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Theorycrafting Core 2021


Core 2021 has arrived and I've been waiting to show you how to add the new Teferi into all your decks including Red Deck!.... just kidding...maybe? I will, however, be dropping a few lists that I think have benefited from Core 2021 with a few fun lists that I'll be trying out. This is also a disclaimer that I'm choosing to leave out Temur Reclamation, Bant Midrange, Jund Sacrifice as I'm sure those decks are the big three going into week one and we know they'll be good. With that being said, the set seems really powerful yet nothing too broken. This set will definitely go down as my favorite core set since Magic: Origins.

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Let's start off with the new hotness that has been stomping its way into standard

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Mono green has been around for a bit but recently has had a spike in popularity and some pretty solid finishes. With Core 2021, I think Garruk's Harbinger has some great value built into it as being able to connect with a planeswalker is huge. With the card having Hexproof from Black, that means hard removal won't work as I imagine Eliminate will be pretty popular when Core 2021 releases. It doesn't pass the Teferi, Time Raveler and Elspeth Conquers Death test but I feel its better than something like Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig

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Another deck that I'm sure will get some play will be some form of a simic ramp deck and currently, this is what I'm starting with. 

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The deck simply looks to go all-in on the ramp plan and then sideboards into a little more of a midrange deck. The deck got a huge power boost in ramp spells like Azusa, Lost but Seeking thus helping us accelerate into an extra early Nissa, Who Shakes the World. Its still unclear to me if Azusa or Cultivate is better but I'm sure one of these two will be played in the ramp deck as ramp has a surplus amount of choices to choose from. The deck also got one of the best finishers with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. This now means untapping with Nissa will usually be the end of the game as it'll be followed up by a giant Hydroid Krasis or Ugin. Some other sweet cards Core 2021 will bring is Sparkhunter Masticore. I expect to see this get a decent amount of play in multiple decks as it's a colorless threat that can help us take down problematic walkers. A card that is also an all-star is Scavenging Ooze. This card should probably in the main deck of any creature-based decks as it shuts down so many things in standard like an opposing Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath.

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Now we all know Green has been a powerhouse but what about some non-green decks?

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Magic has been pushing a flying archetype and maybe Core 2021 gave it a bit more power as the card did get Lofty Denial which will serve as a Lookout's Dispersal but for flying instead of pirates. On top of that, our whole deck is loaded with cheap little fliers so I want to try out Idol of Endurance as a way to get back in a game after a sweeper. Sure, it might be a bit slow but it might be the recursion the deck needs to get back into a game.

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Azorius Blink seemed to have picked up a ton of steam with Core 2021 as we got a serious amount of new cards. First up, we have Niambi, Esteemed Speaker which can save a threat from removal or being targeted by an Elspeth Conquers Death. Being able to return any of our creatures with a sweet "ETB"(Enters the Battlefield) is huge. It can potentially fizzle adventures if needed but ontop of that, she can help us discard additional legendary creatures to draw two new cards. Blink also got Barrin, Tolarian Archmage which can bounce a planeswalker! Barrin is insane value as we can target our own things and draw an additional card for it! This means we can reset a planeswalker or get more value off of another one of our creatures. Stacked ontop of that, Barrin pairs quite well when using Thassa, Deep-Dwelling. Last but not least, we got Basri's Lieutenant which will grow our team and leave something behind after it dies and can get additional value from Thassa! Lieutenant is also just a solid body for four mana that has protection from multicolored which we've seen be relevant with cards like Stonecoil Serpent

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Another deck that looks like it could be fun would be some kind of Izzet Spells deck so here's a rough list that I'll probably tune a bit more on stream.

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Core 2021 brought us Stormwing Entity and Lofty Denial. Stormwing Entity seems like such a sweet closer and will be a lot of fun to try to build around and the first iteration of this deck will be more of an Izzet Flash playstyle. We got a new counterspell that could potentially be a Lookout's Dispersal but for all of our flying creatures. I'm currently using Ionize as it's nice to have additional ways to burn the opponent and a tad bit easier to cast than something like Neutralize but the fact that Neutralize has Cycling does make it appealing as a resolved Teferi, Time Raveler will be a bad time for this deck. I would proceed with caution with this deck as Cat Oven and Teferi have made this playstyle a bit more difficult to play as threat assessment will be key for this deck. 

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Oh, and of course I've got to give a Grixis list.

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This has been my go-to deck for the ladder. It's been super sweet and we'll see how the meta shapes up to be after the set's release. The deck didn't pick up a ton of new cards outside of Eliminate but this does a lot for the deck as now we have a clean and cheap way to answer Teferi, Time Raveler. We also got an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon post board for those games where we're a little flooded. The biggest concern I have for this deck moving into the new meta will be Scavenging Ooze as this card is a must answer threat. I'd probably value it higher than a Teferi just because it's able to stop our engine very easily. 

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If the "land, go." style of play isn't your thing, how about a tapout control deck?

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So this deck definitely has a wild manabase as we're splashing red for Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God. But it was doing work for me after the most recent banning. The new set brought us some sweet cards like Eliminate, Teferi, Master of Time, and the great Ugin, the Spirit Dragon! This might be the exact power boost we needed to breathe life back into the deck. This iteration will also be using Yorion, Sky Nomad to get more value out of all of our planeswalkers and other cards. The other version I was playing needed double white so I could play Shatter the Sky but I want to see if Extinction Event is good enough as this deck will have a major weak spot when faced with a Sparkhunter Masticore which can give itself indestructible. It's also nice to permanently get rid of cards like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath.

Another sweet card is Teferi, Master of Time as this gives us an instant speed way to interact with something like a Questing Beast! It's also mono colored so being able to phase out cards like Stonecoil Serpent will be extremely helpful. With Teferi looting every turn, we'll be able to smooth out our draws so I have to imagine the Master of Time will be a key part of our gameplan.  However, we need more ways to interact with Wilderness Reclamation and Witch's Oven so adding a few copies of Heliod's Intervention seems natural. 

Conclusion

With Core 2021 hitting the cardpools, I'm excited to see what decks will come to fruition. All I know for a fact is that UGx Ramp decks aren't going anywhere. Hopefully, something can dethrone the Wilderness Reclamation and Bant Midrange decks. I'd love to see an aggro and tempo deck rise up to attack the meta. Core 2021 brought a lot of cards into the meta but I honestly think Scavenging Ooze has been an underrated reprint. It does a lot in the current meta for a wonderful cost. 

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There's a lot of untapped potentials and I will definitely miss a few sleeper cards so let me know what you think will make its way into standard. It feels like Christmas morning whenever we have a new set and I can't wait to force a Dog or Deathtouch deck ontop of the lists posted above.

 I'll see you out there on the ladder! 

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-Your Friendly Neighborhood AsianAvenger

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