Raise Your Standards – Fraying Sanity Deck / Planeswalker Changes


Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.

As rotation looms ever so near for Standard, there becomes less and less innovation as people wait for older sets to leave Standard and the new hotness to be released.  So for the next few weeks the amount of decks that have been doing well that I’m able to share with you will certainly be reduced.  But have no fear!  I plan to use this time to look forward to the release of Ixalan and discuss some of the cards that have been previewed.  We’ll see which of these cards have existing synergy with the cards that are remaining in Standard and what kind of crazy combos these cards can produce.  I’m also hoping to still showcase a deck or two each week that I think will remain viable post-rotation and offer my advice on replacement cards for those that the decks are losing.

Innovative Decklist

This week however, I have a deck that recently went 4-1 in a MTGO League.  As a big fan of alternate win conditions, this deck has a special place in my heart.  Let’s take a look at U/R Fraying Sanity.


U/R Fraying Sanity

SpellsFraying Sanity




If you like winning games in different ways, then this deck is for you.  This deck offers you a few different paths you can take to victory.  The first way is by its namesake card, Fraying Sanity.  If you manage to get two of these onto the battlefield and then resolve a Startled Awake, it’s likely game over for your opponent.  The Startled Awake will resolve and your opponent will place the top 13 cards from their library into their graveyard.  Next, the trigger from your first copy of Fraying Sanity will happen, which will place another 13 cards from your opponents library into their graveyard.  Finally, the trigger from your second copy of Fraying Sanity will happen.  Since it sees all of the cards that your opponent previously put into the graveyard this turn, it will put the next 26 cards from their library into their graveyard.  So that’s a total of 52 cards you’re able to ‘mill’ by playing just 3 cards.  And the combo still works if you only have one Fraying Sanity in play and two copies of Startled Awake (or just one Startled Awake used multiple times).

Another route to victory you can take is with Fevered Visions.  This route is a bit more difficult to achieve, but it’s possible you could do enough damage to your opponent that they lose the game before you’re able to take advantage of the card drawing Fevered Visions offers and find the Fraying Sanity / Startled Awake combo pieces.  The main drawback to this strategy is that by allowing your opponent to draw more cards, it’s likely that they can find something that will threaten your chances for victory.  But I suppose that’s why this deck is chock-full of counterspells and creature removal.

The final method you can use to win the game is by traditionally beating down your opponent’s life total with creatures.  This can be a little risky though, since Wandering Fumarole is fairly susceptible to removal spells.  Having a Wandering Fumarole that you can activate puts your opponent on a 5-turn clock if they seem to be having trouble sticking a creature on the battlefield, so it’s definitely an option to remember.

The rest of the deck consists of cards that counter your opponents spells, creature removal, and cards that draw you additional cards so that you can find your game-winning combo quickly.  The land base is fairly standard for a U/R control deck, but keep in mind that you are playing with a desert package that includes Scavenger Grounds and Ipnu RivuletScavenger Grounds is a great insurance policy to have for when your opponent is looking to Eternalize a creature from either graveyard.  It’s also protection against effects that shuffle an opponent’s graveyard back into their library.  And don’t forget that Ipnu Rivulet in conjunction with Fraying Sanity will ‘mill’ a minimum of eight cards per activation.

I think this deck looks like a lot of fun to play, and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, having played against it, it can make an opponent lose the game in the blink of an eye.  It’s fast and could be just the thing to play if you’re looking for something new for the next few weeks.  This deck won’t survive past rotation unless the Ixalan gods grant us a new card that ‘mills’ for a bunch (or a few smaller ones).

Ixalan Previews – Legendary Planeswalkers

With the release of Ixalan, there will be a change to Planeswalkers and the Planeswalker Uniqueness Rule.  The current rules are that a player is only able to have one planeswalker of a given type (ex. Gideon) in play at any time.  If another planeswalker of the same type is played, that player must choose one of them to sacrifice due to the Planeswalker Uniqueness Rule.  Let’s take a look at an example of this.  For this example, we’ll assume it’s late in the game and I have 7 white mana available to me.

  1. I cast Gideon of the Trials and use his 0-loyalty ability to get the emblem that doesn’t allow me to lose the game as long  as I have a Gideon planeswalker in play.
  2. I cast Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.
  3. I must choose which Gideon to sacrifice, as they both share the Gideon type.

The new rule will add the Legendary supertype to each planeswalker (and old planeswalkers will be changed for this via errata).  They will still have the type of planeswalker that they are, but this will only be used for cards similar to the defeat cycle in Hour of Devastation (ex. Gideon’s Defeat).  The new ruling will bring planeswalkers in line with legendary creatures.  So, if you control more than one legendary planeswalker with the same name, you would choose one to remain in play and put the other into your graveyard.  Here’s an example of this.

  1. I cast Gideon of the Trials and use his 0-loyalty ability to get the emblem that doesn’t allow me to lose the game as long as I have a Gideon planeswalker in play.
  2. I cast Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.  Even though both planeswalkers share the same type (Gideon), since this Gideon, Ally of Zendikar does not have the same name as Gideon of the Trials, I am able to keep both in play.
  3. If I were to cast another copy of either Gideons that are in play, I would need to sacrifice one of them.

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about this online (imagine that, complaining online about something), but in my opinion from a flavor perspective, this rule makes as much sense as it does to allow Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius and Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind in play at the same time.  It’s basically casting a version of that particular planeswalker from any point during their lifetime and then casting another version at a slightly different point.

The only problem I foresee with this is the amount of text that will be squeezed into the type line on some cards.  It’s okay for planeswalkers with short names like Jace, but for others (like Tezzeret) who have longer names, it likely means that the font will be a bit smaller than usual.  I’m certain that WotC has already anticipated this issue and that it won’t be a problem that they can’t solve.


That’s all the time I’ve got for this week.  What do you think of the change to planeswalkers?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.  Or, if you’d like you can contact me on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg) or by emailing me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.  Be sure to come back next week as I start looking at the mechanics of Ixalan and focus on specific cards.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes


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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