Preparing For Next Weekend’s Dallas Standard

Next weekend will be SCG Dallas, a team event. That means some new form of Standard will be on display, and Brennan DeCandio has an excellent early start on the new strats!

While it’s no secret that I’m not thrilled about the fact that the SCG Open
in Dallas was changed from an individual Standard event to a Team
Constructed event, I am excited to play some new decks and strategies that
have gotten the boost they need to compete! Of course it seems that Merfolk
might have gotten bit of the hype thus far, the forgotten tribe out of


itself was Vampires. While it’s completely unclear where the format might
head towards with the Banned and Restricted announcement coming Monday and
many, including myself, expecting to see something from the Temur Energy
shell receiving the axe, there’s still some room to theorize without that
information readily available.

From what we’ve seen I think there are two ways to go about building the
Vampire tribe and both could have legs depending on the metagame.

Adapting the shell of an old Standard mainstay and turning it into a much
more aggressive version of itself seems like a perfect way to bring
Vampires into the light of competitive play. Our Squadron Hawk look-a-like
serves as fuel for this fire, creating an army of Warriors that we can use
to swarm the battlefield and utilize our many Deserts we get to play to
push through just about any defense.

We may have lost Bygone Byshop and some other notable evasive threats, but
with Oketra’s Monument pumping out tokens it’s easy to see this deck
achieve the city’s blessing and make your Skymarcher Aspirant into a
relevant air force late when the ground gets clogged up. Radiant Destiny
functions as an Always Watching that can pump our tokens we make from
Legion’s Landing and the little Goblin Rabblemaster that could in Mavren
Fein, Dusk Apostle.

The other way I think this deck is more likely to end up is a B/W version
to take advantage of some of the more card draw that the black Vampires
have built-in.

Never did I ever believe we’d see a new card that rivaled the power of
Elvish Visionary, but here we are.

While highly innocuous on the surface, if Rogue Refiner has taught us
anything it’s that drawing a card when attached to a creature is an ability
to be respected. This little Vampire might not generate energy ,but it puts
fuel in the fire for tribal synergies without much risk involved card
advantage wise.

Another card I’m super thrilled about is Champion of Dusk. For those who’ve
never cast Regal Force, prepare to be amazed! This card can generate a ton
of card advantage at the cost of a little bit of life. With Sanctum Seeker
helping to offset that life loss along with all the other lifelinkers in
the deck, the only issue left to solve for these heavy hitters is the fact
that Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Glorybringer prey on creatures with
four toughness like nobody’s business. That’s where Radiant Destiny comes
in! With five being such a pivotal point on the toughness curve these days,
an Anthem effect for all our creatures that has the possibility of helping
us get out of removal range is just what the doctor ordered.

While I’m not sold on the card Twilight Prophet being quite good enough, if
it were to have a fifth point of toughness then we’d certainly want to give
it a try. The only problem here is that there’s no immediacy to the ability
Twilight Prophet brings to the table, whereas a card like Sanctum Seeker
also benefits from having a fifth point and can help swing the race back in
your favor with its drain ability as well as give you a life point buffer
for any future Champion of Dusk!

Whether or not a deck like this can compete with the current industry
standard of Temur Energy or not isn’t clear. Whether or not that will be
relevant come Monday also isn’t clear. If you’re interested in trying out a
bunch of new cards and also what the face of Standard will look like later
this year, I can certainly see this deck picking up a couple new tools in
the coming year, taking it to the higher tiers of competitiveness even if
it’s not there now.

One deck I consider my brainchild,and am so happy to say has been super
charged to the point of what I believe will be one of the best decks going
forward is…

While Ravenous Chupacabra might

make Patrick Sullivan cringe

, it’s the world we’re living in now, and I plan to take full advantage of
the cards available in this new world. Hostage Taker occupied this slot on
the curve but was always a risk that they finally got to use the removal
spell they’ve been holding onto on something actually worth killing. With
Ravenous Chupacabra here, we don’t care whether or not it lives, and it’s
likely we’re thrilled that it chump blocks and triggers our Gate to the

On top of having previously mentioned tribal synergies, Dusk Legion Zealot
has the added bonus of being spectacular fodder for this kind of deck, much
like Seeker’s Squire does except with the guarantee of being able to
replace itself. Finally with a critical mass of great creatures to serve as
fodder, this deck can go from fringe playable to a Constructed powerhouse
we can all learn to respect.

It is true that Ravenous Chupacabra certainly is a game changer for most of
the format and cards that we could once upon a time cast might fall by the
wayside entirely. A card that I had extremely high hopes for that might
just be relegated to a format like Commander is Azor, the Lawbringer.

Revelation Sphinx had all the makings of being a sick control finisher with
really only Vraska, Relic Seeker being the way to deal with it out of most
any deck. We would have a card that potentially competes with Torrential
Gearhulk for control shells as the effect here is quite unique. With that
in mind, we have to see if we can use this card in another shell that might
not be as obvious at first glance as it may seem.

This deck wants to make the best use of Growing Rites of Itlimoc to power
out cards that are huge mana sinks like Walking Ballista and now, Azor, the
Lawbringer who can do its best Sphinx’s Revelation impression, while
protecting your battlefield from a Fumigate even for just a turn can be
enough to seal the deal. While Azor, the Lawbringer might be just as
vulnerable as ever against Ravenous Chubacabra, the fact that many of your
more important threats are token creatures and ones with eternalize should
make the impact it creates feel lessened.

One final deck I want to explore a bit more now with more of the previously
introduced mechanics from Ixalan getting some supplemental cards
from Rivals of Ixalan is an old favorite of mine mirroring the
days of Delirium, if only in color.

Previously it felt like there was just a card or two missing from making
these two payoffs for having a ton of explore creatures in your deck
worthwhile. With the addition of Jadelight Ranger giving you double
triggers by itself, it seems like having a vehicle that can get bigger than
any Longtusk Cub could hope to get. Ravenous Chubacabra shows its ugly head
once again as a real way to clear the path for your Shadowed Caravel while
providing a body to crew it and give your opponent some serious beat down!

The inclusion of Dreamstealer is to give you a card that is okay when cast
on turn 3 against most decks as well as being a card you don’t mind
flipping over into your graveyard with an explore to dig you deeper for
more of your payoffs as well as a tool to use later. You could also go as
deep to include Resilient Khenra as more eternalize threats, giving you
more staying power late in the game that also works very well alongside

All in all there are a ton of new decks that I think will emerge from this
set given the banning of several cards from the current energy decks. I,
like many, am assuming as much and it’s always good to think ahead since
getting a few days ahead on preparation for the competition can make all
the difference. If not, then you’d better be ready and sit back for what
I’m sure will be an Attune with Aether-filled day in the wild wild west of
SCG Dallas Standard!

Next week we’ll know more, and I’ll give you all the details about what you
should expect, and where I’m at as far as decks go for the opening weekend
of Rivals of Ixalan!