Once I returned from Mythic Championship London, I had to start practicing for upcoming Standard events right away. Today I’ll show you the best performing decks from last week’s stream, how I came to their builds, and how I like them.
My First 3 Lists for War of the Spark Standard
4 Sulfur Falls 7 Island 5 Mountain 1 Blood Crypt 4 Steam Vents 3 Enigma Drake 4 Crackling Drake 3 Pteramander 4 Augur of Bolas 4 Chart a Course 3 Dive Down 4 Shock 4 Lava Coil 3 Discovery/Dispersal 3 Spell Pierce 4 Opt Sideboard 2 Fiery Cannonade 2 Negate 2 Disdainful Stroke 1 Beacon Bolt 2 Niv-Mizzet, Parun 1 Ral, Izzet Viceroy 1 Commence the Endgame 1 Treasure Map/Treasure Cove 1 Saheeli, Sublime Artificer 2 Entrancing Melody
Izzet Drakes has been a longtime favorite of mine. I’ve always disliked Arclight Phoenix, because in order to play it, you had to play horrible Constructed cards like Radical Idea. I like my Izzet Drakes decks to be Izzet value decks that eventually one-shot with some 3- or 4-drops.
I started the build with two cards from the new set:
I started with three copies of Augur of Bolas, but immediately went up to four. Augur of Bolas is exceptional when it does what it’s supposed to do, and horrible when it misses. I still found plenty of use for a 1/3 body against Merfolk Branchwalker, Hero of Precinct One, Mono-White, and Mono-Red.
Before, only Pteramander could turn on raid in the early game. Now we have another creature that lets you draw two cards for 2 mana without discarding anything, and that’s another reason I like Izzet Drakes better than Izzet Phoenix.
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, on the other hand, disappointed me. I started with three copies in the main and ended up with only one in the sideboard.
First, she isn’t an instant or sorcery, making Augur of Bolas worse. Second, she is a horrible topdeck, and a planeswalker that doesn’t do anything when she comes into play, making her awkward in some scenarios.
Sure, making Servos and copying your summoning-sick Drake to kill your opponent is cool, and so is copying Pteramander and adapting the Servo. But overall I found Saheeli underwhelming, and only good versus control decks that couldn’t pressure her.
Next up I wanted to try Finale of Promise, a card with a lot of potential that is able to do some dirty work in a deck like this.
4 Watery Grave 4 Drowned Catacomb 4 Blood Crypt 4 Dragonskull Summit 4 Steam Vents 4 Sulfur Falls 1 Island 1 Swamp 4 Thief of Sanity 2 Nicol Bolas, the Ravager/Nicol Bolas, the Arisen 1 God-Eternal Kefnet 1 Massacre Girl 2 Hostage Taker 3 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God 4 Thought Erasure 4 Tyrant's Scorn 1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General 2 Enter the God-Eternals 1 Cast Down 1 Bedevil 1 Negate 1 Angrath's Rampage 1 Commence the Endgame 1 Syncopate 1 Ugin, the Ineffable 3 Discovery/Dispersal Sideboard 2 Moment of Craving 1 Commence the Endgame 1 Finale of Eternity 2 Disdainful Stroke 2 Cry of the Carnarium 3 Unmoored Ego 3 Duress 1 Narset, Parter of Veils
And so I did. I wanted to build a midrange shell, though, with Thief of Sanity and Hostage Taker. The deck’s biggest weakness was mainly its lack of interaction with Wilderness Reclamation, so you need ways to apply pressure in order to win that matchup.
Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God is exceptional and very similar to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria in its ability to run away with the game once you get ahead, an ability that new planeswalkers tend not to have anymore. But the main problem with the deck is how weak Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is.
A 4/4 for 4 flyer just doesn’t cut it in Standard. Sure, it has some extra abilities, but I’d rather play more copies of God-Eternal Kefnet or Hostage Taker because they actually do something meaningful.
Enter the God-Eternals overperformed. It’s fantastic against any aggro deck, and it does so many things for only 5 mana. It’s able to put you back in the game against red decks. Have you ever tried to reveal it to God-Eternal Kefnet? I have the feeling that those two cards were designed as a pair…
4 Hallowed Fountain 4 Godless Shrine 4 Isolated Chapel 4 Drowned Catacomb 4 Watery Grave 4 Glacial Fortress 1 Swamp 4 Hero of Precinct One 2 Deputy of Detention 4 Thief of Sanity 1 Seraph of the Scales 3 Hostage Taker 4 Thought Erasure 1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General 3 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 2 Tyrant's Scorn 3 Teferi, Time Raveler 3 Mortify 1 Enter the God-Eternals 3 Discovery/Dispersal 1 Despark Sideboard 1 Enter the God-Eternals 1 Vraska's Contempt 2 Despark 2 Elite Guardmage 2 Moment of Craving 3 Dovin's Veto 1 Sorcerous Spyglass 1 Basilica Bell-Haunt 1 Massacre Girl 1 Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
Finally, it was time to try Hero of Precinct One, a card I’ve never considered Standard playable, mainly because of how bad the matchup of a deck like this is against Sultai Midrange. It turns out that Sultai Midrange is pretty bad now since U/G Nexus and Esper Control both got huge upgrades from War of the Spark, whereas Sultai didn’t get a single good creature.
Esper Aggro is back on my radar, and it got many new tools.
Tyrant’s Scorn and Despark are two super efficient, cheap, multicolor interactions that fit perfectly in a midrange strategy like this that needs more and more cheap spells to get ahead in the early game.
I tried Kaya, Orzhov Usurper and Dovin, Grand Arbiter, but both were disappointing. The list still needs to be tuned since there are many playable cards out there that can fit perfectly in this strategy.
The Standard format is ready to be shaken up by War of the Spark, and this is only the beginning!