My favorite time of the year is when Standard rotates. I have to give respect where respect is due, and I absolutely love that we get two dramatic Standard rotations every year now!
It may barely be spring, but it sure feels like the first week of October!
The Brewer’s Paradise
One of the reasons I love Standard rotations is because they give deck builders and brewers like me a chance to spread our wings and try out new things. Obviously, most of the time we don’t break the format, but it is fun to learn things right at the beginning.
I start working on decks the same way as everyone else. I sit down, think about which cards I’d like to play with and I try to figure out what a potential deck might look like. Then I start playing games with the deck against other decks that people have also been working on.
When it comes to Shadows over Innistrad, it isn’t difficult for me to find cards that I want to play with. I’m a huge fan of creepy 19th century gothic horror themes and love the flavor of the plane.
I mean, is it even possible to see a sweet card like this and not want to figure out something cool to do with it?
My first draft of my first deck for Shadows over Innistrad Standard looks pretty good to me so far. I don’t doubt that it can be improved upon, but considering the full set hasn’t even been spoiled yet, things are currently pretty open in the metagame.
Neat New Toys
Shadows over Innistrad provides A TON of awesome new BW cards. I already stated that Relentless Dead was a card that I was very excited to play with and I have been impressed so far.
Relentless Dead has found a best friend alongside Fleshbag Marauder. The ability to continuously recur both Zombie creatures in a loop for card and board advantage is pretty insane. It is worth noting that Relentless Dead can block, which seems kind of strange—it is actually a very potent defensive tool because it can trade and get bought back indefinitely.
I also found that Fleshbag Marauder was pretty great at triggering Archangel Avacyn’s flip ability.
You can flash her down on the opponent’s end step, untap, and Fleshbag Marauder to cause Avacyn to trigger next turn. It’s a pretty cute interaction that appears to be quite powerful.
What more could you possibly want than to flip Avacyn and kill all of your opponent’s creatures than to also have a Kalitas in play? It’s fairly synergistic that Kalitas has the requisite 4 power to live through Avacyn’s mini-wrath while generating you an army of Zombie tokens!
Kalitas is a powerful spell in general (especially in a removal-heavy deck like this)—chances are that if they can’t kill this powerful legend, they will be in A LOT of trouble!
Shadows over Innistrad also brings another powerful finisher that is worth investigating:
The card was much better in play than I thought it would be in theory. The wild swings that the +1 ability provides you in “gaining and draining” are real and powerful. It is also significant that Sorin is super hard to kill. Going straight to 7 loyalty is a huge game.
Another interaction worth noting is that Sorin can come down on the draw and kill a Chandra, Flamecaller that has +’d to 5 loyalty while also gaining 5 life and staying on the battlefield. Pretty great.
The last new card that I’m trying out is Declaration in Stone.
The card is a little tricky to assess since there are certainly matchups where giving them an extra card down the line is costly. But the flexibility to kill any creature (and potentially 2 or 3 creatures) is pretty awesome. It is also incredible against tokens. In the matchups where the card is good, it really shines!
Why Is this Deck Good?
I have no idea if something like this will even be playable by the time players start focusing on building and tuning decks for Standard.
I always try to build a couple of decks for a new Standard format because it is a great way to learn about what is actually going on in a new format. There is no better way to understand why certain things are better than others than to try to build a deck that can beat other decks!
I like this BW Control deck as a solid level 1 deck. I will likely continue to tune it up and to use it as a measuring stick for other decks that myself and others start to put together. It’ll be another deck in the gauntlet for the time being.
When I’m brewing for a new format, I like to find strategies that do something powerful. In the BW deck, I’ve identified a bunch of cards that look like powerful spells and tried to put them together in a way that they share synergies.
It is often helpful to put together a deck like this BW deck as a starting point because the deck does play a lot of the highest power-level spells in Standard. You could do a lot worse than to play a deck full of busted mythics like Avacyn, Kalitas, Gideon, and Sorin! Planewalkers are typically among the most powerful spells in Standard.
Be sure to post any cool technology or neat card ideas to refine the deck if you think of any, and as always I’ll do my best to respond to all comments.
Is it time to go, Orzhov? I haven’t seen the full spoiler yet, but the church of deals appears to have a lot of sick value cards in Shadows over Innistrad!