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The Fun Standard Decks I Almost Played At The New Capenna Championship


The testing process for any big event is always going to have its rejects and almost-got-theres. Any testing team has a lot of players playing a lot of games over a long period of time, many of which that may be trying out brews or experiments that are likely to fall short.

I would ultimately end up playing Naya Runes in the event, with most of my team playing Grixis Vampires, but that doesn't mean I wasn't working on a bunch of awesome decks that just didn't quite get there!

Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge
Wandering Mind
Shigeki, Jukai Visionary

However, just because I didn't play these decks at the Pro Tour doesn't mean they aren't super competitive and fun options for you to play in Standard! Whether it's on the Ladder or at a paper FNM, all three of today's decks are a blast to play and do a lot of winning too. I've played all of these decks to winning records in fairly high Mythic during testing.

So, let's jump right in!

A Bridge Too Far

Jim, you almost played this deck in a pro-level event?!

Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge
The Kami War // O-Kagachi Made Manifest

Yes, actually!

In fact, the original creator of the decklist that I started working with, James Elcombe, actually went 5-2 in the event with an updated version of the deck!

So, what the heck is going on here?

Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge
Titan of Industry
The Kami War // O-Kagachi Made Manifest

The goal of the deck is to go way over the top of all the midrange shenanigans happening in Standard right now. There isn't really a "true" aggro deck in the format, nor is there a hard control deck, and this deck seeks to exploit that. Most decks are engaged in the midrange arms race, which makes this deck's plan to circumvent that entirely and go huge.

The Prismatic Bridge is actually incredible in this deck, essentially giving you an Oath of Druids-type effect every turn for Titan of Industry. While you can occasionally miss and hit the other copies of Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge, otherwise you're hitting a Titan of Industry (or Koma, Cosmos Serpent) every single turn as early as turn five, which doesn't take long to take over the game.

The other big five-color hitter is The Kami War // O-Kagachi Made Manifest, which is just an unbelievable amount of value for one card. You get to exile their best threat with no restrictions, then bounce and force a discard, and lastly get a huge flier that ends the game. That's three cards of value out of one card, with all of it having a direct impact on the boardstate.

Binding the Old Gods
Courier's Briefcase
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki

Bringing it all together is of course the new three-color lands from Streets of New Capenna like Jetmir's Garden and Ziatora's Proving Ground, which are mostly fetchable with Binding the Old Gods. Courier's Briefcase does a nice Prosperous Innkeeper impression and draws three cards more often than you would think, while Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki remains one of the best cards in the format that can both help ramp you as well as copy Titan of Industry in the late game.

The mana is good, as long as you can stay alive!

Flame-Blessed Bolt
Fateful Absence
Battle of Frost and Fire

And to stay alive you've got a nice suite of cheap removal as well as mass removal. Flame-Blessed Bolt is as cheap as it gets, while the normal drawback of Fateful Absence isn't nearly as bad when you're trying to win by miles, not inches. And, of course, Battle of Frost and Fire can mop up creatures and planeswalkers alike, while also providing a ton of extra value.

Archon of Emeria
Disdainful Stroke
Portable Hole

Throw in some good sideboard options across all the colors and you've got one of the most amusing decks I've played in Standard in a very long time, that actually wins a lot. Just watch out for Annul from the Grixis Vampires decks!

Izzet Fable Dragons

It may surprise you, but not only was this the deck I worked the most on during testing, but it also had one of the highest win rates on our spreadsheet of all our Standard matchups. However, it felt similar in some ways to Grixis Vampires but was playing some cards the team thought were too weak, like Wandering Mind and Galazeth Prismari.

Spell Pierce

The goal of this deck was sort of a proof of concept on "Spell Pierce and Annul seem excellent right now as a way to combat Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki, Esika's Chariot, Wedding Announcement // Wedding Festivity, and Showdown of the Skalds in a way that doesn't leak value." This of course was compounded by Jwari Disruption // Jwari Ruins and Disdainful Stroke/Negate.

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki
Goldspan Dragon
Bloodthirsty Adversary

Pairing these cheap counterspells with a forwardly aggressive creature base of creatures that were very good at both accruing value but also closing the game out was the main gameplan, with Goldspan Dragon of course being the main course. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki is as good here as ever, perhaps even better, as the deck utilizes the extra mana super well and has a ton of high-quality targets to copy. It's also nice that you often have a ton of mana floating around due to treasures, meaning that double or even triple kicking Bloodthirst Adversary is very real.

Voltage Surge
Dragon's Fire
Expressive Iteration

The deck also has a ton of cheap removal to both keep the board clear as well as keep the pressure up, with both Voltage Surge and Dragon's Fire having the ability to take down 4 toughness threats. Oh yeah, and you get to play a full set of Expressive Iteration, one of the best card draw spells printed in a very long time too.

I really enjoyed playing this deck and it's an excellent tempo deck with the ability to interact early and turn the corner very quickly in the midgame. If I had played a non-team deck at the event, this probably would have been it.

Jurassic Dark

The last deck on today's menu is another go big ramp deck, but with a very different slant than The Prismatic Bridge deck.

Topiary Stomper
Binding the Old Gods
Titan of Industry

This is a Titan of Industry ramp deck, through and through. The goal is to ramp up to casting Titan of Industry, and then do so as often as possible until your opponent is dead. To accomplish this task, the deck ramps with the criminally underrated Topiary Stomper, as well as the excellent Binding the Old Gods, which allows you to interact with anything your opponent throws at you.

However, what's great about the deck is its ability to apply pressure all the way up the curve while ramping.

Reckoner Bankbuster
Esika's Chariot
Wrenn and Seven

Reckoner Bankbuster can provide extra cards as needed in more grindy situations, but can also just attack for 4 on turn three when it's crewed by a Topiary Stomper. Esika's Chariot needs no introduction, providing a whole boatload of offense and defense for only 4 mana, and it also has high value tokens to copy like the 4/4 from Titan of Industry as well as the treefolk from Wrenn and Seven.

It's this ability to apply pressure while ramping that gives this deck an excellent presence in the midgame that leads into an exceedingly powerful late game.

The Meathook Massacre
Blood on the Snow
Shigeki, Jukai Visionary

Rounding the deck out is a few powerful mass removal spells in The Meathook Massacre and Blood on The Snow, which can punish players who try to get under you or clean things up if they get too messy, as well as the sneaky Shigeki, Jukai Visionary. Shigeki is actually a very good Magic card, allowing for a bit of early defense and ramp, as well as huge and uncounterable card advantage if the game goes long and you've got a lot of mana laying around. Being able to play both sides of the ball in the early and late game is phenomenal and Shigeki even paves the way for a very small graveyard subtheme with Diregraf Rebirth.

This deck is awesome and excels against any aggressive or midrange deck in the format, but be aware that it is a little weak to Goldspan Dragon decks that pack a fast clock alongside counterspells or a combo-finish. If that issue can be solved with cards like Soul Shatter and Duress, this deck is awesome.

The Best Standard In A Long Time!

Standard is just awesome right now.

There are a ton of different types of decks, as well as a multitude of variation among the archetypes themselves. Some of the more popular cards like Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki show up a lot, but it's not like Oko, Thief of Crowns or Field of the Dead in that it invalidates entire archetypes or anything; it's just a good card. There will always be "best cards" in a format, and the best ones in this format are reasonable.

I know Standard has had a bad rap in the last few years, but I highly encourage you to give it a go, and any of these decks provides a really fun and off the wall starting point that has serious competitive potential as well!

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