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3 New Archetypes from the First Week of Standard

Last weekend was a historic one in terms of Shadows over Innistrad Standard. Never again will what happened this weekend take place. What you saw was one-of-a-kind, and I, for one, stand in awe of this feat of historic significance. Last weekend was the first and only time Shadows over Innistrad was played in sanctioned Constructed for the first time. And if that’s not enough to rock your socks off, then you’ve got bigger problems than what I can cover in the no-scope of this article.

Marginally tested brews squared off against untested brews at the SCG Open in Baltimore in a battle to see who got closer to being right the first week. All jokes aside, there were some pretty decent ones in the mix. Let’s take a hot look at some of these top performing decks.

Mono-White Humans

Kellen Pestore

22% of the Day 2 field was Humans, so this deck isn’t exactly doing anything surprising. But what was surprising was the lack of a splash. This was the top performing Humans deck and it didn’t splash either blue or green when nearly all the other top lists did. For Kellen Pestore, simpler was better.

Generally in the first week of Standard, you see aggressive decks perform well, and this was no different. I’ll be interested to see whether this deck has legs moving forward. The thing is, it might not even need legs, because Gryff’s Boon gives flying, and you don’t need legs while you’re airborne. Is that the worst joke I’ve ever made in an article? Probably not, but in case it is, make sure to stay tuned next week for an even worse one. Get wrekt.

The deck has a lot of internal synergies. Always Watching and Thalia’s Lieutenant provide redundant global pump effects to the team. Stasis Snare and Declaration in Stone can both exile any creature. This gives the deck a lot of power and redundancy, two hallmarks of a good deck.

Gryff’s Boon may seem weak on the surface, but it is a really powerful card in this shell. Mono-white aggro decks tend to bring the opponent down really low on life and then struggle to finish the job. Boon grants evasion, and then if they deal with that creature, grants even more evasion later.

BW Eldrazi

Eric Hymel

Thought-Knot Seer is too powerful of a card to not have a home in Standard. This is a good example of what that home may be. Eric Hymel, along with the rest of the Roanoke crew, played a BW Eldrazi deck that is one of the decks to beat from the event.

I like how all the pieces of this deck fit together. Eldrazi Displacer is great in combination with Knight of the White Orchid, Thought-Knot Seer, and Avacyn. One neat trick you can do is flip your Archangel Avacyn into Avacyn, the Purifier, and then use Eldrazi Displacer in response to the flip trigger to blink Archangel Avacyn and give your team indestructible. That saves any stray copies of Eldrazi Displacer, HeDron James (Hedron Crawler), Knight Tokens, or Ayli. Avacyn saving all your creatures from her own attempt to kill them is certainly some weird flavor. It’s like Avacyn before and after eating a Snickers.

Ayli also has good synergy with Avacyn, allowing you to control when you flip her, which is pretty nice.

Speaking of Avacyn, I think Avacyn is one of the best cards from this set, so finding a good shell for the card is definitely a positive. I have no clue what the best Avacyn shell is, but this is a pretty solid one. I like that you can pass the turn with Displacer in play, and your opponent doesn’t know if you’re planning on using Displacer, or if there is actually an Avacyn waiting in the wings.

One common theme in these decks so far is good removal, and the main choice these 2 decks have chosen to deck the halls with is Declaration in Stone. It’s no surprise to me that both this and the white Human deck play a full set. It turns out that unconditional removal is quite good. This deck also gets to double up on that with Anguished Unmaking as another piece of the unconditional removal along with Ultimate Price, which is basically the poster child for conditional removal.

UR Goggles

Todd Anderson

The last deck that caught my eye is Todd Anderson’s Thing in the Ice deck. I know Todd has been testing this deck for a while, so it’s no surprise to me he was able to turn that into a Top 8. The deck is also very good.

Pyromancer’s Goggles is a perfect fit in this shell. It’s great with 1-mana spells, which means that Goggles into either Magmatic Insight or Lightning Axe is going to result in a huge blowout turn, and that’s just the turn you cast the Goggles. Once you untap with it, you can do some great things like cast Tormenting Voice, Fall of the Titans, and so forth to get double duty out of them.

I also love the synergy this deck has with Drownyard Temple. You can discard it early to any number of spells—even Chandra if things get to that point—and then you can slide it back into play anytime you have an extra 3 mana to dispose of. It can even accelerate into Goggles or Chandra, which is, as the kids say, big game.

I’m not sure what the best deck will eventually be, but I think it would be a mistake not to add these 3 decks to the gauntlet. While other decks certainly did well in this event, including tournament-winning fan favorite Bant Company, these were 3 archetypes that didn’t exist before Shadows over Innistrad and will probably continue to exist throughout its duration. It’s never too early to get a head start.

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