It’s here! Prereleases are in the books and Ixalan is officially on MTGO. Our brand new Standard format is unveiled, and the collective hivemind is in full swing trying to break the format. We saw some success out of R/G Pummeler before the rotation and, as an energy-based deck, it lost very little. But the addition of Ixalan means that R/G may not be the only way to build this deck, or even the best.
Electrostatic Pummeler is your plan A and your plan B. A single pump spell and a few extra energy can be enough to get the Pummeler up to 20 power. Making sure that you can find Pummeler, get that extra energy, protect Pummeler if possible, and then pump it up is the name of the game. Giving the Pummeler trample means that you don’t even need to make it unblockable, as a few extra energy turns your 20-point Pummeler into a massive 40-power monster.
Servant of the Conduit and Bristling Hydra are your supplemental energy creatures. Servant is there just for the mana, but Hydra can win the game on his own should your Pummeler plan fall apart. You have lots of ways to make buckets of energy, so pumping the Hydra and giving it hexproof aren’t tough to do. With a few extra pump spells and maybe giving the Hydra trample, you can take an opponent down from a high life total.
Larger than Life is your best pump spell, which is extra interesting because this is the exact type of pump effect that is the very worst in Limited. Sorcery-speed pump means that it just can’t be used as a trick, which is borderline unplayable in Limited. In Constructed, you’re pumping your Pummeler as big as you can make it, giving it trample, and you don’t care who knows it. Larger than Life only asks that you make 3 additional energy beyond the 3 Pummeler gives you to get to 20 points of power. Crash the Ramparts gives you a brand new pump spell that can also give you trample. You’re paying a little bit more mana for a little less power, but that’s the cost of instant speed.
Finding Pummeler is a critical part of your game plan. How about a full playset of Trophy Mages to go get your heavy-hitter? There’s a single Aethersphere Harvester here so that you can also get it in a pinch, and a bunch more Harvesters in the sideboard, but your trophy is Pummeler 9 times out of 10.
You’ll want to protect your Pummeler. Investing a Trophy Mage into finding a Pummeler, casting some Larger than Lifes, and then having your creature killed is a serious feel-bad. Luckily, you have a plan for that. Blossoming Defense isn’t just another solid pump effect—it can give your Pummeler hexproof at those critical moments. If 4 hexproof effects aren’t enough, going into blue for the new Ixalan card Dive Down gives you another 4 ways to both pump the Pummeler’s toughness and give it hexproof.
Attune with Aether gives you some nice mana-fixing and extra energy, but Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot is a surprising addition. Puzzleknot gains you some life, which helps in a race, but it’s mostly here just to double your Pummeler. Puzzleknot doesn’t mess around, giving you up to 6 energy for a cheap investment. Even a single Crash the Ramparts with a Pummeler and a sacrificed Puzzleknot lets you double the power of the Pummeler to 8, 16, and finally 32 to end the game.
One addition I don’t know too much about is Nissa, Steward of Elements. While it’s a sweet card in your colors, I’m not totally sure what Nissa offers, and it’s possible you just want another pump spell or aggressive energy creature.
One final card I want to talk about is Hashep Oasis. Oasis lets you pump your Pummeler by 3 just by using your land, which adds a powerful, and uncounterable, dimension to the deck.
Ixalan Standard is here, and while many decks that are successful early on will take a heavy influence from previous Standard, we’re about to see a lot of really cool things!