In the past, I’ve written about some of the best brews featured on GP coverage’s Good Morning Magic segment. With a brand-new Standard format, GP Lille’s Good Morning Magic featured some pretty wild decks, which I felt were once again worth sharing. Let’s get to it!
There has been a sizable influx of powerful Dragons into Standard in the last few sets. Dominaria offered the middling Verix Bladewing, but then Core Set 2019 heated things up with Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, and Sarkhan, Fireblood as a support card. Now there’s Niv-Mizzet, Parun. All of a sudden, we’re approaching critical mass.
Tommi Lindgren recognized this, and dug into the deepest recesses of his trade binder to emerge with this Dragon-fueled masterpiece:
Casting a turn-4 Niv-Mizzet is no joke, and Sarkhan, Fireblood offers just that opportunity, not to mention Nicol Bolas or Verix Bladewing plus 2-mana interaction like Lava Coil. On top of that, look at all these sweet cards finally getting a chance to shine! Both Dragon’s Hoard and Spit Flame are incredible ways to grind out value in a game where you’re slamming huge Dragons into play.
Grixis offers some of the best removal in the format, and it’s good to see Lava Coil, The Eldest Reborn, and even Shivan Fire get the nod here. The mana is a little shaky for Vraska’s Contempt, unfortunately, but I don’t think that justifies the inclusion of Price of Fame, which seems very clunky.
Additionally, some of these creatures are real stinkers. I could be talked around on Sailor of Means, given its nice, defensive body, but Wily Goblin? Surely this is just better as a removal spell, Treasure or no?
While Rona, Disciple of Gix is obviously synergistic with all of the legendary Dragons in the list, it’s a little cute. If anything, it should be a post-board plan to counter the influx of removal.
This list needs a little tuning here and there to take advantage of better interaction (more Lava Coil, maybe even Cast Down), and would improve from cutting cards like Wily Goblin. Still, it’s sweet to see Dragons getting it done in Standard, and with the power level of this deck’s top-end, we might see it more in the future!
There are some ridiculously powerful cards available in Standard—not just your Jadelight Ranger or History of Benalia, but real hard-hitting heavyweights right at the top of the curve. Unfortunately, getting the chance to slam 7- and 9-drops into play isn’t always readily forthcoming. Sandro Bernabe, however, knows exactly how he wants to dispatch his enemies—with enormous monsters and massive X-spells—and how can you blame him?
Of course, before you can crush someone with Zacama, Primal Calamity, you have to get 9 mana into play. While the format lacks a Rampant Growth equivalent, there’s Grow from the Ashes at 3 (and 5) and Circuitous Route at 4 (which explains the Guildgates). Treasure Map and Thaumatic Compass help this mana development, while a flipped Azor’s Gateway can provide all the mana in the world for a game-winning X-spell.
It’s good to see that Bernabe ensured he included ways to stay in the game: Deafening Clarion, Cleansing Nova, and Star of Extinction are all excellent sweepers that help to keep you alive at each stage of the game.
Even Pelakka Wurm—a seemingly odd choice when it comes to 7-drops—is a great inclusion, gaining some life to help stabilize after an early onslaught.
I like the X-spells in this list, as once you’re all set up, a single copy of Banefire or March of the Multitudes should more or less put the game away. The only thing I’m worried about here is the consistency, as it seems to have no way to mitigate the age-old issue that ramp strategies have—drawing the wrong half of your deck. If you draw business when you need enablers, or vice-versa, you’re going to have a bad time. Unfortunately, there’s no Traverse the Ulvenwald to bail us out, here—perhaps something like Adventurous Impulse, or restructuring the creature base to support Commune with Dinosaurs? Further research is required.
Disinformation Campaign (which information campaign?) is a hell of a card. If you’ve ever built a good Dimir Draft deck, you’ll know what I’m talking about—shredding an opponent’s hand while keeping your own nice and full is a great feeling. How does that transfer across to Standard? Former PT mainstay Helmut Summersberger was determined to find out.
This deck is essentially Blue-Black Control. That’s the best thing, here—the natural Blue-Black Control game involves a lot of surveilling anyway, so why not include these incredible engine payoff cards? Sinister Sabotage, Thought Erasure, and Doom Whisperer are all cards you’d play anyway, and so when they’re triggering Disinformation Campaign, they become all the sweeter.
Discovery // Dispersal can act as a nice answer to Carnage Tyrant, as can The Eldest Reborn (although both cards rely on a high level of board control to contest the 7/6). Few other creatures will give this list too much trouble—with a playset of Vraska’s Contempts alongside the best of blue and black disruption, a natural control game is readily enabled.
Blood Operative is an excellent inclusion. As an early defensive measure that can gain some life, it’s a terrific speed bump against the format’s aggressive decks. It can also put you on the front foot in control mirrors, where your own life total is less relevant, as a recursive threat that tangles nicely with cards like Chemister’s Insight. Finally, snagging an Arclight Phoenix—a card that is on the up-and-up—is an incredibly powerful interaction. Because of all this, I’m a fan of Blood Operative, and this deck is the perfect shell for it.
With a Pro Tour on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see if any brews like these succeed on Magic’s biggest stage. Standard is a lot more open than we’re used to—now is the time to take decks like these out for a spin!