Important Changes to Standard With Ravnica Allegiance
- Jamin Kauf
Ravnica Allegiance has finally been released everywhere. It has been out on Magic Online for a week longer already and Standard has already undergone great changes with the new cards. Today I want to take a look at the biggest shake-ups in the new Standard.
Standard has been a great format over the past three months. The best decks have constantly evolved. Jeskai Control started out as a pure Teferi, Hero of Dominaria deck backed by mediocre counterspells and has since evolved to play more of a tap-out style to keep your opponent guessing. Izzet Drakes started out playing Arclight Phoenix but have since adapted a less aggressive gameplan and even Mono White Aggro has grown to beat Fiery Cannonade by either splashing green or using Venerated Loxodon.
With that being said, it's time to move on. There is a new set and that always brings a shakeup to the meta. While we don't have access to all the different decks doing well on Magic Arena, we can look at the 5-0s from Magic Online to get an idea of the metagame.
We'll start with the biggest Jellyfish-Hydra-Beast in the pond that is Standard.
This creature was probably not suspected by many to accomplish great things, but boy does it deliver. I myself also severely underestimated this but using a single card to generate a potent threat, generating uncounterable card advantage and getting out of burn range at a flexible mana cost turns out to be the nuts. The Jellyfish's Revelation quickly found its way into the well-known Golgari Midrange as well as into newly spawned fringe decks that can produce great amounts of mana.
I want to highlight want this changes when approaching G/B as a deck. Before Golgari could only generate card advantage by using permanents like Vivien Reid or Midnight Reaper both of which are vulnerable to removal. And while they usually had a lot of stuff to use mana on, at times they would flood out. These times are over: with Hydroid Krasis these decks can spend all their mana to draw new cards. I expect Vivien to continue seeing play due to the need to deal with enchantments and fliers but don't see how Midnight Reaper is needed anymore.
BUG Midrange by Garufita, 5-0 Magic Online
|4Breeding Pool||4Llanowar Elves||2Vivien Reid|
|4Forest||4Growth-Chamber Guardian||2Cast Down|
|4Hinterland Harbor||4Hydroid Krasis||2Find // Finality|
|4Overgrown Tomb||4Incubation Druid||2Hadana's Climb // Winged Temple of Orazca|
|4Watery Grave||3Merfolk Branchwalker|
|4Woodland Cemetery||4Jadelight Ranger|
|2Zegana, Utopian Speaker|
|3Duress||1Cast Down||2Disdainful Stroke|
|3Moment of Craving||3Negate||2Thrashing Brontodon|
|1Find // Finality|
This is what I would expect Midrange to look like going forward. Though the exact number of threats in Zegana, Utopian Speaker, Biogenic Ooze, Hadana's Climb, and Carnage Tyrant will probably change and I find three Vivien to be a bit much, I very much enjoy the idea of playing 32 mana sources (24 lands and 8 mana dorks) in this kind of deck. Having a mana advantage is simply very powerful. Don't expect to win a fair late game against midrange anymore.
Skewer the Critics & Light Up the Stage
Whoop, Whoop! That's the sound of the fun police!
Mono Red got two sweet new toys and instead of telling you that Sorcery speed Lightning Bolt and one mana Divination are good cards, I want to talk about the direction the deck is going in a more general sense.
Mono Red Aggro by maxxattack, 5-0 Magic Online
|4Runaway Steam-Kin||4Lightning Strike|
|4Viashino Pyromancer||4Light Up the Stage|
|4Goblin Chainwhirler||2Skewer the Critics|
|3Treasure Map / Treasure Cove||3Fiery Cannonade||2Fight with Fire|
This deck is burn incarnate. While I do not agree with only two Skewer the Critics, I love playing fewer creatures to include more spells in general. This makes Experimental Frenzy and Light Up the Stage much better since in turn seven you rarely want to play a dorky creature and you instead want to target your opponent with direct damage. For me this seems like the clear path mono red has to be taking and thus, playing against the deck you cannot rely on your creatures doing the job alone anymore.
If you want game against the red menace, you now have to come equipped with some sort of lifegain or a very quick clock, otherwise they will simply burn you out with the redundancy of the newest additions to their deck.
While this change isn't as big as some other changes, it will greatly affect how the games play out and you should adjust accordingly (in deckbuilding as well as in gameplay).
Absorb & Kaya's Wrath
Building Control decks early into the format is not an easy task. You often don't know what to expect and that makes gameplay even worse. That being said, Jeskai Control was a deck before and the idea stays the same in the new Esper deck, even though you play fewer threats and rely more on Teferi to close things out.
Kaya's Wrath is the biggest game changer in the play patterns here. Previously the earliest sweepers out of Jeskai was a turn three Deafening Clarion which wouldn't deal with bigger threats or Cleansing Nova which could only come down on turn five. With all Shock- and Checklands available, casting a turn four wrath is easily doable and once again you should adjust your play accordingly or you (and all your creatures) will be left in the dust.
Once again, I expect the exact numbers of certain cards in the list to change drastically depending on which threats see play.
Deck: Esper Control by adrianretamosa, 5-0 Magic Online
|22Lands||16Other Permanents||22Instants and Sorceries|
|4Drowned Catacomb||1Chromium, the Mutable||2Syncopate|
|1Field of Ruin||3Teferi, Hero of Dominaria||2Revitalize|
|4Glacial Fortress||2Search for Azcanta / Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin||4Absorb|
|4Godless Shrine||2The Eldest Reborn||2Mortify|
|4Hallowed Fountain||3Chemister's Insight|
|4Isolated Chapel||1Settle the Wreckage|
|1Consecrate // Consume|
|4Warrant // Warden|
|1Cast Down||2Disdainful Stroke||2Negate|
|2Deputy of Detention||2Thief of Sanity||2Ixalan's Binding|
|2Lyra Dawnbringer||2Consecrate // Consume|
Wow. This card. It looks so innocent. But seriously, this is busted. Just two weeks ago I talked about how important and strong having a mana advantage is and now we're here, doubling the mana we have access to for four mana.
This card is crazy. Seriously, think about it. Imagine a Scapeshift that doesn't require you to sacrifice lands and also counts lands you play during future turns, also the lands enter untapped. This is what Wilderness Reclamation is, as long as half the spells you cast are instants. Luckily enough we currently have multiple instant card draw spells, an instant Explore in Growth Spiral, an instant Time Walk and an instant Fireball that also draws cards in Standard.
And not only does this let you use your mana during your opponent's turn, it's a trigger that happens at the end of your turn, meaning that you can cast Nexus of Fate turn five by putting the trigger on the stack and floating mana.
While most players will now think of the Turbo Fog deck to be the best to take advantage of this mechanic, I wouldn't be surprised if there would be something even better we can do.
Temur Reclamation by qPHJ, 5-0 Magic Online
|4Breeding Pool||4Gift of Paradise||4Anticipate|
|3Forest||4Wilderness Reclamation||4Growth Spiral|
|4Hinterland Harbor||4Uncomfortable Chill|
|3Rootbound Crag||4Precognitive Perception|
|2Steam Vents||4Nexus of Fate|
|2Stomping Ground||4Expansion // Explosion|
|3Fiery Cannonade||2Pelakka Wurm|
First off: I don't think this is the best Wilderness Reclamation deck. I cannot provide you with the 75 broken cards, I just want you to start thinking more creatively about what might be possible. I chose to highlight this specific list because it shows how uninteractive this can get. This deck didn't drop a match in the Magic Online league and it doesn't interact with the opponent except for Expansion // Explosion and Uncomfortable Chill. That's how fast it can go off.
Between Growth Spiral and Search for Azcanta it has access to 7 two drops that synergize with Reclamation and most of the other cards can be played at instant speed.
One note: in my opinion the deck can afford more sorcery speed cards, it doesn't have to be all instants. While playing creatures is probably a bad idea, maybe having something like Treasure Map or Primal Amulet in the main deck could be a good idea.
I'm incredibly excited about these decks because currently there is no absolute idea of what a Wilderness Reclamation deck should look like and I look forward to all the new ideas.
A New Meta
A bigger cardpool means stronger and often more polarized decks. It's only week one of Standard and there's already so much additional power in these decks. I'm very excited to see what will happen going forward and which other new decks are more than just a one-hit-wonder. If you have any candidates, make sure to let me know on Twitter or in the comments below the article.
Until then, I'll be taking extra turns with Wilderness Reclamation and I hope you'll do the same!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.