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Down the Rabbit Hole


Turn’em and churn’em out. We need new decks for Standard! When do we want them? NOAW! I’m tired of Delirium and U/W Flash, let’s try some new and old favorites, with a twist. Today I want to talk about decks that have a good matchup against either U/W Flash and/or Delirium. That’s where we want to be right? We know Marvel decks beat Delirium decks for the most part but they tend to fold very hard to U/W Flash decks since Flash can tempo them out of the game by countering Marvel and poking them down with small creatures. You want something that isn’t all on in Marvel but still ramps so you can beat Delirium and fight U/W Flash. You can also have a deck that just draws a bunch of cards and fills the board with valuable creatures. Another option is to try and out control the U/W Flash deck and countering the relevant spells in Delirium. Let’s go down the rabbit hole and see what we can uncover.

For the next month or so I’ll be focusing on Standard. Today we will look at decks, some of them tried and tested, and others just solid starting places. The new decks I will mention today and I will try to update and tune them as I test and refine them.

First up, let’s look at U/B Control.

Most new fans know that I like big mana strategies. Old fans probably know me from my control decks. From draw go, to tap out control. With that being said, I’m loving Tristan’s U/B Control deck. Outside of Planeswalkers and Ruinous Path, it fully operates at instant speed making it very good against Spell Queller. Two of the Planeswalkers can’t even be Spell Quellered, leaving only Liliana, the Last Hope as a target for the flying counter spelling spirit.

The Card Advantage

Glimmer of Genius:

Glimmer of Genius

Glimmer of Genius is the definition of card advantage. You are literally trading away one card for two. Not only that, but you’re also scrying before you draw. If you aren’t quite sure how powerful Scrying before you draw is, just look at Preordain and Serum Visions. Preordain is banned for a reason. Scrying before drawing is huge, it allows you to see up to four cards deep if you need to, all at instant speed. We have no use for the energy it provides, but Tristan still ran four and I don’t blame him. Good outlets for the Energy however would be something like a singleton Demon of Dark Schemes, which I would run.

Torrential Gearhulk:

Torrential Gearhulk

While not all the instants in this deck generate card advantage, Gearhulk will insure they do since you also get a body out of the deal. If you happen to kill a creature with Torrential Gearhulk mid combat, you will generate even more value. This deck is running four of this Blue artifact hulk for a reason.

Liliana, the Last Hope:

Liliana, the Last Hope

Liliana generates card advantage easily by killing creatures with her plus ability or regrowing a Torrential Gearhulk. This deck protects Liliana very well with all the removal and countermagic. Ultimating Liliana is very real here.

Jace, Unraveler of Secrets:

Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

Sure sure, Jace just gets you cards by upticking, but did you know you can also Unsummon your own Gearhulk to generate even more value? As if Liliana regrowing Torrential Gearhulk from the graveyard wasn’t enough. Sign me up!

Ob Nixilis Reignited:

Ob Nixilis Reignited

Unlike Jace’s minus, Ob Nixilis’s is true card advantage since he just outright kills the creature where Jace will just deal with an opposing creature temporarily. Try to keep your Ob Nix alive. I see so many players just play it and kill whatever creature is in play. However, if you can uptick your demon and have it survive if your opponent decides to attack it, then the odds of it staying alive after you untap goes up a lot! Especially since you are a deck with a bunch of removal and countermagic.

Blighted Cataract:

Blighted Cataract

You thought I’d miss this one, did you? Sure, it’s a land, however it still generates card advantage in the late game by drawing you two cards. Yay Divination!

The Removal

Essence Extraction:

Essence Extraction

Kill and drain! Awesome removal spell that not only kills the majority of creatures in Standard, but also gains you some much needed life. Which in turn, allows you to make the game go longer where you can take over.

Grasp of Darkness:

Grasp of Darkness

Grasp of Darkness is the premium removal spell we have, so it makes sense to run the full amount.



Instant unconditional removal is also good. Sometimes you just gotta kill the opposing Hulk or even a flag ship.

Ruinous Path:

Ruinous Path

Gideon can be annoying. No better way to get rid of him then to point and click, especially early in the game.

Ob Nixilis Reignited:

Ob Nixilis Reignited

On both card advantage and removal. Well, he’s also a win condition. Just a solid way to unconditionally remove a creature.

Props to Tristan for a sweet deck that seems favored against Delirium because of all the countermagic and it has game against U/W Flash since it operates at instant speed which U/W Flash doesn’t like at all because that’s where they get the most value from.

Next up, let’s talk about an old favorite of mine. UR Control.

If you remember the old Eldrazi deck ramp/control deck, this is basically it with a Kaladesh touch. The deck took a hit with the loss of Mage Ring Network and Clash of Wills but it also gained some things too. Emrakul, the Promised End and Chandra, Torch of Defiance are welcomes additions. Chandra is great in a deck that wants to ramp and draw cards. Keep in mind you want to use Chandra’s mana ability here since hitting countermagic with her other plus ability isn’t ideal. The deck aims to stall the game out with countermagic and removal until it can get to turn four where it can hopefully resolve a Hedron Archive or Chandra, Torch of Defiance then continue ramping, countering spells and/or killing creatures. This deck isn’t fully tested but it’s where I’ll start with my testing. I’d like to explain the two cards that may look out of place to you.

Aetherworks Marvel:

Aetherworks Marvel

Marvel looks odd as a singleton and the reason that is, is because we aren’t dedicated to the card. We aren’t trying to amass a large quantity of energy so we can activate the legendary artifact as soon as possible. Instead we just want to play it and have it slowly accumulate energy until we are ready to use it. This card also works wonders with Eldrazi Scions from Drowner of Hope or Spawning Bed since we can sacrifice the Scions for Mana or to tap things down with the Drowner, all the while the tokens go to the graveyard and provide us with energy. It might be right to even run two of these instead of one. Only time and testing will tell.

Confiscation Coup:

Confiscation Coup

This card just seems strong to me. Spells that steal things permanently are powerful. Taking something as small as Grim Flaryer or Smuggler's Copter can swing games (FUMAROLE CAN CREW IT BABY!) Things that are bigger like Archangel Avacyn, Skysovereign Consul Flagship, or even Mindwrack Demon can end the game in a couple of turns.

The last deck I want to talk about is a deck people have just stopped playing for whatever reason. Collected Company may be gone folks, but Bant Midrange is still a very real thing.

Tamiyo, Field Researcher
Maybe people forgot, but this deck dominated the previous season and for good reason. Sure, we’ve Collected Company, but there were plenty of times the deck boarded out the Collected Companys in favor of removal, countermagic, and Tamiyo, Field Researcher.

In case you were hiding under a rock or maybe you just weren’t playing Magic. On the off chance, you don’t know what this deck does, it plays cheap creatures that draw cards and disrupt the opponent. Things like Reflector Mage and Spell Queller are the best ways to disrupt our opponent and gain tempo advantage all packed into neat 3-drop packages. On top of that you have things that protect your creatures like Selfless Spirit and Archangel Avacyn. If somehow your opponent manages to wipe your board, you can easily rebuild from left over clues, thanks to Tireless Tracker or that Duskwatch Recruiter you sandbagged. On top of all that you can even do a mini Plague Wind impersonation with Archangel Avacyn and Selfless Spirit. Board wipes are so bad against you if not only for the previously mentioned reasons, you also have Tamiyo and Gideon which don’t care about the board being wiped. The deck also happens to have a very good way to fight Emrakul, the Promised End in Tamiyo, Field Researcher or just by swarming the board with so many creatures that your opponent can’t afford to allow you to have an additional turn (with Emrakul) where you can alpha strike them and kill them. A deck some have forgotten about and I plan on jamming games with it.

Well I hope one of these decks call out to you. I think they are all very powerful in their own ways and they are all decks that haven’t been explored much. I will try to get back to you with an article that will have updates and where I stand. Next week we’ll go deeper down the rabbit hole as I plan to bring you some more Standard decks. I have a spicy brew for that one!

As always, thank you so much for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

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