Raise Your Standards – Eight Innovative Decks

raise-your-standards

Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  This week I’ve been scouring the MTGO 5-0 lists and the results from the SCG Standard Open in Atlanta last weekend to find the most innovative decks.  Since the banning of Felidar Guardian, the format has opened up considerably.  There’s now a lot more decks that have potential to do really well and this week we’ll be taking a look at eight of them.  And the eight I’ll be showcasing aren’t the only options available (I’ve gotta save something for future articles, right?).  And, with this weekend being the Pro Tour, we’re likely to see even more innovative decks.  Alright, that’s enough chit-chat.  Let’s get to the decks!

Aetherworks Marvel – (by TBS)Aetherworks Marvel

Creatures

Spells

LandsGlorybringer

Sideboard

When the cat combo was legal in Standard, there simply wasn’t enough time to use Aetherworks Marvel to maximum effect.  Now that Felidar Guardian has been shown the door, we’re able to play a combo deck that’s suitable for Standard.  This deck isn’t a guaranteed win when the Aetherworks Marvel is activated, but there’s a high enough probability that you’ll get something decent in a well built deck like this one.

While most of this deck is built of cards prior to Amonkhet, it is using a couple of new cards in the main deck.  Manglehorn is a great card to play to get rid of an opponents Dynavolt Tower or Walking Ballista, but you can also use it if you’re playing a mirror-match to get rid of your opponents Aetherworks Marvel.

The other new card is Glorybringer.  So much has already been said about this card, so I’ll be brief and remind you that it’s great that this has haste, even when it’s cast with the Marvel.  This gives you a good reason to activate your Marvel on your turn instead of your opponent’s.

Next, we’ll take a look at another deck that harkens back to the past, G/W Tokens.

G/W Tokens – (by Karl Tashjian)

CreaturesNissa, Voice of Zendikar

Planeswalkers

Spells

LandsGideon, Ally of Zendikar

Sideboard

It’s been a while since a G/W Tokens deck has been a big player in Standard.  This is another deck that uses a big base of pre-Amonkhet cards, with only a couple of additions from AmonkhetChanneler Initiate is a teriffic mana ramp if needed.  If, however, it’s later in the game and your mana is fine, you can always put the 3 -1/-1 counters on a Plant token in order for the Initiate to be a cheap creature with good stats.  The other new card is Scattered Groves, which fits the color scheme of this deck and can be cycled away in the late game if not needed.

The next deck I’d like to look at is U/W Control.

U/W Control – (by RagingMachismo)

PlaneswalkersGideon of the Trials

Creatures

Spells

LandsPull from Tomorrow

Sideboard

Counter your opponent’s spells, stick a Gideon or Torrential Gearhulk and proceed to clobber your opponent.  This deck look like it’s fun to play and it allows Gideon of the Trials to shine without also including Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.  I can imagine losing lots of games to this deck.

Next up, let’s look at another control deck, U/R Control.

U/R Control – (by Zayoh)

CreaturesKefnet the Mindful

Spells

LandsCensor

Sideboard

Every non-creature spell in the main deck is an Instant, which is just what Torrential Gearhulk is looking for.  And Kefnet the Mindful is a great way utilize mana in the late game to draw additional cards (which can ultimately allow Kefnet to attack and block).

Our next deck is also a U/R deck, but it gets a little more aggressive in its play.

U/R Thermo-Alchemist – (by Jason Bennett)

CreaturesThermo-Alchemist

Planeswalkers

Spells

LandsChandra, Torch of Defiance

Sideboard

Thermo-Alchemist is a card that will slowly grind down your opponent’s life total while simultaneously protecting you thanks to its 3 toughness.  Also, Fevered Visions has proven itself to be one of the best cards that will refill your hand with threats while also threatening your opponent with substantial damage.  The addition of Glorybringer to this deck allows for some very explosive turns and should allow more kills to happen out of nowhere.

The next deck we’ll take a look at is a mono-colored version of a deck that did fairly well at the SCG event last weekend.  It’s mono-black zombies.

Mono-Black Zombies – (by lennysill)

CreaturesLiliana's Mastery

Spells

LandsLord of the Accursed

Sideboard

This deck has an amazing number of ‘lord’ abilities that give your zombies +1/+1.  That can make a big difference between being just a chump blocker and actually killing the creature you’re blocking.  It can also make blocking difficult for your opponent because once they fall behind it’s tough to regain your footing against this deck.

Deck number seven looks like it’s a blast to play.  I call it 4-Color Superfriends.

4-Color Superfriends – (by Michai)

PlaneswalkersArlinn Kord

Creatures

Spells

Lands

Sideboard

This is a deck that combines two things that I love, Planeswalkers and Energy.  The creature package looks very typical of an energy-based deck.  You can use that energy to buff up your Bristling Hydra or to make thopters with your Whirler Virtuoso.  The planeswalkers make it difficult for your opponent to clear out your threats, as getting one of them in play should divide your opponent’s attention between attacking you directly and attempting to kill your planeswalker.  That should allow you the time needed to ultimately defeat most any opponent.

The final deck we’ll look at this week is another 4-color deck that uses a new card from Amonkhet as it’s win condition.  It’s called 4-Color Second Sun.

4-Color Second Sun – (by ksk0601)

CreaturesApproach of the Second Sun

Spells

LandsSphinx of the Final Word

Sideboard

I’m a big fan of alternate-win conditions, so Approach of the Second Sun is a card that speaks to me.  With this deck, the object is to cast New Perspectives and get seven cards in your hand.   Now, all of your cards cycle for 0 mana.  When you cycle Vizier of Tumbling Sands or Shefet Monitor, you’re able to gain additional mana.   Cast Shadow of the Grave to repeat the process, gaining more and more mana in the process.  Use all of your mana to cast Approach of the Second Sun and place it 7 cards into your deck.  Continue cycling cards until you’ve drawn the Approach of the Second Sun again and cast it for the second time.  Also, the Sphinx of the Final Word makes it so your opponent can’t counter your Approach.  This deck looks like serious fun!

Conclusion

That’s all for this week.  Which of the decks above is your favorite?  Or do you have a different deck that you’re doing well with that you’d like to share?  Let me know by leaving a comment below or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.  Be sure to join me back here next Friday when we’ll take a look at the decks from the Pro Tour and hopefully we’ll find some fun innovation in them.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes

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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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