Raise Your Standards – Decks with Dominaria Upgrades

raise-your-standards

Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  This week I have a few more sweet looking decks that went 5-0 in a Standard League on Magic Online (MTGO).  Let’s get started by taking a look at Abzan Constrictor.


Abzan Constrictor

Abzan Constrictor – (by 12Days)Winding Constrictor

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Spells

Lands

Sideboard

It’s become pretty clear ever since Aether Revolt was released that Winding Constrictor is quite a powerful card.  It acts as a catalyst for this deck which allows the flow of +1/+1 counters to get out of hand very quickly.  While the deck can survive without it and still do well, Winding Constrictor is not a creature I want my opponent to keep alive on the battlefield for very long.

The other cards that fuel this deck’s +1/+1 counter strategy are Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Shalai, Voice of Plenty.  Rishkar and the Constrictor go way back and are old friends.  Shalai is new to the party but provides two very necessary functions.  Firstly, she provides you a mana sink that you can use to get +1/+1 counters for your entire team.  The second function she provides you is her second ability which provides hexproof for you and other creatures and planeswalkers you control.  Because of this hexproof, Settle the Wreckage becomes a blank card in your opponent’s hand that they can no longer cast.

There are also a couple of more cards that benefit from having a Winding Constrictor on the battlefield.  Everyone knows just how powerful the Winding Constrictor / Walking Ballista combination can be.  But over the course of Standard for the past year-and-a-half the Constrictor hasn’t seen quite as much play alongside Yahenni, Undying Partisan.  All three work quite well together, as the Walking Ballista can be used to kill an opponent’s creature, giving Yahenni a +1/+1 counter which is then added onto by Winding Constrictor.  In future turns, you can continue adding counters to the ballista and keep that loop going.


Black/White Vampires

The next deck I have for you has its roots on Ixalan, but is still a force to be reckoned with in this new Standard.  Let’s take a look at B/W Vampires.

B/W Vampires – (by MasonClark)

CreaturesLegion Lieutenant

Spells

LandsRadiant Destiny

Sideboard

So this deck doesn’t have a lot of new cards from Dominaria, but it’s still a good deck to play.  The only new cards are a playset of Isolated Chapel, but that small addition helps smooth out the manabase for the deck and make it more consistent.  This just goes to show that a deck that did well in a previous meta can still be a good choice to play once a new set is released.


Grixis Improvise

The final deck I have for you is another deck that leans heavily on a previous set’s mechanic.  Let’s look at Grixis Improvise.

Grixis Improvise – (by bu_konn)

PlaneswalkersKarn, Scion of Urza

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Sideboard

It looks like the missing piece needed to make improvise decks work was a little 4 converted mana costing planeswalker named Karn, Scion of Urza.  This is another example of a deck that is comprised mostly of cards from our previous Standard environment.  In the main deck, Karn is the only new card from Dominaria.  He provides both a means of drawing additional cards and a way to get additional artifacts onto the battlefield.  Even though it’s a flavor failure, Karn works very well alongside Tezzeret in this deck, making Construct tokens that get larger and larger for each artifact you have in play.  Tezzeret helps make those tokens bigger by creating Etherium Cell tokens.

All of those artifact tokens can be used to help cast Herald of Anguish and Maverick Thopterist earlier than they normally could be cast.  That will allow you to potentially push through a lot more damage than your opponent will be able to retaliate with.  Also, keep in mind that Maverick Thopterist, Pia Nalaar, and Walking Ballista also provide or are artifacts which will help grow your Construct tokens to monstrous size.


Wrapping Up

As you can see, Dominaria continues to bring forth new decks as well as providing additional tools that make other cards in Standard from previous sets better.  Which of these decks is your favorite?  Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.  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 Thursday on GatheringMagic.com.  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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