This week, the full spoiler was released for Guilds of Ravnica, and I can’t help but be excited for Worlds to be over so that I get to work on an entirely new landscape of Standard.
I poked around a bit, brewed a little with what I’ve seen, and now I have a couple of rough drafts.
The first idea I’m sharing came to fruition while recording Pro Points. Goblin Chainwhirler is powerful, and requires you to play mostly, or all, red cards. Runaway Steam-Kin wants you to follow that path as well. Steam-Kin is best used when you can utilize the mana from it, and I determined that one of the better ways to use that mana would be to kick a Verix Bladewing. Sarkhan, Fireblood gives you some ramp redundancy, and can filter lands into more spells. Here’s a rough draft of what a Mono-Red Runaway Dragons deck would look like:
Mono-Red Runaway Dragons
Legion Warboss is also a consideration, and you could remove the entire Dragon package to make it more low to the ground. I fear this deck is short a solid 2-drop at the moment, and the best alternative I could come up with is Dismissive Pyromancer.
This deck could also stand to splash gold cards. Add eight dual lands for nearly free, a basic, and two splash cards could work. Runaway Steam-Kin also triggers off the gold spells that happen to be red, so maybe sideboarding Ionize is a possibility.
I’ll certainly jam a few games with this deck when we finally get our hands on Guilds of Ravnica.
The next deck I’d like to talk about is Green Stompy, which got a few good toys. Here’s my rough draft of Golgari Stompy.
Nullhide Ferox is a big game for Stompy. It forces the opponent to answer it with a cheap removal spell like Seal Away, Cast Down, Assassin’s Trophy, or Justice Strike. These spells will of course still cost 4 mana, in which case you’ve done a good job taxing your opponents mana and using your earlier pressure to continue pressing your advantage.
Nullhide Ferox punishes Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, one of the more powerful cards in the format, which is a huge upside. And if there’s a lot of Nullhide Ferox around, Nicol Bolas may have to sit on the sidelines.
Pelt Collector is also incredible in this deck. It not only grows when a creature comes into play, but if they decide to kill your Steel Leaf Champion, you’ll get an additional counter. Pelt Collector adds a 1-drop to the deck that will make it much more consistent than it was in previous iterations.
With Nullhide Ferox in your deck, you can’t really afford to play expensive spells like planeswalkers alongside it. You can, however, play cards like Assassin’s Trophy, a 2-mana catch-all removal spell that can stabilize any unfavorable position on board. Trophy will mean that you always have the biggest creature in play.
The sideboard is set up to take out Nullhide Ferox against decks with sweepers, and board into planeswalkers like Vivien Reid and Vraska, Relic Seeker, and some Duresses to strip sweepers and Settle the Wreckage.
This deck did take some huge losses with rotation though, and I don’t know how it will fair. Blossoming Defenses, Rhonas, the Indomitable, and Hashep Oasis were all incredibly good cards for this deck, and without Rhonas to give creatures trample and without the Chainwhirler pushing out token strategies, it may be hard to get through. This is why we still need Ghalta to close out games, though I’m not a huge fan of the card. I’d like to see how the format shakes out before I play a deck this one-dimensional.
Here’s another deck I brewed up. I’m interested in playing a deck with Assassin’s Trophy and Vraska, Relic Seeker. The cards are just perfect together in a midrange deck that wants to grind and play a long game controlling the battlefield.
Dryad Greenseeker seems like it might be playable in Standard. There’s a shortage of good 2-drops, and it generates value throughout the game. You may want to maindeck another Arguel’s Blood Fast to have another mana sink for all the lands we’ll get off Karn, Scion of Urza, Dryad Greenseeker, Jadelight Ranger, and District Guide, but the deck does have a fairly high curve.
Treasure Map fits the role of card drawing engine, a way to put a burst of Treasure into play to pump up Karn’s Constructs, or even start eating up Vraska’s additional Treasure for more cards.
We’ll have to see how the format shakes out to determine if you want a sweeper in your sideboard. Plague Mare is a great option against 1-toughness creatures, but if you need to hit 2-toughness creatures, you likely want Golden Demise. Ritual of Soot is also a possibility but hits a lot of your own creatures, so you probably want to stick to the other options if possible.
Overall the mana isn’t perfect for turn-1 Llanowar Elves, but the deck seems promising to me.
Up next is Selensya Tokens. For some reasons I really like March of the Multitudes. It may be a trap card, but it seems like an upgrade on Secure the Wastes in a format with a lower power level than Secure’s.
This deck is fairly all-in, and could be in rough shape against Settle the Wreckage. Shalai, Voice of Plenty helps there some. Divine Visitation with any token generator is powerful, and this deck is built to maximize that. It’s possible we want the fourth copy, but I think the deck can function without it pretty easily as well. The deck really wants to punish opponents playing spot removal, and though it has Emmara, Llanowar Elves, and Shalai, spot removal lines up pretty poorly here.
Thorn Lieutenant is questionable, but it does leave behind a token to convoke with if killed early, making it a solid 2-drop against spot removal. I’d much prefer additional copies of Saproling Migration if there were something similar available at 2 mana, but unfortunately I don’t see any.
Huatli, Radiant Champion is a sweet way to punish control decks that sit back and hold up Settle the Wreckage, and could possibly be played main deck. The Immortal Sun is also a potential option for the deck. You have no main-deck planeswalkers, and the anthem effect it provides and the additional card a turn could really add up. I’d be more likely to play it if I included Song of Freyalise as a way to ramp it out. It’s nice that Teferi, Hero of Dominaria can’t interact with it meaningfully, so maybe it’s a good way to punish the opponent for tapping out for Settle the Wreckage. Then you stick the Immortal Suns to shut off Teferi and grind them out from there.
Trostani Discordant seems only okay to me. I like how it’s an anthem effect and three bodies all rolled into one card, much like Angel of Salvation, but it’s clearly worse than Angel. I don’t think we’ll see much In Bolas’s Clutches to take advantage of its extra ability to take back your own permanents.
This deck doesn’t feel polished to me yet, but there could be something here with Divine Visitation. Divine Visitation could solve the Goblin Chainwhirler problem by going way over the top of it with the token makers that would otherwise be liabilities in a Chainwhirler matchup.
I’ll definitely be trying something similar to this out as soon as I can, but I’m still worried about Settle the Wreckage control decks with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Settle the Wreckage and a pile of Negates and other countermagic seems like a bad mix, and I suspect that it is one of the better ways to approach the new Standard.
Brewing Standard With Guilds of Ravnica
These are the first four decks I’ve built looking through the full spoiler. While some may be functional and others just shells of an idea, I like to continue to put deck lists down on paper and try everything in new Standard formats, as this is a time to finally get a deck advantage edge—an unsolved, and seemingly exciting new Standard format.
If you’re looking for more brews, this week on Pro Points Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Sam Black, and I brewed a pair of decks on the podcast, so come check out our process and the final product there as well.