Now we’re really underway! Not only are we in the first week of Khans of Tarkir Standard, but from a personal perspective, this article is very special! But first the news.
For those of you who followed the Standard coverage last weekend at the Open Series, you got to see what the beginning of our new metagame looks like.
There’s been a huge shake-up. Everyone on StarCityGames.com is writing about the best decks, and I want to cover them too.
First, let’s look at the only real returning player.
- 4 Elvish Mystic
- 4 Polukranos, World Eater
- 1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
- 4 Sylvan Caryatid
- 4 Stormbreath Dragon
- 1 Boon Satyr
- 2 Courser of Kruphix
- 4 Goblin Rabblemaster
Brian Brackett’s G/R Monster list added only a couple cards (Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker and Wooded Foothills), and the base of the deck remained unaffected
by the transition. It seems like a world without Burning-Tree Emissary is still a healthy one for a G/R deck. Just leave out Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and
voila! Polukranos, World Eater still rumbles with the best of them, that won’t change until the Hydra vanishes this time next year.
Beyond this staple, the vast majority of successful decks incorporated copious amounts of new three-color workhorses and painful manabases. Among my
personal favorites was Jadine Klomparens Jeskai Tempo list.
In the Garden State, Jadine piloted a fine-tuned tempo list to the Top 8. Kevin Jones, the winner of that event, had a similar list. Jadine, on the other
hand, planned to put you out of business with cheap protection and reactive spells like Gods Willing and the outstanding Deflecting Palm. Seeker of the
Way, a card I’d been considering for a bit (and as an addition to Modern Cube) is an all-around impressive bruiser. Her list is clean, and I think ones
like it will be a forced to be reckoned with.
Admittedly, when Khans first began its spoiler season, I was a bit pessimistic, assuming the format would eventually devolve into endless three-color good
stuff decks that basically tried to stick a more relevant threat than the opponent to win the game. Jeskai, as just one of the new wedges, has already
proven versatile, including a successful foray into the combo world.
- 4 Commune with the Gods
- 4 Dragon Mantle
- 1 Nylea's Presence
- 1 Astral Cornucopia
- 4 Retraction Helix
- 3 Twinflame
- 1 Briber's Purse
- 2 Taigam's Scheming
- 3 Dig Through Time
- 4 Jeskai Ascendancy
In Indy, Andrew Baeckstrom crafted a four-color Jeskai Ascendancy brew that differed greatly from my three-color plan I briefly covered last week. The tightness of the package and the utilization of the spicy
Taigam’s Scheming, which at best can make your next Dig Through Time two mana by itself, creates a lot of sifting. Hats off to Andrew for his build.
There’s yet hope for the Johnnies who’ve forgotten Standard exists!
It seemed that the white wedges did best: Abzan, Mardu, and Jeskai all put up strong performances on the backs of Siege Rhino, Butcher of the Horde, and
Mantis Rider, respectively. Sultai had strong performers too, and our own Brad Nelson led the charge.
- 4 Sylvan Caryatid
- 4 Courser of Kruphix
- 4 Satyr Wayfinder
- 1 Soul of Innistrad
- 3 Necropolis Fiend
- 4 Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
- 2 Rakshasa Deathdealer
His heavy delve package gave him an 11th place finish in Jersey, and admittedly, the delve decks I saw looked mighty fun. I can’t wait to Dig Through Time
or play a Necropolis Fiend. I believe the Fiend might be severely underrated at the moment, as casting a game-ending threat for two mana shouldn’t be set
Temur, on the other hand, underperformed, with only a couple Temur Monsters lists near the top. Most of the Temur decks opted out of blue to keep the deck
consistent and realizing that going three-color added little to the deck’s performance level. Is Savage Knuckleblade actually strong enough to make the
leap? Only one of the two decks that made either Top 16 played them, despite it being the poster child for its clan in the same vein as Butcher of the
Horde and Mantis Rider.
With that in mind, is there a deck that answers these problems? Well, I’d like to think there is.
- 4 Ajani's Pridemate
- 4 Soldier of the Pantheon
- 4 Hopeful Eidolon
- 2 Mogis's Marauder
- 4 Pain Seer
- 4 Underworld Coinsmith
- 2 Herald of Anafenza
- 2 Grim Haruspex
Most of mono-white’s problems these days arise from cheap red removal, Courser of Kruphix, and late game irrelevance. On the backs of cards like Ajani’s
Pridemate, Underworld Coinsmith, and Mogis’s Marauder, you’re planning to outclass cards from Goblin Rabblemaster to Polukranos, World Eater.
Hopeful Eidolon can trigger the Pridemate early, or it can get equipped later on to provide some extra swing. Mogis’s Marauder, one of my favorite sleepers
from Theros Block, can help white creatures sneak past all but the rammiest of Nyx-Fleece Rams. I’m stealing Jadine’s Gods Willing; this is a great
addition when you’re dodging clunky removal like Utter End, Hero’s Downfall, or if you need to sneak past the largest bruiser your opponent has. I’d hope
that this list, while preliminary, is well-balanced, easy to cast, and should provide for some variety for those who prefer a different blend of aggro.
Similarly, based on the success of Mantis Rider in this week’s Open Series events, I’ve adjusted my Brimaz artifact deck too, and in playtesting, it has
outshone any former iteration by thousands of lumens.
- 4 Shrapnel Blast
- 4 Springleaf Drum
- 3 Spear of Heliod
- 4 Stoke the Flames
- 4 Ensoul Artifact
- 4 Jeskai Charm
- 1 Treasure Cruise
With the inclusion of Jadine’s creature suite and the eviction of even the eponymous Chief Engineer, we’re attempting to establish a sturdy grip on the
burn plan while maintaining multiple avenues of opponent extinction through the leverage of artifacts. Brimaz was the wrong choice; Mantis Rider beats it
by an American mile, and at a fifth the price.
“These aren’t very brew-y,” you might be thinking. Well, there’s a very good reason for that. As I said earlier, this week is a bit special for me, and I
hope it will be for you too.
Well folks, we did it. This week marks my 100th article for StarCityGames.com. Today marks the 100th time I’ve scanned a list of brews to decide what to
cover and the 100th time I’ve hit the “send” button to my editor, and I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to everyone reading this right now.
It’s because of your kind words, your dedication to the game and the spirit of brewing, and the fun that you bring to your communities that I’ve gotten the
chance to write for you every single week.
Last summer I hosted some form of a contest nearly every week where I asked you, the deckbuilder, to craft something worth sharing based on a set
guidelines. I loved hearing your concepts and your strategies, but most of all, I enjoyed hearing the excitement from your words and the evidence of this
zeal within your deck. That’s what got me started down this path, and it’s still so fun to see people excited about doing crazy stuff with a stack of sixty
This week’s challenge is straightforward, and I may have even done one quite similar to it in the past, but it will put your brewing to the test. In
celebration of my 100th article, I want to invite you to create a Standard deck that, with the seventy-five cards, costs less than $100.
That’s right. Not counting sleeves or a deckbox, your maindeck and sideboard are built with cards that you could buy with a single
- Format: Standard
- Create a deck (sixty cards, fifteen-card sideboard) that in total costs no more than $100.
- For the purposes of pricing, I’m considering NM/M, nonfoil copies of the most recent printing of a card based on StarCityGames.com
non-sale prices. Old Polluted Deltas are much more expensive than ones from Khans of Tarkir, so rest assured I will count the cost based on the
most recent SCG price. This is the most centralized and easy method to confirm the cost. Shipping and tax, obviously, are not included; just the
raw card prices will be counted.
- For the purposes of this challenge, basic lands cost a standardized $0.25 each, so don’t worry about which printing; they will count towards your
$100 dollar total though.
- A fifteen-card sideboard must be included! I want this to be something someone can pick up right off the page and get what they
need to play on Friday.
- This submission will be due on Saturday, October
at 11:59 PM PDT.
- Send submissions to untappedscg at gmail.com!
More than just the fun of submitting a brew, there’s something tangible in it for you!
I will choose one deck to feature next week as part of my article, as well as my own submission. The submitter of this deck will receive a
very special prize. The winner will receive a FOIL playset of EACH Khans of Tarkir “cland;” that’s four each of Mystic Monastery, Frontier
Bivouac, Opulent Palace, Sandsteppe Citadel, and Nomad Outpost in shiny, premium glory. That’s an $80 value right there, and I want to offer that to you as
another way to say thank you for your weekly submissions and your participation in the world of brewing. I am happy to
sign them for you if you’d like a one-of-a-kind set!
This week, I’m looking for creativity, synergy, and effectiveness. I want to see something unique, I want to see something that works well with itself, and
I want to see something that works well. Because we’re still fresh in Khans of Tarkir, the brewing landscape is wide open. I encourage you to
remember your audience; I love off-the-wall cards and combinations, and if they kill your opponent, all the better. When you submit your decklist, the more
detail you give me about your deck’s plan, the more clearly I can see it and credit you for your work. I’m not necessarily looking for a Standard-defining
powerhouse but something that we can all pick up for fun at a local FNM and do well, maybe even winning outright.
You can submit your requests to untappedscg at gmail.com; don’t submit them in the comments. I’ll take your most recent submission, so
feel free to submit tweaks, but I will only judge the same person once. Once I’ve selected a winner and I’ve announced it in my weekly article next week, I
will inform the winner and collect shipping information and any other info to get you your hard-earned prize!
I can’t wait to read your submissions, and again, thank you for untapping with me every week! Here’s to a hundred more!