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Seasons Beatings

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Hi, everyone! Now that Standard has been corrected by the latest round of bannings, many more decks have become playable. Since my family is celebrating Christmas this week, I've decided to make that a loose theme for the decks I have to share with you. But, don't think that these decks can't perform well in Standard just because they follow some kind of theme. I think all of these decks have a good chance to do well at any local tournament or Friday Night Magic event you might attend. Let's get started.

Decorate in Red and Green

Before a Christmas gathering happens, you should prepare the place of the gathering with some decorations. For Christmas, the most common colors for these decorations are Red and Green. So, the first deck I have for you features cards in those colors. Let's take a look at Gruul Boar and Dragon:


Ilharg, the Raze-Boar
With this deck, you're ultimate goal is to get 5 mana so you can play Ilharg, the Raze-Boar. The following turn, when you attack with Ilharg, the Raze-Boar, hopefully you'll have a copy of Drakuseth, Maw of Flames in your hand. If so, you can put Drakuseth, Maw of Flames onto the battlefield attacking. While doing this won't trigger the damage dealing ability Drakuseth has when it attacks, you're still getting a 7/7 flying creature as a bonus attacker for the turn.

If you don't happen to have Drakuseth in your hand, another great option to play is God-Eternal Rhonas. Doing this will send a total of 17 points of power at your opponent if all you attack with are Rhonas and Ilharg. Since Ilharg has trample, it can be very difficult for your opponent to avoid taking a ton of damage.

Another way you can win games with this deck is through the use of your Planeswalkers. With Sarkhan the Masterless, you're able to turn all of your Planeswalkers into 4/4 flying Dragons each turn. By using your Planeswalkers as attackers, you can quickly deal enough damage to your opponent to end games in a hurry, especially when you have multiple Planeswalkers on the battlefield.

Amass the Guests

Now that we have our place decorated, it's time for everyone to come together for the celebration. Let's take a look at the next deck based around the Amass mechanic:


Angrath, Captain of Chaos
A deck called Rakdos Amass should have a decent number of cards to help you amass your Zombie Army with, and this deck certainly does. Grim Initiate, Lazotep Reaver, Toll of the Invasion, Dreadhorde Twins, and Invading Manticore all help you amass. The majority of these cards allow your Zombie Army to grow when they resolve, so you don't have to wait for your Army to get bigger. Only Grim Initiate amasses when it dies, which makes it the perfect creature to sacrifice when you cast Spark Harvest.

One other source you have to amass with is Angrath, Captain of Chaos. His -2 loyalty ability allows you to add two +1/+1 counters to your Zombie Army token. That can really help your token grow large enough that it becomes difficult for your opponent to deal with. Angrath also gives all of your creatures menace, which can make blocking for your opponent an absolute nightmare.

A cool combo in this deck involves Dreadmalkin and Mayhem Devil. Dreadmalkin offers you a way to sacrifice your creatures fairly easily every turn. If you have a copy of Mayhem Devil in play alongside Dreadmalkin, you could easily choose to sacrifice your Zombie Army token before it grows too big, dealing a bit of damage with Mayhem Devil while also growing the Zombie Cat. Since you have a lot of ways to amass, you can keep playing creatures that have an amass ability when they enter the battlefield, while sacrificing the Zombie Army each time it gets created.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Once everyone has gathered for your party, it's time for the fun to begin. Or should I say Merriment? Let's take a look at the final deck of the week, Mardu Merriment:


Outlaws' Merriment
Outlaws' Merriment is the gift that keeps on giving. If this card stays in play, the value you can gain from it can allow you to dominate the battlefield. While the Human tokens it creates each turn are relatively small, there are ways to gain value from them.

Judith, the Scourge Diva gives each other creature you control a +1/+0 bonus. That can turn those small Humans into great blockers or decent attackers. With a copy of Corpse Knight on the battlefield, each Human token that Outlaws' Merriment creates will cause your opponent to lose one life. If you have a copy of Cruel Celebrant, each time one of your creatures dies, you'll gain one life and your opponent will lose one life. As you can see, the small tokens created by Outlaws' Merriment can make it so that you don't even have to attack your opponent in order to win the game.

A couple of other key cards in this deck are Hero of Precinct One and Knight of the Ebon Legion. Since the majority of spells in this deck are multicolored, you'll be able to create quite a few 1/1 Human creature tokens with Hero of Precinct One. As we saw earlier, the simple act of creating new creature tokens can help you win easier. Knight of the Ebon Legion gets a +1/+1 counter every turn that your opponent loses four life or more. Since this counts any type of life loss (not just life loss through combat), you can gain these counters simply by creating new tokens.

Wrapping Up

With Christmas upon us, I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday. If you'll be getting together with your loved ones, you might want to give one of these decks a try. Hopefully you'll find these loosely themed decks to be fun and competitive.

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