I’m here to talk to you about Standard with Eventide, since its going to be on everyone’s minds as Nationals draws closer. However, even though there’s 180 new cards coming to the format, I don’t believe the set will have a radical impact. Unless I’m a complete moron, I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing any giant shakeups of the Standard metagame because of Eventide.
I would have to say that Standard has a few decks that are winning almost all the time. Of course, that gets pretty irritating for someone trying to play a rogue deck, but we can always put our own twist on an existing top tier deck. As I see it, Standard is being ruled by the following decks:
Quick n’ Toast
Red/Black Furystoke Giant
Faeries, Elves, Reveillark, and Merfolk all have proven themselves over the last few months. The last three decks listed above are all viable decks and have put up reasonable results in Hollywood, Regionals, and Grand Prix: Buenos Aires.
The fact that Faeries is pretty much ruling Block Constructed says something about the power of the deck. It’s easy to play and it almost never has to tap out on its turn. What isn’t to like?
Elves have proven to be just about as annoying as roaches. They’re small, they don’t die to the hate, and the elf decks have proven to be so finely built that they’ll be around long after we’re all dead.
The Reveillark deck is quite nice, packed with card advantage and creatures that just seem to be better than everyone else’s. The draws are so forgiving, and a single Sower of Temptation can go a long way. It can be a bit slow at times, but if it gets its mana and starts drawing cards, it can keep making Top 8s. I think Mihara’s list from Hollywood is probably best, and I’d play it if Nationals were tomorrow. I might even see about adding in Glen Elendra Archmage somewhere.
Merfolk is pretty straightforward. It comes out fast and, with all the lords, you can be the fastest creature deck with a nice little finisher like Cryptic Command to tap all their guys. Now, though, I would probably add in Wake Thrasher. He’s big during your turn and can act like an Abyss. After about turn 4 he becomes a must-kill creature. Merfolk can also get some use out of Cold-Eyed Selkie and Wistful Selkie for their card drawing. But more than likely, those two will sit on the sidelines.
Quick n’ Toast is a solid control deck that is really going to like the new Flooded Grove. It will, however, take a hit if people start playing the Glen Elendra Archmage more. That card will give this deck fits.
Red/Green Snow looks like a finely tuned instrument that fits in well into the creature-heavy environment right now. It has a couple of tough beaters that don’t appear to be going anywhere fast. I think this deck will remain almost entirely unchanged.
Red/Black Furystoke Giant decks have been just on the edge of doing really well. A few of them did fairly well at Pro Tour: Hollywood and Regionals, but this deck can get very awkward draws and does not have any card drawing to help it back on its feet. Stigma Lasher can help a tiny bit, but I think this deck will continue to remain just out of the winner’s circle.
Overall, the decks that existed before Eventide will remain just about the same. It’s kind of a disappointment. There will, however, be a couple decks that get the slight boost they were looking for. Most mono-colored decks will do well with the additional Spirit Avatars and Lieges. Some cards like Unmake, Hallowed Burial, and Thunderblust might be able to spark new decks, but only time will tell. If I’m not mistaken, U.S. Nationals will be among the first tournaments to show off what Eventide has to offer. I’ll be looking forward to it, but here are a few decks to look at before you go.
The first is a UWG Blink deck. It has a rough time against some good tribal draws, but it has a little extra defense in Green to help it fight back. As I mentioned before, I really like the idea of running Mulldrifter, Sower of Temptation, and Reveillark in a deck. This one merely incorporates a few extra cards such as Tarmogoyf, Wall of Roots, and Mystic Snake. Truthfully, the only thing that this deck gets from Eventide is Flooded Grove.
- 3 Mystic Snake
- 4 Wall of Roots
- 4 Riftwing Cloudskate
- 4 Tarmogoyf
- 3 Venser, Shaper Savant
- 4 Mulldrifter
- 3 Sower of Temptation
- 4 Reveillark
- 4 Kitchen Finks
The mana is quite flexible and can take all sorts of draws. Everything in the deck is going to generate card advantage in some way.
Against Faeries, I would board in 2 Wispmare for 2 Momentary Blink. You just want an additional way to neutralize Bitterblossom.
Against Elves and Merfolk, I would 2 Teferi’s Moat and 3 Razormane Masticore for 2 Venser, Shaper Savant, 1 Mystic Snake and 2 Momentary Blink. Teferi’s Moat and Razormane Masticore are just good here.
Against Reveillark, board in 2 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir for 2 Tarmogoyf. In this matchup, you want to try and put pressure on their lands while getting some guys down early.
Against Red/Green Snow, board in 2 Teferi’s Moat and 3 Flashfreeze for 2 Venser, Shaper Savant, 1 Momentary Blink, and 2 Kitchen Finks. This matchup is quite good because of their bulk creatures and minimal disruption.
Against Quick n’ Toast, board in 2 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir for 2 Sower of Temptation.
Against the Furystoke Giant deck, board in 2 Teferi’s Moat, 3 Flashfreeze, and 3 Razormane Masticore. Board out 1 Mystic Snake, 2 Momentary Blink, 1 Venser, Shaper Savant, and 4 Riftwing Cloudskate. This matchup is all about keeping Furystoke Giant off the table. He can decimate your team if you let the board get clogged with creatures.
Overall, the deck is something interesting to try out. If you like your cards getting more than one-for-one trades, then this might be the deck for you.
The second deck is a Mono-Red deck that is an underdog to Reveillark, but handles quite nicely against Elves, Faeries, and Merfolk.
As you can see here, it’s pretty much a burn deck with a touch of mana control thanks to Fulminator Mage and Magus of the Moon. Demigod of Revenge and Sulfurous Blast are MVPs in this deck. Simply take control of the board by minimizing threats and eventually burn them out. The sideboard is built to combat the control decks that can beat you in the long game.
Against Faeries, bring in 4 Sulfur Elemental for 3 Puncture Blast and 1 Mogg Fanatic. This is a pretty good matchup. The Sulfur Elementals are quite good at putting on some pressure because they can’t be countered.
Against Elves, you bring in 3 Spitebellows for 3 Magus of the Moon. This is because the elf deck usually has quite a bit of basic land, and Chameleon Colossus is quite difficult to handle.
Against Merfolk, bring in 4 Sulfur Elemental for 4 Magus of the Moon. The Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tenders aren’t that hard to deal with once you have both Keldon Megaliths and Sulfur Elemental.
Against the Furystoke Giant deck, you don’t sideboard. Your deck is pretty well suited to play against them in its main deck configuration.
Against the Red/Green Snow deck, you bring in 3 Spitebellows for 3 Mogg Fanatic. This is a rough matchup.
Against Reveillark and Quick n Toast, you bring in 4 Sulfur Elemental, 4 Stigma Lasher, and 4 Ashenmoor Gouger for 4 Lash Out, 4 Sulfurous Blast, and 4 Mogg Fanatic. Simply, you want to try and beat them as quickly as possible.
The last deck for today is a Mono-White deck. I believe that a controlling deck is very good right now. Condemn, Wrath of God, Kitchen Finks, and Story Circle are all very effective against the creature decks. Here’s the list:
- 2 Sacred Mesa
- 4 Wrath of God
- 2 Story Circle
- 4 Condemn
- 3 Mana Tithe
- 3 Oblivion Ring
- 3 Endless Horizons
- 3 Hallowed Burial
I am also a big fan of Mana Tithe in a format which is very tempo oriented. The Mistveil Plains can be removed with Endless Horizons and then taken from the removed area whenever you feel you want it. As I mentioned before, Endless Horizons easily fits in here, but a retrace card like Cenn’s Enlistment just don’t seem right for this deck. Endless Horizons does, however, have a very nice interaction with Razormane Masticore. In addition, there is Sacred Mesa and Story Circle to take advantage of the extra Plains. The sideboard is very anti-creature, but I think that it can be more finely tuned later depending on which specific decks you expect to play against. I think this deck has a potential to hide in the shadows for a little while and storm a tournament littered with Elf, Faerie, and Merfolk decks.
Against Faeries, you board in the 4 Plumeveils and the 4 Porphyry Nodes. Take out 4 Condemn, 3 Hallowed Burial, and 1 Divinity of Pride. I don’t really like the Condemns here because Faeries is usually attacking with Bitterblossom tokens and can protect its creatures with a Scion of Oona. Porphyry Nodes is very handy against Bitterblossom tokens. In fact, the Porphyry Nodes don’t even target so you can still kill a Troll Ascetic or a faerie token with shroud.
Against Elves, board in 4 Plumeveil, 3 Unmake, and 1 Razormane Masticore for 3 Mana Tithe, 2 Sacred Mesa, and 2 Divinity of Pride. I think that Mana Tithe probably isn’t the best against a deck with extra mana elves. Also, Sacred Mesa seems too slow here. The reasoning here is that the Elf deck can come out very fast and still kill you with Treetop Village, Mutavault, and Profane Command even after you are able to play a board sweeper. Condemn, Plumeveil, and Unmake can help deal with those threats.
Against Merfolk, I would board in 4 Plumeveil, 3 Unmake, and 1 Razormane Masticore. Take out 1 Oblivion Ring, 2 Sacred Mesa, 2 Story Circle, and 3 Divinity of Pride. This boarding is almost the same as elves except that Mana Tithe can really help you out in the early game. When Merfolk comes out of the gates quickly, it’s very difficult to stop. Thus, we have quite a few cards to slow down the game to a point where our power cards are just better.
Against Reveillark, board in 3 Unmake, 1 Razormane Masticore, and 1 Purity for 3 Condemn and 2 Story Circle. Against this deck, they have far more ways to draw cards and maintain card advantage in the late game. Because of this, we want to try and win as quickly as possible. Bringing in the Unmakes is to make sure that you can kill a Sower of Temptation. Probably not the best matchup, but it’s definitely winnable.
Against Quick n’ Toast, bring in 3 Unmake, 1 Razormane Masticore, and 1 Purity. Take out 3 Condemn and 2 Story Circle. You play pretty much the same way as you do against Reveillark. Try and win quickly, but it’s not as essential as when playing against Reveillark.
Against Red decks with creatures, bring in 4 Plumeveil, 1 Razormane Masticore, 1 Purity, and 2 Story Circle. Take out 3 Oblivion Ring 3 Hallowed Burial, and 2 Crovax, Ascendant Hero. If they are primarily burn spells, then board in just the Purity and the Story Circles for 3 Hallowed Burial. Unfortunately, you’ll have quite a few dead cards against the burn deck. If you expect a lot of these decks, you can change the sideboard slightly. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
I hope you enjoyed this look at Standard. While the stronger decks in the current metagame appear to lose little of their power with the introduction of Eventide, all is not lost. There are fringe strategies and innovative decks out there that have the capacity to win tournaments… good luck in finding yours!
Until next time…