Rakdos Aristocrats and Esper Hero with Theros Beyond Death

Sebastian Pozzo

Sebastian Pozzo

Introduction

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.

Setessan ChampionHeliod, Sun-Crowned

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.

Rakods Aristocrats

Now let’s start with the new cards:

The Akroan War

《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

《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.

Also, the big risk of having 《Claim the Firstborn》 in hand without a way to sacrifice the stolen creature becomes smaller. And the 《Priest of Forgotten Gods》 could make great use of the Goat as well.

Claim the FirstbornPriest of Forgotten Gods

Here there’s a nice sequence:

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.

Esper Hero

Moving forward we have this cute little doggy:

Kunoros, Hound of Athreos

If you don’t like 《cats》 (in particular those who jump in and out of the game every turn) then you have your perfect pet. And as you can see 《Kunoros, Hound of Athreos》 does not only do that, it is just a bonus in a creature with great stats.

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!

Hero of Precinct OneBolas's Citadel

The other cards that could fit that strategy are these two:

Atris, Oracle of Half-TruthsAshiok, Nightmare Muse

《Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths》 gives us card advantage always guaranteeing pseudo draw two. Our opponent could trick us, but always at a big risk. Also they are not going to know how much we value lands. Another creature with menace also very useful if we are the aggressor. Definitively a card I’m looking forward to play with, sounds like a lot of fun.

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.

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

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.

Also notice the presence of 《Temple of Deceit》 and 《Temple of Enlightenment》 to improve the mana base.

Temple of DeceitTemple of Enlightenment

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)

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Sebastian Pozzo

Sebastian Pozzo Picking up the title of Standard Master this season, he has reached the Gold Level Pro. He also is being the first player from Argentina to qualify for the 2017 World Championship Holding the title Standard Master, his strength is in the constructed format, and is outstanding when picking decks for the format. At Pro Tour Hour of Devastation, he has chosen the most favored deck, Ramunap Red, leading him into the title Standard Master. He is joining Hareruya Hopes with his teammate from the same country of Argentina, Luis Salvatto. Read more articles by Sebastian Pozzo