Teaching New Dogs New Tricks - Massdrop East/West Article #24
more_vert
search
With the full Hour of Devastation spoiler released, it is time to get to work on the new format. Some people are going deep in the tank with brews while others are simply trying to polish some of the top meta decks like Vehicles, Zombies, and Temur Energy. Today I wanted to focus on some decks that are up-and-comers in the meta and discuss what cards from the new set might be good additions or potential traps. These decks have not appeared in Standard until recently or were perhaps fringe at one point but now have enjoyed a taste of mainstream success.

Emerge
Example List 1 - James O'Shaughnessy Temur Delirium, SCG Classic 2nd place
Creatures (16)
3 Elder Deep-Fiend
2 Glorybringer
4 Rogue Refiner
3 Servant of the Conduit
2 Tireless Tracker
1 World Breaker
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
Planeswalkers (2)
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Lands (23)
3 Forest
2 Island
2 Mountain
4 Aether Hub
4 Botanical Sanctum
3 Evolving Wilds
1 Sanctum of Ugin
2 Sheltered Thicket
2 Spirebluff Canal
Spells (19)
3 Vessel of Nascency
3 Grapple with the Past
4 Harnessed Lightning
4 Kozilek's Return
1 Cut
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald
Sideboard
1 Glorybringer
2 Manglehorn
2 Tireless Tracker
1 Dispel
2 Magma Spray
2 Negate
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
2 Confiscation Coup
1 Cut

Example List 2 - Luckesh UR Emerge, 5-2 MTGO Standard Champs
Creature (16)
4 Advanced Stitchwing
4 Elder Deep-Fiend
4 Prized Amalgam
4 Stitchwing Skaab
Sorcery (8)
4 Cathartic Reunion
4 Tormenting Voice
Instant (10)
3 Fiery Temper
4 Kozilek's Return
3 Lightning Axe
Enchantment (4)
4 Fevered Visions
Land (22)
1 Highland Lake
5 Island
5 Mountain
3 Sanctum of Ugin
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Wandering Fumarole
Sideboard
1 Fiery Temper
1 Lightning Axe
1 Baral's Expertise
1 Censor
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 Dispel
1 Negate
1 Release the Gremlins
2 Shock
2 Spell Shrivel

There are different flavors of Emerge decks floating around right now, but they can mostly be split into two camps. The green-based ones taking advantage of value creatures such as Tireless Tracker, Rogue Refiner, and Ishkanah. The UR ones mostly rely on discard coupled with Zombies that reanimate from the grave.

search

Without testing it is hard to say what could be the best three drop of choice in the Emerge decks, but Champion of Wits certainly brings a lot to the table. Although its normal body is subpar at 2/1, its trigger can serve many purposes including digging for key pieces, building up delirium, and dumping Prized Amalgams or various Skaabs in the graveyard. In addition, unlike the non-Amalgam candidates, it can be discarded or milled for value. It's possible that it fits a lot better in the green decks since you are unlikely to end up with a lot of lands in UR as you discard them to the Skaabs. But even if you don't get that sweet rebuy value, the looting can help make sure you are not drawing the wrong parts of your deck.

search

Strategic Planning does a pretty good Grapple with the Past impression if you are in the market for that effect. I don't know if you would play both in the same shell, but it could help you turbo your delirium while sticking Kozilek’s Returns in the graveyard. It could have a home in UR - some of your most disgusting starts happen with turn 2 Cathartic Reunion and I wonder if Strategic Planning could take the slots over Tormenting Voice. One downside is that you miss out on sweet Fiery Temper value, but you might be able to live with that. Strategic Planning saw Vintage play at one point I believe, so it would be a mistake to not give it a chance!

search

There are a pair of green value creatures to consider for Emerge shells, but I am not sure if either would make the grade. Primal Druid is an obvious comparison for Feral Prowler, and depending on the situation, Prowler could be a bit better. One issue, however, is that a lot of the green Emerge builds are already utilizing Servant of the Conduit for a speed boost. Plus, the extra land ramp from Primal Druid was more powerful in the original builds like Andrew Brown's PT Sydney T8 when you could capitalize on piles of value from Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, and Gather the Pack. Ramunap Excavator looks like a card that could come out of the sideboard in grindy matchups. It is going to be tough for your opponent to fight through one or more replayed Sanctum of Ugin. I could see it being a 1-of in the main for Traverse the Ulvenwald, but once you open up the option for bullets, there is a lot of competition. Excavator has natural synergy with Tireless Tracker and Evolving Wilds, so perhaps I should be giving the card more credit.

White Monument
Example List - Todd Anderson, SCG Invitational 7-1 or better
Creatures (24)
4 Bygone Bishop
4 Cloudblazer
4 Hanweir Militia Captain
4 Selfless Spirit
4 Spell Queller
4 Thraben Inspector
Lands (25)
3 Island
8 Plains
3 Irrigated Farmland
4 Port Town
4 Prairie Stream
3 Westvale Abbey
Spells (11)
2 Stasis Snare
2 Metallic Rebuke
4 Oketra's Monument
3 Dusk
Sideboard
2 Angel of Sanctions
1 Dispel
3 Essence Scatter
1 Metallic Rebuke
3 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Declaration in Stone
1 Dusk
2 Fragmentize

There are mono-W and W/u Oketra’s Monument decks that have spiked in popularity recently, and they have mostly converged to the same general core. Mono-W seeks to take advantage of Aviary Mechanic loops whereas W/u goes for counters and flyers.

search

Given the strength of the Monument deck's endgame, some decks in the metagame might adapt by trying to go under them, exploiting the turn they take to cast Oketra’s Monument with a quick assault. If that happens, Sunscourge Champion could jump in from the sideboard and ruin all of those plans. It has similarities to Glory-Bound Initiate, but Initiate is a lot more fragile, dying to a single Ballista counter, Magma Spray, or Fatal Push. Even if your opponent has removal for the Champion, you already got some life back and might be able to threaten Eternalize. Some bonus synergies include the front side not dying to Dusk // Dawn, the back side not dying to Avacyn, the Purifier, extra lifegain with a Gideon emblem, and getting to dump an extra Monument to the Eternalize discard that would otherwise be an extra Legend.

search

Solemnity is certainly a weird card, but perhaps it has some sideboard applications. It does the most against BG Energy, shutting off all energy production as well as any counters from Longtusk Cub, Walking Ballista, Rishkar, Peema Renegade, and Verdurous Gearhulk. I would avoid bringing it in against decks where counters/energy are a subtheme, such as Temur Energy, since plenty of their lines like Glorybringer are unaffected by the card. Two general strikes against it are that it is sometimes a 3 mana do-nothing and given you play other enchantments like Stasis Snare your opponents might be prepared with ways to kill it. This card could be a metagame call, but in the meantime it requires testing.

Grixis Colossus
Example List - Brian Coval, SCG Invitational 1st Place
Creatures (11)
4 Metalwork Colossus
1 Elder Deep-Fiend
4 Glint-Nest Crane
2 Herald of Anguish
Lands (21)
2 Island
1 Mountain
2 Swamp
4 Aether Hub
4 Sanctum of Ugin
4 Spire of Industry
2 Spirebluff Canal
2 Inventors' Fair
Spells (28)
4 Cultivator's Caravan
4 Hedron Archive
3 Metalspinner's Puzzleknot
4 Prophetic Prism
4 Renegade Map
3 Fatal Push
3 Kozilek's Return
2 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
1 Battle at the Bridge
Sideboard
1 Walking Ballista
3 Matter Reshaper
1 World Breaker
1 Ceremonious Rejection
1 Fatal Push
3 Metallic Rebuke
2 Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 Baral's Expertise
1 Dispossess

Colossus decks have had varied popularity and builds in the past months, but with Aetherworks Marvel now out of the picture, it might be time for the big artifact deck to shine.

search

This wrath effect has a key advantage in the Colossus deck compared to other black decks - artifact mana that will untap the next turn. With 4 Cultivator’s Caravan and 4 Hedron Archive, it's not outlandish for you to be able to make real plays on the turn after you wipe the board. Your creatures are mostly expendable, your Glint-Nest Cranes are basically throwaway creatures and your Metalwork Colossi can be re-bought. Lastly, the deck is strong if it can survive the early/mid game when it is still just spinning its gears. Although the card seems like a clear win, there are a couple potential issues. First, with double-black in the cost, the manabase might get strained. Even with a tweaked manabase, you might find yourself lacking the correct mana at the right time as you get run over. Second, Kozilek's Return already provides a sweeper effect, though it can take some time to get the flashback active. I could see Bontu's Last Reckoning being playable either in the main or in the sideboard.

search

I don't think Mirage Mirror is good enough in straightforward Colossus builds, but it could provide some useful flexibility to a combo build that uses Paradox Engine. Note: don't copy the legendary Engine or you are going to have a bad time. If you need mana, it can copy a mana rock. If you need cards, it can copy a Magnifying Glass or Hedron Archive. If you need to end the game in a hurry, a second Aetherflux Reservoir might do the trick. Overall, I think it is too clunky even in the combo builds.

Mono-Red Eldrazi
Example List - Todd Stevens, 5-0 MTGO League
Lands (25)
4 Aether Hub
2 Crumbling Vestige
4 Hanweir Battlements
1 Westvale Abbey
14 Mountain
Creatures (19)
4 Glorybringer
4 Hanweir Garrison
4 Matter Reshaper
3 Reality Smasher
4 Thought-Knot Seer
Spells (16)
4 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Collective Defiance
4 Harnessed Lightning
4 Incendiary Flow
2 Magma Spray
1 Sweltering Suns
Sideboard
2 Magma Spray
1 Sweltering Suns
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
2 Dragonmaster Outcast
1 Eldrazi Obligator
3 Hope of Ghirapur
1 Mirrorwing Dragon
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
1 Warping Wail
2 By Force

Todd Stevens has a knack for playing Eldrazi-based decks that look somewhat questionable on paper and get bad rep from certain pro players. But Team Massdrop owes a lot of our Pro Tour success to the Eldrazi and recognizes that they should not be underestimated. I watched Todd play a lot of games with the deck on stream and it presents lots of tough threats. Perhaps the new set can help it fill in some of the gaps.

search

Abrade is not a particularly flashy card but it can help out with its flexibility. Being able to kill Heart of Kiran, Verderous Gearhulk, Torrential Gearhulk, Electrostatic Pummeler, and Metalwork Colossus at your heart's content helps take some of the strain off Harnessed Lightning. Having energy for your Lightning is important since creatures with too much toughness represent the main hole in the deck's armor. Sniping an Oketra's Monument with Abrade might also help prevent that deck from coming out too fast and wide against you.

search

Although it is indeed synergistic to play the uncommon Desert cycle that produces colorless mana with Eldrazi, Sand Strangler does not bring anything special to the table. The deck is already clogged with 4+ cost high-impact cards and you already have a ton of ways to deal with creatures that have less than 4 toughness. As long as you are mono red, I would find myself sticking to Thought-Knot Seer and Chandra, Torch of Defiance at 4 mana. If there is a two color Eldrazi deck that can't support double color cards very well, perhaps this Beast could slot in for the planeswalker.

UW Control
Example List - Jody Keith, SCG Classic 3rd Place
Creatures (3)
3 Torrential Gearhulk
Lands (26)
6 Island
6 Plains
4 Irrigated Farmland
4 Port Town
4 Prairie Stream
2 Westvale Abbey
Spells (31)
4 Cast Out
3 Stasis Snare
4 Anticipate
4 Blessed Alliance
1 Censor
1 Commit
2 Essence Scatter
4 Glimmer of Genius
1 Hieroglyphic Illumination
2 Negate
1 Pull from Tomorrow
4 Fumigate
Sideboard
1 Sphinx of the Final Word
2 Dispel
2 Forsake the Worldly
2 Negate
2 Archangel Avacyn
3 Gideon of the Trials
2 Declaration in Stone
1 Dusk

With white over red, this control build has seven enchantment-based removal to help exile pesky permanents. The full four Fumigate helps against go-wide strategies as well as Bristling Hydras. Out of the board, Gideon of the Trials can be a nasty tempo play, even against other control when you have counters to help back him up.

search

As you might expect, to play Hour of Revalation you would need to revamp the deck to move away from the enchantment-based removal. If you can make it work, you have an extremely powerful sweeper at your fingertips. Laugh as your opponent goes off with Oketra's Monument and clue production just to nuke it all away. Mopping up any Planeswalkers or Vehicles on the field is a huge bonus, but even taking out something random like a Liliana's Mastery could make a difference in the long run. Having a single copy to dig for with your card draw effects seems valuable, but it is awkward that even the first copy causes tension with your manabase and ability to run Stasis Snare/Cast Out. Finding a build that properly balances all of the different control elements will be challenging but rewarding.

search

White-based control decks have sideboarded Yoked Ox before, and this card is even better! It might seem like a nonbo to have God-Pharaoh’s Faithful alongside sweepers, but given that your opponent will likely board out removal they will need to go wide to actually put a dent in your life total. Being able to throw this out on the first turn as a barrier so you can safely sling spells makes it difficult for someone to pressure you before your card draw kicks in.

search

Although Oketra's Last Mercy has an extremely powerful effect, don't fall for the trap of assuming it will be good against any aggressive strategy. Vehicles, Zombies, and GB can attack for huge chunks of damage at a time and can sometimes play out in a midrange fashion. If a low curve red aggressive/burn deck pops up, Mercy could be the best card in the format for you out of the board. Without such a deck in the format, you have much better uses for your sideboard slots.

Preparation for the Pro Tour is kicking into high gear. I hope I've given you a head start on tackling the new format. What up-and-coming decks excite you? Did I miss some sleeper picks? What cards are overrated? Reply in the comments below. Thanks for reading!



We had an exciting reveal of two Amonkhet masterpieces , check out the video here: https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1482/scouting-report-massdrop-east-west-on-2-amonkhet-masterpieces
If you are curious about our team, check out our intro: https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1117/announcing-team-massdrop-east-west or, read our previous weekly articles:
1. How to Prepare for an MtG Pro Tour by Ben Weitz (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1158/how-to-prepare-for-an-mt-g-pro-tour)
2. Approaching New Magic Drafts by Ari Lax (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1193/approaching-new-magic-drafts)
3. Constructed Testing for Pro Tour Aether Revolt by Jarvis Yu (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1213/recap-of-constructed-testing-for-massdrop-east-west-for-pro-tour-aether-revolt)
4. Breaking into Eternal Formats - Case Study: GP Louisville by Jon Stern (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1240/breaking-into-eternal-formats-case-study-gp-louisville-massdrop-east-west-article-4)
5. In Good Company - Top 8 at GP Vancouver by Eric Severson (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1285/in-good-company-top-8-at-gp-vancouver)
6. Adapting to Full Block Kaladesh Limited by Jiachen Tao (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1323/adapting-to-full-block-kaladesh-limited-massdrop-east-west-article-6)
7. Sorry My Felidar Guardian Ate My Homework by Mark Jacobson (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1364/sorry-my-felidar-guardian-ate-my-homework-massdrop-east-west-article-7)
8. Taking a Mardu Vacation - Top 8 in New Jersey and Heading to an Eternal Extravaganza by Jarvis Yu (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1401/taking-a-mardu-vacation-top-8-in-new-jersey-and-heading-to-an-eternal-extravaganza-massdrop-east-wes)
9. A Guide to the Grind by Pascal Maynard (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1448/a-guide-to-the-grind-massdrop-east-west-article-9)
10. Asking Aggro-vating Questions by Timothy Wu (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1493/asking-aggro-vating-questions-massdrop-east-west-article-10)
11. The Meat and Potatoes of Jund by Paul Dean (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1534/the-meat-and-potatoes-of-jund)
12. Hidden Values in Magic: The Gathering for Kids and Parents by Scott Lipp (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1572/hidden-values-in-magic-the-gathering-for-kids-and-parents-massdrop-east-west-article-12)
13. The Importance of Preparation in Competitive Magic: The Gathering by Ricky Chin (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1606/the-importance-of-preparation-in-competitive-magic-the-gathering-massdrop-east-west-article-13)
14. How to Find Amonkhet's Star Players by Ari Lax (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1643/how-to-find-amonkhets-star-players-massdrop-east-west-article-14)
15. Top is No Longer on Top by Jarvis Yu (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1692/top-is-no-longer-on-top-massdrop-east-west-article-15)
16. Casual Multiplayer Fun by JC Tao (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1731/casual-multiplayer-fun-bang-magic)
17. Monoblack Zombies at Pro Tour Amonkhet by Eric Severson (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1764/monoblack-zombies-at-pro-tour-amonkhet)
18. To Puzzle or to Puzzleknot by Paul Dean (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1793/to-puzzle-or-to-puzzleknot)
19. The Evolution of Vehicle Aggro Decks by Ricky Chin (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1822/the-evolution-of-vehicle-aggro-decks-massdrop-east-west-article-19)
20. Putting down My beloved Bant Eldrazi by Ben Weitz (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1863/putting-down-my-beloved-bant-eldrazi-massdrop-east-west-article-20)
21. Breaching into Grand Prix: Las Vegas by Scott Lipp (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1895/breaching-into-grand-prix)
22. Tim’s Top Ten Tips for Team Trips by Timothy Wu (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1934/tims-top-ten-tips-for-team-trios-massdrop-east-west-article-22)
23. Breaking Through to the Next Level by Jon Stern (https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1983/breaking-through-to-the-next-level-massdrop-east-west-article-23)
thumb_upScottLipp
1
3
remove_red_eye
764
bookmark_border

search
kyleolson
0
Jul 6, 2017
bookmark_border
Can you guys reformat the deck lists for future articles? They're tough to read. Single column, double spaced deck lists means that you can't view the whole deck list on one screen, but have to scroll through 2 or more.
Jul 6, 2017
MarkJacobson
161
Massdrop MTG
Jul 6, 2017
bookmark_border
Hey Kyle! The formatting is a restriction of the text editor unfortunately. We also wish we could have better decklist formatting. I'll send your feedback to the Massdrop folks.
Jul 6, 2017
kyleolson
0
Jul 6, 2017
bookmark_border
Oh, well. Thanks for the article!
Jul 6, 2017