MTG Arena Standard Decks to Try Post-Omnath Ban


by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Oct, 26th 2020

Farewell, Omnath! I knew he was going to catch a ban far before the Uro/Omnath bans were announced. Why? He simply did too much! A card that doesn’t have room for flavor text because of all of their abilities has a very real chance of being too darn strong. Omnath was overpowered in every sense of the word. But now that the Omnath ban has gone down, what MTG Arena decks are the right ones to pick? That’s the beauty of it! There are so many decks that are now viable! One of the best parts of MTG Arena right now is that there is no one deck to pick. There are plenty that are ranked viable. Golgari Midrange, Dimir Rogues, Gruul Aggro, Mono-Green, there are so many decks to pick from.

That’s what I’m going to do this week. I’m going to go through my favorite decks that I’ve been seeing. Whether it’s a deck I’m currently using or something that’s slapping my brains out of my head, there are plenty of decks that are honestly ranked viable. That’s the goal of this week’s blog: What are the most fun and successful decks in the current ranked meta? They don’t all have to be world breakers. This might be the best meta in MTG Arena right now since the game dropped.

A fair amount of “problem cards” that should have never seen the light of day are gone. Are there still ludicrously strong cards? This is MTG Arena, so the answer is a resounding “Yes”. But there are some that work better in decks than others. So let’s get started with some bangers to help you climb the ladder!

Full Disclosure: We’re very worried that Yorion decks are going to be the new “must-play-to-climb”, but we’re confident the meta still has fast-moving answers.

Big Bad Beetle(borgs) (Mono-Green Aggro)


The Omnath/Escape to the Wilds/Lucky Clover bans are like getting Hanukkah and Christmas early, and at the same time! Thankfully, Green Stomp remains untouched by the hands of the WOTC developers. No ban-hammers for us! Is there anything in this deck that deserves it? I mean, Questing Beast is ridiculous, but it’s pretty easily stoppable. There’s enough direct creature removal to put a halt to his shenanigans. This is a deck that does not necessarily function well in the late game though. Our ideal victory is around the mid-game, if not sooner.

How’s It Work?


It’s pretty hard to turn things around from major board wipe and removal. Thankfully, by turn three we’re pretty much ready to run someone over. Thanks to power cards like Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig, Questing Beast, and even Kazandu Mammoth, we can do some monstrous things. We even have a single Nessian Hornbeetle, because it can be an absolute terror from turn 2 on. Whenever we have a turn where we control a creature with a power 4 or greater, it gains a permanent +1/+ counter. Do you know how easy that is to do in this deck?

We don’t have to drop a new creature every turn. Simply having a Questing Beast out will do the job, or use Gemrazer on a creature to mutate it into a 4/4. We could turn 2 a Stonecoil Serpent, and have a 6/6 on turn 3! It’s baseline is still a 0/0, even with the two +1/+1 counters it would have. Then we Mutate it into a 4/4, and it retains the +1/+1 counters. Hence, a turn 3 6/6 with Reach/Trample/Protection from Multicolored. The only downside is that Gemrazer’s Reach/Trample will be redundant.

That’s just an idea though. We could slap that on Nessian Hornbeetle to give it Trample/Reach, or our Swarm Shambler as it continues to make itself bigger and bigger. Or Yorvo, because he grows every time we play another green creature! Oh, this deck does so much. Need to protect an individual creature? Ranger’s Guile. Opponent played something dangerous that you either can’t stop or they won’t attack with? Primal Might or Ram Through!

Just want a bigger creature that costs 3 or less? Turntimber Symbiosis (though it will let you cast any creature you find; but the 3 or less costing ones gain +1/+1 counters). Our aim is to hit people hard and fast with unrelenting amounts of damage. They aren’t ready to come up against a force of nature like this.

One of the things that sucks about aggro decks is that most of your creatures are pretty weak. That’s not the case in Mono-Green. We can start dropping bombs on turn 1. Swarm Shambler can buff itself every turn, and can also help you create more minions. Since we’re only running one color, that Yorvo is wildly easy to play (3 green). Even that Lovestruck Beast is super powerful. A 5/5 for 3 mana? Can’t beat that. Now granted, it requires a 1/1 creature on your side to attack. That’s why you cast its Adventure Spell for 1 mana – to create a 1/1 creature token.

As is tradition, let’s talk about what fuel we use to pound other players.

Beatdown Clan


Our goal is to get big creatures as soon as possible and start swinging. We can really start doing some nonsense things right out of the gate. One of the most useful creatures is a flexible one: Stonecoil Serpent. Is it a surprise that most of our powerful cards are from Eldraine? Of course not, that set was filled with gas. My favorite thing to do with it has already been made clear: Turn 2, cast it for 2 mana, and turn 3, attach Gemrazer to it. That means we have a 6/6 on turn 3.

The early game is also going to star Scavenging Ooze, one of the best green cards in the game. Against those Kroxa decks, he’s going to be a king. As well as against any graveyard deck. A 2-drop 2/2 that will let us exile a card from the grave; if it’s a creature, the Ooze gets +1/+1. As soon as the Kroxa hits the grave, we can just eliminate it. Or we can wait until they’re triggering his escape, and then do it. This will allow us to inflate our creature, and complete stop any deck that needs a graveyard to win.

Playing against lots of Black removal, like in Kroxa/Rogues decks? Want a way to fight a bit easier? Garruk’s Harbinger is a fantastic 3-drop. It is a 4/3 with Hexproof from Black. It can still be blocked/killed by black creatures, but black removal/effects can’t hit it. Plus, whenever it deals combat damage to a player or planeswalker, we look at that many cards from our deck. Then, we can reveal a Garruk card or a creature, and put them into our hand.

What a fantastic way to find another creature! We aren’t running the Garruk planeswalker, but it’s a fun way to speed through our deck to get the right creature we need. In many cases it’s going to be something like Questing Beast. We’ve talked about that card so many times here. Why? It’s insane, that’s why!

The long and short of it is, it’s a 4/4 Vigilance/Deathtouch/Haste, and can’t be blocked by creatures of 2 or less power. Plus whenever it hits a player, we deal that much damage to one of the other player’s planeswalkers. Omnath made it unplayable, but he’s gone. Sure, Bonecrusher can still stop it, but that’s one of our only major threats to this otherwise invaluable card.

Gemrazer is another oft-discussed card. You can play it normally, as a 4/4 for 4, but it’s much better when it’s buffing something else. What makes it so great beyond that, is when it Mutates, you destroy a target artifact/enchantment an opponent controls. If someone plays Embercleave early, and it doesn’t seal the deal, we can just blow it up. Making a weak creature into a 4/4 or better is nothing to sneeze at.

The new Kazandu Mammoth fulfills two purposes. The first being a 3/3 for 3 mana, which gains +2/+2 whenever we play al and. It’s an excellent pick for Gemrazer also, as it would then gain Trample/Reach. Becoming a 5/5 Trample nearly every turn is brutal. Its second purpose is to be a land for us to play. We aren’t always going to have a Forest to play and if we need more lands, don’t be shy about dropping it or Turntimber Sybmiosis as lands. They both have that ability, so don’t let it go to waste out of pride.

We’re only running one, but I love Yorvo. When he shows up, he gets unreasonably strong at a high rate of speed. Whenever we play a green creature he gains +1/+1, and if they have higher power, then Yorvo gains another one! He was a staple for Mono-Green for a very long time. He’s another great Gemrazer pick, as he would become an 8/8 (since he comes into play as a 0/0 with 4 +1/+1 counters).

We need some other cards to keep us in the game while we start hitting the other player. What can we do?

We Need a Hero (But It’s Not In The Deck):


I really want to find room in the mainboard for Heroic Intervention as an anti-board wipe move, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of that lately. But it’s in the back of my mind at all times when playing this deck. One of the best removal spells in Magic has to belong to green though – Primal Might. It’s a 1+X card and gives a creature +X/+X until end of turn. Then you fight a creature you don’t control! You can make it as big as you need to safely take out a threat. Even better, if your opponent has no creatures available and no way to stop it, you can buff a creature, and hit for way more! Slap that onto your Questing Beast or your Buff AF Yorvo, for maximum pain.

Our other major control spell is Ranger’s Guile. This, for 1 mana gives our target creature +1/+1 and Hexproof until end of turn. This is one of the best cards to see in our starting hand. If you think the opponent is going to destroy whatever you play, wait an extra turn. That way you have the spare green mana to drop Ranger’s Guile in a pinch. In addition to Primal Might, we’ve slotted in one copy of Ram Through, but I am open to putting more of them in. If I removed anything, it might be Nessian Beetle, even though I love it. Maybe a Garruk’s Harbinger instead. Ram Through has a creature we control deal damage to an enemy creature. If our creature has trample, excess damage still goes through to the enemy.

Did you make a huge creature, slap Gemrazer on it, and want to win the game? You can easily do it this way if you’re short just a few points. It’s one of the reasons a late game Stonecoil is so great. You can bring it in as a 15/15 or something and Ram Through. We’re also using a card that wasn’t so hot for a while: The Great Henge. In a deck filled with potentially huge creatures, it’s going to be way easy to cast. It’s a 9-cost that costs up to 7 less, depending on the greater power among our creatures.

What’s it do? We can cast it for 2 green mana and 2 life, and when a nontoken creature of ours comes into play, it comes in with a +1/+1 counter on it (in addition to any others we bring them in with).

We’ll be just a little bigger, a little stronger. The name of this deck is to be on the aggressive side, swinging with our ever-growing creatures whenever possible. It’s not a hard strategy, thankfully. Use your instants to kill threats, and then resume fighting the other player. You can do it!

Decklist


Deck

2 Castle Garenbrig

18 Forest

3 Garruk’s Harbinger

2 Gemrazer

1 Kazandu Mammoth

4 Lovestruck Beast

1 Nessian Hornbeetle

4 Primal Might

3 Questing Beast

1 Ram Through

2 Ranger’s Guile

4 Scavenging Ooze

4 Stonecoil Serpent

4 Swarm Shambler

2 The Great Henge

4 Turntimber Symbiosis

1 Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig

 

Sideboard

1 Garruk’s Harbinger

2 Gemrazer

4 Oakhame Adversary

3 Ram Through

3 Soul-Guide Lantern

2 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate

Final Thoughts


What a fun deck this is! It’s easy to pilot, and we have plenty of answers for the early-game. The longer it goes on, the harder the matches will wind up being, but I like it regardless. Typically, by turn 4, we’re just about unstoppable. We’re putting out a threat almost every turn, and can run down most other aggro decks. We aren’t scared of rinky-dink little 1/2s with flying. We’re just going to run them down over and over. Especially with Questing Beast. I have a feeling this will wind up being a pretty popular deck. There’s another fun Mono-Green going around right now, with Feasting Troll King. I want to see that in action for myself.

Golgari Adventures Are Still Great (Black/Green Control/Midrange)


Just because Lucky Clover was banned, that doesn’t mean Adventures are going anywhere. In fact, in Best-of-Three, Golgari Adventures is still very much a Tier 1 deck. It had tons of utility with the Adventures/Edgewall Innkeeper. Sure, they no longer get to just dumpster out ability after ability for free, it’ll still wind up being more than efficient at destroying other players.

In Gruul Aggro, I still see Edgewall Innkeeper, despite only running one “Adventure” spell. This deck on the other hand runs Foulmire Knight, Order of Midnight, Murderous Rider, and Lovestruck Beast. Essentially, all of the good Green/Black Adventure cards are run in this deck. So when we cast one of them for a much-needed trigger/ability, we get to draw a card. Decks like this where we get to do more card draw, it’s going to be a very bad scene for the other player.

While the deck, designed by AliasV, who is an incredible player, only runs 18 lands, we have some of those fancy new cards. By that, I mean the Modal Dual-Faced Cards. Cards that can also be used as lands are invaluable to us. Sometimes they’ll be useful as actual spells, but more often than not, we’ll be using them as lands. Except, of course, Agadeem’s Awakening. That card is amazing in both slots. Turntimber Symbiosis could be a hilarious cast too; how would you like a ⅚ Murderous Rider? It’s plausible!

How’s It Work?


This feels like a fun blend of aggro and control. We’ve got Adventures for all sorts of uses: creature removal, card draw, and returning a creature from the graveyard to our hand. When we combine that with Edgewall Innkeeper, we get another card to draw. We’ve got mana ramp (Lotus Cobra), annoying, constant sources of damage (Questing Beast, Rankle, Master of Pranks), and big threats that must be answered (Elder Gargaroth). Most of our damage in this deck is solid, but also comes with additional threats.

Like Questing Beast, which we’ve already discussed once in this list. Rankle, Master of Pranks, does whatever we need. As a 3/3 flyer, he’s okay as a 4-cost. But he can make each player discard a card, lose 1 life and draw a card, or sacrifice a creature. Whatever you need at the moment, he can do it. You can pick as many as you want, to boot!

How do we beat a player down though? We ramp what little we can (Lotus Cobra’s Landfall ability) and get cards like Elder Gargaroth, Lovestruck Beast, and Questing Beast into play as fast as we can. They’re our heavy hitters. The Elder Gargaroth is powerful on the attack and block though. Anytime it attacks or blocks, you choose one:

  • Create a 3/3 green Beast creature token
  • Gain 3 life
  • Draw a card

So he brings intense value as a 6/6 Vigilance/Reach/Trample for five mana. Isn’t that ridiculous? You can have a 6/6 on turn 4! That’s what makes this deck so good, in my estimation. We have so many answers for solutions. We have card draw and reasonably big numbers. We can pump up our creatures a little, gain life easily, and if we should lose creatures, they can come back!

We also have Kazandu Mammoth that can be used as a 3/3 for 3. It can also be a land though. So use it for whichever you need it most. If you play a land for turn, it receives +2/+2 until end of turn, which is neat. I have a feeling it will be a land more often than not.

By turn 3 or 4, we’re ready to start hitting the other player hard in the noggin. A turn 4 Questing Beast (or turn 3 with clever use of Lotus Cobra) can seal someone’s fate. I’ve watched more than a few people see Questing Beast, Kazandu Mammoth and Elder Gargoth drop one after another, and just give in.

We also have Turntimber Symbiosis to pull a creature and put it into play. I mean, that’s still 7 mana to drop. If you play a land, have a pair of Lotus Cobras in play, you can do it faster. You can also use The Great Henge to great effect there. It’s probably better off as a land, but. If you pick a creature that costs 3 or less, it gains 3 +1/+1 tokens, and if you have The Great Henge out, that’s a 4th +1/+1 counter. Want a Murderous Rider that’s a 6/7 with lifelink? That’s how you do it. Virtually any creature does well with +4/+4 slapped on top of it. My favorites are the Rider, Order of Midnight, Foulmire Knight, or Skyclave Shade.

They all have great synergy with that kind of power buff. Skyclave Shade is a new addition, and has a Kicker to give it +2/+2 when it comes into play (in the form of 2 +1/+1 tokens). It can’t block, but if it’s in the grave, it can come back simply by playing a land. It’s Landfall states that if you play a land this turn, and Skyclave Shade is in the grave, you can cast him from there this turn. That can only happen on your turn, mind.

What Time Is It?!


Adventure Time! Wait, that’s a cartoon and a comic book. It’s still time to cast Adventures and threats! We want to cast our Adventure Spells before actually playing them as creatures in most cases. That way we get the spell effect, and then the creature, which gives us a card to draw if Edgewall Innkeeper is in play. While this deck has a lot of beat down in it, we also have threats to answer.

If we simply need more cards, we can use Foulmire Knight (Profane Insight) to draw a 1 card and lose 1 life. That’s the worst of our troubles, honestly. If we are worried about pulling a Foulmire and need a 1/1 to make sure Lovestruck Beast can attack, cast it as an Adventure (Heart’s Desire) to create a 1/1 human creature token.

Oh but this deck has some new threat removal too, like Bloodchief’s Thirst. It’s one of the strongest removal cards in the game right now. For 1 black mana, you can destroy a creature or planeswalker that costs 2 or less. But if you pay the Kicker (3 mana, 1 black), destroy any creature or planeswalker. Now that is a spicy meatball! At any point in the game, it’s an immediate answer to a problem.

Order of Midnight’s Adventure (Alter Fate) lets us bring a creature back from the grave and put it in hand. Sad that you had to get rid of Questing Beast or Rankle? Get them back! We probably won’t need to do it, but Agadeem’s Awakening will let us bring back any number of creatures from the grave with an X cost or less. So we can bring back 1 1-cost, 1 2-cost, etc, depending on how much we tap. We won’t need to tap more than 5 mana for this deck (8 total).

As a final card in our arsenal, we have something we’ll likely seldom use because it’s not cheap. Hagra Mauling destroys target creature for 4 mana (2 black). However, if the other player has no basic lands, it costs 1 colorless less. In the early game, this can be debilitating. I would only use it as this and not as a land unless I have plenty to go around. Don’t be shy about using our Modal Dual-Faced Cards as lands to make sure we don’t miss a land drop. That’s important in the early game.

The Great Henge also really helps us stay in a bad situation, and turn it around. The ability to gain life and mana every turn is not to be underestimated. It also brings our creatures in just a little stronger. Managing to play it is a real boon. It can also distract players and turn a bad thing into a great thing (they target it out of fear, and you swing for big numbers as a result).

Decklist


Deck

4 Lovestruck Beast

2 Turntimber Symbiosis

2 The Great Henge

2 Elder Gargaroth

2 Questing Beast

2 Rankle, Master of Pranks

2 Hagra Mauling

2 Agadeem’s Awakening

4 Kazandu Mammoth

4 Temple of Malady

4 Fabled Passage

2 Lotus Cobra

2 Skyclave Shade

2 Order of Midnight

5 Forest

4 Edgewall Innkeeper

4 Foulmire Knight

5 Swamp

3 Bloodchief’s Thirst

3 Murderous Rider

Final Thoughts


It’s a deck that just keeps on going. This is mostly thanks to how powerful Throne of Eldraine was as a set. There were so many amazing green/black cards in it, that this particular beatdown deck persists. There are other Green/Black decks of course. Polukranos Fight is still a thing. We’ve got control Black/Green, but this is probably my favorite flavor. We start hitting the other player hopefully on turns ¾, and just don’t let up until they’re done. Are the other players running weak low-cost aggro? We’re tough enough to just run them over and not stress. 1/1s are going to be nothing in the face of our mighty army of nature jerks. Heavy control and constant board wipe can be the doom of decks like this though, always will. Just play fast, play smart, and remove the biggest threats you can.

Esper Danse of the Manse is Back (™) (Blue/Black/White Yorion Control)


As far as the meta goes post-Omnath ban in MTG Arena, quite a few decks are now possible to run again. One deck/meta, in particular, has me worried: Yorion decks. We’re going to cover one Yorion deck, and then return to it again next week, because there are two starkly different choices. I fear that once again control is going to dominate the landscape because Yorion is once-again viable.

Out of all of the Yorion-flavors, this is my least favorite. It runs a host of enchantments that aren’t super powerful; just really annoying. Then there are the majorly powerful enchants – Elspeth Conquers Death, and Elspeth’s Nightmare. Then we tie it all together with Doom Foretold. A turn 4 Doom Foretold is one of the most frustrating things ever. I say “least favorite”, but what I mean is “least favorite to play against”. Finally, we bring all of those enchantments back after we’ve seen them get used: Danse of the Manse.

How do you enjoy getting obliterated by an army of 4/4 base enchantments? Probably not so much. We also have tons of Shark Typhoon shenanigans. Honestly, we don’t really even want to hard cast it. Why do that, when we can bring it back with Danse of the Manse for less than we’d normally have to pay, and get way more value out of it?

Everything about this deck screams disrespect. Then we have Yorion, Sky Nomad to re-play the key cards. In particular, we bounce Elspeth Conquers Death and Doom Foretold to make sure the other player never gets into the game. That’s what we want. The other player isn’t allowed to have fun, and this deck makes sure of it. Board wipe, exile, life gain, card draw, more card draw, we just pack a wallop. If you want the other player to have the least-possible-fun, here you go.

How’s It Work?


You’ve probably seen Danse of the Manse decks before; it’s not exactly a rare build. However, our latest expansion gave them some new, exciting power. Not a ton of power, but just enough to make them a threat. Most of it comes in the form of new nonbasic lands, and the Modal Dual-Faced cards. We run 1 copy of Emeria’s Call, and 3 copies of Skyclave Cleric, which can both be played as lands if that is our wish.

In the late game, I’d be tempted to not play Emeria’s Call as a land. Why? In the most ideal of situations, when we have a ton of lands, we can do this. First, we get all of our enchantments into play as creatures. If we can spread that out between two turns, even better. So we get our enchantments out, then we cast Emeria’s Call. It gives us two 4/4 Angel Tokens, but makes our non-Angels Indestructible until our next turn. Then we cast Shatter the Skies. Board wipe the other player, and swing lethal! We can actually drop Emeria’s Call on the previous turn if mana allows. That way, we can surprise them with a board wipe on the following turn. That just means we can likely swing lethal with zero chance of reprisal. Again, that’s the most ideal way to win. It’s not something I envision happening a lot, but boy would it be fun. So let’s talk about what this deck does, now that we’ve said this.

Esper Danse decks are built around playing a lot of enchantments to control the board. We then bring them back with Danse of the Manse as 4/4 creatures, and tend to swing lethal on the next turn. It’s generally speaking, very safe because we have so many ways to slow down the other player’s board state. The more Doom Foretold’s we can get, the better. We aren’t too hurt about having to sacrifice cards either. We just want to make sure they get the worse end of it. Most of what we sacrifice can come back before you know it.

How? Because nearly every permanent in this deck is either a land or an enchantment! The only exceptions on permanents are Yorion, Sky Nomad, Skyclave Cleric, Charming Prince, and Glass Casket. Everything else is an enchantment that is designed to do our bidding. The whole name of the game is to make things as slow as humanly possible until they either 1. Surrender or 2. We win via Danse of the Manse.

Danse of the Manse is a 2-cost+X sorcery. We can return up to X target artifact and/or non-Aura Enchantment cards, each with a converted mana cost of X or less onto the battlefield. Now, if X is 6 or more, those permanents are also 4/4 creatures in addition to their other types. Whatever abilities would trigger when those cards come into play still come into play.

The idea behind this is pretty simple. We want Shark Typhoon in the graveyard for this. We’re going to need 8 mana free to make sure we get cards like Shark Typhoon and Elspeth Conquers Death. Getting Shark Typhoon into the grave is easy though; it has Cycling! We just tap 2+X (1 blue) to discard the enchantment and instead create an X/X flying Shark.

Now we get a Shark Typhoon in addition to all of the other enchantments that come into play. Now, from here on out, we can cast our other cards to make even more creatures! With Shark Typhoon in play, whenever we cast a non-creature spell, whatever that spell cost, we make an X/X Flying Shark token. Cast an Elspeth Conquers Death? Make a 5/5 flying Shark! You probably won’t be doing too much after that, unless the game somehow drags on.

I’d also consider holding a Typhoon, and cycling one if you can. That way, in case you don’t pull a Manse, you can just cast Typhoon and start making creatures to batter the other player with. However, what enchantments are we running, and why?

Enchantment? ENCHANTMEEEEEEENT!


The most important enchantments in the deck for my money are the highest-costing ones. We already talked about Shark Typhoon, but these are to set up victory. Doom Foretold is a four-cost white/black enchantment, and the faster we drop it the better. It makes each player sacrifice a nonland, nontoken on the beginning of their upkeep. If that player can’t, they discard a card, they lose 2 life, you draw a card, you gain 2 life, and you create a 2/2 white Knight creature with Vigilance. Then, sacrifice Doom Foretold. You want to make sure you have a few of your cheap enchantments in play for this. That way, you always have something to sacrifice. This also helps set up Danse of the Manse for later.

The purpose is clear: We want the other player to constantly have to sacrifice, discard, whatever. Elspeth Conquers Death, which is a 5-cost white enchantment is a Saga. Part 1 makes the opponent exile a card with a converted mana cost of 3 or more (our pick). Part 2 makes their noncreature spells cost 2 more to cast until our next turn. Finally, Part III returns a creature or planeswalker we control to the battlefield, and give it a +1/+1 counter or a Loyalty counter.

Elspeth Conquers Death is also why I love Yorion. Since we don’t have a lot of creatures, and no Planeswalkers, we want to use Yorion to bounce Elspeth on Part 2. That way we get that Part 1 and Part 2 again! Elspeth’s Nightmare is a 3-cost Saga that’s also very powerful. Part 1 has us destroy a creature with power 2 or less. The second part has us reveal an opponent’s hand, and we pick a noncreature, nonland and make them discard it. Part III is for those graveyard decks: Exile target opponent’s graveyard.

Our other enchantments are pretty cheap and give useful effects nonetheless. The Birth of Meletis gives us a Plain on part 1, a 0/4 colorless artifact Wall token on part 2, and 2 life on part 3. That’s our final saga, thankfully. We also run two of the Omen enchantments. Omen of the Sea (Flash, Scry 2, then draw a card), and Omen of the Sun (Create two 1/1 white Human tokens, gain 2 life). You can sacrifice those to Scry 2 as well. They’re just here to have sacrifice fodder, and to come back later. But gaining more life/card draw is never bad.

Especially since one of our enchantments hurts us. Treacherous Blessing has us draw 3 cards when it comes in. But every time we cast a spell, we lose 1 life. If it becomes the target of a spell or ability though, we sacrifice it. Those 3 cards are very handy, and we have plenty of ways to get life back.

Charming Prince may be a creature, but he can give us life. Instead, we want to use him to bounce Yorion out of play and back in. He’s very much a part of these enchantments. We want to use him to get extra triggers. What’s he do? When Yorion comes into play, exile as many nonland permanents we control. They come back in at the beginning of our next end step. So all of those Sagas? They pop again! They get reset to Part 1.

That’s our game plan! We want to keep using those enchantments to keep the board as clear as possible. We also have Shatter the Sky to board wipe in a pinch. We use Yorion as a companion too, because why not? May as well guarantee access to him anytime we want.

Decklist


Deck

Companion

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

 

Deck

4 Temple of Deceit

2 Charming Prince

3 Fabled Passage

5 Plains

3 Skyclave Cleric

1 Emeria’s Call

1 Crawling Barrens

4 Clearwater Pathway

2 Castle Ardenvale

4 Brightclimb Pathway

4 Swamp

2 Castle Vantress

4 Island

4 Elspeth’s Nightmare

4 Elspeth Conquers Death

4 Doom Foretold

3 Dance of the Manse

4 Omen of the Sea

2 Omen of the Sun

4 Shark Typhoon

4 Shatter the Sky

3 The Birth of Meletis

4 Treacherous Blessing

2 Glass Casket

3 Yorion, Sky Nomad

 

Sideboard

3 Soul-Guide Lantern

3 Confounding Conundrum

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

4 Skyclave Apparition

4 Banishing Light

Final Thoughts


God, I hate this deck. It makes me unreasonably angry. Watching a player loop Elspeth enchantments turn after turn makes my stomach turn. But, that being said, it’s very strong. Yorion decks are in an incredible place right now, and may wind up being the strongest control deck in the meta. Time will tell on that, but I can tell you that it’s not really too hard to do. You want Doom Foretold as quickly as possible. The other enchantments are there to set you up. After you have a healthy amount of enchantments in the grave (hopefully 6, so there’s no waste), you cast Danse of the Manse when it’s safe for 6, and you get all those triggers yet again. If the other player has no flyers, you can just batter them with Flying Sharks too! Even better, Yorion decks are harder for Mill decks because we have an 80 card deck. They can do it, but we’ll eventually start hitting our key cards. It’s only really hard to win against hyper aggro. Even if that comes up, we can hopefully start hitting Doom Foretold and Shatter the Sky. We also have Glass Casket to bring back, as it lets us exile a creature that costs 3 or less as long as it’s in play!

Filthy, Sneaky Rogueses (Blue/Black Rogue Aggro)


Somehow, this deck didn’t dominate the meta quite like I thought it would. It can still very much get wins, but it’s not the unstoppable force it was meant to be. Instead, it seems like Yorion is the current “Flavor of the Month”. Does that make Slitherwisp Rogues a bad thing? Absolutely not. This is a Rogue Tribal deck, with one creature that is not a Rogue: Slitherwisp! We’re going to get Slitherwisp out early (hopefully) and start abusing Flash mechanics just as hard as we can.

That way we can draw a card and make the other player lose 1 life anytime we cast a Flash spell – trust me, we’ve got plenty of those. On top of that, all the really annoying, fun removal spells Black/Blue have to offer. In addition, our Rogues do some seriously annoying things to make them hard to deal with. We also have a pseudo-lord with Soaring Thought-Thief, to give our Rogues +1/+0, provided an opponent has 8+ cards in the grave. Provided they don’t have Kroxa, that’s going to be pretty easy to do.

Rogue Aggro is great though because it’s so fast. We have lots of low-cost tools to push players cards out of play, or simply counter whatever nonsense they were trying for in the first place. We’re going to use quite a lot of the new cards because let’s be real: they’re awesome.

This is not the most technical, complicated deck. But it’s an aggro deck, so that’s okay. Our goal is to start swinging quickly, and make the other player constantly backpedal from our assault. We probably can’t out-strike Mono-Green, but with flyers, we can definitely out-maneuver them. On top of that, we can just directly remove whatever big creature they put in the path.

How’s It Work?


Dearest Zendikar: Thank you for providing us with so many ludicrous Black/Blue removal cards, and awesome Rogues. Best wishes, Jason. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk Rogues! Once we get a Slitherwisp or two in play, we’re really going to start hitting them hard. Sadly, it’s a 3-drop (2 black 1 blue). But it has Flash, so we can play it on the other player’s turn. Preferably when they have no mana. On top of that, it’s a 3/2, so it’s honestly pretty durable against other chumps/weak aggro decks. But we don’t want to swing/block with it, because that’s not safe. Only attack with it when there’s no chance of reprisal.

Now, Slitherwisp isn’t our first card to play. Though the ability to make the opponent lose 1 life/give us a card anytime we play a Flash card is amazing. One of the best things about this decks though is how much card draw we get from that, coupled with cheap creatures. Most of our cards in the deck as a whole are 3-cost or below. There are a couple of exceptions, but they’re worth it.

A Bunch of Sneaky Jerks


Our early game is hopefully going to see a turn-1 Thieves’ Guild Enforcer. That way, anytime we play that creature, or any other Rogue, each opponent mills two cards. We’re not going to win the game of that mill, but it’s going to set them back. Plus, our 1/1 Guild Enforcer becomes a 3/2 Deathtouch once the other player has 8+ cards in the grave. With a series of 1-2 cost Rogues, that’s going to be hilariously simple. However, not all of our Rogues need to be played during our turn.

For example, Zulaport Duelist is primarily used to counter aggressive early plays. As a Rogue with flash, he’s a 1/1. Whenever it enters the battlefield, a target creature receives -2/-0 until the end of turn. The controller of that creature also mills two cards. So paired with Thieves’ Guild, it really starts to add up. Then you pair that with Slitherwisp, you could easily get yet another Duelist. Did your opponent make a greedy attack? Turn that 2/2 into a 0/2, and laugh. Or kill it if you can.

Soaring Thought-Thief will make all that mill pay off, as we said. A ⅓ with Flash/Flying, we definitely want to play it on the opponent’s turn. Whenever one or more of our Rogues attack, the other player also mills two cards. So even more mill! We could mill someone out this way again, but I don’t know that it’s worth it to bank on it. Just attack and enjoy removing threats from the game. Plus giving our Rogues +1/+0 is also great. So more of these in play is just another threat.

Then we have Brazen Borrower which is a 3/1 Rogue with Flash/Flying. But we can also use it as an Instant (Petty Theft) to bounce a nonland permanent of our opponent’s back to their hand. Best used on token creatures, or something the other player no longer has the ability to cast (out of mana creatures/mana tokens). If the other player doesn’t have flyers, Brazen Borrower is going to beat them up bad.

And of course, we have the ever-sneaky mid-game bomb of Zareth San, the Trickster. However, with his ability being a 4-cost, and his play-cost being 5 mana (both 1 blue, 1 black), we want to cast him using his special. We can pay that 4 mana and return an unblocked attacking Rogue we control back to our hand. Then instead we get Zareth San, the Trickster into play tapped and attacking.

Plus, whenever he deals combat damage to a player, take a permanent from that player’s graveyard and put it under our play, on the battlefield. The best way is to get a creature that isn’t being blocked, and in response, before the damage, activate this ability from your hand. It’s even better if it’s a Rogue that has a special (Zulaport Duelist, Brazen Borrower). If you get another Zareth San in hand, you can make them bounce each other, to keep frustrating people. But that’s not really ideal. Just annoying.

Our ultimate strategy is to just keep playing Rogues, making them mill, removing threats, and hitting them quickly for just enough damage. Thankfully we have a ton of removal. We also have Agadeem’s Awakening to bring creatures back in a pinch; but honestly? It’s probably better off coming in as a land especially since we’re only running a few black lands.

Removal


You’ll probably want to try and hold at least 2 mana (1 black, 1 blue) in as many situations as possible. Partially so the opponent has no idea what you could play, but also for our various control spells. We’ve probably already talked about Bloodchief’s Thirst in this blog before, and there’s a good reason it keeps showing up. 1-cost removal with a Kicker to make it better (for creatures/planeswalkers) is amazing.

We even have cards to spot remove particular annoying cards from a graveyard. Playing against a Kroxa deck, or something else that keeps returning? Cling to Dust exiles a card from a graveyard. If it’s a creature, we gain 3 life. Otherwise, we draw a card. We can also do this again through the magic of Escape ( 4 mana, exile five cards). Plus, Cling to Dust is a 1-cost Instant!

Our counter/removal, whichever you need it to be, is Drown in the Loch. You can either counter a spell or destroy a creature that has a CMC that is less than or equal to the number of cards in the controller’s grave. So all that milling? Suddenly, it’s not so bad for us. Finally, Heartless Act makes a return, which destroys a creature with no counters on it or removes 3 counters from a creature. Did some aggro deck play a 2 or 3 Stonecoil Serpent? Laugh as it suddenly drops into the graveyard!

Play Rogues on your opponent’s turn on curve, make them mill, make them lose life simply for playing your creatures, and swing lethal! It’s honestly a very easy deck to run. You don’t have to play your Flash creatures on their turn, but it helps. It leaves your mana open for responses on your turn.

Decklist


Deck

4 Drown in the Loch

4 Heartless Act

4 Agadeem’s Awakening

4 Temple of Deceit

4 Slitherwisp

3 Bloodchief’s Thirst

4 Zulaport Duelist

2 Zareth San, the Trickster

4 Island

1 Into the Story

4 Thieves’ Guild Enforcer

4 Brazen Borrower

2 Cling to Dust

2 Zagoth Triome

4 Clearwater Pathway

2 Fabled Passage

4 Swamp

4 Soaring Thought-Thief

Final Thoughts


Honestly, Yorion still feels like the best deck right now, and even it can snuff out Rogues. It just depends on how fast you get going versus what they have to offer. For regular decks, we’re pretty strong. The hard part is coming up against board wipe, or the other player having as much removal as we do. But it’s so satisfying to mill someone down while also whittling away at their life total. Dimir Rogues is one of the easier decks to pilot right now. Most of the test-hands I drew gave me at least two lands, and responses for the first few turns. You should almost always have a shot at making the right play. But I personally always want Thieves’ Guild Enforcer in every starting hand.

Gruul Landfall is Still OP (Red/Green Landfall Aggro)


Embercleave has yet to go anywhere! We aren’t running a playset in the deck, but boy is it still amazing! But Skycleave Pick-Axe honestly serves our needs much better. It buffs a creature for +2/+2 whenever a land drops for us (until end of turn). Maybe it isn’t better than Embercleave (it definitely isn’t) but it’s useful for our purposes as a 1-drop that’s much easier to put into play than waiting on an Embercleave.

This is the aggro deck that we’ll use to put other low-cost aggro decks into the ground with. Lots of fast, useful red creatures, and plenty of ways to make them a little bigger, or hit a little harder (Hello, Torbran!) in order to secure nice, easy victories. We can also take those normally weak creatures, like Fireblade Charger, slap a mutation on them to make them bigger (while still being Red), and get buffs from landfall (Pick-Axe), and Torbran to maximize damage. We can also do this with Anax, to secure Kazuul’s Fury victories, should we desire to.

It’s a deck with mana ramp, buffs, and plenty of damage to get you through those annoying, slow Yorion decks. I’m not promising you it’ll beat them, but we stand a pretty good chance. As long as we don’t get hit with early board wipe or tons of removal, we can hammer the other player with a fiery fist of justice. Or anger. Dealer’s choice.

How’s It Work?


Fireblade Charger is a creature that has a lot of potential to be horribly broken. The downside is we need to put a little work into them first. As long as it’s equipped, it has haste, and whenever it dies, it’s power is dealt in damage to any target. So giving it a Skyclave Pick-Axe (or Embercleave) and hitting Land Drops is pretty great. But that’s not enough; that buff is temporary. That’s where the Migratory Greathorn comes into play.

We mutate the Charger, to turn it into a ¾ instead of a 1/1. That makes things a little bit better. If we can hit the Auspicious Starix, even better, because that would turn him into a 6/6 instead of a 1/1. We want him to be as strong as possible for our lethal killing blow. We want to keep hitting them with cards like Fireblade Charger and Akoum Hellhound. The hellhound also needs a Pick-Axe. It’s a default 0/1, but gains +2/+2 whenever we put a land into play, which would give it +2/+2 for the turn with a Pick-Axe.

Making Moves


Since those are all one-drops, a turn 3 Migratory Greathorn mutation is well within the realm of possibility. If you play a land for turn, and then cast Migratory Greathorn, that’s two landdrops on that turn. So if we do this on Akoum Hellhound, he gains +8/+8 for the turn, and then becomes a ¾ on top of that. We’re going to hammer the other player into bits and pieces that way! We can get stuff like that going on turn 3 with Akoum Hellhound.

It’s not our only weapon, but that’s still a very powerful combo. This is also a deck that can win off of one of a variety of creatures. In particular, we’re running Anax, Hardened in the Forge. With him, we want all of those little 1-drops on the board, as many as possible. We also want Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. Anax, as we’ve discussed before, has a Power equal to the Red Devotion (red mana symbols on your nonland permanents).

He’s an ideal target for Embercleave for that purpose. Simply putting Embercleave in play gives him a total of +3/+1, Double Strike and Trample. If you’re worried your opponent will somehow survive his assault, you have one final card to use.

We have one Kazuul’s Fury with his name on it. In response to him dying, you can sacrifice him to Kazuul’s Fury. Then we deal his damage in power to any target. He’ll get the Fireblade Charger treatment, but on a much larger scale! Our other possibly most important creature is Brushfire Elemental, which is a 2-drop (1 red, 1 green) 1/1 with Haste. It can’t be blocked by creatures that are 2 power or less, on top of that. He’s got the same passive as Akoum Hellhound, in that he gains a temporary +2/+2 for each time we play a land.

With that in mind, if we can get one or two Skyclave Pick-Axes on Hellhound, Brushfire, or FIreblade, we’re going to be in serious business. They don’t keep the buffs, but it will be a reliable, constant source of damage. If we can get lucky enough to drop two Migratory Greathorn mutations in one turn, that’s a possible 3 lands on that turn, with Pick-Axes on top (hopefully).

We have the potential to OTK a player with these kinds of numbers. We don’t have a lot of out-play-style cards in the deck; we’re Red Aggro after all. We do have a Claim the Firstborn for enemy creatures that cost 3 or less. We can then untap it, give it haste, and use it for the turn. Sadly, we have to give it back. Unless it happens to die in combat. . . like if we say, use Spikefield Hazard to deal it 1 damage. If it would die that way, it gets exiled! I have a feeling that Spikefield and Tangled Florahedron will both wind up being used as lands, which is totally fine.

This is not a deck we want to ever miss a land drop in, after all. You can see how important land drops are to this combo. We do however have Ram Through, to deal a creature’s power in damage to another creature. If they have trample, excess damage goes through. It’s a great way to use a creature you slapped Embercleave on (because we have no Trample otherwise). Our only other removal spell is Scorching Dragonfire, which deals 3 to a creature or planeswalker; if they would die this turn, exile them.

Our plan is simple enough. We play those cheap creatures over and over, play lands, and abuse temporary buffs. Find the right creature for a Mutation, and start hitting even harder. When/if you can do a Kazuul/Anax/Fireblade sacrifice combo for big numbers, don’t be scared of doing it. The more power that creature has, the bigger the bombshell that gets dropped on them. We also have Torbran to make those Red sources deal 2 more, which is always fun times.

Decklist


Deck

4 Migratory Greathorn

2 Rugged Highlands

4 Evolving Wilds

3 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

1 Embercleave

2 Tangled Florahedron

2 Spikefield Hazard

1 Claim the Firstborn

1 Auspicious Starrix

2 Scorching Dragonfire

2 Ram Through

4 Anax, Hardened in the Forge

4 Fireblade Charger

4 Akoum Hellhound

3 Skyclave Pick-Axe

9 Mountain

7 Forest

4 Brushfire Elemental

1 Kazuul’s Fury

Final Thoughts


The only thing I’d consider changing in this deck, is the Evolving Wilds for Fabled Passage. No sense not using them if you have them. But one of the great things about the deck is we don’t need a complicated mana base. We need green mana, and red mana. That’s it. We don’t need to drop tons on wild, rare lands. I may consider swapping the Rugged Highlands for some of the new Red/Green lands from the latest expansion though. Just so we can have them come in without being tapped, even if they only produce one color. It’s an easy deck, and it’s fun. It’s so satisfying to watch someone’s face melt from a random Kazuul’s Fury, or simply hitting them for huge numbers over and over, thanks to Landfall!

It’s. . .Leviathan!!! (Sultai Kicker Midrange)


What can I say? Final Fantasy IV always has a hold of my soul – should have been “Leviatan” though. This is only technically a Sultai deck though. We have one playset of cards that require black mana (Bloodchief’s Thirst) because it’s so great. This is a deck all about the power of Kicker. It may be expensive to do in a lot of scenarios, but most of this deck gains from casting spells that were kicked. We can duplicate Kicked spells, return Kicked spells back to our hand from the grave, make them cost less, et cetera.

But how do we beat players with this deck? Likely with a lot of buffed Roost of Drakes tokens, Vine Gecko, or even a big-mana tap of Verazol, the Split Current. If only Verazol had flight. It’s so strange that it doesn’t. The deck even has some mana ramp, if you’re willing to pay up for the Kicker costs. Because of this, I feel like a starting hand with a good amount of mana is pretty much required. 

That’s one of the things I enjoy about decks like this. Not being built around just one creature, we have a few ways to win the game, or we can simply outlast the other player. In this I prefer to swing with a constant flood of Drakes though. If we can get a few Roost of Drakes into play, we can very easily overrun any deck without board wipe. Then we abuse cards like Vastwood Surge to buff all of our creatures (especially those Drakes), and use Murasa Sproutling to get them to just do it again! Or we can use Verazol/Sea Gate Stormcaller to duplicate Kicked spells when we cast them. 

However, Sea Gate Stormcaller requires two-cost or less costing Instant/Sorceries to duplicate. Do we have a suitable number of options? Why, we do! Inscription of Abundance, Reclaim the Wastes, and Bloodchief’s Thirst

The only downside is that this is a mana-intensive deck. We do have some ways around that though. So let’s discuss Sultai Kicker! It’s a deck that starts slow, but picks up pace the more cards we duplicate, and the greater we go in on Kicker costs. Want to remove enemy creatures, and create a constantly-growing army of flying creatures? We sure do! Not as many decks run lots of flyers, so we can really abuse that with our 2/2s that inevitably wind up getting bigger and meaner.

How’s It Work?


One of the keys to making this deck really go fast is Vine Gecko. It’s an uncommon creature and a 2/2 for 2! We don’t even have to Kick it; one of the few things in this deck that doesn’t require it. But there’s a good reason we want more than one in play. The first spell we Kick each turn costs 1 colorless to cast. On top of that, whenever we cast a Kicked spell, give Vine Gecko a +1/+1. So if we can duplicate the spells, that would be even better to buff Vine Gecko in good time.

We want to beat the other player down with our flying tokens, copy our Kicked spells, and buff/mana ramp. That way, we always have plenty of lands to make sure our ability to Kick/copy Kicked spells are not difficult to do. 

So what options do we have to do that? Verazol, the Split Current is a 2+X creature, that gets +1/+1 for each colorless mana used in the casting (baseline a 0/0). We want to use as much mana as is safe to create this creature. That’s because when we cast a Kicked spell, we can remove two of his +1/+1 counters, and if we do, copy that spell. We can also pick new targets for the copied spell. This is both good and bad; we don’t want it to run out of +1/+1 counters unless we have another copy of him to cast later!

Kicking is Good For You


We do have an option to add more +1/+1 counters. It’s a 4-cost (1 green) that also has a 4 colorless Kicker. This spell, Vastwood Surge lets us search our deck for two basic lands, and put them into play tapped. If we kick the spell, all of our creatures get 2 +1/+1 counters! All those Drakes, our Gecko, Verazol, everything! It lets us do other copying shenanigans with Verazol! Sadly, we’ve only got two Vastwood Surges in the deck, because it’s not cheap to cast.

Murasa Sproutling can help with this. When we Kick it (3 mana + 2 mana Kicker, 2 green total), it lets us take a card with a Kicker and pull it back from the grave and into our hand. It’s important to note that we can even copy creatures with Verazol! The permanent would come in as a token copy of the original creature, and we still get those awesome kicker abilities again. So that would give us two cards from the grave.

Thankfully, between Verazol/Sea Gate Stormcaller, we can duplicate our mana ramp cards pretty easily. So speaking of which, let’s talk Stormcaller! Sea Gate Stormcaller is a 2-cost creature (1 blue) with a 5-cost Kicker (1 blue). It’s why we want early Vine Geckos to make that easier. We have to make sure mana is on tap. When Sea Gate Stormcaller comes in, we copy the next Instant/Sorcery we cast with a 2-or-less cost. If we kicked Sea Gate Stormcaller, copy it twice! We can also pick new targets.

So in a perfect world, we play Sea Gate Stormcaller, Kick Him, and use Verazol to duplicate him again. That will make our next Instant/Sorcery get copied four times. If your opponent has a bunch of cheap creatures that need to be removed, you can drop 1 black mana on Bloodchief’s Thirst. Conversely, you can spend 4 mana (1 green) to kick Reclaim the Wastes, and pull a total of 8 lands from your deck (basic lands). 

Though I’d suggest Inscription of Abundance for maximum value. We can also copy it again with Verazol if he has enough +1/+1 counters to do so. That would then give us 5 casts of the same spell. What would we get out of that?

  • Put two +1/+1 counters on target creature
  • Target player gains X life, where X is the greater power among creatures they control
  • Target creature you control fights target creature you don’t control.

We would do that five times in one turn! When you combine that with a Vine Gecko that just received roughly +5/+5 that turn, we can bulldoze most things out of our way. Even better if we have several Geckos! Though we do want a Roost of Drakes on turn 1 if possible, and maybe even a turn 2 too! As far as 2-or-less cost, we also have Into the Roil. If you pay the Kicker (2 mana, 1 blue), we bounce a nonland permanent to its owner’s hand (several times with the above set-up), and if we paid the kicker, for each cast, we also draw a card!

That combo makes our Vine Geckos get bigger and bigger, and if we can keep using the Inscription of Abundance, copy it and do it again and again, we’ll be able to fight our opponents creatures down until it’s safe to attack. If the other player doesn’t have flyers, just swing with your host of them (Provided you have Roost of Drakes in play). Otherwise, you can use Vine Gecko/Verazol. 

That Vastwood Surge is another card we want to copy and get back over and over. That way, we give our other creatures a constant buff. If we need spells to Kick, we also have Coralhelm Chronicler. Thankfully, it does not require a Kicker cost. It’s a 2/2 for 3, that whenever we cast a Kicked spell, draw a card then discard a card.

However, when it comes in, we look at the top five of our library, and reveal a card with a Kicker cost, and put it into our hand. He’s not our only way to get more cards to use! Inscription of Insight has a Kicker of 4 (2 blue) on top of the 4-cost (1 blue). But it does more for utility. If we pay the Kicker, we get all of the picks instead of just one (like Inscription of Abundance).

  • Return up to two creatures to their owners’ hands
  • Scry 2, then draw 2 cards
  • Target player creates an X/X blue Illusion creature token, where X is the number of cards in their hand. 

If we can pair this with Verazol, we get at least 4 cards in our hand to potentially make an 8/8+ Illusion. These are the cards that make the deck so powerful. Oh, and Opt to Scry 1 and draw 1. It’s never a bad pick. Finally, for our card finding/utility, we have Jace, Mirror Mage, who also has a Kicker (2 colorless). If we Kick him, create a token that’s a copy of Jace, Mirror Mage, except it’s not a legendary and has a Loyalty of 1. 

Verazol would give us 4 copies of Jace, would be hilarious, but it’s not necessary. He has a base Loyalty of 4. Jace’s +1 lets us Scry 2, and he also has a +0. You draw a card and reveal it. You then remove a number of loyalty counters equal to the card’s converted mana cost from Jace. So you Scry, plan a few moves ahead, and get the right card at the right time! Boy, I love this version of Jace. He’s strong without being too ludicrous. 

Decklist


Deck

2 Coralhelm Chronicler

2 Swamp

4 Fabled Passage

4 Bloodchief’s Thirst

4 Island

2 Reclaim the Wastes

2 Opt

3 Verazol, the Split Current

4 Vine Gecko

2 Vastwood Surge

4 Clearwater Pathway

2 Murasa Sproutling

2 Jace, Mirror Mage

4 Zagoth Triome

2 Inscription of Abundance

2 Inscription of Insight

4 Into the Roil

2 Sea Gate Stormcaller

4 Forest

4 Roost of Drakes

1 Throne of Makindi

Final Thoughts


This is a deck where you really have to think ahead. Plan what you want to do with each turn, and probably the turns after it. You have the tools to swam the other player, or simply beat them down with a couple of creatures. We have the tools to copy and kick spells with relative. The key to success is learning what you need to do in each scenario. That will come with practice! But we have plenty to do no matter what situation. We can mana ramp, buff, flood with creatures, and bounce the other players entire defensive force back! That will make it so easy to win trades/combat. I think many players will enjoy how much this can do in the mid-game. It’s not a game you win quickly, but it’s going to be very satisfying to see things triggering over and over.

Tymaret Calls the Enchantments (4-Color Enchantments Aggro)


This is a deck that my friend Red made me aware of. I was already aware of how powerful enchantment decks are, but it’s back again in a whole new way, in a manner of speaking. This is again, a deck mostly made better by the power of new lands and a new spell or two. That being said, it’s still wildly powerful and can win without any threats whatsoever. It’s a deck where we can make our attacking creature swing for lethal without ever being blocked. 

Personally, I’m not going to be chuffed when All That Glitters leaves Standard away forever. It’ll still be a threat in Historic, but oh goodness, is that card strong! Especially with a whole expansion devoted to Enchantments/Enchantment creatures! This deck focuses heavily on the strengths of that card, followed by Hateful Eidolon and Storm Herald. Storm Herald will help us get an easy win thanks to all of our cards that are likely in the graveyard.

That comes from simply having our Enchantments leave play, or using Tymaret Calls the Dead to put some of our cards in the grave. That can lead to us winning via Zombie Token if we want. We have a few options for our attacking creatures, but the go-to will likely be Setessan Champion or Hateful Eidolon

How’s It Work?


All That Glitters is horrifyingly powerful. The enchanted creature (2 mana, 1 white) gets +1/+1 for each artifact and/or enchantment you control. This enchantment stacks with itself too. Almost everything in this deck is an enchantment, too! Several of our creatures are also Enchantments (Hateful Eidolon, Alseid of Life’s Bounty). 

So we stack several enchantments in play, to make All That Glitters even more powerful. We also want to put some of the Auras we control go into the grave. That will be thanks to Tymaret Calls the Dead and Mire Triton. We want to strike a balance between castable Auras, and some in the grave. Why’s that? Because Storm Herald, that’s why! 

When Storm Herald comes into play, we can take as many Aura cards from our graveyard as we want, and put them into play, equipped on creatures we control. Those get exiled at the beginning of our End Step. If they would leave play before that, they would just get exiled anyway. So when we do this, we need to get the win. Do this when you have a creature that can attack. Worried about blockers? Make sure you have 1 colorless to sacrifice an Alseid of Life’s Bounty in play. That will give our attacker protection from a color. Hopefully, you can also use Demonic Embrace this way, to give the attacker +3/+1 and Flying. 

Hopefully, we can get a win before this ever happens, but this is a failsafe. We also have Call of the Death-Dweller to bring back Enchantment creatures/creatures in general, to make sure we have 1. An attacker and 2. Give it Deathtouch/Menace! So let’s talk about the enchantments we’re going to run for our creatures.

Enchantment!


Our enchantments serve to bolster our attacking creature of choice always has a way around the other player. Setessan Training gives our creature +1/+0 and Trample, for example, and also lets us draw a card. Sentinel’s Eyes gives said creature +1/+1 and Vigilance. It can also be cast from our grave via Escape (1 white mana and exile two other cards). So now it doesn’t have to tap to attack, and extra damage gets through.

Demonic Embrace is our way to get Flying, plus +3/+1 is another bonus (and Demon typing). This is another card that can be cast from the grave, for 3 life and discarding a card, in addition to paying its normal cost. All That Glitters is our big bomb, giving us +1/+1 for each enchantment/artifact we control. But speaking of that, Hateful Eidolon is one of our Enchantment creatures. In addition, Alseid of Life’s Bounty is another Enchantment Creature. It’s a great target for our attacking since it also has Lifelink. But only do that if you have another you can sacrifice to protect the initial. 

This is a very easy deck to use. We use Tymaret/Mire Triton to put cards in the grave to set up Storm Herald, while also casting our normal enchantments to set up a big damage dealer. We can do an easy enough OTK with enough time and patience, or we can swing away every turn when it’s safe. Don’t worry too much, Call of the Death-Dweller can help us bring back an unfortunate attacker, and Storm Herald will bring back the Auras to use one more time. 

The most ideal thing will be to get several of those All That Glitters in play at once. Whether they’re on the same creature or not, it doesn’t matter. From there, you just swing as hard as you want! It’s brilliant, and it’s frustrating.

Decklist


Deck

4 Sentinel’s Eyes

1 Plains

1 Forest

1 Mountain

4 Swamp

4 Tymaret Calls the Dead

4 Storm Herald

2 Setessan Training

3 Setessan Champion

2 Savai Triome

2 Needleverge Pathway

2 Mire Triton

1 Mire Triton

1 Indatha Triome

3 Hateful Eidolon

3 Demonic Embrace

2 Cragcrown Pathway

4 Call of the Death-Dweller

3 Brightclimb Pathway

4 Branchloft Pathway

3 Alseid of Life’s Bounty

4 All That Glitters

2 Agadeem’s Awakening

 

Sideboard

2 Shatter the Sky

1 Mogis’s Favor

2 Mire’s Grasp

2 Hushbringer

2 Extinction Event

2 Elspeth Conquers Death

2 Heliod’s Punishment

2 The Binding of the Titans

Final Thoughts


Enchantment/Aura decks are an archetype we’ve covered here before more than once. There’s a good reason for it though. It’s powerful. Did someone blow up your enchantment-laden creature? As long as Hateful Eidolon is in play, we get to draw a bunch of cards! That means we’ll just re-play all those cards again. We even have Agadeem’s Awakening, if the opportunity presents itself. It will, in all honesty, just get played as a land, and that’s fine. It’s a powerful deck where you have one single purpose. Load up on enchantments, and blast someone’s face inside out with more damage than they’re ready for. There are certainly people who give up upon seeing All That Glitters too, so that’s a nice bonus.

Extinction-Level Nightmares (Red/Blue/Black Control)


In my time here at Esports Talk, I’ve done my best to make one thing abundantly clear: Control decks are the best decks in all of card games. There’s nothing more satisfying than shutting down a player over and over again, every single turn. Then, when the time is right, we display our real power, set up a fun combo, and then the other player slumps in their chair, defeated. Some people may enjoy winning via creatures. Sure, it’s satisfying to swing for like, 3000 damage at once. I won’t knock that.

But Grixis Control has slowly lost its most powerful planeswalkers. One still endures: Ashiok, Nightmare Muse. Ashiok in general is really just a fascinating, powerful planeswalker. They do not conform to matters of sex or gender and sounds mysteriously like Steve Blum’s Orochimaru (Naruto). Do you want to make the other player exile cards from their deck anytime they attack or block? 

I sure know I do! Ashiok, Nightmare Muse creates a ⅔ Nightmare token for its +1 and does exactly that anytime they attack or block. That’s 2 cards exiled each and every time. Suddenly, attacking/blocking is a lot less appealing. However, Ashiok’s ultimate is weirdly worded. It states “You may cast up to three face-up cards your opponents own from exile without paying their mana costs”. Why is that weird? 

All cards in MTG Arena exile face up unless it’s stated otherwise. This is to prevent you from activating it to cast cards that were exiled face-down, I suppose. It just leads to people being confused. The best part is that you don’t have to only cast cards Ashiok exiled. Any card that got exiled (for example, if they use Kroxa) can still be used. Speaking of Kroxa, he’s in this deck too! This is not a deck we’re going to win in a few turns with.

That is, unless we can get the other player to just get so frustrated they quit. That’s another option!

How’s It Work?


This is a Grixis deck in the most threadbare of ways. We’re not running a ton of Red, but any Red in a Blue/Black deck turns it into Grixis, instead of Dimir. That’s how it works, friends. However, the ones we have are all useful. Shatterskull Smashing can be used as a way to destroy a creature in a pinch, but more likely, we’re going to use it as a Land. 

Our other red card is Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger. He’s our main beatstick. When we cast him, our opponents have to discard a card. Each opponent who did not discard a nonland also lose 3 life. This also triggers when Kroxa attacks. However, when we cast him if he wasn’t Escaped from the grave, he immediately dies. We still get the “enters the battlefield” trigger at least. He’s a fantastic way to start the game and set up for a mid-game threat. However, in this instance, I’d wait to cast him until we have spare mana.

As a control deck, we want to hold out on spending all of our mana as often as possible. If you can, hold at least 1 or 2 black mana, or 1 black/1 blue. That leaves us open to cast cards like Bloodchief’s Thirst, or if a player burns all their mana on a spell, the ability to drop our Jwari Disruption. We want to make sure we have mana to interrupt the other player, during their turn. Plus if we leave mana open, the other player has to play the guessing game.

What counter, what removal spell do we have? Can they do anything about it? Probably not! That is the overall plan. The key to successful control of a game though is knowing what we need to remove, and what we need to let through. We don’t have a lot of lifegain in this deck, after all, so we have to play safe. Learn what your opponent’s win condition is and stop that

But our win is going to come from one of two places. First off, we can win simply by using Kroxa until the other player loses from life loss (from Kroxa himself or the discard life loss). It’s very satisfying to win this way, but that’s not our only option. The best, most enjoyable way to win for us is via Ashiok, Nightmare Muse. We’re not going to be using its -3 very often. Unless the other player has 0 cards in hand, and they have one card in play that we need to get rid of for good. 

This would also be great if we can re-cast another Ashiok to get another +1 going. So what can Ashiok do? They’re a 5-cost (1 blue, 1 black), and comes into play with 5 Loyalty. What can it do?

+1: Create a ⅔ Blue/Black Nightmare Creature Token. It has “Whenever this creature attacks or blocks, each opponent exiles the top two cards of their library.”

-3: Return target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand, then that player exiles a card from their hand.

-7: You may cast up to three face-up cards your opponents own from exile without paying their mana costs.

Can you see just how powerful that is? We want to keep churning out those jerks and making sure the other player is exiling cards as fast as possible. That way we can cast their spells from exile for free. This lets us use whatever our opponent’s strongest weapons are without worrying about mana. Try to avoid popping Ashiok’s ultimate until you have more than enough Loyalty. That way you can use it again next turn (the +1 that is), and in best-case, you can cast another one, and get two Nightmares on one turn.

But what can we do to stop creatures/planeswalkers? These are all cards we’ve talked about before, and many in this blog. That’s because we’re packing the best control.

  • Bloodchief’s Thirst: Destroy target creature/planeswalker with 2 or less cost. Pay the kicker, and change it to any creature/planeswalker.
  • Agonizing Remorse: For our discard needs! Peek at the opponent’s hand and exile a nonland card from it (or a card from their graveyard instead). You lose 1 life.
  • Heartless Act: You can either destroy a creature with no counters on it, or remove up to 3 counters from a creature (amazing Artifact Snake destroyer in earlier phase of the game)
  • Hagra Mauling: Costs 1 less if opponent has no basic lands. Destroy a target creature. Can also be a land instead.
  • Extinction Event: Choose Odd or Even. Exile all creature with that chosen value. 0 is even.

Those are our black removal options. We also have a wealth of choices for blue counters/outplay tools. Jwari Disruption can be a land, or it can counter a spell unless they pay 1 colorless. Neutralize is a 3-cost instant to counter a spell, but we can also use it to Cycle if we need a card instead. Thassa’s Intervention is another “pick one” card. We can either look at our Top X and put two of those in our hand. Conversely, we can use it as a counter, unless the target pays twice X. If we need another card draw, we have Silundi Vision, which can also be a land. That lets us look at the top six of our library, and put an instant/sorcery from it into our hand.

Speaking of card draw, Mazemind Tome can let us draw a card for 2 mana and by tapping it as well. That will give it a Page Counter on it as well. We can also tap it for no mana, to Scry 1 instead (and add a Page Counter). When we have 4 page counters, exile Mazemind Tome and gain 4 life. So we do have some life gain. Just not much.

Decklist


Deck

1 Temple of Epiphany

3 Mountain

3 Swamp

4 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger

3 Island

4 Bloodchief’s Thirst

4 Agonizing Remorse

2 Hagra Mauling

4 Extinction Event

1 Temple of Deceit

4 Ashiok, Nightmare Muse

3 Clearwater Pathway

4 Heartless Act

4 Mazemind Tome

1 Jwari Disruption

2 Castle Locthwain

1 Silundi Vision

1 Shatterskull Smashing

4 Fabled Passage

1 Riverglide Pathway

4 Neutralize

2 Thassa’s Intervention

Final Thoughts


The ability to use the other player’s best cards against them is very demoralizing. The other player knows what’s going to go down as soon as Ashiok hits the board, so you have to defend it. If your opponent is mostly playing flyers, that’s going to be the target for your removal. Just play smart, play slow, and figure out what is most important to removal. If you just destroy every creature they play, you do one of two things: 1. You leave yourself without options for later or 2. Your opponent runs out of options and forfeits. It’s risky, so I don’t recommend it. It’s a fun deck though, and you have Kroxa to help you move things along. Whether you win with just Kroxa or just Ashiok, it’s going to make people very angry.

Dream Trawler’s Back in a Big Way (Red/White/Blue Control)


Just when we thought that Yorion was going to completely dominate the field. . . well, we were wrong! However, this is a different Yorion deck, but still very fun. This is one of the decks that is being used in the MTG Arena Rivals Weekend for Zendikar Rising. This version is tuned more for Best-of-One environments. I’ll include the Bo3 one as well because Allison’s deck is incredible. Yorion is not the best deck in the meta, which is a good thing. There are a nice variety of things that can be used. I was torn between talking about this deck, or Dimir Mutate. Perhaps next week!

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast/Transmogrify are the keys to making this deck work though. It’s going to be very familiar to some people because Lukkaswarm Decks are a blast to use. We’re only using one creature, and it’s one you may remember from Esper Control: Dream Trawler! Between it and Shark Typhoon, we can do some hilarious, unruly things to other players.

Unlike the Historic version of the deck, we’re only running a few ways to really pump out tokens to sacrifice to Transmogrify/Lukka. It’s a deck that will take no prisoners. Board wipe, control, plenty of enchantments to slow down/speed up gameplay, and of course, Shark Typhoon. Why wouldn’t it be here? It can be used for Transmogrify, and then when the mid-game rolls around and we can physically play the enchantment instead of cycling it, the real fun begins.

How’s It Work?


We should probably discuss the differences in the decks. The major difference is in the two decks is that the Bo3 version runs 4 Shatter the Skies, and the Bo1 version has 2x Shatter the Skies and 2x Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis. The Bo1 version also runs a pair of Mystical Dispute cards in the mainboard to add a bit more control. Other than that, the changes are minimal, if you ask me. So what exactly are we doing here?

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast/Transmogrify are cards with a very singular purpose. You sacrifice a creature, and then reveal cards from your library until you get another creature card. That card then goes into play. The idea is that you run as few creatures as possible, so every single creature you could pull is key to victory. This deck only runs one creature, the Dream Trawler. A ⅗ Flying/Lifelink creature that costs 6 mana (2 white, 2 blue). It also gains +1/+0 until the end of turn anytime you draw a card, and whenever you attack with it, you draw a card.

You can also discard a card to give Dream Trawler Hexproof until the end of turn, but you must also tap it. So we can easily protect it from direct removal. As it’s one of our main avenues of victory, it must be preserved. It’s a source of life gain, card draw, and is always a threat. We can win via just a Dream Trawler or two, but using Shark Typhoon helps too.

Typhoon gives us an X/X Flying Shark token anytime we cast a non-creature spell. Its power and toughness equals the cards CMC (so casting another Transmogrify gives us a 4/4 flyer). Transmogrify is great, but Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast’s ability to do the same thing is a meager -2. That gives us two shots at it. We can use his +1, but it’s not really useful to us. What are the odds of us drawing into a Dream Trawler in an 80 card deck? Very slim. We’d love to get two of the Dream Trawlers in play though. People who lack AOE board wipe tend to fold there.

So that’s our big strategy. We want to cheat our Dream Trawlers into play through the above methods, and either use them to swing lethal, or to help us get Shark Typhoons in play. Then we just cast spells to bring our Flying Shark army to bear. But what about Yorion? What’s he do in this deck that’s so great?

He resets our Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast to use their abilities again without wasting the +1s, resets our Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis, and all of our other enchantments to get even more value out of them. If we play Yorion on our second main phase, we can swing with our Dream Trawlers, and bounce them out of play again. Then, when the end step hits, we get them back into play as untapped creatures to defend with, if necessdary.

It’s also a great way to be rid of enemy enchantments that attach to our creatures/enchantments. If those enchantments no longer have a target, they disappear down into the grave. The next question of course is, how do we get this all kicking off? We need some card draw, some scry, and a little time. Luckily, our early game options buy us all of these things.

The Set Up


The early game is probably going to feel familiar, because it is. There are certain cards that just make this deck speed along. Mazemind Tome is back as a card draw/scry engine. I’d rather use it to draw cards, quite frankly. But if we can’t afford that, Scrying is just as good. The Birth of Meletis is a triple-threat as far as Sagas go. A plains card, a 0/4 we can sacrifice, and then 2 life at the culmination of the card. For 3 mana, that’s brilliant.

Omen of the Sea/Omen of the Sun are back of course too! Omen of the Sea’s ability to be cast during your opponent’s turn (Flash) frees up mana for your actual turn. Plus it lets you scry 2, and then draw a card. On top of that, both Omens can be sacrificed to Scry 2 again. If we have Dream Trawler in play, we can play it on our turn for extra punching power. Omen of the Sun also has Flash, and creates two 1/1s that we can sacrifice later. Plus, 2 life!

Glass Casket is underrated as a card, and I’ll never understand why. Do people think that players stop casting 3-or-less cost creatures in the mid to late game? Of course they don’t! On top of that, if we use it to get rid of Token Creatures, when Yorion pops, we can bounce it out of play and exile a different creature!

For all of our friends casting blue spells, Mystical Dispute will only cost us 1 mana (1 blue) to cast. It counters a spell unless the controller pays 3 colorless. We just have so many ways to stay in the game. Of course, what would a White deck be without Shatter the Sky? Aggro decks keeping you down? Just throw it! We have other ways to get token creatures. Like Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis. She can even come back via Escape (6 mana, 2 white, exile four cards from the grave). What’s she do to help us out?

  • -1: Up to two creatures we control each get +2/1+1 until end of turn
  • -3: Create 2 1/1 white Human Soldier creature tokens
  • -3 You gain 5 life

As long as we can keep bringing her back or casting her, she’s a threat. Wait to the right time to use her though. At least she’s only a 4-cost (2 white). If we had to board wipe, we can use her tokens to Transmogrify/Coppercoat. Who can forget the best enchantment in all of White this year? Elspeth Conquers Death! Exile a permanent that costs 3 or more, then it makes noncreature spells for the other player cost 2 colorless more until our next turn, and then we can get a planeswalker or creature back from the grave. That card gets either +1/+1 or an extra Loyalty counter.

Did someone think they were slick and get rid of your Lukka or Dream Trawler? It’s never the end, as long as Elspeth stands. It can also be used to bring back Elspeth for one more rodeo. Since we only run 2x Lukka, and 4x Transmogrify, there’s always a chance we have no choice but to discard Lukka or a Dream Trawler. These things happen. But seeing one in the grave isn’t such a bad thing, as long as we can can cast Elspeth Conquers Death.

Finally, Shark Typhoon can give us a chump blocker/sacrifice target for our win condition. Just remember to not throw away all four that way if you can avoid it. We’d love to actually put one of those into play. That way, all of our noncreature spells (practically the whole deck) can create tokens to fight with.

Yorion, Sky Nomad also lets us get more out of our permanents. Our Omens will trigger again, and if we have Sagas in play (Elspeth Conquers Death/The Birth of Meletis), they will reset back to 1. In the event we need some cards, we also have Valakut Awakening, which can also be used as a land. Do you have a bunch of crap you can’t use in your hand? Put any number of cards on the bottom of your library, and draw that many plus 1. It’s also an excellent way to get a near OTK with Dream Trawler. If you get multiple Dream Trawlers out, you can get some Real Soviet Damage (™) with that. Just cast this spell (and again if you have another), to beef up your Dream Trawlers.

Decklist


Best of 1

Companion

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

 

Deck

4 Glass Casket

2 Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis

4 Island

4 Plains

1 Castle Vantress

4 Dream Trawler

4 Elspeth Conquers Death

2 Shatter the Sky

3 Valakut Awakening

4 Fabled Passage

2 Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast

4 Mazemind Tome

4 Shark Typhoon

2 Mystical Dispute

2 Castle Ardenvale

4 Needleverge Pathway

4 The Birth of Meletis

4 Omen of the Sea

4 Omen of the Sun

4 Temple of Enlightenment

4 Raugrin Triome

4 Transmogrify

4 Riverglide Pathway

2 Mountain

 

Sideboard

2 Mystic Subdual

4 Negate

2 Ox of Agonas

2 Mystical Dispute

2 Brazen Borrower

2 Essence Scatter

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

Best of 3

Companion

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

 

Deck

4 Omen of the Sun

5 Island

3 Temple of Enlightenment

4 Shatter the Sky

1 Mountain

5 Plains

3 Elspeth Conquers Death

3 Glass Casket

4 Fabled Passage

4 Raugrin Triome

3 Castle Ardenvale

4 Neutralize

4 Dream Trawler

1 Castle Vantress

4 Omen of the Sea

4 Needleverge Pathway

4 Riverglide Pathway

4 Shark Typhoon

2 Valakut Awakening

4 Transmogrify

1 Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast

4 Fire Prophecy

1 Temple of Triumph

4 The Birth of Meletis

 

Sideboard

1 Elspeth Conquers Death

4 Mystical Dispute

1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

4 Negate

2 Scorching Dragonfire

2 Jace, Mirror Mage

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

Final Thoughts


I love Lukka Coppercoat decks, even if I hate seeing them on the other side of the table. The downside is very clear though: We have one major creature to win with, unless we get Shark Typhoon in play. Players who know that can take advantage, and make sure they force us to discard/exile those Dream Trawlers. In a deck where we have two win conditions, eliminating them means we are finished quickly. Another downside is the aggro meta. Dimir Rogues may get us taken out before we can even get out of the blocks. That early mill/damage is hard to deal with. But there are plenty of decks this can take the lead on. It’s not again, the best deck in the meta (That’s probably Dimir Rogues right now), but it’s sure fun and frustrating!

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