These Are The Decks To Start Your Standard Testing With

The Boss spent some time at Wizards of the Coast, but it did nothing to reduce his amazing ability to come up with strong decklists! In fact, he may be better than ever! Case in point? His new lists for a half dozen new Standard builds! Check them out here!

Ravnica Allegiance
previews are out, and I can’t wait to start brewing with the new set!

Let’s start with perhaps the most important future additions to Standard:

Breeding Pool Hallowed Fountain Stomping Ground Godless Shrine Blood Crypt

It’s been tough connecting the remaining guild color pairs since the
departure of the Kaladesh fastlands. The cycle of “enters the
battlefield tapped” lands like Cinder Barrens have left Orzhov, Rakdos,
Simic, Azorius, and Gruul decks with weaker manabases than their Guilds of Ravnica counterparts. Ravnica Allegiance
changes all that, on top off adding sweet colored cards as well.

Here I’ll be looking at some existing decks that benefit greatly from the
shocklands, as well as from some of the already previewed Ravnica Allegiance cards.

Jeskai Control

Oliver Tiu was the pilot of this latest take on Jeskai Control. It’s
similar the same approach Eli Kassis used to win

Grand Prix New Jersey in October

, except with the newly discovered tech of FIght with Fire and Expansion
for the full twenty.

This is really an Azorius deck splashing red for removal in Deafening
Clarion and Fight with Fire. Ionize just happens to be the most easily
castable counterspell, narrowly edging out Sinister Sabotage. You can take
or leave the one copy of Ral, Izzet Viceroy. The prohibitive mana cost of
Expansion // Explosion is mostly an afterthought for the manabase since you
cast it so late in the game. Without the presence of Niv-Mizzet, Parun in
the 75, the need for red early is welcome but not always a dealbreaker.

Absorb takes both parts from Ionize and Revitalize that you want. Of
course, Clifftop Retreat, Sacred Foundry, and basic Plains don’t mesh great
with the double-blue in Absorb (and Sinister Sabotage) so manabase
adjustments will be made. With incidental lifegain in Absorb, now
Revitalizes can be greatly slimmed or cut altogether. With more untapped
blue sources, Opt gets better.

With a better manabase, Field of Ruin starts to become a playable one-of
colorless land to gain an extra edge against Search or Azcanta and other
transform-lands from the Ixalan block as well as the Memorials
from Core Set 2019. It may be fine to have one, but for now I’d
shy away from it given the strict cost of Absorb.

Rakdos Midrange

Jim Davis has been championing Rakdos Midrange for a while now, streaming
it and even playing it in at SCG CON Winter earlier this month. He prefers
Angrath, the Flame-Chained while the Magic Online world prefers the
avoidance of planeswalkers for The Immortal Sun and a slight splash of
green for Find // Finality. Treasure Map has worked its way into the mix as
a way to gain card advantage without losing so much life to Midnight

Bedevil is an obvious inclusion to the strategy and if it didn’t already
have some solid turn-three plays, it might play the full set of four. The
deck plays mostly at sorcery speed (oftentimes Vraska’s Contempt, too) so
adding an instant doesn’t get as much weight as it could.

I personally like playing some one-ofs when I’m playing a card like
Treasure Map to get them and Find to dig them back up. Captain Lannery
Storm does a few small things, including some synergy with Treasure Map,
ramping to Siege-Gang Commander, and slickly avoiding getting blown up by a
Fiery Cannonade.

The addition of four shocklands leaves less room for Overgrown Tomb to
enter the battlefield tapped on an off turn, thus increasing shock damage
taken. For that reason, I like going down to three Overgrown Tomb and being
okay with casting Finality less often. Remember – Treasure tokens still do
the trick.

Dinosaurs / Gruul Monsters

We’ve been wanting to curve Llanowar Elves into huge monsters for a while
now with Gruul, but sadly Timber Gorge just wasn’t getting it done.
FEDERICOGNIBENE decided to just roll with Rootbound Crag and basics and
found themselves on the receiving end of a 5-0.

Nothing too big here. Gruul Spellbreaker is a great maindeck addition to
fight off the number of Settle the Wreckage that’s been popping up lately.
It’s as good of a payoff as any off of a Llanowar Elves, and the power to
cost rate gets you up to Ghalta, Primal Hunger quite well.

Simic Merfolk

Sam Black does a great job analyzing potential builds of Simic Merfolk
including Ravnica Allegiance
although Incubation // Incongruity hadn’t been previewed at the time.

I’d try to fit two in somewhere, likely cutting one creature and one spell
like Deepwater Waters or Dive Down. You don’t really have room for hard
removal in a tribal deck like Merfolk, but when it comes attached to a
pretty reliable creature Impulse.

Orzhov Vampires

Vampires is a great starter deck on MTG Arena. I started with it and
grinded for a few hours myself. Sadly though, without Concealed Courtyard,
the mana for it was just too clunky.

Getting to a requisite number of untapped white sources for Skymarcher
Aspirant while also reasonably getting a turn-4 Sanctum Seeker was a tall
ask without Godless Shrine. Vampires and Merfolk are two decks that really
suffered from not having their shockland during this current season Guilds of Ravnica Standard.

In the future, perhaps Orzhov Vampires will dethrone Boros Aggro as the top
white-based aggro deck the format.

Mono-Red Aggro

Last, but not least, one of the current top dawgs of Standard that likely
doesn’t need much more in terms of power to succeed in Ravnica Allegiance Standard: Mono-Red Aggro.

To my knowledge, it hasn’t been widely reported how Rix Maadi Reveler works
if it’s the last card played from your hand. The ability of discarding a
card happens to the fullest of its ability. Even if you have no cards, the
ability resolves. Then the card says to draw a card no matter what. Typically, on cards like these, you see “you may
do X. If you did X, do Y.” Here you just draw a card if you’re

The idea for Rix Maadi Reveler is to have the lategame traction that
Experimental Frenzy also has, but here, it’s with the spectacle cost. Now
that you don’t have a true four-drop in your deck anymore, and you don’t
have to play as many lands either. Rix Maadi Reveler is also nice to pitch
a spell like Risk Factor away for later to grow a Ghitu Lavarunner now.

With so much potential packed onto a Grizzly Bears, Rix Maadi Reveler is
currently my favorite previewed card so far.

What’s yours?