Standard currently appears very similar to what Modern has always been praised for. You can really do just about anything you want, and even though there are some pretty clear “best” cards in the format (Snapcaster Mage in Modern, Hazoret and The Scarab God in Standard), it doesn’t mean that you can’t do your thing and be successful. That couldn’t be more apparent than it is with a turbo lands strategy now viable in Standard!
Wayward Swordtooth is one of the hardest cards to evaluate. A 5/5 for just 3 mana is an absurd rate until you factor in that it can’t attack or block until you have the city’s blessing. Getting to 10 permanents isn’t the hardest thing to do, but having a useless creature on the battlefield while you build your way there isn’t good enough. What Swordtooth does do for you, however, is give you that extra land drop each turn. You’ll want to have access to lots of lands and keep hitting these drops to get the city’s blessing as soon as possible.
The best way to make sure that you’re hitting land drops is through explore creatures. Merfolk Branchwalker and Seekers’ Squire are perfect for this job. If you hit a spell, you have a 2-mana 3/2 or 2/3 that give you the ability to scry it away. Otherwise, you’re putting a land into your hand and looking at a Silvergill Adept or 1/2 Elvish Visionary.
Many of your lands have extra effects on the game. If you’ve ever seen Todd Stevens playing his G/W ValueTown deck in Modern, this one follows similar philosophies. Fetchlands clear lands out of your deck, Ghost Quarters keep their lands under control, and Horizon Canopy pulls ahead. In Standard, you’ve got Evolving Wilds as the way to pull basics out of your deck, and then you also have access to Deserts for some powerful effects. Hashep Oasis pumps your creatures while Ifnir Deadlands shrinks theirs. You also have Scavenger Grounds for when their graveyard gets out of control and Dunes of the Dead can give you value for sacrificing your Desert.
Ramunap Excavator is the same way to cash in on these value lands as it is in Modern. With Swordtooth to play an extra land each turn and Excavator to let you play them from the graveyard, you can get all the basics out of your deck quickly and keep cashing in Deserts for maximum value.
One way to get to ascend quickly is with Hour of Promise. You’re playing Deserts for value already, and this is a 5-mana way to put four permanents on the battlefield and make sure the city’s blessing is yours. You will also have some strong lands in play and a pair of Zombie tokens, so this can swing the game quickly.
With access to all of this mana, Walking Ballista becomes a great finisher. An early creature to kill an Earthshaker Khenra, Veteran Motorist, or Glint-Sleeve Siphoner that can also be your late-game win condition is exactly the kind of effect you want.
Your removal suite is good early and late as well. Fatal Push gives you the early tempo while Vraska’s Contempt and Ixalan’s Binding handle the big creatures and planeswalkers that could otherwise give you fits.
Your own planeswalkers are some of the biggest and baddest Standard has seen. They’re a bit on the expensive side, but you’re playing turbo lands. Liliana, Death’s Majesty, Ajani Unyielding, and Vraska, Relic Seeker all protect themselves and take over the game. Whether they’re killing opposing creatures, giving you an army, or dominating the board in a variety of other ways, each demand an immediate answer or the game tends to end.
Abzan Turbo Lands is yet another example of how insane Standard looks right now. Doing sweet things with powerful cards while locking your opponent out is a fun and fair way to win!