Oketra’s Monument remains one of the most powerful cards in all of Standard. For a card that doesn’t have an immediate impact on the battlefield, it does so much for your game. Assuming you’re playing a deck filled with white creatures, Monument generates a mana advantage over the course of the game and it can flood the board with token creatures that are tough to stop. Reloading is easy with a Monument on the battlefield, since your creatures will be cheap and bring a Soldier along with them. The loss of so many of white’s powerful creatures in the rotation was tough, but clearly not lights-out for Monument. Vampires is a viable deck, and there are plenty of other non-tribal creatures that can support a Monument token strategy.
Having options at 2 gives the deck a way to get onto the battlefield before Monument comes down while also providing the ability to play lots of creatures on turn 4. Glory-Bound Initiate is a great way to get aggressive as a 3-power creature for 2 mana that can become nearly unstoppable in combat. Attacking as a 4/4 lifelink is huge and completely changes the opponent’s ability to race you. This early damage advantage makes it easy to close out a game with tokens.
Adanto Vanguard has done crazy things for aggressive white strategies. Attacking for 3 damage for 2 mana is a great rate, and the fact that Vanguard is so hard to block effectively makes it the perfect aggressive creature. Getting around damage-based removal is the cherry on top, and considering that this deck is capable of gaining a fair bit of life, Vanguard is going to be exceptional.
Aviary Mechanic tends to be the weakest 2-drop in Monument strategies, but the possibility to turn every white mana you have into a 1/1 token every turn in games where you have two Mechanics and a Monument is a big advantage. With a handful of other enters-the-battlefield triggers, Mechanic earns its keep.
Legion’s Landing is one of my favorite cards in Standard. A 1/1 lifelink token for a single mana is already a reasonable rate, though not exciting. Threatening to flip into a mana producing land that both ramps you and can churn out a constant stream of lifelinking creatures is crazy, though. This allows you to accelerate to the late game and a great threat. It also happens to be quite nice for bouncing to your hand with a Mechanic.
Emissary of Sunrise is the biggest surprise for me. The floor is low as a 2/1 first strike creature that draws a land, although that’s an acceptable card. A 3/2 first strike creature for 3 mana that lets you “scry” a spell into your graveyard is interesting and can allow you to get extra aggressive. The value for bouncing the Emissary with a Mechanic creates a card advantage mini-engine.
Cloudblazer is your real card advantage engine. A turn-4 Cloudblazer after a Monument puts multiple creatures on the battlefield, gains multiple life, and draws multiple cards. Having a couple power in the air is a nice bonus.
Your removal suite contains some powerful exile effects. Ixalan’s Binding gets the full playset despite being a bit on the expensive side. This can be excellent card advantage by not only removing a powerful threat like a Whirler Virtuoso or Hazoret, but also by making sure that you won’t face any additional copies. Fairgrounds Warden combos with Monument, but it’s susceptible to removal, so you have a mixture of both.
The 1-ofs in this deck are sweet. You have Aven Wind Guide and Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun to combo with all of your tokens. This gives you some additional late-game play with the embalm mechanic, and it can force through lots of extra damage by tokens that may have otherwise been brickwalled. For additional late-game power when you don’t draw Monument or they find a way to deal with it, Oketra the True can provide an army with a single card as well as a powerful threat to which there are few answers.
Monument puts some serious restraints on the style of deck you can play, but with both Vampires and value white creatures in the format, Monument is here to stay!