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Looking Towards Guilds of Ravnica Standard

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In my article last week, I went over four decks that you'll be able to play that are comprised entirely of cards that survive the upcoming Standard rotation. With the Guilds of Ravnica previews wrapping up this week, the full set has been revealed and it's time to start brewing. I'm a better deck tuner than I am brewer, but luckily I've found five decks that other people have brewed up on tappedout.net that look like good starting points. Let's get started by looking at the deck featuring my favorite guild from Guilds of Ravnica - Boros.

Boros Aggro

Here's the list!


Legion Warboss is a card I'm excited to play. I have many fond memories of Goblin Rabblemaster, and these cards are very similar. I like that you are not forced to attack with all of your goblins, so now a goblin tribal deck can save some creatures back to block with if needed.

One cool combo with this deck is putting Frenzied Rage onto Swiftblade Vindicator. This will give you a 3/2 creature with double strike, vigilance, trample, and menace. Plus, if you're able to mentor the Swiftblade Vindicator prior to enchanting it, it gets even better. Frenzied Rage is also great when played on a creature that has mentor, like Tajic, Legion's Edge or Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice. It will enable you to continue to use mentor on future turns, growing your force larger and larger.

Speaking of mentor, Boros Challenger is interesting because with enough mana he can use the mentor ability on a creature that has a power equal to or greater than his. Simply spend four mana to activate his ability to get +1/+1 until the end of the turn and then attack with him. You'll be able to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature that has 2 power, which is the same as Boros Challenger's printed power. With additional activations, you can target creatures that have three (or possibly more) power.

Elves

The next deck I have for you features a popular tribe. Let's take a look at Elves.


Emmara, Soul of the Accord has a terrific ability to create a 1/1 White Soldier token with lifelink whenever she is tapped. That can be very useful in a deck filled with creatures with convoke. However, many of those creatures have a high CMC (converted mana cost), making it prohibitive to play too many of them. In this deck, though, she works wonders alongside Song of Freyalise in a similar manner.

You might argue that this deck is weak to Goblin Chainwhirler, and while that's true in the first few turns, if you're able to power out Steel Leaf Champion as early as turn two, Goblin Chainwhirler won't be much of a threat. Plus, thanks to Elvish Clancaller and Trostani Discordant, your creatures with 1 toughness won't stay that way for long.

Assassin's Trophy is a key removal spell in this deck. With this spell, it's important not to use it on the first threat presented to you. If you cast it too early in the game, you'll likely only be helping your opponent by allowing them to get a land that can help them cast bigger and better spells. By saving this until they already have enough lands in play for their deck to run smoothly, the land you'll be giving them won't help them as often.

Izzet Counter-Burn

The next deck I have for you is an Izzet deck. It features a combination of two popular strategies - counter magic and burn. Let's take a look at it.


When I saw Electrostatic Field, I knew I had to try a deck with this card in it. Being able to continually ping away at your opponent's life total is highly underrated. If you're able to keep the battlefield fairly clear by casting your removal spells and burn spells on your opponent's creatures, you're able to deal incidental damage directly to your opponent. This gets even better if you have Guttersnipe on the battlefield. Soon, you'll have your opponent down to half of their starting life and you can begin pointing those burn spells directly at the opponent instead.

Selesnya Aggro

Next I have for you a Selesnya deck that can quickly overwhelm an opponent. Let's take a look at the deck.


Here's another deck running Emmara, Soul of the Accord, however this deck also includes March of the Multitudes. With the amount of tokens that this deck can create, you should be able to power out March of the Multitudes with X equaling 5 or more on a regular occurrence. Thanks to all of these tokens, Shanna, Sisay's Legacy can become a huge threat.

Not only does this deck create a lot of tokens, but it also can power up all of them as well. Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants, Shalai, Voice of Plenty, and Venerated Loxodon all put +1/+1 counters on creatures you control. Benalish Marshal gives all other creatures a bonus of +1/+1. So, not only can you outnumber your opponent's creatures, you can outclass them too.

Esper Control

The final deck I have for you this week is Esper Control. It takes possibly the most powerful card left in Standard after rotation and combines it with some new tools for control. Let's have a look at it.


With rotation happening, I was concerned that control decks wouldn't be a viable option due to the amount of cards leaving the format. However I shouldn't have been worried since we still have the all-star of many control decks, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. He really works wonders alongside the new surveil mechanic. If you see something you like when you surveil, you can simply activate Teferi's +1 loyalty ability to draw that card right away. If it's something you don't want, put it in the graveyard and draw the next card instead.

Speaking of drawing cards, Chemister's Insight is a great way to be able to draw cards on multiple turns. If you have Teferi's emblem, you can annihilate their battlefield in no time with this card.

Mission Briefing looks to be another amazing card in this deck. It's a great enabler for Search for Azcanta. It's also a great way to bring back the versatility that Torrential Gearhulk offered before rotation. While you still have to pay for the card you choose with Mission Briefing, you'll often have a variety of cards to choose from in your graveyard by the time you want to cast this. I think three copies of this card is the perfect number and likely will be for most of the decks running Mission Briefing.

The final card I want to talk about is Ritual of Soot. This is the kind of card that has the potential to warp Standard. No longer can aggressive decks simply rely on creatures with CMC 3 or less. This card forces you to include at least a copy or two of a creature that costs four or more mana. Does this mean that aggro decks will get pushed out of Standard? I don't think so, since most aggressive decks will now need to try to win by turn four or have an alternate way to win (by using burn spells like Banefire, for example). At the bare minimum, you'll probably want to start including a copy of Demanding Dragon or something similar in your goblin deck until we see the effect Ritual of Soot has on Standard.

Wrapping Up

The five decks I've gone over today are some good starting points to build from. They're likely not the optimal build, but with some tweaking they could be some of the best decks in Guilds of Ravnica Standard. Try them out to see what you think, or take some of the combos I've pointed out and brew your own deck around those instead. Regardless of what you do, we're about to embark on a new journey into Standard. I look forward to seeing the new decks that come from this shakeup.

What deck are you planning on trying out once rotation happens? You can reach me by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. 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