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Kaldheim Standard Stays Strong


Hello everyone. Even though we've gotten our first look at a few of the cards in Strixhaven: School of Mages, that set won't be released for another few months or so. During the intervening time, there will be plenty of decks built with cards from Magic's latest release, Kaldheim, to keep us entertained. I have a few such decks for you this week that all went 6-0 on Magic Arena by Platinum or Mythic ranked players. Let's get started.

Mono-White Aggro

Our first deck has a number of minor themes within it that all add up to a very formidable deck. Let's take a look at it.

While some Mono-White decks focus on gaining life, other decks, like this one, focus on gaining +1/+1 bonuses. A full playset of Glorious Anthem is included in this deck, giving all creatures you have in play a +1/+1 bonus for each copy of this enchantment you have on the battlefield. Heraldic Banner performs a similar function, but only provides a +1/+0 bonus to all of your White creatures. It can also be used to accelerate your mana production, enabling you to power out additional creatures.

+1/+1 bonuses can also come in the form of counters. There are a couple of great ways of gaining +1/+1 counters in this deck. Luminarch Aspirant allows you to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature of your choice at the beginning of combat on your turn. Since this benefit is usable each turn, Luminarch Aspirant will usually become the target of your opponent's removal spells. Because of this, you'll want to try to place these +1/+1 counters on your creatures so that their toughness is at least 4, which is out of range for most burn spells. This deck also includes a pair of Basri's Solidarity which will put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you have in play.

This deck also features a small theme that grants you a benefit when you cast your second spell each turn. Codespell Cleric continues the +1/+1 theme by adding a +1/+1 counter to one of your creatures when you cast your second spell during a turn. Clarion Spirit will create a 1/1 Spirit creature token when your second spell is cast. That token, along with a lot of the other creatures in this deck, has flying, and all of those flying creatures are great places to put the +1/+1 counters you're able to create.

Mono-Black Knights

The next deck I have for you is a Mono-colored tribal deck. Let's check it out.

Normally, planeswalkers from the Planeswalker Deck product line were created so that they generally were too weak or too costly to be played in Standard, but there have been exceptions. Liliana, Death Mage seems to be one of those exceptions. With her +1 loyalty ability, you'll be able to return a creature card from your graveyard to your hand. Two of the best choices to return will be Foulmire Knight and Blacklance Paragon. Foulmire Knight costs a single mana to play and provides you a terrific blocker. Blacklance Paragon has flash, allowing you to surprise your opponent the first time it is played. It also provides a means of gaining back lost life by granting lifelink to a creature you control (since they're all Knights).

You can also use the -3 loyalty ability of Liliana, Death Mage to destroy any target creature. But that's just one of the many ways you'll be able to destroy an opponent's creatures. Heartless Act allows you to destroy a creature that has no counters on it. Elspeth's Nightmare destroys an opponent's creature with power 2 or less. Murderous Rider has an adventure, Swift End, that you can use to destroy target creature or planeswalker, at the cost of just two points of your life. By combining these with the deathtouch provided by Foulmire Knight and Blacklance Paragon, and you should be able to control your opponent's forces, whether they're on the land or in the air.

To finish your opponent off, you have a couple of options. Attacking with Belle of the Brawl provides a +1/+0 bonus to other Knights you control for the turn. With multiple copies of Belle of the Brawl in play, you can push through a lot of damage. This deck also has a full playset of Smitten Swordmaster. Its adventure, Curry Favor, allows you to gain an amount of life equal to the number of Knights you control. Your opponent also loses that same amount of life. This life drain can often prove to be fatal, provided that you have a large enough amount of Knights in play.

Izzet Control

Our final deck this week is a little more controlling in nature than the previous decks. Let's take a look at it.

Like most control decks, this deck features multiple ways of keeping an opponent's battlefield clear of threats. Unlike many other control decks, though, this deck doesn't use counterspells for this. Instead, burn spells are the main method of keeping your opponent from having any major threats in play. Frost Bite, Squash, Shatterskull Smashing, and Battle of Frost and Fire all allow you to destroy an opponent's creatures with direct damage. All of these also deals damage to an opponent's planeswalkers, enabling you to deal with these threats at the same time.

This deck also includes a playset of Brazen Borrower. Its adventure, Petty Theft, can be used to return any nonland permanent your opponent controls to their hand. By using this against a permanent with a high mana value, you can force your opponent to choose between casting that card on a future turn, using up much of their mana for the turn, or doing without it.

All of these noncreature spells team up with Shark Typhoon to provide a good means of finishing off your opponent. Alternatively, there are some high mana value threats that you can cast to help achieve victory. Ox of Agonas is a recursive threat that can hit for a fair amount of damage. The fact that it can be cast from your graveyard, thanks to its escape ability, makes it a threat that must be exiled to be dealt with permanently. Thryx, the Sudden Storm is a flying threat that you can flash in to surprise your opponent. It also makes your other spells with a mana value of five or more cheaper to cast and unable to be countered. That's a lot of value from this Elemental Giant.

Wrapping Up

Whether you're a fan of aggro decks or control decks, there are neat and innovative choices for you in our current Standard environment.

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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