The full Eldritch Moon spoiler is up—I’ve got fresh new Sharpie pens at the ready for proxies. It’s time to let your imaginations run wild because brewing season is officially open!

Just Brew It

How do you brew? There are a variety of approaches.

  • Some people look for new cards to port into old decks. You can’t go wrong making a tested and true deck a little spicier.
  • Some people look for cards that are really powerful and try to build around them. Finding a home for the best cards is another great place to start.
  • Some people look for cards that are unique and try to find applications for them. Nothing wrong with a little experimentation!

I always make a point of brewing decks for cards I like. Not every deck will be a success, but you never know when a “cute idea” will win you a trophy. The “Become Immense + Temur Battle Rage” deck started off as a local player’s pet project and ended up changing Standard.

For all of those new and apprehensive brewers out there who don’t know where to start or are afraid your ideas will be bad: Do not worry!

The process is what is important and not the result. If breaking the format was easy, then everybody would do it all the time.

I learned an important lesson from watching one of the best deck builders ever. Back when Patrick Chapin lived in Michigan, he and I used to playtest together quite a bit. One thing I noted was that he brewed an absurd number of decks. Hundreds of decks, many of which were downright unplayable. The takeaway was that Chapin knew that most of his many decks would not end in home runs but what he valued was the process of experimenting, learning, and perfecting the craft of being a deck builder.

So if Chapin, one of the best ever to wield a black Sharpie, can brew hundreds of decks that didn’t make it, there is certainly no shame in anyone exploring their ideas. Building decks is an underrated skill in the tournament Magic community. Deck building has a super high failure rate and most people don’t like to fail because it makes them feel dumb. So, don’t feel discouraged because even the best deck builders lay plenty of eggs.

Some “Bantastic” New Cards!

Port great cards into an already great deck:

Thalia is an obvious “powerful card” that can be ported into a variety of decks that already exist. I think that you are going to be seeing a lot of this lady in all kinds of white decks.

The Noose is loose!

Wild Mongrel was one of the best creatures back in the day and Noose Constrictor is an upgrade. Reach isn’t exactly an unimportant ability in Standard either…

The fact that Constrictor can block down creatures with Gryff’s Boon or random UR flyers is hugely relevant.

I also love that Constrictor cannot be Dromoka’s Commanded away when you are on the draw in a GW mirror match. If they play Sylvan Advocate on the play, untap, and try to fight your Noose Constrictor—you can simply discard 2 cards to eat their Advocate and keep your Snake. So, it’s a great 2-drop on the draw.

Bant Company

Brian DeMars

The raw power level of the cards and the depth of available options feels insane.

A Ghost of a Chance

Find some great cards and build a deck around them…

I’m a huge fan of decks that give me a lot of options like Bant Company or Faeries, which is why I’m investigating UW Spirits.

UW Spirits

Brian DeMars

Counterspell creatures (even situational ones) are extremely abusable. The card brings back fond memories of casting Spellstutter Sprite.

The key to these tempo-based decks is that you can leave mana open to maximize your options. Also, playing with a high density of creatures that stunt your opponent’s plan, like Queller and Reflector Mage, while progressing your board is a must.

This is another “Faeries” style creature that interacts with your opponent on their turn and applies pressure. Note that Hearld’s ETB trigger also goes off whenever any Spirit comes into play on your side. So, lots of free Twiddles

How many events did Judge’s Familiar decks win? A lot. Warden is simply a better bird and the bird was already the word. The downside is that you have to play a lot of Spirits to get maximum value.

A card like this really shines in a tempo-based aggro deck. The ability to move a clutch blocker like Avacyn out of the way for 1 turn or delay the deployment of a Gideon is pretty huge. It is also worth noting that the card is a blowout against Dromoka’s Command.

Last, but certainly not least, is Selfless Spirit. I think this card is just unbelievable. A 2/1 flyer for 1W is already a fine rate but the gravy is the ability to grant your entire team indestructible until end of turn. True, it can’t stop Languish, but it is good against Radiant Flames, Chandra, Flamecaller, and is pretty cute at protecting Dragonlord Ojutai from targeted removal!

Well, They’ll Stoneforge You When You’re Trying to Be So Good

Congrats to anybody who nosed out this Bob Dylan reference.

Find something wacky and build around it…

The RW Equipment deck has been my pet deck ever since I started working on it last spoiler season. One of the cool things about brewing is that even if your brews don’t pan out at the time, you can always keep them on the back burner for when new cards get printed that can help them along.

And help they got…

Both of these cards are pretty sweet in my Boros deck.

RW Equipment

Brian DeMars

Stone Haven Outfitter is one of the most powerful cards in Standard that never found a home. The card is actually outrageously powerful but hasn’t had the supporting cast in Standard to come to the forefront. It could see some serious play post-rotation, especially if Kaladesh (an artifact-themed set?) has some nice equipment.

Anyway, Stitcher’s Graft is really nice in a deck full of tokens. It is especially nice in a deck that has Stone Haven Outfitter since it allows you to sacrifice your tokens to draw cards!

Sigarda’s Aid, while not a card that you can play too many of, is an excellent card because it allows you to use cheap equipment as combat tricks. It is also a “ritual” effect since you invest 1 mana into it upfront and it will psuedo “make” mana when you attach your equipment for free. It has also been pretty sweet to flash down Stitcher’s Graft on an unblocked token or on an untapped creature and block.

Today I’ve looked at 3 different ways to get involved brewing with new cards: porting, building around powerful spells, and trying out something wacky.

It’s as simple as taking a card that you like or think is cool, and trying to make a deck for it. The risk is 0 and the reward is so high. You can never actually “fail” with a brew because even if the deck doesn’t turn out to be a keeper, you learn more about a format losing with your brew than you can doing almost anything else!

Enjoy the new cards, have fun, and best of luck.

P.S. Don’t forget to stock up on Sharpies.