Last week I wrote an article on how popular decks had changed after Fate Reforged. This week I’m going to cover the archetypes I didn’t get the chance to talk about.
RG didn’t particularly appeal to me before the new set, but it’s gained a couple of new tools in the form of Yasova and Flamewake Phoenix. Phoenix in particular seems great to me because it complements the other Phoenix and makes your deck much more aggressive. Oscar Christensen got 2nd place at the Super Series with RG. Though interestingly enough, his only addition was Yasova:
My instinct with this deck would be to just add a bunch of Phoenixes. They’re excellent against UB, especially if they cut on the Perilous Vaults, and it’s good in a world of tokens and big green blockers. It does get brickwalled by Hornet Queen, as does basically every creature, but it even gives you a fighting chance against that by coming back every turn. If I’m going to play Phoenix, then I also like Shaman of the Great Hunt (though it might not be good enough). I’d build the deck like this:
Jeskai Tokens was popularized by Yuuya Watanabe at the World Championship this year. It works as basically a RW tokens deck, except it has Jeskai Ascendancy and Treasure Cruise to pump the tokens and refill. This is the original list:
We’ve seen updated lists of this deck already at the SCG tournaments. There are five potential additions from the new set: Monastery Mentor, Wild Slash, Soulfire Grand Master, Outpost Siege, and Citadel Siege. I think Citadel Siege is quite underrated, and maybe even warrants a slot in Abzan decks. If they have a super threat, you can just neutralize it, and if they don’t then you can make any guy a big threat. In this particular deck it’s probably just worse than the red one, but still good to keep in mind.
I think that in Jeskai Tokens Monastery Mentor is probably better than Goblin Rabblemaster. It’s not that Rabblemaster is bad, but you can only play so many 3-drops and I think he’s the worst one since this deck actually has a lot of spells to use Mentor with. Having to attack with your Goblins was also a liability if you were trying to set up a big turn with Jeskai Ascendancy, so I think it’s worth the aggression that you lose.
Soulfire Grand Master is not fantastic, but it’s a fine 2-drop to have. Since you have Mentor, Ascendancy, and Soulfire Grand Master, then I think Wild Slash is just better than Lightning Strike—especially now that you don’t see Mantis Rider very often. This is how I would build Jeskai Tokens:
Ascendancy is in a tough spot because it gained absolutely nothing from the new set, and it wasn’t particularly great to begin with. The sideboard in particular remains as bad as it ever was, and that is still the biggest problem with the deck. To give you an idea, here is the list played by Jérémie-Ross Latour at the Super Series:
I mean, look at this sideboard—it’s just embarrassing. SEVEN Negates? A Temple and two mana guys?
This is not a dagger at Jérémie—the problem is that the deck just doesn’t have any good sideboard options available, which I think rules it out as a contender for the time being.
As far as lists go, this seems to be a direct port from Lee Shi Tian’s PT and subsequent Worlds list. I’m not sure whether people have tested multiple versions and decided it was the best, or whether it was simply adopted because it was the one who won. This deck has some things going on that I don’t fully understand, such as Kiora’s Follower over the, in my opinion, superior Voyaging Satyr and only 3 Dig Through Times. I think the biggest problem with the deck is finding Ascendancy, and Dig is the best card to do that, so I would just play 4. If you think you will have issues filling your graveyard, then I would just play more graveyard cards to support it—such as Taigam’s Scheming or even Satyr Wayfinder.
That’s what I got for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed it—next time, I’ll cover Abzan Whip, Mardu, and Mono-Green.