With standard underway, we have seen the light of many new and innovative decks to come across our Local FNM’s. The Guilds from Ravnica have proven themselves to be some streamline power houses in the frontline of the Friday night lineup. There has also been some Mono colored decks to shine as well. Mono Red will never go away and Mono Blue has been showing some promise. With Kaladesh and Amonkhet gone new decks and brews have brought forth and wacky and zanny time.
A card that has made a big improvement on an existing deck is Assassin’s Trophy. Now I know everybody has been all up in hype over this card since its been spoiled, but it really lives up to the hype. As Constrictor decks transition to explore and other Golgari aggro decks, the Trophy has been a constant in the lineup and I think will remain there for the remainder of its time in standard. A nice catch all for any Permanent on the field like Teferi, Azcanta, Nullhide Ferox and Bolas.
With Fatal Push gone, a cheap removal spell needs to take its place. For some, Moment of Craving is one of the got to low cost removal which is really dealing with aggressive creatures and hard to deal with threats like Adanto Vanguard. Other options to consider are Cast Down and Murder. The Golgari deck has moved to an Explore based aggro deck with creatures like Merfolk Branchwalker, Seekers’ Squire, Jadelight Ranger and Wildgrowth Walker. The Wildgrowth Walker is able to gain an exuberant amount of life to stave off aggro decks.
Another cool tool that Black decks in general can employ as an Edict effect or hand disruption is Plaguecrafter. On an empty board, he can take away card from an opponents hand or make them sacrifice a Planeswalker or a creature. Timing is crucial for this innocuous creature. While Exploring with your many creatures, you are able to dump cards into the graveyard knowing that you will get them back eventually. Golgari Findbroker acts as a bigger brother to the Eternal Witness that we all know and love.
Spells Spells Spells. thats what the Izzet League like to sling and what a way to back up that plan than with the Counter magic of Ionize. For 1UR counter target spell and deal 2 to the controller. A nice tempo play as well as getting in there for some damage. Blue Red Spells has shown some unique promise while taking many different forms. Most people will take to the skies with 8 Drakes, playing both Cackling Drake and Enigma Drake. The benefit of these dastardly fliers is that they get stronger the more spells you cast.
What way to finish off a Blue Red deck then with its Leader Niv Mizzet, Parun. This high power Dragon can shoot down many foes and keep your hand fresh through his abilities. As people are aware, the little crafty goblin is back to make sure that all your spell are cheap and effective. Goblin Electromancer makes all your Instant and Sorceries cost 1 less. Turning good spells into great spells.
One of the biggest benefits of of playing Red is the addition of Risk Factor. Many remember Browbeat, but Risk Factor being at instant speed and jumpstart can tear through a ton of damage or draw you a bunch of cards. Either way its going to benefit you. The addition of a Planeswalker with Ral, Izzet Viceroy, adds some longevity to the deck and another endgame threat for people to deal with.
The Boros Legion has had much success with Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice at the helm Mentoring the weaker to become full fledged Soldiers. The Aggressive version is basically a white weeny deck with and stronger top end with angels, Deafening Clarion and Swift Justice. Another variation in these colors is the Dragons version. It is very similar to the Mono Red Decks but goes much larger with Demanding Dragon, Lathliss, and Banefire. Being able to remove threats and apply aerial pressure with massive creatures is almost a sure in to bring victory.
The Mentor mechanic has allowed many aggressive deck to get out of burn range and trade range. Knight of grace is the bane for Golgari and black decks in general to deal with. The biggest issue that will come your way as a small creature based beck will be sweepers and there are a few of them out there. Cleansing Nova, Settle the Wreckage and the new Black sweeper in Ritual of Soot. hopefully you are able to get under these sweepers but remember not to over extend and play carefully.
If you and looking to go super wide, then the Selesnya Conclave is the place for you. The Token deck has completely blown me out the past couple of with numbers to spare. Saproling Migration and History of Benalia have helped bring out the numbers to the fullest and with creatures like Emmara, Soul of the Accord to pump out convoke soldiers and the Venerated Loxodon to make sure that all these tokens get bigger and bringing out the big Elephant. One of coolest things is being able to flood the field with creatures and still play your removal with Conclave Tribunal, a Convoke Oblivion Ring.
Another great creature to be used in these colors is Shalai, Voice of Plenty. She has the power to protect you team, Planeswalkers and yourself from being targeted and also a hidden ability to pump your entire team. Another Variation in these colors is Elves. falling on the backbone of Elvish Clancaller and Beast Whisper. These 2 combined with the mana generating elves and hard to deal with threats like Steel Leaf Champion and Thorn Lieutenant make elves one of the more dangerous tribes to deal with.
There are plenty of cards out in the mix of things that many people are brewing with and its only a matter of time before some crazy deck will make it to the top. A couple of cards that have been showing some promise to keep an eye out for is Arclight Phoenix, Vraska, Golgari Queen and Doom Whisperer. each one in the right deck can prove to be and engine within it self and spark life in an already existing deck and bring it to fruition. For now lets see how Standard shapes up and what new decks make its way to Friday Night Magic as well as The Rocco Showdown. See ya then.