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Future Proofing in Standard


Hello, everyone! We're only a few weeks away from the release of Throne of Eldraine, and with that comes Standard rotation. When that happens, there's always a brief period of time where the new cards can be a bit scarce and it can be a good idea to play a deck comprised entirely of cards from sets released prior to rotation. This week, I have a few decks for you that survive rotation intact and look to be good choices to play the first week or two after rotation takes place. Let's get started.

Selesnya Tokens

The first deck I have for you features the Selesnya Conclave from Ravnica. Let's take a look at it:

March of the Multitudes
Most token decks try to pump out a ton of creatures so they can outnumber their opponents. The main problem with this plan is that your creatures are usually pretty fragile. Cards that deal out damage to each of your creatures, like Deafening Clarion, or that reduce your team's toughness, like Cry of the Carnarium, can be quite a problem for these decks. Luckily, you have a good number of ways to boost your tiny creatures up. Both Ajani, the Greathearted and Venerated Loxodon are able to put +1/+1 counters on your creatures. You also have Trostani Discordant who gives a +1/+1 bonus to all of your other creatures.

If your opponent happens to still destroy your team, there are a few ways in this deck that you can use to quickly rebuild. Raise the Alarm puts two creatures onto the battlefield for 2 mana. Hanged Executioner also provides you with two bodies for one low price, 3 mana. While it's a little more expensive, the fact that one of those creatures has evasion in the form of flying gives you the ability to take less damage from your opponent's creatures with flying, or if they don't have any flyers or creatures with reach, you can attack for some easy damage yourself.

March of the Multitudes is an amazing way to bolster your forces. Since it's an instant, you can hold up your team to act as blockers and then cast March of the Multitudes after your opponent has attacked. By doing so, you can block with multiple creatures and then tap those creatures to convoke March of the Multitudes for a large amount.

Simic Flash

The next deck I have for you wants to play as many cards on your opponent's turn as possible. Let's take a look at it:

Brineborn Cutthroat
Every one of the creatures in this deck has flash except for Benthic Biomancer. Because of that, you'll always have the upper hand during any combat. Your opponent won't know whether it's safe for them to attack or whether you'll be able to flash in a blocker. Use this to your advantage and force your opponent to under-commit when they attack. If they fear losing their creatures to your unexpected blockers, you'll be able to draw the game out longer, to your advantage.

All of the noncreature spells in this deck are instants, and you'll be casting these on your opponent's turn as well. It's often worth allowing your opponent to successfully cast some of their smaller creatures so you can use your counterspells like Sinister Sabotage and Essence Capture on their more powerful threats. If possible, you might be able to let your opponent resolve multiple creatures that have the same converted mana cost, only to destroy them in one shot by using Blast Zone.

While this deck may seem easy and straightforward to play, it actually has a lot of intricacies to it. It can often be difficult to know whether it's better to counter an opponent's spell or to flash in your own creature. These decisions get easier the more you play this style of deck, so try not to get frustrated if you make the wrong decisions the first few times you play this deck. With a little time and practice, you can use this deck to great success.

Rakdos Aggro

The final deck I have for you wants the game to end as quickly as possible. Let's take a look at the deck:

Spawn of Mayhem
Theater of Horrors is a card that hasn't seen much play in Standard since it was released. In a deck like this one, where it can be fairly easy to deal damage to your opponent, Theater of Horrors can provide you with a lot of card advantage. In the late game, it even has a way to be able to deal damage to an opponent itself, allowing you access to all of the cards that have been exiled with it. This card has a lot of potential to see more play once rotation happens.

Bedevil is another card that has been underplayed since it came out. A lot of that has to do with the restrictive mana cost of it, but when our options get more limited, I'll bet it sees more play. And it should, since it's undeniably powerful. Being able to destroy any artifact, creature, or planeswalker is nothing to sneeze at.

Finally, this deck has one of my favorite Demons currently in the game, Spawn of Mayhem. Getting a 4/4 flying creature for only 4 mana is a great deal. When you add in the fact that it also has trample and an ability that allows it to get bigger as the game progresses, you get a creature that has a lot of value. It's a great finisher and can win the game on its own potentially without attacking as long as you're sufficiently ahead of your opponent in life.

Wrapping Up

The three decks I've shown you this week are just a handful of the decks that survive rotation. This week, I've shown you a few decks that are all two-colored. Next week, we'll take a look at a few more that are in other color combinations.

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 Like