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First Impressions of Standard


Thanks for joining me fresh from all the fun we had at the #MTGRNA streamer event where we got to battle MPL players and other streamers with Ravnica Allegiance cards. I have to say that going into this event, it was great to see all the new and old strategies. With the release of Ravnica Allegiance, you're probably looking to see what decks are making its rounds.
 

The Decks So Far...

 

Turbo Fog

Surprise! It turns out Wilderness Reclamation is still a good card and allows for some sweet big mana decks. I think the deck best utilizing this will be some kind of Expansion // Explosion deck or the boogeyman, Turbo Fog! The deck trims a few fogs off for a few more forms of spot removal and the new enchantment. The game plan of the deck is quite simple, we stall the board until we get to a point where we fire off Nexus of Fate and take the rest of the turns until we ultimate Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. The new enchantment in Wilderness Reclamation is very powerful as it allows us to tap out on turn four and then immediately untap to fire off Chemister's Insight or potentially a Settle the Wreckage. This deck excels against the midrange style of decks as those decks aren't hyper aggressive and not playing enough permission spells. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you're not playing some way to interact with this before it goes off, you're going to be in a lot of trouble. Also a thing of note is that not all of them will play fogs. Some have opted out of fogs to just play more Settle The Wreckage and other spot removal spells. They're pretty much now hard focused on finding the combo and going off where as before they could sit back and relax behind a bunch of fogs. Still, this deck and all the big mana decks got a huge boost out of Reclamation!

Gruul Elves

It looks like all the elves needed was a little more rhythm to find their groove. Rhythm of the wild allows the elves to go off faster especially when it's paired with Incubation Druid. A decent amount of these elves are using  End-Raze Forerunners to emulate a Craterhoof Behemoth finish. Its very brutal when this deck gets it's main card advantage engine going with Beast Whipserer and Vanquisher's Banner. If they're ever at a point where they're drawing two cards per elf, its about time to pick up your cards and go to the next game.

Mardu Aristocrats

The general gameplan is to get a bunch of small critters and get value off of your creatures that die. These threats usually leave behind a threat of some sort after they do or in past formats there has been some kind of drain effect from cards like Zulaport Cutthroat or Blood Artist. This is where Judith, the Scourge Diva steps in. She pumps our team of small friendly 1/1s into an army of 2/1s that can now threaten lethal at points. She's also wonderful sweeper assurance as the opponent will take one damage per creature dying unless they kill her first. She also makes combat tricky when it comes to blocks as you can also ping your opponent's creatures if you decide not to go upstairs with the one damage. It also seems Priest of Forgotten Gods and Hero of Precinct One are making waves early in the format. The Priest allows us to clear away threats and massive Wildgrowth Walkers and then gives us two black mana ontop of that. The curve of Hero into Judith is a wonderful sight for the caster. Aristocrats seems to be very popular but the question moving forward is how do you build it?

Esper Control

The gameplan is quite simple, we counter and control the pace of the game until we're able to win with either a Teferi emblem or our flying threats like Chromium, Angel, or Sphinx tokens.
Here's the Esper List I've been playing around with. The cards supplied by RNA have been wonderful. Absorb has already paid off in dividends as the three life has been so essential to us staying alive and and out of burn range. I'm now a firm believer that Absorb is definitely to be played over Sinister Sabotage. I've been high on Warrant // Warden and for good reason. The matchups where I don't need the ability to top our opponent's attacker or blocker has been so beneficial. Sometimes, a deck can be land locked and we put one of their creatures ontop to keep them off their lands for another turn. Quench has been very nice in pushing our opponent back and helping us get to the late game. It's amazing early but kind of miserable late. Its especially worse if revealed off Search for Azcanta but what it does for the deck is worth the risk. As the week progresses, I'll have more finalized numbers on the Quench numbers. Kaya's Wrath though an extremely powerful card, I've been reluctant to put it into our decks, but it turns out I was wrong, the mana is good enough to definitely save a few slots in our deck for this card. Is it a 4 of? I don't think so as I had previously mentioned, Enchantments are at an insane power level right now so I want a singleton Cleansing Nova so I can still have a board wipe for Enchantments and Artifacts.
 

Conclusion

The set has only been around for me and a group of people to play and so far it has given the format a ton of new and powerful cards to play. With Ravnica Allegiance's release, I'll now be able to explore some other archetypes like a potential Bant tokens list. I also have been playing a few Sultai Tempo builds because Frilled Mystic is a good card so I'll be back soon with some new results and ideas! 

See you at the next one!
-TheAsianAvenger 

 


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