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A New Standard Rises


Hello everyone. This week I had intended to bring you a few decks that could be played before rotation, but since rotation happens in a week, I figured you could use any of the decks that I wrote about during the past few months. It would be better to provide you with a starting point for a few decks that you could use during the upcoming months. So, I have three decks for you this week that feature cards from Zendikar Rising that you can try out. Let's get started.

Boros Equipment

The first deck I have for you features Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients and her love for equipment. Let's take a look at the deck.

For a while now, the majority of equipment cards we've had in Standard haven't seen much play. This deck is looking to change that. It features four different pieces of equipment that you can use to buff your creatures. Embercleave needs no introduction, as it has seen a lot of play in Standard. Shadowspear has also seen some play, and it provides both trample and lifelink. Mace of the Valiant was released in a Brawl deck, which likely limited the amount of play it has seen. It has the potential to provide a big boost to an equipped creature, as long as you're able to keep new creatures coming into play. Finally, Maul of the Skyclaves auto-equips to a creature when it enters play and provides a +2/+2 bonus as well as evasion and first strike. With all of these great equipment cards, you'll be able to construct the perfect creature for both offense and defense.

Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients helps with this with her -2 loyalty ability, which locates either a piece of equipment or a Warrior from the top six cards of your library to be put into your hand. Since this deck features fourteen equipment cards and 32 Warrior creatures, you're almost guaranteed to find something worthwhile for you to get. Nahiri also creates her own Kor Warrior token with her -1 loyalty ability. This can help ensure you always have a creature at the ready for any equipment you have in play. Finally, with her -3 loyalty ability, Nahiri can destroy a planeswalker or creature your opponent controls with her -3 loyalty ability.

Nahiri teams up nicely with Winota, Joiner of Forces in this deck. Winota has seen quite a bit of play since her debut, both in Standard and Historic. With her ability to dramatically increase the number of attacking creatures you have in play, you'll be able to win games out of the Blue. This deck has a fairly equal number of Human and non-Human creatures, so you'll likely be able to put a Human into play for each attacking non-Human creature. This can make blocking very difficult for your opponent, allowing you to gain a victory in a match that otherwise looks unwinnable.

Orzhov Party

The next deck I have for you tries to utilize the new Party mechanic. Let's take a look at the deck.

The Party mechanic grants bonuses that are usually scaled based on how close you are to having a full party. A party consists of up to one each of Cleric, Rogue, Warrior, and Wizard. While this deck has fewer Wizards than the other types of party members, you shouldn't have much trouble getting a party of at least three members. That can allow your Acquisitions Expert to be able to remove a better card when it enters play, since you'll be able to see more cards to choose from. It also allows your Archpriest of Iona to have a higher power and, if you're able to assemble a full party, you be able to give a +1/+1 bonus and flying to one of your creatures during your combat.

As I mentioned, there are fewer Wizards in this deck than other creature types. Drannith Magistrate is the only Wizard you'll have access to, but by having a copy of it in play, you can prevent your opponent from casting spells from anywhere other than their hands. That means that your opponent will get the benefit from playing Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath once, but they won't be able to cast it for its escape cost. That prevents them from getting a powerful 6/6 into play, and for some decks that can be their main route to victory.

Since it's so important to try to get a full party into play, this deck utilizes a new card from Zendikar Rising to help with this. Thwart the Grave can be cast for a mere two Black mana, provided you already have a full party. When it resolves, you'll be able to put up to two creatures from your graveyard into play, which can go a long way toward completing your party. Even if you're not able to get the complete benefit of having a full party, Thwart the Grave is worth playing as a way of bolstering your forces.

Dimir Mill

The final deck I have for you this week features an alternate way of winning games. Let's take a look at the deck.

While this deck has all of the tools needed to win the traditional way, more often than not, if you're playing this deck, you'll want to win by milling out your opponent. To do so, you'll want to start off by playing Ruin Crab as early as possible. This will allow you to mill three cards from your opponent's library whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control. This card is very reminiscent of Hedron Crab, which had the same ability and casting cost, but one less toughness. Hedron Crab made mill decks very viable during the original Zendikar days.

This deck also features another one-mana creature that has the potential to mill a fair number of cards. Merfolk Windrobber is a 1/1 with flying that mills one card from your opponent's library whenever it deals combat damage to a player. If your opponent happens to be playing a deck that's weak to flying creatures, you might be able to attack turn after turn. It also works wonderfully when paired up with Soaring Thought-Thief, who forces an opponent to mill two cards whenever one or more Rogues you control attack.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of milling your opponent's library, you'll want to cast Maddening Cacophony a time or two, making sure to kick it when you cast it. That will allow you to mill a huge portion of your deck, which makes it much easier to finish off with the smaller amounts of mill you do with your creatures. Alternatively, you might find yourself in a position where you can simply cast Maddening Cacophony for its regular mana cost, milling your opponent's library of eight cards, which can be enough for the win.

Wrapping Up

Zendikar Rising brings with it a ton of new cards and strategies. Let me know in the comments below what your favorite new card is or what types of decks you'd like to see in future articles.

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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