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Never-Ending Cycle


We are now several months into Dominaria Standard, and the format is relatively solved. The format is dominated by Red variants, with wu and Esper Control being close runner ups. There are a couple of fringe strategies that can contend with these decks, but it can be hard to find a real edge. One of the advantages of Standard being relatively homogeneous is that it makes it easy to know what problems you have to solve if you're going to be trying to do something different. This week, RU- has a take on Control that looks like it could be a fine choice for the current Standard metagame:

Drake Haven
It's been quite a while since we've seen a wu cycling deck, but it's not shocking that we might see it make a return in this format. Censor seems like it ought to be an incredible counterspell in this format, where you need to be able to answer cards like Arguel's Blood Fast and Kari Zev, Skyship Raider. Cast Out is increasingly important as people start to focus on Planeswalkers like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria; Chandra, Torch of Defiance; and Karn, Scion of Urza as ways to break open grindy midrange and control mirrors. Perhaps most importantly, Drake Haven seems like an incredible card in the format.

Drake Haven is the kind of flexible card that is really exciting in this format. Most people are prepared for artifacts like God-Pharaoh's Gift, but cards like Abrade aren't going to help against Drake Haven. Against Red decks, this card can come down later in the game and give you a consistent stream of blockers that are difficult for your opponent to get through. Against control decks, this card comes down before Teferi and does an incredible job of eating away at opposing removal spells and choking your opponent's mana while helping to keep their Planeswalker off the board.

One of the big advantages of the cycling deck is that so many of your cards help you dig towards the pieces that matter. That means that the first Drake Haven won't be the only one for long. Once you've found a second, it becomes easy to keep the board tipped in your favor. It also helps you dig towards the singleton Abandoned Sarcophagus, which allows you to rebuy all of the answers you burned early in the game. Particularly important is your ability to immediately recast Renewed Faith to keep your life total high.

If you're looking for another way to play control in this format that's somewhat more proactive, this seems like a good choice. One of the biggest pitfalls of this Standard format is that it's so polarized that you're all but guaranteed to have dead cards. The flexibility of cycling answers means that is much less likely and you even get additional chances to find your key singletons.

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