Raise Your Standards – Decks We’ll See at Pro Tour Ixalan


Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  Pro Tour Ixalan is happening next weekend, so this week we’ll be taking a look at the decks that I believe will be represented.  I’ll also provide you an example of each of these decks that has done well recently on MTGO.  As there have been a fair amount of decks doing well recently online, I’m expecting to see a variety of decks represented at the Pro Tour.

The Heavy Hitters

The first deck I expect to see in full force is Temur Energy.  After William Jensen won the Magic World Championship tournament with his version of the deck, it’s been heavily played.  I expect to see it strongly represented at the PT.  Here’s a recent example of Temur Energy.


Temur Energy – (by egdirb)

PlaneswalkersBristling Hydra



LandsLongtusk Cub



This deck continues to evolve and is well poised to handle nearly any threat.  I like that this version includes Carnage Tyrant, as that is a very powerful card that hasn’t had a chance to shine yet.

The next deck I expect to see a lot is Ramunap Red.  This deck lost a little bit of early-game power with the latest rotation, but it also gained a few new tools to take advantage of.  Here’s an example.


Ramunap Red – (by AtYourEndStep)

PlaneswalkersChandra, Torch of Defiance



LandsRampaging Ferocidon



I love the addition of Rampaging Ferocidon to this deck, as cards that offer incidental lifegain (such as Authority of the Consuls) have long been a problem in the past for this deck.  Now you have an answer for those cards.

The final heavy hitter I expect to see at the PT is U/B Control.  Let’s take a look at an example of this deck.


U/B Control – (by jhk_)

CreaturesThe Scarab God


LandsVraska's Contempt



This type of deck was the breakout star of the Magic World Championships, and Search for Azcanta is the reason why.  It’s a powerful card that helps you find the cards you need more quickly.  It certainly helps you keep a steady stream of counterspells flowing and can help you find a finisher when you need it.

So, it should come as no surprise that I think the three deck types that were seen at the Magic World Championships will certainly be represented at the PT.  The next batch of decks I have for you are decks that I think will be played, but by fewer amounts of people than the heavy hitters.

Other Possibilities

Energy is a very powerful mechanic.  And The Scarab God is possibly the best creature in Standard.  What do you get when you combine them?  Let’s take a look at Sultai Energy.


Sultai Energy – (by musasabi)

PlaneswalkersHostage Taker



LandsDeathgorge Scavenger



This deck is a combination of the most powerful cards in Standard.  I would not be surprised if this deck were able to win it all.  Every creature in the deck is super powerful on their own (well, maybe not Servant of the Conduit), and when combined with powerful removal like Fatal Push and Vraska’s Contempt, they make for an amazing deck.

If you can’t decide which version of Energy deck to play, you could always combine them.  That’s what’s happening with the next deck I have for you called 4-Color Energy.


4-Color Energy – (by _Batutinha_)

PlaneswalkersRogue Refiner



LandsWhirler Virtuoso



Okay, so this deck isn’t exactly like just combining Sultai and Temur Energy decks.  It’s basically Temur Energy that’s splashing black in order to play The Scarab God.  This version of the deck also plays Vraska, Relic Seeker, which I really like.

But this isn’t the only deck I think we’ll see that splashes for Vraska, Relic Seeker.  I also think Abzan Tokens will likely be played.  Let’s take a look at an example of this deck.


Abzan Tokens – (by Smdster)

PlaneswalkersVraska, Relic Seeker



LandsAnointed Procession



This is basically a B/W tokens deck that splashes for Vraska.  And since Vraska makes tokens on her own, she’s a great addition to this deck.  I recently heard of a match at Nationals where this deck played the mirror match and game 1 ended in a draw after both players managed to gain around 700 life.  Incredible.

Another deck I expect to be played by a few players is U/W Approach.  Here’s an example of this deck.


U/W Approach – (by omochi3)

SpellsApproach of the Second Sun

LandsPull from Tomorrow



Here’s a deck that’s looking to take advantage of the card filtering provided by Search for Azcanta.  This deck has been around for a while, but since it can win out of the blue, I think there’s a subset of players that will try this deck at the PT.

The last deck I have for you in this category is another deck that’s been around for a while but has enough power to still remain competitive is Esper Gifts.  Let’s take a look at it.


Esper Gifts – (by RossofGellers)

CreaturesGod-Pharaoh's Gift


LandsSearch for Azcanta



In the past, blue/white was the usual color combination for God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks, but with the release of Ixalan, adding black becomes more desirable.  This allows for the addition of The Scarab God, Hostage Taker, and Kitesail Freebooter, most notably.  I think this looks like a lot of fun to play.

Long Shots

There’s a couple of decks that I think could see some play, but are long shots in my book.  The first is Mardu Vehicles.


Mardu Vehicles – (by D00mwake)

PlaneswalkersVeteran Motorist



LandsHeart of Kiran



Since the last rotation took place, Mardu Vehicles has been on the outs.  But recently this deck went 5-0 in an MTGO league, so there’s a possibility this archetype could come back.  It’s still pretty untested, but that could mean that people at the Pro Tour aren’t expecting to see it which could give it an edge.

The final deck I think is a long shot has also been doing well lately online and may not be on people’s radar just yet.  It’s B/R Aggro.


B/R Aggro – (by Rvng)

CreaturesHazoret the Fervent


LandsYahenni, Undying Partisan



This deck looks like it has the tools needed to do well at the PT.  Hazoret the Fervent has proven herself to be one tough cookie on the battlefield, and Scrapheap Scrounger can be a very resilient threat.  This version of the deck looks good, but maybe one of the pro’s will have found a version of this deck that will win it all.


There you have the selection of decks I expect to see at the upcoming Pro Tour.  For me, my pick to win it all is Sultai Energy.  What do you think?  Which deck is your favorite?  Let me know by leaving a comment.  Or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.  Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/) to be sure to be notified when a new article is posted.

Be sure to join me again next week when we’ll try to find more decks in standard that are doing well and being innovative.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes


Mike Likes

Mike started playing Magic back in 1994, but gave it up at the end of 1995. He came back to the game during the Lorwyn block and has been playing ever since. Around this time, he opened and ran his own comic & game store, while also raising his newborn daughter. After 8 years, he sold his business and moved to Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. With the debut of Kaladesh, his entire family became regular Magic players. He now has hopes of competing alongside his wife and daughter at a Grand Prix or similar event in the future. #MTGDad

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