The Mind
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Target Acquired

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen Standard evolving in a really exciting way. Aggro decks are giving way to Green-Red-X monsters decks, as well as all manner of Blue-based control and Hour of Promise ramp decks. For me, one of the most exciting things about this Standard is trying to find the best Hour of Promise deck. Last week we looked at Ali Aintrazi’s five-color build, but this week Seth Manfield has something that’s a little more conservative and packs a little more punch.

Arch of Orazca
Looking this over, the idea is very similar to most of the other midrange decks in the format. You’ve got a solid curve of Fatal Push backed up by Moment of Craving, Vraska's Contempt, Battle at the Bridge, and more. The high density of removal gives you time to leverage cards like Thaumatic Compass and Hour of Promise to develop your mana and control the board even further.

As the game goes on, this deck has a fairly overbearing endgame, including locking your opponent out of key spells with Ixalan's Binding, locking them out of creatures with Profane Procession, or just grinding them out with Vraska, Relic Seeker, Arch of Orazca, and Ifnir Deadlands.

That said, there’s an additional angle that this deck leverages that Ali’s did not. Azor's Gateway. Azor's Gateway is what lets you turn the corner and start overpowering opponents with an incredible mana advantage. Suddenly, your Mastermind's Acquisition isn’t a slow tutor for the answer you need. Instead, it lets you go get something like Torment of Hailfire or Wildest Dreams to bury your opponent in cards. Alternatively, it lets you activate Arch of Orazca and Profane Procession while still casting cards that your opponent absolutely must deal with.

If you want a midrange deck with an overwhelming endgame, this is where I would start. With cards like Thaumatic Compass and Sanctum of the Sun helping to power both huge haymakers and splash colors, you can do any number of interesting things, especially with Hour of Promise to help pull the mana base and midgame together. All in all, I’m very excited to watch the development of the Mastermind's Acquisition ramp deck, and I can’t wait to see how successful this type of variant is.

Masters 25 is now available for Preorder!