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Early Days of Eldraine


Hello, everyone! Now that Throne of Eldraine has been released on Magic Arena, people can finally start testing out their theoretical builds. This past weekend, there were a series of events that took place online where people could finally play their new builds. This week, we'll take a look at a few of the decklists from those events as we look for some fun and powerful new decks.

Sultai Aggro

The first deck I have for you comes from AetherHub.com's Pre-release event that took place on September 28. While it didn't win the event, it does look like a spicy deck full of new cards from Throne of Eldraine. Let's take a look at it:

Rankle, Master of Pranks
Once Upon a Time is an amazing card to start the game with. If your opening hand is light on lands, it will help you find one. If not, playing it can help you find a creature to beat down with. But it's not just useful early in the game. It's cheap enough that you can easily cast it later in the game and still have enough mana left over to play the threat you find with it.

Murderous Rider is another great card from Throne of Eldraine. Being able to play it as Swift End first allows you to destroy your opponent's best creature at instant speed and sets you up to play it as a creature on the following turn. If I'm playing a Black deck, Swift End is generally going to be a must-have card due to its versatility. It's also nice that the mana cost of Swift End and Murderous Rider is exactly the same. If you have the mana to play it as an Instant, you'll have the mana the following turn to play it as a Creature.

Another new card that's bound to see a lot of play is Rankle, Master of Pranks. Since Rankle has both haste and flying, you can cast him at a time you know you'll be able to hit your opponent directly. Because of the options Rankle provides, you can really turn a game around. At a prerelease this past weekend, I had a game locked up that I ended up losing because I made an error calculating damage. My opponent had Rankle in play, and I attacked with everything, knowing that the combined power of my opponent's creatures would leave me at one point of life remaining if they attacked back with everything. The thing I forgot was Rankle's ability to cause each player to lose one life and draw a card, which ultimately ended up ending the game for me.

Golgari Adventure

The next deck I have for you comes from the Fandom Caster's Cup tournament held on September 28. Semulin brought an adventure-filled deck to this event that showed off a ton of new cards. Let's take a look at the deck:

Lucky Clover
If possible, you'll want to begin the game by playing Edgewall Innkeeper. It's the only creature in this deck that does not go on an Adventure. As such, by playing Edgewall Innkeeper right away, you'll be able to draw a card whenever you cast a different creature. Those additional cards can help ramp your mana (Fertile Footsteps), create token creatures for you (Heart's Desire), and destroy an opponent's creature or planeswalker (Swift End). Drawing additional cards equates to card advantage, which is one of the fundamental ways to increase your chances of victory.

Lovestruck Beast is a 5/5 creature with quite a drawback. It can't attack unless you control a 1/1 creature. Luckily, there are a few other 1/1's in this deck. Our hopeful first turn play, Edgewall Innkeeper, happens to be a 1/1. Foulmire Knight is also a 1/1, and it has deathtouch. The only other way to get a 1/1 into play is by sending Lovestruck Beast on an Adventure and creating a 1/1 Human token. However, even if Lovestruck Beast can't attack, having a 5/5 blocker as early as turn three isn't too shabby.

One great card to play in the early stages of the game is Lucky Clover. In a deck that is filled with creatures that can go on an Adventure, you'll be able to get some serious mileage by doing just that. Lucky Clover allows you to copy any Adventure spell you cast. That allows Beanstalk Giant to get two basic land cards into play when the Fertile Footsteps Adventure is played. When that happens, you'll be able to have a 7/7 (or bigger) Giant in play in no time.

Red Deck Wins

If you've read any of my past articles, you'll likely know that I enjoy playing Red decks. They usually allow me to win (or lose) games quickly, so I can spend a good portion of each round relaxing with friends. So, it should come as no surprise that I have a Red deck for you this week. Let's take a look at it:

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Thanks to Standard rotation, Red decks no longer have access to cards like Goblin Chainwhirler. While I'm saddened by this loss, I'm also excited by it since decks featuring Cavalcade of Calamity can now become even better. Since Cavalcade of Calamity rewards you for attacking with creatures that have 1 power or less, you'll generally want to play it in a deck with small creatures. Creatures that have low power often also have low toughness, making them vulnerable to cards like Goblin Chainwhirler. Now that that's no longer a concern, Cavalcade of Calamity can live up to its potential of being a huge threat.

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell makes turn four potentially lethal for your opponent. If you cast a creature on turn one and a Cavalcade of Calamity on turn two, you can attack for two damage. On your next turn, you can play another creature plus a Cavalcade of Calamity, allowing your attack to deal three points of damage. The following turn, if you play Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and you attack with your two creatures while having both copies of Cavalcade of Calamity in play, you'll deal eighteen points of damage to your opponent's life total if you go unblocked (or twelve if both creatures are blocked). Granted, this is likely the best-case scenario you could hope for, but even if you hold back for a few turns, making an attack while having both Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and Cavalcade of Calamity in play will end the game quickly.

Another fun combo you can pull off with this deck comes after you sideboard. If you sideboard in Act of Treason, you can use it to take control of your opponent's greatest threat. If possible, you can attack with that creature, dealing damage to the opponent or destroying one of their blocking creatures. Here's where the combo happens. If you attach Mask of Immolation to the opponent's creature, you can sacrifice it to deal a point of damage to any target. As you can see, you'll need a bit of luck to pull this off, but if you do, you'll be able to deal some damage to your opponent while also getting rid of one or two creatures of theirs. Seems like fun to me.

Wrapping Up

The decks we've taken a look at are just a small portion of the new decks created by Standard rotation and the release of Throne of Eldraine. While my wallet may be weeping because of all of the new cards I need to get, my heart is smiling and my brain is in overdrive thinking of all of the new possibilities. Be sure to come back next week when I'll bring you more fun and exciting decks featuring cards from the latest set, Throne of Eldraine.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below 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

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