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Future Champions


Hello, everyone! With the Magic World Championships taking place this past weekend, we've gotten to see what many will think are the pinnacle of decks to play in Standard. While the best builds of these decks are likely different than the decks played this past weekend, due to the small number of players in the tournament, there's no doubt that the archetypes played will be considered top tier decks. This week, rather than looking at the cream of the crop, I figured we'd take a look at some decks that are not as tested, but still look like a ton of fun to play. Let's get started.

Smothering Tentacles

The first deck I have for you this week wants to gain an advantage by drawing additional cards. Let's take a look at the deck:

Nadir Kraken
Nadir Kraken allows you to pay 1 mana to add a +1/+1 counter on it and create a 1/1 Tentacle creature token every time you draw a card. This can be done every turn, during your draw step, and it will allow you to both outsize and outnumber your opponent's creatures. You'll also be able to draw additional cards via other means like Growth Spiral and Kenrith, the Returned King. When you do so, you'll usually want to make sure you have a spare mana available to pay for the activated ability of Nadir Kraken. This helps keep the pressure on your opponent and can make them scramble to find an answer to your growing threat.

Another creature that you'll deploy that really appreciates the additional cards you'll be drawing is Dream Trawler. Every turn, Dream Trawler will potentially be a 5/5 flying creature with lifelink, assuming that you do nothing more than draw your card for the turn and declare Dream Trawler as an attacker. With the additional cards you'll be drawing, you should have no trouble keeping Dream Trawler safe from your opponent's targeted removal. The only negative regarding Dream Trawler is its mana cost, as it is a bit expensive. Luckily, there are a few other cards in this deck that will help you acquire all of the mana you'll need each turn.

Previously I mentioned that Growth Spiral is a card that allows you to draw an additional card when it resolves. It also allows you to put a land from your hand onto the battlefield. Wolfwillow Haven allows the land it is enchanting to tap for an additional Green mana. This extra mana can be used to get Nissa, Who Shakes the World into play, which is another tool you have to increase your mana production. Nissa can also help you cast Nyxbloom Ancient, which triples the mana production of any permanent that taps for mana. Hopefully you like doing math, because you'll be doing a lot of it when you play this deck.

Gallia's Team

The next deck I have for you is a tribal deck featuring the Satyr tribe. Let's take a look at it:

Gallia of the Endless Dance
During the days of original Theros, there was a fun, competitive deck comprised of Satyr tribe cards. Gallia of the Endless Dance enables a new Standard Satyr build to be played. While this deck isn't completely made up of Satyr cards, there's still a fair amount of them. Gallia will give all of them a +1/+1 bonus and haste, so your opponent will probably start playing a little more defensively once you have Gallia on the battlefield. I'm not very high on Gallia's ability that triggers when you attack with three or more creatures. You won't want to do this very often, but it can come in very handy when you're holding a card or two that's not vital to your current strategy.

There are only three other notable Satyrs in this deck. Blood Aspirant is a Satyr that acts as repeatable removal while it grows into a massive threat. Its activated ability can make combat very difficult for your opponent. When you combine this activated ability with the death trigger of Careless Celebrant, you suddenly have removal for any creature with 3 toughness or less. Nessian Wanderer isn't as helpful with creature removal, but it does allow you a repeatable way to find the lands you need to keep your deck running smoothly.

Anax, Hardened in the Forge is the last piece of the puzzle for this Satyr deck. With Anax, you'll be able to create a 1/1 Satyr token every time a nontoken creature you control dies. While these tokens can't be used as chump blockers, they most certainly can be sacrificed with Blood Aspirant's activated ability to make a large defending creature your opponent controls unable to block for the turn. Use this ability whenever you can force through a chunk of damage and you'll see yourself winning in no time.

Abzan Bogles

The final deck I have for you takes its name from a deck played in Modern that buffs up one of its creatures to create an unstoppable force. Let's take a look at it:

Setessan Champion
Setessian Champion grows bigger and also draws you a card every time an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control. This allows you to grow it into a large threat while also digging through your library for the enchantments you need to continue the cycle. The main drawback to a strategy like this will be avoiding creature removal spells. While none of the enchantments in this deck offer any sort of protection from an opponent's removal spells, there are a couple of copies of Karametra's Blessing in the deck, which help offer hexproof and indestructibility.

Whenever possible, you'll want to get a copy of Archon of Sun's Grace into play quickly. This will allow you to create a cavalry of 2/2 flying Pegasus creatures that also have lifelink. You'll be able to create a new Pegasus token every time you successfully cast an enchantment spell. This allows you to have a multifaceted plan of attack. Your opponent will no longer be able to easily deal with your threats with targeted creature destruction spells. Instead, they'll need to rely more on mass destruction spells. This can work out well for you, as not every deck has access to spells that deal with multiple creatures.

This deck also features a card that is only found in Theros Beyond Death Theme Boosters. That card is Ironscale Hydra. Ironscale Hydra is a 5 CMC (converted mana cost) 5/5 creature that can be difficult to remove from play. It grows in size by gaining a +1/+1 counter whenever a creature would deal combat damage to it. By combining this with Hydra's Growth, you create a virtually unstoppable threat. Hydra's Growth puts a +1/+1 counter on the creature it enchants and doubles the number of +1/+1 counters on the enchanted creature during your upkeep. You can make this even better by adding Setessan Training into the mix, which will provide trample.

Wrapping Up

As I'm writing this, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa just won the Magic World Championship XXVI. Congratulations, PVDDR! You're a well-deserving champion. His Azorius Control deck will be seen by many as the most optimal deck to play, but it's not the only deck that can do well in Standard. Even though the decks I have shown you today aren't tournament winners (yet), they look to be a blast to play and I hope to hear how you do if you give any of them a try.

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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