The entire Journey into Nyx spoiler has been revealed, and overall it looks to be filled with good stuff for Standard. Born of the Gods offered Bile Blight, Searing Blood, Revoke Existence, Courser of Kruphix, and Satyr Wayfinder in addition to three scry lands and some minor cards, but Journey into Nyx promises to have a larger impact.
Here’s my provisional Top 10 most important additions to Standard:
1. Mana Confluence
2. Temple of Malady
3. Temple of Epiphany
4. Banishing Light
6. Gnarled Scarhide
7. Mogis’s Warhound
8. Eidolon of the Great Revel
9. Athreos, God of Passage
10. Pharika, God of Affliction
Nonbasic lands dictate which color combinations are viable, so it’s natural they’re high on my list. Mana Confluence should improve Selesnya-based aggro or Orzhov-based aggro decks, while Temple of Malady could allow G/B Dredge and B/g Devotion to hit their colors more consistently.
I’m not going to discuss these ten cards in detail. I’m just dumping the list as a springboard for discussion. Let me know what picks you agree and disagree with in the comments below!
Instead of focusing on the most powerful and efficient cards, I’m going to do some brewing today. There are a bunch of unique cards in Journey into Nyx that got my creative juices flowing, so I’ll be exploring the possibilities. Don’t expect fully fleshed out, competitive lists—my goal is not to build top-tier winning deck lists, but rather to have some fun, to see how new cards interact, and to enjoy some off-beat options.
Let the brewing commence!
Brewing with Dictate of Kruphix
Dictate of Kruphix adds 2 blue devotion to your board at instant speed, allowing Thassa, God of the Sea to wake up and surprise an unsuspecting attacker. But more importantly, Dictate of Kruphix is a Howling Mine effect. A good one at that, since it allows you to draw the first card before your opponent does.
Nevertheless, it will be essential to break the symmetry. One way to do that is via Notion Thief. Another way is via a Nykthos-fueled Cyclonic Rift, allowing you to capitalize on your extra cards while resetting your opponent’s board. Following it up with Whispering Madness is just filthy. This leads me to the following build:
This could be viewed as a different take on Blue Devotion. The 1-drops in particular are different from Cloudfin Raptor and Judge’s Familiar, and they are chosen with specific synergies in mind: Dakra Mystic forces your opponent to draw a card for Notion Thief, and Hypnotic Siren works well with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.
Although the synergies are cute, this list is probably not as powerful as a regular Mono-Blue Devotion deck. But it’s something different, and maindeck Notion Thief could be well-positioned in a metagame filled with Sphinx’s Revelation and Underworld Connections.
Brewing with Eidolon of Blossoms
Eidolon of Blossoms immediately draws a card by itself and then demands an answer, yielding instant card advantage. Many people have likened it to Verduran Enchantress, but I don’t think that’s a good comparison. It’s more similar to Solemn Simulacrum or, even more appropriate, Dormant Sliver from Guillaume Wafo-Tapa’s Time Spiral Block Constructed deck.
Building a Standard deck that can take advantage of Eidolon of Blossoms, however, seems more difficult. If you just run it as a value creature without much support, then it’s probably going to be worse than Polukranos, World Eater or Xenagos, the Reveler in the 4-drop slot. And if you want to capitalize on enchantments, then you have to play a lot of bad cards in your deck.
I tried a build with Sphere of Safety that planned to win in the late-game with Heliod, God of the Sun and Ajani’s Chosen, but it looked like it wouldn’t be able to beat Underworld Connections or Sphinx’s Revelation. So I replaced them with Ethereal Armor and more aggressive cards, leading to this build:
This deck is filled with cheap enchantments for Eidolon of Blossoms, many of which are made cheaper by Hero of Iroas. It’s basically a mono-value deck that should match up reasonably against spot removal.
It may very well be better to just go for Voice of Resurgence in a Selesnya aggro shell, or Witchstalker in a Naya Hexproof build, but those decks can’t draw as many cards as this one. And if there’s one thing I like to do in Magic, it’s draw extra cards.
Brewing with Sage of Hours
Of course, we have to try to get infinite turns with Sage of Hours. There are various ways to achieve this, but the easiest one is to use Ajani, Mentor of Heroes in combination with Vorel of the Hull Clade. So, green/blue/white it is!
Chronicler of Heroes is a good way to dig deeper toward our combo pieces, and to set it up we require some additional evolve creatures. So that’s why we have Experiment One and Gyre Sage, which coincidentally could get out of hand with Vorel of the Hull Clade.
In case we don’t draw Ajani, we need an alternative way to get the first counter on Sage of Hours before we can double anything with Vorel of the Hull Clade. That’s what Selesnya Charm and Boon Satyr are for.
With this deck, there are going to be many games in which Sage of Hours is worse than Squire. However, every once in a while, you have Vorel of the Hull Clade and Ajani, Mentor of Heroes in play, while your Azorius control opponent is looking at a hand with Supreme Verdict and Sphinx’s Revelation. “What’s the worst that could happen? I’ll pass, play Sphinx’s Revelation, and fire off the Verdict on the next turn,” he might think. And then he never gets another turn.
Brewing with Dictate of the Twin Gods
Suppose that we’re in the late game and our opponent is at 110 life after an Ajani ultimate. We have Boros Reckoner in play and a ton of mana on the battlefield. Our opponent attacks us with a monstrous Fleecemane Lion. Little does he know what’s coming for him.
We flash in Dictate of the Twin Gods, block with Boros Reckoner, and cast Boros Charm to make all of our permanents indestructible. Fleecemane Lion deals 8 damage to Boros Reckoner, which triggers to deal 16 damage to itself, which results in a trigger for 32 damage to itself, then 64, and eventually we target our opponent for 128 damage. Kaboom!
Here’s one list that could achieve this feat:
To be fair, I’m not sure that Dictate of the Twin Gods is actually better than Stormbreath Dragon or that Boros Charm is what red devotion deck needs in the main deck. But beating Ajani’s ultimate in stylish fashion is certainly on my Standard bucket list.
In a format dominated by Thoughtseize and Hero’s Downfall, running funky multi-card combos is brave at best. But if you’re bored by Mono-Black Devotion, Mono-Blue Devotion, and U/W/x Control, then perhaps some of these lists may have given you some fun ideas to try out.
Which card in Journey into Nyx are you most excited for when it comes to Standard?