Daily Digest: Ode To A Dragonlord

If you want something other than Collected Company or Emrakul, the Promised End for #SCGRICH, why not go back to the days of the Dragons? Ross Merriam goes rogue for Standard’s swan song weekend!

Are you tired of the Emrakul, the Promised End– and Collected Company-dominated doldrums of this Standard? With this format’s last hurrah coming up this weekend at #SCGRICH, I’m sure many players are trying to find some way to spice up the event while still having a competitive deck capable of putting up a great finish.

What you need is the ability to keep up in the early- and mid-game with Bant Company while also closing the game before Emrakul, the Promised End can rear its ugly tentacles. A hard-hitting threat that can stabilize the battlefield against smaller creatures, kill in a hurry, and leave behind relevant value if it should die and the game go on awhile afterward.

Enter the forgotten and soon-to-rotate Dragonlord Ojutai. Once a staple of the format, the flying, hexproof card advantage Dragon has fallen on hard times. But it and its partner in crime, Silumgar’s Scorn, are still a potent duo, especially when paired with the Azorius twins Reflector Mage and Spell Queller.

The finished product ends up looking like a hybrid between U/W Spirits and a control deck with plenty of removal, counterspells, and built-in card advantage for longer games. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar ties the whole room together, giving you a powerful threat against Emrakul, the Promised End decks that is resilient to Kozilek’s Return, while the tokens it pumps out in combination with an Emblem let your smaller creatures match up better in combat against Bant Company and Humans.

I’d look to play aggressively against ramp decks, using my counterspells early on setup cards like Grapple with the Past and Nissa’s Pilgrimage, so that you can safely land Dragonlord Ojutai or one of your planeswalkers and close the game before they can get to their high-end plays.

Against Collected Company, I’d want to slow things down, containing their battlefield just enough that you can land a big threat and quickly turn the corner. So it’s a classic midrange deck, adapting to its opponent like a chameleon.

It may not seem like it now, but the dragons in Dragons of Tarkir are exceptionally powerful, and in their twilight years it seems appropriate to give them a proper sendoff. You’ll have plenty of time to take your opponent’s turn in the next year.

(A hand shoots up from the back of the classroom.)

“But Collected Company and Dromoka’s Command are rotating too! Why don’t we run with them one final time?”

“Shut up, Timmy. I’ve had enough of both those cards and your smart mouth. Now play Dragons like you’re supposed to.”