Hello all and welcome to another edition of the Test Drive! Today I’m going to be talking about my first Test Drive with a Standard Deck from the post Aether Revolt Standard format. Over the past few weeks there has been a dominance in the format from three major deck archetypes. These have been Mardu Vehicles, Green/Black Delirium or Constrictor, and Saheeli Combo decks. Despite three major archetypes taking over the format, the diversity in the decks within the archetype is quite amazing. Rarely will you have two players playing the same 75 card deck within an archetype. There is also additional focus on the sideboard to defeat mirror matches as well. Recently I took a Test Drive with a 4 colour Saheeli Combo deck. There is some debate on whether Jeskai or 4 colour Saheeli Combo decks are better. I decided to play with the 4 colour Saheeli Combo deck due to its versatility in winning the game compared to the Jeskai version. There are many versions of the 4 colour deck floating around there and this list is a combination of a few of them.
So, let’s have a look at the version of the 4 colour Saheeli deck that I put through the Test Drive treatment.
4 colour Saheeli Combo
3 Elder Deep-Fiend
4 Felidar Guardian
4 Rogue Refiner
4 Servant of the Conduit
4 Whirler Virtuoso
3 Natural Obsolescence
2 Kozilek’s Return
4 Baral’s Expertise
After playing with this deck, here are some of the things I’ve learned that you can use to help you win some Standard games at your local game store.
1) Players have their guard up when it comes to the Saheeli Combo. After weeks of Saheeli Combo being in the format, players are aware of the infinite combo. This information can be used to your advantage, even if you don’t have the combo in hand. Thanks to great value cards such as Rogue Refiner and Whirler Virtuoso you can play out creatures and force your opponent to use removal on those cards instead of using them to disrupt your combo.
2) Don’t be afraid to play out one part of your combo in the mid-to-early game to gain some value. A lot of players will try and hold on to both parts of the combo in their hand so that they can ambush an opponent on turn six to win immediately. Often the more advantageous play is to use Felidar Guardian to blink an Oath of Nissa or Rogue Refiner, or using Saheeli Rai to Scry and set up your future draws.
3) Sequencing of cards is very important in this deck. Being able to see lines of play that might not be conventional will often help you win a game out of nowhere. Using cards like Oath of Nissa to get a missing combo piece and help you cast Saheeli Rai using any colour of mana will help you achieve lines of play that might not be obvious. Also, using the abilities of Saheeli Rai and Aetherworks Marvel in the correct order is something gained by experience with this deck. Being a 4 colour deck, sequencing land drops and what lands you get with Attune with Aether and Oath of Nissa become very important.
4) Elder Deep-Fiend is a key addition to ensuring you can hit your combo without having to worry about removal or counter spells. Thanks to three-drop creatures such as Rogue Refiner and Whirler Virtuoso you can cast Elder Deep-Fiend before your turn six to tap down all your opponent’s mana so that they can’t disrupt your combo. You can also use Elder Deep-Fiend to become an aggressive deck by tapping down all their creatures to attack for a large amount of damage.
5) Sideboard cards will help you win against aggro decks. Negate will allow you to counter any unwanted Vehicles or Planeswalkers, while also being used to help protect your combo. Natural Obsolescence is great against Mardu Vehicles to remove cards such as Heart of Kiran and Scrapheap Scrounger. It can also be used against powerful more expensive cards such as Verdurous Gearhulk and Torrential Gearhulk. Baral’s Expertise is a great way to slow down Black/Green decks and remove threats to your combo such as Walking Ballista, so that you can cast a piece of your combo for free off the Baral’s Expertise.
I believe that the 4 colour variation of Saheeli Combo is better than the Jeskai Saheeli decks with a greater diversity of ways to win the game. The card advantage gained from playing green is a strong reason to make you want to play the 4 colour version of this deck. With Saheeli Combo decks becoming a smaller percentage of the meta-game, there will be less cards played to counter it, which could put this deck in a good position.
Thanks for joining me on the Test Drive this week and I look forward to trying out another deck next week. We are about a month into the new Standard meta-game and I believe that there will still be some shifting in weeks to come. There are a lot of deck ideas out there that haven’t come to light or seen their full potential because of the three archetypes that have come to the forefront.