Ever since Wizards of the Coast started designing new cards for the core sets back in M10, the summer set releases have been more exciting than ever before. Now, with each new core set release, we can expect to see reprints of some of our old favorites, as well as a multitude of newly designed cards.
I am just as excited for the release of M13, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the new cards. After looking over the complete spoiler, there are many brand new and some reprinted cards that I am especially excited to try out.
Among the new cards in M13, there are quite a few seemingly powerful ones that I’m sure will find homes in Constructed decks over the next few months. Disciple of Bolas, Augur of Bolas, Ajani, Caller of the Pride, Liliana of the Dark Realms, and Thragtusk are just a few of the powerful, new cards in the set. That being said, the card that I am most excited to try out in Standard at the moment is definitely Talrand, Sky Summoner.
The ability to create an army of 2/2 fliers is an extremely powerful effect against most decks, but against UW Delver this gameplan really shines. UW Delver doesn’t have much to deal with multiple flying creatures, which is why Lingering Souls has been the go-to card for many decks who want to stop the Delver decks in their tracks. Only time will tell if Talrand proves to be as impressive against the green decks in the format, but its applications against UW Delver alone should let it see quite a lot of play.
Among the reprints, there are a couple of cards I’m really excited to see coming back. Although I won’t be discussing it too much today, I’m very excited to see Mutilate reprinted. Mutilate was an extremely powerful card in Mono-Black Control decks back in Odyssey Block, and during its time in Standard. Although many people have tried to make Mono-Black Control work in recent years, it has yet to see any real success since Torment was around. I’m interested to see if the comeback of Mutilate will be enough to spark any promising iterations of the archetype.
Quirion Dryad saw its fair share of play as a cheap threat in UG “Miracle Grow” decks back in the day. Although it wasn’t played much during its last release in Tenth Edition, I have higher hopes for it this time around. The central defining trait of the “Miracle Grow” decks of old was the abundance of “free spells” such as Force of Will, Daze, Gush, and Foil. Luckily for Quirion Dryad, there are quite a few “free spells” in Standard at the moment thanks to New Phyrexia. Even though Phyrexian mana will be rotating out of Standard when Return to Ravnica is released, we have about two and a half months to try out these cards together.
Conveniently, Talrand, Sky Summoner works really well with Phyrexian mana as well. Tapping out on turn four for a 2/2 Talrand isn’t nearly as dangerous if you can get a benefit out of his ability that very same turn. In theory this strategy works very well against the Delver decks, but it also seems to be a perfect fit with many of the Delver cards. Here is my suggestion for a new Delver variant implementing both of these exciting M13 cards, Talrand and Quirion Dryad:
Of course this decklist is just a rough draft, but I’m looking forward to trying it out over the next couple of weeks to tune it quite a bit more, and to see how it turns out in the new Standard format. This deck has many extremely powerful interactions, as well as the potential for some explosive starts.
With 11 Phyrexian mana spells in the main deck (4 Gitaxian Probe, 4 Gut Shot, 3 Mental Misstep), a turn two Quirion Dryad can get enormous very fast. Against UW Delver, a quick Dryad will usually put on enough pressure to keep them on the defensive. Mental Misstep plays an integral role in this deck, since it counters critical Vapor Snags while simultaneously pumping up Quirion Dryad. Snapcaster Mage also gets even better in this Delver variant, since a single Snapcaster Mage will give +2/+2 to each Quirion Dryad in play.
Against the aggressive green decks such as RG Aggro and Pod variants, Quirion Dryad can do a great job on defense while your Delvers or your army of drakes win through the air. Bonfire of the Damned can be particularly devastating against Talrand, so the ability to maneuver a big Quirion Dryad into a victory is especially important against the RG decks running it.
Due to the number of “free” spells in the main deck and in the sideboard, Talrand will often be able to make at least 1-2 Drakes the same turn he comes into play. Cavern of Souls (on Wizard) allows you to resolve him without fear, and once he’s in play he’s quite easy to manipulate. UW Delver doesn’t have many reliable ways to permanently remove him from play — and their premium removal spell, Vapor Snag, is extremely vulnerable to Mental Misstep since you get a free 2/2 Drake out of the deal to boot.
Another exciting new card in M13 is Faith’s Reward, a four mana reprint of Second Sunrise. While this card may not look like much to most people, Faith’s Reward immediately reminds me of one of my favorite old Extended decks, “Sunny Side Up”. This was an unconventional deck from Worlds 2006 that used the Odyssey “eggs” (Skycloud Egg, Darkwater Egg, etc), and Lotus Bloom in conjunction with Second Sunrise to combo off. With one Lotus Bloom, Second Sunrise paid for itself each time you cast it; so by using Chromatic Star, Chromatic Sphere, the “eggs”, and Conjurer’s Bauble, you could draw through your whole deck. Once you drew through your whole deck, you would use Conjurer’s Bauble to recur Second Sunrise an infinite number of times, netting infinite mana with Lotus Bloom, and eventually winning with Pyrite Spellbomb.
This deck was so much fun to play, but since the Odyssey “eggs” aren’t legal in Modern, the deck is no longer played. With the printing of M13, I’m really hoping that Faith’s Reward might be able to breathe some life into this awesome deck. The only part of the main shell (pun intended) that is no longer available is the egg package, so hopefully having access to eight Second Sunrise effects might give the deck back the redundancy it needs to do well. Here’s my attempt to recreate this deck in Modern:
Sunny Side Up
Reshape is one of the most important cards in the deck, simply for its ability to go get Lotus Bloom. If you can cast Reshape the turn you combo off, you will even be able to return the artifact you sacrificed to the Reshape. As you continue to draw through your deck and combo off more, you’ll be able to use other Reshapes to get more Lotus Blooms in order to generate even more mana.
Ghost Quarter is another really important part of the deck, but it is almost always used to hit your own lands — not your opponent’s. If you’re not comboing off and you just need to fix your mana, you can use Ghost Quarter on your own Darksteel Citadel. Since Darksteel Citadel is indestructible, this allows Ghost Quarter to function as a free fetchland for any basic land you need. If you are comboing off, or are about to combo off, Ghost Quarter should be used on one of your own basic lands. This will allow you to search for another basic (gets you one mana, and thins out your deck), and when you cast Second Sunrise or Faith’s Reward you get to return both Ghost Quarter and your basic land back into play untapped!
Edge of Autumn is in the deck for the same exact reason as Ghost Quarter. Cycling Edge of Autumn is a great way to dig through your deck faster, while also sacrificing lands to later return to play. So in a way, Edge of Autumn is usually just a free spell that draws you a card and nets you one mana.
A couple things to keep in mind when playing this deck:
•When going off, don’t play your land for the turn if it’s not a Ghost Quarter, unless you absolutely have to
This deck takes A LOT of practice to play well, and I would suggest playing many, many solitaire games with the deck before playing any real matches. Once you get the hang of the deck however, it is so much fun to play! I know I’ll be playing a lot with the deck over the next couple weeks to try to make it work in the current Modern Format.
Thanks for reading,
greyknight7 on MTGO