Hello! I’m glad to hear you enjoy my articles so far.
In this article, I would like to speculate on Time Spiral legal Standard decks first, looking both at what they gained and what they lost. After that, I would like to give a brief nod to the metagame of a big Time Spiral Standard tournament held recently in Japan: The Lord of Magic Championship.
Here we go!
The loss of Flames of the Blood Hand is a big problem for Gruul. Before Time Spiral, if Gruul met a Loxodon Hierarch or Faith’s Fetters, they could prevent opponents from gaining life. But after Time Spiral, this is no longer an option, so Gruul becomes weaker against those cards and decks.
The good news is that there are no Umezawa’s Jittes from now on. Gruul often lost to Paladin En-Vec equipped with Jitte… that scenario is now a thing of the past. And the deck gains Call of the Herd, strong against Wrath of God.
The strongest creature, Kird Ape, is still alive, so Gruul will never disappear… I think you must first think about your game versus Gruul when you build a new deck.
The biggest problem for Zoo is the loss of Isamaru. This deck was played as a Sligh-like deck, and Isamaru was the best of all the one-mana creatures. Yes, you can play Magus of the Scroll, or even Icatian Javelineers, but they are much worse than the legendary hound.
In spite of this great loss, Zoo is a still good deck because they can play Lightning Helix and Loxodon Hierarch (in the sideboard). Helix is the best spell in this environment, and Loxodon Hierarch is lethal for Gruul. As I mentioned, you must think about beating Gruul first… therefore, Zoo is a nice choice.
What they lost: Isamaru, Hound of Konda; Umezawa’s Jitte; Hand of Honor; Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
What they gained: Icatian Javelineers, Soltari Priest, Magus of the Scroll, Serra Avenger, Knight of Holy Nimbus
Soltari Priest is the strongest two-mana creature after the rotation. His Protection from Red is good against most decks, except Solar Flare. I see many Izzet players unable cope with this funky priest.
Serra Avenger has a big weakness, but Boros needs some strong creatures like Zoo’s Watchwolf. Of course, Boros does not usually get to four mana or higher, so this Angel is a great edition for the deck. This creature is often summoned after Wrath of God or Wildfire… White Weenie is a very reasonable choice nowadays, isn’t it?
What they lost: Yosei, the Morning Star; Kodama of the North Tree, Arashi, the Sky Asunder; Umezawa’s Jitte
What they gained: Saffi Eriksdotter, Thelonite Hermit, Yavimaya Dryad, Griffin Guide, Call of the Herd, Stonewood Invocation
Selesnya lost those three great creatures. The biggest loss is Yosei.
The Yosei plus Greater Good combo owned many control decks, but you can’t play them from now on. In addition to this, Selesnya lost Jitte, and became unable to cope with creatures with nice activated abilities (like Jaya Ballard).
Selesnya became weaker against control decks, but you know it is awesome against Gruul, Zoo, Boros, and other aggro decks. There will be many players who love to play Selesnya. [Yup, I’m one of them! — Craig.]
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 3 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Loxodon Hierarch
- 4 Selesnya Guildmage
- 3 Saffi Eriksdotter
- 3 Thelonite Hermit
- 4 Yavimaya Dryad
In this list I don’t pick Watchwolf, because there are a lot of 3/3 creatures named Elephant token around these days. I think Saffi is a better two-drop in this deck.
What they lost: Umezawa’s Jitte; Isamaru, Hound of Konda; Hand of Honor; Hand of Cruelty; Tallowisp; Promise of Bunrei; Descendant of Kiyomaro
What they gained: Stupor, Soltari Priest, Dauthi Slayer, Bad Moon, Serra Avenger, The Rack
First of all, we can no longer Promise to win with four 1/1 spirits, or search out Enchant Creature Auras from our library. This deck seemed great because Umezawa’s Jitte helped stem the Dark Confidant’s life-loss drawback.
After the rotation, this deck must be prepared to kill its own Confidant. And because of the loss of Descendant of Kiyomaro, this deck becomes weaker against Gruul and Boros.
Ghost Council of Orzhova is still great after the rotation. This creature is the best four-mana creature in Standard, even though he will be killed by Sudden Death. [Best four-mana guy in Standard? A certain lifegaining pachyderm would like a word with you… – Craig.]
Of course, the pair of Timeshifted Shadow-creatures works best in Orzhov. If you choose Black creatures only, Bad Moon could be nice. The Rack is good with Orzhov’s hand-destruction spells like Castigate, Cry of Contrition, Screeching Grotesque, Stupor, etc.
There are many ways to build Orzhov beats (again). I think this guild is the most interesting to build, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts.
Feel free to play Mortifies. There are no Dragons to wreck us when they hit the graveyard!
This deck also seems nice, thanks to Jitte’s departure. Of course, they no longer has creature removal… oops, wait! Psionic Blast.
Bogardan Hellkite’s flash ability is best for this deck. Before Time Spiral, they sometimes tapped out to cast a Keiga before they completed the Urzatron. However, this should now never occur. Of course, 6RR is not easy to get, but what if they’ve assembled an early ‘Tron? I’m afraid to face this deck powered in such a brutal fashion.
Draining Whelk is the second finisher. It is nice especially against control decks like Solar Flare. Izzet-Tron had a trouble when Solar Flare got a lot of mana, and Remand or Mana Leak became useless, but Whelk solves that problem. You know Cancel is not good for Izzet-Tron, but Whelk is nice because when they get UU they often have a lot of mana.
The loss of Sensei’s Diving Top means the death of Counterbalance. You must not play Dark Confidant. But you still have Scrying Sheets, and snow cards, which are good against control decks. Phyrexian Ironfoot can stop Elephants, and if you play a lot of Blue mana Teferi is very cool.
Think Twice is a cool card drawing spell, especially in this kind of deck. Try it and feel its power.
There is a big problem with how to beat aggro decks, but when you solve it, this deck will become your best friend.
What a boring deck this is… Yes, they lost Eye of Nowhere, and got nothing from TS. Avalanche Rider is a good card, but it can’t help Magnivore, and this kind of deck usually hates to pay his echo cost, so I think Demolish is better.
Someone says we still have Boomerang, and so this deck will never disappear… but I don’t think so. This deck was strong because they had eight copies of Boomerang. (There were lists playing just Eye of Nowhere, but I think those were not as strong.)
I give you sample list, but I don’t recommend you to play this deck.
Now let’s take a brief look at the Japanese metagame…
I recently participated in a big Time Spiral Standard tournament, the Lord of Magic Championship in Japan. In this tournament, many respected Japanese rogue deckbuilders and decks made their names. For example, Ghazi-Glare was first played in this tournament last year.
I made the Top 8 playing my original Simic beatdown deck, Scrub and Force. Here is the list:
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 3 Mystic Snake
- 4 Plaxmanta
- 4 Scryb Ranger
- 3 Spectral Force
- 4 Yavimaya Dryad
Many people have questioned why I didn’t play Solar Flare. My answer is simple: it couldn’t beat my new deck.
Overall, my metagame speculation was right. There were a lot of Gruul and Boros beatdown decks. Solar Flare and Izzet-Tron were following these as the second-most popular choices. And there was a nice rogue deck that featured Dragonstorm. Akira Asahara played this deck and finished in second place. The deck is so good that you may see a lot of it in your Champs tournaments. Beware its power! If you would like to beat it, play Shadow of Doubt, Trickbind, Parallectric Feedback, etc.
Few players played Magnivore, and there were many different kinds of Solar Flare (as I thought there would be, in my last article). It is difficult to tell which deck is the best, but I would say Solar Flare is not necessarily best. Izzet-Tron got many good cards from Time Spiral, and so it’s harder to beat that deck with Solar Flare.
The Champs’ metagame should almost be the same as the Lord of Magic Championships. If you plan to take part in Champs, you should tune your deck to defeat aggro, and put many cards for beating control decks in your sideboard.
I hope this article will be some help for your tournaments!