Raise Your Standards – Diamonds in the Rough


Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  Since this weeks Banned and Restricted announcement left everything the way it is, we’re faced with a fairly solved format.  With that being said, that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for innovation.  Just because a lot of the pro’s feel that Mardu Vehicles and Saheeli / Cat are the two best decks to play (with B/G Constrictor decks coming in third), it doesn’t mean that there’s still not another breakout deck to be found.  Today, we’re going to take a look at some of these ‘diamonds in the rough’.

The first deck I’d like to look at is Temur Tower.

Temur Tower – (by Mac Blanchard) – 2nd place at SCG Classic Standard – Dallas

CreaturesRogue Refiner




This deck is commonly believed to be the next best deck in Standard currently.  It does exactly what you would expect a deck utilizing Dynavolt Tower to do… It attempts to control the board by playing instants and sorceries which, in turn, grant you energy which can be used to either control the board further by dealing damage to your opponent’s creatures or can deal that damage directly to your opponent instead.  I’m not exactly sure how Izzet wizards made it to Kaladesh, but it’s pretty cool that they invented this tower.

The next deck I’d like to look at is called U/R Emerge.

U/R Emerge – (by fil2hot)

CreaturesElder Deep-Fiend




This deck attempts to win by playing cards that require you to discard cards, thereby taking advantage of Madness and cards that return to the battlefield from your graveyard.  Believe me, it is no fun trying to keep your opponent’s battlefield free of creatures when most of them can come back turn after turn.  It’s very demoralizing to play against a strategy like this one.  If you like watching your opponent twisting in their seat out of frustration, this deck is for you.  Did I mention how frustrating it can be for your opponent to emerge from a creature that comes back to the battlefield easily?

The next deck that I think could become a breakout deck is called U/B Colossus.

U/B Colossus – (by MarduHorde)

CreaturesMetalwork Colossus




In one of my early articles, I wrote about a Metalwork Colossus deck that was a blast to play.  This deck is similar to the deck that I wrote about, but this one adds a lot of dimensions to its play.  I love that this deck plays Hanweir Battlements as a one of.  Since it has many ways to produce red mana, dropping a Metalwork Colossus (or more) into play and then immediately attacking with it can really mess with your opponent’s plans.  I do wish there was a copy of Key to the City in the deck so your Colossus could block without fear of being chump blocked though.

Our next deck is based on a tribe that many people thought would be a major force to be reckoned with during the Battle for Zendikar and Shadows Over Innistrad blocks, but it couldn’t quite come together.  It’s called B/R Vampires.

B/R Vampires – (by Festus Resendez) – 5th Place at SCG Invitational Qualifier

CreaturesDrana, Liberator of Malakir


LandsOlivia, Mobilized for War


There’s nothing fancy here, just some good, quality creatures and spells.  Are Metallic Mimic and Scrapheap Scrounger the tools this deck was lacking?  Does it have the capability to become a tier one deck?  I like to think so, but I can’t say for certain without having played the deck.

Another deck that I haven’t played, but I think looks like it might have the chops is a deck called Grixis Control.

Grixis Control – (by kadashi6351)

CreaturesHerald of Anguish


LandsTezzeret's Touch


This deck looks like a lot of fun to play.  Play a bunch of artifacts while you use spells to control the board.  Then either turn an artifact into a creature with Tezzeret’s Touch or improvise into a Herald of Anguish to ruin your opponent’s day.  What could be more fun?

Speaking of fun… The last deck I want to show you today is a deck I have experience in playing.  It is capable of grinding out a victory if the game should go long, but it’s also capable of an explosive win early as well.  It’s a deck called R/G Energy.

R/G Energy – (by Josh Newell) – 1st place at SCG Classic Standard – Dallas

CreaturesElectrostatic Pummeler


LandsLarger Than Life


In a world that is prepared to stop the Saheeli Rai / Felidar Guardian combo, it’s surprising to see that a deck that focuses on Electrostatic Pummeler could win a tournament.  That just goes to show you the power that this deck has.  Having played this deck in the past, I can personally say that this deck is extremely fun to play if you enjoy playing aggressive decks.  And I’ve played against it enough to tell you that it’s very frustrating to play against as the number of true threats it has can be staggering.

So, there you have six very capable decks in this stale Standard environment.  And since Amonkhet releases on April 28th, that’s one deck for each week until then.  Hopefully you can squeeze some enjoyment out of Standard by trying these decks out between now and then.  Or maybe you have a different deck you’ve been enjoying?  If so, let me know about it by commenting below.

That’s all for this week.  Modern Masters 2017 releases today, so I’ll be taking a short break from Standard to enjoy some MM17 drafts.  (I’m only 4 foil Tarmogoyfs away from having a full playset.)  I’ll see you back here next week when we discuss Standard again and look for some more innovative decks.


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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