Before we get into what’s already been previewed, I have a gift for all of
Last year, when I was working for Wizards of the Coast, I made a card to
help fight off a pesky little creature that was doing work in the Future
Future League: Adanto Vanguard. An issue that I found with black decks was
that they lacked early interaction that gained life. Fatal Push is great,
but it was quite a joke against the resilient Vampire.
So with that, I thought back to the good old days of Theros…
Times have since changed and while Theros sported a devotion
mechanic making BB not all that difficult, BB in today’s Standard is a bit
harder on the mana (especially in the Grixis decks I had been working on).
Take a moment and check out this new card!
My hope is that Moment of Craving is something for black decks to use
against Ramunap Red and other pesky creature decks to use in the future.
May all of your black sideboards be better in 2018!
Since Rivals of Ixalan is the second set of Ixalan block,
we can expect tribes like Vampires and Dinosaurs to get a shot in the arm.
Hopefully these new additions can push tribal strategies from fringe
players into competitive Standard decks. Merfolk, as an example, is a tribe
that has seen little success in Standard, but with Rivals of Ixalan, there are a lot more shots at the tribe!
I think Merfolk Mistbinder is likely the most important Merfolk to be
previewed this week for the success of the archetype. Merfolk decks have
always thrived off of lords in the past and this Standard format doesn’t
look like any exception. But we’re all used to Merfolk lords pumping the
rest of their friends.
Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca is something we’re not used to at all. Kumena had
many different abilities during its time in the Future Future League, but
where it ended up is a pretty exciting addition to Merfolk. A deck like
this doesn’t prefer to get itself into a grindy affair, but in the off
chance that it does, Kumena provides Merfolk something it never had before:
longevity. Four toughness also happens to be a nice bonus in a format full
of Lightning Strikes, Abrades, and Rogue Refiners.
- 4 Silvergill Adept
- 4 Kumena's Speaker
- 4 Merfolk Branchwalker
- 2 River Sneak
- 3 Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca
- 4 Seafloor Oracle
- 4 Merfolk Mistbinder
- 3 Jadelight Ranger
- 2 Swift Warden
One Merfolk that I didn’t talk about much in the decklist above is
Jadelight Ranger. While it has the appropriate creature type for a Merfolk
deck, the place I actually suspect it will show up most is alongside
Winding Constrictor. If you have Winding Constrictor on the battlefield and
Jadelight Ranger hits a nonland on its first explore, you’re looking at a
The nice thing here is that both Winding Constrictor and Jadelight Ranger
are both good cards on their own but also interact well together. Because
of this, I suspect Temur Energy may start to decline as the front running
Energy deck in Standard, and we could see a real shift back towards Sultai
as Jadelight Ranger gives Sultai Energy a three-drop that doesn’t heavily
rely on having a two-drop on the battlefield.
But what if Rivals of Ixalan created a brand new Winding
- 4 Longtusk Cub
- 2 Bristling Hydra
- 4 Winding Constrictor
- 4 Walking Ballista
- 4 Paladin of Atonement
- 3 Elenda, the Dusk Rose
- 4 Jadelight Ranger
Winding Constrictor just got two other brand new friends in Rivals of
Ixalan. The mana here might not be the best to support Paladin of
Atonement, so it’s possible it isn’t worth it in conjunction with Winding
Constrictor, but it’s definitely good in Vampires where you can play eight
You may notice my sideboard has a new card as well in Journey to Eternity.
I think this card has a huge potential as a very highly impactful sideboard
card for midrange mirrors. It also combos extremely well with Walking
A lot of us in the Future Future League felt that green needed a solid
creature that could deal with both artifact and enchantments, so we made
this! Thrashing Brontodon plays really well against the double-faced
enchantments from Ixalan, as well older cards like Cast Out and
Heart of Kiran. At the very least, I suspect this to be a heavily played
sideboard card moving forward but I wouldn’t be surprised if it broke out
Another deck that I played a lot with in the Future Future League used
- 4 Longtusk Cub
- 2 Bristling Hydra
- 4 Whirler Virtuoso
- 4 Servant of the Conduit
- 4 Rogue Refiner
- 3 Glorybringer
- 4 Timestream Navigator
If you play a Timestream Navigator with six total mana available and nine
permanents on the battlefield with a Saheeli Rai with four loyalty
counters, you can take a minimum of three turns in a row. That may seem
like I just created a scenario that sounds outlandish, but I don’t really
think so. The key is having other creatures on the battlefield to kill the
opponent because your mana is going to be tied up over the next few turns.
Imagining an Energy deck that had this package in it isn’t that hard to do.
Now that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m certainly waiting for someone
like Matt Nass to show me the full potential of this combo. It’s certainly
fragile and things need to go right to a certain degree, but this seems
powerful to me. Hopefully Timestream Navigator finds a place in Standard
because I think it’s a pretty cool card.
Speaking of cool cards, Awakened Amalgam is one of the coolest designed
cards in Rivals of Ixalan, and I truly think there’s
something there. Abrade makes for a slightly tougher environment for the
Golem, but I still think it’s very much worth exploring. The cool part
about building with Awakened Amalgam is that your manabase looks like a
Commander deck so I’m sure our Commander VS friends will be sleeving this
up in no time. Here’s quick look at an Awakened Amalgam decklist I worked
on in the Future Future League:
- 1 Forest
- 1 Swamp
- 1 Mountain
- 1 Dragonskull Summit
- 4 Rootbound Crag
- 1 Aether Hub
- 1 Blooming Marsh
- 1 Canyon Slough
- 4 Sheltered Thicket
- 1 Painted Bluffs
- 1 Desert of the Indomitable
- 1 Desert of the Fervent
- 1 Desert of the Glorified
- 1 Scavenger Grounds
- 1 Hostile Desert
- 1 Ifnir Deadlands
- 1 Ramunap Ruins
- 1 Hashep Oasis
- 1 Dunes of the Dead
This deck uses Cathartic Reunion to help fill the graveyard with lands so
that you can play them off Ramunap Excavator or get them off World Shaper.
Other than that it’s kind of an old school Jund style deck with huge
threats in the form of Amalgams and planeswalkers. I’m definitely excited
to start brewing with this card again as I think there is a lot of room to
Rivals of Ixalan
has me hopeful for a really awesome Standard environment. I haven’t even
gotten to wrap my head around everything that’s been previewed so far, but
cards like Form of the Dinosaur and Hutali, Radiant Champion are really
cool cards that require unique new builds.