Raise your Standards – Here, There Be Dragons !

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  With the Pro Tour happening last weekend, much of the internet has spent the past week complaining about the lack of availability of Nexus of Fate.  As such, Standard hasn’t been as much fun this week as it should have been.  Well, fear not dear readers, for I am here with another episode of Raise Your Standards in my attempt to bring joy and wonderment back to this game we all love.  How am I going to do that, you might ask.  Why, by bringing you some decklists this week that feature a creature type beloved by all.  Dragons!


Esper Control

Alright, theatrics and hyperbole aside, for my article this week I have some very sweet looking decklists to share that all happen to feature dragons in them.  Let’s get started by looking at our first list, Esper Control.

Esper Control - (by CUREKANATA)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
4 x Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Creatures
1 x Chromium, the Mutable
1 x Torrential Gearhulk

Instants
3 x Commit // Memory
4 x Disallow
3 x Essence Scatter
1 x Forsake the Worldly
4 x Glimmer of Genius
1 x Negate
3 x Settle the Wreckage
2 x Syncopate
Sorceries
2 x Fumigate

Enchantments
4 x Seal Away
1 x Search for Azcanta

Lands
4 x Aether Hub
2 x Fetid Pools
2 x Field of Ruin
4 x Glacial Fortress
4 x Irrigated Farmland
4 x Island
5 x Plains
1 x Scavenger Grounds

1 x Aether Meltdown
1 x Chromium, the Mutable
1 x Forsake the Worldly
1 x Jace's Defeat
1 x Lyra Dawnbringer
3 x Negate
1 x Search for Azcanta
1 x Sorcerous Spyglass
1 x Torrential Gearhulk
4 x Walking Ballista

Chromium, the Mutable   Settle the Wreckage   Search for Azcanta

Admittedly, the first deck I have for you is a little light on the actual amount of dragons in the deck, but it’s great to see Chromium, the Mutable getting some play in Standard.  He acts as a great finisher for this deck, allowing you to attack for 7 with impunity much of the time.

In the event that Chromium, the Mutable isn’t able to get the job done, you can always fall back on Teferi, Hero of Dominaria to get the job done.  He’ll be more than happy to untap lands and allow you to draw cards turn after turn until you’re able to acquire his emblem and begin exiling your opponent’s permanents.


Grixis Midrange

The next deck I have for you today features none other than Nicol Bolas, the Ravager himself.  Let’s take a look at the deck.

Grixis Midrange - (by ROONEY56)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
2 x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Creatures
2 x Glorybringer
4 x Goblin Chainwhirler
2 x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
4 x Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
2 x Pia Nalaar
4 x Scrapheap Scrounger
2 x Soul-Scar Mage
2 x The Scarab God

Instants
4 x Abrade
3 x Magma Spray
2 x Unlicensed Disintegration
Sorceries
1 x Cut // Ribbons

Lands
4 x Aether Hub
4 x Canyon Slough
4 x Dragonskull Summit
1 x Fetid Pools
5 x Mountain
4 x Spirebluff Canal
4 x Sulfur Falls
1 x Arguel's Blood Fast
3 x Chandra's Defeat
3 x Duress
2 x Hour of Glory
3 x Jace's Defeat
1 x Magma Spray
2 x Negate

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager   Glorybringer   The Scarab God

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager comes into play as a 4/4 dragon for four mana, which is quite respectable.  He also forces your opponent to discard a card when that happens as a nod to his prior incarnations in card form.  Once you manage to hit seven mana, you’ll likely want to transform him into the mighty planeswalker Nicol Bolas, the Arisen.  As we’ve seen in the past, planeswalkers with four loyalty abilities are usually quite powerful.  Nicol Bolas, the Arisen is no exception.  In fact, you’ll probably find so much to do with his first three abilities that you’ll never consider activating his -12 loyalty ability.

In addition to Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, there are numerous formidable creatures in this deck.  Glorybringer has been dominating the battlefield for the better part of the past year.  Goblin Chainwhirler is threatening to do the same for the foreseeable future.  Finally, you have The Scarab God which can keep the threats coming, even after they’ve gone to the grave once.


Grixis Dragons

The next dragon deck I have for you includes dragons of all colors, while the mana base is only in Grixis colors.  Let’s take a look at Grixis Dragons.

Grixis Dragons - (by BU_KONN)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
4 x Sarkhan, Fireblood

Creatures
3 x Demanding Dragon
4 x Glorybringer
4 x Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
2 x Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner

Instants
4 x Abrade
3 x Magma Spray
4 x Vraska's Contempt
Sorceries
3 x Cut // Ribbons

Artifacts
4 x Dragon's Hoard

Lands
4 x Canyon Slough
4 x Dragonskull Summit
2 x Drowned Catacomb
6 x Mountain
2 x Sulfur Falls
4 x Swamp
3 x Unclaimed Territory
3 x Chandra's Defeat
2 x Chromium, the Mutable
3 x Duress
4 x Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
2 x Sweltering Suns
1 x The Eldest Reborn

Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner   Demanding Dragon   Dragon's Hoard

Thanks to a few cards in this deck, you’ll be able to play any of the dragons in the deck, no matter what their colors are.  Those cards are Unclaimed Territory, Sarkhan, Fireblood, and Dragon’s Hoard.  All of these provide you with mana of any color that you can use on those otherwise impossible-to-cast dragons.

Speaking of dragons, every creature in the main deck is a dragon, so make sure you use your other spells to ensure you’re able to stay alive long enough to cast these dragons.  With Nicol Bolas, the Ravager being your cheapest creature at a hefty four mana, the first few turns of the game should be spent making sure your opponent can’t get a foothold on the battlefield.


Five-Color Dragons

The final deck I have for you could also be called Grixis Dragons based on its mana base alone, but for clarity I’ll call this deck Five-Color Dragons instead.  Let’s have a look at it.

Five-Color Dragons - (by CHAOTICCAMEL)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
1 x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 x Sarkhan, Fireblood

Creatures
1 x Chromium, the Mutable
2 x Darigaaz Reincarnated
1 x Demanding Dragon
4 x Glorybringer
4 x Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
1 x Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire

Instants
3 x Abrade
1 x Cast Down
4 x Fatal Push
4 x Vraska's Contempt
Artifacts
4 x Dragon's Hoard
2 x Treasure Map

Lands
4 x Canyon Slough
4 x Dragonskull Summit
3 x Fetid Pools
7 x Mountain
3 x Swamp
4 x Unclaimed Territory
1 x Abrade
1 x Cast Down
1 x Arguel's Blood Fast
3 x Doomfall
4 x Duress
3 x Magma Spray
2 x Sweltering Suns

Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire   Darigaaz Reincarnated   Sarkhan, Fireblood

Much like the Grixis Dragons deck, this deck utilizes multiple non-land ways to create colored mana that can be used to cast any of the dragons in the deck.  The two Jund-colored dragons in this deck, Darigaaz Reincarnated and Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire, don’t get a lot of love in Standard, so it’s nice to see them featured here.

The strategy with this deck is also similar to Grixis Dragons.  Use removal in the early stages of the game so you don’t fall too far behind.  Once you have four to five mana, start casting dragons and use their power to swing the game in your favor.


Wrapping Up

Having fun and winning go hand-in-hand, like peanut butter and chocolate, and these decks can allow you to do both.  The decks I’ve shown you this week have all gone 5-0 in Standard Leagues on Magic Online (MTGO).  Most people love dragons, and these decks featuring many of the dragons in Standard look like a blast to play.  Which deck is your favorite?  Let me know 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 week on GatheringMagic.com / 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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