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Everything I Know About Naya Adventures In Strixhaven Standard

Seeking a Strixhaven Standard deck for the weekend? Brad Nelson is here to send you on Naya Adventures… maybe with something extra thrown in.

Jaspera Sentinel, illustrated by Raoul Vitale

I love Naya Adventures.

I thought for a bit on how to start this article, and “I love Naya Adventures” sums it up nicely. There are a ton of great decks in Strixhaven Standard right now so it’d be foolish of me to say, “This is the deck to play.” Instead, I’m just going to talk about my favorite deck, why it’s my favorite deck, all the cards I like to put into it, and even some different versions of it that I’m continuously working on. 

This is where you skip to the bottom for the sideboard guides. Yeah, plural! 

So what is it about Naya Adventures that causes me to love it so? Well I guess it would be a combination of all its parts and how well they synergize together. Take the Adventure package and how obviously powerful it is on its own. Now combine all these cheap (double) spells and combine them with a card like Showdown of the Skalds. It’s easy to deploy all the spells found by the Saga while pumping up your earlier squad for combat. 

I also love how these two cards work together. Often an opponent will point their burn spells at your lowly 1/1 Human token to keep the Beast caged. Now Temur Adventures tolerates this since they typically still can use the 5/5 body to power out The Great Henge. Naya Adventures doesn’t have that luxury, so having additional ways to give Lovestruck Beast the courage to attack is useful. 

I’m in love with this (almost) functional reprint! That’s right — Jaspera Sentinel is a reincarnation of Loam Dryad, which Luis Scott-Vargas helped take all the way to Top 8 at Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad. This is usually where I’d sheepishly praise the Hall of Famer as being so good he can win with anything, but I did the same thing with Pyromancer’s Goggles! Anyway, I don’t normally get behind cards like this but it’s so good in Naya Adventures. The games you get to accelerate with it are night and day compared to those you don’t. 

Hell, I even enjoy the mana! That’s right: I like how complex the mana can be at times, and relish the difficult decisions before casting spells. Sure this can be looked at like a downside because it is, and I don’t care! I didn’t say this is the hands-down best deck in Strixhaven Standard without some issues. I said it’s the most fun I’ve had playing Standard in a long time which is why I do it! 

Much like a rug, PVDDR really ties this room together. Without Elite Spellbinder, this deck would not have many ways to interact with a noncreature opponent. Now I’m not going to sit here and say this card completely flipped the Sultai Ramp (Yorion) matchup on its head, but it did make it much closer than it previously was. It also has applications in other matchups with cheaper spells thanks to Drannith Magistrate keeping the cards exiled for as long as it’s on the battlefield. Really cool combo if you ask me! 

Now for the individual numbers in the decklist. I don’t have a clear-cut combination that I think is decisively the best, but I can do you one better by educating you on when you want certain cards over others! Here’s the list I played last weekend in the SCG $5K Strixhaven Championship Qualifier and Satellite. 


Let’s start with the manabase. Don’t play anyone else’s manabase. I repeat…

Do not play a different manabase!

I have no clue where people got this idea, but you can’t play fewer than thirteen untapped green sources in a deck that wants to cast green spells on Turn 1. I don’t know who made the rules (probably Frank Karsten), but regardless I’m not giving up on my boomer ways. They’ve simply won me too many dollars at this point. You also don’t need two Mountains. Sure it’s going to come up against Dimir Rogues (Lurrus) if they mill your only Mountain, but having one in your opening hand in other matchups is much worse. 

Another thing that took me a long time to realize is you don’t want to play four Fabled Passages unless you’re either playing 27 mana sources or Felidar Retreat in your deck. Even though most of your spells are cheap, the deck’s extremely mana-hungry. Having early lands enter the battlefield tapped without access to a Jaspera Sentinel is effectively a death sentence in Strixhaven Standard. You might think having more trilands is better than untapped mana, but I promise you mulligans are a gift in this deck and making sure you have smooth starts generates a ton of extra value in this deck. 

I’m fairly convinced Toski should either be a one-of or not in the deck at all if you play fewer than four Clarion Spirits, and right now I find value in making room for Drannith Magistrate. It’s just so nice that you can interact with foretell cards, Emergent Ultimatum, Adventure creatures, Showdown of the Skalds, and your own Elite Spellbinders all in a cheap body like this one.

Now this is where my confidence level takes a nosedive. A deck like Naya Adventures must make room for matchup-specific cards for both the Dimir Rogues and Sultai Ramp matchups. This doesn’t leave much room in the sideboard for removal spells that don’t have matchup overlap. Compromise is essential, but I try to check as many of these boxes as I can based on metagame predictions. 

  • A minimum of two non-Kabira Takedown removal spells that interact with Torbran, Thrane of Red Fell when Mono-Red Aggro❄ is popular.
  • Two copies of Rip Apart when The Great Henge is popular. 
  • A minimum of four ways to interact with Irencrag Pyromancer when Jeskai Cycling is popular. 
  • Access to Thundering Rebuke when both Mono-White Aggro❄ and Goldspan Dragon are heavily played.
  • A sixth removal spell to the sideboard if you can’t check enough boxes, and that’s usually a second Redcap Melee. 

I have a real love-hate relationship with these cards. Obviously they’re in the sideboard for the Sultai Ramp matchup, but after this past weekend I’ve realized this plan is a bit outdated. While the matchup has gotten much closer thanks to Elite Spellbinder, cards like Klothys have really underperformed thanks to their “I’m just going to cast as many Elder Gargaroths as I can” plan. This sometimes makes things awkward when we don’t have access to Chop Down. It’s also not that great of a plan in the first place, since our starts can be slow. 


With that, the only change I’m making to Naya Adventures (Jegantha) for this weekend is adding a second Redcap Melee to my sideboard in exchange for a Klothys, God of Destiny. It’s not the biggest of changes, I know, but the Sultai Ramp matchup doesn’t get hit that hard and Dimir Rogues is already a good matchup anyway. 

Matchups

VS Sultai Ramp (Yorion)

Out:

Clarion Spirit Drannith Magistrate Drannith Magistrate Bonecrusher Giant

In:

Reidane, God of the Worthy Reidane, God of the Worthy Klothys, God of Destiny Roiling Vortex

While streaming the Strixhaven Championship Qualifier, many viewers thought it odd that I took Drannith Magistrate out of the deck. The reason for this is simple. It’s not a matchup where you’re trying to lock them out. You’re just trying to kill them, and they’re trying to stop you with big creatures and mass-removal spells. Reidane bypasses this as it can slow down those sweepers, but Drannith Magistrate simply gets swept up in them. Sure, sometimes it’ll save the game, but more often than not it’ll deal two damage before they take control. 

VS Mono-Red Aggro❄

Out:

Drannith Magistrate Drannith Magistrate Elite Spellbinder Elite Spellbinder Toski, Bearer of Secrets Showdown of the Skalds

In:

Redcap Melee Redcap Melee Rip Apart Glass Casket Glass Casket Glass Casket

I alluded to this earlier, but one of the weaknesses in this matchup is Torbran. It’s just not the easiest to get off the battlefield, and can seriously do us some harm. Usually we can take a hit from Embercleave once and then start tapping down the creature it’s equipped to, but not always if extra damage is being thrown around the battlefield. Since Mono-Red Aggro❄ seems to be on the rise and Izzet Dragons❄ is gaining popularity, a second Redcap Melee sounds pretty important. 

VS Temur Adventures (Obosh)

Out:

Toski, Bearer of Secrets Elite Spellbinder Elite Spellbinder Elite Spellbinder Elite Spellbinder

In:

Drannith Magistrate Rip Apart Glass Casket Glass Casket Glass Casket

Goldspan Dragon is a red herring in this matchup. It’s not worth it to bring in cards like Redcap Melee when the games are decided by cards like Showdown of the Skalds and The Great Henge. Your #1 priority in the early-game is to not allow them to cast Turn 4 The Great Henge. This allows them to be fast enough to keep up with you, but without one the games tend to play at the pace you want them to. Obviously Drannith Magistrate is absurd here, and can really punish them for trying to get value out of their Adventure creatures. 

VS Dimir Rogues (Lurrus)

Out:

Toski, Bearer of Secrets Elite Spellbinder Elite Spellbinder Elite Spellbinder Drannith Magistrate Drannith Magistrate Giant Killer Giant Killer

In:

Rip Apart Glass Casket Glass Casket Glass Casket Klothys, God of Destiny Ox of Agonas Ox of Agonas Ox of Agonas

I’ve seen enough people take out Showdown of the Skalds in this matchup that I want to scream. Don’t do that! Yes it’s a little slow, and will reduce the number of cards in your library, but the plan in this matchup is to drown them in card advantage. It’s so easy for them to handle your first, second, or even third swarm of threats. You must navigate the game so as to always have a steady stream of cards to threaten them with. Often you’ll end the game with upwards of fifteen cards left in your library, but you’ll outnumber them three-to-one on permanents on the battlefield. 

VS Naya Adventures (Jegantha)

Out:

Showdown of the Skalds Elite Spellbinder Elite Spellbinder Elite Spellbinder Elite Spellbinder

In:

Drannith Magistrate Rip Apart Glass Casket Glass Casket Glass Casket

The mirror can be a bit one-sided thanks to Drannith Magistrate. That’s why I tend to take out a copy of Skowdown of the Skalds since it’s a complete brick if they have Drannith Magistrate advantage. You can keep all four in on the draw since Toski might not do much there anyway, but it’s quite the feel-bad all around when you’re losing the mirror. 

VS Jeskai Cycling

Out:

Drannith Magistrate Drannith Magistrate Giant Killer Giant Killer Elite Spellbinder Lovestruck Beast

In:

Glass Casket Glass Casket Glass Casket Redcap Melee Redcap Melee Klothys, God of Destiny

This is a pretty straightforward matchup. They have a tough time dealing with your swarm if they have +1/+1 counters. You have a tough time dealing them damage if they have a Irencrag Pyromancer on the battlefield. The only thing worth noting here is that Elite Spellbinder’s ability prohibits them from cycling the chosen card, so sometimes this is true discard when targeting an expensive cycling spell. 

VS Mono-White Aggro❄

Out:

Drannith Magistrate Drannith Magistrate Elite Spellbinder Toski, Bearer of Secrets

In:

Glass Casket Glass Casket Glass Casket Rip Apart

This matchup has a lot of complicated turns as both decks are littered with cheap and efficient spells and creatures. That said, your job is to stabilize and deploy Showdown of the Skalds. It’s quite difficult for them to come back from the card advantage if they aren’t dealing you damage. This matchup is pretty good as long as you don’t keep slow hands. 

Now I bet some of you want to play Naya Adventures, but also want a stronger Sultai Ramp matchup. If that’s the case, then I think Julian Flury might have been onto something last weekend when they took second place in the Strixhaven Championship Qualifier! 


A blue splash! Why didn’t I think of that!

Counters are exactly what is needed against Sultai Ramp to make the matchup competitive since you can easily lose to the first Shadows’ Verdict, Extinction Event, or Emergent Ultimatum. I took Julian’s deck for a spin and came back with this updated list.


Now I won’t promise these numbers are correct, but I do think you want access to more counterspells than just Mystical Dispute. Obviously that’s the card you want against Dimir Rogues, but Miscast and Negate go a long way against Sultai Ramp. Again, I make no promises this is a deck you should register for this weekend’s events, but I will say it’s been a blast to play! 

Anyway, good luck this weekend and be sure to check out my stream when I’m playing in League Weekend. Given recent news, I think I’ll be streaming normally and really let my hair down.

Well not literally, but you get the idea!