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April 6, 2016

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New Standard Brews

Now that we have the full set revealed for Shadows Over Innistrad we can start to get a more realistic view of what decks will look like for week one of the new Standard format. I’ve prepared two decks for this weeks article; one I expect to be a good starting point for week one of the format, as well as a off the wall brew that could either be absolute trash or quite powerful. Let’s start things off with:

Black-White Control

Creatures (6)
Linvala, the Preserver
Wasteland Strangler

Spells (29)
Anguished Unmaking
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Languish
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Planar Outburst
Read the Bones
Ruinous Path
Silkwrap
Sorin, Grim Nemesis
Stasis Snare
Transgress the Mind

Lands (25)
Caves of Koilos
Forsaken Sanctuary
Plains
Shambling Vent
Swamp
Westvale Abbey

This deck has a lot of raw power and is full of some of the best removal this format has to offer. I believe Languish and Planar Outburst are cards we want to be playing for week one of an undiscovered format. We’ve seen a trend of mono-red/hyper aggressive strategies generally taking down the larger tournaments in the first week of a new Standard format, so by jamming our deck full of great removal and board sweepers we can prey upon those strategies.

Wasteland Strangler is a straight up removal spell in this shell due to us playing eleven exile effects between Silkwrap, Stasis Snare, Transgress the Mind, and Anguished Unmaking. Our hope for Wasteland Strangler is for it to kill something when it enters play and then play blocking duty. Because we play very little creatures and a few spells that cost us life, Linvala, the Preserver is poised to be an all-star. I believe this deck has a favourable matchup against creature-based strategies, with the big question mark being how will it line up against the other control decks of the format. The Esper Dragons matchup could prove to be difficult if we have a removal heavy draw and they bury us in card advantage.

This is all theoretical though and I’m sure once we know more about what the format will look like we can formulate an excellent sideboard strategy to put pressure on the other control decks. Possibly something like boarding into Knight of the White Orchid on the draw and/or a bigger threat like Mindwrack Demon if we’re expecting them to board out a lot of their creature based removal. Overall I believe this deck and it’s many other variations will be a contender in the new meta come Shadows Over Innistrad.

Moving on to deck number two:

Elf Combo

Creatures (27)
Brood Monitor
Dwynen’s Elite
Eldrazi Displacer
Elvish Visionary
Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Shaman of the Pack
Sylvan Advocate
Zulaport Cutthroat

Spells (9)
Collected Company
Cryptolith Rite
Oath of Nissa

Lands (24)
Caves of Koilos
Forest
Hissing Quagmire
Llanowar Wastes
Shambling Vent
Westvale Abbey

This deck has a lot of different things going on and looks like it would be quite fun to play around with, but I don’t really think it will be all that competitive. We have a pseudo elf theme going on for Collected Company and Shaman of the Pack shenanigans, while also including a game ending combo with Eldrazi Displacer, Brood Monitor, and Zulaport Cutthroat.

For anyone who doesn’t know, if you have all three of those cards on the board, you can end the game by sacrificing all three Eldrazi Scion tokens for mana, draining your opponent for three life because of Zulaport Cutthroat, and then using Eldrazi Displacer’s ability with said mana to flicker Brood Monitor which nets you three more scion tokens; rinse and repeat this play until your opponent is dead! This neat little casual combo just adds another way for the deck to attack.

The deck gets to play creature lands and Sylvan Advocate as well to pressure your opponent in the later stages of the game. The one card that I think will be particularly powerful in this strategy is Westvale Abbey.

Westvale Abbey allows the deck to get through board stalls and end the game quite quickly if your opponent can’t answer it. Our deck attempts to go wide on the board, which means we can use Westvale Abbey to it’s full potential and possibly flip it early in the game with a Cryptolith Rite in play. Now although this deck looks sweet on paper, in actuality I think it will have a hard time dealing with decks like BW Control above or a hyper aggressive strategy. We have no way to interact with our opponent, so if they can go wide quicker than we can, or pressure us with a card like Archangel of Tithes, pulling out a win will prove to be very difficult. Languish is also a beating for this strategy, but with enough pressure early and some Zulaport Cutthroats you may be able to fight through one.

Standard with Shadows Over Innistrad is gearing up to look fun and quite different than the three/four colour Standard we’ve been used to playing for a while now. I’m excited to see all the new strategies come week one and am interested to see how the new cards fit into the format or the new decks they create!