Going into the first weekend of Aether Revolt Standard, there are three styles of decks we knew would be serious contenders: Saheeli Rai combo decks, Torrential Gearhulk decks, and B/G Delirium decks. People knew the likes of Winding Constrictor was powerful, but most speculation was on what the card would do in formats like Commander, not Standard. Surprisingly, the card had a strong debut in Standard, courtesy of Daniel Guajardo:
Green-Black Counters - Aether Revolt Standard | Daniel Guajardo|
- Creatures (23)
- 2 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
- 3 Bristling Hydra
- 3 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
- 3 Longtusk Cub
- 4 Winding Constrictor
- 4 Verdurous Gearhulk
- 4 Walking Ballista
- Planeswalkers (4)
- 4 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
- Sorceries (2)
- 2 Attune with Aether
Winding Constrictor encourages an exciting combination of Energy counter synergies and +1/+1 counter synergies I can’t wait to see in action. The +1/+1 counter synergies power up cards like Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, Bristling Hydra, and Verdurous Gearhulk. These are cards which can help you end a game before it really gets started if your opponent stumbles. However, the ability to generate huge chunks of additional power also gives you a ton of staying power, since you need so few threats to apply serious pressure to your opponent.
However, you’ve got plenty of other options for generating extra cards in more attrition-oriented matchups. Firstly, there’s Glint-Sleeve Siphoner which can do a reasonable impression of Dark Confidant in conjunction with Winding Constrictor. However, there’s also Tireless Tracker out of the sideboard which can get out of hand much faster when Winding Constrictor is involved.
Another exciting card for this deck out of Aether Revolt is Walking Ballista. This is a card that lets you absolutely dominate creature mirrors given enough time and mana. When Winding Constrictor is involved, Ballista can single-handedly shut opposing players out of the game or just let you Fireball your opponent out.
If the format shifts more towards sweepers like Fumigate rather than Radiant Flames, this deck may begin to struggle. However, in the meantime, it’s an interesting and highly synergistic deck that can play both aggressive and midrangey gameplans, and I’m excited to see whether it will become more popular in the coming weeks.