Whenever a new set comes out, the first thing I try to do is brew. I look for powerful cards that can be built around, and cards that can be inserted into current decks. Today I’m going to show you 10 different ideas I had for Standard using New Phyrexia Cards.
One of the things that New Phyrexia offers to the Standard environment is combo decks. There were decks like Pyromancer Ascension that saw play from time to time, but there wasn’t really a combo that was good enough for Standard until now. The Deciever Exarch/Splinter Twin combo is getting a lot of press, but I think there are two combos from the new set that are good enough for Standard. Mindcrank and Bloodchief Ascension also combine to do something pretty powerful. Here are a couple unusual takes on these two combos:
Instead of being a dedicated combo deck, this brew attempts to give the Exarch combo a plan B. Fauna Shaman can be used as part of the combo by getting either Deciever Exarch or Totem-Guide Hartebeest to find Splinter Twin. In addition, it can simply be used as a threat to just get an army of Vengevines. One of the things I like about this deck is the number of must kill threats. The blue red dedicated combo version of Exarch combo only has one creature you want to kill, meaning they will almost always have the removal spell. However, with this deck, they may Dismember a Fauna Shaman or a Stoneforge Mystic and then be cold to the combo. The mana is a tad greedy, but I think it can work with [card birds of paradise]Birds[/card] and Lotus Cobra.
Now this is a brew. Instead of adding creatures to a combo deck, I decided to take away the creatures this time. One of the biggest problems with the conventional Bloodchief Mindcrank combo lists is that the Mindcrank is terrible on its own. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you are playing an aggro deck with a mulligan which is what you do every time you draw Crank and not Ascension. Instead, I tried to use card draw to consistently draw the combo. When the Bloodchief Ascension Combo plan isn’t working, you can always turn to Pyromancer Ascension, using Trapmaker’s Snare for two Archive Traps as a kill. Conveniently enough, Archive Trap can also kill with Bloodchief Ascension if you don’t have a Mindcrank. Keep in mind that Creeping Tar Pit is a great way to get counters on your Bloodchief.
This deck only got one new card, but I think it’s a big enough addition that it may make the deck a contender. Not only does Spellskite help buy time against aggro decks, but it also trumps the Splinter Twin combo by stealing the Splinter Twin. Last, but not least, it protects Forgemaster from removal which is huge. If you were considering Despise in this deck, I don’t think it really fits. Being able to take removal with your discard is huge.
The Leonin Relic-Warder/Phyrexian Metamorph combo hasn’t gotten too much attention, but I think it could be awesome. Since Metamorph stays an artifact when he copies something, he can keep removing himself to his own (Relic-Warder) ability. With a Soul Warden effect in play this means infinite life. What deck wants Soul Warden effects? Conley Woods knows the answer. By combining this combo with the Soul Sisters’ base, we can create a deck with two explosive plans. Conveniently enough, there’s even a new Warden effect in New Phyrexia: Suture Priest. Phyrexian Metamorph isn’t the best draw in the world when you don’t have a Relic-Warder, but I do like that the deck has no mulligans or strict combo pieces and really can execute both plans effectively.
I don’t think aggro decks like Vampires or Mono-Red are going to be viable after the printing of Batterskull. Being in a position where you lose the game if you don’t have a removal spell and having to kill them before they get to five mana if you do every time your opponent draws a Stoneforge seems miserable. The types of aggro decks to play now have to either be mid-rangier or more explosive. Here are some options:
Puresteel Paladin is a perfect fit for the Quest deck. Not only does the deck play lots of equipment, but it also can take advantage of the free equip ability for Argentum Armor. Stoneforge Mystic can bring in Armor quickly and Paladin makes it equip for nothing, meaning you can create your own quest in a way. Obviously Kor Outfitter offered this before, but he wasn’t nearly as powerful as the Paladin. Another thing that makes the Paladin so great is the bouncing creatures. Glint Hawk and Kor Skyfisher can return cheap equipment to keep drawing cards off the Paladin. I think this deck is still going to win the majority of the games it plays Quest on turn one, and can now win more games that it doesn’t with the addition of Paladin.
Patrick Chapin mentioned the power of Assault Strobe and Fling with the Firexian Breathing Immolating Souleater in his article, and I think it definitely has potential. By adding green, the deck can become even more combo-y. Fauna Shaman helps you find Souleater more of the time and Momentous Fall offers one more awesome thing to do with it. After drawing 10 cards and replacing some of the life you just paid, it should be easy to discard some Vengevines to your cleanup step and have a pretty insane follow-up turn. Plated Geopede and Zektar Shrine Expedition don’t hit quite as hard as the Souleater, but they still do some pretty powerful things.
Explosive green Poison decks have seen some play in Standard. By adding white, the deck gets another great creature in Lost Leonin and gets Stoneforge Mystic to help find some nice pump effects. The addition of a one mana infecter and a free pump spell also makes this deck much more viable.
Slower decks are going to need ways to be able to interact with Stoneforge Mystic and Splinter Twin combo to compete in this format. It doesn’t matter how you do it, Disenchants, [card dismember]Dis-member[/card], or other creature Dis-truction are all viable, but you have to make sure you aren’t cold to these strategies one way or another.
GW dudes has been having some success in Standard and I think that is pretty likely to continue. Chancellor of the Tangle allows for some crazy starts. The actual creature isn’t the best in the deck, but you can sometimes cast it pretty quickly off Lotus Cobra and can also just pitch it to Fauna Shaman when it isn’t useful. In addition, the deck uses Beast Within and Nature’s Claim to help interact with Stoneforge Mystic’s equipments and Splinter Twin. I think maindecking Nature’s Claim is going to be somewhat Standard in green midrange decks since Stoneforge and Splinter Twin are likely to be a huge part of the metagame.
Big Red decks generally aren’t very explosive. However, by playing Kuldotha Forgemaster, we can add some explosiveness to the deck. Another explosive card with some serious potential is Geosurge. When most people saw the card (me included), they thought it only made six mana. Getting to seven mana on turn four (or three with a Sphere) can lead to some crazy things. Instead of trying to cast a seven drop off of the mana (which would involve playing tons of cards that are uncastable and clog your hand when you don’t have Surge) I tried to make a deck that could simply use Surge to cast multiple cards faster than one would expect. Nut draws like turn two Sphere, turn three Geosurge, Spellskite, Kuldotha Forgemaster, allow you to get a Colossus on turn four even through a removal spell.
Token decks haven’t really been viable lately because of the popularity of Clasm effects and other sweepers in Standard. However, New Phyrexia offers some solutions to that problem. Fresh Meat not only protects your guys from sweepers, but can also upgrade Eldrazi Spawn to 3/3s without the help of opposing removal. Myr Superion can be cast off a ton of different things in this deck and offers a guy who applies a ton of pressure and survives Clasms. The last great addition to this deck from New Phyrexia is Birthing Pod. Not only does it have some synergy with creatures with comes into play abilities like Nest Invader and Kozilek’s Predator, but it also has a ton of synergy with Superion. Birthing Pod doesn’t worry about how hard a card is to cast, it simply looks at its mana cost. Thus, Joraga Treespeaker can be upgraded to Superion, even though Superion is a ton more powerful.
A lot of people seem to think the printing of Batterskull is going to prevent anything from competing with CawBlade in post New Phyrexia Standard. While I certainly think Stoneforge Mystic is going to have a heavy impact on the format, I don’t think you have to play it to win, and I certainly don’t think you have to play it alongside Jace to win. A lot of these brews are not going to cut it against the tier one decks, but I think some of them will. The only way to find out is to try them. Find one you like, test and tune it, and then take it to your next post New Phyrexia Standard tournament.