Raise Your Standards – What To Play At The Ixalan Store Championship

raise-your-standards

Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  With many stores holding their Ixalan Store Championships this upcoming week, now is the perfect opportunity for me to go over some decks that have recently been doing well on MTGO or in recent SCG tournaments.  My hope is that you will find the perfect deck for you to play to ensure you are crowned Champion.  There’s a lot to cover this week, so let’s get started.

Energy Decks

Obviously, the first few decks we’ll be looking at today are the Energy-based decks.  Energy decks have run rampant over Standard the past few months, and it’s doubtful that they’ll be going anywhere until the next rotation happens.  Let’s start with the most traditional of the Energy decks, Temur Energy.

 

Temur Energy – (by AliEnWaRe_)

PlaneswalkersLongtusk Cub

Creatures

Spells

LandsBristling Hydra

Sideboard

 

Much has already been written about this deck, so I’ll keep my comments brief.  This is the most straightforward version of an Energy deck to play and it also has the most stable manabase.  Your goal is to play out a Longtusk Cub or Bristling Hydra while accruing some Energy along the way.  Use that Energy as a means of controlling your opponents’ creatures as well as buffing your own.  As dominant as this deck has been, it is both beatable and enjoyable to play against.

The next version of an Energy deck we’ll take a look at is Sultai Energy.

 

Sultai Energy – (by zmishraz)

PlaneswalkersThe Scarab God

Creatures

Spells

LandsServant of the Conduit

Sideboard

 

While this deck doesn’t rely on Energy as much as the Temur deck does, it does use it for card advantage with both Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Attune with Aether.  This version of Sultai Energy also doesn’t use Winding Constrictor like some others do, but instead plays a couple of copies of Torrential Gearhulk as beefy creatures and extra removal spells all-in-one.

The final Energy-based deck we’ll be looking at today attempts to take the best parts of the Temur deck and the Sultai deck and combine them into a super powerful deck.  Let’s take a look at 4-Color Energy.

 

4-Color Energy – (by tkfrhtlvj)

PlaneswalkersChandra, Torch of Defiance

Creatures

Spells

LandsWhirler Virtuoso

Sideboard

 

While this deck is undeniably more powerful than either of the other Energy decks I’ve shown you, it is not without weakness.  The primary weakness it has is its manabase.  Sometimes the deck will end up beating itself simply because the lands came up in the wrong order that they were needed.  There are some people that feel that this is a minimal drawback when compared to the power-level of the deck, but I’m not among them.  This is my least favorite of the Energy-based decks, but I still recommend playing it if you’re not afraid of having mana problems every once in a while.

Pummeler Decks

The next couple of decks I’ll be talking about could technically fall under the heading of Energy Decks, but I think they’re substantially different enough to get their own classification.  Of course I’m talking about decks that utilize Electrostatic Pummeler as a means of winning the game from out of nowhere.  Let’s first take a look at the color pairing that’s been around since Kaladesh came out.  Here’s R/G Pummeler.

 

R/G Pummeler – (by Ins0mn1q)

CreaturesElectrostatic Pummeler

Spells

LandsBlossoming Defense

Sideboard

 

As you can see, at first glance this deck plays many of the same cards as a typical Temur Energy deck.  It can also win in the same manner by sticking a Longtusk Cub or Bristling Hydra on the battlefield and the protecting it until it grows so large that your opponent can’t deal with it.  However, this deck can also surprise your opponent by attacking with a pumped-up Electrostatic Pummeler.  And if you’re not able to push through the damage needed to finish off your opponent, you can always Fling a pumped up Pummeler at them for the win.

But recently there’s been a new variety of Pummeler deck that’s been doing well on MTGO.  Let’s take a look at the new kid on the block, U/G Pummeler.

 

U/G Pummeler – (by marios3388)

CreaturesRhonas the Indomitable

Spells

LandsDive Down

Sideboard

 

This plays a similar game as the R/G version, but it has an additional way than just Blossoming Defense to protect your Electrostatic Pummeler in the form of Dive Down.

Having played a version of R/G Pummeler when Aether Revolt was released, I can say that this type of deck is a lot of fun.

Blue-White Decks

Moving on to the next category of decks, we’ve come to the U/W decks.  Blue and White combine to make up some pretty unique decklists.  Let’s start by taking a look at a U/W Gift deck.

 

U/W Gift – (by dayna1115)

CreaturesGod-Pharaoh's Gift

Spells

LandsAngel of Invention

Sideboard

 

This deck is hoping to find a way to get God-Pharaoh’s Gift into the graveyard and then Refurbish it onto the battlefield.  Once that happens, it can be a simple matter to bring back creatures from your graveyard that you can use to secure your victory.

But playing God-Pharaoh’s Gift isn’t the only route to victory for a Blue-White deck.  Maybe you’d like to win with an army of Drake tokens.  If so, take a look at the next deck I have for you called U/W Cycling.

 

U/W Cycling – (by OafMcNamara)

CreaturesDrake Haven

Spells

LandsAbandoned Sarcophagus

Sideboard

 

This deck has a ton of cards that you can cycle, which can give you the upper hand when you have Curator of Mysteries or Drake Haven in play.  It plays out as a typical U/W control deck in the beginning, but once you’re able to cycle cards away for extra value, you can close out the game in a hurry.

But there’s still another type of deck that’s mostly Blue-White that’s been doing well.  Let’s move to our next category and we’ll take a look at it.

Approach of the Second Sun Decks

The next deck I have for you nearly went in the U/W section, but it plays Harnessed Lightning in the main deck, and a few other red cards in the sideboard.  Let’s take a look at Jeskai Approach.

 

Jeskai Approach – (by Ron Taylor)

PlaneswalkersApproach of the Second Sun

Creatures

Spells

LandsSearch for Azcanta

Sideboard

 

This deck took 7th Place at the StarCityGames.com Invitational Qualifier on 12/16/2017.  Remember earlier when I said the U/W Cycling deck played like a typical U/W control deck?  Well, so does this one.  In fact, that’s basically all this deck is.  It’s a control deck with a spell as its win-condition.

There is, however, a different route to victory with Approach of the Second Sun.  Let’s take a look at the 5th Place deck from the same StarCityGames.com Invitational Qualifier on 12/16/2017.  Here’s W/R Approach.

 

W/R Approach – (by Eric Weigel)

PlaneswalkersSunbird's Invocation

Creatures

Spells

LandsGideon of the Trials

Sideboard

 

This deck tries to ride the line between a midrange deck and a control deck.  The goal is to play Sunbird’s Invocation which can allow you to win on the spot if you happen to play Approach of the Second Sun (and can find another copy of it in the top 7 cards of your library).

Other Notable Decks

The final category of this article houses 6 different decks that have all done well but are unlike any others.  Let’s start off by taking a look at one that’s been around for quite a while, Ramunap Red.

 

Ramunap Red – (by Mazuku94)

CreaturesHazoret the Fervent

Spells

LandsRamunap Ruins

Sideboard

 

If you like playing fast, aggressive decks, then this deck is for you.  The latest builds of this deck are including Rampaging Ferocidon which is great against any deck that’s attempting to go wide.

Moving on to the next deck, we’ll take a look at another aggressive deck, this time in Black.  Here’s Mono-Black Aggro.

 

Mono-Black Aggro – (by BrightDays)

CreaturesScrapheap Scrounger

Spells

LandsVicious Conquistador

Sideboard

 

This deck isn’t quite as fast as the Ramunap Ruins deck, but it’s certainly more resilient.  There are so many threats in this deck that can return to the battlefield from the graveyard that your opponent will be hoping to have cards that can exile them instead of just destroying them.  I like the vehicles in this deck which can be difficult to deal with and can be crewed by a creature that has summoning sickness.

Speaking of vehicles, the next deck that could be a contender for you at your Store Championship is Mardu Vehicles.

 

Mardu Vehicles – (by nabenabetk)

CreaturesVeteran Motorist

Spells

LandsHeart of Kiran

Sideboard

 

When Gideon, Ally of Zendikar rotated out of Standard, Mardu Vehicles decks fell off the map.  Now it looks like they’ve returned.  This latest version still tries to get off to a quick start, dealing the first few points of damage in the game.  Then, when the mid-game begins, this deck attempts to eliminate the opponents’ creatures while continuing the vehicular assault.  If the game goes long enough, you might just be able to win from out of nowhere by casting the Ribbons half of Cut // Ribbons from your graveyard.

The next deck I have for you wants to win by using what I consider to be the most powerful card in Standard.  Let’s take a look at Grixis Midrange.

 

Grixis Midrange – (by coteca83)

PlaneswalkersGlint-Sleeve Siphoner

Creatures

Spells

LandsHostage Taker

Sideboard

 

What can I say about The Scarab God that hasn’t been said already?  It’s an amazing card and I’m glad to see this deck is doing so well because of it.  Everything about this deck screams power to me, and it might be the deck I sleeve up for this tournament.

Or perhaps I’ll end up playing the next deck I’d like to talk about.  It’s a deck that looks to go wide instead of going big.  Let’s take a look at B/W Tokens (with Vraska).

 

B/W Tokens (with Vraska) – (by kurishnikow)

PlaneswalkersAnointed Procession

Creatures

Spells

LandsHidden Stockpile

Sideboard

 

Not only does this deck make tokens, but it makes a lot of them!  If you’re able to keep an Anointed Procession or two in play, you can quickly amass a huge amount of tokens, which you can then use to overwhelm your opponent.

That brings me to the final deck I have for you this week.  It’s another deck that’s gone 5-0 on MTGO; however it’s done it twice on back-to-back days.  Let’s take a look at R/W Aggro.

 

R/W Aggro – (by Cabo0s3)

CreaturesPia Nalaar

Spells

LandsLegion's Landing

Sideboard

 

Okay, so I said this deck went 5-0 on two consecutive days, which isn’t exactly the truth.  The first time the deck went 5-0 it had 6 Mountains and 4 Plains.  The second time it went 5-0, it had 5 Mountains and 5 Plains.  Still, it’s close enough for me.  This deck combines the speed of the Ramunap Red deck with the token production of the B/W Tokens deck.  Since Red-White is my favorite color combination to play, I’m looking forward to trying this one out.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there’s no shortage of different decks that are performing well in Standard.  Do you have a favorite?  Are you planning on running one of these decks at your local Store Championship?  Or do you have a different deck you’re planning to play?  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.  Also, 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.

Be sure to join me back here next week for another installment of Raise Your Standards.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes

Comments

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.