Last week, I talked about Vampires, and now it’s time to talk about the other deck I’m in love with in Core Set 2020 Standard: Simic Steal. This deck happens to have very few cards that rotate out, so if you’re looking to “invest” in something that can hold after rotation, this is the deck for you.

Andrea Mengucci – Simic Steal in Standard

2 Temple of Mystery
4 Hinterland Harbor
4 Breeding Pool
6 Island (335)
9 Forest (347)
4 Risen Reef
2 Incubation Druid
4 Voracious Hydra
4 Paradise Druid
4 Leafkin Druid
4 Hydroid Krasis
4 Llanowar Elves
2 Entrancing Melody
3 Mass Manipulation
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

Sideboard
2 Entrancing Melody
2 Veil of Summer
3 Aether Gust
3 Negate
2 Thrashing Brontodon
3 Shifting Ceratops
Voracious Hydra

I’ve been incredibly impressed by this Hydra, as another tool to immediately answer Runaway Steam-Kin and Hero of Precinct One besides Entrancing Melody is very nice, as those were the main ways to beat this deck before. The Hydra is incredibly versatile, being a huge threat as well as relatively cheap removal. The extra toughness gives the Hydra a lot more value, as it’s able to shoot a 2/2 on 4 mana, leaving a 2/3 body behind.

Risen ReefLeafkin Druid

Before Core Set 2020, we saw Jadelight Ranger and Growth Spiral in these slots, but I’m now super happy with this relatively small Elemental package. Risen Reef alone is clearly worse than Jadelight Ranger, but when you pair it with multiple Elementals it can simply run away with the game.

I’ve been super impressed by Leafkin Druid, as it adds 2 mana very quickly. If this card wasn’t an Elemental, I would probably play 2 of this and 4 Incubation Druid, but the value with Risen Reef puts it over the top. There’s an argument for Incubation Druid as it fixes mana for Mass Manipulation, but I think that’s a minor argument and I would prefer keeping my Elemental count high.

Cavalier of ThornsGargos, Vicious Watcher

These are a few of the cards that have been suggested as options.

Cavalier of Thorns is an Elemental for Risen Reef. It ramps and it’s a large body, whereas Gargos, Vicious Watcher is a large body, with protection and that helps your Hydroid Krasis and Voracious Hydra to be even bigger. Although these two cards seem to fit in the strategy very well, I only have so many spots for expensive cards, and I think what I have is way better than this. Any ramp deck needs to have a high number of ramp creatures and a number of payoffs, and I believe there’s simply no place for those very large green monsters as I would never cut any Hydra, Nissa or Mass Manipulations for these.

Temple of Mystery

I’m not a fan of Temples since I prefer untapped lands, especially in decks with Llanowar Elves. Although our mana base isn’t that great and that quadruple blue mana cost isn’t going to fix itself. Also, Temple of Mystery works pretty well with Risen Reef, as you can fix your top before triggering your powerful Elemental.

Teferi, Time Raveler

Plenty of viewers ask me about why to play Simic over Bant. The answer is that the cards that White offers aren’t that appealing. I believe Teferi, Time Reveler is much worse than it was, as there are fewer midrange decks for it to prey on, and it’s both bad versus any deck with Risen Reef or aggressive decks.

Sure, Mono-Blue Tempo or Simic Flash are picking up in popularity, but I’m not afraid of these decks when playing Simic Steal, as I have lots of mana ramp to play around their countermagic by casting multiple spells in a turn. I could see playing white before Core Set 2020 as it gave us Prison Realm and Ixalan’s Binding, but now that there are fewer planeswalkers around and we have Voracious Hydra to deal with creatures, I don’t think we need it.

I really don’t sideboard a ton with this deck, as there aren’t too many cards you can cut.

Sideboard Guide

Nissa decks

In

Entrancing MelodyEntrancing Melody

Out

Voracious HydraVoracious Hydra

Taking mana ramp edge in early game is the key, and stealing an opponent’s mana dork is the best play you can make in the early game. I like Negate against Nexus of Fate but dislike it against other Nissa decks.

Esper Hero

In

Veil of SummerVeil of Summer

Out

Entrancing MelodyEntrancing Melody

Veil of Summer is very good here–it protects your from Thought Erasure as well as any other removal. I don’t like to board in Negate against decks with Teferi, Time Reveler. Watch out for Kaya’s Wrath and try to not animate too many lands with Nissa against it. Try to save your Voracious Hydra for their Hostage Taker or their Hero of Precinct One.

I think this matchup is very good as I defeated Esper Hero very easily the three times I played against it.

Mono-Red

In

Aether GustAether GustAether GustEntrancing MelodyEntrancing MelodyThrashing BrontodonThrashing Brontodon

Out

Llanowar ElvesLlanowar ElvesLlanowar ElvesLlanowar ElvesMass ManipulationMass ManipulationMass Manipulation

This is the only matchup where I’m okay with cutting some mana dorks, as they probably die to Goblin Chainwhirler anyway. I love Aether Gust, as being both a Memory Lapse and a Totally Lost is huge.

Negate and Shifting Ceratops will come in rarely, but when they do they are going to be great. As you saw, I don’t like to sideboard in many cards, so that’s why I’m fine with having these 6 slots even if they come in very rarely. Ceratops is great against Mono-Blue Tempo and Simic Flash, whereas Negate will be great against Nexus of Fate and Scapeshift.

I loved Simic Steal and I think that it and Vampires are the best decks in Standard right now.