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New Ixalan Standard

2017/10/05 00:00 

    • Petr Sochurek
    • Hareruya Pros Blog

Hello everyone!

It's Petr again and today I am going to talk about the new Standard - what is going on right now - just couple of weeks after the new cards got printed and what to expect next. It is slightly more difficult to correctly predict the upcoming metagame because it will get extremely influenced by Worlds. It doesn't really matter what the best from the best choose to play in the tournament - it will determine the deck choices in the future tournaments - people will copy decklist from the event and other people will be tuning their decks or making deck choices knowing what to expect.

The new set is very interesting and in brings a lot of new tools which (along with the rotation) should change things dramatically. Don't get me wrong I still think that energy and red are great, but new decks are going to show up (hopefully) or we might at least see the old friends with new tools.

The Old Friends

There was a PTQ on Magic Online recently and the top 8 was following:

3 4C Energy
3 Mono Red
1 BUG Energy
1 UW Approach

The tournament itself got taken down by 4C Energy, which doesn't come as a huge surprise to anybody - the deck is still insanely powerfull and you can tweak it to beat anything. Let's take a look at the winning decklist:


egadd2894 - 4C Energy
Standard PTQ(1st place)

3 《Forest》
2 《Mountain》
1 《Island》
1 《Swamp》
2 《Sheltered Thicket》
4 《Botanical Sanctum》
2 《Spirebluff Canal》
1 《Blooming Marsh》
2 《Rootbound Crag》
4 《Aether Hub》

-Lands (22)-

4 《Longtusk Cub》
4 《Servant of the Conduit》
4 《Rogue Refiner》
4 《Whirler Virtuoso》
3 《Bristling Hydra》
1 《Hostage Taker》
2 《Glorybringer》
2 《The Scarab God》

-Creatures (24)-
4 《Attune with Aether》
1 《Magma Spray》
4 《Harnessed Lightning》
3 《Abrade》
1 《Confiscation Coup》
1 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》

-Spells (14)-
4 《Negate》
2 《Spell Pierce》
2 《Cartouche of Ambition》
1 《Vizier of Many Faces》
1 《Magma Spray》
1 《Chandra's Defeat》
1 《Hour of Glory》
1 《Confiscation Coup》
1 《Struggle // Survive》
1 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》

-Sideboards (15)-
hareruya

This is what always happens at the beginning of the new format - the good old tuned lists from previous season tear apart all the possible new decks and crush the first couple of tournaments - it is hard to find something new that is as good as red and energy and it will take some time. Not only that the old decks beat the new - there is also a higher concentration of those, because no one wants to just waste a PTQ shot and money just to prove how smart they are to come up with this new flashy deck. As a result you will find way more innovation in 5-0 league decklist, but let's take a look at this Temur list.

Hostage TakerSpell Pierce

The only two new cards are 《Hostage Taker》 and 《Spell Pierce》 in the board (effectively 5-6th 《Negate》) so nothing special. I really like 《Hostage Taker》 though and I think it will be a staple card in the upcoming season. When the new set got spoiled out, everyone started talking about PIRATES, MERFOLK etc. and I think 《Hostage Taker》 got slightly dissmissed by many people, who saw it just as a "pirate card." I don't think that pirates have enough powerfull tools to be a competetive deck (at least untill the next set), but this card itself is very powerful and I expect to see it show up in more decks and in more copies - obviously this might not end up being the case, as you have to compete against 《Bristling Hydra》 and 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 at the 4-drop slot, so it will end up depending a lot on the metagame, but I think the card is good.

Lightning StrikeRampaging Ferocidon

Monored is obviously still great and it even gained 《Lightning Strike》 and 《Rampaging Ferocidon》 for the sideboard, but everyone already knows how the deck works and how busted 《Hazoret the Fervent》 is so I am going to leave it today and focus on some other new decks.

The deck that immediately caught my eye is the u/w approach deck and here is the list:


qUaBaTcHiE - UW Approach
Standard PTQ(5th place)

8 《Plains》
3 《Island》
4 《Irrigated Farmland》
4 《Glacial Fortress》
4 《Ipnu Rivulet》
2 《Field of Ruin》

-Lands (25)-


-Creatures (0)-
4 《Opt》
4 《Censor》
4 《Supreme Will》
4 《Glimmer of Genius》
3 《Settle the Wreckage》
4 《Fumigate》
3 《Approach of the Second Sun》
2 《Search for Azcanta》
4 《Cast Out》
3 《Gideon of the Trials》

-Spells (35)-
4 《Regal Caracal》
3 《Torrential Gearhulk》
3 《Negate》
3 《Authority of the Consuls》
2 《Sunscourge Champion》

-Sideboards (15)-
hareruya

My instinct told me that control will be extremely poor after the new set, because both 《Spell Pierce》 and 《Duress》 got printed as well as 《Carnage Tyrant》 and even though it will propably still end up being mediocre, it's propably not as bad as I thought - no one is really playing 《Carnage Tyrant》 because of how bad it is against red and you are propably better of by playing another sideboard card than this. There are couple of reasons for this - 《Duress》, 《Negate》 and 《Spell Pierce》 are all great against ramp and all you have to do against control is just to find a weakness and then outgrind them with 《Rogue Refiner》 etc. Tapping out for a 6 drop (that you might not even have mana for) just to get it 《Fumigate》ed seems kind of weak. Yes it's a house against the non-white control decks, but no one is really playing those and you would just be mostly wasting your sideboard slot.

OptSearch for AzcantaSettle the Wreckage

I absolutely think that if you want to play control now, you have to go for UW (its is not out of my imagination that uwr splashing for the new big enchantment is better, but I doubt it) and try to go over the top with 《Approach of the Second Sun》 - the usual plan of U/R to just trade resources and eventually win with card advantage seems really bad to me right now and UW has bunch of new juicy additions that work extremely well with the deck in 《Opt》, 《Search for Azcanta》 and 《Settle the Wreckage》.

The previous problems of the deck still remains - you are very weak to post board distruption and you have awful Game 1 against red, which forces you to dedicate a huge portion of your board for that matchup, but it is possible that the new cards can push this deck from 45% deck to 55% - I guess we will have to see!

The Tribals

Everyone who plays Magic was talking about the tribals, but I have to dissapoint you - I think that all (most) of them are going to end up being bad - the point of the tribals is that your cards get stronger with another cards and there is infinite removal in Standard right now. It's historically very difficult for tribals to be good with Jund-like deck dominating the format (Energy), because the individual cards just aren't powerfull enough on their own. The only exception might be Dinosaurs and here is a list that 5-0ed a league:


ryuumei - Temur Dinosaur
Competitive Standard Constructed League(5-0)

4 《Forest》
2 《Mountain》
1 《Island》
4 《Botanical Sanctum》
2 《Spirebluff Canal》
3 《Rootbound Crag》
4 《Aether Hub》

-Lands (20)-

4 《Drover of the Mighty》
4 《Servant of the Conduit》
2 《Rhonas the Indomitable》
4 《Ripjaw Raptor》
4 《Regisaur Alpha》
4 《Burning Sun's Avatar》

-Creatures (22)-
4 《Attune with Aether》
4 《Commune with Dinosaurs》
4 《Harnessed Lightning》
4 《Abrade》
2 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》

-Spells (18)-
3 《Spell Pierce》
3 《Magma Spray》
3 《Negate》
3 《Confiscation Coup》
2 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》
1 《Chandra's Defeat》

-Sideboards (15)-
hareruya

(please notice that the list plays 《Burning Sun's Avatar》 - a.k.a. New 《Inferno Titan》 over 《Carnage Tyrant》)

Burning Sun's AvatarRegisaur AlphaRipjaw Raptor

Dinosaurs are exception to the rule that I described above - yes you have some synergies and you can take advantage of them against unprepared opponents, but your cards have high enough power level on their own (for the most part). The deck has a lot of pushed cards and I think it might have enough to compete.

Everyone quickly realized that 《Regisaur Alpha》 is great, but I haven't heard anyone talk about 《Ripjaw Raptor》 - most of the removal spells are damage based, it's awful to chump and you can't kill it with 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 or 《Glorybringer》. I am surprised that this list doesn't run 《Savage Stomp》 - I think you want atleast some removal and even though it can be little dangerous, it's powerfull when it works and it can even draw you a card with 《Ripjaw Raptor》.

The New Walkers

When I was going through the lists I was looking for a deck utilizing one of the new planeswalkers and this is the list I found interesting:


Julian_Brandmaier - Abzan Tokens
Competitive Standard Constructed League(5-0)

6 《Plains》
2 《Swamp》
1 《Forest》
4 《Evolving Wilds》
4 《Concealed Courtyard》
4 《Shefet Dunes》
2 《Ifnir Deadlands》

-Lands (23)-

4 《Anointer Priest》
1 《Oketra the True》

-Creatures (5)-
4 《Fatal Push》
4 《Fumigate》
4 《Legion's Landing》
4 《Hidden Stockpile》
1 《Arguel's Blood Fast》
4 《Cast Out》
4 《Anointed Procession》
4 《Renegade Map》
3 《Vraska, Relic Seeker》

-Spells (32)-
4 《Angel of Sanctions》
4 《Duress》
4 《Lost Legacy》
2 《Authority of the Consuls》
1 《Call for Unity》

-Sideboards (15)-
hareruya

Anointed ProcessionVraska, Relic SeekerDuress

This deck existed even before and it wasn't as bad as it looks, mainly because you can steal games with 《Fumigate》 against Temur and you have a good matchup agaisnt red, but it was missing a power - there were games that seemed completely under your control and then you just flooded out or you got simply outpowered in the games without 《Anointed Procession》 and I think that 《Vraska, Relic Seeker》 might just be what the doctor ordered - the deck previously played 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》 as a powerfull way to produce bunch of tokens with 《Anointed Procession》 that is also passable on it's own, but it was awful against 《Glorybringer》 and it put you in a bad spot in many situations - there were many games, where your hand was something like a 《Fatal Push》, 2 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》s and something and you didn't really have a choice but to just play a 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》 - not something you want to do in many scenarios. With 《Vraska, Relic Seeker》 it's different - worst case scenario is that you play expensive removal spell, but the upside is huge. 《Vraska, Relic Seeker》 has enormous loayality and the game gets quickly out of reach when 《Vraska, Relic Seeker》 starts snowballing with 《Anointed Procession》.

The deck also gained 《Duress》 which is a key addition - previously you were just stonecold death in many matchups and 《Duress》 helps that significantly.


I am very curious what pros bring to the World Championship, will it be one of the old decks or some new spicy brew?

Thanks for reading.

Petr Sochurek

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