyard and it's your turn, you may cast it from your graveyard this turn.

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Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $5.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212282_200w.jpg

Companion — Each permanent card in your starting deck has converted mana cost 2 or less. (If this card is your chosen companion, you may put it into your hand from outside the game for {3} any time you could cast a sorcery.)
Lifelink
During each of your turns, you may cast one permanent spell with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard.

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Zagoth Triome

Color Identity:B,G,U

Market Price: $7.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212691_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}, {G}, or {U}.)
Zagoth Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Eliminate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.64

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215516_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or planeswalker with converted mana cost 3 or less.

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Frantic Inventory

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215572_200w.jpg

Draw a card, then draw cards equal to the number of cards named Frantic Inventory in your graveyard.

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Thieves' Guild Enforcer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.54

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215608_200w.jpg

Flash
Whenever Thieves' Guild Enforcer or another Rogue enters the battlefield under your control, each opponent mills two cards.
As long as an opponent has eight or more cards in their graveyard, Thieves' Guild Enforcer gets +2/+1 and has deathtouch.

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Negate

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222130_200w.jpg

Counter target noncreature spell.

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Vantress Gargoyle

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199034_200w.jpg

Flying
Vantress Gargoyle can't attack unless defending player has seven or more cards in their graveyard.
Vantress Gargoyle can't block unless you have four or more cards in hand.
{T}: Each player mills a card.

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Agonizing Remorse

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207044_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it or a card from their graveyard. Exile that card. You lose 1 life.

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Silundi Vision

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222102_200w.jpg

Look at the top six cards of your library. You may reveal an instant or sorcery card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

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Soaring Thought-Thief

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222153_200w.jpg

Flash
Flying
As long as an opponent has eight or more cards in their graveyard, Rogues you control get +1/+0.
Whenever one or more Rogues you control attack, each opponent mills two cards.

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Agadeem's Awakening

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $17.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222163_200w.jpg

Return from your graveyard to the battlefield any number of target creature cards that each have a different converted mana cost X or less.

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Lofty Denial

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215611_200w.jpg

Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}. If you control a creature with flying, counter that spell unless its controller pays {4} instead.

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Clearwater Pathway

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $4.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221830_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

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Lullmage's Domination

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221933_200w.jpg

This spell costs {3} less to cast if it targets a creature whose controller has eight or more cards in their graveyard.
Gain control of target creature with converted mana cost X.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Heartless Act

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212369_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target creature with no counters on it.
• Remove up to three counters from target creature.

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Into the Story

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198971_200w.jpg

This spell costs {3} less to cast if an opponent has seven or more cards in their graveyard.
Draw four cards.

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Temple of Deceit

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206633_200w.jpg

Temple of Deceit enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Deceit enters the battlefield, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222819_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Cling to Dust

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206655_200w.jpg

Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, you gain 3 life. Otherwise, you draw a card.
Escape—{3}{B}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Drown in the Loch

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $3.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199207_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Counter target spell with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of cards in its controller's graveyard.
• Destroy target creature with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of cards in its controller's graveyard.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/drown-in-the-loch

The latest build, popularized by Seth Manfield at the Grand Finals, barely plays Rogues in the maindeck and is closer to a Dimir Control deck that happens to care about milling the opponent a bit. In many respects it's actually an Into the Story deck at this point.

Frequently its games are a bit of a puzzle over how to win, but its best draws give Dimir a quick clock that only requires them to control for a few turns. The deck has been occupying a healthy amount of the ladder. If it was good enough for our own Seth Manfield during Omnath, Locus of Creation, it's good enough for me.

There are multiple ways to combat the deck. It still features the prior Rogues problem where it needs the right mix of enablers with its creatures to mill the opponent so that Into the Story and Drown in the Loch are functional, and killing those enables can mean they never actually get there. Three-power attackers early on work quite well against a decent amount of the deck so that Soaring Thought-Thief can't gain life with an easy block. Rogues usually requires a reload, because they have so few creatures, so countering or discarding the Into the Story frequently leaves them with a pile of situational cards and no way to finish the game quickly enough.

Most interestingly, removing your own graveyard does quite a bit. Playing a card like Tormod's Crypt is not the goal, but anything that can incidentally hate your own graveyard, like Scavenging Ooze or Idol of Endurance, can set them back continuously. If you're ever able to keep Into the Story at seven mana for a couple turns, that's often game over for them.

Golgari Adventures

Finally, Edgewall Innkeeper has found his footing with an oldie but goodie, Golgari Adventures. The combination of two card-draw engines makes it an aggro deck with longevity and utility from its creatures—everything Golgari has ever wanted to be.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Golgari Adventures by Nick Prince

'Golgari Adventures' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Nick Prince

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $223.67

Cards

Kazandu Mammoth // Kazandu Valley

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222154_200w.jpg

Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Kazandu Mammoth gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

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Agadeem's Awakening // Agadeem, the Undercrypt

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $17.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222163_200w.jpg

Return from your graveyard to the battlefield any number of target creature cards that each have a different converted mana cost X or less.

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Gemrazer

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212071_200w.jpg

Mutate {1}{G}{G} (If you cast this spell for its mutate cost, put it over or under target non-Human creature you own. They mutate into the creature on top plus all abilities from under it.)
Reach, trample
Whenever this creature mutates, destroy target artifact or enchantment an opponent controls.

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Heartless Act

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212369_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target creature with no counters on it.
• Remove up to three counters from target creature.

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Lovestruck Beast // Heart's Desire

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198578_200w.jpg

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Elder Gargaroth

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $15.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215477_200w.jpg

Vigilance, reach, trample
Whenever Elder Gargaroth attacks or blocks, choose one —
• Create a 3/3 green Beast creature token.
• You gain 3 life.
• Draw a card.

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The Great Henge

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $25.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199361_200w.jpg

This spell costs {X} less to cast, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control.
{T}: Add {G}{G}. You gain 2 life.
Whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on it and draw a card.

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Rankle, Master of Pranks

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $12.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198584_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
Whenever Rankle, Master of Pranks deals combat damage to a player, choose any number —
• Each player discards a card.
• Each player loses 1 life and draws a card.
• Each player sacrifices a creature.

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Chainweb Aracnir

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206802_200w.jpg

Reach
When Chainweb Aracnir enters the battlefield, it deals damage equal to its power to target creature with flying an opponent controls.
Escape—{3}{G}{G}, Exile four other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Chainweb Aracnir escapes with three +1/+1 counters on it.

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Edgewall Innkeeper

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198999_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a creature spell that has an Adventure, draw a card. (It doesn't need to have gone on the adventure first.)

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Order of Midnight // Alter Fate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198405_200w.jpg

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Scavenging Ooze

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215695_200w.jpg

{G}: Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, put a +1/+1 counter on Scavenging Ooze and you gain 1 life.

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $5.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Duress

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215662_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

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Bloodchief's Thirst

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221776_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
Destroy target creature or planeswalker with converted mana cost 2 or less. If this spell was kicked, instead destroy target creature or planeswalker.

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Skyclave Shade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222127_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B}
Skyclave Shade can't block.
If Skyclave Shade was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, if Skyclave Shade is in your graveyard and it's your turn, you may cast it from your graveyard this turn.

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Temple of Malady

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215546_200w.jpg

Temple of Malady enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Malady enters the battlefield, scry 1.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}.

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Murderous Rider // Swift End

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198749_200w.jpg

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Lotus Cobra

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $5.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221778_200w.jpg

Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, add one mana of any color.

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Vivien, Monsters' Advocate

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $7.36

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/211993_200w.jpg

You may look at the top card of your library any time.
You may cast creature spells from the top of your library.
+1: Create a 3/3 green Beast creature token. Put your choice of a vigilance counter, a reach counter, or a trample counter on it.
−2: When you cast your next creature spell this turn, search your library for a creature card with lesser converted mana cost, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.65

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/208389_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Evolving Wilds

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222702_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Evolving Wilds: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.

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Smitten Swordmaster // Curry Favor

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198401_200w.jpg

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222820_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Foulmire Knight // Profane Insight

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198404_200w.jpg

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The archetype hasn't gotten much since Throne of Eldraine, and the Lucky Clover builds are obviously not legal any more, forcing the deck to play a very midrange game plan. This could be the best Agadeem's Awakening deck in the format, as returning Edgewall Innkeeper along with other creatures requires an opponent to choose between killing the Innkeeper threatening to draw cards or the creatures that are threatening to kill them.

If there's one advantage this deck has against a good portion of the format, it's getting to play maindeck Scavenging Ooze. Green creature mirrors, Rakdos, and Dimir Rogues can all be flummoxed by the card, making it a huge boon to have in the format. In a pinch, discounting The Great Henge is well within its range, giving the deck additional outs to actually casting the card and getting their second engine online.

The list above comes from my name twin, Nick Price, but the flex slots are still being figured out. Fundamentally, though, the deck is 20-25 cards of the Adventure package, The Great Henge, and typically some copies of Rankle, Master of Pranks. The rest is up to you based on the metagame you face.

Because both Edgewall Innkeeper and The Great Henge require playing creatures to the board to work, removal is at a premium against them. Flying creatures give this deck headaches. The pile of creatures they play defend the ground incredibly well, but without the right support, Lovestruck Beast and Kazandu Mammoth hitting don't attack too quickly either.

My Recommendation

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Selesnya Midrange by Nick Prince

'Selesnya Midrange' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Nick Prince

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $145.60

Cards

Khalni Ambush // Khalni Territory

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221900_200w.jpg

Target creature you control fights target creature you don't control. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)

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Maul of the Skyclaves

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.65

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221903_200w.jpg

When Maul of the Skyclaves enters the battlefield, attach it to target creature you control.
Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and has flying and first strike.
Equip {2}{W}{W}

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Soul-Guide Lantern

Market Price: $2.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206867_200w.jpg

When Soul-Guide Lantern enters the battlefield, exile target card from a graveyard.
{T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Exile each opponent's graveyard.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Draw a card.

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.65

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/208389_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Primal Might

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215456_200w.jpg

Target creature you control gets +X/+X until end of turn. Then it fights up to one target creature you don't control.

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Elder Gargaroth

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $15.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215477_200w.jpg

Vigilance, reach, trample
Whenever Elder Gargaroth attacks or blocks, choose one —
• Create a 3/3 green Beast creature token.
• You gain 3 life.
• Draw a card.

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Seasoned Hallowblade

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215522_200w.jpg

Discard a card: Tap Seasoned Hallowblade. It gains indestructible until end of turn. (Damage and effects that say "destroy" don't destroy it.)

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Branchloft Pathway // Boulderloft Pathway

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $2.87

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221843_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {G}.

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Giant Killer // Chop Down

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198743_200w.jpg

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Selfless Savior

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215553_200w.jpg

Sacrifice Selfless Savior: Another target creature you control gains indestructible until end of turn. (Damage and effects that say "destroy" don't destroy it.)

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Emeria's Call // Emeria, Shattered Skyclave

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $4.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221952_200w.jpg

Create two 4/4 white Angel Warrior creature tokens with flying. Non-Angel creatures you control gain indestructible until your next turn.

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Turntimber Symbiosis // Turntimber, Serpentine Wood

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $10.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222409_200w.jpg

Look at the top seven cards of your library. You may put a creature card from among them onto the battlefield. If that card has converted mana cost 3 or less, it enters with three additional +1/+1 counters on it. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

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Kabira Takedown // Kabira Plateau

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222040_200w.jpg

Kabira Takedown deals damage equal to the number of creatures you control to target creature or planeswalker.

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Luminarch Aspirant

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.64

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222055_200w.jpg

At the beginning of combat on your turn, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control.

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Glass Casket

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199004_200w.jpg

When Glass Casket enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls with converted mana cost 3 or less until Glass Casket leaves the battlefield.

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Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206010_200w.jpg

−1: Up to two target creatures you control each get +2/+1 until end of turn.
−2: Create two 1/1 white Human Soldier creature tokens.
−3: You gain 5 life.
Escape—{4}{W}{W}, Exile four other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Castle Ardenvale

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $2.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199390_200w.jpg

Castle Ardenvale enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Plains.
{T}: Add {W}.
{2}{W}{W}, {T}: Create a 1/1 white Human creature token.

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $5.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Elspeth Conquers Death

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207052_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Exile target permanent an opponent controls with converted mana cost 3 or greater.
II — Noncreature spells your opponents cast cost {2} more to cast until your next turn.
III — Return target creature or planeswalker card from your graveyard to the battlefield. Put a +1/+1 counter or a loyalty counter on it.

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Idol of Endurance

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215551_200w.jpg

When Idol of Endurance enters the battlefield, exile all creature cards with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard until Idol of Endurance leaves the battlefield.
{1}{W}, {T}: Until end of turn, you may cast a creature spell from among the cards exiled with Idol of Endurance without paying its mana cost.

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222818_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Bronzehide Lion

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $0.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206983_200w.jpg

{G}{W}: Bronzehide Lion gains indestructible until end of turn.
When Bronzehide Lion dies, return it to the battlefield. It's an Aura enchantment with enchant creature you control and "{G}{W}: Enchanted creature gains indestructible until end of turn," and it loses all other abilities.

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Lovestruck Beast // Heart's Desire

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198578_200w.jpg

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Basri Ket

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $2.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215501_200w.jpg

+1: Put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target creature. It gains indestructible until end of turn.
−2: Whenever one or more nontoken creatures attack this turn, create that many 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens that are tapped and attacking.
−6: You get an emblem with "At the beginning of combat on your turn, create a 1/1 white Soldier creature token, then put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control."

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Skyclave Apparition

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $8.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221860_200w.jpg

When Skyclave Apparition enters the battlefield, exile up to one target nonland, nontoken permanent you don't control with converted mana cost 4 or less.
When Skyclave Apparition leaves the battlefield, the exiled card's owner creates an X/X blue Illusion creature token, where X is the converted mana cost of the exiled card.

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Temple of Plenty

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $1.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206636_200w.jpg

Temple of Plenty enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Plenty enters the battlefield, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{T}: Add {G} or {W}.

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Shocking! Wow! Nick likes a Selesnya deck!

I get it. I really do, but I promise this one isn't me trying to meme. Not everything is about branding, so hear me out.

I started with Selesnya this time, literally, by adding a pile of cards together that I thought seemed well positioned in the format and tweaking the deck from there. Selfless Savior frustrates spot removal, and by extension, every other deck in this article. Bronzehide Lion dodges Bonecrusher Giant, attacks through Soaring Thought-Thief, and has built-in protection against deathtouch creatures and removal that hits it. Luminarch Aspirant is the white Legion Warboss, and forces opponents to have removal that isn't Heartless Act in many situations. Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis is a split card 4/2 haste creature, Lovestruck Beast enabler, and life gain spell with random upside against Rogues. And Primal Might is an absurd removal spell that also pressures them.

But more than those, one of the best cards in the list (and possibly the format) is Skyclave Apparition. The random body isn't the most useful, but it gives white a catchall answer to all the problems of the format. Rogue creatures, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, Lovestruck Beast, Edgewall Innkeeper, and more are all permanently answered by the three-drop, and the token they get is rarely large enough to matter. A curve of any two-drop, Skyclave Apparition, Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis is a ridiculously quick clock that leaves opponents in incredibly difficult situations. It can be undone, but the free life gain we're all accustomed to has mostly been banned away, and putting an opponent to 8 so early frequently means they won't be getting to more than 10 or 12 life ever.

Since I posted the list on Sunday night, a few players and streamers have tried playing it, and I've heard nothing but successful stories from players up to the top of the mythic ladder. With no major tournaments yet I doubt this is the final form, but this bigger take on Selesnya is showing early promise.

The format is still wide open, but I'll include a short sideboard guide in case you want to try it.

Vs. Rakdos Midrange

+3 Soul-Guide Lantern
+2 Glass Casket
+2 Elder Gargaroth
+1 Castle Ardenvale

-4 Luminarch Aspirant
-1 Selfless Savior
-2 Maul of the Skyclaves
-1 Elspeth Conquers Death

This is how I've been sideboarding, though if they leave in multiple copies of Rankle, Master of Pranks and Liliana, Waker of the Dead, then Elspeth Conquers Death gains a decent amount of utility. The goal overall is to invalidate Bonecrusher Giant as much as possible, accepting that they're going to die to Skyclave Apparition but only after it exiled a key target.

Vs. Dimir Rogues

+2 Idol of Endurance
+2 Glass Casket

-1 Elspeth Conquers Death
-2 Maul of the Skyclaves
-1 Primal Might

Primal Might can be a bit tricky against Rogues, as they're rarely playing their creatures on their turn other than something like Vantress Gargoyle that's hard to kill early anyway. I still like the card enough, but I'd rather use removal that isn't as mana-intensive and can remove their best blockers early to keep the pressure on.

Idol of Endurance is the long-game tool, and Rogues ever so kindly fills your graveyard with creatures to play. If you can ever sneak it in with a stocked graveyard, the game is often easy.

Vs. Golgari Adventures

+1 Elspeth Conquers Death
+2 Glass Casket
+2 Elder Gargaroth
+1 Castle Ardenvale
+1 Primal Might

-3 Seasoned Hallowblade
-1 Selfless Savior
-3 Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis

Maul of the Skyclaves does very good work here, boosting something into the air and over their creatures, typically forcing removal spell after removal spell onto creatures you play. The goal is to pressure them while removing their card draw engines. With so much removal, the deck acts like a pseudo-control deck, trying to eventually win with indestructible creatures, continuous +1/+1 counters from Luminarch Aspirant, or multiple copies of Elder Gargaroth. Seasoned Hallowblade comes out because they have a huge pile of 1/1s and it just isn't worth it.

The Basri Plan

There's one other strategy I've found myself returning to repeatedly with these white aggressive decks for the last couple weeks. In a sideboard game on the play, against a player I suspect will bring in too much creature removal, board in three Basri Ket.

There isn't a ton of planeswalker removal running around, and he ultimates very quickly. A two-drop like Seasoned Hallowblade or Bronzehide Lion followed up with Basri Ket will put them in the squeeze of killing Basri, Ult Machine, or the indestructible creature hitting them for huge chunks of damage… if they have that option at all. If their only removal options for planeswalkers are a couple Bloodchief's Thirst and a couple Swift End, they may not even find them fast enough to kill Basri.

Generally speaking, the plan is to take out the Maul of the Skyclaves and one copy of Elspeth Conquers Death, as they occupy similar space, but there isn't a hard and fast rule here other than "play all the two-drops." The plan only works if Basri Ket gets to start putting counters on a creature right away, but when he does, the strategy has worked very well.

This strategy can work on the draw if your opponent has way too much spot removal that misses Basri Ket, and it's great against traditional control decks lately. Outside of that, though, they're too likely to be able to attack Basri, and I won't play him on the draw.