Raise Your Standards – 10 Decks Featuring Planeswalkers

raise-your-standards

Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  This past weekend was the Magic World Championship.  I’d like to say “Congratulations!” to the winner of that amazing tournament, William ‘Huey’ Jensen.  I tuned in for this tournament on Twitch and wasn’t disappointed in the level of quality play I saw.  However, even though the gameplay was top-notch, I was a bit disappointed that there was only 1 deck that wasn’t already a Standard staple.  That deck was the Treasure Red deck that Donald Smith played.  A similar version popped up on MTGO and went 5-0 in a daily league.  Let’s take a look at that deck.

 

Treasure Red – (by sjcelvis)

PlaneswalkersChandra, Torch of Defiance

Creatures

Spells

LandsCaptain Lannery Storm

Sideboard

 

The deck that Donald Smith played at the Magic World Championship runs the same 60-card deck, but the sideboard is slightly different.  He opted to play 1 less Chandra’s Defeat and 3 less Harsh Mentor, while playing 2 more copies of Rampaging Ferocidon and 2 copies of Key to the City.  Whichever version you go with, this deck is very powerful and is a ton of fun to play.

While I may have been a little disappointed by the lack of innovation displayed in the deck choices at the Magic World Championship, I completely understand why it happened.  Every player wanted to be able to perform their best, and that’s easier to do with a deck that is already established.  But that lack of innovation meant that I would need to find some interesting decks elsewhere to write about this week.  While looking at the 24 decklists from this tournament I noticed that Chandra was the only planeswalker to be played, with one exception.  Shota Yasooka played a single copy of Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh in his Grixis Control deck.

 

Grixis Control – (by Shota Yasooka)

PlaneswalkersNicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

Creatures

Spells

LandsHour of Devastation

Sideboard

 

While Shota might have come up short in his quest to become the World Champ, he did provide a decklist that recently went 5-0 on MTGO when piloted by a user named Zyrnak.  This list looks to be a typical control list utilizing Torrential Gearhulk and The Scarab God as potential win conditions.  I especially like the single copy of Vizier of Many Faces in the sideboard as protection against an opponent playing Carnage Tyrant.

So, after noticing the lack of variety of planeswalkers being played by the pros, I decided that finding decks that have done well and also utilized planeswalkers would be the focus of my article this week.  So if you love planeswalkers, sit back and enjoy the ride as we take a tour of eight more decks that have been performing well online that happen to feature planeswalkers.

With Chandra being the most played planeswalker by the pros, it’s no surprise that there are a number of decks that feature her front and center.  the next deck I have for you is the latest iteration of Mardu Vehicles.

 

Mardu Vehicles – (by Megathron)

PlaneswalkersChandra, Torch of Defiance

Creatures

Spells

LandsHeart of Kiran

Sideboard

 

This deck is sort of a flashback to the Mardu Vehicles deck from around a year ago.  It has many of the same pieces (Heart of Kiran, Scrapheap Scrounger, Unlicensed Disintegration), but has had a major overhaul in other areas.  The loss of Thraben Inspector was a major blow to this archetype, but perhaps Bomat Courier is a suitable replacement.  It’s easier to cast while still providing an artifact that’s needed for Toolcraft Exemplar to be at his best.  Another change has been figuring out what to do with the Gideon-sized hole that was left when Battle for Zendikar rotated.  It looks like Hazoret the Fervent and Ruin Raider are doing their best to plug that hole.

I, for one, am glad to see that someone seems to have figured out a way for Mardu Vehicles to continue as a deck.  More variety equals more fun.  Speaking of variety, we were talking about Chandra being everywhere, which is the opposite of variety.  I have one more deck to share that features her and then we can search for other Chandra-less decks.  Let’s take a look at Jund.

 

Jund – (by ADK92)

PlaneswalkersNissa, Vital Force

Creatures

Spells

LandsVraska, Relic Seeker

Sideboard

 

Okay, so Chandra isn’t the only planeswalker to show their face here.  I like this deck a lot because Nissa, Vital Force gets to show what she can do here.  Like all Jund decks, this deck is playing the best cards in red, green, and black.  The sheer power level of this deck is off the charts.  My only concern would be sequencing my land drops so that I have the colors I need at the right time.  I want to sleeve this deck up sometime because this deck plays both Carnage Tyrant and Vance’s Blasting Cannons, which are two of my favorite cards currently in Standard.

Jund isn’t the only place that Vraska, Relic Seeker has showed up.  She’s also a big player in the following deck, Abzan Tokens.

 

Abzan Tokens – (by ibelievable)

PlaneswalkersLiliana, Death's Majesty

Creatures

Spells

LandsVraska, Relic Seeker

Sideboard

 

This is a typical B/W tokens deck that splashes green in order to play Vraska.  She is a great source of token production that can be used every turn.  But Abzan isn’t the only color pairing that Vraska and Liliana are showing up in.  Take a look at the next deck, Sultai Energy.

 

Sultai Energy – (by PeroLeMetemosBrutal)

PlaneswalkersVraska, Relic Seeker

Creatures

Spells

LandsLiliana, Death's Majesty

Sideboard

 

I didn’t care much for Sultai when the color combination was popular during the Khans of Tarkir block, but this deck really speaks to me.  As seen this past weekend, if left unchecked, Longtusk Cub can singlehandedly win the game for you.  Add to that, what is arguably the most powerful card in Standard, The Scarab God.  Throw in the versatility of Liliana, Death’s Majesty and Vraska, Relic Seeker, and you have a recipe for disaster (for your opponent, that is).

Liliana gets a moment to shine on her own in the following deck I have for you.  It’s called U/B Taker.

 

U/B Taker – (by JMM)

PlaneswalkersLiliana, Death's Majesty

Creatures

Spells

LandsHostage Taker

Sideboard

 

Between Liliana and Champion of Wits, you should be able to get a nice amount of creatures into your graveyard for The Scarab God to reanimate.  Or, better yet, take creatures from your opponent’s graveyard instead.  And the taking doesn’t stop there.  Take more cards away from your opponent with Gonti, Lord of Luxury and Hostage Taker and use them for yourself.  Nothing makes me want to tilt more than having my own creatures used against me.

The next deck I have for you features Nissa.  While we’ve already seen her once in Jund as Nissa, Vital Seeker, the next deck features Nissa, Steward of Elements.  It’s called Four-Color Energy.

 

Four-Color Energy – (by APandaWithOneleg)

PlaneswalkersNissa, Steward of Elements

Creatures

Spells

LandsGlorybringer

Sideboard

 

So Nissa doesn’t play a huge part in this deck since there’s only a single copy of her in the deck, but you’ll appreciate it when she’s on the battlefield.  This is perhaps the best home for this card, as she can come down later in the game and begin putting expensive creatures onto the battlefield for free for you, which will quickly turn almost any game to your favor.

My next deck for you features Gideon of the Trials.  His ability to create an emblem that allows you to continue playing even after you would have otherwise lost allows slower decks a way to stabilize as they attempt to pull out a win.  That’s best shown in the following deck, Esper Approach.

 

Esper Approach – (by Irra0770)

PlaneswalkersGideon of the Trials

Spells

LandsApproach of the Second Sun

Sideboard

 

I believe Search for Azcanta is a huge boon for this deck, enabling you to filter through your deck in an attempt to get whatever card you need whenever you need it.  What’s also nice about this deck are the sideboard creatures you have, which your opponent might not be expecting in games 2 and 3.  Catch them off guard and get a win with cards they didn’t see coming.

So far on our trip through decks featuring planeswalkers, we’ve looked at decks featuring nearly all of the members of the Gatewatch.  The final deck I have for you today features Jace, Cunning Castaway.  It’s called Esper Tokens.

 

Esper Tokens – (by PaleMongoose)

PlaneswalkersJace, Cunning Castaway

Creatures

Spells

LandsCrested Sunmare

Sideboard

 

I like that this deck doesn’t attempt to do anything cute.  It does exactly what you’d expect; it plays cards that create tokens and cards that derive some sort of bonus for making those tokens.  It also features a fair amount lifelink which helps create Horse tokens.  As I love me some Crested Sunmare, you can bet I’m looking forward to giving this deck a try.

Wrap-Up

So, that was our walk down planeswalker lane.  Even though you’d never know it by looking at the Magic World Championship decks, there are a variety of different decks that feature planeswalkers that are doing well in Standard.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find lists for all of the current Standard-legal ‘walkers, so if you have a decklist featuring a different planeswalker that you’d like to share, please do so.  I’d love to see a deck featuring Ajani or Huatli (or any other planeswalker as well).

That’s all I’ve got for you this week.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the decks above.  You can either leave a comment in the comments section, contact me on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.

Also, if you want to be notified whenever a new article comes out on mtgdecktechs.com, please like our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/).  New articles go up most weekdays and each of the writers brings their own unique point of view on various cards and decks in many different formats (Standard, Modern, Commander, etc.).  Liking the Facebook page is the best way to never miss out on a new article once it goes live.

Be sure to join me again next week as I bring to you more innovation in Standard.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes

Comments

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

Comments are closed.