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New Decks Emerge!

Ixalan is here and it’s slowly starting to make more and more of an impact on Standard as time progresses. The three big decks seem to be Energy, Ramunap Red, and Approach of the Second Sun. Today I want to talk about two different archetypes that are strong in this new meta. One deck I want to go over is Abzan tokens. Another one we will cover is Grixis Improvise. A deck Zac Elisk took to a first-place finish at the SCG Classic this past weekend. Lastly, I want to cover a Bant Approach deck. We got a lot of new stuff today, so strap yourselves in, and get ready for some sweet new decks.

Deck Synopsis

So, while the deck is called Abzan tokens, it’s essentially just wb tokens that is splashing a little Green for Vraska, Relic Seeker since both of her abilities work very well with Anointed Procession and she’s a solid catch all. This deck is very grindy and tries to drag the game out until it just starts to overwhelm the opponent with a ton of small creatures thanks to Anointed Procession and Hidden Stockpile. Adanto, the First Fort is a huge payoff card the deck gained from Ixalan. It’s cheaper to make a 1/1 with Adanto than it was with Westvale Abbey. The token also has lifelink and the land itself adds White mana. You also ramp the turn you flip Legion's Landing since it doesn’t count as playing a land for the turn when it transforms.

Good Matchups

Any deck that is playing fair, this deck will outgrind if the game goes long enough. Especially if those decks have little to no creatures with evasion. From my experience, it’s favored against Energy variants and even Ramunap Red because of all the tiny creatures and all the incidental life gain the deck gains as the game is played out. Hazoret can easily be chump blocked with a token that you then sacrifice to Hidden Stockpile, you also have four Cast Out to deal with Hazoret as well. Adanto, the First Fort will slowly but surely get you out of burn range too.

Bad Matchups

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but the deck has four Duress and four Lost Legacy in the Sideboard for a reason. You can’t out grind Approach of the Second Sun decks since they just win while you’re setting up. Your clock is just way too slow against them and Fumigate buys them even more time you’re a token deck and you tend to have . . .  A good few tokens in play. It’s why the deck dedicates eight slots for that matchup. You really want to hit Duress into Lost Legacy. Even if you do that, a good Approach player will have other win conditions. Thankfully, if you’re able to strip away the Approach of the Second Suns you can grind through Regal Caracal and Torrential Gearhulk. It can just be tough to have a Lost Legacy resolve while also contributing to your game plan of making tokens.

This deck seems well positioned right now, especially since people seem to be sticking slow midrange strategies. I recommend it if you enjoy nickel and diming your opponent out of the game or if you just like swarming the battlefield.

The next deck I want to go over is one that fellow brewer, Zack Elisk took to a first place finish last weekend.

Sorcerous Spyglass
Outside of Sorcerous Spyglass, we had all these cards before Ixalan. Or did we? It appears the biggest gains this deck got from Ixalan were the buddy lands, which have made all three-color decks better. Foreboding Ruins and Choked Estuary didn’t play well together.

The deck may appear very straightforward when you’re looking at it, I mean you just play a bunch of artifacts and then Improvise right? Yes, but it’s much more than that. Knowing when to sacrifice your artifacts and when not to is important. You will want to lean on not sacrificing them if don’t have reliable things to Improvise off of. Cogworker's Puzzleknot is easier to Improvise from the 1/1 token it creates. Knowing when you need that 1/1 for pressure and when you really need that artifact to insure you can cast your Herald of Anguish on time is important. If that wasn’t enough, your artifacts can also be used as removal with the help of Tezzeret the Schemer and more importantly, Herald of Anguish.

The deck has tiny little things that may seem trivial, but aren’t. For example, if you have an active Herald of Anguish and your opponent has The Scarab God in play and nothing else in hand, then you need to know how the stack works so when you kill The Scarab God it will go back to your opponent’s hand with Herald of Anguish’s discard trigger on the stack. This just means you’ll want to kill The Scarab God on your turn when possible so that it can be discarded to Herald of Anguish’s triggered ability.

This deck is sweet, I just wish it would also play Whir of Invention. It seems to be a decent home for it but there probably isn’t a good enough payoff card for it. On top of that, the spell does have triple Blue in its casting cost.

All right, the last deck I want to talk about is a brew around Approach!

Deck Synopsis

River's Rebuke
This essentially started as a ug ramp deck but without Nissa's Renewal the deck lost the random life gain it needed. Losing Ulamog meant that the deck did not have a clear-cut end game either. The only thing that made sense to me was to play Approach of the Second Sun. It fits the end game goal as well as the random life gain that the deck needs to get itself out of reach, especially since we are running Memory.

This deck wins Game 1 with Approach of the Second Sun or zombie tokens from Hour of Promise. Game 2, you pick up a lot of diverse ways to win to avoid losing to Lost Legacy. What’s great about Hour of Promise is that it gets any land, so eventually you will have very little to no lands in your deck. When that happens, your Memory is going to be extremely powerful since you will draw a ton of gas. The deck also has the “combo” of River's Rebuke into Memory to get rid of all your opponent’s non-land permanents. Ipnu Rivulet can mill an opposing Approach if timed right and/or fuel Search for Azcanta. Ipnu Rivulet can be used after you Commit a non-land permanent to get rid of that specific card for good.

This deck really wants Conqueror's Galleon but it just has a very hard time flipping it Game 1. Games 2 and 3 are easier because you’ll have Regal Caracal and Metallurgic Summonings on top of Zombies to flip it. Conqueror's Foothold can buyback anything from your graveyard for six mana. Eventually you can and will get to a point where you can just re-buy something like Disallow or Fumigate over and over to soft lock your opponent out of the game.

The deck also has Primal Amulet, transforming it into Primal Wellspring allows us to dig through our deck very efficiently, especially if it’s backed up with Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin. You’ll be able to find a Haze of Pollen, Fumigate, and even your Approach of the Second Sun easily once you get going.

This deck will struggle mostly hyper aggressive decks. Control can be a problem if they are picking a ton of countermagic but if it’s only like four Disallows, then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

I’ll be playing more Magic this coming week. I plan to be prepared for US Nationals. During that time, hopefully I’ll find some other sweet decks to share with you next week! Hopefully one of these decks appealed to you, if not, well you always got Ramunap Red or whatever flavor of Energy your heart desires most!

Thank you for being here and reading my content. I know you can go to a plethora of places for content but you chose to come here and that means something to me, so thanks!

Until next time,

Ali Aintrazi

@AliEldrazi on Twitter

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