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April 24, 2017

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Daily Dose of Amonkhet – Standard Deck Tech – Red/White Exert

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Amonkhet, where this week, in preparation for set release on April 28th, I’m going to be talking about some Standard decks I think will be making an impact on Standard in the coming months.

One of my favourite things to do when a new set comes out is to look at the entire card pool and see if there are any cards that I think are playable cards. This leads to me brewing new deck ideas, sometimes even around one card. Instead of building a deck around one new card this time, I wanted to build it around a new mechanic from Amonkhet, exert. Exert is a powerful new mechanic where, when a creature attacks, you may exert it to gain an ability from that creature. In exchange, when the creature gets exerted it won’t untap during its next untap phase.

Now, the key to unlocking new cards and mechanics is to sometimes look in the past, to cards already printed in the format. One of the biggest downfalls of exerting a creature is that it doesn’t untap during its next untap phase, but what if you could take that weakness away? Here are a few cards that could work well with exert.

As you can see, these are all cards that remove the weakness of the exert mechanic in some way. A little later during card selection I’ll go through the merits of each for the deck.

Now that we have some older cards from Standard to consider, let’s look at what cards from Amonkhet could work in the deck. Some of you might be thinking that the title of this article is Red/White Exert, but what about the powerful green exert creatures in the set? Green offers five exert creatures and none of them would seem to work in the aggressive strategy I want to build with red and white. Champion of Rhonas is a great Magic card with a lot of potential, but it doesn’t fit into what we want to do in this deck. You would need to have some larger creatures with great enter the battlefield triggers to take advantage of this card. Ahn-Crop Champion is a solid four-drop exert creature as well, but jumping into three colours to play this just isn’t worth it.

So, I’ve eliminated green from the equation, it’s now time to get together a list of cards from Amonkhet that could work well in this deck.

Insult     Onward to Victory

Since I won’t be able to make this deck with just the power of Amonkhet cards, we need to also amass a list of potential cards from older sets on top of the three that I talked about earlier. Here are some cards that could make an impact in this deck.

We’ve amassed a card pool from which I can now make this deck, but first I must determine which cards from the lists above will be the best fit for the deck. Here’s an explanation on which cards are IN, which cards are OUT, and which cards will make the SIDEBOARD.

CARDS THAT ARE IN

Always Watching – This is a key card for the deck as it equates to extra damage on the board, but more importantly it allows you to exert creatures to be able to attack every turn.

Blessed Alliance – This acts as both a removal spell and a way to untap your exert creatures to allow them to attack again.

Hazoret the Fervent – This is another great Haste creature for the deck that will be able to get for some damage by attacking and with its ability as a finisher.

Glory-Bound Initiate – This is a key card in the deck that can deal a lot of damage quickly. The dream is to play this on turn two, followed by an Always Watching on turn three to attack for five lifelink damage.

Glorybringer – Being able to play this to clear out Planeswalkers and opposing creatures at the same time is very strong. If you can get in two attacks thanks to Combat Celebrant you’ll take over a game with Glorybringer.

Ahn-Crop Crasher – This aggressive card works very well into this deck. It can shut down a blocker so other attackers of yours like the one toughness Combat Celebrant aren’t killed in combat.

Archangel Avacyn – This is a great way to protect your board against an attack and deal some damage in the air.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance – Will allow you to get in some extra damage, while removing threats and gaining you card advantage as well.

Heart of Kiran – This will help in your aggressive strategy to get in some damage quickly. A very powerful card that still deserves attention with the new set out.

Kari Zev, Skyship Raider – I wanted to have another two-drop, and this one just fit nicely in the deck.

Thraben Inspector – Who doesn’t love the best one-drop creature in the game? Replaces itself, and with Always Watching out becomes a 2/3 Vigilance threat.

Veteran Motorist – A great two-drop creature that works into our curve nicely. Helps with card selection and crewing Heart of Kiran as well.

CARDS THAT ARE OUT

Oketra the True – Although it would be nice to have a 4/7 Double Strike and Indestructible creature, I don’t think relying on this to attack on a consistent basis is going to happen. Its creature making ability is too slow for the game plan of this deck.

Gideon of the Trials – I’m leaning towards Gideon, Ally of Zendikar since it can get an emblem for extra damage, and even attacking itself does one more damage than Gideon of the Trials.

Soul-Scar Mage – There just aren’t enough spells in the deck to warrant having a Prowess creature in the deck.

Devoted Crop-Mate – If there were more two-drop creatures in the deck, it could be considered a choice, but for now it’s on the outside looking in.

Trueheart Twins – Just too expensive of a creature to be in this deck.

Bloodrage Brawler – I debated this and Veteran Motorist over and over. The card selection versus discarding a resource with Bloodrage Brawler wasn’t the best choice for this deck. Even though Veteran Motorist had one less power, I though it worked better in the deck.

Stitcher’s Graft – This is a card that I wanted to be able to squeeze in the deck as I think it would work well with exert creatures who aren’t untapping the turn after they attack anyways. I just couldn’t fit it in the 60-card deck.

Paradox Engine – This artifact just comes out too late in the game for this deck to make an impact.

Djeru’s ResolveBlessed Alliance is just purely a more versatile card to use.

Insult // Injury – I think I would rather just play another creature than play this card. Most times I would want to use it would be on a turn that I’m already casting a Haste creature. That’s too much mana to be needing in one turn.

Onward // Victory – There are some turns that this could amount to a lot of damage, especially on turns when you have multiple attack phases, but I passed on putting it in the deck.

Aethersphere Harvester – I went with Heart of Kiran over this Vehicle. There isn’t any Energy synergy in the deck either.

Brazen ScourgeAhn-Crop Crasher is a better card in this mana slot.

Immolating Glare – Decided to go with Blessed Alliance in this spot since it can do so much more in the late game if needed.

Nahiri, the Harbinger – Decided that going with Chandra, Torch of Defiance worked better in this slot for what the deck wanted to do.

Toolcraft Exemplar – There aren’t enough artifacts in the deck to make this a worthwhile inclusion.

CARDS FOR THE SIDEBOARD

Harsh mentor – This will be great to bring in against decks like Mardu Vehicles which won’t be able to activate their Vehicles or crack their clues without taking two damage.

Magma Spray – Great sideboard card to have to deal with cards like Scrapheap Scrounger.

Authority of the Consuls – This acts as protection against combo decks, but making it harder for your opponent to have untapped blockers.

Declaration in Stone – Great removal spell to deal with hard to remove creatures like the new Gods from Amonkhet.

Gisela, the Broken Blade – Great creature to have when you need to gain some life and get in some damage with evasion as well.

Kari Zev’s Expertise – This is a great way to ensure your creatures get through combat unscathed. Great to bring in against creature heavy decks that might put a wall of blockers in front of you.

Thalia, Heretic Cathar – This is a great creature that, like Authority of the Consuls, will be a versatile threat on the board. Don’t disregard its first strike ability when attacking as well.

Now that I’ve determined what’s in what’s out of the deck, here’s the deck list for Red/White Standard Exert.

Red/White Exert

Creatures (25)
Hazoret the Fervent
Thraben Inspector
Glory-Bound Initiate
Glorybringer
Combat Celebrant
Ahn-Crop Crasher
Veteran Motorist
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
Archangel Avacyn

Spells (9)
Heart of Kiran
Always Watching
Blessed Alliance

Planeswalkers (3)
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Lands (23)
Aether Hub
Needle Spires
Inspiring Vantage
Plains
Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Thalia, Heretic Cathar
Harsh Mentor
Kari Zev’s Expertise
Gisela, the Broken Blade
Authority of the Consuls
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Release the Gremlins
Declaration in Stone
Magma Spray

How do you think Red/White Exert will work in the new Amonkhet Standard format? Thanks for joining me again for the Daily Dose of Amonkhet for a Standard Deck Tech. There are more Standard deck techs to come this week, as Amonkhet has a lot to offer deck builders when it comes to new cards. I’ll see you tomorrow when I’ll have a look at a new control deck for Amonkhet featuring some sweet cards from the new set.