War Is Coming, But We’ll Be Ready

With the new set coming out this week, I took it upon myself to take a week away from playing to gather my thoughts on the upcoming meta. After printing the previews out and doing a brief evaluation on the cards, I quickly had been drawn to certain cards that I was either incredibly excited about building around, or their uses in certain archetypes already. I decided to make ten decks that I’m personally looking forward to playing. One is not a creation of my own but after seeing it on Star City Games, I was amazed at what it could do, so I’ll definitely be giving it a bash.

These decks probably won’t be meta, one or two might be with more tuning and is probably all subject to change depending on what everyone is playing. I am by no means a pro deck builder but I like everything to be coherent whilst I’m working, so I’ll walk you through the decks just now and the reasoning behind some of my choices.

Bolas Control

So as we all know at this point, Bolas is coming and he’s brought Gods and is taking sparks. The popularity of Grixis Midrange had taken off towards the end of Ravnica Allegiance with hand hate providing a way to attack esper. Everyone’s favourite card Theif of Sanity remains a staple in Blue/Black/X lists. The card is simply too powerful to not include it and even Esper Control was migrating towards adding more creatures to have a shot of its power. With this in mind, one of the last spoiled cards was Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God. This is a huge card with a well deserved mythic rarity that can actually rival Teferi. There are layers to this card that go deeper when we look at it. The static ability to have all the loyalty abilities of every Planeswalker on the battlefield makes it an incredible utility card in the late game. With this set bringing 36 additional Planeswalkers, it’ll be hard to not find an ability you’d want to use. These loyalty abilities don’t even have to be useful. See a Planeswalker with a +2, sure take that every turn so you can reach a higher loyalty with Bolas. Bolas’ +1 ability is a card advantage and possible permanent destroyer. Being able to draw an extra card each turn is great, but forcing your opponent to either discard or Exile a permanent is huge. You’re potentially going to be stripping their hand (something Grixis is famous for anyway) further or sacrificing a resource which we can then count as pseudo card advantage. This is because if your opponent has to sacrifice a land, creature or artifact and enchantment we can count that as free removal. That is just the +1 ability, the -3 is Destroy target creature or Planeswalker. If you thought the Teferi tuck was good, well Bolas does one better and just eliminates it. This comparison is the best we currently have in standard and as both are five mana Planeswalkers, it’s hard not to think that Grixis finally has a tool to combat a card that has personally plagued me for the last six months. It’s a shame this doesn’t just hit Target Permanent, but I think if it did, they’d have to had made this six mana with the loyalty maybe being a bit too oppressive if it was up at five. The ultimate on this is pretty nuts “Each opponent who doesn’t control a legendary creature or planeswalker loses the game”. Now we all know it’s Teferi who just mills us out, but this speeds up the process tenfold. With the drawback that if your opponent sees this is about to come down, they have a chance to play a cheap Planeswalker or creature to try by them more time. Fortunately, this is where the deck building comes in. Midrange strategy has been put to the side for the moment and we’ve gone for a control shell to round out this powerhouse of a card rather than being dependent on creatures.

The rest of the deck is filled with removal and card advantage, with the usual suspects making an appearance (Thief of Sanity & Hostage Taker). The newest creature to the deck for card advantage is Augur of Bolas which helps us dig for spells and removal on the fly when we need it. Early it is a great blocker into the low to the ground decks and the utility of scrying three to draw one selected card goes well into the late game also.

Since we’ve got to play a mana base built around bolas (the double back cmc is crucial here) we can play black cards that also align with this. Bedevil’s stock has gone up tenfold being able to hit Planeswalkers and we can also main deck Cry of the Carniarum comfortably. There’s a copy of Angrath’s Rampage in there to just act as an early game removal spell. It’s similar to cast down but obviously the drawback of your opponent deciding what to sacrifice. That being said having the utility to hit an early Azcanta, or cheaper Planeswalker that might be causing problems is really useful without having to put too many resources in (I.e using a Bedevil).

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Sideboard wise we’ve got stuff to deal with control and the mirror, with duress, Disdainful Stroke, and Unmoored Ego being available; this card, in particular, can be a real swing. We’ve also got some countermagic against control and sweepers for aggressive decks. The two really cool new sideboard techs for this deck are The Elderspell & Deliver unto Evil. The Elderspell has a lot of chunky text on it, but if you rip this off the top in the late game you’ll be in for a surprise. Destroying any number of target Planeswalkers then adding +2 Loyalty to a chosen Planeswalker for each (yes each) Planeswalker destroyed this way. That’s not a joke, you can hit your own walkers, your opponents, get this to resolve to add a bunch of counters to Bolas and ultimate him to win, all for two black mana. This card feels more like an archenemy card than a standard one and could have it’s shortcomings if everyone isn’t playing planeswalkers. But, for the initial start of the meta I predict everyone will be trying to superfriends as much as possible so would recommend including a few just in case.

Deliver unto Evil is another odd card that seems to have a wealth of advantage on the resolution. It’s essentially a find in your graveyard with being able to pick four and your opponent gets to decide what two you return. However, if you have a Nicol Bolas Planeswalker you get to take all four, which might seem greedy but as an additional way to keep Bolas rolling, I think it’ll be worth it, if not the card is just so flavourful and gorgeous that I’m including it for now.

This deck looks poised to tackle esper and if it can, I’ll be overjoyed. I prefer the Grixis style of hand hate, over the patient nature of Esper so it’ll be fun to tweak and tune this list more towards either side.

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1820492

Raze-Boar Stompy

The next deck I wanted to look at was the Gruul list I had built for the previous standard. I never really got round to playing and it was a shame because I loved playing the mono green list that was around prior. Domri was a card that was pretty hyped up and the addition of Riot offering flexibility between creatures seemed sound on paper. Unfortunately, as with Mono Green, the weakness of simply going one for one in threats make this a hard list to run whilst Esper and control are at the forefront. Being able to sweep away your best creatures is a painful experience and the only way to beat it is by playing conservatively. In doing so and not overextending, you are then offering the one for one each turn, so games become drawn out and Ghalta never really sees the board. Luckily after some tuning and tweaking, I think I’ve found a list I’m really excited to play, with the addition of some reach at the end if your opponent is looking to just chump for eternity with some utility based strategies.

The deck has a ton of new tools now, primarily the new five drop Ilharg, the Raze-Boar. This card is an absolute monster and if everything lines up, you could have this down with haste as early as turn four. This card is a 6/6 for five which is already stated in Gruuls favour and the ability on this just goes above and beyond. Whenever Ilhrag attacks, you may put a creature from your hand into play tapped and attacking. So if you have Rhythm of the Wild down, and a Llanowar Elves out, that’s a 6/6 with haste, with a potential uncounterable 12/12 hasty Ghalta coming at your face. that’s 18 damage, pretty much sealing the game up. At the end of the next end step that creature comes back to hand (to be dashed in for later use no doubt). Most of the creatures we are looking to play are just big Green or red threats, but being able to dash them in for free is a load of upside. Plus Ilharg is tricky to deal with. Whenever he dies or is put into the graveyard/ exile from the battlefield he goes to back the library third from the top. This means it’s counters or discard that hit him, so you’ll have a recursive threat that will be a constant thorn in your opponent’s side.

To round off the deck we’ve got elves to start us out for our ramp. The new card Evolution Sage is going to be useful to proliferate whenever we play a land. This card seems a bit funny but since we are running the new Domri, it might have some benefits. The new Domri, Anarch of Bolas is additional mana ramp and is basically another Rhythm of the Wild with a static effect and a fight attached as it’s -2. Having this uncounterable mana is always going to be powerful and getting this down on turn two should swing the board in your favour. It also allows us to play more fluidly, with having both this and Rhythm the redundancy is higher but also much harder to deal with. Forcing out a card that hits enchantments is great, but Mortify won’t hit planeswalkers. So a bit more flexibility means our big creatures like Nullhide Ferox and Skarrgan Hellkite will be much more effective, rather than just big Green/Red creatures.

The final addition to the mainboard is one of my favourites. I love Thud, I love the art, the purpose of it and just the general bewilderment on my opponents face when you play it. Dealing damage equal to the sacrificed creature’s power to any target is powerful. Sure you lose the creature, but if you hit Ghalta, that’s twelve damage to the face. Generally, people have pinned this as a bad card, and I can see why. If it’s countered, it’s a two for one against yourself, if they hit the creature with a spell that lowers the attack you’ll miss lethal. This is why I wanted to include the new God-Eternal Rhonas. This cards enter the battlefield effect (ETB) doubles the power of each creature until end of turn and gives your creatures vigilance. So you swing in, with your ten or twelve power creature, then if they’re tapped out and you are on six mana, just Thud it. This God has a similarly hard to remove attachment to Ilharg and I can see why people are saying this might be one of the worse Gods, but I’m going to leave it in due to the Thud purposes for now.

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Sideboard wise We’ve got Cindervines to deal with enchantments and spell based decks, Lava Coils as additional removal. Brontdons and Oozes and one copy of old Viven for control. The last card in the sideboard is the new Vivien, Champion of the Wild. We are mainly playing this for the static ability but the card has a lot of utility in its own right. Being able to give your creatures flash in a control matchup is hectic and makes people spend mana, they’d otherwise not want to. For three mana this card looks like the perfect tool for battling control and might be a four of given its power.

I’m feeling much more confident that Gruul can have a better shot this standard round. Between Ilhrag and the new Vivien, these two paired together should be able to catch out a fair amount of control and against aggro decks, we are putting down big tramplers that might not be able to trade very effectively.

I’d say this is potentially the deck I’m most looking forward to playing but the next list is also something of a find.

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1820497

Izzet Slingers

Izzet Drakes was probably the second deck that I built when I started playing Magic back in Guilds of Ravnica. It seems so far away now but the list variants I ended up making were a lot of fun. I tried the Phoniex list when it was popular but didn’t find too much succuess in it (note to self your shuffling was horrible and clumpy) but the Drake version with Maximised Velocity was more my speed. It was the Cantripy list I took to making the drakes huge then swinging in for 14 damage with the hasty beast. People were playing this alongside Niv Mizzet (another favourite of mine) so I developed an Izzet Dragon list to combat the threat of drakes. It was more controlling and had some really fun cards in it, but as always if Niv resolved and untapped you’d probably win. Temur Reclamtion came along and I played it a lot online, but on paper it felt really dirty explosioning for 15 with Niv out, so I disassembled that and went back to the drawing board. What has emerged is at a deck I don’t believe will do amazing things, but I can tell i’ll have a lot of fun with it.

Izzet Slingers takes the best of the time I’ve had with Izzet and pushes it into overdrive. I loved playing the way you would cast four or five spells a turn whilst cycling through your deck looking for the win condition. I’ve taken the drakes out as I really wanted to try new cards over some of the tried and tested versions.

The main part of the deck is built around Saheeli, Sublime Artificer. This Uncommon Planeswalker is perfectly suited to take the spot of the drakes, creating a 1/1 Servo token whenever we cast a non-creature spell. I’d argue that you should probably hard mulligan for this, but since the deck can cycle through the entire deck fairly fast that it’s almost worth just keeping hands that will start the chain reaction earlier. The -2 ability copying a target artifact (most likely a Servo) into an artifact or creature is probably going to copy a drake in most circumstance. I don’t see this deck changing much in this standard but the way this version is built we only want the tokens.

For cutting the drakes we can think of Saheeli as an Enigma Drake, we need a replacement for Crackling Drake. It’s hard to take one of the best Izzet cards and remove it from the deck. To replace it we have another spell that interacts with spells in the graveyard. Invade the City plays on the new mechanic, Amass. This mechanic makes an x/x zombie token and if you think of this as a two mana Crackling Drake that also continues to fuel the graveyard then it seems like a pretty good day.

The rest of the deck is built up with cheap cantrips, and the shell of most of the Izzet decks remain the same. We don’t want to have too many of the expensive spells in the deck so the top end of this curves out at one copy of The Mirari Conjecture. This just allows us to grab a couple of key cards. One being the new instant Narset’s Reversal. The new Narset doesn’t really do much for me, but being able to copy an Instant or Sorcery is pretty powerful. Granted Expansion/Explosion does the same thing but I’d like to try out the new cards as well. These working with the final Saga part copying spells cost means you’ll have a massive Amass target to make a huge creature again. This is where our little friend Thud can come in again if you are up against mass removal, but it’s not essential for the win. The final new spell Contentious plan is a cheap proliferate and card draw. It’s unfortunate that it is sorcery speed but if you’ve got Planeswalkers or an amass token out you’ll get a bit of extra value.

The sideboard is meant to be flexible for this deck, and the problem of creature removal is quickly dealt with by swapping Saheeli for the New Ral, Storm Conduit. This planeswalker is a static Niv without the card draw. The minus two of copying a target spell will be useful as a finisher with Narset and the +2 can scry to help us find the cards we need and to avoid flooding. The other new cards included in the side is Spellgorger Weird. Similar to a drake, but gains a plus one counter whenever a non-creature spell is cast. Purely playing this for flavour, but on further investigation, there’s something to this. It’s potentially going to get bigger than a drake and the extra toughness will help dodge things like Finality.

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This decks probably going to fall short and the tweaking will no doubt lead to adding the drakes back in and have Saheeli and Ral as sideboard tech for situational plays. I think the new cards for Izzet are very flavourful and the Ral’s Outburst is a great little addition too. Dealing 3 damage and having an Old planeswalker uptick tacked on for two mana at instant speed will be a great thing to use on your opponents endstep. Looking forward to trying this one out as well. There’s no way that it isn’t going to be fun chucking spells around but if it can go wide enough against a Drake deck then who knows, it might take a place on the tier list.

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1820574

Liliana’s Zombies

Liliana, Dreadhorde General. This card looks to be not only a top contender in black decks but the whole lore and flavour around her is phenomenally well written. I’ve seen articles written about how this slots into Aristocrat decks with ease and the static ability to draw a card every time a creature dies is huge. the advantage that this can create is massive and since this works with tokens, you’ll be generating advantage with Lilly by creating Zombie tokens. The minus abilities also generate more advantages by sacrificing creatures and her ultimate will be great for hitting everything else as well. So she is the leader of the Zombie army this time around so it would have been wrong to not build a deck to compliment this.

The deck is composed around cheap zombies, other versions of Liliana to act as reanimators. This in tandem with God-Eternal Bontu (another card poised to slot into the top end of Aristocrats) offers a reliable way to sacrifice any permanent to draw cards. So with all this cheap sacrificing going on, we will be plowing through the deck. Bontu is a 5/6 with a similar effect to the other god’s recursion. Other new cards include the hyped Dreadhorde Invasion which creates a 1/1 zombie army token every turn. People are comparing this to Bitterblossom but the fact that this doesn’t create a separate token each time is a bit painful. Luckily we can use the zombie clause as a bonus, as we’ve got Zombie lords in our deck to build up our reliving before we sacrifice them. The rest of the deck is centered around graveyard recursion. Molderhulk shells in Golgari were popular last season, but since we are leaning more or Liliana, I thought that Lotleth Giant might be better. We fill the graveyard with our creatures at a slower rate, but the pay off of potentially shooting down our opponent. Both Liliana, Untouched by Death and the Necromancer have graveyard synergies. We’ve got a copy of Gruesome Menagerie for bringing back zombies and that allows a massive board presence.

Quick sideboard notes that we’ve also got Liliana’s Triumph for additional recursion and Vraska, Swarms Eminence as the two new cards. Triumph is just for testing as a cheap sacrifice outlet that has an upside if Liliana is down and the new Vraksa is another test into how well the planeswalker can deal with others. We give all our zombies with Deathtouch some additional upside.

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This is more of a fun deck, Zombies didn’t really take off hugely during the last set, but I’d like to see how well it goes with the massive quantity of zombie cards printed it would be a shame not to try and make it work. The mono-black version just a felt a bit linear and the Rakdos version and the dreaded, Dreadhorde Butcher has been poised to have a turn 3 combo kill so we will have to test that out as well.

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1820631

Affinity

As some of you may know, I love the Dominaria Sagas and my first foil from a showdown pack was The Antiquities Wars. It is a Saga that turns all artifacts into 5/5 artifact creatures. The problem with the last two sets is there hasn’t been that the critical mass of artifacts. Since the smaller cheaper artifacts don’t do much in the early game, relying on them to survive through is tough. Luckily, now we’ve got more Planeswalkers that have even more affinity synergies. This coupled with Sai, Master Thopterist can have a pretty big set up for the grand finale. With artifacts being much harder to remove than enchantments, they are poised to be a much tricker threat this meta, unless your opponent has Cleansing Nova.

This Esper Deck plans to go long, with five different planeswalkers and if a couple of these resolve, they can spiral out of control fast. Dovin makes us thopters whilst normal Karn and Tezzeret both generate card advantage or generate more artifacts.

The new Planeswalkers are also great with the static abilities. Karn, the Great Creator stops our opponent using artifacts but it’s his -2 that offers the real utility. Being able to grab an artifact from your sideboard turns the utility artifacts into straight silver bullets. Need to turn off Tereri, go grab a Spyglass. Need to start exiling graveyards, sure grab that scrabbling claw that you needed. The real interesting combo here is having this out with Sai and pairing it with our second new planeswalker; Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge. Tezzeret MotB gives affinity for artifacts and his +2 is a powerful burn spell once the board is set up. The -3 is a powerful recursive way to get your best artifacts back. The ideal scenario is to get this affinity working with Guardians of Koilos which bounces a historic permanent back to hand. Once you’ve hit the critical mass, you can loop two guardians and start causing mayhem with Sai out on the battlefield. So with two win conditions and a new artifact Guild Globe I feel that affinity will be another fun deck to play. Guild Globe at least replaces itself and can ramp into something bigger later into the game. The esper colours can be tricky to get right, so having a bit of extra fixing will be handy. I’d be tempted to stick the new Ugin in but since most of our colourless spells are cheap anyway it probably isn’t worth it.

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So will affinity topple esper control, probably not, but at least we can have a great laugh playing a massive density of underrated cards and planeswalkers.

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1820519#paper

Apex Proliferate

The new Simic decks look to be in a great spot as well for this meta. I missed the boat on cheap Krasis’, so wanted to try to build something that can, but doesn’t need them to be successful. This sets Hyrda is a rare (so will be much more widely available) and has some pretty interesting mechanics. This hydra gets +1/+1 for each loyalty counter on Planeswalkers you control. The additional benefit of this scaling with whenever you put a counter on a Planeswalker means that proliferating with this on the battlefield will get out of control really fast. Roalesk, Apex Hybird is the other five drop that has the ETB of adding two +1/+1 counters and when it dies, double proliferating. So if you are hitting both these and Roalesk dies with any sort of Planeswalkers out, you will get a load of counters and value on a massive creature with trample.

The rest of the deck is made up of proliferating synergies and Planeswalkers. We’ve got the explore package from Ixilian tucked in there nicely, and the addition of Evolution Sage proliferating whenever a land comes into play. The cheaper Planeswalkers in the format don’t have +1 abilities so proliferating with them will keep their abilities rolling.

Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter lets your creatures tap for mana of any colour which is great to ramp into your finishers. Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner is a cheaper version of Beast Whisper with the drawback of them having to have power four or greater. the main benefit of Kiora is that 7 loyalty is extremely high for three mana. Hitting Kiora into a Bioessence Hydra will make this thing huge, drawing you a card and then any proliferating synergy on top of that is just icing on the cake.

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Sideboard tech includes the phenomenal Carnage Tyrant against control and Crushing Canopy to hit flyers and enchantments. A couple of counters are in there to help keep the board undisturbed and Titanic Brawl to hit our massive threat against anything in our path.

This deck looks like a lot of fun. I think there’s even an argument to play Galloping Lizrog and Simic Ascendency as a “serious win condition in this deck”. The deck plays nicely with all the counters and even a couple of copies of Hadana’s Climb might push this one into overdrive.

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1820532

Nissa, Bring Vitu-Ghazi

If you’ve made it this far down the article congratulations. I do greatly appreciate you reading this and my ramblings and deck building at this point got into the fantastical. This little brew is something I don’t expect to work. If I can get this to happen once though, I’ll be happy. Once a season I like to build a little combo deck that is so farfetched it is borderline unplayable. Awakening of Vitu-Ghazi is the name of the game here and Nissa will help to achieve this dream of Thudding a twenty powered land. At its heart this is a ramp deck, using dorks and pumps spells to ramp into Pelakka Wurm to survive until we find Vitu-Ghazi.

Vitu-Ghazi awakens and puts +9/+9 on a target land transforming into a natures interpretation of mortal engines walking city. It’s still a land and since this spell is an instant you can flash this in at your opponents end step. Now it doesn’t have trample or any sort of amazing trait to get the damage through, but a 9/9 for five mana is pretty efficient. We can then start building our towering city into a destructive force. Using cards like Giant Growth and Blanchwood Armour to give our city some offensive capabilities. If he sticks around for a turn or two, we can pump it further we can either add nine more counters with Bounty of Might or double its counters with Biogenic Upgrade to make it a 22/22. This is Thuddable, it will most likely take out your opponent if they have 0 interaction and since Thud is a sorcery spell, you leave yourself exposed pretty quickly.

The last edition to this deck is using the two Nissa cards to hunt for our lands. Nissa’s Triumph lets us ramp for two mana, making sure we hit our land drops and if we control Nissa we can grab any three land cards.

Nissa, Who Shakes the World lets us tap our forests for double mana and can also turn our lands into 3/3 threats to keep her safe and allow additional ramping. Nissa’s ultimate is an emblem that turns lands on the battlefield indestructible and lets you search your library for any number of forests and put them into play tapped. This is an incredible ramp and if you’ve got your Vitu-Ghazi in hand then an indestructible 9/9 that you can just keep enchanting and pumping it till you are ready to Thud it will be nearly unstoppable.

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So this monstrosity of a deck could be something but it’s probably nothing. As long as I can thud a 20/20 land once I’ll be totally chuffed. We will see if anything comes of it, but I mean I’m not expecting miracles.

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1821029#paper

The next two decks are slight upgrades on current decks in the meta. There’s been a couple of notable improvements that could be potential powerhouses in their respective decks.

Selesnya Token

Selesnya Token is something I enjoyed playing online and the rise of Mono-ed really struck down a lot of the deck’s power in the setup. The top end of these decks really topped out at March of the Multitudes and Venerated Loxodon. However, the two new editions to the deck are Ajani, the Greathearted and Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves, will let the deck go a bit longer if it needs to.

So the game plan is still the same as normal but with the new Ajani, there is a bit more utility. Giving creatures Vigilance makes attacking a lot more simplified and the five loyalty for four mana is pretty efficient. The plus one gains you three life and the -2 acts as a Loxodon putting counters on greats without tapping them (and still giving them vigilance). This will be a great card against Mono-Red and even if this becomes a sideboard card, it will definitely do a bit more than the current Ajani.

The second addition Tolsimir also adds extra utility to the top end. Five mana is pretty hefty for the top end but it is the ETB that makes this card perfect for tokens. upon entering you create a 3/3 wolf token that fights up to one target creature and gains you three life. that’s two 3/3’s, three life and a removal spell neatly packaged into 5 mana. Not too bad, considering that those two tokens can be used to for Loxodons.

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Overall, the tokens deck looks to be great fun as always. These little additions could be game changing against the aggressive decks that can get under tokens.

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1820529#paper

Bant Toughness

I loved playing my Arcades deck last season. It didn’t do too well, but I think it was the lack of offense until you got arcades down. The only issue I found is you were a lame duck until one of your defender payoffs appeared. So with the latest round of payoffs, there’s a couple of new cards that might make this more viable this standard.

Arboreal Grazer, a one-mana 0/3 that has an ETB of putting a land into play tapped. This allows the additional ramp to reach our payoffs quicker. it’s a 3/3 for one mana with ramp though if we hit our end game.

The second problem was cycling wasn’t really possible and lack of card draw. there were a few utility walls that could maybe sacrifice defenders for cards but that isn’t ideal. The new Wall of Runes ETB lets you scry 1 allowing a bit more flexibility of your draws. It’s a 0/4 as well so it can block quite a lot of creatures in the format.

The new massive payoffs are in a couple of forms.
Huatli, the Sun’s Heart assigns combat damage equal to its toughness, whilst the 7 loyalty can let you gain a ton of life if you have the right creatures down. An additional toughness payoff means we can have a few extra copies overall for variety and more of a chance of hitting them consistently.

Teyo, the Shieldmage is a cheaper version of Shalai and the History of Benalia combined into one card. Having hexproof is great against a lot of decks, and if you start to -2 to get 0/3 defenders it’s kind of similar to History of Benalia. You’ll get two walls, then can finish someone off with your payoffs. Now obviously this isn’t the same level of power but it’s great that we can get a two for one in such a simple change in the deck. Shalai was a great card with the additional pump if the game went late, but Teyo just works overall in such a manner that you’ll get more utility outright every time.

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Walls are always going to be a fringe deck and the additional toughness matter cards allow us to move from walls and play high toughness creatures that have some real power, like Looming Altisaur which in the right circumstance will be a 7/7 for four mana that can deal with Carnage Tyrant!

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1820592

Boros Heroic

The last deck isn’t a brew of mine but of Ross Merriam’s Boros Heroic deck. I saw this on Star City Games and this slightly midrangish deck that is about making a tall tough threat looked a total blast. I haven’t played the heroic archetype in modern but in theory, it seems like a deck I’d enjoy. I’ve tried to build Green/White enchantment based deck, but the way Ross has developed this list looks really interesting so I’d recommend checking out his article and watching Vs live to see how it plays.

A couple of Red and White cards have been previewed that look to bolster this strategy. Dreadhorde Arcanist is one of the key cards that has been spoiled. Whenever it attacks it can cast a card an instant or sorcery spell with cmc equal to its power from the graveyard. So it’s a recursive threat that if you manage to fill your graveyard with pump spells they’ll get double value. Pump spells are often left to the wayside as the one time effect isn’t as great as adding permanent counters, but with this new card, you’ll be getting two times the amount of value which may make them more viable.

Tenth District legionnaire is another new addition to the Boros Legion and has the ability of whenever she’s targeted by a spell she gains a +1/+1 counter and you get to scry. This giving permanent counters to a creature is a big benefit compared to things like Swiftblade Vindicator. The haste and scry will help to make your deck more consistent as well.

Krekno, Tin Street Kingpin is one of the most efficient goblins if you are looking to go wide and get value. It gets a +1/+1 counter whenever it attacks then gets a number of 1/1 goblins equal to his power. If you pump this then you’ll be making a lot of tokens and things like Aurelia and Tajic can mentor this a couple of times to get most of the value.

The last card that offers some of the best value is Feather, The Redeemed. People have been fairly hyped about this and rightfully so. its a 3/4 flyer on three that whenever you cast a spell that targets a creature you get to return it back to hand at the next end step. This is another value generator that will just keep putting work in if you can continue to pump your creatures whilst having this on the board.

All in all the Heroic list looks suited to something I would like to play. I love the idea of casting keep spells to make dorks better and this list has enough going that it should be able to do some work in the meta unless people go very high on removal. Although it doesn’t have any new Planeswalkers, I think it definitely looks as fun as a Weenie deck but with a bit more to it.

war-125-dreadhorde-arcanistwar-222-tenth-district-legionnairewar-197-feather-the-redeemed

Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1820500#paper

Ross Merriam’s Article: http://www.starcitygames.com/articles/38554_Boros-Heroic-Style-With-Feather.html

So those are the top ten decks that I’m looking forward to playing when War drops on Thursday, Thanks for reading and hope you can try some of these lists out too.

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