Video Daily Digest: Rites Of Flourishing

Leave it to Ross Merriam to go right for the Gaea’s Cradle card! Ross takes this new brew built around new mechanics and a much-hyped card that was inevitable for a break out!

We’ve seen several token decks emerge in Standard as an answer to the dearth of sweepers in the metagame, but whether they are based around Hidden Stockpile, Call to the Feast, or Servo Exhibition, none of them have proven to be consistent performers.

Today’s list is another deck that tries to go wide, but with a few wrinkles from some heretofore unheralded cards. The big one is Growing Rites of Itlimoc. It’s the perfect card to cast off of Sram’s Expertise, since you’ll nearly always have another creature on the battlefield to get an immediate transformation unless your opponent has a removal spell.

Once transformed, there are a few ways to use the extra mana from your Gaea’s Cradle. You can go over the top with big spells. Angel of Invention gives you a huge battlefield while Ajani Unyielding quickly runs away with the game by generating card advantage. If you want to end the game quickly, you can sink mana into Shefet Dunes to set up a big attack, or you can control the battlefield by casting a gigantic Walking Ballista.

There are plenty of ways to use the extra mana, but they all come in packages that are effective even when your mana isn’t supercharged, similar to Eldrazi Tron in Modern. That’s a great place to be from a consistency perspective, since you have powerful synergies but you aren’t dependent on them coming together every game.

The rest of the deck is clearly geared toward answering aggressive strategies. Wildgrowth Walker is excellent with the various explore creatures. One or two triggers should be enough to cement a close game against Mono-Red, and going with all Cast Outs for removal is a clear nod toward answering Hazoret the Fervent as efficiently as possible.

Should your metagame be less red heavy, you can manipulate the creature suite appropriately, perhaps playing Adanto Vanguard or Resilient Khenra in the two slot. You could also try Servo Exhibition and Master Trinketeer if you want another mana sink that further emphasizes the token theme.

It’s looking more and more like Standard is a battle between Hazoret-based aggressive decks and The Scarab God-based midrange and control decks, and while those are the two most powerful cards in Standard, having such a narrow metagame is always going to be exploitable. Blanking spot removal as much as possible seems to be the route to go for non-red aggro decks, and it’s only a matter of time before someone finds the right shell.