Pteramander is an uncommon from Ravnica Allegiance that looks very unassuming at first glance, but has found great success in Standard. Costing only a single Blue mana, it is a 1/1 flying creature that can grow to become a 5/5 fairly easily. And since that growth can happen at instant speed, it can make combat quite difficult for your opponent. This week I have for you a few different homes for Pteramander that have proven themselves in Standard. Let's get started.
Perhaps the most obvious deck that Pteramander would slot into is the Izzet Drakes deck. The Izzet Drakes archetype has been commonplace since the printing of Crackling Drake in Guilds of Ravnica. This past weekend there was a Standard Premier event on Magic Online (MTGO) where the second place deck was an Izzet Drakes deck featuring Pteramander. Let's take a look at that deck:
Izzet Drakes | Allegiance Standard | TOIRO, 2nd Place, MTGO Standard Premier
Lava Coil and Shock. You'll also want to play spells that allow you to draw additional cards such as Opt and Chart a Course. By casting all of these spells, you'll not only increase the power of your Crackling Drakes and Enigma Drakes, but you'll also make it easier for you to use the Adapt ability on your Pteramanders.
Once you have a few threats on the battlefield, you can begin attacking your opponent with one of your Drakes. It's usually not necessary to attack with everything unless you know for certain your opponent will be defeated that turn. A better plan of attack for this deck is to slowly nibble away at your opponent's life total with a single creature each turn while leaving back some defenders to dissuade your opponent from attacking. While it can work that way sometimes, this deck isn't an aggro deck. It's more of a controlling midrange deck, so keep that in mind when planning your attacks.
Mono-Blue Tempo | Allegiance Standard | MAX_9, 7th Place, Standard Premier
- Enchantments (4)
- 4 Curious Obsession
- Lands (20)
- 20 Island
Curious Obsession and attack with it turn after turn. Not only will Curious Obsession make your creature larger, but it also allows you to draw a card whenever the enchanted creature deals combat damage to a player. Continue attacking and drawing cards this way until you're able to find a Tempest Djinn. Once you cast the Djinn, you'll likely have a large, evasive threat that your opponent will either have to deal with (which they probably can't or they would have used the removal spell on the creature enchanted with Curious Obsession) or start taking large amounts of damage.
Pteramander is a great addition to this deck as it offers you a turn one play that has evasion. It can also grow in size, making it another large flying creature that your opponent will need to deal with in a hurry.
The next deck I have for you featuring Pteramander is the 23rd place deck from this past weekend's Standard Premier Event. It takes the Izzet Drake deck and adds a bit of Green to it to create an all-new deck. Let's take a look at it:
Temur Drakes | Allegiance Standard | MALFICO, 23rd Place, Standard Premier
- Enchantments (1)
- 1 Search for Azcanta
- Lands (21)
- 1 Mountain
- 2 Island
- 1 Rootbound Crag
- 1 Stomping Ground
- 4 Breeding Pool
- 4 Hinterland Harbor
- 4 Steam Vents
- 4 Sulfur Falls
Enigma Drake having been replaced by Hydroid Krasis and Niv-Mizzet, Parun. This change allows for some powerful late game creatures to help you finish out the game. Plus, if you manage to cast Hydroid Krasis while you have Niv-Mizzet, Parun on the battlefield, you'll not only gain half X life thanks to the Krasis, but you'll also deal half X damage to any target(s) thanks to Niv-Mizzet.
While Hydroid Krasis is a terrific reason to add Green to an otherwise Izzet deck, it's not the only reason. Growth Spiral is the other card in this deck requiring Green mana. Not only does it help you draw additional cards, but it also ramps your mana as well. With a couple of Growth Spirals, you have the very real possibility of casting Niv-Mizzet, Parun as early as turn four. If that happens, your victory is almost assured. Growth Spiral also speeds up the clock on being able to Adapt your Pteramander. Not only does a Growth Spiral in your graveyard reduce the Adapt cost by 1 mana, it also provides you an additional land on the battlefield. So, in a way each Growth Spiral reduces the cost of Adapting Pteramander by 2 mana.
Wing and Claw | Allegiance Standard | LegenVD, aetherhub.com
- Planeswalkers (4)
- 4 Dovin, Grand Arbiter
- Sorceries (4)
- 4 Chart a Course
Curious Obsession is a powerful tool that boosts a creatures stats and offers the potential to draw a ton of cards as the game goes on. It works wonders on creatures with an evasive ability, such as Flying. When you add in Favorable Winds, your evasive threats all become bigger and badder. In a deck where all of the threats are Flyers, the combination of these cards can become lethal for your opponent very quickly.
In this deck, Pteramander acts as both a great turn one play as well as a great late game play. It alone has the potential to become your biggest creature. If your opening hand includes Pteramander alongside a couple of other creatures, you might want to hold off on casting it until later in the game when you're able to make it a 5/5 right away.
When Ravnica Allegiance was beginning to be previewed, who would have thought that a tiny 1/1 Salamander Drake would be one of the most versatile creatures in Standard? Hopefully these decks show just how amazing Pteramander can be.
What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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