When I woke up this morning and found new spoilers, my brain went crazy trying to sift through hundreds of cards and see what interactions lie waiting to be exploited. I’m sure plenty of online brewers have began producing videos and articles on how the new cards from RNA will potentially change the standard scene. I don’t want to do dish out deck list while I don’t have complete information on the new set yet. Instead, I’d like to discuss my ideas on how I plan to use some of the cards and explain what kind of shell I plan to use them in.
My favorite flavor text is the one on Rakdos, the Showstopper. I anticipated Rakdos to be reprinted in the new set along with other demons so I took the chance and ordered a playset of Liliana’s Contract and see if an auto-win demon-based deck is plausible in standard.
A 5-mana draw 4 is like Tidings back in the old days without the life loss and Tidings saw some competitive play when it was standard legal. The upside to Liliana’s Contract is that it enables its own win condition by drawing you the demons you need.
There are a handful of demons that are very playable in standard and almost all of them seem to carry a 6/6 body across curves four through six. Playing with demons usually requires blood offerings so we need ways to gain back the life we lose so cards like Sovereign’s Bite, Moment of Craving and Vraska’s Contempt can be considered.
I’m coining Teysa as the new Necromonicon, from my favorite build around card Panharmonicon. MTGGoldfish’s Seth has sold his soul to the devil to make this card a reality so I too will want to abuse Teysa in the coming months. With Orzhov’s guild mechanic, Afterlife, we’re seeing a push for tokens now that it’s a bit easier to kill your creatures at will with sacrifice engines like Pitiless Pontiff.
But let’s not be limited to Afterlife as a way to get value from creatures dying and Teysa’s ability. We have a lot of gems in the current that can really put an Orzhov Tokens list on the map now that we have access to perfect mana care of Godless Shrine.
I’m quite excited to finally use Elenda with Teysa. Did you notice they somewhat share the same couturier and fashion sense (look at their armor design).
If you want to go really janky, you can also try Open the Graves for even more tokens. If you want to splash a third color, which is very tempting with all the shock lands available, you can go green and play Conclave Cavalier or Poison-Tip Archer and really push an Aristocrat archetype.
I wrote an article about using the new Dovin in a control shell but pushed myself a bit to try using him in a UW aggressive shell, swapping the Red from LSV’s deck back in ProTour GRN.
A turn 1 Healer’s Hawk, into Turn 2 Ajani’s Pridemate (which goes to a 3/3 with Hawk deals damage). Turn 3 you drop Dovin ticking him down and create a blocker and gain 1 life. This way you pump Ajani into a 4/4 before combat, then after combat Ajani’s Pridemate becomes a 5/5 from Hawk. You can just keep swinging and ticking Dovin up instead of down to reach the -7 mark and refill your hand with 3 more threats. Getting access to blue also opens up Admiral’s Order or Spell Pierce to deal with opposing Settle the Wreckage, Clarion or Nova. I’m not saying this is going to be a tiered deck (maybe I’m wrong) but who knows, we might get very good aggressive/tempo creatures in Azorious and we actually already have one in Deputy of Detention.
Wilderness Reclamation came as a surprise when it got the uncommon treatment. With Addendum giving players the incentive to play their instants at sorcery speed, allowing you to untap your lands at your end step circumvents this drawback giving you mana back up for your counter magic, instant sweepers and fog. Speaking of fog, looks like Bant Nexus will emerge again as a popular and powerful archetype.
Judith by far has among the best art, and in my opinion is better drawn and conceptualized than Seraph of the Scales. I can foresee in the immediate future that a Rakdos Sligh deck is about to be a real thing. With the addition of Gutterbones, and I’m expecting some 2 power one-drop uncommons with slight drawbacks like Diregraf Ghoul to join the Rakdos cult, powering these cheap creatures with Judith at the back providing an anthem effect and an upside for trading in combat will make burn spells much more potent. I can also see Judith as a good spectacle trigger even if your creatures don’t connect so let’s watch how the Rakdos will look like once all the cards are revealed.
Looking at what Domri’s guild is trying to do, I can’t help but get excited. Providing flexibility to trade speed for power is very important if you’re using a deck that wins through combat. Choosing to get in for more damage while the opponent is durdling with cantrips or enchantments translates to more damage early putting the opponent on the backfoot. As the game goes long, you can choose to go tall and convert your game plan into a more grindier pace, punishing the opponent for dancing to the wrong tune.
I am happy that I got cheap playsets of Sarkhan’s Unsealing and Goreclaw lying around, reducing the spells of giant creatures by 2, dealing massive damage just be casting them, and drawing cards off of them is pretty cool. Can we expect the dinosaurs from Ixalan to join the fray? Definitely! Curving out from a Turn 1 Elf, Turn 2 Grull Spellbreaker, Turn 3 Goreclaw into turn 4 Demanding Dragon/Skaargan Hellkite/Raver Wurm is nuts.
Going mono-green and splashing red from Rootbound Crag and Stomping Ground (and maybe Timber Gorge) allow us to consistently play turn 2-3 Steel Leaf Champion without mana issues. Of course let’s not forget Ghalta which will benefit from a Regisaur Alpha we can also play by splashing red. Overall, I’m happy we can see a traditional R/G deck back in fighting form in standard.
The last card I want to talk about is by far the weirdest. Hydroid Krasis can be seen as a weak card for a mythic but it depends on how you interpret the card. On a minimum, its a 3-drop 1/1 flying, trample creature. If you wait a while and let’s say cast it on turn 4 (or 3 if you have an elf out), you now get a 4-drop 2/2 flying, trample creature that nets you 1 card and 1 life. That wasn’t a huge difference but the effect becomes more and more decent after 5 mana. 2. Here’s how I tabulated it for my own appreciation.
- X=1, 3 CMC, you get a 1/1 flying, trample creature, 0 cards, 0 life
- X=2, 4 CMC, you get a 2/2 flying, trample creature, 1 cards, 1 life
- X=3, 5 CMC, you get a 3/3 flying, trample creature, 1 cards, 1 life
- X=4, 6 CMC, you get a 4/4 flying, trample creature, 2 cards, 2 life
At 5, it resembles a bigger but worse card drawer than Mulldrifter. But at 6 mana, its bigger and better than Mulldrifter, for 1 mana more. We all know Mulldrifter is a great card but top decking this Jellyfish in the mid through late game feels very good because you can sink all your mana to make a decent threat the evades and punches through 1/1 spirits (which will be common thanks to Afterlife) and refills your hand allowing you to draw more of them for later use. I am not sure how the other cards can make this better but if the price goes down to decent levels, I will probably buy a play set as a speculative investment.
I hope you enjoyed my takes on the new toys we get to play with. I’m very excited on what the pros and the brewers will make out of the new set. There is so much potential and so many opportunities to exploit weird synergies in a standard format where we have perfect mana available.
If you want me to continue sharing my thoughts on the new cards, leave a comment of like the post.
As we enjoy the last few weeks of GRN-standard, may you all top deck lethal until RNA screws up with the meta! 🙂