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Dominaria's Last Hurrah

Time keeps on ticking and we keep getting closer to the release of Magic 2019 (the latest Magic Core set). Just because people are already planning on ways to use and abuse the new cards doesn't mean things aren't still happening in Standard. This past weekend was the U.S. Nationals where Dylan Brown came in first place with his ub Midrange deck, ending the weeks of domination that Goblin Chainwhirler had in Standard. There are also a handful of innovative decks from Magic Online (MTGO) that I have for you this week, so let's get started.

Blue/Black Midrange

We'll begin things this week by taking a look at the deck Dylan Brown rode to victory to become the U.S. Nationals Champion, ub Midrange.

Until this past weekend, I wasn't a fan of Arguel's Blood Fast. The thought of my life total dropping to allow me to draw extra cards sounded like a bad idea. To put additional context to this, I'm a very aggro player, so I've seen just how easy it can be to lose by taking unnecessary damage during a game. However, after seeing this card in action this past weekend, I'm starting to change my mind on its playability. A player's life total is a resource they can use, in this case to draw additional cards, and when used against the right opponent the advantage you get can be just enough to get you over the hump and onto a victory. It's not something I'd want to use against an aggressive deck, but in a field of slower, control decks it's a great card to have.

This deck is very much a control deck with a few Glint-Sleeve Siphoner's added to give you an additional means of card drawing as well as an early threat. Liliana, Death's Majesty also pushes this deck toward the midrange area by encouraging you to play more creatures than a traditional control deck would due to her -3 loyalty ability which returns a creature from your graveyard to the battlefield. The deck also plays The Scarab God who has proven that he's still a force to be reckoned with in Standard.

Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar

The next deck I have for you this week includes a card that is quite a powerhouse in my local meta but hasn't seen much play in Standard, Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar. Let's take a look at the deck.

Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar sees a lot of play at my local shop. As I tend to play a lot of Red-based decks, it's easy to see why I find this card so tilting. It can block all of my creatures profitably, has reach for any creature I have with flying (like Glorybringer), tramples over my blockers when it attacks, and has a way to come back from the graveyard if I do happen to destroy it. The only drawback is that it costs six mana, which can be negated by cheating Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar into play via God-Pharaoh's Gift. And when it is put into play via God-Pharaoh's Gift, it gains 4 points of power and toughness that it wouldn't have if it were cast.

If you find yourself getting run over by aggressive Red decks, you might want to give this deck a chance. It has a number of low converted mana cost (CMC) creatures that you can use as blockers early on in order to stay alive long enough for Multani to see play.

Paradoxical Outcome & Aetherflux Reservoir

The next deck I have for you is as close as we can get to a Standard storm deck. Let's take a look at Mono-Blue Paradoxical Reservoir.

Aetherflux Reservoir has been in Standard for quite a while but hasn't made much of a splash. That could all change thanks to this deck. The plan is to play your Aetherflux Reservoir and then play a bunch of cheap or free spells which will begin the life gain train. If possible, you'll then want to play Paradoxical Outcome which will allow you the chance to play those same cheap or free spells again, gaining you even more life. Once you're at a minimum of 51 life, you can use the Aetherflux Reservoir's activated ability to deal 50 points of damage to your opponent. Just watch out for Red decks that can hit you with a direct damage spell with the Reservoir's ability on the stack, as they can drop you to 0 life points before the Reservoir's ability will resolve. Also be on the lookout for Blue deck packing Disallow, as they can negate the ability after you've had to pay the cost of 50 points of your life.

Demonlord Belzenlok & Josu Vess, Lich Knight

The next deck I have for you is a Mono-Black deck featuring a copy of both Demonlord Belzenlok & Josu Vess, Lich Knight as its only creatures. Let's take a look at it.

If your local meta isn't filled with uw creatureless control decks, but instead has a bunch of creature-based decks running rampant, you might want to give this deck a try. It has numerous ways to destroy an opponent's creatures, allowing the game to progress to the late game where your Demonlord Belzenlok & Josu Vess, Lich Knight can come out to play. It also has a full playset of Thaumatic Compass. When this card transforms into Spires of Orazca, you're able to effectively neuter your opponent's best creature. And, since Spires of Orazca isn't a legendary land, you can have multiple in play.

Both Demonlord Belzenlok & Josu Vess, Lich Knight can help you to end the game quickly. Belzenlok has flying and trample which allows him to deal large chunks of damage in a hurry. Josu Vess can be kicked which allows him to bring along 8 of his BZB's (Best Zombie Buddies) which can allow you to outnumber your opponent. In those rare games you get both of them into play, losing should not be an option.

The Flame of Keld

The final deck I have for you attempts to take advantage of the additional damage The Flame of Keld can provide to you. Let's take a look at it.

The Flame of Keld has actually done fairly well in some other recent events, so this deck isn't as under-the-radar as the others I've shown you this week are. The reason I included it is because I think when M19 releases this deck will only get stronger once Banefire is in Standard again. Do you agree with this?

Wrapping Up

With the M19 Prerelease taking place this weekend, it's time to bid a fond farewell to Dominaria Standard and to welcome M19 Standard into the fold. Dominaria has provided us with so many fun and interesting cards, and I hope that M19 continues this trend. What deck have you had the most fun playing in Dominaria Standard? You can let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at 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

Magic Core Set 2019 is available for Preorder!