Naya Hexproof In Standard

Looking for a deck to play this weekend in Journey into Nyx Standard at SCG Open Series: Cincinnati? Four-time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor Michael Jacob recommends Naya Hexproof.

The card that promises to have the most impact from Journey into Nyx is Mana Confluence. The Temples and shock lands are great mana fixing, but more is required to make multicolored aggro decks fast enough to compete with their monocolored counterparts. The deck that likely benefits the most from the printing of Mana Confluence is Naya Hexproof.

Improving the shaky mana base is a step in the right direction, but Mana Confluence is not all that is necessary for Naya Hexproof to become successful. Fortunately, Journey into Nyx has many cards that can help shore up its weaknesses:

Today’s article will build Naya Hexproof from the ground up with Journey into Nyx in mind. We will go over each card choice as well as what could change in the next several months as Standard evolves.

We’ll begin with the cards are set in stone so we have a skeleton to build upon. Naya Hexproof is a strategy that places Auras onto creatures that the opponent cannot interact with. Journey into Nyx gives us an important piece to this puzzle, resulting in the beginning of the deck being full playsets of each hexproof creature.

4 Gladecover Scout
4 Bassara Tower Archer
4 Witchstalker

Next are the Auras to place on the hexproof creatures. The most powerful and efficient Auras to buff our creatures are a necessity.

4 Ethereal Armor
4 Madcap Skills
4 Unflinching Courage

Skipping ahead slightly to the mana base will help us to decide how many more spells we can fit in our starting 60 cards. The amount of lands is all we need at the moment, and fortunately we have many months of Naya Hexproof lists to peruse as a reference point. The vast majority of lists run 22 lands, which sounds right due to Naya Hexproof’s low curve and reliance on at least three mana to get things done in a timely fashion.

With the mana taking up 22 cards and the core of Naya Hexproof using 24, that leaves us with fourteen slots to work with. Using other lists as a reference point, we can surmise that the remaining areas left to fill are combat pumps, removal, and additional Auras.

Combat Pumps

Creatures sometimes get in the way of our hexproof horde. Powering through such hurdles is where these cards come in.

Each aspect of the Charm is utilized in Naya Hexproof. Indestructible is excellent against one of the best cards against us: Supreme Verdict. Double strike is often outshined by the direct four to a player, as most decks do not acquire attacking creatures with greater than four power. Fortunately Naya Hexproof does regularly, often turning Boros Charm into an additional five to ten damage. Lifelink also combos extremely well, making Boros Charm into a much cheaper Warleader’s Helix, which excellent in racing situations. The primary problem with Boros Charm is that it’s only good when things are even or you’re ahead. It does nearly nothing to assist while you’re behind.

Similar to Boros Charm, Selesnya Charm utilizes each of its three modes to full effect in Naya Hexproof. The 2/2 Knight is excellent against Devour Flesh and at blocking down early attackers. Exiling a large creature is rare, but Polukranos, World Eater; Desecration Demon; and Thassa, God of the Sea are all potential targets that could win the game if removed at the right time. The combat pump is fairly meager, and trample is its primary purpose. Most players (correctly) let a suited-up creature hit them a few times before chump blocking.

The trio of Ashcoat Bear, Reprisal, and Predator’s Strike is actually quite weak outside very specific scenarios, and you’re paying the price for versatility with low power. However, Selesnya Charm is excellent against Mono-Black Devotion and G/R Monsters, two of the more popular decks in the format. Its weakness is against R/W Burn and Mono-Blue Devotion.

Dealing with blockers will need to happen in nearly every game you play with Naya Hexproof. Gladecover Scout and Bassara Tower Archer are rather flimsy creatures with only one or two Auras attached, and +4/+4 is exactly what is needed to take down whatever is in the way and live to attack another turn. The wombo combo with Boros Charm’s double strike is lights out from nowhere, oftentimes even through blockers. The ability to actually cast Rampager provides a sizable body, excels against decks light on removal, and is nice to have when you have a poor draw.

Ghor-Clan Rampager’s problem is similar to Boros Charm, where it really only excels when things are going well. Lifebane Zombie has been a huge problem for Naya Hexproof, and Ghor-Clan Rampager’s greenness is a real danger here. It is excellent against U/W Control, white creature decks, and red creature decks; mediocre against Mono-Blue Devotion; and quite poor against Mono-Black Devotion.

Each of these combat pumps excels in different areas, but you don’t really want to draw more than one of any of them per game. Ghor-Clan Rampager and Boros Charm together in particular are far greater than the sum of their parts, so playing some of each is ideal.


Chained to the Rocks is a great card at killing creatures efficiently but has significant weaknesses. Some archetypes are nearly creatureless (R/W Burn and U/W Control), giving you a dead draw immediately. Chained to the Rocks also gets worse post-board in every matchup due to enchantment removal sided in by your opponent. A surprise Master of Waves (Cyclonic Rift or Detention Sphere) or Polukranos, World Eater (Golgari Charm, Abrupt Decay, or Destructive Revelry) brick walling an attack you thought was safe can end a game on the spot. There’s also a very real vulnerability to Peak Eruption, not only freeing the creature but stranding future Chained to the Rocks in your hand without a Mountain to enchant.

Oppressive Rays has been overlooked by many set reviewers as a potential Constructed playable. Using it as hard creature removal is not its purpose, as problematic creatures Master of Waves; Courser of Kruphix; and Thassa, God of the Sea are all things that are effective outside of attacking, blocking, or activated abilities. Chained to the Rocks definitely outclasses Oppressive Rays in this regard.

The advantage Oppressive Rays has is how easy it is to cast. Chained to the Rocks requires white mana and a Mountain to enchant, rendering it hard to cast before turn 4 in Naya Hexproof. Oppressive Rays requires only a single white, increasing the likelihood to cast it from eight sources to at least sixteen.

Banishing Light is even better than Chained to the Rocks at killing things and is just as easy to cast as Oppressive Rays. The problem lies in its high mana cost. The three-drop slot is glutted in Naya Hexproof, and there are few permanents you would want to remove over furthering your own attack plan by suiting up one of your creatures. The two matchups where this would be the case are U/W Control and the mirror match, both places where creature removal is dead. This makes it possible that a few copies of Banishing Light are worth playing, as it is those matchups that could certainly use the help.

Standard creatures mostly come from Mono-Blue Devotion and Mono-Black Devotion. This metagame would necessitate Chained to the Rocks far more than Oppressive Rays. However, if Journey into Nyx changes things so that there are a lot more Elvish Mystic, Firedrinker Satyr, Lotleth Troll, Tormented Hero, and Soldier of the Pantheon, Oppressive Rays starts looking a lot better.

Additional Auras

Griffin Guide and Elephant Guide both cost three and provide a leaves play ability, which is similar to Mogis’s Warhound. These cards are no longer legal in Standard, but they were played in their respective formats. The whole point of Naya Hexproof is to suit up small critters that you do not plan on dying at any point during the game. The power level is certainly there for the newest Mad Dog, but it needs to get value by hopping off a dying creature before it really shines.

Five mana is a lot to ask for from a 22-land deck, which means Boon Satyr is more of a 4/2 flash creatures first and an Aura second. Naya Hexproof isn’t really looking to be that sort of deck against anyone but U/W Control.

Eidolon of Countless Battles as a 3/3 surpasses Boon Satyr as a three-drop and often provides a larger bonus than Boon Satyr at four mana. While not as effective as Boon Satyr against Supreme Verdict, the bonus to toughness can really help make sure your smaller hexproof creatures like Gladecover Scout and Bassara Tower Archer are big enough to run over anyone who dares block their way. Mana Confluence provides the white sources necessary to make playing cards that require double green and double white a reality.

Final Touches

Mana Confluence may help Naya Hexproof the most, but I am under no delusion that the mana it provides is without a cost. Games against aggro decks where you have Unflinching Courage should be no big deal, but only having four copies means there will be games without a lifelink Aura.

Prior to Journey into Nyx, Naya Hexproof maindecked Fiendslayer Paladin because there were not enough creatures with hexproof. Lifelink and first strike are excellent abilities for a holder of Auras to have, but the problem is that the Paladin can be targeted by the very decks you need it against the most. Red aggro decks for example have Chained to the Rocks to handle it, Boros Reckoner to block and redirect the damage to it, Domri Rade to fight it, and Firefist Striker to completely ignore it.

Gift of Orzhova provides lifelink in a very similar way to Unflinching Courage. Bassara Tower Archer is not only a two-drop hexproof creature but a physically weak one that could use some assistance getting through creatures on the ground.

Choosing which lifelink avenue to go down will vary based on the metagame. Fiendslayer Paladin is good against Mono-Black Devotion, while Gift of Orzhova is better against G/x decks and Mono-Blue Devotion.

Half creature Aura and half Boros Charm, Ajani, Caller of the Pride seems versatile enough to warrant inclusion. Drawing multiple is pretty horrible, and ticking up his loyalty leaves you vulnerable to Hero’s Downfall and Detention Sphere, so you can’t play too many.

Mana Base

The amount of lands is useful to figure at the beginning of the deckbuilding process, but you can’t make the final decisions on which lands to use until you know what color mana you require.

Twelve shock lands and four copies of Mana Confluence are auto includes, especially with multiple ways to offset the life loss. This leaves six available slots from which to work with. There’s no compelling reason to play basic lands, so we can fill these last six slots with Temples or Guildgates. Bassara Tower Archer requires all of our come into play tapped lands to produce green mana given its mana cost. There are also a lot of double white spells, so maxing out on Temple of Plenty is ideal. The last two can be either Selesnya Guildgate or Temple of Abandon. Spending a precious turn to put a land into play tapped better fix my mana properly, so I’m going to try Selesnya Guildgate for now.

How Journey into Nyx will effect Standard is unknown, so the sideboard reflects that of a few weeks ago. Aegis of Honor comes in against Mono-Black Devotion, and Skylasher is for Mono-Blue Devotion. Ajani’s Presence comes in versus U/W Control. The rest is for aggro decks and the mirror, which I assume there will be a lot of the first week.

There are many ways to build a Naya Hexproof deck, and the cards I’ve chosen are the ones I feel are the best of the bunch. What is also important to talk about is the cards I do not think should be considered.

Cards You Should Not Play

Curving Voice of Resurgence, Witchstalker, and then Auras against Mono-Black Devotion seems like the ideal draw. In reality, half of the time they race you with Pack Rat or take your Witchstalker with Lifebane Zombie. The other half of the time they simply Bile Blight Voice of Resurgence, respond to the Elemental trigger, and then cast Devour Flesh. While dining on delicious wolf, you discover that your feeling of safety was merely an illusion, and the 1/1 will not get the job done. Contrast this with Bassara Tower Archer into Witchstalker and Auras, leaving your opponent having to have two copies of Devour Flesh.

Voice of Resurgence also underperforms in the other two matchups it is made for: U/W Control and red aggro. Being a targetable 2/2 leaves you vulnerable to Last Breath, Glare of Heresy, and Detention Sphere or ignored by Jace, Architect of Thought and Mutavault. Chained to the Rocks is in a majority of red decks and the ones that don’t have Firefist Striker or Chandra’s Phoenix to saunter past.

Voice of Resurgence was primarily used before Journey into Nyx because of a lack of two-drops in Naya Hexproof. Bassara Tower Archer fixes this problem and also gives us a reason to not have a targetable creature in the maindeck.

Monstrosity on this guy is a pipe dream. As a creature, it is likely worse than Voice of Resurgence.

Five mana in a 22-land deck is not what you’re looking for. Ajani, Mentor of Heroes is worse than Ajani, Caller of the Pride here, and Assemble the Legion is bad against the cards you lose to, which are Pack Rat and Lifebane Zombie.

Worse than Skylasher due to mana. Mono-Blue Devotion is one of Naya Hexproof’s best matchups and does not need more help.

A theoretical Magic card that is three to cast and three to equip that gives +3/+3 and unblockable is worse than Ajani, Caller of the Pride; Gift of Orzhova; and Eidolon of Countless Battles. Godsend is not even as good as this theoretical Magic card.

Why have conditional sorcery speed enchantment removal when you can have Glare of Heresy, Wear // Tear, or Banishing Light?

So you have time to cast a four-mana 2/2, untap with it alive, and have Auras to enchant it with? Sounds like you didn’t need Eidolon of Blossoms to win in the first place. An aggressive Naya Hexproof deck is not the place for this Striped Bear unless the entire room is full of only U/W Control and the mirror.

The SCG Standard Open in Cincinnati will be the first event with Journey into Nyx, and I believe Naya Hexproof has the tools needed to win it. There are many different builds available, but for an unknown metagame this list is where I would start. Try some of the alternatives I listed in the sections above to see if you agree with my observations.

Is Naya Hexproof poised to be the next tier 1 deck due to Journey into Nyx? I look forward to seeing what path is taken to earn the trophy in Cincinnati!