The growing trend in Standard is that the way to get an advantage against grindy creature decks, such as Bant Company and Rally, is to take to the skies. Dragon decks have continued to rise in popularity, but the most efficient flying creature is still the most powerful.
Mantis Rider is simply great. The former cornerstone of all Jeskai decks has been teetering in and out of Standard as many decks have chosen to go the Monastery Mentor route. At the release of Khans of Tarkir, Mantis Rider was the centerpiece of what was likely the best deck in the format. A single hit from a Rider was enough to make the Jeskai pilot feel like the game was over. Backed up by excellent burn options such as Lightning Strike and Stoke the Flames, 3 damage from something that still had to be dealt with the following turn was a massive tempo swing.
With the rotation of some of these great burn options, Mantis Rider started seeing less play. In a Dragon shell, however, things get really interesting. Thunderbreak Regent is a challenge to deal with—only Crackling Doom and Foul-Tongue Invocation can reliably do so without a huge cost. Draconic Roar on turn 2 as a Searing Blaze into turn-3 Mantis Rider is a massive amount of damage that starts to spiral out of control.
With versatile options like Jeskai Charm to tempo or burn opponents out, Jeskai Dragons can be a real contender in Standard. Loading up the graveyard with various burn spells also gives Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Dig Through Time, two cards that are powerful enough to see play in Vintage, enough fuel to keep powering through.
Jeskai Dragons was strong enough to take down a huge and stacked field in the monthly MOCS this weekend and is certainly worth taking a look at going forward!