With the full list of cards revealed for Khans of Tarkir, now comes the most interesting aspect to Magic, deck building. Just like with Theros and with Return to Ravnica, and because I’m unoriginal when it comes to thinking of what to write about, I’ve decided to share some deck ideas like my fellow Roxie Cards writers. This time, there is a level of clarity that has come from playing in the Return to Ravnica block and I’ve begun to realize what can potentially work in this new standard that we’re going towards. I personally love the idea of creature decks, and while I know there will also be creature decks to play, creature decks definitely seem to be much slower, though they are still prevalent in this new standard.

However, no need to worry, avid aggro reader, there’s still plenty to work with here. Lets take a look of some examples:

Rabble Red

Creatures (25)
Firedrinker Satyr
Foundry Street Denizen
Goblin Rabblemaster
Monastery Swiftspear
Prophetic Flamespeaker
Purphoros, God of the Forge
War-Name Aspirant

Other Spells (13)
Titan’s Strength
Trumpet Blast
Hordeling Outburst
Hall of Triumph

Land (22)
Bloodstained Mire
14 Mountain
Wooded Foothills

Rabble Red definitely made waves the last few SCG Opens, taking first place several times and at least making top 8 most of the M15 season. While it is certainly losing some of it’s more valuable cards, I feel there are cards in place of it that will help retain it’s strong position as an aggro. Earlier I’ve written about a goblin tribal deck in Standard. That didn’t work as good as I’d hope due to not high enough damage output, but the core concept of Rabblemaster in the deck was certainly sound. with cards like Hordeling Outburst and even curving out at four with Purphoros, God of the Forge, there’s definitely some tricks to be had. Monastery Swiftspear is a card I think is also worth exploring.

However, the main card that Rabble Red loses that can’t be replaced so easily is Legion Loyalist who did so much for the deck: First Strike, Can’t be blocked by Tokens, and most importantly, Trample. We partly recover by making even more creatures and potentially buffing them all up with Trumpet Blast. Regardless, I feel the concept of Rabble Red is still a force to be reckoned with.

Red Devotion

Creatures (29)
Ashcloud Phoenix
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Fanatic of Mogis
Firedrinker Satyr
Generator Servant
Goblin Rabblemaster
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Stormbreath Dragon

Other Spells (7)
Chandra, Pyromaster
Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
Chained to the Rocks

Land (24)
Bloodstained Mire
11 Mountain
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Temple of Triumph
Wooded Foothills

If you’re not fond of the Rabble Red list, then something akin to a Red Devotion deck might be up your alley. With new cards like Sarkhan and Ashcloud Phoenix to replace some of the bigger devotion cards like Boros Reckoner, there are plenty of cards to add to the red devotion count that Purphoros and, more importantly, Fanatic of Mogis care about. With plenty of high powered creatures and the well known finisher of Fanatic, Mono Red Devotion is just as strong, if not a smidgen stronger than what it was a year prior.

Additionally Generator Servant provides some great early ramping. When else will you be able to get a Stormbreath Dragon or even Sarkhan on turn 3, or even a Ashcloud Phoenix for a similar amount of damage.

Jeskai Burn

Creature (16)
Goblin Rabblemaster
Mantis Rider
Monastery Swiftspear
Spellheart Chimera

Non-Creature (22)
Deflecting Palm
Jeskai Charm
Lightning Strike
Magma Jet
Mindswipe
Stoke the Flames
Jeskai Ascendancy

Land (22)
Battlefield Forge
Mana Confluence
Mountain
Shivan Reef
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Triumph

While some might look at Jeskai cards and think ‘what cool control cards’, I like to think with a little more… fire on the mind. With spells like Jeskai Charm, Mindswipe, and Deflecting Palm available, there’s plenty of options to fling blazing damage over your opponent’s creatures’ and back them your own creatures with countering and reflecting damage right back to your opponent. Indeed, there’s plenty of burn to work with in this new standard. Oh, and hasted creatures like Mantis Rider and Monastery Swiftspear are pretty nice. Once again, Rabblemaster is just perfect for this deck. This is truly the definitive aggro card.

With so many instants to damage your opponent, you’ll be filling your graveyard in no time, so why not run what I felt was an underrated card from Theros, Spellheart Chimera. I’ve attempted a similar deck back when Theros was first printed, though the uncounterable likes of Abrupt Decay and Supreme Verdict made the strategy difficult to pull off, but with the slowed down format of Khans, and the proven success of Boros Burn, it might be time for Spellheart Chimera to shine in a new version of what is already considered to be a strong deck that just so happens to include the missing blue color.

Orzhov Warriors

Creatures (26)
Athreos, God of Passage
Bloodsoaked Champion
Chief of the Edge
Chief of the Scale
Herald of Anafenza
Mardu Hordechief
Tormented Hero

Other Spells (10)
Ajani Steadfast
Sorin, Solemn Visitor
Raiders’ Spoils
Hero's Downfall

Land (24)
Caves of Koilos
Mana Confluence
Plains
Swamp
Temple of Silence
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Cmon, three decks with red? What if I don’t care to be a red player?” Not to worry, as we have Orzhov Warriors to fight the good fight. When Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale were revealed, I was very impressed with the cards. It of course reminded me of Veteran Weaponsmith and Veteran Armorsmith, and seeing all the cheap and effective warriors in standard right now, it in my mind really promoted the warrior tribal aggro. And since we’re running warriors, why not run other cards that care about warriors, like Raiders’ Spoils? It’s looks like a real army at that point, so lets have some good generals, Sorin and Ajani Steadfast to make our creatures amazingly buff.
Though if you do want to play red in the deck, it certainly viable and adds the various Mardu colored spells to your disposal, like Mardu Charm and Mardu Ascendancy, which is a great answer to Anger of the Gods, and once again, the most important member to any red deck nowadays, Goblin Rabblemaster, fits right in with other warriors.

Abzan Walkers

Creatures (8)
Courser of Kruphix
Sylvan Caryatid

Other Spells (27)
Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
Ajani Steadfast
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Garruk, Apex Predator
Nissa, Worldwaker
Abzan Charm
Hero’s Downfall
Utter End
Thoughtseize
Banishing Light

Land(25) (25)
Caves of Koilos
Forest
Plains
Temple of Malady
Temple of Plenty
Temple of Silence
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Windswept Heath

Finally, we get to what I believe is one of the stronger decks listed here, and that isn’t a biased statement at all. In all seriousness, where I thought the deck would actually suffer with the loss of shocklands and other fine removal like Abrupt Deck, the return of fetchlands and cards like Utter End and Abzan Charm really make the flow of the deck extremely smooth. Backed with permanent removing spells and cards like Courser of Kruphix and Caryatid to defend and ramp up to your win conditions, namely Elspeth and Garruk and Nissa, it’s a very control heavy deck that relies on eliminating your opponents answers before getting your own and overrunning them.

Other ideas come to mind as far as deck building goes, but I believe the point has been made that there can be a lot of variance in standard now and that really speaks to the strength of Khans of Tarkir as a set. There’s many interesting interactions with Theros cards and it definitely feels that there’s a lot more freedom in not only what kind of deck you can run, but how you run it. Time will ultimately tell, but I’m excited for standard and I hope to go more into these decks later on.