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Valuable Lessons – Mentoring Heroes

Welcome back to Valuable Lessons. Last week, we explored the possibilities available with Athreos, God of Passage. Since then, there’s been a lot of buzz around that card and it’s been written about extensively. This week, we’ll be focusing on another powerful tool that becomes an option with the introduction of Journey into Nyx.

It’s hard to ignore Ajani, Mentor of Heroes. I feel like there’s an unsettling quiet about the card. It may cost five mana, but it gives us one of the better planeswalker effects we’ve ever had access to. Today, we’ll be looking at the different ways we can go about building decks with the newest planeswalker!

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes comes down on the fourth or fifth turn and immediately jumps up to 5 loyalty, putting it safely out of range from Warleader’s Helix. We can use Ajani, Mentor of Heroes as an effective way to create a serious threat. My favorite example is Mutavault. We can continually dump +1/+1 counters on a Mutavault and it should be very difficult for a lot of the control decks to deal with it. More importantly, we can use Ajani, Mentor of Heroes to keep our hand full of gas in strategies that lack longevity.

The first deck I’d like to explore is Hexproof. I’ve taken a few looks at the Hexproof strategy over the last few weeks, but I think a version that incorporates the new Ajani could be the best positioned variant of the deck in Journey into Nyx Standard.

The biggest problem with playing Auras is the 2-for-1 opportunity we give to our opponents. So, we need to play creatures that remove or minimize the chance that we’ll find ourselves getting 2-for-1’d. We’ll need some creatures that do a good job of preventing us from getting blown out by spot removal.

 

Gladecover Scout and Witchstalker are the obvious inclusions. Hexproof means that neither of these guys will ever have a spell aimed at them. It’s possible that some Black Devotion strategies start trying Devour Flesh again. Try to get a second creature on the table before moving all in on the first when this is a possibility.

Voice of Resurgence punishes our opponent for attempting to interact on our turn. Additionally, it makes the deck more resistant to Supreme Verdict and forces an opponent to give us big turns when we draw cards like Ethereal Armor in the midgame.

Fiendslayer Paladin may not have Hexproof, but Detention Sphere and Banishing Light are the only cards with widespread attention that actually remove this thing from the battlefield without letting it fight something first.

Ethereal Armor is the best creature enhancement enchantment available. the card may not combo beautifully with some of the non-enchantments that made the cut, but the value available here for one mana is impressive.

Selesnya Charm is an all-purpose tool, giving a creature trample and some extra size when combat goes awry, creating a suprise blocker or attacker, and, perhaps most importantly, Selesnya Charm efficiently kills things like Polukranos, World Eater and Desecration Demon.

Banishing Light is a versatile spell that happens to improve the quality of our Ethereal Armor. The Hexproof decks get a big push in terms of power now that they can interact with the opponent’s board out of a two-color base.

Unflinching Courage makes life very difficult for the decks that are trying to race.

I want to be playing a lot more land than the Hexproof decks we’re used to seeing in Standard right now. This may seem odd, the deck really needs to be putting together a hexproof creature with some auras. Playing more land lets us play with Ajani, Mentor of Heroes. We can play with Mutavault and give our deck a very impressive endgame that’s sure to give the control decks some nightmares. The longevity provided by the Mutavault/Ajani package shores up the decks weakest areas while only being two colors and playing more land means that our Unflinching Courage and Fiendslayer/Eidolon draws should function much better in the matchups where that’s what we want to be doing.

Eidolon of Countless Battles is a great option for this deck now that we’re playing a lot more land. This card offers a big game, especially in a deck like this.

Here’s the Green/White Hexproof deck as I would play it.

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes Hexproof!

This deck could be very strong. It’s certainly going to cause headaches for the decks that seem to be doing well in Standard before Journey into Nyx. This could be the most degenerate use for Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, except perhaps in some sort of Sage of Hours deck.

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes is a powerful effect, even if we’re not putting +1/+1 counters onto hexproof creatures. I’d like to build a top-end GW deck as well. The power of Ajani alongside Elspeth, Sun’s Champion is something that’s worth looking at. We could just play all the most powerful cards in green and white.

Voice of Resurgence is too good to pass up. I’m a much bigger fan of this card than most, but I’m always impressed with how well this card performs for me. It’s the best possible card against the most aggressive decks, and it’s also the best possible card we could have against the control decks and Black Devotion. It’s the stuff that falls in between where Voice of Resurgence is less than impressive.

Banisher Priest gains a lot of power in a format where White Weenie and Athreos, God of Passage join Blue Devotion and Thassa, God of the Sea. Banisher Priest is ideal for what we can expect the earliest weeks of the format to look like.

Courser of Kruphix is the best green card we can play. It provides us with a very impressive body, some extra life, and a steady stream of card advantage as long as we’re able to find some lands on top.

Sylvan Caryatid will be ramping us into powerful top-end cards like Advent of the Wurm, Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion.

We’ll probably be seeing a lot of Jace, Architect of Thought in the new Standard. Advent of the Wurm is probably the best positioned card against him.

Banishing Light is very versatile and helps us fight the planeswalker war.

Selesnya Charm deals with big guys and small guys, while also making combat difficult for an opponent that’s forced to be non-interactive in the face of Voice of Resurgence.

Here’s the list as I would play it.

For Power!

Again, this deck could have a lot of game against a good portion of the current Standard format. In the coming weeks, we’ll have an opportunity to watch the new Standard format unfold. With seven sets in the mix, the new Standard should be rife with opportunity. Be sure to tune in next week as we continue to explore the options available in Journey into Nyx!

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