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More Elder Dragons in Standard


Hello everyone. Last week, we started looking at decks featuring the new Elder Dragons from Strixhaven: School of Mages. I only had enough time to go over three decks, so I have a couple of decks for you this week featuring the remaining Elder Dragons. Since I like to look at a minimum of three decks with you every week, that leaves me short a deck, but don't worry. I've got you covered. Since Dragons typically love treasure, my third deck this week will feature Codie, Vociferous Codex. After all, the greatest treasure is knowledge, which can be found within a book. Let's go ahead and get started.

Beledros Witherbloom

We'll start with a deck featuring the founder of Witherbloom College, Beledros Witherbloom. Let's take a look at it.

At its heart, this is a reanimator deck. As such, there's a lot of ways to get cards into your graveyard to be reanimated in the future. Start things off with Mire Triton. This Zombie Merfolk will mill the top two cards of your deck, setting up things for upcoming turns. It also is a great blocker and provides a little bit of lifegain that will help against aggro decks. Another card that will help you slowly mill yourself is Throne of Death, the reverse side of Egon, God of Death // Throne of Death. Having a copy of this artifact in play will guarantee a new card will hit the bin every turn.

Those cards that you mill can be brought back in a couple of ways. The first is with Blood on the Snow. Normally this card is thought of as a destruction spell, but for this deck, it's that plus a terrific way of returning a threat to the battlefield. You can use it to bring back a creature or planeswalker that has a mana value of up to six or less, depending on the amount of snow mana used to cast Blood on the Snow.

The other reanimation spell that you can cast to return threats from your graveyard to the battlefield is Unbreakable Bond. Unlike Blood on the Snow, this sorcery can return any creature card to the battlefield, and it will also put a lifelink counter on it. Giving lifelink to a creature like Elder Gargaroth can cause your opponent to concede on the spot. Another great target to reanimate with Unbreakable Bond is Beledros Witherbloom. Unless your opponent can destroy Beledros Witherbloom the turn it enters play, you'll begin creating Pest tokens starting on your opponent's next turn, providing you with a ton of value. These tokens can chump block nearly anything, and doing so will provide you a point of life. They can make winning games very difficult for your opponent.

Galazeth Prismari

The final Elder Dragon deck I have for you features Galazeth Prismari. Let's take a look at this control deck.

With every creature in this deck being a Dragon, you can conceivably wipe your opponent's side of the battlefield while leaving yours intact when you play Draconic Intervention. This sorcery will deal an amount of damage equal to the mana value of an instant or sorcery card that you exile from your graveyard. To maximize the amount of damage you can do, you'll want to cycle a copy of Boon of the Wish-Giver earlier in the game. Doing this will allow you to draw a card when you cycle, and to deal six damage to each non-Dragon creature on the battlefield when you cast Draconic Intervention. Six damage is enough damage to destroy nearly any creature your opponent could have in play.

Dragons are the name of the game with this deck. Galazeth Prismari will create a Treasure token when it comes into play. You'll also be able to tap artifacts to create one mana of any color that you can use to cast an instant or sorcery spell. Since this is a control deck, there are a ton of great instants or sorceries that you can use to control your opponent's side of the battlefield. Saw It Coming and Sublime Epiphany can counter any spell your opponent casts. There are also a lot of spells that cause damage, such as Volcanic Geyser and Scorching Dragonfire. These spells will offer you a way to keep your opponent's battlefield clear of threats, allowing your Dragons to attack for maximum damage.

One of the best Dragons to play to help you clear creatures from your opponent's side of the battlefield is Terror of the Peaks. With a copy of Terror of the Peaks in play, any time a new creature enters the battlefield under your control, you'll be able to deal damage equal to that creature's power to any target. Use that damage to kill of an opponent's threat, or send it directly at your opponent's life total instead, allowing you to end games quickly. This ability works wonderfully alongside Goldspan Dragon, dealing four damage to whatever target you choose, and allowing you to attack with a hasty threat. Goldspan Dragon also adds Treasure tokens that you can use to cast more threats or to tap for mana with Galazeth Prismari's ability.

Codie, Vociferous Codex

The final deck I have for you features another fun legendary creature from Strixhaven, Codie, Vociferous Codex. Let's take a look at the deck.

With a copy of Codie, Vociferous Codex in pay, you will be unable to cast permanent spells. That means, you either need to have cast any permanents you want to have in play prior to casting Codie, Vociferous Codex, or you need to find a way to get permanents into play without casting them. Based on the creature selection in this deck, you won't be casting many of them before Codie, Vociferous Codex comes into play, so you're better off planning to reanimate them. By utilizing the activated ability of Codie, you'll often find yourself in a position where you cast a reanimation spell and then gain the benefit of another instant or sorcery for free. Remember that the spell cast with this ability for free will resolve before the spell you paid mana to cast, so you'll be able to wipe the battlefield with Doomskar and then reanimate a creature from your graveyard if that situation comes up.

You'll be able to get the creatures you want to reanimate into your graveyard with the help of a few spells. Seize the Spoils requires you to discard a card to play it. You'll then draw two cards and create a Treasure token, which will help you cast more expensive spells on upcoming turns. Thrilling Discovery forces you to discard two cards in exchange for a couple of points of life and three cards from your deck. Finally, Cathartic Reunion also forces you to discard two cards in order to draw three replacement cards. With all of this card drawing, you might even find that you have more than seven cards in your hand at the end of your turn, which also forces you to discard.

Ultimately, you'll want to discard all of the large, powerful creatures from your hand so that you can reanimate them. Reanimation is done in a couple of different ways. Return Upon the Tide and Unbreakable Bond both allow you to return any creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield. With Return Upon the Tide, you can often cast it earlier than normal due to its foretell ability. You'll never be able to create any Elf Warrior tokens with it, though, since there are no Elf creatures to reanimate. Unbreakable Bond will add a lifelink counter to the creature you return to the battlefield, allowing you the chance to stabilize in a game where you may have fallen behind.

Wrapping Up

In Standard, it can be difficult for legendary creatures that have a high mana value or a quirky ability to find a home. Hopefully the decks I've shown you these past two weeks show you that it's worth trying out cards like these, because they have the potential to be very powerful additions to Standard.

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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