Welcome back to another Standard Issue! There has been quite a shakeup in the Standard metagame over the last 2 weeks and while our dark lord Goblin Chainwhirler is still a serious threat and something to keep in mind when building your standard decks he has been pushed aside by some other archetypes. Today I want to take a look at three cards that I would be looking to play against this weekend’s meta.Dusk // Dawn
This has been an underutilized card throughout it’s stay in standard and with Green Stompy decks skyrocketing to the forefront of the meta this card can kill most creature out of the deck especially the new hotness Vine Mare that has really helped catapult this deck in power level against the current meta. Now while cards like Fumigate and Cleansing Nova are true sweepers I think if you can benefit off of both halves and use it as a one sided sweeper Dusk // Dawn will put you in a much better place than traditional sweepers. The question is where can this card slot in to an existing deck. I will say Oketra’s Monument decks have been popping up again due to cards like Militia Bugler and Mentor of the Meek and Dusk // Dawn was powerful there. The deck went 5-0 online this past week but I have a hard time believing the deck is powerful enough to compete going forward but I have not seen it play out with these new card draw engines. I assume the problem with the deck has not changed; when you don’t draw a monument or it just gets destroyed and you never untap with it you generally lose. These new cards may add a little more staying power to the deck but I’m not sure that it’s enough. I do feel if there are going to still be a lot of creature decks this weekend then the ability to have a one sided sweeper and card draw engine can help this deck compete in the late game. The problem lies in cards like The Scarab God that just basically trump everything the deck is trying to do so maybe Ixalan’s Binding should be an inclusion to deal with those permanents that will take over the game. The mono blue deck could also possibly adopt some white mana to play Dusk // Dawn as well since all of its creatures have less than 3 power and can allow you to get back your Sai from the graveyard. This can also allow you to deal with cards like Ghalta, Primal Hunger and Verdurous Gearhulk that can trample over your Thopter chump blockers and smack you for large chunks of damage. One benefit of being mono blue is all the slots for utility lands and you will have to give that up to play the heavy white requirement of Dusk // Dawn so I’m not sure if it is worth it but I think it’s worth trying. I think if you can find a way to play this card you will be rewarded.Abrade
If you have red mana in your deck then I would be jamming as many Abrades as possible this weekend. With the newfound success of this mono blue deck centered around artifacts being able to take out their Inspiring Statuary or Aetherflux Reservoir will go a long way. Abrade does not kill Sai, Master Thopterist so you will need to find a different way to take care of him but without two of their key pieces it will make it a lot harder for them to go off and gain a ton of life allowing you to hopefully close the game. Many people are playing around with God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks with the addition of Sticher’s Supplier to the metagame and you will want to always have Abrade handy against them. Walking Ballista is being included in more control lists and Torrential Gearhulk is being played much more these days. So there a lot of targets that you are really going to want to hit and I think it’s wrong to be playing any less than 3 Abrades in your 75.Goblin Chainwhirler
With the decline in saturation of our old goblin friend in the top tables it makes me question why. If you look at the top deck lists this last week you see cards like Llanowar Elves, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, and Merfolk Branchwalker all cards that fall to the chains. So why wasn’t R/B or mono red more prevalent in these last top 8s? I can say that there has been more innovation across all the other archetypes and these established red strategies have yet to adapt to this new meta. Matthew Cotrupe’s R/B aggro list from the Worcester Open is a list that has actually some interesting tweaks that I believe helped to put him ahead. He made a very interesting decision in only playing 1 Hazoret, the Fervent in his entire 75. Whether that is correct or not is another argument but it is a pretty drastic change from the usual 3-4. He also played Cut // Ribbons in the main along with 2 Unlicensed Disintegration to help against these big green decks. Not to mention having some extra reach against control with the backside of Cut // Ribbons and a Banefire in the board. Whether the best Goblin Chainwhirler deck is still B/R or not I do believe it is a very well positioned creature right now beating Vine Mare in combat I think will be very important this weekend and the Chainwhirler is a great way to do it.
Honorable Mention: Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
If you can play Goblin Chainwhirler and Bolas in the same deck then I think you have something very powerful going on just mana consistency will be your greatest hurdle. Bolas is real and here to stay. Forcing your opponent to discard a card and demanding an answer from another card can be taxing enough on your opponent that if you can present any other sort of threat and disruption then they will just not be able to keep up with your aggression. That said the mana requirements are pretty steep to play both in your deck. Either way Bolas is a powerful card and finding the best home for it will reward you.