What are you doing in Standard?
Trying to attack and burn people out?
Why you gotta watch the world burn?
How about playing "Mother may I?" where your opponent always has to look at you after they cast every spell?
Or do you like casting Rally the Ancestors and drawing half your deck before attacking your opponent for lethal next turn as they look on at you with disgust?
Come on, man. Your ancestors just wanted you to remember them, not stir their grave.
Maybe you enjoy being the beloved hero? Perhaps you have dreams of being The Champion that everyone adores as you stride by them. You enjoy passing all your ordeals and are beloved by Thassa and Heliod.
People like to play Magic, and you're not the hero people want or need. No matter how swole you may think you are, no amount of +1/+1 counters will make people love you.
You can Remove those counters to take extra turns.
Get ready to have your puny planeswalker mind obliterated… Infinitely.
Is your mind blown? Because it should be, and if it's not, you need to scroll back up and look at this list again. Keep doing that until you're impressed. I mean, come on. This deck can take infinite turns! How sweet is that?! The strongest thing you can do in Magic is deny your opponent their turn by taking ALL the turns. And this deck can do just that.
Many brewers have tried to break Sage of Hours and fell short, but this list is the truth, and an amazing place to start.
The Combo: You've got Sage of Hours and Dragonscale General in play. You need those two, along with five or more creatures you can freely tap, in order to put five or more counters on Sage of Hours. Once the counters are on Sage of Hours, you just Remove them, and BOOM, you've got yourself a Time Walk. If you manage to place ten or more counters on him you can do a sweet imitation of Time Stretch. Also remember that Dragonscale General stacks if you have multiple out, potentially placing a ton of counters on Sage of Hours or your other small creatures. Tapping your creatures can normally be a little rough without attacking to trigger your Dragonscale General, but the inclusion of twelve mana creatures makes it a lot easier. Let's look at this deck one card at a time.
Sylvan Caryatid: Pretty standard Utopia Tree, and the go to for any ramp deck. It's a mana ramp creature that is hard to kill and occasionally gains you life byway of blocking. To sum up: it gives you mana without dying and triggers your Dragonscale General. It's a perfect fit.
Satyr Wayfinder: We're not delving here, but this card does allow you to hit your land drops and fuel your Return to the Ranks. It can also trade with some of the aggressive creatures in the format, which is nothing to scoff at.
Rattleclaw Mystic: A different sort of Sylvan Caryatid. While not strictly worse than Caryatid, since it has power and can attack, I believe it to be a little worse. Keep in mind, though, you can cast it as a morph and get more mana later in the game by unmorphing it. Your opponent may also be enticed to kill it, believing it to be a Den Protector, if you cast it face-down.
Elvish Mystic: Closest thing we'll ever get to a Mox Emerald in Standard. This guy is simple, but deadly efficient at what his job.
Dragonscale General: Part of your infinite turn combo, but he's also good on his own. While nothing to write home about, he can grow a creature to huge proportions if left unchecked, taking over the game by himself. While you probably wouldn't play it without Sage of Hours, you shouldn't underestimate it. Hopefully your opponents do.
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy: The best two mana planeswalker, knocking down the reigning "champ," Tibalt, the Blood Fiend. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is just really good and will be in many, many decks while he's in Standard. Early on he's just a Merfolk Looter, but in this particular deck, he can flashback Collected Companies or Return to the Ranks to refill the battlefield. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy can also Threaten to ultimate and mill your opponent out. This doesn't happen often, but it's good to keep in mind as an alternate win condition.
Chord of Calling: While this card is pretty mana-intensive, it's a great way to tutor up a missing combo piece. At its worst, it grabs Jace, Vryn's Prodigy at the end of your opponent's turn, then loots and flashes back your Chord of Calling, or whatever other spell your heart desires. It also has convoke if you have the Dragonscale General out, meaning you can start taking extra turns if you have four or more creatures out by tapping them all and tutoring up a Sage of Hours.
Sage of Hours: Unlike the other combo piece, Dragonscale General, this combo piece is pretty crappy on its own, but it's why we're playing this deck. I believe two is the perfect number. You probably shouldn't play any more since you only want to draw it or tutor it up when you're trying to combo out. It is why the deck exists, though.
Den Protector: When I first saw this card, I knew it would be alright, since Eternal Witness was pretty good while it was in Standard. I had no idea it would be so good though. While it's not getting insane value cards like it does in Abzan control decks, it still gets you a valuable combo piece or refuels you via Collected Company or Return to the Ranks. It's also worth noting that he's also a legal Return to the Ranks target, in a pinch.
Collected Company: A sweet value card that can also recover you from a Languish or other similar affect. It can also get you a planeswalker in the form of Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Playing this card has also made me want to run Nissa, Vastwood Seer in the deck, but I'm not sure what to cut. Cutting the Chord and another card is always an option if you wanted to go more "good stuff" and less combo, but right now I just want ALL DA TURNS, and you should too.
Gather the Pack: Basically a better Commune with the Gods, since we aren't playing any enchantments, and the chance of triggering Spell Mastery, thus getting two creatures with it, can actually happen. It doesn't happen too often, but it is a nice upside to have access to.
Return to the Ranks: A sweet card to cast or flashback with Jace to get creatures that have died, been milled by Satyr Wayfinder/Gather the Pack, or discarded by Jace. It also has convoke, so if you have one of the combo creatures, you can cast Return with the Ranks to get the missing one in the graveyard, and hopefully combo off and take ALL DA TURNS.
The sideboard is pretty straightforward. Nothing too crazy going on in there.
Negate: Against decks that have board wipes or other ways to interact with your combo. Just a simple card that just gets the job done.
Gaea's Revenge: This is a nice alternate win condition against control decks, especially U/B control since they have no real way to interact with it outside of Perilous Vault. Killing my combo pieces? Fine, deal with MOTHER NATURE.
Reclamation Sage: So many decks are playing artifacts and/or enchantments. I can't really see playing any less than four at the moment, especially since when you bring them in it is basically a three mana Vindicate with a body attached. The two decks that come to mind are U/R Thopters and the new U/R Sphinx's Tutelage deck that can't win without milling you out with Tutelage. They bring in Negates from the board, but Negate doesn't stop Reclamation Sage, and you'll have the full playset of Reclamation Sage and Negates to combat their strategy.
Arashin Cleric: Easier to cast than Cleric of the Forward Order, and we just need time against them in order to win. We can also bring them back later in the game with Return to the Ranks to gain more life and swarm the board.
If you decide to play this deck keep in mind that you'll get splash hate from the Abzan Rally deck, but that deck hasn't really dominated after it came in first place at an Open before the Pro Tour. You also have Negate to combat the most common hate: Hallowed Moonlight and Tormod's Crypt.
I'd like to talk about one more deck before signing off. When I saw the spoiler for Magic Origins, I was excited about a lot of cards, but one in particular that I really liked but didn't get a chance to brew with yet was Managorger Hydra. The card got quickly shut down by a lot of players saying things like, "We had Quirion Dryad in Standard and that deck was always tier two. This card has no chance, it even costs more mana to cast!" Well, non-believers, the card is starting to see play, and I'm excited about it. Jinkster took this deck to a 4-0 finish in a Daily Event.
This deck just looks so simple but so sweet at the same time. Hangarback Walker is starting to catch on in Standard, and that card is just absurd. It's no Wurmcoil Engine, but it's pretty similar in power level. I know people may think I'm crazy for saying that, but that card is just really good. It's good against control and aggro decks alike. It's colorless and it's good to play early or late in the game. And in this deck it can get really ridiculous with Hardened Scales. Managorger Hydra will also grow to ridiculous proportions with any number of Hardened Scales in play. Unlike Quirion Dryad, this card can't be chump-blocked all day - it's going to kill your opponent very quickly, if left unchecked. The deck has a way to beat stalemates too, with Abzan Falconer giving all your creatures flying. You know what I want to see? A flying and trampling Managorger Hydra! Oh, the beauty!
Jinkster has a very powerful and very straightforward sideboard too. Unravel the AEther is very good right now with UR Thopters, Constellation, and Tutelage decks floating around. Hallowed Moonlight is great against any graveyard strategy. Everything here is solid, even the Gather Courage. That card alone will save your Managorger Hydra if you tap out for it on turn three and your opponent tries to burn it or tries to kill it with Languish. Seems pretty hard for you to lose after the sick Gather Courage blowouts.
I'm excited about both these decks and will definitely be playing them. I hope you guys and gals try them out too!
Be sure to check out my Podcast that I co-host with Frank Lepore: FRESHLY BREWWWWED. If you're not listening to it, you're seriously missing out - it's the greatest podcast in the multiverse.
Until next time,