New cards are here! The long wait is finally over and Eldritch Moon is Standard legal. Let’s dive in.
BG/x Control decks were definitely on the rise before Eldritch Moon. We saw Owen Turtenwald clinch his spot in the Magic Online Championship using a Sultai Control deck that was pretty different from the pure control decks of earlier in the season. Sylvan Advocates and Tireless Trackers provided early defense and late-game power.
The Advocate is going nowhere as it’s sure to continue being one of the most played cards in Standard. It’s just too efficient. Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, however, saw a rapid decline with the lack of fetchlands to help turn it on. That may be changing in this new world, as Jace helps to fuel the power of a Sultai control deck that plays quite a bit more blue than we’re used to seeing.
Languish is still a centerpiece of this strategy. Nissa and Jace can flip before Languish sweeps them away, and Sylvan Advocate can grow out of range. Early in a format, it’s common to see people go aggressive—making a Languish deck an excellent choice.
As far as new cards, let’s start with some awesome delirium-enabled creatures.
The first is Ishkanah, Grafwidow. In a land where small Spirits may start to take over, Ishkanah is king (queen?), offering four bodies totaling 6 power, 11 toughness, and reach. That she can finish off a game without ever needing to attack is icing. And if the game does go long, you have Emrakul, the Promised End. The end is guaranteed to be near when Emrakul is cast—taking your opponent’s next turn should leave them on empty while a 13/13 trampler can finish the game.
As for spells, how about Liliana, the Last Hope fighting side by side with Emrakul? Liliana does serious work in any deck with creatures to bring back. A fantastic delirium enabler for Ishkanah and Emrakul, Liliana can pick off small creatures, protect herself from medium creatures, and take over the late game.
With Languish and plenty of removal spells to handle some of the smaller creatures in the format, Oath can either take care of a midrange threat or follow up a sweeper. Oath of Jace may not be a new card, but it’s a nice way to help load up on delirium.
Finally, you have Scour the Laboratory. When you can cast it for 4 it’s incredible, but the floor on this card is a slightly worse Dragonlord’s Prerogative. Instant-speed card draw is at its best when you’re already representing removal. It’s common for players to hold their lone creature in the face of open mana for fear of letting you use a spell like Murder to take care of it without losing a mana advantage. Scour allows you to capitalize on that.
It’s super early in the season, but already we’re starting to see what some of these powerful Eldritch Moon cards are capable of. There are lots of cool mythics and even uncommons seeing play in new Standard!