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Finding Offbeat Standard Decks


Hello everyone. Every week I try to find fun and innovative decks that you can play against your friends or at a tournament at your friendly local game store. This week I have a few decks from Magic Arena or Magic Online (MTGO) for you that I think look like they will be a lot of fun to play. Let's get started with our first deck.

Naya Velomachus Reanimator

I'll begin with a deck that recently won six or more matches in a row during Ranked play by players at Platinum or Mythic ranking on Magic Arena. It features the legendary Velomachus Lorehold. Let's take a look at it.

Velomachus Lorehold
Velomachus Lorehold is a powerhouse. A 5/5 flying creature with haste and vigilance that lets you cast any instant or sorcery card that is within the top seven cards of your deck is pretty incredible. The drawback is that Velomachus Lorehold has a mana value of seven, so by the time you're able to cast it, the game could be over. However, there is a way to mitigate this downside.

For a mere five mana, you can cast Invoke Justice, which will return a permanent from your graveyard to the battlefield along with four +1/+1 counters that you can distribute. That will save a couple of turns, allowing you to get Velomachus Lorehold into play on turn five. You can also use Treasure tokens to help with the cost. You can get Treasure tokens from the 2/2 Goblin Shaman creature token created by Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki or by casting Seize the Spoils.

Now that we've figured out how to cast Invoke Justice easier, we'll need to get Velomachus Lorehold into our graveyard. In addition to creating a Treasure token, Seize the Spoils will allow you to discard a card from your hand in order to cast it. You also have Cathartic Pyre, which allows you to discard up to two cards. Finally, you can choose to learn Illuminate History when Professor of Symbology enters the battlefield. Illuminate History will allow you to discard any number of cards from your hand when you cast it. With these cards, getting Velomachus Lorehold into your graveyard shouldn't be too difficult.

Azorius Midrange

Next, let's take a look at a pair of decks that recently went 5-0 on Magic Online. We'll begin with an Azorius Midrange deck. Let's check it out.

Wormhole Serpent
This deck doesn't include any overpowered creatures that let you win the game quickly, or any spells that do unfair things. It's not a flashy deck that razzles and dazzles. Instead, what this deck does is attempt to accumulate a fair-sized board presence with creatures and spells that work well together. It has some cards that can help ramp your mana. Others provide buffs for your creatures. There are cards that allow you to draw other cards, and cards that can make a creature unblockable. It feels like this deck is a jack of all trades and a master of none.

To start things off, you'll likely play some small, unassuming creatures to the battlefield. Battlefield Raptor, Clever Lumimancer, Usher of the Fallen, or Symmetry Sage are all perfect creatures to play on turn one, starting your presence on the battlefield. Follow them up with Soothsayer Adept, who will allow you to draw a card and then discard a card. Clarion Spirit is another great follow up, and you'll begin to be able to create 1/1 Spirit creature tokens on future turns.

Later on, you'll be able to cast Kelpie Guide, who has an ability to untap another permanent you control, or to tap any permanent in play if you control eight or more lands. You can use this to get a second activation from another creature you have in play, or target a land you control to create additional mana. As a means of ending the game, you can use the activated ability of Wormhole Serpent to make one or more of your creatures unblockable. While there are no massively powerful creatures to make unblockable, using this ability over a few turns will nibble away at your opponent's life total and hopefully give you the win.

Gruul Counters

The final deck I have for you has the potential to score some pretty quick wins, but also has the tools to survive if the game goes longer. Let's take a look at it.

Ochre Jelly
Ochre Jelly is the gift that keeps on giving. With a variable mana cost, you can create an Ooze as big as you'd like. Since there are only two copies of Ochre Jelly in this deck, chances are likely that you won't have one until later in the game. That's okay, because you'll want to make the X in Ochre Jelly's mana cost as big as possible. Doing so will give you a big creature to attack with, which is what you want when that creature has trample. If Ochre Jelly dies, it will split into two, smaller copies of itself. This will continue until each Ochre Jelly only has a single +1/+1 counter on it when it dies.

This deck has multiple ways to add +1/+1 counters to your creatures, which can help you keep Ochre Jelly in the fight as long as possible. Invigorating Hot Spring gives you four +1/+1 counters to distribute throughout the game. It will also give haste to any modified creature, making it harder for your opponent to attack with everything they have. Thundering Raiju gives a +1/+1 counter to one of your creatures whenever it attacks. It also provides some additional damage to your opponent based on the number of modified creatures you control.

Another way to get a +1/+1 counter is by attacking alongside Oran-Rief Ooze. Any creature that already has a +1/+1 counter will gain an additional +1/+1 counter when it attacks with Oran-Rief Ooze. This is a great way to make sure that the Ochre Jelly tokens you've created will continue to come back after being destroyed. Finally, Halana and Alena, Partners will give +1/+1 counters equal to their power at the beginning of combat during your turn. By boosting their stats, you'll help to increase the stats of the rest of their teammates, enabling things to ramp up very quickly.

Wrapping Up

It's nice to see that even though we're starting to reach the end of our current Standard season, there are still new decks to try and new strategies to explore. All of these decks have done well online, and hopefully they'll do well for you if you should try them out.

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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