Hello boys and girls. If you don't know, this weekend TCGplayer is hosting the TCGplayer $50,000 MaxPoint Championship in Milwaukee and that's pretty exciting! It will test players' skills in Standard over two days before a cut to the Top 8 with live commentary from Frank Lepore and Kenji Egashira. I plan on attending this event and have been scouring my brain on what I should play.
We are all pretty familiar with Abzan-style decks, all flavor of ramp decks, aggro decks, Rally decks, control decks, and four-color Jeskai / Temur decks. I wanted to try and find a deck that was different from these current decks, but that wasn't easy. It seemed as if almost everything had been covered for the most part. Luckily I have friends that like to brew.
I got this list from Darryl Donaldson who was also the inspiration for the Naya Dragons deck I won the Invitational with. His lists are usually very strong and do powerful things. I tend to change a couple cards here and there but not enough to change the core of the deck. From his original list I just added an extra land and fit in two delve spells in Dig Through Time. Before that he was playing three Den Protectors which he wasn't fond of. I've played the deck a good amount and I really like it. I'm even considering it for the TCGplayer $50,000 MaxPoint Championship this weekend, so you should obviously consider it for your next event!
I'd like to talk about the deck, how it works, then break down the deck card by card so you can understand it best instead of having to wing it completely blind. Without further ado, Four-Color Dragons.
The deck is actually really sweet and, if you couldn't tell, does some extremely powerful things. It's just jam packed full of powerhouse cards. It plays very much like a traditional tap-out control deck in that it controls the board mostly on its own turn. After board though you can change that up a little bit. Your worst matchup is probably Atarka Red, but even then you have Siege Rhino and Orator of Ojutai to hold down the fort. You also have removal spells and even one that gains you life in Foul-Tongue Invocation. You do however play a lot of fetch lands which doesn't help against Atarka Red. After board you can sculpt the deck to rip apart the hand of pump spells. That deck doesn't do much without its spells and it usually needs two spells to "combo" you.
Alright, let's dive into the deck shall we?
Siege Rhino: Fantastic card that has proven itself over and over again in Standard. It's been a part of Abzan decks since day one and remains a staple in many four-color decks. It's the reason to play green. It provides excellent offense and fantastic defense in one card. You literally couldn't ask for more. You are paying four mana for a Lightning Helix and a 4/5 creature with trample. Basically a Tarmogoyf and a Lightning Helix in Standard. This deck can easily win games by just playing Rhino after Rhino.
Orator of Ojutai: Wall of Omens was a great card and a staple in the format for as long as it was legal in Standard. While this is not Wall of Omens, it's still pretty good. In the games you want to cast this early, even though you might not have a dragon, it's very worth it. These times are against aggro decks and Mantis Rider decks. It will buy you enough time that you don't care about drawing that card. Staying alive against them is all you need. Against other decks you can wait a bit until you draw a dragon to get the full value of this card, when you do have a dragon early and have this card it's a beautiful thing.
Dragonlord Ojutai: Arguably the best Dragon in Standard and for good reason. Ojutai, kinda like Siege Rhino, provides decent defense and an unmatched offense. He takes chunks of five out of your opponent's life total and provides you with more threats or answers. Connecting once or twice with Ojutai will usually just seal the deal by either killing your opponent or fueling you with more cards to push your opponent over the edge.
Dragonlord Silumgar: With Battle for Zendikar Dragonlord Silumgar got a lot better. Mostly due to Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Ob Nixilis Reignited. Stealing Gideon and ulting it to have it die is a huge swing for you. It's a two-for-one that gets you an emblem too. Against Ob Nixilis you can usually just steal him and tick him down which is pretty fantastic. Against the ramp decks stealing an Ulamog is pretty hard for them to deal with as long as they aren't chaining them with Sanctum of Ugins. If that's happening though, no deck can really beat it. It's hard to beat one Ulamog, yet alone two, three, or the full monty.
Dragonlord Dromoka: Dromoka Babyboka. If you know me, then you know I love this dragon! Another card that is amazing on offense or defense. A ten point life swing is huge and that's what she does on offense. On defense it's very hard for you opponent to attack profitably through Dragonlord Dromoka. If that's not enough she's also uncounterable and stops your opponent's from playing anything on your turn. If you've never untapped with Dragonlord Dromoka you need to try it. It's great untapping and feeling super safe in momma's big old wings.
Ob Nixilis Reignited: WHO'S GETTING THEIR SPARK BACK? OB NIXILIS IS! I see this card as a Shriekmaw that can also draw you cards. Nothing crazy but a very strong medium. He fills the role of removal when we need and offers us cards when we want. Perfect for a tap-out control deck.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: The second biggest and baddest dragon, only to Nicol Bolas that is. Ugin is the biggest game-changing card I've ever played. It literally can take a losing board state and switch it to heavily favored. You rarely want to play him on an empty board as you'd rather gain card advantage with him by exiling the board. A planeswalker where the plus and minus protect him and the ultimate just wins you the game. Fantastic card.
Silumgar's Command: This card can be iffy but I really like how it can answer Sorin or Gideon before or after they come into play. Against Gideon you can just counter him or kill him and bounce his token. It's also good against Atarka, bouncing the creature they go all-in on and killing another one. Bouncing a big Hangarback is a good tempo swing as well. I've even bounced my Ob Nixilis with two counters that was being attacked by a Siege Rhino just to replay it next turn and kill said Rhino. Card has a lot of utility, but not much power.
Abzan Charm: Fantastic removal and draw spell. Rarely use the two counters mode but it's still available!
Languish: Good card to have against Abzan aggro and other midrangy decks. While it doesn't kill Siege Rhino that's usually okay since you play your own Rhinos. It however does kill everything else in the Abzan aggro decks. Things like Wingmate Roc, Anafenza, Warden of the First Tree, and Heir of the Wilds.
Crux of Fate: A bigger catch-all wrath. What Languish doesn't get, Crux can. If you have a dragon in play when you cast it the game is usually just over at that point.
Foul-Tongue Invocation: I loved Tribute to Hunger and played it a lot. While this is not Tribute to Hunger it is usually better against the aggro decks since they can't just sacrifice a creature with low toughness to give you minimal life gain.
Ruinous Path: No Hero's Downfall but we'll take what we can get. Still a decent removal spell.
Painful Truths: This card is fantastic. If you don't own any I would suggest picking them up now. It's starting to see Legacy play for good reason. You just can't beat three mana for three cards. We can usually offset that life with Siege Rhino and Foul-Tongue.
Utter End: A solid catch-all. Not very powerful but it is an answer to everything except creature lands.
Dig Through Time: This card was originally Den Protector but he wasn't doing well in the list. Especially since we are not Duressing or casting many one- or two-mana spells. However we do fetch a lot and I wanted a delve spell. This could arguably be Murderous Cut and it could perform just as well. Sometimes you'd rather have more time than more cards and I could easily see this becoming Murderous Cut to deal with problematic creatures, however Dig Through Time is banned in every other set except Vintage and even in that format you can only play one. There is a reason for that. You pick your poison: Murderous Cut or Dig Through Time.
That's it for the maindeck. Let's talk about the sideboard a little. It's mostly geared to switch to a more controlling deck against ramp decks. It can also help to have counters and hand disruption against control decks. I think I'd try to find room for a Dispel or two however, especially if I excepted Rally the Ancestors to be big. Dispel is also a good card against the Jeskai decks and decent against the Atarka Red decks.
Negate: A solid card against control, ramp, and Rally decks. I kinda want to switch these to Dispel however.
Disdainful Stroke: Useful against ramp and other midrange; I wouldn't bring in against Abzan however since it doesn't hit Anafenza.
Ultimate Price: Bring this in against Atarka Red decks and other aggressive decks that aren't Abzan.
Duress: Solid sideboard card for decks that have a lot of non-creature spells and don't play Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.
Transgress the Mind: Mostly for ramp decks or other midrange decks. Would not bring in against Jeskai. I don't want to be casting this card while a Mantis Rider is attacking me.
Virulent Plague: Fantastic against Hangarback Walker, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and token strategies.
Foul-Tongue Invocation: More removal and life gain against the aggro decks.
Infinite Obliteration: Best thing to stop Ulamog. You'll just have to deal with Ugin, which is still pretty scary, but they'll only have four real threats from that point on.
Against Ramp decks I aggressively counter the ramp spells since, if they get to Ulamog, you aren't going to do much, countering a spell that kills your two biggest threats. Especially if they have Sanctum of Ugin. Just keep Dispel on the Backburner because I think that card is really good in certain metagames, however Jeskai Black has been on the decline and Rally still isn't played that much. If these things change or you play where people play those decks, then find room for Dispel in the board.
Overall I think this deck is sweet and has very good potential in the metagame. I know this is a bold statement but I also believe it is favored against the traditional Abzan decks. I might do some videos for you everyone next time with this deck if there is interest. If you're going to the TCGplayer $50,000 MaxPoint Championship make sure to say hi! If you have a sweet deck you've been crushing with and think it would be good for the tournament feel free to share that to if you wish.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time,
@Alieldrazi on Twitter.