This past weekend I was playing my favorite deck in Standard, Simic Part the Waterveil. I wanted to say good-bye to the deck the best way I knew how, and that was to play it one last time. I don't intend to stop playing Part the Waterveil — on the contrary, I'm excited to find a new home for it in Shadows over Innistrad Standard.
Not everything is spoiled, but we can still brew some decklists and edit them as the rest of the spoiler is out. Today we're going to brew B/R Vampires, W/B Control, Big Mana Blue, and Big Mana Red. These decks aren't tested, but are excellent places to start. I wouldn't be surprised to take one of these lists myself to the next big tournament I play in, I believe they have that much potential! Enough with the talk though, let's dive in!
When I first saw Engulf the Shore I immediately wanted to play mono-blue. I decided to build a big mana blue deck that ramped up with artifacts, and when you're playing artifacts, you gotta play some number of Thopter Spy Network! I wanted to have more game against the aggro decks than just Engulf the Shore so I'm running Eldrazi Skyspawner, Thought-Knot Seer, and Drowner of Hope alongside Engulf the Shore. It's a start against the aggro decks, with more road bumps in the sideboard to go with Hangarback Walker.
The plan with the deck is to ramp up with Hedron Crawler, Seer's Lantern, and Hedron Archive and win the game off a Thopter Spy Network, Kozilek, the Great Distortion, or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Ugin's Insight is fantastic in a tap-out shell. It's great to cast it after you have an Eldrazi in play or even Hedron Archive. Sea Gate Wreckage and Seer's Lantern can help mid to late-game to ensure that you can keep the cards flowing or at least draw what you want.
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is a little underwhelming here, but I like that he just lets you loot for a while and then can shrink creatures, eventually giving you an emblem to win with. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy can also flash back Ugin's Insight or Engulf the Shores if you really need to. Jace, Unraveler of Secrets could be the better maindeck card over Jace, Vryn's Prodigy — I will be able to figure this out after more testing. This deck could very well support Part the Waterveil but I really wanted to ramp into the Eldrazi instead, could be right to just run Part the Waterveil however.
Next up we have this deck's cousin. This time instead of going big with blue, we are going big with red!
This version is much more aggressive but can still have a great late game thanks to Chandra, Flamecaller. You will be able to close games out on the backs of Eldrazi and Thopters. Even if your opponents can deal with your board with a sweeper, you can finish your opponent off with Reality Smasher or Chandra, Flamecaller. I wanted to find the best deck that could run four Chandra, Flamecallers and I believe this is the deck to pull it off.
The sideboard is mostly for decks trying to go under you. Roast, Spatial Contortion, Matter Reshaper, and Kozilek's Return should be good at holding small creatures at bay. I like Tears of Valakut for the scary flying vampires that we will surely see. It also is a nice answer for Dragonlord Ojutai and other fliers. Sin Prodder is something I want to test in a game of attrition. It seems it would be good against control decks and the such since control decks can't keep affording to play three, four, five, or even six life to stop you. Sin Prodder can easily backfire though since they will assuredly never let you draw any lands with it. It's hard for me to gauge how good or bad this card is without playing it a couple times first. I suggest you do the same.
Next up is a two-color control deck that basically acts as a Planeswalker control deck. Introducing…
This is the deck I am most excited about. Everything is either a removal spell or a high-impact card capable of ending the game on its own. We saw this deck do very well prior to Shadows over Innistrad release in the hands of Jeff Hoogland and this deck gets much better in Shadows over Innistrad Standard.
I believe Read the Bones will be more important than Anguished Unmaking, hence the 4/1 split. We don't have a good way to gain incremental life outside of Shambling Vents, so we gain it in chunks with Linvala, the Preserver, Sorin, Grim Nemesis, and Blighted Steppe. It might be correct to maindeck Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet for extra lifegain, but lots of our removal spells exile instead of destroy, rendering part of its upside irrelevant. Another reason I wanted Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet in the board was because we don't have many maindeck creatures, so when our opponent boards out removal spells we can punish them by bringing in Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.
We have four Pitiless Hordes in the sideboard to combat ramp decks. That archetype will be our hardest matchup since they don't care too much about removal and we give them plenty of time to do whatever they want. I hate Infinite Obliteration but it may be necessary to run a couple; we no longer have access to Rakshasa's Secret to try and just Mind Twist them as soon as possible.
The list I want to talk about next is the aggro deck of the format. Atarka Red lost its combo in Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage, and I believe this deck to be the best place to start in the new format. Let's meet our not-so-friendly bloodsuckers.
This deck seems not only to be one of the best aggro decks for the format but also one of, if not the best Madness deck in the format. I want to test a version like this over a version with more removal because I want to push the envelope on "most aggressive deck" in Shadows over Innistrad Standard. You usually want to test your new decks against the must hyper-aggressive deck possible since you want your deck to stand up against the fastest of aggro decks week one. If your deck is bad against the aggro deck you probably should reconsider playing that deck. Aggro decks perform well early on in new formats and I doubt this one will be any different.
I have a 3/3 split on Olivia, Mobilized for War and Drana, Liberator of Malakir. I think they are the reason to play this deck but I can't justify running four of each since they are legendary.
This list tries to abuse Incorrigible Youths as much as possible, so we have the full playset of Heir to Falkenrath and Ravenous Bloodseeker. Both of these will allow you to swing for seven as early as turn three, and that's not including a one drop. Zurgo Bellstriker may not be a vampire (except if you play it after you have Olivia, Mobilized for War on the battlefield) but I wanted a total of eight one drops in this deck and Zurgo Bellstriker fits that bill pretty well. It also has dash, which is good at pushing those last few points of damage in. Asylum Visitor has great stats for two mana and it has an awesome ability, but if that wasn't enough it also has madness. I could be overrating it but there is only one way to find that out, and that's testing it.
I'm unsure on the sideboard outside the Pitiless Hordes since they are so great against slow decks, especially decks of the ramp variety. I wanted some card advantage for the longer games we are sometimes forced to play, so I added Read the Bones and Call the Bloodline, but it may be correct to just run more reach like Exquisite Firecraft.
Being a single-colored deck or a two-color deck is going to be fantastic to start with since mana won't as good as it was with fetchlands. All these decks have solid mana bases and are excellent places to start. If I were you I would at least test the vampire and control deck in your test gauntlet. The other two—while I believe they're powerful—probably aren't as important as the Vampire and the W/B Control deck, since those two decks stick out the most to me.
Next week I'll have a couple of control and ramp decks for you and possibly something a little wilder. Hopefully we get shown some big crazy spell! Come on Wizards!
Until next week boys and girls,