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Second Look: Dragons in Standard

“Hello, is this the hype machine’s office? The new Standard needs your help. There are cards and interactions that aren’t getting as much hype as they should!”

*Lowers sunglasses*

It’s good that you called.

Dragon Fodder

Dragon Fodder is an innocuous little card. The intuitive home for him is in some tokens deck. Since Jeskai Tokens sometimes maxes out on Raise the Alarm, it’s possible that it could want even more token producers.

On the other hand, RDW is clearly interested as well. Before Dragons, Mardu Scout was the only real 2-drop, and to curve out they need a slew of 1-drops and burn. This works fine, but it’s not exactly the same thing, and I’ve seen some lists go so far as to play Valley Dasher. When you add in the synergy with Foundry Street Denizen and Stoke the Flames, it’s a natural inclusion.

But wait! Dragon Fodder produces a relevant creature type. And when the tribal synergies get going, good things happen.

Goblins

  • If there is any deck that can get away with maindecking the Jeering Instigator + Collateral Damage combo, it’s this one.
  • The split between Roast/Wild Slash is to help force guys through, but it’s possible that those slots should be Lightning Strikes to maximize reach.
  • Most RDW lists play 19-20 lands, but we have a higher curve than RDW. Note that Saito played 22 in his mono-black Obelisk deck.

Profaner of the Dead

I touched on this card in my exploit article, but I still don’t think it’s getting enough love. On its own, it’s great against tokens and bouncing a pile of manifests, but when you combine it with a large enough butt it’s a one-sided Upheaval. It seems like the best Sidisi, Undead Vizier target ever.

Sidisi Whip

There’s a tension in building Sidisi Whip. On the one hand, you want a few bullets to dig you out of strange situations in the late game. You want these bullets to be creatures so that you can mill them and Whip them back, although Sidisi, Undead Vizier does open up the potential for a spell toolbox. On the other hand, you want your cards to be individually good. I usually don’t even run the Hornet Queen since it has a tendancy to rot in hand, though the new Sidisi does make it a lot better since you can always have it when you need it.

Similarly, Profaner of the Dead has the potential to be an actual Hill Giant against control, but as a Sidisi target it has the potential to win some otherwise unwinnable games.

This build is all about fast board presence, with more mana dorks to help develop your board quickly. The combination of Profaner and Doomwakes means that we’re particularly well positioned against token strategies.

This comes with a cost, and we’re a bit weak to sweepers and cards like Ashiok. More stock versions are less explosive, but can afford cards like Hero’s Downfall and Thoughtseize in the main deck to slow down the opponent long enough to start whipping.

Silumgar Sorcerer

I didn’t mention this one in my article on exploit, and that was a mistake. A split card between a 3-mana counter and a 2/1 flyer is already solid, assuming your deck wants a 2/1 flyer.

When you sacrifice a less useful creature, particularly a value dork, the Sorcerer goes from being a reasonable Feast or Famine to a pretty great Spellstutter Sprite. Not much use in a counter war, but great against the giant creatures that are rampaging through Standard.

MU Devotion

Travis Woo already did an excellent write-up on this archetype, which you can find here , but I wanted to highlight it as a shell for Silumgar Sorcerer. After all, this deck values evasion, has a rough time with Siege Rhino, and likes the double-blue cost for devotion.

It complements Stratus Dancer in a neat way, giving the archetype a pseudo-Negate and a pseudo-Essence-Scatter with flying bodies attached.

A nice thing about the megamorph guys is that they hide the Sorcerer, making an otherwise suspicious 3 mana look like it’s set aside for an on-board trick.

This list is fairly intuitive, but I think it’s solid. Mindreaver looks bad on paper, but most of the original MU Devotion was bad creatures that were just there to fill out the curve and provide devotion. If Tidebinder Mage ever had text you were ecstatic.

I hinted at this in my exploit article, but I’m pretty sure there are enough enablers in the format for a dedicated sacrifice-based deck, taking advantage of otherwise underwhelming value guys for powerful effect:

I like the idea of sacrificing Bloodsoaked Champion to Silumgar Sorcerer, then attacking with the 2/1 flyer to trigger raid.

This deck is the roughest of the bunch, and I don’t recommend it for your next major event. That said, It has a lot of cool things going on, and it has potential as a starting point. If I get a chance to play in an FNM in the near future, this is definitely what I’m running.

Another idea for the deck is to splash green for Sidisi, Brood Tyrant at the 4-drop slot. This would give the deck something powerful to work up to, all while making the random dorks seem more reasonable and enabling various delve options. I like that idea a lot better than the Clever Impersonators, though the Sultai mana bases I’ve drummed up all looked incredibly painful.

The value guys I’m omitting are the two 1U 1/1s, with Palace Familiar being the better of the two here, and Shambling Goblin, which would only make it if we really needed a 1-drop.

I enjoyed writing this article, and look forward to reading the comments. Did any straggling technology miss the hype train?

Caleb Durward

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