What the F@*% Just Happened to Standard?

I hope everyone enjoyed their pre-releases of Battle for Zendikar. Personally, I had a blast, but I heard a few things that disturbed me. One player was saying that Battle for Zendikar will have little to no effect on standard. Patrick Chapin said it best, “You can play any color(s) you want in standard right now.” It’s understandable that the format will not slow down as severely as people anticipated just by looking at spoilers, but Battle for Zendikar came in like an apocalyptic flood and took out everything we knew about in standard.

With Thoughtsieze, Hero’s Downfall, and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion all out of the picture, decks that were mediocre, at best, might just take up a tier 1 slot. This is not surprising to most, but what may surprise some players is the fact that Shard based decks have access to a stupid amount of pain free untapped mana with an almost perfect manabase. Let’s take a look at some cool cards that we may want to play.

The first Shard we are going to look at is Naya and the range it has gained with the landfall mechanic returning to standard. If players want to avoid Eldrazi ramp or control strategies, they have to get under them by being quick and explosive.

 

Naya Aggro

Creatures (19)
Zurgo Bellstriker
Goblin Glorychaser
Monastery Swiftspear
Scythe Leopard
Makindi Sliderunner
Goblin Heelcutter
Zada, Hedron Grinder

Spells (18)
Wild Slash
Titan’s Strength
Valorous Stance
Become Immense
Atarka’s Command
Exquisite Firecraft
Lands (23)
Mountain
Forest
Wooded Foothills
Bloodstained Mire
Windswept Heath
Canopy Vista
Cinder Glade

Sideboard (15)
Scab-Clan Berserker
Roast
Dromoka’s Command
Thunderbreak Regent
Outpoast Siege
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

This is basically the replacement for Monored. It could possibly turn into standard GR Aggro, but I love the synergy of Valorous Stance and Zada, Hedron Grinder. You are able to nullify wrath effects, which is huge, because stance is also good removal for 95% of the creatures that outclass your deck. Swell of Growth may also be a good addition to the deck.

Moving forward some Midrange strategies will be relevant, but I chose to make Jund(Adam’s Favorite) just to prove a point.

Jund Midrange

Creatures (19)
Catacomb Sifter
Rattleclaw Mystic
Thunderbreak Regent
Den Protector
Dragonlord Atarka
Nissa, Vastwood Seer

Planeswalkers (3)
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells (12)
Ultimate Price
Ruinous Path
Painful Truths
Duress
Transgress the Mind
Murderous Cut
Lands (26)
Forest
Swamp
Mountain
Bloodstained Mire
Wooded Foothills
Cinder Glade
Smoldering Marsh
Mortuary Mire
Haven of the Spirit Dragon

Sideboard (16)
Rakshasa Deathdealer
Languish
Virulent Plague
Outpost Siege
Sarkhan, Dragon Speaker
Foul-Tongue Invocation
Murderous Cut
Duress

This Deck has some old standard strategy to it, but the manabase is fantastic with 11 Green Sources, 12 Black Sources, and 16 Red Sources (and this is Excluding Haven of the Spirit Dragon).
The strange card that you may be surprised to see in the list is Catacomb Sifter. Top Level Podcast did a great job selling the card to me. It has so much value for three mana and keeping it out will get you deeper into your deck.

I know everyone is wondering when ol’Shaffer is gonna reveal his control deck… I have two.

Esper Control

Creatures (6)
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Fathom Feeder
Silumgar, the Drifting Death

Planeswalkers (4)
Ob Nixilis, Reignited
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Spells (23)
Dig Through Time
Scatter the Winds
Ruinous Path
Languish
Ojutai’s Command
Clash of Wills
Transgress the Mind
Ultimate Price
Anticipate
Murderous Cut
Horribly Awry
Lands (27)
Island
Swamp
Plains
Blighted Cataract
Prairie Stream
Sunken Hollow
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Shambling Vent

Sideboard (15)
Dispel
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Negate
Virulent Plague
Fathom Feeder
Duress
Sorin, Solemn Visitor
Ojutai’s Command

Esper Dragons

Creatures (9)
Dragonlord Ojutai
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Silumgar, the Drifting Death

Planeswalkers (1)
Ugin the Spirit Dragon

Spells (23)
Dig Through Time
Silumgar’s Scorn
Ruinous Path
Anticipate
Foul-Tongue Invocation
Crux of Fate
Scatter the Winds
Transgress the Mind
Clash of Wills
Ultimate Price
Lands (27)
Island
Swamp
Prairie Stream
Sunken Hollow
Polluted Delta
Flooded Strand
Haven of the Spirit Dragon
Dismal Backwater
Blighted Cataract

Sideboard (15)
Dispel
Negate
Duress
Virulent Plague
Languish
Dragonlord’s Prerogative
Dragonlord Silumgar
Foul-Tongue Invocation
Ultimate Price

These decks look similar but Esper Dragons has always operated on two separate axis as far as archetype goes. Starting as a control deck and moving into a midrange strategy can usually be hard to answer. The Esper control list is very nice, but I still haven’t figured out how the deck closes out games, so I expect to shift the list around.

The Eldrazi cards are great, but I’m expecting to see Abzan Aggro and Esper Dragons as the power houses.

That’s enough brewing for now. Make sure you check out the next article where I will have Bant Midrange, Esper Tutelege, and Eldrazi Super Ramp!