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Unusual Interim Standard Decks


Hello everyone. Previews for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty have officially started. Excitement is in the air for the new set. Everyone wants to try to figure out where each new card fits into their existing deck, or if a brand new deck can be created featuring these new cards. But there's still about three weeks until those new cards will be playable, and you'll need something competitive to play until then. Fear not, because I've got you covered. This week I'm looking at a few decks that have recently won six or more matches in a row during Ranked play by players at Platinum or Mythic ranking on Magic Arena. Let's get started.

Golgari Symmetry

We'll get started this week with a deck whose creatures all have power equal to their toughness. Let's check it out.

Master Symmetrist
Every creature in this deck has power equal to its toughness. If you have a copy of Master Symmetrist on the battlefield, it will give all of your creatures trample when they attack. That can allow you to deal a lot of damage to your opponent, even if they have blockers. It gets even worse for your opponent when your creatures have +1/+1 counters on them. And there just so happens to be a lot of different ways to get a +1/+1 counter onto your creatures.

Getting Ranger Class to Level 2 is an easy way to put a +1/+1 counter on one of your attacking creatures. Oran-Rief Ooze will give a +1/+1 counter to any creature you control when it enters the battlefield. It also adds +1/+1 counters to any attacking creature that already has one when it attacks. Hagra Constrictor comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it. It also provides menace to each creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it. That can be a great way to push through even more damage. You also have creatures that can give themselves +1/+1 counters throughout the game, including Skyclave Shadowcat, Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager, and Dragonsguard Elite all have ways of getting their own +1/+1 counters. Finally, even though it doesn't have any means of getting +1/+1 counters itself, Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider will double the number of +1/+1 counters you place, in addition to halving the number of counters your opponent places, while it is on the battlefield.

Creatures aren't the only means of gaining +1/+1 counters. This deck includes a lot of spells that also provide them. Struggle for Skemfar puts a +1/+1 counter on one of your creatures and then allows that creature to fight one of your opponent's creatures. Inscription of Abundance can put two +1/+1 counters on a creature. Big Play gives a power boost of +2/+2 as well as a +1/+1 counter to one of your creatures (plus reach). Even your mana ramping spell, Emergent Sequence, puts +1/+1 counters on one of your lands, in addition to turning it into a Fractal. All of these +1/+1 counters boost your creatures while preserving their symmetry.

Mardu Aggro

Next, I have an aggressive deck that features a ton of Cleric and Spirit creatures. Let's take a look at the deck.

Orah, Skyclave Hierophant
As I mentioned before the decklist, this deck features a bunch of Clerics. Only two creatures aren't Clerics, so you should be able to profit as long as you have a copy of Orah, Skyclave Hierophant on the battlefield. To help with this, you can use Pyre of Heroes as a means of getting Clerics with a lower mana value into your graveyard. Also helping you return your creatures to the battlefield from your graveyard is Venerable Warsinger. All of these cards can help ensure your forces are as robust as they can be.

Hofri Ghostforge also helps beef up your side of the battlefield, albeit in a different manner. When a nontoken creature of yours dies, Hofri will exile it from your graveyard and create a copy of that creature that is also a Spirit. Since Hofri also gives a +1/+1 bonus to Spirits you control and provides them with trample and haste, he will often be an integral part of your victory.

In addition to the tribal nature of this deck, it also features a subtheme of gaining life. Orah, Skyclave Hierophant has lifelink. Skyclave Cleric // Skyclave Basilica gives you two points of life when it enters the battlefield. Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom, Cleric of Life's Blood, and Righteous Valkyrie all provide you with extra life when a creature enters your side of the battlefield. Finally, if you'd rather not exile a card from a graveyard or destroy an enchantment, you can gain two points of life when Dawnbringer Cleric enters the battlefield.

Izzet Control

The final deck I have for you starts off as a control deck, but can get out of hand very quickly. Let's take a look at it.

Editor's Note: This article was submitted before the banning of Alrund's Epiphany and Divide by Zero in Standard on January 25, 2022.

In the early stages of a match, this deck will act as a typical control deck. You can counter your opponent's spells with the use of Jwari Disruption // Jwari Ruins. This is what's known as a soft counter, since your opponent can still potentially resolve their spell if they pay additional mana. That's the only counterspell in the deck, but there are other ways to control your opponent's side of the battlefield.

Demon Bolt, Spikefield Hazard // Spikefield Cave, and Abrade can all deal direct damage to your opponent's creatures. Both Fading Hope and Divide by Zero will return your opponent's creatures (in addition to other problematic permanents) to your opponent's hand. This will force them to spend additional mana to cast these spells again if they really want to have them in play. Galvanic Iteration creates a copy of the next instant or sorcery spell you cast on the same turn, giving you extra value for only two additional mana.

To finish the match, you have Goldspan Dragon which can deal a lot of damage very quickly. It will also create Treasure tokens that you'll be able to use to cast spells that will mess with your opponent's plans. Alrund's Epiphany is probably the most annoying spell currently in Standard, and will grant you an additional turn when you cast it. You also have Lier, Disciple of the Drowned who gives flashback to the instant and sorcery spells in your graveyard. By using this ability, you can keep your opponent's side of the battlefield clear of threats and blockers and deal damage by attacking with Lier.

Wrapping Up

These decks can all be played over the next few weeks, giving you something that has a proven track record that you can play in the first couple of weeks after Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty releases. I plan on building each of these on Magic Arena, so I will have time to earn enough gold to buy packs of the new expansion.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below. 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

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