Raise Your Standards – Birds? Soldiers? Goblins? What more could you ask for?


Hello, and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards. This weekend there are two Grand Prix tournaments taking place which will be the first time Guilds of Ravnica has been legal at such a large event. What new decks will rise to the top at these events? I’ll let you know next week. In the meantime we’ll be taking a look at the decks doing well on Magic Online (MTGO) for signs of innovation. Speaking of innovation, let’s take a look at our first deck.


Do you like attacking with flying creatures? If so then I have a deck for you. Let’s take a look at it.

Izzet Flyers - (by ASTARISK)

Main Deck Sideboard
4 x Arclight Phoenix
4 x Crackling Drake
4 x Enigma Drake
2 x Murmuring Mystic

1 x Lightning Strike
4 x Opt
4 x Shock
4 x Chart a Course
4 x Crash Through
1 x Lava Coil
2 x Maximize Velocity
4 x Tormenting Voice
4 x Warlord's Fury

5 x Island
5 x Mountain
4 x Steam Vents
4 x Sulfur Falls
1 x Lava Coil
2 x Beacon Bolt
2 x Disdainful Stroke
3 x Fiery Cannonade
3 x Firemind's Research
2 x Negate
2 x Ral, Izzet Viceroy

Arclight Phoenix   Crackling Drake   Murmuring Mystic

Arclight Phoenix is the threat that your opponent just can’t keep down. The best part is that you can bring it back from the graveyard before you’d normally be able to cast it. You can get it into your graveyard with either Chart a Course or Tormenting Voice. Both of those spells cost two mana and there are a lot of one mana spells in this deck. As early as turn three, you can cast three instant and/or sorcery spells to bring it back.

Casting those instant and sorceries isn’t for the sole purpose of returning Arclight Phoenix to the battlefield though. This deck also includes a couple of copies of Murmuring Mystic. Murmuring Mystic creates a 1/1 Bird Illusion token whenever you cast an instant or sorcery. Having played against this creature at the prerelease, seeing a flock of birds form right before your eyes as the spells being cast are doing bad things to your creatures is pretty disheartening. It has to feel worse in a deck tuned for Standard.

Speaking of the instant and sorcery spells in this deck, the maximum converted mana cost (CMC) for any one of them is two. And many of them can be cast for a single mana. That makes it very likely that you’ll be able to cast three of them in the same turn whenever you need to get your Arclight Phoenix back from the graveyard. I’m particularly fond of the full playsets of Warlord’s Fury and Crash Through, which give your creatures first strike and trample respectively. Both of them also replace themselves by letting you draw a card, which is important when you’re trying to cast so many spells in a single turn.

Selesnya Tokens

The next deck I have for you crank out token after token after token… Let’s take a look at it.

Selesnya Tokens - (by VOLTZWAGON)

Main Deck Sideboard
4 x Benalish Marshal
4 x Emmara, Soul of the Accord
2 x Shanna, Sisay's Legacy
2 x Thorn Lieutenant
2 x Trostani Discordant
2 x Venerated Loxodon

4 x March of the Multitudes

4 x Flower // Flourish
2 x Baffling End
4 x Conclave Tribunal
4 x History of Benalia
2 x Legion's Landing

2 x The Immortal Sun

1 x Forest
13 x Plains
4 x Sunpetal Grove
4 x Temple Garden
1 x Baffling End
1 x The Immortal Sun
2 x Dawn of Hope
2 x Knight of Autumn
2 x Lyra Dawnbringer
2 x Seal Away
2 x Shalai, Voice of Plenty
2 x Shield Mare
1 x Sorcerous Spyglass

Emmara, Soul of the Accord   March of the Multitudes   The Immortal Sun

What you have here is basically a midrange Selesnya deck that has a token subtheme. In the early stages of the game you’ll want to play out creatures that will help pump the power and toughness of the tokens you’ll make later on. Benalish Marshal, Trostani Discordant, and The Immortal Sun all give a +1/+1 bonus to your creatures so you’ll want to try to have at least one of these out before you begin making tokens so you avoid having all of those tokens destroyed by a Goblin Chainwhirler.

Once you have a few tokens in play is the best time to cast Venerated Loxodon. If possible, tap Emmara, Soul of the Accord as one of the creatures helping to convoke so she can get a +1/+1 counter. The bigger she gets, the easier it is to attack with her, which conveniently taps her and makes a Soldier token.

The Immortal Sun not only gives a +1/+1 bonus to all of your creatures, but it also helps you against decks that are playing planeswalkers. Once you have this artifact in play, you don’t have to worry about Teferi, Hero of Dominaria (or any other planeswalker, for that matter) any longer. Plus, The Immortal Sun also gives you an additional card each turn and makes your spells cheaper to cast. It’s well worth its cost of six mana.

Burning Sun Red

The last deck I have for you this week is a nearly Mono-Red deck that doesn’t mind if the game goes long. Let’s take a look at it.

Burning Sun Red – (by COLUCHE)

Burning Sun Red - (by COLUCHE)

Main Deck Sideboard
2 x Burning Sun's Avatar
4 x Goblin Chainwhirler
1 x Legion Warboss
4 x Rekindling Phoenix
2 x Siege-Gang Commander
4 x Wily Goblin

3 x Chemister's Insight
2 x Fiery Cannonade
1 x Shivan Fire
2 x Fight with Fire
4 x Lava Coil
2 x Star of Extinction

4 x Treasure Map

17 x Mountain
4 x Steam Vents
4 x Sulfur Falls
2 x Legion Warboss
1 x Siege-Gang Commander
1 x Chemister's Insight
2 x Fiery Cannonade
1 x Shivan Fire
1 x Star of Extinction
2 x Banefire
1 x Experimental Frenzy
1 x Inescapable Blaze
1 x Sorcerous Spyglass
2 x The Immortal Sun

Burning Sun's Avatar   Rekindling Phoenix   Star of Extinction

Burning Sun’s Avatar doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It’s both a big threat and spot removal, all in one package. Of course it would be better if it had trample, but really, what wouldn’t? Even though it doesn’t have trample, it still hits hard when you attack with it. However in this deck, Burning Sun’s Avatar is best held back to be a defender for you. That way you’ll have time to deploy your other threats.

Speaking of other threats, this deck also includes a Goblin subtheme in it. Legion Warboss and Siege-Gang Commander seem to have been made for each other. If the Goblin token made by Legion Warboss can’t attack favorably in combat, simply sacrifice it (after your opponent has declared blockers, of course) via Siege-Gang Commander. That’s what I call value.

If you happen to be paired up against a Green stompy deck, you have one of the best pieces of removal available to you in the form of Star of Extinction. Once you cast it, it should deal enough damage to wipe both player’s battlefield clean. Normally that would be bad for you, but you can take advantage of the situation if you happen to have a copy of Rekindling Phoenix in play. That lets you wipe their field while keeping a relevant threat for yourself.

Wrapping Up

These were three of the most fun looking decks to come out of MTGO this past week. Right now, Standard is in a good place and there are lots of viable decks to be found. Will that change after the Grand Prix tournaments this weekend? We’ll have to see. For now, I plan on enjoying Standard before the pros declare it to be solved.

Which of these decks is your favorite? 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.

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 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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