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October 6, 2016

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Next Level Analysis: Kaladesh Standard Mardu

Hello and welcome to this week’s instalment of Next Level Analysis. Each week we take a look into the current meta for a format and look at cards that can be real game changers. With the changes we look at in each article we can take our game to the next level and dominate in either local competition or at a major tournament. This week we will be looking into the Standard format and all the changes that Kaledesh has brought to the game.

Last week we looked into Chandra, Torch of Defiance and her potential role in Legacy Miracles. This week we will be testing her in another control deck, however this deck will be lacking the main control colour of blue. I have been testing Mardu control in Standard since the spoilers for Kaledesh started rolling out. This past weekend we got our first real glimpse into the direction Standard is heading at the SCG Open in Indianapolis. Viewers got to witness the battle of the beards in the finals when Chris VanMeter playing W/R Vehicles took on Zach Voss playing Grixis Emerge. Almost every deck in the top 8 played red this past weekend. However, there was a lack of not only Chandra, Torch of Defiance in the top 8 but Plansewalkers in general. Liliana, the Last Hope and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar were the only two Plansewalkers to see love in the top 8 this weekend. With this in mind where can we find a home for Chandra?

With W/R vehicles taking 3 spots of the top 8 and the victory at the hands of Chris VanMeter this is definitely the deck to beat while looking at potential lists. The deck is fast and vehicles can be hard to deal with unless we have an answer at instant speed. With this in mind the list I came to the conclusion on playing has all the means to handle this fast pace deck. Let’s take a look into Mardu Plansewalker Control.

Mardu Planeswalker Control

Main Deck: (60)
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Liliana, the Last Hope
Nahiri, the Harbinger
Chandra, Flamecaller
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Harnessed Lightning
Demon of Dark Schemes
Noxious Gearhulk
Emrakul, the Promised End
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Unlicensed Disintegration
Live Fast
Blessed Alliance
Oath of Liliana
Sorin, Grim Nemesis
Authority of the Consuls
Collective Defiance
Collective Brutality
Dynavolt Tower
Ruinous Path
Concealed Courtyard
Inspiring Vantage
Shambling Vent
Smoldering Marsh
Evolving Wilds
Aether Hub
Blighted Fen
Sideboard: (15)
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
Ruinous Path
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
Lost Legacy
Declaration in Stone
Thalia, Heretic Cathar

As you can see we play lots of answers to the W/R Vehicle deck in both the main and sideboard of the deck. The goal of the deck is to play a control strategy until we can land a large threat on the board. Some of the synergies our deck uses are the new energy cards along with Demon of Dark Schemes to bring our opponents threats we killed back under our control. We also take advantage of Nahiri, The Harbinger to either get a large creature or to put Noxious Gearhulk into play twice removing multiple threats. Our sideboard used the same plan as we use in the mainboard. Lots of answers to certain card types. Well we have the list, now let’s put it to the test.

Round One (RUG Control) 2-0 Win

This matchup went very smoothly. We were able to kill an early game Sylvan Advocates and Duskwatch Recruiters before playing a large creature to finish them off in both games. We have lots of answers to creatures mainboard and even more after side-boarding. In this matchup, we cast a Demon of Dark Schemes each time and we were able to kill multiple things and acquire enough energy to utilize his ability.

Round Two (W/R Vehicles) 2-1 Win

Here is the matchup we wanted to see. When the pressure was on, we were able to take down the current powerhouse of Standard. We were able to control the board in game one, however in game two, the vehicle deck was just too fast for us. After missing our fourth land drop, we could not cast theNahiri, The Harbinger we needed to deal with our opponent’s vehicles. In game three we saw all three copies of Fragmentize and quickly dealt with all the threats our opponent threw at us. With this matchup in the books I was confident heading into the third game.

Round Three (Bant Control) 2-0 Win

Once again our deck piloted very smooth with consistent land drops and plenty of removal in hand. However, in this matchup it was our man lands that put in the most work. Our opponent played many counter-spells so these were the best way to get damage in. Chandra, Torch of Defiance gave us card advantage once she resolved and we were able to deal with all the threats our opponent placed on the board.

This deck worked perfectly as we tested it online. We play plenty of removal cards which works great against the many decks that are creature heavy. Standard seems to be moving away from spells to a creature based format. Here at Next Level Analysis we don’t want to follow the path everyone else is taking, we want to play the cards that beat all the cards everyone else is playing. If you are looking for a unique deck to play in your local Gameday or want to start getting some practice in before Grand Prix Providence I would highly recommend this deck. If you are looking to pick up this deck it can be purchased online from Wizard’s Tower for around $550 CAN or online for 142 TIX. As far as this week’s breakout card, I would have to place Noxious Gearhulk up on the pedestal this week. The card is very good, Swords to Plowshares reversed with a body….. that seems like a good explanation. As always I would love to hear your feedback on my article and if you are going to be at Grand Prix Atlanta this weekend make sure to stop by the Wizard’s Tower booth and check out the great deals we have!

Until next time best of luck in taking your game to the next level.