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Core Set Foundations

Magic 2019 was released last Friday on Magic Online (MTGO). As such, there hasn't been much time for people to begin brewing up new decks using the new cards. Therefore, this week, instead of bringing you the latest in innovation from MTGO, I'll be taking a look at some decks I found on that look to be good starting points for this new Magic 2019 Standard format.


The first deck I have for you features one of my favorite tribes in Magic, Goblins. Let's take a look at this goblin-centric deck.

This looks like a deck that can hit hard and fast with the right draw, but will usually play out like a nice midrange deck to me. One key way to win with this deck is to simply go wide and attack with more creatures than your opponent has blockers for. Both Goblin Instigator and Siege-Gang Commander bring along extra Goblin tokens to help enable this strategy. However, if you find yourself a few Goblins short of being able to go wider than your opponent, you can always use your horde of Goblins as cannon fodder for Siege-Gang Commander which deals 2 damage for each Goblin you're able to sacrifice to it. You can use that damage to your opponent's creatures to soften up your their defenses or directly to your opponent's life total to deal the last points of damage needed to finish them off.

While I think this is a good starting point, one place I would look at making changes would be the four copies of Vanquisher's Banner. Since it costs five mana, you won't be playing it in the early game without the help of Skirk Prospector. I would consider shaving a couple of copies in order to add Lightning Strike to the deck. The deck could also benefit from having a copy or two of Glorybringer or Rekindling Phoenix. Either of these would help against an opponent with flying creatures, but each slightly weakens the Goblin theme.


The next deck I have for you is centered on the Elf tribe. Let's have a look at it.

This is a nice looking aggressive ramp deck that attempts to win via trample damage granted by Rhonas the Indomitable. The deck includes numerous ways to ramp your mana production including the typical Llanowar Elves and the not-so-typical Grand Warlord Radha. Radha is particularly nice as she allows you to keep the mana she produces throughout the turn, so you're able to quickly begin rebuilding if your opponent has a board wipe like Fumigate. This deck also includes a small energy package which allows Harnessed Lightning to be its removal card of choice.

In the sideboard is a single copy of Banefire. This is a great card to have access to for this deck since you're able to produce quite a bit of mana in a given turn. That makes casting an uncounterable Banefire to deal the final damage needed to finish off your opponent quite possible.


The next deck I have for you is all about taking advantage of historic triggers. Let's take a look at ub Artifacts.

The focus of this deck is all about being able to finish the game with Traxos, Scourge of Kroog. To do so, you need to include a lot of historic cards. Since it's usually a good idea to have a fair number of creatures in your midrange decks, artifact creatures are the best way to trigger this historic requirement. This deck already runs a whole host of artifact creatures, but if I were to make any changes I would try to get at least a couple of copies of Walking Ballista in the deck. It's a great target to return with Scrap Trawler and can even be cast for 0 mana if you simply need to untap your Traxos.

The other route to victory for this deck, in the event that Traxos can't get the job done, is by attacking with large, flying creatures. Since you likely have at least one artifact on the battlefield at most times, Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp can come down as early as turn four to start attacking for large chunks of your opponent's life total. You also have Demon of Catastrophes in the deck, which can be more difficult to cast, but hits harder when it connects and also has trample. Either one of these is capable of finishing the game off for you.


The final deck I have for you this week is a tribe that is near and dear to my heart. Let's take a look at bw Horses.

This deck wants to do two things, gain life and create tokens. Fountain of Renewal and Authority of the Consuls are both early plays that can start the lifegain flowing. They're also fairly difficult to remove, as long as your opponent isn't playing Cleansing Nova. However, even though they're important, you still have other ways to gain life in the deck, so if they happen to get destroyed, it's not 'Game Over' for you.

The payoff for that lifegain is the creation of 5/5 Horse tokens by Crested Sunmare and 4/4 Angels with flying and vigilance by Resplendent Angel. With Crested Sunmare on the battlefield, all of your other horses will be indestructible. If you happen to stick a second Crested Sunmare, your opponent might concede as it will be extremely difficult for them to attack you on the ground.

As much as I like the Horse tokens, I think I like the Angel tokens even better. If you manage to get both Resplendent Angel and Lyra Dawnbringer on the battlefield at the same time, you can build up quite a host of Angels that can continue to add to their ranks each turn. While they're not indestructible like the horses are, having flying makes it more likely that you'll be able to deal damage each turn.

Wrapping Up

Magic 2019 looks like it's going to add a handful of cards to many of the existing decks in Standard as well as offering completely new decks to be created. I'm excited to see what new decks pop up on MTGO over the next week. What deck are you excited to play in this new Standard environment? 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!