Each day that I can feature a deck that went 5-0 in a League with 0 copies of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Saheeli Rai, Aetherworks Marvel, or Winding Constrictor is a good day for me. Not only is today’s deck a departure from the norm, it’s close to a budget build, and you’re sure to finish your rounds with plenty of time to spare.
Thalia’s Lieutenant is unbelievably powerful. For those who were around for the Champion of the Parish days, you’ll know how strong an early creature that continues to grow as the game goes on can be. That has diminished a little due to the existence of Fatal Push, but you also get a bonus when it enters the battlefield, great sweepers don’t really exist, and the best options are barely touched. Now is the time to play a deck that can go wide.
Metallic Mimic isn’t quite Thalia’s Lieutenant, but it does a reasonable job at filling in. Adding counters to every Human creature you play afterward can out of control quickly, and the synergy between your 2 lords is fantastic. Both offer great rewards for getting as many Humans into play as you possibly can.
There is nothing better in Standard at creating a population of Humans than Hanweir Garrison. Each of the tokens created in combat will cause more triggers on your Lieutenants and Mimics, resulting in a massive amount of turn-4 damage. Garrison is immune to Shock range and a tough target for Fatal Push, so it’s a fantastic threat in the current environment.
You’re going to need some creatures to get on the board early. Inventor’s Apprentice is loving the addition of Metallic Mimic to the mix, but is otherwise not too easy to turn on as only 5 other spells can reliably produce artifacts for us. Expedition Envoy’s only job is to get on the board early and start attacking. There should be plenty of bonuses issued out along the way to make that even easier.
Foundry Inspector is a reasonably-sized creature that turns Inventor’s Apprentice into a bigger threat and cashes in for a replacement card. Pia Nalaar is a Human producer of artifacts as well, and she’s a valuable way to add evasion into the mix.
Thalia, Heretic Cathar provides insurance against the Saheeli Cat combo, but also a good-sized creature. With so many ways to pump Humans, Thalia’s first strike should be relevant in combat. Thalia also severely messes with players’ curves if they hold nonbasic lands or were counting on their creatures coming down untapped to block.
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider attacks as a 3-power creature on turn 3 without any help, and those are strong stats. A single pump of Kari Zev makes an incredibly tough-to-deal-with creature. Kari Zev works well with any instant as well—it’s a nightmare to try to figure out combat on a menace creature with first strike.
Shock is a great tempo play and can legitimately be used to finish off your opponent in a deck as aggressive as this one. Extra protection against the Saheeli combo—one of the few clocks as fast as yours—is a real luxury.
Declaration in Stone is a phenomenal removal spell that doesn’t really see any play anymore due to the nature of the format. Giving your opponent card advantage when you’re trading 1-for-1 but where they get a Clue can be tough to overcome, but this deck won’t be giving them any breathing room.
As other decks get slower and prepare for the long game, it could definitely be time to get as aggressive as you can to win in this Standard environment.