Hello everyone! Theros Beyond Death is almost here and ready to shake Standard once again. Today I’m going to point out some cards that got my attention from this new set and see where could they fit better in the existing decks. However, I see a lot of potential of completely new strategies with the Constellation and Devotion mechanics, but it’s too early for me to know how these would look like.
Right now, Standard is mostly dominated by Jund Sacrifice, Jeskai Fires, Simic Flash, Ramp Decks and 《Embercleave》 decks. The Adventure decks and the Control decks fell a little behind. I consider it to be a very healthy Standard after two rounds of bans shortly one after the other, let’s hope this isn’t needed with Theros and the format stays diverse.
Now let’s start with the new cards:
《The Akroan War》 seems to me like it’s capable of crazy things on itself. If we add the presence of 《Witch’s Oven》 or other sacrifice outlets to make it more solid, then we could be into something real. Just imagine playing it when your opponent has two creatures. You steal the bigger, then your opponent can’t attack in their turn because you would block with the stolen creature. But then next turn they are forced to do that attack. And if they played another creature you could also trade one of them and have the chapter three deal with the remaining.
Obviously this is a very narrow scenario, that’s why I think the card would also need sacrifice outlets to just be a removal with the upside of making your opponent not be able to freely play their stuff.
Speaking of sacrifice outlets:
《Woe Strider》 is not only a decent body but also gives us some fuel in the late game.
Rakdos Aristocrats is somewhat vulnerable to mana flood, with a Scry here and there, plus the ability to return this monster as a 5/4 we mitigate that a little.
Here there’s a nice sequence:
4 《Blood Crypt》
4 《Fabled Passage》
2 《Castle Locthwain》
-Land (24)- 4 《Cauldron Familiar》
4 《Priest of Forgotten Gods》
2 《Rix Maadi Reveler》
4 《Mayhem Devil》
3 《Midnight Reaper》
3 《Woe Strider》
2 《Rankle, Master of Pranks》
This is how I would start with it to see how good 《The Akroan War》 is in the maindeck. Maybe it is just good against decks with big creatures like Gruul or Rakdos Knights and has to be relegated to the sideboard. Let’s hope Theros brings back Rakdos Aristocrats to the front scene, I love this strategy.
Moving forward we have this cute little doggy:
Thinking about where to fit it, I think its best home might be the somewhat now forgotten 《Hero of Precinct One》 decks. It’s the typical midrange creature. It’s not going to excel in aggro, because 3 power for 3 mana without haste is not great there. Also in control it’s not very effective to play creatures that trade with your opponent’s removal one on one. However, being multicolor and having lifelink to potentially make use of 《Bolas’s Citadel》 seems that could totally fit the Esper Hero deck. Having menace in a deck with instant speed removal makes it very hard to block, and it even has vigilance!
The other cards that could fit that strategy are these two:
Then 《Ashiok, Nightmare Muse》 is a good way to deploy a threat that is not a creature and needs to be dealt with. While also defends itself in two different ways. Hopefully it will make the deck not miss 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 too much.
The upside of Ashiok compared to Teferi is that it can protect himself while using [+1] ability making bodies and the ultimate comes two turns earlier. It’s not always going to be game over but there’s a decent chance that we hit enough relevant spells that it becomes the path to a win.
The bounce with [-3] is always useful and even though it’s not what we are ideally going to be looking forward to do, a lot of times will be perfect to bounce an annoying permanent (or exile it if they don’t have a hand). Notice that you can bounce your own permanents like 《Oath of Kaya》, but we have to exile one card from our hand so probably it is not going to happen very often.
4 《Godless Shrine》
4 《Hallowed Fountain》
4 《Watery Grave》
3 《Fabled Passage》
3 《Temple of Deceit》
3 《Temple of Silence》
-Land (26)- 4 《Hero of Precinct One》
3 《Kunoros, Hound of Atheros》
2 《Murderous Rider》
4 《Elite Guardmage》
2 《Atris, Oracle of Half Truths》
4 《Tyrant’s Scorn》
2 《Oath of Kaya》
2 《Bolas’s Citadel》
4 《Teferi, Time Raveler》
2 《Ashiok, Nightmare Muse》
Will this be enough to bring Esper Hero back? The deck used to dominate Standard, but after 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 and checklands rotated out, plus not many additions in Throne of Eldraine were released left it aside from the competitive scene. Time will tell if it’s the moment for it to make a comeback.
What cards are you excited about trying out in Standard?
Comment below and see you at the battlefield!
Sebastian Pozzo (Twitter)