"The more things change, the more they stay the same." It's been about three weeks since Rivals of Ixalan hit, along with the bannings in Standard, yet not much has changed. Sure, it's not all Temur mirrors; but, outside of Merfolk, the decks are all just blasts from the not so recent past. We have a lot of Grixis going on with Red aggressive decks. Constrictor, Approach, and God-Pharaoh's Gift. That's still a much larger variation than what we had before, so I'll take it, but I'm really craving something new. I want to see new cards in action or just some new strategies. Guess we'll have to do it ourselves! Last week, I had a five-color ramp deck for you. The five-color deck is shaping up nicely and I hope to have an update for you next week. Today we are going to brew up a Turbo Fog deck and find a home for one of my favorite cards in Rivals of Ixalan, The Immortal Sun.
I love taking extra turns in Standard. When I'm not doing that, I'll settle for a Fog deck . . .
Bant Fog -- Rivals Standard | Ali Aintrazi
- Creatures (4)
- 4 Druid of the Cowl
- Lands (25)
- 1 Island
- 2 Forest
- 2 Plains
- 1 Arch of Orazca
- 1 Desert of the True
- 1 Scavenger Grounds
- 2 Desert of the Indomitable
- 3 Sunpetal Grove
- 4 Botanical Sanctum
- 4 Ipnu Rivulet
- 4 Irrigated Farmland
This deck is like an insect fogger, but instead of killing insects, you make your opponent very bored and question their life decisions. Maybe a deck like this is what we need to get people to try other things. Turbo Fog is good against aggressive strategies, especially ones that involve mostly creatures. Your deck is just very well equipped to handle a bunch of creature cards. This deck only runs five "prevent combat damage" cards, but it also stops creatures in other ways. Settle the Wreckage and Fumigate are excellent ways to clean up the battlefield. When you add up the Fogs and board wipes, we end up with ten cards that deal with creatures. That's a good amount.
The deck needs to refuel after using its fogs and board wipes. Traditionally things like Howling Mine, Temple Bell, or even Font of Mythos are the types of cards a Fog deck really needs to push competitive play. Kumena's Awakening and Bounty of the Luxa are slower cards than the aforementioned artifacts but they are also harder to deal with. You can't Abrade a Bounty of the Luxa or a Kumena's Awakening. Search for Azcanta and Wildest Dreams are other ways to gain card advantage in the mid to late game.
Bounty of the Luxa doesn't draw you a card every turn. It alternates between giving you 3 mana or drawing you a card. Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin is an excellent mana sink for that 3 mana and so is one of your win conditions. This deck can with the game by casting Approach of the Second Sun twice and Bounty of the Luxa can help with that. Hour of Promise quickly finds an Arch of Orazca for us while thinning the deck of lands, but it also acts as a pseudo Fog or a win condition thanks to the zombie tokens it generates. When playing against decks with countermagic Game 1, it can be hard to win with Approach of the Second Sun. The Ipnu Rivulet plan of milling them out is an excellent one, just don't start it too early. You can't risk just losing a land in the early game. It's much better to do this in the late game when your opponent has roughly thirty cards or so in their deck. That way you can quickly start milling them out by using multiple Ipnu Rivulets in a turn.
After Game 1 you can sideboard how you see fit in the given matchup. Against Grixis decks, and just other controlling decks playing Black, I would bring in Carnage Tyrant and Azor. This way these cards will dodge Duress and if your opponent Lost Legacies your Approach of the Second Suns, you'll still have multiple ways to win.
This deck very fun and it is a pleasant change of pace to Standard. If you love to just durdle around or just enjoy drawing cards and fogging your opponent out, I'd highly recommend you give this deck a shot.
when I first saw it spoiled, I really wanted to play The Immortal Sun, but it's so scary to play when you know every deck playing Red has two or three Abrades. They play Abrade in their main deck, which makes things even worse. So how do we play The Immortal Sun?
By overloading our opponent's Abrades. After all, they only have a couple!
Jeskai, Tower of the Sun -- Rivals Standard | Ali Aintrazi
- Instants (15)
- 1 Whir of Invention
- 2 Abrade
- 2 Magma Spray
- 3 Glimmer of Genius
- 3 Settle the Wreckage
- 4 Harnessed Lightning
- Lands (26)
- 1 Plains
- 2 Island
- 2 Mountain
- 1 Arch of Orazca
- 4 Aether Hub
- 4 Glacial Fortress
- 4 Inspiring Vantage
- 4 Irrigated Farmland
- 4 Spirebluff Canal
By having Dynavolt Tower, Azor's Gateway, Shielded Aether Thief, Rekindling Phoenix, and The Immortal Sun, we really begin stretching our opponents Abrades thin. They can only kill so many creatures or artifacts. Your opponent has to blow up Dynavolt Tower or your Azor's Gateway or risk dying, this leaves us in an excellent spot to put The Immortal Sun onto the battlefield.
Since the banning of Attune with Aether and Rogue Refiner, Dynavolt Tower is one of the quickest and most effective way to gain energy. This deck can easily just kill the opponent just with direct damage from Dynavolt Towers. Towers are also great ways to clean the battlefield of creatures and they can take down planeswalkers in multiples. A Dynavolt Tower activation backed by a Magma Spray will even exile a pesky The Scarab God. That's like an insect fogger but instead of fogging them we're zapping them . . . Like a bug Zapper. Tzzzzt!
Thanks to Abrade, we can't just fully lean on Dynavolt Towers to win the match. Don't worry, the deck has plenty of other ways to take down the opponent. Rekindling Phoenix is an excellent option. We can really abuse the dual-functionality of the Phoenix by having it on defense. Most decks curve playing Rekindling Phoenix into something like Glorybringer or The Scarab God. We can put the Phoenix on defense and then start resolving Azor, the Lawbringer The Locust God, or The Immortal Sun. Any of those cards will quickly take over a game.
The Immortal Sun has a ton of abilities jammed into one card for 6 mana. The abilities alone are easily worth eleven or more mana. Whir of Invention lets us play a "second copy" of The Immortal Sun without having to play two. This means late game we can Whir of Invention for The Immortal Sun and early in the game we can tutor up a Dynavolt Tower or an Azor's Gateway. The best creature I found that pairs with The Immortal Sun is The Locust God. Drawing extra cards means you'll get more flying insects. Tokens are a fantastic way to abuse the +1/+1 static ability from The Immortal Sun. Any deck would love if all their spells cost one generic mana less. Keep in mind that The Immortal Sun shuts off planeswalkers, this means even Vraska, Relic Seeker can't destroy it.
The Immortal Sun is a powerful artifact that can generate a ton of advantage, but let us not look over Azor's Gateway. Azor's Gateway is like Treasure Map except it loots for you instead of Scrying. It's a wonderful way to get rid of removal against decks that don't have many targets for our removal. The life gain from flipping Azor's Gateway into Sanctum of the Sun is very relevant. Even in the control mirror, it means you'll be adding five more mana from Sanctum of the Sun. Now what can we do with that mana? Well we don't have Pull from Tomorrow, but sinking it into The Locust God or Azor, the Lawbringer one time is enough to end the game.
Speaking of Azor, the Lawbringer, try not to run him right into a Vraska's Contempt or an Unlicensed Disintegration. A terrific way to do this is to just wait until your opponent isn't holding up 3-4 mana, then deploy Azor, the Lawbringer. Your opponent will struggle attacking through a 6/6 flying creature and they will be forced to save all their mana to try and kill your Sphinx on your upkeep. He may still die, but you just made your opponent not attack because they couldn't risk losing a creature to Azor, and you tied up their mana because they must try and kill Azor on your turn.
The Sideboard of this deck is when you need to lower the curve against an aggressive deck. Whirler Virtuoso is excellent against aggressive strategies and it can play well with Dynavolt Tower and The Immortal Sun. When you bring in Chandra, Torch of Defiance, you'll want to consider cutting The Immortal Sun since the Sun turns off planeswalker abilities.
Both these decks have been a blast to play. If you're tired of the same old thing in Standard, I recommend you try one of these decks. You won't regret it. We can't change what other people will play in Standard, but we can add decks to the list of things people can play. With enough decks and brewers, we can we can change Standard together!
Until next time!
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