Explosive Standard Impact

September 7, 2016

Now it’s time for me to focus again on Standard

Hi everybody!
Back from PT San Diego, the tournament, sadly, didn’t go as expected, but the holiday definitely did, which is the real goal of every Magic trip… isn’t it?
Now it’s time for me to focus again on Standard, in order to try and win the last World Magic Cup Qualifier of my country, Italy. Since the last time I wrote about it Standard metagame has evolved quite a bit, mainly because of the introduction of Dragon’s Maze.
Today I’d like to talk about Dragon’s Maze cards who have (or possibly will have) an impact on the format and try and determine the archetype we can fit them into. Of course I can’t cover all of the new cards played so far, I just write something about the most played ones or the ones I’m interested in the most.

– Sire of Insanity
At a first glance I didn’t think it was capable of replacing Rakdos’s Return and is flexibility… I mean, you can cast it for 2 or 3 spending less mana and can casually steal a game Fireballing the opponent. Then I played with it and changed my mind. With the help of Cavern of Souls (something Return can’t rely on) it can absolutely destroy control decks, and can seal a game against any archetype if you cast it when you’re ahead. It is able to waste all of your opponent’s long term plan if unexpected, and when they play around it they’re often forced to make choices they wouldn’t do before his printing.
Decks we can fit it in:
This is the perfect top-curve card for Jund, because the deck has the best topdeck-cards of the format (Garruk, Primal Hunter, Bonfire of the Damned, Huntmaster of the Fells, Thragtusk and so on) and doesn’t care about casting it even off a non-empty hand. Other decks which can abuse it are the BWR midrange my friend Alessandro Portaro talked about on this article (http://blog.mtgmadness.com/index.php/bwr-midrange-in-standard/) and some Grixis-controllish deck of some kind.

– Putrefy
There’s nothing more we can do about these reprints than take them off from our old binders and sleeve them up.
Decks we can fit it in:
Every deck playing forest and swamp needing to kill creatures! Jund, Junk, WGB midrange and so on…

– Deadbridge Chant
This card is very interesting. it Is not only a huge stream of card advantage in a mirror match / midrange battle; you can also cast it to take value of cards in graveyard (flashback cards and, why not, Snapcaster Mage). The format at the moment is too fast to play it maindeck, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more use of this card in the post-rotation Standard.
Decks we can fit it in:
It is a common 1-2x in Jund sideboards, against mirror and midrange decks. I expect it in a graveyard deck of some kind in the future.

– Sin Collector
This guy is a more expensive Tidehollow Sculler with the huge upgrade of leaving the card it grabs in exile when it dies. In control mirrors it is a key card, because you can have disruption and pressure just for 3 mana. it Is the kind of card you always want in your main when playing its colors. It’s very good against control and midrange and it’s not completely dead against aggro. Definitely a sweet card.
Decks we can fit it in:
Junk, BWG aggro/midrange, Esper sideboard

– Unflinching Courage
This is a fake reprint (Armadillo Cloak anyone?) and will see its time in the sun as his predecessor did. It Is the perfect addition in Bant Auras to reduce its weakness against aggro decks.
Decks we can fit it in:
Bant Auras, BWG aggro/midrange, Bant Flash

– Aetherling
One of the top 3 cards of the set. Based on the Morphling design, it puts your opponent under a two-three turn clock while still being able to stop their counter-race. Above all, you just can’t remove it! It Is the best finisher for a control deck in a while, it is way faster than Assemble the Legion and Nephalia Drownyard and way safer than Aurelia, the Warleader (which can be easily Putrefyed or Renounce the Guildsed away). The only real way to stop it is counterspell – and this is why you saw people in San Diego let their opponent resolve a Sphinx’s Revelation for a million just to hold Cancel for Aetherling… it Is just so good that people will fit Cavern of Souls in their control decks only to resolve it. It is going to kill people for a couple years, for sure.
Decks we can fit in:
Every blue control/midrange deck. UWR, Esper, Bant..

– Renounce the Guilds
Typical sideboard card, is very good to deal with multicolor bombs like Olivia Voldaren, Sire of Insanity, Huntmaster of the Fells, Assemble the Legion and so on.
Decks we can fit it in:
Every sideboard of a white deck without multicolor cards: Bant, Esper, UWR and so on
– Voice of Resurgence
The real staple. Just saying, it dominated the PT and is currently sold in Italy at over 30 Euros, while online it costs about one billion tix. It’s a nightmare for the control decks, which can’t profitably play instant speed with it online and have to deal with the token if managed to remove it. It’s also a nightmare in agro mirrors: if you remove it, you may have to deal with a bigger guy…but if you don’t, well… It’s not Tarmogoyf, it’s not Dark Confidant, it’s not Stoneforge Mystic, but it will be dominating formats (just look at the Modern Birthing Pod decklists…) for years. Top card of the set and maybe of the whole format.
Decks we can fit it in:
Every deck with forest and plains.

– Advent of the Wurm :
A 5/5. Trample. For four mana. Instant speed! Man, hard times for control mages… It’s another card that makes me want to sleeve up forests and plains. Again, very good against everything: huge body against agro, instant threat against midrange and control (particularly good after Wrath effects). Just play this card.
Decks we can fit it in:
Bant Flash, GWx decks of some kind

– Far//Away :
I really like the Fuse mechanics. Bounce + edict are good by themselves (though a little overcosted) and extremely good together. This card solves by itself a lot of Esper’s problems. I believe it will become a 3-4x of every UBx deck now, and in the next Standard.
Decks we can fit it in:
Esper, UBx

– Turn//Burn
Like Far//Away, this card lets UR decks to deal against every kind of creature. I wouldn’t be surprised if it will replace Searing Spear in URx controllish deck, considering that it can kill the vast majority of aggro threats in one way or another.
Decks we can fit it in:

– Warleader’s Helix
This bigger Lightning Helix is a very good spot removal to invert the race in a aggro mirror match or to remove a body and recover life in a control deck. The fact that can kill Ghor-Clan Rampager, Restoration Angel, Sire of Insanity and Aurelia, the Warleader – while Searing Spear can’t- justify itself the earning of a spot as 1 of 2x in every WRx/non Blitz deck.
Decks we can fit it in:
UWR, Naya midrange

– Ral Zarek
Finally we have a planeswalker. His bigger upside is that he can shoot twice before dying, and against agro is relevant because it can kill a guy immediately and prevent damages on the following attack (if they’re interested in attacking him rather than you). The +1 ability could be sometimes relevant but is mainly a way to reach the ultimate, which is not game-ending like Jace’s one but if you are used to win coin flip playing poker is highly recommended  Seriously, most of times taking just 2 Time Walks can be enough to bring home the game.
Decks we can fit it in:
UWR, RUG, Grixis control

Hope you’ve enjoyed it, we can discuss it in your comments!
Alessandro Lippi

Recent posts