Raise Your Standards – What to play after the bannings?


Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  Last week during my Standard review of the new Rivals of Ixalan set, Wizards of the Coast announced a ban of four cards that shook up Standard.  As such, this week we’ll take a look at some of the new (and returning) decks that have been doing well over the past couple of weeks.

Energy Is Not Dead …

While Energy decks have not fallen completely off the map, they have definitely had to transform themselves into being a little less dependent on energy.  Let’s take a look at a Red-Green energy-based deck that recently went 5-0 on MTGO.

R/G Energy – (by MountainMaster13)

PlaneswalkersVoltaic Brawler



LandsHarnessed Lightning


When looking at this deck, it would seem that the ban of Attune with Aether and Rogue Refiner made playing decks with energy payoffs in them much more fair.  Decks like this one now have to choose between using their energy for mana production or more short-term benefits.  In my opinion, this is how energy should have been from the beginning.

Another deck that utilizes energy that’s been doing well is Sultai Energy.  Here’s an example of this type of deck.

Sultai Energy – (by Rusherlol)

PlaneswalkersGlint-Sleeve Siphoner



LandsAethersphere Harvester


While I consider this to be an energy variant, there’s very little in the deck that produces or utilizes energy.  It’s another example of how energy can be used to support a deck without being the total focus of it.  These two decks doing well make me feel pretty confident that the recent bannings were good enough to weaken energy without making it completely useless.

… Neither is Mono-Red

Energy decks weren’t the only decks to receive bannings, however.  The next deck we’ll be taking a look at is built upon the remains of the Ramunap Ruins deck.  It’s called Hazo-red.

Hazo-red – (by SwagWarrior)

CreaturesHazoret the Fervent




Since Rampaging Ferocidon was banned, this deck took a step back in time and added Ahn-Crop Crasher back into the mix as a replacement, while also adding a couple of Glorybringers as a top end.  I could also see replacing the 2 copies of Glorybringer with either Chandra, Torch of Defiance or Rekindling Phoenix.  Regardless, even with the banning of Ramunap Ruins and Rampaging Ferocidon, this deck is still a major force in Standard.

One Final Sweet Deck

The last deck I’d like to share for this week looks pretty sweet to me.  Let’s take a look at Grixis Energy.

Grixis Energy – (by Leisurely)

CreaturesThe Scarab God


LandsWhirler Virtuoso


This deck uses a couple of new cards from Rivals of Ixalan that I think are really good.  The first is Ravenous Chupacabra.  Having this in your hand is great insurance that you’ll be able to deal with nearly any creature your opponent could play that would be a major thorn in your side (assuming that the creature doesn’t have hexproof).

The second card is Tetzimoc, Primal Death.  I think this has potential to be a real player in Standard.  It’s a great mana sink on your turn when you have extra mana lying around after you’ve cast everything you want to.  It also changes the way most opponents will play, as the impending doom that comes when you cast Tetzimoc, Primal Death will likely cause them to play differently than they would in a normal game.

This deck also plays The Scarab God, which is quite possibly the strongest card currently in Standard.  How can you go wrong with that guy?

Wrapping Up

Right now, Standard looks to be in a pretty good place.  While I wasn’t on-board with all of the latest bannings, I think that is likely due to my own personal bias from playing Ramunap Red.  Hopefully next month, when the next Banned & Restricted Announcement is planned, there won’t be a need to ban anything else in Standard.  Have you found success with a new deck after the bannings?  Let me know by leaving a comment below, or contact me on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.  Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!

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

Comments are closed.