Yorion, a Nomad Mad for Standard
- Brent Terean
When companions were initially released, Yorion, Sky Nomad sort of flew under the radar because obviously busted Lurrus and Gyruda claimed the spotlight first. But the Standard metagame moves fast and now we're seeing Yorion variants rise to the top. Let's take a look at a couple of decks running an extra twenty cards.
If you're someone who likes to brew and build, then you've probably experienced the phenomenon where your deck just isn't big enough to contain all of your ideas. We've all been there, cutting out cards we'd love to run because we need to get down to the 60-card minimum. It's painful, but it has to happen, right?
Well, not anymore. Yorion, Sky Nomad has graced us with its presence this Ikoria Standard and now 80-card decks are taking a seat in the competitive limelight. Notably, Yorion is the only companion that doesn't restrict what cards we can put into our deck; it only requires the addition of another twenty. Running 80 cards comes with a few problems, however. So I wanted to use this article to highlight a few interesting takes on Yorion that find a way around or take advantage of having such a large library.
Emma Handy's Esper Yorion
Emma Handy's work was very interesting to me and made a lot of sense. A riff on the old Esper Doom Foretold decks, this list utilizes the cantriping nature of Golden Egg, Guild Globe, and Omen of the Sea to draw deep into your 80-card library over the course of the game. Yorion can be used then to blink all of these permanents for even more draw or to get another hit out of Oath of Kaya and Elspeth Conquers Death. Complete with a Fae of Wishes sideboard and the hilariously effective Dance of the Manse as a win condition, this deck is a flexible and fun choice for control lovers.
The traditional version ran into problems fitting everything into 60 cards. A bunch of cheap artifacts/enchantments as fodder, Doom Foretold and Teferi, some mass removal and discard … The requirements left precious few slots. That even this update only includes three copies of Dance of the Manse is testament to the ease with which the strategy incorporates twenty extra cards. Meanwhile, going from four Wrath effects in 60 to six in 80 equals a higher chance to have the board wipe when needed.
Jeff Hoogland's Enigmatic Yorion
An 80-card library is like a playground for those who love tool-box decks. A tool-box deck runs a series of one-of cards with a number of ways to tutor them out. Some of these "silver bullets" are only useful under specific circumstances and not something you want to draw otherwise. Of course, you're more likely to encounter a silver bullet at inopportune times with 60 cards than with 80. Nevertheless, provided sufficient tutoring, one copy of a card is enough to retain meaningful access.
Jeff Hoogland's deck utilizes the repeatable effect of Enigmatic Incarnation for this purpose. Is your opponent on a Cat Oven plan? Use Incarnation to sacrifice The Birth of Meletis and go find Kunoros, Hound of Athreos to shut it down! Is your opponent on Fires of Invention? You can turn that Omen of the Sea into Knight of Autumn.
The list is highly adaptive and a boatload of fun, but it gets way cooler. Yorion is an absolute beast here and allows you to re-use your silver bullet cards against your opposition. It lets you reset your Deputy of Detention, retrigger your Kogla, the Titan Ape or Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves, or gets additional value from your enchantment suite.
Zan Syed's Yorion Fires
Finally, we have an absolute pile of good cards and synergies. This version of Yorion is probably the one I've run into on the MTG Arena ladder more than any other and seriously is a strong deck. Yorion Fires does a lot, but the prime directive is to ramp into Fires of Invention as soon as possible; generate value through the Fae of Wishes // Granted wishboard and fill the board with enchantments like Omen of the Forge and Elspeth Conquers Death. All the permanents mean that Yorion can come down and blink an unreal number of things. It'll retrigger Omens, reset the loyalty on Narset of the Ancient Way, Tamiyo, Collector of Tales, and Teferi, Time Raveler, and just generally amass an insane amount of value. Notably, one can exile Fires of Invention until end of turn to get around the two-spell limit.
This is the deck you want to play if "going over the top" of the metagame is your goal. Yorion decks in general do that well, but this one is in another league. Fires of Invention allows you to spend mana on scrying with Omens and cycling your full playsets of Raugrin and Ketria Triome to dig through your massive deck, while also making your big plays, and that's just a lot to keep up with.
These three Yorion decks really grabbed my attention this past week with their unique ways of leveraging Yorion's "restriction" into a boon. The metagame is constantly shifting, however, and will continue to move. So always be on the lookout for updates to these lists and other developments.
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