U/W Drake Haven, a deck centered around cycling and Abandoned Sarcophagus, was picking up in popularity going into the rotation. It’s still putting up solid numbers on MTGO and could be just the deck to carry you to victory in your next Standard event.
Drake Haven was a powerful option in Amonkhet Draft, but a 3-mana enchantment that doesn’t immediately impact the board in any way has some downsides in Constructed. That said, it’s a win condition that isn’t easy for decks to interact with. Mono-Red,U/B Midrange, and Grixis Energy are the decks to beat in Standard, and none of them have access to ways to kill an enchantment. When you can use your early turns to set up a clear board and resolve a Haven under little pressure, you can continue doing exactly what your deck already wanted to do. Cycling cards, drawing new cards and answers, and making Drakes to trade off in combat and eventually win the game.
Abandoned Sarcophagus used to be the centerpiece of this deck, and while it’s still included, it appears that almost all versions are down to just a single copy. This isn’t a card you want to expose early, especially since all red decks should have Abrade. With a little bit of countermagic, you can protect your artifact for long enough that it can make an impact, and it doesn’t take casting many spells from your graveyard to make it worth it.
You want answers? This deck has answers. There are a number of decks in Standard that can go wide. Some of these have built-in protection from a sweeper by playing Vehicles, indestructible creatures, or those that come back from the graveyard. This deck looks to ignore that as much as possible. Not only do you have the full playset of Fumigates to sweep the board and recoup some life loss, but you also have a playset of Settle the Wreckage to punish attackers. Trying to play against this deck when you have open mana and Drake Haven in play is a total nightmare. If you attack with everything, you get Settled. Attack with not enough, and the Haven deck just cycles a few cards, makes some Drakes, and continues down its path.
As for the cycling cards, you have plenty to cast while your opponents are playing around Settle the Wreckage. Hieroglyphic Illumination can draw a couple cards while Cast Out can exile any problematic permanent on the other side of the table. Each cycles for only 1 mana, which helps to make sure your draws are always smooth. Be careful against opposing white decks, however, as getting your Cast Outs hit by Ixalan’s Binding can really put you in a tough spot. A second Binding on Drake Haven will leave you without a way to win the game.
You also have plenty of cycling countermagic. Censor rewards you for having it in your deck even if it isn’t in your hand. Opponents playing around Censor give you the time to set up, and it can always cycle for a single mana when it’s no longer useful. Countervailing Winds is your “hard” counter. With so much cycling and interaction, Winds should be able to counter anything in short time.
Renewed Faith gives you value for your cycles. Sometimes you just hardcast it to negate an entire attack or a couple burn spells, but cashing it in for 2 life, a card, and a Drake is where you want to be.
Search for Azcanta provides inevitability. With so much cycling, you can flip earlier than just about any deck. Once flipped, you put the opponent into an even tougher spot trying to figure out what to do against cards like Settle the Wreckage. If they don’t attack with enough, you get to just take a little damage, start Searching, and pull even further ahead.
Playing a deck with no creature spells is quite the advantage in a world where people are maindecking four Fatal Push, three Moment of Craving, three Essence Scatter, and four Vraska’s Contempt in their control decks! With Magma Sprays, Harnessed Lightnings, and other dead removal spells everywhere, U/W Haven is in a nice position.