Video Daily Digest: The Puppeteer Clique

The most prestigious rogue group in Standard continues to exist after all the bans! The puppet masters never stray from their mastery over one of Standard’s most constantly fascinating strategies! Here’s the latest version!

Hidden Stockpile decks have been around in Standard for a while, since before the recent bans in fact. In concert with Anointed Procession there’s the potential for a powerful shell that can attrition nearly any opponent into a pile of dust, and the card selection provided by Hidden Stockpile helps find all the necessary pieces to the engine, forming a consistent, self-contained game plan.

The problem comes when your early attempts to set up are thwarted by Disenchant effects like Naturalize and Appetite for the Unnatural. If you don’t have the cards to rebuild quickly, the deck can feel like a house of cards, collapsing as your opponent runs roughshod over you.

However, with the recent bans, green as a color has taken a huge hit, and that’s the color with the majority of enchantment removal in Standard, making these enchantment-heavy lists much more attractive.

I particularly like today’s list for two reasons. First, Marionette Master, a card first and most vociferously championed by brewmeister extraordinaire Conley Woods, offers a seemingly attrition-focused deck the ability to combo kill the opponent. The threat of such a kill forces opponents into an awkward position where they can’t play around everything. Either they protect their life total and put themself in a worse position going long, or open themselves up to dying on the spot. It doesn’t take much effort to play a few copies of the card, and making four or more bodies for one card play well with the rest of the deck anyway, so it’ll never be bad. That’s perfect low risk/high reward Magic.

The second is the ability to interact profitably against aggressive decks. Fatal Push is the best early removal spell printed in years, and Fumigate and Baral’s Expertise are great cards for catching up from behind. With Expertise in particular the deck has a card that let’s you clear the battlefield of the most threatening permanents and land one of your key synergy pieces, Anointed Procession or Tezzeret the Schemer for free. Both of those cards take a huge loss in tempo to cast on turn 4 since you rarely have enough artifacts to kill a creature with Tezzeret’s -2 ability that early, so landing them on a turn where you’re doing something else is excellent.

Post-Ban Standard hasn’t been explored in a big stage yet, which likely means there’s plenty of room left for innovation. Highly synergistic decks like this one usually take some time to tune so I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like this emerge in the coming weeks as the kinks are worked out.