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Variations on a Theme in Lost Caverns Standard


Hello everyone. When I play Magic, I enjoy playing decks that have a theme. Some of the most popular themes are based around specific creature types, while others are based around card type. This week I have four decks for you that each have their own unique theme. Let's get started with the first deck.

Abzan Phyrexians

After the build up to the Phyrexian War depicted in March of the Machines, you might be tired of the Phyrexians, however, I am not. Let's take a look at the deck.

Roaming Throne
When Roaming Throne enters the battlefield, you'll get to choose the type of creature it is in addition to its other types. You'll obviously want to choose Phyrexian, since this is a Phyrexian typal deck, but Roaming Throne is a great addition to other typal decks that have triggered abilities. That's because, while Roaming Throne is on the battlefield, any abilities that would be triggered on creatures of the creature type chosen when Roaming Throne entered the battlefield will trigger an additional time. Since this deck has a lot of triggered abilities on Phyrexians, you'll get a lot of value by having a copy (or more) of Roaming Throne in play.

One creature that pairs very nicely with Roaming Throne is Glissa, Herald of Predation. At the beginning of combat on your turn, you'll get to choose one of her three modal abilities to use. This will let you incubate 2 twice, transform all of your Incubator tokens, or give all of your Phyrexians first strike and deathtouch until the end of your turn. Being able to get two of these abilities can be pretty bonkers, but it's even better if you have multiple copies of Roaming Throne on the battlefield. Better for you that is, as your opponent might think otherwise.

Orzhov Clerics

Next up, I have a deck that looks like a typical Cleric-focused deck that has a couple of surprises up its sleeve. Let's take a look at the deck.

Shadow-Rite Priest
Shadow-Rite Priest looks like a typical creature you would include in any Cleric themed deck, due to its ability that provides other Clerics you control a +1/+1 bonus. However, while this is a good ability that might help you win games, there could be times you need more help. Luckily, Shadow-Rite Priest has another ability that allows you to sacrifice another Cleric to search your library for any Black creature to put directly onto the battlefield. This deck includes a pair of creatures that you can use this ability to benefit from.

First, is Hoarding Broodlord. When this Dragon enters the battlefield, you get to search your library for any card to exile face down that you'll be able to play while Hoarding Broodlord is in play. You also get a 7/6 flying creature, which can end games quickly. The second creature to search for is Toxrill, the Corrosive. Each round that Toxrill is in play, your opponent's creatures will get smaller and smaller. Eventually, Toxrill's corrosive slime will destroy those creatures, leaving you with a 1/1 Slime creature token. This makes Toxrill a must-kill target for your opponent, otherwise recovery from this is difficult.

Gruul Dinos

Next, I have a deck I've been seeing a lot of on Magic Arena, Gruul Dinos. Let's check it out.

Ixalli's Lorekeeper
Intrepid Paleontologist

This deck is capable of casting big Dinosaurs very quickly. Ixalli's Lorekeeper and Intrepid Paleontologist are both able to be tapped for extra mana that you can use to cast your Dinosaur spells. Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea can be tapped for two mana to cast creature spells or activate creature abilities. Hulking Raptor provides you with two Green mana at the beginning of your precombat main phase. With all of this extra mana, you shouldn't have any problems casting your big Dinosaur spells.

While Itzquinth, Firstborn of Gishath might not be the biggest Dinosaur in this deck, it can be deceptively good. It has haste, so it can be an unexpected attacker. It also has an ability that allows you to have one of your Dinosaurs deal damage to another creature equal to its power, if you pay 2 mana when Itzquinth enters the battlefield. Since the power of your Dinosaurs ranges from two to seven, you'll often be able to destroy a big potential blocker.

Esper Planeswalkers

The final deck I have for you this week isn't focused on any particular creature type, but instead focuses on the power of planeswalkers. Let's take a look at the deck.

When I first saw this deck, I immediately noticed there were no creature cards in it. When you're playing a deck featuring a bunch of planeswalkers, you'll often be able to create creature tokens, so there's less need to have any actual creature spells in the deck. Since Sorin the Mirthless, Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim, and The Wandering Emperor are all able to create creature tokens, you should be able to have a blocker if you need it. But, since this is a control deck, you might just find that blockers are not needed.

In addition to all of the value you get from the planeswalkers in this deck, it also includes three copies of Chimil, the Inner Sun. While this legendary artifact is on the battlefield, your spells can't be countered. It also is a great source of card advantage due to its ability that triggers at the beginning of your end step. By exiling cards until you exile a nonland card with a mana value of five or less, and then either casting that card or putting it into your hand, you're able to keep constant pressure on your opponent as you will always have some nonland spell you can cast. Since there's a variety of removal spells in this deck, your opponent might not be able to keep enough creatures in play to put any amount of pressure on you.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, decks that have a theme can be both fun to play and powerful as well. I'm looking forward to trying each of these out on Magic Arena soon.

What do you think of these decks? 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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