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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week: #PTDTK Edition


It's 6:30 on Thursday night as I'm starting to put this together. Right now, Pro Tour competitors have finished putting in their preparation and are getting a few more fitful hours of sleep before they have to put everything on the line and show the world what they've come up with. Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir starts in a few, short hours, and I can't wait to see what the new Standard format looks like. Heroes. Dragons. Monsters. This format promises to have something for everyone. Here are a few decks to be on the lookout for:

Tom Ross has done it again. He's found an awesome, voltron-esque aggro deck for Standard. The big difference? This one might have broken Dromoka's Command, which was already one of the most exciting cards to come out of Dragons of Tarkir. Let's take a look at what may be the best shell for this new powerhouse:

The plan for this deck has never changed. You're trying to stick an early hero, power it up with cheap protection and auras, and smash your opponent before they can mount a substantial defense. A problem for these decks has been that they have difficulty breaking board stalls, and can easily fold to a combination of giant monsters and efficient removal.

This build changes all of that. First and foremost, Tom has added Monastery Mentor as a way to generate card advantage and threaten to go wide. It's also very good at overloading opposing removal by presenting your opponent with an impossible choice. Do they kill your giant hero or your mentor? If they do, are you just going to blow them out with a cheap protection spell? It makes it even harder to defend against an already powerful strategy.

The biggest upgrade is the addition of Dromoka's Command. This card does everything. It can target two different heroes to function as a blowout in combat. It's an answer to efficient blockers like Courser of Kruphix and Doomwake Giant. It's a cheap way to interact with Lightning Strike and Anger of the Gods. It breaks board stalls and kills problematic creatures. This is the only Green card in this deck, but there's no question that the addition of this card pushes this deck to a new level and provides all manner of devastating tools for your opponents to fight through.

Ever since Shorecrasher Elemental was revealed, there have been rumblings about the return of Mono-Blue Devotion to Standard. The problem with these decks has been that its difficult to deploy enough Blue creatures to the board quickly enough to power up your devotion cards. There also just aren't the same density of powerful two-drops with the rotation of Tidebinder Mage and Frostburn Weird. Todd Anderson may have solved those problems with the addition of one of the most exciting cards in Dragons of Tarkir: Collected Company.

A big problem for this deck is that it was difficult to assemble enough devotion to power-up Thassa and Master of Waves. Collected Company gives you a powerful four-drop that replaces Bident of Thassa. Collected Company generates card advantage in much the same way that Bident does. The difference is that Collected Company can also get you ahead on the board, and even lead to overwhelming advantages early on in the game.

Just imagine casting Collected Company and hitting Thassa plus a few extra Blue mana symbols. If you've play any other creatures on your first three turns, Thassa is probably active and ready to brawl. This also sets up your Master of Waves turns down the line by upping your devotion to Blue. Not only that, but this gives you a real follow-up to sweepers like Crux of Fate or End Hostilities, cards that Mono-Blue has traditionally struggled with.

The addition of Collected Company makes this deck a little slower, but increases your ability to take over during the midgame or recover from a sweeper. Only time will tell if this combination of effects is enough to bring this archetype back to the Sunday stage.

Mono-Blue isn't the only deck that's looking to do something awesome with Collected Company. This Temur brew by Bob Huang may not have taken down an event last weekend, but it shows that there are lots of powerful and interesting things that can be done with the new tools in Temur.

There are a lot of powerful and aggressive things going on here. First, let's look at what Collected Company has going on. You can hit Fanatic of Xenagos or Savage Knuckleblade to get in the hasty hits. You can hit Goblin Rabblemaster to bring the pressure after a sweeper. Deathmist Raptor even sets up a powerful endgame that can be very difficult to break up.

What exactly is that endgame? The combinaton of Ashcloud Phoenix and Deathmist Raptor. As long as you're willing to leave up mana, this combination trumps all manner of removal and sweepers, and allows you to slowly grind down your opponents resources and life total, all while you keep drawing towards a game-breaking copy of Crater's Claws to go with your team on ferocious attackers.

This is a list that has a lot of powerful and flexible interactions, and while it didn't break out last weekend, I have to imagine that we'll see some variation of this theme performing well over the course of the next few months.

The real breakout deck last weekend was an aggressive Green-Red Dragons deck. There were many variations on this theme, with some players opting for small shifts in numbers, while others elected to play cards as three- and four-ofs that other lists didn't play. In his article this week, Frank Karsten took a closer look at this new deck to beat and assembled an aggregate list of all of the most successful builds. Whether you're looking for a place to start building your own list or just a great list to test your new brews against, this is where you want to start.

In many ways, this is a deck we've seen many times before. We've seen various takes on Green-Red monsters do well throughout this Standard format as well as the previous one. We've seen Temur decks that were very similar to this throughout this Standard format. This deck is what you get when you shave away all of the cute cards. Forget Polukranos, Savage Knuckleblade, and Ashcloud Phoenix. The set is called Dragons of Tarkir for a reason, so let's take to the skies and smash our opponent with enormous fliers.

The big draw to this deck is that you have consistent, powerful openings like Elvish Mystic into Goblin Rabblemaster or turn three Stormbreath Dragon. You even get an efficient removal spell in Crater's Claws. But these cards were all legal before, and this was just a fringe deck. The cards that make all the difference? Thunderbreak Regent and Haven of the Spirit Dragon. Now you have a powerful four-drop that punishes your opponent for interacting with your fliers while you continue to apply pressure with your two-drops. You also have a mana-efficient spell land that rebuys your most potent threats once your opponent runs out of gas.

This deck gets to play some of the most powerful acceleration and threats in the format, and backs it up with efficient removal and incidental card advantage for the late game. Lists in this vein dominated events last weekend; can they put up a repeat performance this week?

Our last Standard deck for this week isn't one I expect to see at the Pro Tour, but it's definitely something that could be a blast to sleeve up for FNM. Who would have thought to use Wall of Mulch as part of a combo engine? RJHendricson did, and his take on this Rally the Ancestors engine is something I can't wait to see in action:

The combo here is using your Saytr Wayfinders, Commune with the Gods, and Nyx Weavers to find both Purphoros and Rally the Ancestors, with your various defenders buying you time to dig through your deck. At that point, you can begin sacrificing your defenders to Wall of Mulch and returning them to play with Rally the Ancestors to deal huge chunks of damage and find the next Rally. If that's not enough, or if your opponent isn't cooperating, then you have Assault Formation as well as Altar of the Brood out of the sideboard as alternate win conditions.

This seems difficult to pull off, given the prevalence of Abzan Advantage and Dromoka's Command in the new Standard as ways to interact with Purphoros. However, it's entirely possible that this Johnny-tastic combo deck could steal a few matches in an FNM environment, and it seems like it'd be a ton of fun along the way.

Bonus Modern Deck

Collected Company isn't just for Standard. Many players have already been exploring Collected Company in Modern as a way to set up a persist combo with Melira or Anafenza. Sam Black has a different take. Surprisingly, Sam had both Avatar of the Resolute and Inspiring Call on his list of potential Modern-playables out of Dragons of Tarkir. This week he shows off why. Check out this exciting new take on a fan-favorite tribe:

If there's anything this deck has in spades, it's access to +1/+1 counters. You have two awesome one-drops in Champion of the Parish and Hada Freeblade, as well as Kazandu Blademaster as an incredible two-drop. If your draw is slightly less aggressive, you can use Noble Hierarch to help set up turns where you can explode onto the board, or refuel with an Inspiring Call for three or four.

It's not hard to imagine situations where Avatar of the Resolute is a 6/5 or 7/6 for two. Granted, this is not enormously impressive in a format where both Abrupt Decay and Path to Exile are legal, but something that can go toe-to-toe with Tarmogoyf and come out on top is certainly nothing to scoff at. Perhaps most exciting is the ability for this deck to play a card like Ondu Cleric out of the sideboard to take over the more aggressive matchups, or to use Gavony Township to grind out other midrangey decks.

My biggest fear for this style of deck is that you don't have a ton of ways to interact with opponents. In a format as combotastic as Modern is, this seems like a poor position to be in. That isn't to say that this deck doesn't look like an inordinate amount of fun (it does) or that it can't take games off of top tier Modern decks. You can present lethal very quickly, and have an engine that is potentially both explosive and resilient. I certainly hope to see Allies showing up at Modern events near me.

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