Down And Dirty – Worldwake Shakes Standard

Grand Prix: Oakland!

Wednesday, February 10th – Worldwake is here, and mages around the world are tinkering with the new cards, looking for fresh Standard fare. Kyle looks at the pre-WWK metagame, and suggests how things will change with the arrival of the new set. Will Jund still be king of the castle? Read on to find out!

When we last left Standard, Worlds was shaping the metagame for the SCG 5k series stops. Jund was Tier 1 king, with all the rest of the decks being middle of the pack Tier 1.5 and Tier 2 decks. It looked something like this….

Commander-in Chief


Tier 1.5

UWR Control
Mono Red

Tier 2

Spread ‘Em
Grixis Control
Eldrazi Green
Turbo Fog
GWB Knightfall

Tier 17

Those awful Mono White variants, ranging from Iona Control to lots of one-drops with Brave the Elements and Honor of the Poor.

Tier 132

Conley Woods Cobra deck with a full set of Violent Ultimatums while boarding into a full set of Cruel Ultimatum.

Here is a short list of cards that will probably be added to some of the main decks and sideboards of the above decks…

Kor Firewalker
Loam Lion
Refraction Trap

Calcite Snapper
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Mysteries of the Deep
Sejiri Merfolk
Treasure Hunt

Kalastria Highborn
Nemesis Trap
Mire’s Toll
Urge to Feed

Chain Reaction
Searing Blaze
Crusher Zendikon
Slavering Null

Arbor Elf
Avenger of Zendikar (Cha-cha-cha Chia!)
Bestial Menace
Harabaz Druid
Joraga Warcaller
Leatherback Baloth
Wolfbriar Elemental

Everflowing Chalice

Celestial Colonnade
Creeping Tar Pits
Halimar Depths
Raging Ravine
Seriji Steppe
Stirring Wildwood
Tectonic Edge

So we’ve got a decent chunk of solid contributors, and a bunch of awesome lands to cast them with. Blue got the biggest bump in this set having Jace, Treasure Hunt, and the busty Calcite “Leo” Snapper. Green got a bunch of cool cards too, but they aren’t nearly as dynamic as the Blue ones. Red got the shaft here. Not only did it get nothing worthwhile, but Kor Firewalker is actually the best anti-Red card I’ve seen since Chill. I mean really, he’s a freaking Silver Knight plus Dragon’s Claw for the same low discount two-mana mark. Whatever deck I play, I want him in my sideboard. There is nothing more annoying than losing to those Mono Red idiots, and he practically wins the game all by himself.

You can also discount the Black pretty easily, since all of their cards are so damn Vampire-centric. However, adding Mire’s Toll to that deck looks pretty sweet. White didn’t get much, but with Loam Lion leading the pack, and Refraction Trap and Kor Firewalkers coming off the bench, they’ve got even more anti-Red tools. Everflowing Chalice has my vote for most powerful card in the set, as silly as it sounds. The control decks in Standard were really missing that extra step, and Chalice solves that problem perfectly while also being a card that can lead to some crazy mana production.

I’m now going to merge both lists to make another list… Y’know, because everyone likes lists instead of actual meaty content articles. Once you start with lots of words, you guys have historically just scrolled down to find the decklist. Magic is a game that really generates the feeling of needing to rush, creating mild cases of ADHD in all of us. It’s why we flick are cards around in our hands, ask our opponents if they’re done after they just attacked us and are thinking in their second main phase, and why we disconnect on those idiots who are obviously crushing us but playing too damn slow on Magic Online.


Jund has a basic core that is very tough to play against, but with Worldwake I think we’re going to see yet another evolution of the deck. They’ll play more lands to get the most out of the R/G manland, which is a freaking great addition to their deck. They don’t have to invest mana in a threat on their turn anymore, and can play the “sit back and play a removal spell” game. If you don’t drop a creature, they’ve got a big source of damage that keeps getting larger. These manlands are going to have some heavy implications for Standard. They’re all very good mana fixers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone started playing more lands in their decks because we have so many quality spell-like lands that can even keep you in the games where you’re flooded.

Bestial Menace is another card that I expect to see a lot of play. It also puts a Wolf into play, so there may be some Master of the Hunt plus Bestial Menace Jund decks out there. I’d also expect them to put some Smothers in the sideboard, to have a non-Red two mana removal spell to take care of stuff like Kor Firewalker.

One version of Jund I threw together a couple days ago was an Ally-based version with Harabaz Druid, the two-powered two-drops, Kazuul Warlord, and Turntimber Ranger, alongside the streamlined Jund removal. The real bonus is that the Cascade spells draw you more Allies, so maybe there is something worth checking out there.


This is still my favorite deck in the format. It’s freaking fast and has the best card draw in the format with Ranger of Eos. Unfortunately though, they got absolutely nothing to add to their deck. That doesn’t mean Boros is dead; much the opposite, actually. Having Jund and Boros as the two best decks really keeps everyone else honest. You’ve got to play around Jund’s removal and Boros’s early onslaught. If you can’t, you need another Standard deck.

Mono Red

This archetype took a HUGE hit. Not only is Crusher Zendikon their best option from this set, but again, Kor Firewalker is going to rip those pink-sleeved pansies a new one when he jumps off the bench like J.R. Smith, who threw down 27 against my Lakers out of nowhere in Melo’s absence!

UWR Control

LSV’s exact list probably won’t survive this new set coming in, only because there are so many enticing spells to add that it will get such a huge power upgrade it won’t look the same. Everflowing Chalice is the card that deck was dreaming about. Treasure Hunt, Jace, and Mysteries of the Deep are the card draw they fantasized about. On top of that, and I hate to belabor the point, they also got Kor Firewalker! That deck’s problem matchups were Boros and Mono Red, and now that it has the Kor I’m sure this deck will be poised to possibly jump up next to Jund in the Tier 1 section.

It also got Celestial Colonnade and Calcite Snapper to accompany Sphinx of Jwar Isle, to help kill the opponent.


This deck already has a VERY deep pool of awesome cards to work with, and it’s scary that it just got a few more. Calcite Snapper has a lot of competition at the three slot, with Knight of the Reliquary, Rhox War Monk, Bant Charm, Great Sable Stag, and Dauntless Escort all being studs. Still, attacking for five on turn 3 with Leo is pretty attractive, so maybe people will end up playing two of each to fit in a rounded twelve three-drops?


Bant is also a deck that can actually use Seriji Merfolk, and with Exalted, Elspeth, and Rafiq, this little Fish could make quite a splash. Bestial Menace is probably a bit too slow for Bant, since they usually want to get some dudes down quick, start the race, and finish with tricks like Charm, Path, and Negate. But if there were Bant decks sporting Emeria Angel, which acts like a five-drop, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see them move to the Menace that has a higher initial output. The Green/White and Blue/White manlands probably aren’t what Bant is looking for, but might find their way in there as a two-of to give the manabase some flood value.


This one got a few new toys, but they didn’t exactly get any better creatures, which is my issue with the Vampire deck. If you don’t have a Nocturnus out with a Black spell on top, you really have a hard time fighting the other decks since they’ve got better creatures. Kalastria Highborn is cute for some Wrath protection, but the Vampire curve makes it awkward to have mana open all the time. Nemesis Trap seems pretty good as another way to take out Baneslayer Angel. I really like it because you can pass with six mana up and they’ll put you on Tendrils, and you can jump out of nowhere and Trap ‘em

Spread ‘Em

I have a feeling more people are going to be playing with Islands, so my first thought is this deck is dead. The one thing this deck does have going for it is that all the cool nonbasic lands that came out give you incentive to neuter those lands. On top of that, Spread ‘Em is possibly the deck that can make the most out of Tectonic Edge. Gerry’s mana denial deck is unique because it actually keeps their lands in play, setting up Tectonic Edge quite nicely. Calcite Snapper and Jace might also be quality adds or potential sideboard options too, so I don’t think this deck and its supporters are going anywhere. It’s still a great weapon against Jund.

Grixis Control

I don’t really see a reason to play Grixis over UWR. The real pain is that Grixis can’t make much use out of Everflowing Chalice because they’re usually on the Ultimatum plan. Still, I really like the U/B manland, and this is one deck that could really use it. The mass amount of Blue card advantage that was introduced this set will definitely change things, and it’s not like any Blue deck got worse with all those new tools. Grixis is also the deck that was desperately hurting for solid card draw to compliment its one-for-one removal approach. I’d look for them to rely less on Ultimatum, add Chalice, and make good use of Jace, Halimar Depths, and Treasure Hunt.

Eldrazi Green

Green is the second best color in Worldwake, so it’s pretty intuitive that the Mono Green gunslingers got a pretty decent update. Leatherback Baloth, Bestial Menace, Arbor Druid, Joraga Warcaller… All just a bunch of stupid moss-covered critters. Dumb creatures, that’s all Green ever has. But when you throw bunches of them into decks and curve out, you can win some games, and with an Eldrazi Monument in play all of those creature get A LOT better. Avenger of Zendikar is also pretty awesome; he grows a garden every time he enters the battlefield, like that Elemental from the second Hellboy that creates that lush utopia when Ron Perlman guns it down in the streets of New York. I love plants!


This was a big sleeper during Zendikar Standard. It’s a real deck; however, it really didn’t get much from Worldwake. The R/G manland is neat, but that’s not really what this deck was going for. Avenger of Zendikar might actually be pretty decent here. The deck hit seven mana with ease, and if you drop this guy with a Khalni Heart Expedition out, all your guys will become four-powered beatsticks by the next turn. Still a fringe deck, but it’s got the firepower to move up the ranks if it gains some more supporters.


Naya got hooked up! Loam Lion? It’s basically an Extended Zoo deck now, minus the better burn spells. It’s got the Cat, the 5/4 Beast, along with Bloodbraid Elf and Ranger of Eos… I still would never play it over Jund, since you’re at a constant tactical disadvantage, but hey, it won Worlds. If it goes for a bigger Naya-type game plan, there’s a good chance Bestial Menace could be involved too, and it’s got two different manlands to play around with.

Turbo Fog

This is the deck you should play at your first FNM. Nobody will be expecting it, and it will tear through all the people who play fair fighting decks with creatures and removal. The big boost will come from having Everflowing Chalice to accelerate into Font of Mythos. I always felt really slot when playing with Turbo Fog, and now that it’s got the Chalice it will probably be fast enough to compete again. It got all the same Blue cards that everyone else got, except it has time to set them up a bit better since it doesn’t care about what creatures they’re playing, and you sit around soaking up damage like a sponge until you chain Fogs for the rest of the game. It’s also pretty handy that you’ve got a nice little 2/2 with Protection from Red against the Red heads out there too.

GWB Knightfall

This is a deck that didn’t get the respect it deserved. It’s got lots of great tools, just like Jund. However, I don’t see much helping this deck out. This is one of those fair midrange decks that I’d try to stay away from. It doesn’t have any new and exciting interactions to go ogle over, but being able to Knight for some more manlands is pretty attractive.

As with any set, there will be all kinds of new brews being made, so keep your eyes open for new combos and new control decks. Blue is saved, and all is right in the universe. I don’t have to feel underpowered by playing Islands anymore. We’ve got legit card draw, so let’s start making some Blue-based decks again like the good ‘ol days.

Thanks for reading…