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Brewing for 2020


Hello, everyone! With the release of Core Set 2020, Standard has received an influx of new cards that results in the creation of new decks. Some of these decks will only be transitional decks, surviving just a few weeks until decks that are more powerful are created. Others will become the new staples. This week, I have a few decks for you that are hoping to be around for the long haul and be more than just a flash in the pan. Let's get started.

Azorius Fliers

The first deck I have for you doesn't include any creatures in it that don't have flying. Let's take a look at the deck:

Sephara, Sky's Blade
Sephara, Sky's Blade is deceptively powerful and extremely important in this deck. Thanks to her alternate casting cost, it should be relatively easy to cast her as early as turn three. She provides indestructibility to all of the other creatures in this deck, since they all have flying. Plus, since she has 7 toughness, it can be pretty difficult to remove her from the battlefield. Since this deck includes a full playset of her, even if your opponent manages to destroy Sephara, you'll likely be able to find a replacement copy right away.

Favorable Winds has been in Standard for quite a while now, and it has helped in the past with other decks dedicated to playing creatures with flying. With Core Set 2020, Empyrean Eagle gets in on the action, both acting as a flyer as well as giving a boost to all of your other flying creatures. Rally of Wings is also included in the deck as a way to push through additional damage, allowing you to either kill your opponent's blocking creatures or add extra damage to any unblocked creatures you have. Since this is an instant, you can catch an opponent off guard with this trick, but you'll probably only be able to do this one time, as they'll be expecting it once it happens the first time.

Simic Hydras

The next deck I have for you uses Green's iconic creature type to dominate the battlefield. Let's take a look at the deck:

Gargos, Vicious Watcher
This deck is all about ramping into bigger and bigger Hydras. Arboreal Grazer starts the ramping off by allowing you to play a land from your hand onto the battlefield tapped when it enters the battlefield. You also have mana-producing creatures such as Llanowar Elves and Leafkin Druid to assist with the mana needed for your larger creatures. Once you hit 6 mana, you'll want to cast Gargos, Vicious Watcher so you can get a discount on your future Hydra spells you cast.

Not only does this deck feature ways to ramp your mana, but it also includes quite a few ways to draw additional cards. Growth Spiral is a card that does both. Cloudkin Seer draws you a card when it enters the battlefield and also acts as a defense against decks that attack with flying creatures. While it will only defend you once, sometimes that's all you'll need.

Once you have a way to produce a ton of mana, you'll want to begin casting your Hydras with X in their mana cost. Hungering Hydra can be a large creature that your opponent will likely have to chump block, since it can only be blocked by one creature. The one thing it's lacking to be a truly terrifying threat is trample. Luckily, the other two big Hydras happen to have trample. Voracious Hydra can become a must-kill creature thanks to its ability to double the number of +1/+1 counters on it when it enters the battlefield. It can also act as a means of removal if you choose to fight an opponent's creature. Hydroid Krasis is not only a big flying threat, but it also acts as a means of lifegain and card draw as well. Any of these big Hydras can help you win a game with ease.

Bant Scapeshift

The final deck I have for you this week uses Scapeshift to do some truly brutal things. Let's take a look at it:

Field of the Dead
Scapeshift is a card that has made a name for itself in Modern. Alongside Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, Scapeshift has been a proven way to deal lethal damage to an opponent from out of the blue. But Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle isn't legal in Standard, so how does Scapeshift work so well in this deck? Playing a similar role to Valakut is Field of the Dead. With Field of the Dead and at least seven lands that have different names, you're able to make a 2/2 Zombie token. When you cast Scapeshift, all of the lands it puts onto the battlefield enter at the same time, so it's quite possible to create upwards of seven or eight Zombies at one time.

One issue with creating this many Zombies is that Scapeshift is a sorcery, so you'll have to wait until your next turn to attack with those Zombies. This allows your opponent the chance either to cast a mass destruction spell, or to cast enough creatures to block with to allow them to stay alive. Luckily, Standard has an answer for this. Teferi, Time Raveler can allow you to cast Scapeshift as if it had flash. That allows you to create your Zombie tokens at the end of your opponent's turn so they will be able to attack on your turn. Alternatively, you can also grant them haste as long as you have Samut, Tyrant Smasher on the battlefield.

This deck can win a game that it looks certain to lose and looks to be a ton of fun to play. I'm looking forward to sleeving this one up and playing it at a future Friday Night Magic event.

Wrapping Up

These decks are just a small handful of new creations and improvements to existing decks that were made possible by the release of Core Set 2020. Each of them has the potential to make waves in our current Standard environment. Do you have a favorite?

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), 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