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Top Standard Challenge Decks


Hello everyone. Standard seems to be in a place right now where there are multiple decks that you can play and hope to do well with. This week I'll be taking a look at some decks from the Standard Challenge that took place on May 23 that put up respectable results. Let's get started.

Jund Sacrifice

We'll get started by taking a look at the First Place deck, Jund Sacrifice.

If you're tired of the current trend that sees the majority of Standard decks having a Companion, then here's a deck for you. The deck utilizes the Cat/Oven combination of Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven to slowly tick away at your opponent's life total. It also includes Mayhem Devil as another means of dealing damage to your opponent. Because of this incidental damage you can deal, you can often win games by making minimal attacks. This can allow you to hold your creatures in reserve for defense, making it more difficult for your opponent to attack.

Because you can hold creatures back for defense, while also having a means of dealing damage, you can maintain a relatively large life total. You can use that extra life to pay for additional cards with Bolas's Citadel. Plus, in the event that you manage to get ten nonland permanents in play, you'll be able to cause your opponent to lose ten points of life. And, if you happen to have a copy of Mayhem Devil in play when you do this, you might be able to end the game on the spot.

Temur Reclamation

Coming in Second Place is a Temur Reclamation deck. Let's take a look at it.

In many ways, this deck can operate much like a Simic Flash deck. There are a variety of instants that you can cast on your opponent's turn to disrupt their plans. However, for those instants to benefit you the most, you'll want to have a copy of Shark Typhoon in play. Shark Typhoon costs six mana, so there are some cards that will help you ramp your mana in order to cast it as quickly as possible.

Once you have Shark Typhoon in play, you'll be able to begin creating your army of flying Shark tokens that you can use to either defend your life total or take the fight to your opponent. Wilderness Reclamation helps this plan by allowing you the ability to cast spells both on your turn and on your opponent's. It also works well when paired with Expansion // Explosion, as it allows you to stack the triggers during your end step so that you'll have twice the amount of mana available to you. You can use that mana to deal a massive amount of damage directly to your opponent.

Boros Cycling

The next deck I have for you is a personal favorite of mine, Boros Cycling. Let's have a look at it.

Boros Cycling | IKO Standard | RASTAF, 3rd Place, Standard Challenge #12159776 on 05/23/2020

This deck uses Lurrus of the Dream-Den as its Companion. Thanks to Lurrus's ability allowing you to cast a permanent with a converted mana cost (CMC) of two or less from your graveyard each turn, you'll have access to a variety of useful cards that you may have cycled away earlier in the game. If you manage to start the game with a copy of Flourishing Fox, you can build it up to a massive creature as the game progresses. Lurrus can allow you to cast a copy of Footfall Crater from your graveyard, allowing you to attack and deal damage to your opponent even if they have a fair amount of chump blockers.

Even if you find yourself stalled by an opponent with just enough blockers to make attacking unsuccessful for you, this deck still has a lot of reach. Zenith Flare allows you to sit back in a defensive position while you continually cycle through the cards in your hand in an attempt to find a copy of this instant. I've both won and lost many games thanks to Zenith Flare and its ability to deal an abnormally large amount of damage from nowhere.

Azorius Control

Next, we have an Azorius Control deck, which features Yorion, Sky Nomad as its Companion. Let's take a look at it.

This deck features the powerful planeswalker combination of Narset, Parter of Veils and Teferi, Time Raveler. Teferi, Time Raveler can be used to return an opponent's threats to their hand, but only works well when there are a few targets. Narset allows you to dig through your deck to find mass removal spells, like Shatter the Sky, or can allow you to find your offensive threats, such as Shark Typhoon.

Since this is a control deck, there are more lands in it than are normally included in an aggressive or midrange deck. You'll want to maximize that extra mana available to you by creating 1/1 Human tokens with Castle Ardenvale or by scrying with Castle Vantress. It's best to do these at the end of your opponent's turn, so you can use your available mana on counterspells if needed. Even if you're not holding any counter magic in your hand, by leaving your lands untapped, your opponent might believe you have a means to counter their spell in your hand and might hold back. Castle Vantress can also be used in response to one of their spells as a way of searching for a counterspell to use in the future.

Selesnya Lurrus

The next deck I have for you has the ability to quickly attack for a lot of damage. Let's take a look at the deck.

This enchantment-based deck is all about building up one creature that you can use to attack with for massive amounts of damage. Gingerbrute has the ability to be unblockable by any creature that doesn't have haste. Healer's Hawk has flying, which can be difficult for some decks to block. Stonecoil Serpent has protection from multicolored, giving it a form of evasion to both creatures and spells, if they meet that certain requirement. It also has trample, allowing it the potential to deal damage even if blocked. Any of these creatures are suitable to enchant with the many auras in this deck, creating a powerful attacker that can evasively attack. You can also protect your enchanted creature with spells like Gods Willing and Karametra's Blessing, as well as the protection that Alseid of Life's Bounty can offer.

Jeskai Lukka

The final deck I have for you features our newest planeswalker from Ikoria, Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast. Let's take a look at it.

This deck is one of the most powerful decks in our current Standard environment. With Fires of Invention in play, you'll be able to cast spells that total twice the amount of mana you currently have in play. That allows you to put twice as many powerful threats in play as your opponent. This deck has a tendency to play Omen of the Sun, creating two 1/1 Human Soldier tokens. With them in play, you'll want to use Lukka's -2 loyalty ability, sacrificing one of your tokens in order to put an Agent of Treachery into play. Since the copies of Agent of Treachery are the only actual Creature cards in your deck, you'll always be assured to get one. You can then gain control of your opponent's most powerful creature. You can also choose to take an opponent's land, denying them access to one color of mana and preventing them from casting some of their spells.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there are a lot of different decks that see play in Standard that can do very well. These decks offer something for nearly any player type to enjoy.

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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