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Standard Decklists Upgrades

2018.04.21 Petr Sochurek

Hello everyone! Today we are going to take a look at the new set - Dominaria.

The new set is extremely interesting and brings us many new concepts and interactions that we haven't seen yet and there are many new opportunities to build new decks, but that is not going to be what are we going to look at today.

After every set is released, people immediately start building new decks - which is of course understandable; there is no better feeling than playing with new cards, but then we actually get to see the results from larger tournaments and they're (almost) always the old proven decks that that have been most performed (often containing upgrades from the new sets of course). Why does this happen?

Well, tier 1 decks already played are always to be well-oiled machines - people have already tried many versions of them and eventually, come up with an idea of what is nearly the best for the certain archetype, that is not true for anyone who brings something new - even if their ideas are good and some of the decks might eventually become major, the first couple of attempts is mostly not good which usually brings terrible tournament experiences.

Unless it's something obvious (the Wizards has printed broken, pushed tribal cards or something), the "optimized" versions of the new decks show up on the Pro Tour, because pro teams spend many days/weeks on testing and tuning those unless it's for tournaments like StarCityGames.com Open etc. It's probably safer to just choose something that you know it will work, so today we are going to look at what will be upgrades Dominaria brings to already existing decks in Standard;

BW Tokens

First deck we would like to look at is BW Tokens; BW Tokens is an architype in the metagame seen often right now, but it has never been one of the top decks and it always felt like there has been a couple of pices missing to make it competitive. Can Dominaria change the deck? Well I am not sure, but there are certainly some new powerful tools.

Potential Additions from Dominaria:

《History of Benalia》

History of Benalia

I am actually not sure if BW Tokens is the suitable place for this card, because none of the other current token generators in the deck makes any Knights (something that can be changed if this card proves to be strong), but creating two 2/2s for 3 mana and then pumping them seems the card is good enough on its own for decks with 《Anointed Procession》 and such.

《Rite of Belzenlok》

Rite of Belzenlok

《Rite of Belzenlok》 is another interesting token creating Saga card that could potentially end up being pretty good in a deck filled up with 《Hidden Stockpile》, 《Anointed Procession》, 《Anointer Priest》 etc. This card might seem kinda weak on its own as those 0/1s don't actually do anything and your 6/6 is going to eat one of the infinite removals spells your opponent is holding, but I can foresee it being quite powerful with a right setup. Make 8 small tokens or something that you can sacrifice to your 《Hidden Stockpile》 or secure them by casting 《Rite of Belzenlok》 itself, it's not a joke because even though the 6/6 or sometimes an extra 6/6 by 《Anointed Procession》 might not seem relevant in the first game (as I've already mentioned), it's certainly going to put your opponent to a test in the post board games.

《Call the Cavalry》

Call the Cavalry

Well, I don't think this card is very good for sure, but it might have a role player if 《History of Benalia》 proves to be great.

《Vicious Offering》

Vicious Offering

I am not so sure about the other cards I have mentioned, but I am sure about 《Vicious Offering》. This deck used to have a problem with big creatures like 《Glorybringer》, because 《Fatal Push》 couldn't touch it and it had to rely on clunky cards like 《Start // Finish》 or 《Cast Out》 to deal with,but 《Vicious Offering》 offers an efficient way to deal with those. That being said, I've seen people being super excited about this card even in other decks like Blue/Black Control, but I think that this card will prove to be too weak if you can't easily pay its the Kicker cost easily.

Here is a sample list using the new cards:

Mono-Red Aggro

The second deck that will get slightly in my opinion is the good old 《Hazoret the Fervent》 aggro deck.

There is a lot of new interesting goblin cards and I am sure that many people will try to built dedicated goblin decks, but I think that just adding goblin cards which are good enough on their own to already existing Mono-Red deck will be the best option.

These are the cards that have caught my interest:

《Goblin Chainwhirler》

Goblin Chainwhirler

Strength of this card will largely depend on how many x/1s are in the format and it's possible happen that this card will just become a sideboard card, but it certainly looks pretty powerful in the right circumstances and evern if worst comes to worst 3/3 first strike for 3 mana isn't that terrible right?

《Siege-Gang Commander》

Siege-Gang Commander

Anytime 《Siege-Gang Commander》 was legal in Standard it has always seen in the format play and I don't think that this time there would no different. Is it better than something like 《Glorybringer》? Well that is hard to say and it will largely depend on the metagame, but I can definitely say this - if the format is filled up with spot removal spells, 《Siege-Gang Commander》 will be a nice choice to go around that.

Sample list of Mono-Red using the new cards:

UB Control

The last deck I would like to look at is UB Control - UB Control seemed like a right metagame choice at many moments, but it has never become one of the best decks, because it had many holes - mainly lack of enough good cheap interactive cards, that has forced you to play situational answers like 《Moment of Craving》, 《Essence Scatter》, 《Censor》 etc. And that has often lead to losses just because your answers have not line up the way you wanted them to, but Dominaria might be able to fix that:

《Cast Down》

Cast Down

There will definitely be a lot of legendary creatures out there, so this should not be the only removal spell you rely on, but the card is definitely great - being able to kill (almost) anything for 2 mana is something that control players have missed for quite some time now and I expect to see this card show up in huge numbers in many decks.

《Syncopate》

Syncopate

I don't think that 《Syncopate》 is a busted card or anything, but it's certainly a nice 2-off to play. The fact that it will be often inefficient and can be played around easily what makes this card weaker, but its flexibility as a 2 drop and also a card that is useful in a late game is definitely something that control players have been waiting for in the market for. The fact that it also exiles the countered card is also quite relevant in current Standard too.

《Unwind》

Unwind

This might sound strange, but I can foresee this card being better than 《Negate》 - one of the ways that smart players try to beat control is to cast the must answer threats on the turns where you have mana up 《Glimmer of Genius》 , so that you can't get ahead on cards, but 《Unwind》 can potentially allow you to do both, which will often end the games.

Sample list of UB Control:

I hope this article have helped you if you are a pilot of any of these decks and you will do very well at the upcoming tournament before the Pro Tour!

Thanks for reading,

Petr Sochurek

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