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Returning Hits


Hello, everyone! Theros Beyond Death has been out for a few weeks now and it has really freshened up Standard. We're definitely in the "honeymoon phase" for this set, where anything seems possible. This week, we'll be taking a look at a few decks that have received upgrades from Theros Beyond Death that you might want to try out at a tournament near you. Let's get started.

Jund Food

The first deck I have for you this week has been around for a while, but got a few new cards from Theros Beyond Death. Let's take a look at the deck:

Eat to Extinction
I'm primarily an aggro player. As such, this is a deck that I find to be extremely difficult to play against. It features the Cat/Oven combo (Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven), which allows you to win games without ever attacking. However, while it may be possible to win without attacking, this deck is extremely capable of killing you with combat. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King is an absolute monster, growing in size and drawing you additional cards every time you sacrifice a permanent. Since he also has flying, he can be difficult to block effectively, and with his starting toughness of four, it's difficult to burn him away.

Theros Beyond Death brought the allied scry lands, which makes the mana for this deck much easier. You now have access to a playset of Temple of Malice, which taps for either Red or Black mana, but also allows you to scry the top card of your library when it comes into play. That allows you the ability to send an unwanted land card to the bottom of your library when you're flooding, or keep it on top if you're mana screwed. Or, you can use it to send away an extra creature if you're searching for a piece of removal.

Speaking of removal, Theros Beyond Death also added a powerful removal spell for this deck to use. Eat to Extinction allows you to exile any creature or planeswalker at instant speed. This removal isn't restricted to only removing a creature with a specific converted mana cost (CMC) or size. The fact that it exiles the creature makes it a very powerful piece of removal against decks attempting to utilize a creature's Escape ability. You can also use this on any of the Gods once the opponent has enough devotion to turn them into creatures. This gets around the fact that they are indestructible, since exiling doesn't destroy the creature.

Temur Reclamation

The next deck I have for you features one of the Elder Giants from Theros Beyond Death. Let's take a look at it:

Storm's Wrath
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath acts as a Growth Spiral on steroids in this deck. It allows you to have a ton of redundancy and makes ramping your mana feel almost easy. By having seven spells that ramp your mana and allow you to draw a card when they resolve, you should be able to double the mana production of your opponent fairly easily. When you combine that with the ability to tap your lands multiple times for mana thanks to Wilderness Reclamation, you'll be blasting your opponent into oblivion with Expansion // Explosion in no time.

Storm's Wrath is the sweeper that Red has needed for a while. Dealing four damage is usually just enough to destroy most creatures on the battlefield. The fact that Storm's Wrath deals four damage to each planeswalker is also very important. Red decks have usually been comprised of smaller creatures that can quickly become outclassed, making it difficult to attack an opposing planeswalker if the opponent has any decent blockers on the battlefield. Now, even though you'll generally wipe your own board, Red decks have a way to reset the battlefield when things start to become difficult.

Thassa's Intervention is a great modular spell that can be pretty vital to this deck. If you need it to, you can cast it to counter an opponent's spell unless they pay additional mana. However, it's much more likely that you'll use Thassa's Intervention to find a copy of Expansion // Explosion that you can finish the game with on the following turn.

Rakdos Aggro

The final deck I have for you this week proves the power of Embercleave. Let's take a look at it:

If you had any doubt that Embercleave is a busted card, you should take a look at this deck. This deck has a variety of creatures that can wreck your opponent's life total if they are equipped with a copy of Embercleave. The best target to equip Embercleave to is Rotting Regisaur. You'll be able to deal a ton of trample damage even if your opponent blocks Rotting Regisaur thanks to the double strike Embercleave provides. Another great option is Spawn of Mayhem, especially if your opponent is playing a deck that doesn't have many flying creatures.

One fun combo to try is to equip Embercleave to one of your Knight creatures as a means of creature destruction. This works well if you are also able to flash in Blacklance Paragon to give the equipped Knight deathtouch. If you're lucky, your opponent will block with multiple creatures as a way to avoid taking trample damage. By giving the Knight deathtouch, you only need to assign one point of damage to each blocking creature in order to destroy them, which leaves any additional damage free to trample to your opponent's life total.

While this deck is likely the least complicated of the decklists I have for you this week, it's also quite possibly the most powerful. If you're looking for a deck that you can play at your local Friday Night Magic event, you should give this one a try. You can likely play your best of three match in about 30 minutes or less, leaving you plenty of time to socialize with your friends.

Wrapping Up

Theros Beyond Death has reinvigorated my love for Standard. For a while, Standard was a little lackluster, but thanks to the influx of new cards, I'm excited to play Standard again.

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

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