Raise Your Standards – Standard Decks Featuring Amonkhet Cards

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  Last week I went over five decks currently doing well in Standard that showcase cards from the Kaladesh block.  This week I have five more decks for you that are all centered on cards from the Amonkhet block.  We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started.


Temur Sifter Wurm

The first deck I have for you this week is named after Sifter Wurm, a creature in the deck that allows you gain a ridiculous amount of life much of the time.  Let’s take a look at it.

Temur Sifter Wurm - (by REDZ)

Main Deck Sideboard
Creatures
3 x Sifter Wurm

Instants
3 x Abrade
4 x Commit // Memory
2 x Magma Spray

Sorceries
1 x Banefire
4 x Grow from the Ashes
4 x Hour of Devastation
4 x Hour of Promise
4 x Spring // Mind
Artifacts
3 x Thaumatic Compass

Lands
1 x Arch of Orazca
1 x Desert of the Fervent
4 x Forest
3 x Hashep Oasis
2 x Hostile Desert
3 x Ipnu Rivulet
3 x Island
4 x Mountain
2 x Rootbound Crag
1 x Scavenger Grounds
4 x Sheltered Thicket
1 x Abrade
1 x Banefire
2 x Magma Spray
2 x Carnage Tyrant
2 x Chandra's Defeat
2 x Negate
2 x Pelakka Wurm
2 x Sorcerous Spyglass
1 x The Mirari Conjecture

Sifter Wurm  Banefire  Spring // Mind

This deck uses a lot of mana ramp spells in the form of Grow from the Ashes, Spring // Mind, and Hour of Promise to get a ridiculous amount of lands in play.  And assuming you’re able to play an occasional desert, you should be able to get two Zombie tokens every time you play Hour of Promise.  They’ll go a long way in defending you so you can stay alive long enough to play Sifter Wurm, which should give your life total a decent-sized jolt.  You can use a combination of Zombie tokens and Sifter Wurms to attack your opponent with in order to lower their life total to a point where you can finish them off with a huge, uncounterable and unpreventable Banefire.

I particularly like the use of Thaumatic Compass in this deck as both a means of finding a land to play each turn, as well as providing defense once it transforms.  Spires of Orazca, the transformed side of Thaumatic Compass, isn’t legendary, so if you happen to get multiple copies out, you can use them to stop the largest creatures your opponent has during combat on each of your opponents’ turns.


Black/White Zombies

The next deck I have for you focuses on the zombie tribe.  Thanks to Magic 2019, the zombie deck has come back from the dead.  Whether or not it survives past rotation this fall has yet to be seen, but until then the B/W version of the deck has been picking up wins thanks to a few Amonkhet block cards.  Let’s take a look at the deck.

B/W Zombies - (by FRIENDRUDY)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
2 x Liliana, Untouched by Death

Creatures
4 x Death Baron
4 x Diregraf Ghoul
4 x Dread Wanderer
4 x Graveyard Marshal
4 x Lord of the Accursed
4 x Wayward Servant

Instants
2 x Cast Down
2 x Fatal Push
1 x Vraska's Contempt
Enchantments
4 x Liliana's Mastery

Lands
4 x Concealed Courtyard
3 x Ifnir Deadlands
4 x Isolated Chapel
2 x Plains
8 x Swamp
4 x Unclaimed Territory
1 x Arguel's Blood Fast
2 x Demon of Catastrophes
2 x Dispossess
3 x Duress
1 x Fatal Push
1 x Invoke the Divine
1 x Ixalan's Binding
1 x Lost Legacy
2 x Never // Return
1 x Vraska's Contempt

Wayward Servant  Liliana, Untouched by Death  Death Baron

Lord of the Accursed and Wayward Servant are two great creatures that provide a ton of value in this deck.  Lord of the Accursed is an actual ‘lord’ for this deck, providing each of your other zombies a +1/+1 bonus.  Don’t overlook its activated ability to give all of your zombies menace, as it’s a good way to quickly end the game.  Wayward Servant is the main reason to play a B/W deck as opposed to Mono-Black.  The life you gain and your opponent loses every time another zombie enters the battlefield under your control can help you take down an opponent that has a veritable army of blockers.

One card that helps trigger your Wayward Servant is Liliana’s Mastery.  Not only does it create two 2/2 Zombie tokens for you, but it also gives all of your zombies and additional +1/+1 bonus.  Those +1/+1 bonuses stack, which can make even a meager force of two or three zombies become huge fighting machines.  Enjoy these pieces of zombie tribal support for the next few months because it’s likely that Guilds of Ravnica won’t offer much in the way of replacements for these cards.


Esper Approach

Up next is a deck that attempts to win the game in non-traditional ways.  Let’s take a look at Esper Approach.

Esper Approach - (by MORIKEN0716)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
3 x Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Instants
2 x Cast Down
2 x Essence Scatter
4 x Fatal Push
4 x Glimmer of Genius
4 x Settle the Wreckage
4 x Supreme Will
4 x Vraska's Contempt

Sorceries
4 x Approach of the Second Sun
Enchantments
3 x Seal Away
1 x Search for Azcanta

Lands
2 x Concealed Courtyard
3 x Drowned Catacomb
4 x Fetid Pools
3 x Glacial Fortress
3 x Irrigated Farmland
1 x Island
4 x Isolated Chapel
2 x Plains
2 x Scavenger Grounds
2 x Swamp
3 x Chromium, the Mutable
3 x Duress
2 x Hour of Revelation
3 x Kambal, Consul of Allocation
3 x Negate
1 x Sorcerous Spyglass

Approach of the Second Sun  Teferi, Hero of Dominaria  Vraska's Contempt

As an aggro player, Approach of the Second Sun has been a thorn in my side for longer than I care to remember.  It has single-handedly snatched victory from my hands a mere turn or two before I would have won.  The fact that you gain 7 life when this spell resolves can be so back-breaking to those decks trying to hit you for 20 as quickly as possible that it almost doesn’t matter that it’s also a card that can win you the game on the spot.  Almost.  But the fact that it does that as well is what makes Approach of the Second Sun such a good card.

I like that the sideboard includes three copies of Chromium, the Mutable.  This Elder Dragon is a great option to sideboard in for game two since your opponent might remove much, if not all, of their creature removal since they would have seen zero creatures from you in game one.  Chromium is a big threat that is easily protected and can help you close out the game quickly once you play it.


White/Blue Drake Haven

The next deck I have for you features a cool build-around card, Drake Haven.  It also features a lot of cards with the cycling mechanic which was one of the main mechanics in Amonkhet.  Let’s take a look at the deck.

W/U Drake Haven - (by GUSTHEDESTROYER)

Main Deck Sideboard
Planeswalkers
2 x Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Instants
4 x Censor
3 x Countervailing Winds
4 x Djeru's Renunciation
2 x Forsake the Worldly
4 x Hieroglyphic Illumination
2 x Renewed Faith
3 x Settle the Wreckage

Sorceries
3 x Fumigate
Enchantments
4 x Cast Out
4 x Drake Haven

Artifacts
2 x Abandoned Sarcophagus

Lands
2 x Field of Ruin
4 x Glacial Fortress
4 x Irrigated Farmland
6 x Island
6 x Plains
1 x Shefet Dunes
4 x Authority of the Consuls
1 x Countervailing Winds
1 x Crook of Condemnation
1 x Forsake the Worldly
4 x Negate
2 x Search for Azcanta
2 x Sorcerous Spyglass

Drake Haven  Abandoned Sarcophagus  Djeru's Renunciation

This deck includes a lot of cards that are able to be cycled, and when you have Drake Haven on the battlefield you can get a lot of value out of cycling a card.  With multiple Drake Havens in play, the value increases.  Ultimately, this deck hopes to cycle a lot of cards, create a lot of Drake tokens, and win by attacking from the air.

In the event that the Drake tokens you’ve created aren’t enough to get the job done, this deck has a back-up plan.  Teferi, Hero of Dominaria has proven himself as a Standard powerhouse.  If things go well, you’ll be able to activate his -8 loyalty ability within a few turns of casting him, which should enable you to exile enough of your opponent’s permanents that your Drake army can deliver the final blow.


Sultai God-Pharoah’s Gift

The final deck I have for you this week is the gift that just keeps on giving.  Let’s take a look at Sultai God-Pharaoh’s Gift.

Sultai God-Pharaoh's Gift - (by NILSFIT)

Main Deck Sideboard
Creatures
4 x Champion of Wits
3 x Glint-Nest Crane
3 x Hostage Taker
2 x Jadelight Ranger
4 x Llanowar Elves
4 x Merfolk Branchwalker
2 x Minister of Inquiries
1 x Thrashing Brontodon
4 x Verdurous Gearhulk
4 x Walking Ballista
Artifacts
4 x Gate to the Afterlife
2 x God-Pharaoh's Gift

Lands
4 x Aether Hub
4 x Blooming Marsh
4 x Botanical Sanctum
3 x Forest
1 x Hinterland Harbor
4 x Ipnu Rivulet
2 x Island
1 x Swamp
3 x Aethersphere Harvester
1 x Glint-Nest Crane
1 x Hostage Taker
2 x Jace's Defeat
1 x Lifecrafter's Bestiary
2 x Negate
2 x Nissa, Steward of Elements
1 x Nissa, Vital Force
2 x Thrashing Brontodon

God-Pharaoh's Gift  Jadelight Ranger  Hostage Taker

When Gate to the Afterlife was released in Amonkhet, people began speculating about what God-Pharaoh’s Gift would do.  A few months later, Hour of Devastation was released and Standard hasn’t been the same since.  Right from the start, people figured out that God-Pharaoh’s Gift was a powerful card and began building around it.  Even though it’s only been in Standard for just over a year, it has definitely made its mark.  Enjoy it now because when Standard rotation happens in a few months, this card might disappear.  So far it hasn’t found a home in Modern, but if the format slows down a bit, I could imagine it being a key piece of the right deck.

This deck takes advantage of the explore mechanic from Ixalan to be able to put creatures into your graveyard for Gate to the Afterlife or to get the lands needed to cast God-Pharaoh’s Gift directly.  From there, you will begin reanimating a creature during each of your combat phases which will eventually build up a large army of 4/4 zombies for you.


Wrapping Up

We’re only a couple of months away from our next Standard rotation.  When that happens, cards from Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, Amonkhet, and Hour of Devastation will rotate out of Standard, to be only playable in Commander, Modern, and other eternal formats.  The decks I’ve provided you with in this article and my article from last week allow you to squeeze out the last value these cards will have while they’re still in Standard.  Which is your favorite?  Or do you have a different card that will be rotating that you love?  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.  My article there is now being posted on Friday.  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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