Cats is a tribe that people have been trying to make work since the release of Regal Caracal, the cat equivalent of Siege-Gang Commander. Not only does the Caracal provide an anthem for your entire field, it also acts as an army in a bottle. The combination of these two powerful effects leave the caracal a very good build around.
But what has changed? Cats have always been ok, just not great. The big problem has always been the lack of a good four drop. The Cat deck looks to curve out and use tribal synergies to power everything up a notch… but without a four drop the deck always had one weak turn. No more however.
Leonin Warleader is pure value. A 4/4 body for four mana meets the base line for Standard. Add in the fact that it once again can be an army in a bottle and we have quite a powerful Magic card. The Warleader can go all the way, stealing games that you had no right winning.
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants fills out the cards at four mana. Ajani isn’t great when evaluated like a typical Planeswalker; He doesn’t protect himself very well, and he doesn’t draw cards. But Ajani cards have never really done those things.
What the Adversary of Tyrants is, however, is a very powerful card. His first ability gives you the ability to hit through Steel Leaf Champion and the formats fatties. His second ability gives the deck much needed recursion and resilience, and the ultimate is obviously going to get out of control. Fast. Oh, and he is literally a huge, walking, world crossing, talking cat. Now that’s a flavor win.
It’s all very well having a top end, but that’s no use if you’re not alive by the time you get there. That’s where the early creatures come in. Four copies of Sacred Cat perform the exact same role they’ve been playing since early 2017. But everyone’s favourite kitty is joined by a new recruit: Leonin Vanguard. This Cat Solider may not seem like much, but when it’s attacking for two and gaining you life each turn, its purpose is clear.
As you’d expect Adorned Pouncer makes an appearance at two mana. After all, what better way to get value out of those +1/+1 counter from Ajani than putting them on a Double Striker? Double Strike is a criminally underrated mechanic that is exceptionally powerful. That’s why there are only five Creatures at CMC four or less in Standard right now with unconditional Double Strike.
The Pouncer is joined by yet another new player: Ajani’s Pridemate. The deck is packed with incidental lifegain, which Pridemate thrives off of. My best mate played this card in a Modern deck, and its power was more than evident to me the first time it hit the table. Do not underestimate this card.
Pride Sovereign is the last creature in the deck. Once again it has the ability to be an army in a bottle, but it’s the versatility that really makes this card. Sure, most of the time you will be making an army of feline friends. However, the option to have a big beater is great. Creatures that grow with the game have been too powerful for Standard even in recent memory, take Longtusk Cub for example.
Radiant Destiny provides us with another anthem effect. But more often than not it’s the Vigilance that is what you really want, attacking and defending is amazing in the Red Deck Wins meta. Two copies of Thopter Arrest round out the deck, removing tricky creatures as they go.
5-0 MTGO GW Cats, SENORBEARSPIRIT
4 Adorned Pouncer
4 Ajani’s Pridemate
4 Leonin Vanguard
4 Leonin Warleader
4 Pride Sovereign
4 Regal Caracal
4 Sacred Cat
2 Ajani Unyielding
2 Heroic Intervention
2 Settle the Wreckage
3 Authority of the Consuls
3 Prowling Serpopard
3 Thrashing Brontodon
This is a deck that I really love, so congratulations to SenorBearSpirit for the result.
If you enjoyed the article be sure to show it to your friends, or just use it to prove the haters wrong.