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Magic 2014 Standard Success


Magic 2014 Core Set (M14) quickly made its presence felt in the very first weekend of Standard eligibility. The top decks at StarCityGames Open Richmond featured plenty of cards from the newest core set. Twenty-nine of the Top 32 decks included at least one newcomer to Standard. Some fueled interesting new deck ideas, and others served to enhance existing strategies. I’ll outline some of the most interesting decks below. If you want a comprehensive look at all the new cards to Standard, how many were played in the top decks at Richmond, and what decks they appeared in, check out the M14 Summary section below.

New Decks

M14 inspired some new deck ideas to success at Richmond, including the tournament-winning list.

Xathrid Necromancer is among the most interesting cards of M14, and here it is anchoring AJ Sacher's tournament-winning deck. The deck runs a bunch of Humans that arise as Zombies after death, thanks to the newest necromancer. Blood Artist knows a kindred spirit when he sees one and is at the ready with brushes in hand.

Next, let’s check out this mono-green monstrosity:

This Elf ramp deck looks to play hard-to-handle green threats, such as Garruk, Caller of Beasts, as early as possible. The deck also has Mutavault in the main (it counts as an Elf) and Primeval Bounty and Scavenging Ooze in the sideboard.

Let's move from mono-green to mono-white with the following heavily-Human deck.

White Weenie is back . . . at least in week one of the newly updated metagame. The deck has thirty Humans, if you count the four copies of Mutavault, including newcomers Banisher Priest and Imposing Sovereign. All of the creatures are white, with four Brave the Elements in support. The sideboard is packed with interesting cards, including Fiendslayer Paladin, Immortal Servitude, and Gideon, Champion of Justice.

There were a couple other new deck ideas that missed the Top 16 but still landed in the Top 32 of the tournament.

Here is another Elf ramp deck that includes red and ramps up and powers out planeswalkers, Thundermaw Hellkite, Ruric Thar, the Unbowed, and some really big Bonfires.

Twenty-fourth place is where we see our first glimpse of the interaction of Ogre Battledriver into Kalonian Hydra that received a lot of M14 preview press. The deck is full of 4- and 5-drops along with a half-dozen mana dorks and set of Farseeks to accelerate them onto the battlefield. Scavenging Ooze brings more counters to the table for the Hydra to double.

New Toys for Old Favorites

With the release of M14, the rich got richer, as some established archetypes picked up some excellent new additions. Jund Midrange is even more potent with the addition of Scavenging Ooze. It was included in the main deck of all six players to make the Top 16 piloting the deck, including the runner up in Richmond.

Most Jund midrange decks also included one or two copies of Doom Blade between the main and sideboard.

Bant Auras is another beneficiary of M14 goodies, with three decks in the Top 16. As expected, Gladecover Scout made the cut.

This deck, as well as the twelfth-place deck at Richmond, also played Fiendslayer Paladin in the main. First strike and lifelink are both quite useful for an attacker loaded up with enchantments, and quasi-hexproof against black and red eliminates many removal options.

The Aristocrats deck in twenty-second place sported some new additions as well.

This deck features a couple new creatures that take advantage of death: four Xathrid Necromancer and one Archangel of Thune. The necromancer provides a new body for the battlefield when a Human dies, and the Archangel scales up the team with each Blood Artist trigger.

Here are other established archetypes with new M14 technology:

M14 Summary

What new-to-Standard cards from M14 saw play in the SCG Open Richmond Top 32?

Card # Decks Total Played Avg Main Avg Side
Scavenging Ooze 16 44 2.1 0.7
Doom Blade 10 14 1.1 0.3
Elvish Mystic 5 18 3.6 0.0
Gladecover Scout 4 15 3.8 0.0
Ratchet Bomb 3 7 0.7 1.7
Mutavault 3 10 3.3 0.0
Garruk, Caller of Beasts 3 6 1.3 0.7
Fiendslayer Paladin 3 11 2.3 1.3
Xathrid Necromancer 2 8 4.0 0.0
Ranger's Guile 2 5 1.5 1.0
Brave the Elements 2 5 2.0 0.5
Encroaching Wastes 2 3 1.5 0.0
Kalonian Hydra 2 5 2.5 0.0
Archangel of Thune 1 1 1.0 0.0
Lifebane Zombie 1 2 0.0 2.0
Banisher Priest 1 3 3.0 0.0
Burning Earth 1 1 0.0 1.0
Ogre Battledriver 1 4 4.0 0.0
Celestial Flare 1 3 0.0 3.0
Primeval Bounty 1 2 0.0 2.0
Young Pyromancer 1 2 0.0 2.0
Imposing Sovereign 1 4 4.0 0.0

What decks played these cards?

Card Finish Archetype
Archangel of Thune 22 The Aristocrats
Banisher Priest 8 Mono-white Humans
Brave the Elements 1 W/B Humans
8 Mono-white Humans
Burning Earth 24 R/G midrange
Celestial Flare 8 Mono-white Humans
Doom Blade 1 W/B Humans
2 Jund midrange
6 Jund midrange
9 Jund midrange
13 Jund midrange
14 Jund midrange
15 Esper control
22 The Aristocrats
28 Jund midrange
31 Jund midrange
Elvish Mystic 3 Mono-green aggro
23 R/G ramp
24 R/G midrange
26 Jund aggro
30 Junk Reanimator
Encroaching Wastes 5 R/W/U Tempo
19 R/W/U Tempo
Fiendslayer Paladin 8 Mono-white Humans
11 Bant Auras
12 Bant Auras
Garruk, Caller of Beasts 3 Mono-green aggro
24 R/G midrange
32 Naya midrange
Gladecover Scout 10 Bant Auras
11 Bant Auras
12 Bant Auras
27 Bant Auras
Imposing Sovereign 8 Mono-white Humans
Kalonian Hydra 24 R/G midrange
32 Naya midrange
Lifebane Zombie 1 W/B Humans
Mutavault 1 W/B Humans
3 Mono-green aggro
8 Mono-white Humans
Ogre Battledriver 24 R/G midrange
Primeval Bounty 3 Mono-green aggro
Ranger's Guile 3 Mono-green aggro
24 R/G midrange
Ratchet Bomb 5 R/W/U Tempo
15 Esper control
32 Naya midrange
Scavenging Ooze 2 Jund midrange
3 Mono-green aggro
4 Jund midrange
6 Jund midrange
7 Naya midrange
9 Jund midrange
13 Jund midrange
14 Jund midrange
20 Jund midrange
23 R/G ramp
24 R/G midrange
25 Jund midrange
28 Jund midrange
29 Jund midrange
31 Jund midrange
32 Naya midrange
Xathrid Necromancer 1 W/B Humans
22 The Aristocrats
Young Pyromancer 21 Nivix Blitz

There was a lot of M14 at Richmond, and it’ll be interesting to see where things go from here as players adjust to what we saw. Join me next week when I'll refocus on the overall metagame and analyze how the new set impacts deck success and card selection. Thanks for reading!

Nick Vigabool


Order Magic 2014 singles and boxes today!