Raise Your Standards – Three Decks to Look for at Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica

 

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards. Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica is happening this weekend in Atlanta, GA. Once the dust settles, we’ll have a good look at what the professional players think are the best decks to play in Standard. But before that happens, I’ll be going over three decks that I think are sure bets to be played at the PT.

Jeskai Control

It’s no secret that a lot of the professional players like playing control decks. It’s for that reason that I think Jeskai Control will see some amount of play. Let’s take a look at an example.

Jeskai Control - (by LUISULI)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
4 x Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Creatures
2 x Crackling Drake
1 x Niv-Mizzet, Parun

Instants
3 x Chemister's Insight
1 x Essence Scatter
2 x Expansion // Explosion
1 x Negate
4 x Opt
4 x Revitalize
1 x Settle the Wreckage
4 x Sinister Sabotage
1 x Syncopate
Sorceries
4 x Deafening Clarion

Enchantments
3 x Seal Away

Lands
3 x Clifftop Retreat
4 x Glacial Fortress
5 x Island
1 x Mountain
4 x Sacred Foundry
4 x Steam Vents
4 x Sulfur Falls
1 x Cleansing Nova
2 x Disdainful Stroke
1 x Essence Scatter
2 x Invoke the Divine
1 x Ixalan's Binding
1 x Justice Strike
2 x Niv-Mizzet, Parun
1 x Negate
1 x Seal Away
1 x Settle the Wreckage
2 x Star of Extinction

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria   Niv-Mizzet, Parun   Expansion // Explosion

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is at the forefront of this control deck. Since he was released in Dominaria, Teferi has been a mainstay in Standard. Consider yourself lucky if you haven’t been on the receiving end of a Teferi stall-out. Basically the goal with Teferi is to continue activating his +1 loyalty ability to draw cards and untap lands (which can usually be used to cast those cards you drew). Do this until you’re able to activate his -8 loyalty ability to create an emblem. You can decide to do this once he’s at 8 loyalty or wait until he’s at 9. The choice is pretty dependent on whether you have another Teferi in your hand. Once you have the emblem, each turn during your draw step you’ll be able to exile your opponent’s best threat (or target their lands for additional fun). If you have additional ways to draw cards during the turn, you’re able to exile multiple things. Do this until your opponent has no permanents left in play or until they concede.

In the event that your opponent foils your plans to get Teferi’s emblem, there is a copy of Niv-Mizzet, Parun in the deck. With Niv-Mizzet, you not only get a 5/5 flyer, but you also get a repeatable source of damage. You can either ping away at your opponent’s creatures or direct that damage directly at their life total. One of the great things about Niv-Mizzet, Parun is that you have a way to deal damage directly to your opponent that you can use to win the game with while keeping him in reserve and not attacking with him. Having a 5/5 blocker will usually make your opponent reconsider whether they want to attack or not.

Golgari Midrange

The next deck I think is a shoo-in to be played at the PT is Golgari Midrange. Here’s an example of this type of deck.

Golgari Midrange - (by GYBA)

Main Deck Sideboard
Creatures
1 x Deathgorge Scavenger
4 x Jadelight Ranger
4 x Llanowar Elves
3 x Merfolk Branchwalker
4 x Midnight Reaper
2 x Plaguecrafter
2 x Ravenous Chupacabra
3 x Seekers' Squire
3 x Wildgrowth Walker

Instants
1 x Assassin's Trophy
2 x Vraska's Contempt
Sorceries
3 x Find // Finality
3 x Gruesome Menagerie

Artifacts
2 x The Immortal Sun

Lands
9 x Forest
2 x Memorial to Folly
4 x Overgrown Tomb
4 x Swamp
4 x Woodland Cemetery
1 x Cast Down
1 x Deadeye Tracker
1 x Deathgorge Scavenger
3 x Duress
1 x Kitesail Freebooter
2 x Kraul Harpooner
1 x Plague Mare
1 x The Eldest Reborn
2 x Thrashing Brontodon
1 x Vraska, Relic Seeker
1 x Vraska's Contempt

Wildgrowth Walker   Find // Finality   The Immortal Sun

In a deck like this, Wildgrowth Walker can really get out of hand. You have ten creatures in the deck that are able to explore, so it’s pretty likely that you’ll be able to grow your Wildgrowth Walker a time or two. Plus you get an additional three life each time you explore. As a Red player, I hate seeing a Wildgrowth Walker on my opponent’s battlefield, because once it starts growing it’s hard to deal with it unless I spend multiple burn spells, plus the additional life it gives the opponent makes it more unlikely I’ll be able to defeat them quickly.

Find // Finality is a great card for this deck. Use Find to get back a couple of creatures with explore that have died due to blocking or removal from your opponent. Then recast them to grow your Wildgrowth Walkers even bigger. You can also use Finality as a board sweeper once you’ve built up your Wildgrowth Walkers to be big enough to survive the -4/-4 penalty.

The Immortal Sun is a great addition to this deck. Not only does it provide a +1/+1 bonus to your team, it also allows you to draw an extra card each turn, makes all of your spells cheaper to cast, and hinders your opponent’s Planeswalkers. It’s a lot of value in a six-mana card. And since Abrade is no longer Standard legal, artifacts like this one are able to see more play without the fear of them being destroyed as easily.

Boros Aggro

The final deck that I think will definitely see play at the Pro Tour is Boros Aggro. Let’s take a look at an example of this style of deck.

Boros Aggro - (by FEDERICOGNIBENE)

Main Deck Sideboard
Creatures
4 x Adanto Vanguard
3 x Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
4 x Benalish Marshal
3 x Lyra Dawnbringer
4 x Resplendent Angel
3 x Shalai, Voice of Plenty
4 x Swiftblade Vindicator
4 x Tajic, Legion's Edge
Instants
3 x Justice Strike
3 x Lightning Strike

Lands
4 x Clifftop Retreat
6 x Mountain
11 x Plains
4 x Sacred Foundry
2 x Collar the Culprit
3 x Deafening Clarion
1 x Ixalan's Binding
3 x Knight of Grace
3 x Remorseful Cleric
3 x Tocatli Honor Guard

Shalai, Voice of Plenty   Tajic, Legion's Edge   Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice

This deck has everything I’m looking for: powerful creatures, +1/+1 bonuses, and loads of aggression. I’m particularly fond of the combination of Shalai, Voice of Plenty and Tajic, Legion’s Edge. If you manage to get them on the battlefield at the same time, you find yourself with an army that can’t be dealt damage outside of combat. If this deck had room for a Make a Stand or two, you could even withstand a wrath effect. Oh well, even without Make a Stand, your opponent might have a hard time dealing with your creatures if you manage to get both pieces of this combo into play.

This deck is also playing a ton of Angels that can potentially gain you a lot of life and create a bunch of Angel tokens. Speaking of Angels, Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice is also along for the ride, mentoring your smaller creatures and turning them into heavy-hitters. Don’t forget that she has the ability to grant vigilance and trample to one member of your team (assuming it meets the right requirements). You can use that vigilance to be able to attack while knowing that the creature will also serve as a blocker. And the trample can help you win a game even when the battlefield gets gummed up.

Wrapping Up

Right now Standard is in a good place. It seems possible to win by using a variety of different decks. Nothing seems overpowered or oppressive. Will that change after the Pro Tour? I guess we’ll find out.

What deck do you think will win the weekend? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.  Or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. And, 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.

Also, be sure to check out my articles every week on CoolStuffInc.com. I have a new article there every Friday as well.  If you like the innovative decks I write about here each week, you’ll want to check out my articles there as well.

And be sure to join me back here next week for another installment of Raise Your Standards.  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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