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Thoughts on Magic Origins Standard


Magic Origins looks to be a powerful set with many strong cards to build around.

The card that I am most excited about is Nissa, Vastwood Seer. Civic Wayfinder was an underappreciated card when it was in Standard, and Nissa is a mostly-amped-up version of it.

There are several obvious shells for Nissa here, including an update of my beloved Abzan deck:

Nissa seems so incredibly strong and plays naturally with the Abzan Control game plan: Stall until you play game-winning after game-winning bomb in the late game. And it bridges that game by finding a Forest. Interestingly, because of Nissa, I have altered the mana base a drastic degree by including a second copy of Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and two more Forests. Running out of lands to fetch with Nissa is certainly possible, and that is a reason to add a fifth Forest. Of note, if Windswept Heath is your seventh land, you can play around a removal spell to virtually guarantee transforming Nissa.

Languish is also a game-changer, hence why I am eschewing the former Fleecemane Lion plan. Courser of Kruphix is still good enough (since, in the words of Steve Rubin, “It lets you play more Magic” by getting past your land floods). It’s definitely possible that it’s still worth playing Fleecemane Lion, but I would like to see how Standard shakes up before modifying this starting point.

An entirely new archetype that is also a favorite of mine (since my early success in 2008 was due to this) is B/G Elves:

Collected Company has twenty-five “hits” in this deck, which is enough for me to want to play it, not counting the times when you just burn your opponent out by revealing two copies of Shaman of the Pack.

Sylvan Messenger is interesting in that the expected number of cards to draw with it is approximately 4 × 31 ÷ 60, which is roughly 2. Paying 3g for a 2/2 that draws you two cards is an incredible rate, and it’ll hit four cards approximately 7% of the time—and three cards 14% of time.

I like how the deck has a built-in resilience to decks that play a lot of sweepers since both Sylvan Messenger and Collected Company are basically the perfect cards to play around sweepers (just imagine your opponent casting Languish on turn four and you replying with Collected Company during his or her end step for two Shaman of the Pack. Take 10!).

An under-the-radar deck that looks very strong to me is Big Red Devotion:

The addition of another 4-damage burn spell (Exquisite Firecraft) means it is much easier to assemble lethal burn on a stalled board. I’ve always been attracted this sort of deck because it has the ability to play a midrange-style game by killing your opponent’s creatures and finishing him or her with an enormous Dragon. In addition, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx over-performs by letting you cheat out Stormbreath Dragons ahead of schedule.

With the printing of Languish, Dragonlord Ojutai does suffer, so I think there is a lot of merit in revisiting pure U/B Control:

The major gains for this archetype are a consistent turn-two counterspell that works no matter what—Clash of Wills—and Languish (a sweeper on turn four). I don’t think Languish completely supplants Perilous Vault since Vault has the ability to clear out everything except lands animated by Nissa. Broken Ambitions saw a fair amount of play in its heyday since it could be a catch-all for everything on turn two.

I really like the idea of this deck on paper, but it suffers from the weaknesses that most Whip of Erebos decks have, which is being really slow and being extremely soft to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Second, at any given point, someone could decide to ’board Back to Nature, which is unbelievably difficult for this deck to beat.

If neither of those things is true, I could get behind playing something like this.

Alhammarret's Archive
There’re plenty more unexplored ideas that I haven’t had time to full flesh out including:

In any case, the sky is the limit here while I look forward to seeing what happens in the next few weeks. StarCityGames Chicago is the first big Standard tournament. Then, two weeks after that, Pro Tour Magic Origins in Vancouver will be occurring.

I look forward to seeing the wild west of week one Standard in Chicago, followed by the finely-tuned decklists of the Pro Tour.

I welcome any comments here or on Twitter @jkyu06.

Thanks for reading!


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