While most players opted for traditional strategies, there were several enterprising souls who came up with some funky new ideas. Here is a selection of four of those decks that I deem promising.
Sultai Control (4.3%) by Gerard Fabiano, 13-2 followed by the 1st place trophy at the SCG Open
Well that’s a Gerard brew if I ever saw one. Featuring such hits as Rakshasa’s Secret, I’m not sure what to make of this, but for over ten years Gerard has been winning with decks that I don’t really get, so I’m sure he’s on to something.
His list starts off like a regular U/B Control deck with the usual discard spells, removal cards, and sweepers. But instead of Dissolve, Gerard plays a tap-out style control game: He has Satyr Wayfinder to get card advantage while fueling his graveyard for Dig Through Time and Murderous Cut, and he has a Kiora, the Crashing Wave to force opponents to overcommit into Crux of Fate.
These are nice additions and the mana base can support them, so why not, I guess?
After sideboard, Gerard can add more removal spells to become a more controlling deck, or he can add Feed the Clan along with Rakshasa Deathdealer and Tasigur, the Golden Fang to turn on ferocious against aggro/burn decks. I’m sure that most of his opponents had no idea what hit them. Gerard is such a master.
W/R Heroic (3.4%) by Zach Jesse, 11-4 at the SCG Open
Well then. So instead of the card advantage engine fueled by Ordeal of Thassa and Heliod’s Pilgrim, plus Hero of Iroas to reduce the cost, we’ll go all-in with Titan’s Strength and Temur Battle Rage. And because we don’t have access to Aqueous Form or Stratus Walk anymore, we’ll play creatures that have natural evasion, like Akroan Skyguard and Akroan Line Breaker.
It’s an interesting approach for sure. I tested a W/R Heroic deck before Pro Tour Journey into Nyx, but it was ultimately deemed not powerful enough. I have my doubts that Temur Battle Rage is enough to carry it forward, but I can see the potential if opponents are unprepared. So, be prepared!
Sultai Ramp (2.0%) by Ali Aintrazi, 12-2-1 at the SCG Open followed by a quarterfinals loss
I love how this deck manages to break Frontier Siege. Just after the entire Fate Reforged spoiler was released, I was building a Green Devotion deck and considered Frontier Siege for that deck, but ultimately decided against it. I felt that the deck would only be able to use the mana a few times and be left with a next-to-useless Frontier Siege afterwards.
The missing link was to combine Frontier Siege with card draw spells. Brian Braun-Duin missed Top 8 at the SCG Open on tiebreakers with a Frontier Siege deck that featured Eidolon of Blossoms, which is one way to go about it, but I prefer Ali’s build, which goes big with Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time. With Frontier Siege in play, you can use the mana in your first main phase to play Treasure Cruise and then use the mana in your second main phase to play, say, a freshly-drawn Courser of Kruphix. That’s pretty awesome, and I haven’t even mentioned the Sylvan Caryatid into Frontier Siege into turn-four Garruk, Apex Predator draw.
The main deck that Ali constructed is a little slow, and I believe it could improve by shaving a few of the expensive cards (such as Worst Fears) for cheap answers like Bile Blight, but his deck can go over the top like no other, and Frontier Siege is the glue that holds it together. Color me a fan!
Temur Ascendancy (1.6%) by Mark Toepfner, 11-4 at the SCG Open
The combo works as follows: You tap Nykthos for 7+ mana, pay 2 mana to return Voyaging Satyr to your hand, replay it, untap Nykthos again, and repeat to generate infinite mana. Finally, you cast a humongous Genesis Hydra, tutor up Nylea, God of the Hunt, and trample over for the kill.
I admit, this all feels a bit like overkill. Do you really need an infinite combo when you’re generating so much mana already and have plenty of powerful permanents on the board? Nevertheless, all the cards are good by themselves, and between Genesis Hydra, Temur Ascendancy, and Eidolon of Blossoms, you can assemble the combo consistently enough. One way or another, it’s a sweet new angle.
With Tasigur, Ugin, Whisperwood Elemental, Valorous Stance, Soulfire Grand Master, Monastery Mentor, Outpost Siege, Warden of the First Tree, Wild Slash, Flamewake Phoenix, Crux of Fate, Frontier Siege, Temur Battle Rage, Temur Sabertooth, and more, Fate Reforged has done an admirable job of shaking up the format. I already love the new Standard, and this is only week one!