Hey everyone, and welcome back! Last week I talked about Chromatic Black and updates to that deck. This week I've been testing for the Starcity Games Invitational which will be taking place at SCG CON. The first-place prize is a nice purse of $20,000, a token in your image, and a qualification for the next Pro Tour. So, I've been a busy bee tuning and playing decks. At this point in time I am pretty locked in on Chromatic Black, but the other deck I was considering was Prison. This deck started as a brew around card, the card being Jaya Ballard. It started out with prison elements and Jaya Ballard to filter your draws and prison cards, but Jaya kept dying to Star of Extinction. A card we had the full playset of. She ended up getting the axe and by the end of the night we had a sweet land destruction deck on our hands. I almost chose to play this deck but ultimately, I think it needs to be tuned a little more and I'm also worried about time as the deck doesn't close out the game very quickly. I imagine in real life your opponent will concede when they have no permanents in play though.
Let's have a look at the deck.
R/W Prison | Guilds Standard | Ali Aintrazi
- Instants (1)
- 1 Sanguine Sacrament
- Artifacts (12)
- 1 Crucible of Worlds
- 1 The Immortal Sun
- 2 Azor's Gateway
- 4 Thaumatic Compass
- 4 Treasure Map
- Lands (24)
- 4 Mountain
- 5 Plains
- 1 Field of Ruin
- 2 Arch of Orazca
- 4 Clifftop Retreat
- 4 Memorial to War
- 4 Sacred Foundry
I never thought land destruction would be anywhere near viable in Standard again but that doesn't seem to be the case. It all lies in a card that looks like a joke and looks basically unplayable. That card is Haphazard Bombardment. Any time we as players see these types of card and the word "random" we just stop reading it and go on with our lives. Even I do this, and I'm known for giving wacky cards more attention. The thing about Haphazard Bombardment is that you can basically avoid the "random" aspect of the card by selecting four different lands from your opponent. If your plan is to kill their lands over time, then it doesn't matter much if you are killing one or two every turn.
Haphazard Bombardment stacks, this means if you have two out you will be destroying two permanents with aim counters on them at your end step. Keep in mind you can also target Carnage Tyrant with an aim counter because of the way Haphazard Bombardment is worded. Since technically you choose four permanents, you never actually legally target Carnage Tyrant, so you can put an aim counter on our favorite dinosaur friend. Once the trigger of Haphazard Bombardment goes onto the stack, it will destroy one of those permanents randomly with an aim counter. Your opponents cannot respond after you have picked the permanent you are destroying. This is important for things like Nezahal, Primal Tide or even Niv-Mizzet, Parun.
Once you get Haphazard Bombardment going, you will be able to destroy multiple lands a turn with Memorial to War (combos very well with Crucible of Worlds) and even Star of Extinction. Make sure you are destroying lands that do not already have aim counters on them as Haphazard Bombardment will get those eventually. Another tip is to attempt to choke your opponent from a color. So, when casting Haphazard Bombardment, see which colored sources they have the least of and try to blow all of those up. If it is even then pick the color that hurts you the most, this is usually White to shut off Cleansing Nova or Blue to make it harder for Izzet Drakes to dig through their deck.
You will usually end up closing the game out with Dawn of Hope, a massive Banefire, or opponent conceding when they can't cast any spells. Transforming Azor's Gateway hurries this process along as you will be able to generate a ton of mana. Keep in mind that if you have two Dawn of Hopes out that every time you gain life, you will get two separate triggers from Dawn of Hope. So just a single lifelink token will allow you to draw multiple cards if you so desire.
If the game goes long, you will not deck yourself thanks to Sanguine Sacrament and it is going back into your deck. Sanguine Sacrament is a great way to just gain a ton of life mid-late game and give your opponent no hope of closing the game.
Every other card in the deck is designed to buy you time or gain you card advantage, some doing both. Thaumatic Compass is fantastic at ensuring you hit your lands drops early while keeping big creatures at bay. Spires of Orazca forces your opponent to commit more to the battlefield and plays right into your Deafening Clarion, Cleansing Nova, and/or Star of Extinction. Speaking of Spires of Orazca, it is very good against the Izzet Drakes decks. You should try to Ixalan's Binding their Crackling Drakes, Murmuring Mystic, or Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Try to avoid using Ixalan's Binding on Arclight Phoenix if you can help it since they can just pitch Archlight Phoenix and bring it back later by casting their spells. It is much better to keep Archlight Phoenix at bay with Spires of Orazca and Seal Away.
Aggressive decks are even but I find myself favored unless they can stick an Adanto Vanguard early and I can't find a Seal Away or an Ixalan's Binding to deal with it, late game Adanto Vanguard does not matter because of Dawn of Hope and Spires of Orazca. You are excellent against the midrange decks as you can wipe their creatures on curve with Clarions, Cleansing Novas, and finally Star of Extinction. They tend to give you plenty of time to set up. Hand control decks like Dimir or even Grixis are good matchups too. This is because so many of your permanents generate card advantage by just being on the battlefield and they tend to have a hard time dealing with artifacts and enchantments. So, a couple of Treasure Maps, Thaumatic Compass, or even Azor's Gateway go a long way. Experimental Frenzy is a nightmare for them after sideboarding.
Your hardest matchup are decks playing Teferi as he can be difficult to answer in this deck. You do have Banefire, Ixalan's Binding, and Star of Extinction but they usually have countermagic for all of that. You can still win against them, you do have a lot of cards they need to answer, and they will have a decent amount of dead removal spells against you. Early Dawn of Hope and History of Benalia go a long way.
I do have some gameplay with this deck for you. The deck in this video is not the updated version but it will still show you how the deck works by destroying your opponent's mana sources and grinding them out. I only get to play three matches here before having to go but again that is plenty to understand the deck. The Prison list in this article works a lot better overall against the current metagame then the one in the video.
Hope you enjoyed the gameplay. Now go forth and make your opponent question their life decisions by blowing up ALL the lands!
As always, thanks for reading.
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