Khan-templating the New Standard Meta – By Gabe Dion

mtg.logo

Now that Khans is now legal in all formats, the shape of the metagame is shifting quite rapidly. No more U/W Control, Sphinx’s Revelations, Supreme Verdicts or Quicken. At first glance, the format seems to be inclined towards Mid-Range decks or some heavy ramping Green/X decks. WotC loves creatures and the combat phase. They are pushing us toward this direction, and we should take advantage of this.

While most of the top level pros are keeping their list away from the public eye with the upcoming Pro Tour, StarCityGames provided us with the perfect testing ground for the new metagame. Not one, but two Open Series in one weekend (New Jersey and Indianapolis) allowed us to take a closer look at the grounds we are all heading towards for Standard.

Indianapolis was heavily dominated by green-based decks. In fact, 31 out of the top 32 had green in them. While New Jersey had a variety of interesting lists. Mono-Green Devotion lost only a few cards after the rotation and is still a deck that should be taken into consideration.

My testing partners and I were quite interested in some of the innovative lists that popped in New Jersey over the green onslaught that was Indianapolis. Two lists specifically attracted our attention…

Sultai Delve by Brad Nelson

11th Place at StarCityGames.com Standard Open on 9/27/2014

 

Creatures//22

•3 Necropolis Fiend

•2 Rakshasa Deathdealer

•4 Satyr Wayfinder

•1 Soul of Innistrad

•4 Sylvan Caryatid

•4 Courser of Kruphix

•4 Sidisi, Brood Tyrant

 

Lands//24

•5 Forest

•1 Island

•3 Swamp

•4 Llanowar Wastes

•4 Opulent Palace

•3 Polluted Delta

•4 Temple of Malady

 

Spells//14

•2 Bile Blight

•4 Hero’s Downfall

•4 Murderous Cut

•2 Commune with the Gods

•2 Thoughtseize

 

Sideboard

•1 Rakshasa Deathdealer

•2 Reclamation Sage

•2 Empty the Pits

•1 Silence the Believers

•2 Pharika, God of Affliction

•1 Despise

•4 Drown in Sorrow

•2 Thoughtseize

 

 

Jeskai Tempo by Kevin Jones

1st Place at StarCityGames.com Standard Open on 9/27/2014

 

Creatures//11

•4 Goblin Rabblemaster

•4 Mantis Rider

•3 Seeker of the Way

 

Planeswalkers//3

•1 Chandra, Pyromaster

•2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

 

Lands//24

•2 Island

•3 Mountain

•2 Plains

•3 Battlefield Forge

•2 Flooded Strand

•1 Mystic Monastery

•3 Shivan Reef

•4 Temple of Epiphany

•4 Temple of Triumph

 

Spells//22

•2 Banishing Light

•2 Dig Through Time

•4 Jeskai Charm

•4 Lightning Strike

•4 Magma Jet

•2 Steam Augury

•4 Stoke the Flames

 

Sideboard

•2 Ashcloud Phoenix

•3 Disdainful Stroke

•2 Magma Spray

•2 Negate

•1 Narset, Enlightened Master

•1 Keranos, God of Storms

•1 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

•2 Anger of the Gods

•1 Temple of Enlightenment

 

As you can see, the two lists have opposing battle plans. We will make this clear, I don’t like the new wedge colored names. BUG, RUG, Junk and UWr were perfect in my opinion, end rant. The BUG  Delve list play tons of good value creatures and keeps the path clear for them with removals. The UWr list is mostly a burn-type deck with a sweet creature suite. I wasn’t 100% behind the list Kevin Jones was running, but after slight tweaking and some testing, I can assure you it is one hell of a list.

One list went unnoticed over the weekend. All the hype was aimed at the New Jersey Open. This one won the Indianapolis Open.

 

Junk Reanimator/Midrange

By Samuel Valentine

 

Creatures//25

•1 Ashen Rider

•4 Elvish Mystic

•3 Hornet Queen

•2 Necropolis Fiend

•4 Satyr Wayfinder

•4 Siege Rhino

•4 Sylvan Caryatid

•3 Nyx Weaver

 

Lands//24

•2 Forest

•2 Plains

•2 Swamp

•4 Llanowar Wastes

•4 Sandsteppe Citadel

•4 Temple of Malady

•2 Temple of Plenty

•3 Windswept Heath

•1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

 

Spells//11

•1 Empty the Pits

•4 Murderous Cut

•2 Whip of Erebos

•4 Commune with the Gods

 

Sideboard

•1 Necropolis Fiend

•1 Reclamation Sage

•1 Resolute Archangel

•2 Banishing Light

•1 Bile Blight

•4 Hero’s Downfall

•2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

•3 Thoughtseize

 

This list is a hybrid midrange deck with a backup Reanimator plan using Whip of Erebos to bring back value creatures. The sideboard card choices are also interesting. It shares some similarities with Brad Nelson BUG list. The manabase look more stable than some of the lists that were showcased over the weekend. I really like the composition of the 75 and wouldn’t change a card in this one. The two other decks, on the other hand gave us some space to explore.

The metagame in the Maritimes is slightly different than what you can expect at a StarCityGames Open field. We re-evaluated their construction, card choices and adapted them to our own particular play styles. I am not saying that their list is wrong, but, each player is different and so should be their lists.

Let’s take a look at the “evolved” BUG list:

 

BUG Delve by Jared Hickey;

 

Creatures//23

•3 Necropolis Fiend

•4 Satyr Wayfinder

•4 Nighthowler

•4 Sylvan Caryatid

•4 Courser of Kruphix

•4 Sidisi, Brood Tyrant

 

Lands//23

•4 Forest

•1 Island

•3 Swamp

•4 Llanowar Wastes

•4 Opulent Palace

•3 Polluted Delta

•4 Temple of Malady

 

Spells//14

•2 Bile Blight

•4 Hero’s Downfall

•4 Murderous Cut

•2 Commune with the Gods

•2 Thoughtseize

 

Sideboard

•1 Whip of Erebos

•2 Reclamation Sage

•2 Empty the Pits

•1 Silence the Believers

•2 Pharika, God of Affliction

•1 Despise

•4 Drown in Sorrow

•2 Thoughtseize

 

The main change from Brad Nelson’s list to this one is the creature base. Our first impression was that this deck begged for Nighthowler and that Soul of Innistrad was a wasted slot. We weren’t convinced either that the Deathdealer was that good. Nighthowler, on the other hand, is a cheap and effective way to create a presence on the board or even suit up a creature to punch damage through, the bestow creature was the first addition we did. We also believed that Sidisi wasn’t as good, even debated swapping it for Nyx Weaver. She is not a Bridge from Below on a 3/3 body (thank god!) or a new Grave Titan, but she still helps you create a fairly good presence on the board while filling your graveyard.

Sidisi, Blood TyrantMurderous Cut

Murderous Cut is also one hell of a card. I am really impressed by how powerful the Delve removal spell is. I almost see it as a straight upgrade since it doesn’t have any of the restrictions the other current removal spells have. A full set of Hero’s Downfall were also an auto-include.

This early in the new season, I think this list can show some good results within the right pilot’s hands. We have more testing to do, but I don’t foresee any major changes in regards to that list!

Two UWr Tempo lists fought in the Top 8 of the New Jersey Open. I was impressed by the skills both pilots displayed during their matches all day long. They both had similar lists, minus one or two cards, and had a great impact. I see the deck evolving with time to maybe become one of the dominant one mid-season. I also foresee a lot of player sleeving up this powerful list in the upcoming weeks. Let’s take a look at our variant now.

 

UWr Tempo-Burn by Jared Hickey & Gabe Dion

 

Creatures//12

•4 Goblin Rabblemaster

•4 Mantis Rider

•4 Seeker of the Way

 

Planeswalkers//3

•1 Chandra, Pyromaster

•2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

 

Lands//23

•2 Island

•3 Mountain

•2 Plains

•3 Battlefield Forge

•2 Flooded Strand

•1 Mystic Monastery

•3 Shivan Reef

•4 Temple of Epiphany

•3 Temple of Triumph

 

Spells//22

•2 Banishing Light

•2 Dig Through Time

•4 Jeskai Charm

•4 Lightning Strike

•4 Magma Jet

•2 Steam Augury

•4 Stoke the Flames

 

Sideboard

•2 Stormbreath Dragon

•2 Disdainful Stroke

•2 Magma Spray

•2 Negate

•1 Narset, Enlightened Master

•1 Keranos, God of Storms

•2 Erase

•2 Anger of the Gods

•1 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

 

 

This list is an amalgamation of both Tempo lists seen in the Top 8 of the New Jersey Open. Mantis Rider is one hell of a card. As a matter of fact, Lightning Angel was one hell of a card, and it’s basically a functional reprint of the card (1 mana cheaper and 1 point of toughness lower). Jeskai Charm’s modes are surprisingly powerful and Seeker of the Way is quite a card as well, the fact that it gains lifelink via the Prowess ability can turn detrimental blocks into beneficial ones.

Mantis Rider

Rabblemaster is too good to be disregarded and the upswing it can create on an empty board should never be disregarded. But we all learned how powerful this goblin can be last season. I also believe he can be played as a one of in Legacy….!

Sarkhan is a powerhouse. I don’t think I will ever say it enough. One interesting point to remember is that your opponent can respond to his activation and Downfall him. Be careful with him! We also changed a bit of the sideboard. I’m not a huge fan of the Phoenix and I believe Stormbreath Dragon to be slightly better.

Those are the two lists I’d play this Friday in Standard. The format is now slower than it used to be and it is quite refreshing to be honest. If I was you, I would also keep an eye open for UB Control decks and Mono-Green/GB decks. Ross Merriam had quite a run with his GB list over the weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it more often in Top 8/16 in the upcoming season. In the long run, it’s always up to what’s in your metagame and what fits your play style better.

Don’t forget to visit The Comic Hunter in both Moncton and Charlottetown for all your card needs!

Until then,

Keep Shufflin’

Gabe

-Gabe

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *