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Creature Type Matters in Phyrexia Standard


Hello everyone. Like a lot of players, I really enjoy playing decks that feature a strong theme. One of the most fun themes to build a deck around is a creature type. When the majority of your creatures all share a similar trait, you'll find a lot of synergy. This week I have three decks that feature a specific creature type as their theme. Let's get started.

Azorius Soldiers

We'll get started by looking at a deck that I've been matched up against on Magic Arena quite a bit, Azorius Soldiers. Let's take a look at the deck.

Valiant Veteran
As you should expect, this deck is all about Soldiers. You'll specifically want to cast as many Soldiers on your turn as you can, filling up your side of the battlefield. By having a lot of Soldiers in play, you'll be able to maximize the bonus that Valiant Veteran provides. That will obviously make Valiant Veteran a target for your opponent's removal spells, but as long as they don't exile it, you can potentially still benefit by paying five mana and exiling it, giving a +1/+1 counter to each of your Soldiers.

Skystrike Officer is another reason to have as many Soldiers in play as you can. While you have Skystrike Officer on the battlefield, you can keep some of your Soldiers for defense. Whether you actually need to block with them or not, you'll still be able to tap three untapped Soldiers you control to draw a card. Since tapping those Soldiers doesn't use the tap symbol, you'll be able to tap them for this purpose even if they would have summoning sickness. Those extra cards you'll be drawing will equate to additional bodies on the battlefield for you.

Having a large number of Soldiers will also allow you to create a bunch of Soldier artifact creature tokens when you attack with Myrel, Shield of Argive. You can essentially double the size of your forces every turn simply by attacking, which is something you'll usually be doing anyway. Having Myrel, Shield of Argive also helps protect your team by denying your opponent the ability to cast spells or activate any abilities of artifact, creatures, or enchantments. Myrel, Shield of Argive is a well-rounded creature, great on both offense and defense.

Mono-Black Rats

The next deck I have for you features a creature type I'm not very fond of in real life, Rats. Maybe playing a deck like this will help me overcome my aversion to these rodents? Let's take a look at the deck.

Karumonix, the Rat King
Karumonix, the Rat King reigns supreme in this deck. As a 3/3 creature for three mana, its cost is what you would expect, but the value you get is tremendous. On its own, Karumonix has toxic 1, plus you'll get to put any Rat cards that you find in the top five cards of your library into your hand. Karumonix also provides all of your other Rats with toxic 1. Remember that toxic stacks, so Blightbelly Rat will deal two poison counters to your opponent if they are unblocked and Karumonix is in play.

Because of the potential amount of creatures with toxic in this deck, you can often win the game by getting ten poison counters on your opponent. This can sometimes be difficult, though, since most of your creatures are small and can be easily blocked later in the game once larger creatures get cast. As long as you've gotten a poison counter or two on your opponent, you can still win with the help of cards like Drown in Ichor and Whisper of the Dross, as these have proliferate. Also remember that Blightbelly Rat allows you to proliferate when it dies.

As an additional bonus, you might be able to defeat your opponent with their own cards. This is done in two ways. The first is by dealing combat damage to your opponent with Nashi, Moon Sage's Scion. Nashi allows you to exile your opponent's top card from each player's library. You can then play one of those cards during your turn, playing life equal to the spells mana cost instead of using mana to cast it. Alternatively, you can use the activated ability of Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor, the only non-Rat creature in this deck, to play a variable amount of cards for free from the top of your opponent's library.

Naya Elves

We'll wrap things up this week by looking at a three-color deck featuring Elves, a creature type that has been near and dear to my heart for many, many years. Let's check it out.

Leaf-Crowned Visionary
Leaf-Crowned Visionary is one of the most important creatures in this deck. Each copy of Leaf-Crowned Visionary you have on the battlefield provides a +1/+1 bonus to your other Elves. You can also pay one Green mana to draw a card whenever you cast an Elf spell, regardless of whether that spell actually resolves. This allows you to keep a handful of playable cards and provides you with the ability to utilize all of your mana each turn.

The +1/+1 bonus provided by Leaf-Crowned Visionary (and potentially by King Darien XLVIII as well) can go a long way toward pushing damage through, especially for a pair of creatures in this deck. Both Yavimaya Iconoclast and Fleetfoot Dancer have trample, which often allows you to deal damage to your opponent even when faced with blocking creatures. Fleetfoot Dancer also has haste and lifelink, making it quite a threat, especially when combined with these +1/+1 bonuses. It can often attack unexpectedly, and the life you gain can make it difficult for your opponent to make any headway, forcing them to find some removal spell.

In order to make sure you have your best creatures in play, you can rely on the help of Fauna Shaman. This reprint can be tapped to search your library for any creature card to put into your hand, provided that you also pay one Green mana and discard a creature card from your hand. By using this ability, you can find any creature you might need at nearly any time. You can ensure that you'll be able to get the full playset of Leaf-Crowned Visionary into play, or find Glissa Sunslayer right when you need a great blocker.

Wrapping Up

Decks themed around a specific creature type are always a lot of fun to play. There is usually lots of synergy between cards on the battlefield, and they can certainly offer a lot of power. Whether I'm playing in person at my friendly local game store or online, I usually have at least one deck featuring a specific creature type.

What do you think of these decks? 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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