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New Year, New Set, New Decks


Hello, everyone! This past weekend was the Theros Beyond Death prerelease and we've begun to see the power level of these new cards. The new cards were also released on Magic Online (MTGO) as well, allowing events to take place there. This week I have a few new decks that were played this past weekend on MTGO. Let's get started.

White Weenie

The first deck I have for you went 5-0 on MTGO in Standard Leagues this week. It's the latest in a long line of White Weenie decks. Let's take a look at it:

Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis
Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis is the headliner of this deck. With her -2 loyalty ability, you'll be able to create two 1/1 Human Soldier creature tokens. Since the objective of White Weenie decks is to outnumber your opponent with a bunch of small creatures, this ability helps start this plan into motion. This deck also has a total of nineteen other creatures that can be played for 1 mana each. This really allows you to get more creatures on the battlefield than your opponent.

The main problem with having a bunch of tiny creatures on the battlefield is that it's easy for your opponent to block them individually. Luckily, there's a number of ways that you can beef up your creatures. The -1 loyalty ability of Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis gives a +2/+1 bonus to up to two creatures you control for the turn. You can use this to help punch through some damage, since your creatures won't be quite as fragile and it might be more difficult for your opponent to block effectively.

For more permanent ways to pump up your creatures, this deck has a few possibilities. With Venerated Loxodon, you'll be able to put a +1/+1 counter on up to five of your creatures, thanks to convoke. Unbreakable Formation also allows you to gain a +1/+1 counter on each of your creatures in play, as long as it is cast during your main phase. Finally, you have Heraldic Banner, which offers a +1 bonus to your White creature power only, with no bonus to their toughness.

Mono-Red Aggro

The next deck came in 10th Place at the Standard Challenge on MTGO. It's the latest incarnation of Mono-Red Aggro. Let's take a look at it:

Phoenix of Ash
While this deck is comprised of mainly cards from sets other than Theros Beyond Death, it does have a full playset of Phoenix of Ash in it. For 3 mana, Phoenix of Ash is a 2/2 hasty flier that with the ability to increase its power for three additional mana. It can also escape your graveyard fairly easily and doing so will give it a +1/+1 counter. Having the ability to return from your graveyard multiple times during a game means you're less likely to have no offensive play if your opponent plays a board wipe.

Phoenix of Ash pairs up nicely with another card in this deck, Embercleave. Since Embercleave gives the equipped creature a +1/+1 bonus, it can be quite possible to attack with a 4/4 Phoenix as long as it has escaped from your graveyard. The double strike and trample that Embercleave also provides will mean that Phoenix of Ash needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. If your opponent doesn't have a way to stop the equipped Phoenix, you could easily attack with your 4/4 creature, potentially dealing massive amounts of damage if unblocked.

The other new card in this deck is Infuriate. This Instant gives a target creature a +3/+2 bonus for the turn for a single mana. When this is cast upon a Fervent Champion, you'll be able to block nearly any creature effectively. In the past, my Mono-Red Aggro decks have had trouble dealing with creatures like Questing Beast, but now I have a low-mana solution to this problem.

Gruul Midrange

The final deck I have for you today also comes from the Standard Challenge. Let's take a look at it:

Klothys, God of Destiny
Nylea, Keen-Eyed is a God that really helps this deck out. Not only does she have an activated ability that you can use multiple times in a turn (provided that you have enough mana to do so), but she also makes all of your creature spells cost one less mana to cast. This can allow you to gain the upper hand on your opponent by casting larger threats than they can a turn earlier than usual.

While Nylea's mana reduction ability won't help with its casting cost, Gallia of the Endless Dance serves an important purpose in this deck. By attacking with three or more creatures, you'll be able to discard a card at random from your hand and draw two cards from your deck. Being able to draw additional threats to use on following turns can be key to defeating your opponent.

Another new card from Theros Beyond Death is Klothys, God of Destiny. Klothys is a relatively cheap spell to cast that will allow you to exile cards from any player's graveyard for profit. Being able to exile an opponent's threats, making them unable to be cast for their escape cost, while also giving you two points of life and dealing two points of damage to your opponent can help end games quickly.

Wrapping Up

While cards from Theros Beyond Death are only a few days old, they're already starting to make their mark in Standard. It's always an exciting time right after a new set releases, and I can't wait to see what new decks emerge featuring cards from this new set.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. Also, feel free to share this article with your friends anywhere on social media. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

- Mike Likes