We’ve seen enough spoilers now that it’s time to start getting excited about playing with Oath of the Gatewatch cards in Standard. So far, the set looks really positive and there appear to be a lot of angles to explore. I’ve already seen several cards that I’m excited to see in action.
Three specific cards, however, have really caught my eye:
Not only are both of these cards powerful and flashy but they both seem tailor-made for a tempo-oriented aggro-control deck like Jeskai.
Reflector Mage is Rad
First things first, I had to read Reflector Mage carefully and multiple times to make sure it did what I thought it did because I couldn’t believe my eyes. Did they seriously just print a Man-o’-War that is this good?
Bounce creatures have always been great because they remove material from your opponent’s board while gaining you a body. But this card has an added bonus clause that it doesn’t allow your opponent to recast the bounced card until you’ve started your next turn.
*A quick note about something random that came up in testing: if you bounce your own creature (perhaps they stole it with Exert Influence) you won’t be able to recast it until your following turn because it says “owner” and not controller.
A few weeks ago I showed you “How to Rally” (the Ancestors) in Standard. I didn’t want to be redundant and write about the same deck again, but I will say that Mage seems like an automatic include in that archetype as well. I can’t even imagine how fun it would be to hit Reflector off a Collected Company!
Jeskai Aggro Control
The first deck that I brewed up was a “good stuff” Jeskai Aggro Control deck that incorporated Reflector Mage and the new creature lands.
By Brian DeMars
This version of Jeskai Aggro rides the line between aggressive and midrange, which is fine considering how Standard operates at the moment. I like having efficient threats but I also like to play cards that are powerful and difficult to answer efficiently on curve. I also like my Standard decks to be as threat-heavy as possible.
Keep in mind that Gideon’s emblem has some nice synergy with the double strike of Needle Spires. The deck has a lot of token synergies in general, which allow Gideon to really shine in this deck.
I don’t have sideboards together yet because I don’t know what the other decks are going to look like. Arashin Cleric and Hallowed Moonlight seem like a great starting place against Atarka and Rally and I’d love to have some Disdainful Strokes to deal with expensive threats.
Jeskai Dragon Aggro Control
The other version of Jeskai that I’ve worked on so far tries to capitalize on the powerful Dragon theme from Dragons of Tarkir.
JESKAI DRAGON AGGRO
By Brian DeMars
The Dragon angle may seem cute but it really packs a punch. It isn’t like playing Thunderbreak Regent and Dragonlord Ojutai has much of a cost—both cards are outstanding in their own right and flying creatures are really at a premium in Standard as a way to fly over clogged up ground stalls.
Draconic Roar is extremely swingy. The fact that it can kill a creature for only 2 mana and shorten the game by dealing damage directly to your opponent is unique and desirable in Standard.
It is also worth noting that Soulfire Grand Master + Draconic Roar gains 6 life which is a very big tempo swing (especially against aggressive decks). Grand Master is a also a terrific late-game mana sink that allows you to generate card advantage on a stalled board.
Oath of the Gatewatch looks like it is going to be a pretty exciting new set. Obviously, we won’t be able to tell how the Standard landscape will look until the full spoiler goes up, but I think we have a pretty good idea based on what was good before the set comes out. The big wild card will be how good colorless Waste cards are going to be.
I suspect that the mechanic will find a home in Eldrazi-style ramp decks which means that being aggressive will likely be a great place to start out. I like Jeskai decks because they have the aggressive element but are still packed with powerful, versatile creatures and spells.
I can’t wait to see what gets spoiled next and to see what new decks are going to change the format in the coming month!
[Editor’s Note: This article mistakenly identified Needle Spires as Indignation Cliff.]