While the Standard metagame has some top dogs and decks to beat, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible. How about a deck with all sorts of built-in card advantage that looks to totally take over the late game thanks to cycling?
Approach of the Second Sun is proving to be an excellent win condition in Standard, but it’s a 7-mana sorcery in a format where Negate, Spell Pierce, Duress are legal. With sideboards packing Lost Legacy for the powerful sorcery, maybe it isn’t the best… approach. Instead, a focus on cycling cards that can be cast for value or cycled to dig deeper could be the right way to handle U/W Control decks. By doing so, you can turn to Drake Haven as a win condition and way to stabilize the board. It’s cheap to get onto the battlefield, and decks like U/B Control are going to have a hard time removing it once there. You can then cash in your extra mana for 2/2 flying creatures that are going to have to be dealt with or they’ll win the game.
The only creature in the deck is Curator of Mysteries. Not only can the Curator take over the game as a 4/4 flyer that dodges removal like Lightning Strike and Abrade, but you can cycle it for just a single mana. Curator being good early and late makes it a powerful weapon in a deck with lots of cards that support it.
With so many cheap cycling cards, Abandoned Sarcophagus is finally getting a chance to shine. Getting a second opportunity to cast all of these cycling cards is already extremely powerful for just a 3-mana investment, and in the late game when your mana is fully developed, you get to cycle before casting each of them. You play 20 cards that cycle for a single mana, and a few that cycle for 2, so this is sure to result in tons of value.
Your cycling cards range from threats like Curator to unconditional removal in Cast Out. In between, you have some great early interaction in Censor. For the midgame, Djeru’s Renunciation can save some damage, force your opponent to overcommit to the board into a sweeper, and cycle for just a single mana. You have Hieroglyphic Illumination to cycle early and turn into card advantage when you have open mana later.
Renewed Faith gives you some life gain out of your cycles. You can also just cast it early for a big life buffer and set up for a Sarcophagus late to put the game out of reach.
While you have spot removal spells, Censors to counter threats, and Renunciations to slow the opponent down, you also want to keep threats off of your back. Fumigate is the best sweeper in Standard, but you don’t want to go too heavy on them. You have Drakes to block, as well as Curators to act as brick walls. When you go deep on tokens with a Drake Haven, it’s going to force your opponent to attack with a lot of creatures into your open mana to threaten damage. That’s when the combination of Drake Haven with Settle the Wreckage is at its best. If they don’t attack, you get to use your open mana on cycling and tokens, and if they do, you get to Wreck them.
Search for Azcanta is insane in this deck. You have more than two-dozen cards with cycling on them, most of which are a single mana to cycle, so flipping Azcanta early is easy. You make great use of extra mana with all of your cycling mana sinks, and activating Azcanta is like a tutor for your Drake Havens and more cycling cards.
U/W Cycling plays a similar game to Approach despite playing totally different cards. Both strategies can have success in Standard, but this one is off the radar for surprise factor!