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Much Abrew: Goyf, but in Standard

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Thanks to an invite from Wizards, we got an early start in playing Dominaria United Standard on Tuesday during the early-access event, which means one thing: it's finally time to Goyf in Standard! Urborg Lhurgoyf isn't literal Tarmogoyf, but it might actually be better in Standard! Today's deck—Sultai Goyf—is designed to maximize the two-drop's power by overloading on as many creatures as possible to grow Urborg Lhurgoyf. This is possible, in part, because of the channel mechanic from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, which lets us have removal and counterspells that come attached to bodies! How good is Goyf in Standard? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Goyf, but in Standard

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  • Record-wise, Sultai Goyf was great. We ended up going 6-1 with the deck, with our one loss being to a super-sweet but very Against the Odds–looking deck built around Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief and Vesuvan Duplimancy. Of course, we were playing on early-access day, which isn't the most competitive environment and only has best-of-one matches available. But the deck felt strong enough that it could be a real contender in our new Standard format.
  • As far as Urborg Lhurgoyf itself, the card is absurd, assuming you're willing to play as many creatures as possible and put some effort into filling your graveyard. We tried a more traditional Jund deck with a mixture of creatures, planeswalkers, and spells, and Urborg Lhurgoyf was horrible—the worst card in the deck by far—because it only cares about the number of creatures in our graveyard, and it just doesn't grow big enough fast enough without a very creature-heavy deck. On the other hand, Urborg Lhurgoyf is absurd in our deck, which has 32 creatures, often being a two-mana 10/11 or more, quickly dominating the battlefield and closing out the game if our opponent doesn't have an answer. 
  • The other reason why our Goyf is so strong is that it has a ton of good support cards and redundant backups. Old Stickfingers not only helps fill our graveyard but also scales like Urborg Lhurgoyf, giving us another massive creature. Consuming Blob is a literal Tarmogoyf that makes more Tarmogoyfs, and somehow, our mostly-creature deck manages to have a bunch of different card types thanks to a combination of enchantment and artifact creatures. And Writhing Necromass is often a one-mana 5/5 deathtouch fairly early in the game. Basically, it's not just Urborg Lhurgoyf that's strong—the cards around it are as well.
  • So, how do we manage to fit 32 creatures in our deck while still having interaction? Well, thanks to Ertai Resurrected and channel cards like Mirrorshell Crab and Colossal Skyturtle, we manage to have a decent amount of removal and even a few counterspells that come attached to creatures, so they grow our Goyfs and other threats once they are in the graveyard. Plus, we don't need that much removal because our creatures get so massive so quickly. In some sense, a 10-power Urborg Lhurgoyf is a removal spell because our opponent is forced to chump block it to stay alive.
  • Of course, all of this power comes with a drawback: we're dependent on keeping our graveyard full of creatures. While there isn't a Leyline of the Void–style card in Standard, there is a lot of random, incidental graveyard hate from things like Cemetery Prowler and Graveyard Trespasser. While we didn't face much of it in our matches, if Sultai Goyf ever became a top-tier deck, it would be safe to expect decks to start packing more graveyard hate, which would make our plan (and our Goyfs) much worse.
  • So, should you play Goyf in Standard? While I don't want to read too much into early-access-day results, I think the answer is yes, at least for now. The deck felt super consistent and powerful, and easily handled pretty much everything we ran up against. That said, I do have a bit of a worry about how much graveyard hate we might fact in best-of-three matches. In best-of-one, it's hard to play something like Lantern of the Lost, but in best-of-three, it's pretty easy to stick a few copies in our sideboard, and a single one would really slow down our deck. While I think that Urborg Lhurgoyf is great and super underrated at the moment, we'll have to wait and see what the Dominaria United Standard meta looks like and how much graveyard hate is running around until we really know just how good the archetype is overall. For now, if you want to go Goyf in Standard, go for it! You would be able to win a lot of games.


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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