Best Standard Magic Decks: Week of 11/28/16

Updated on December 8, 2016

Thanksgiving weekend is over and that means the first Standard Showdown has passed. One of my local game shops was hosting and I attended. So I thought that for my article this week I would talk about three of the four decks I faced off against.

I was playing a Metalwork deck that I really enjoy playing. It has a ton of potential but only if the cards are drawn in just the right sequence. My first opponent played a R/G Werewolf deck, but it turned out he was cheating as he went into the tournament with just a 40 card deck. He also was using checklist cards since he was using both-side clear sleeves. However, the checklist cards were not marked like they are supposed to be. The second played a Mono-White Humans deck that was very fast. A Dredge variation quickly decimated me in the third match. Lastly, a really fun Mono-Blue Metallurgic deck finished off the night.

R/G Werewolves

The first deck I faced off against was a R/G Werewolves deck. These decks can multiply quickly and spiral outside of your control even faster. A well-made deck can be pretty strong, especially when the player cheats by having only 40 cards in their deck. I ended up losing 2-1, but as would be expected when cheating happens. You might ask "Why did you play him if he was cheating?", and the reason is because I was in such a flurry of wanting to play that it never even occurred to me that his deck was half the size it should be.

The focus of this deck is obvious; creatures, aggro, and flipping for more power. Breakneck Rider is okay at 3/3 for 3 mana, but the flip to Neck Breaker is important. Neck Breaker provides +1/+0 and adds trample to all attacking creatures. Duskwatch Recruiter is a popular card in several deck types, and in this one, you can search for whichever creature you may be in need of. His flip, Krallenhorde Howler, makes creature spells one mana cheaper to cast. Geier Reach Bandit is mediocre 3/3 with haste, however, the flip is outstanding. Vildin-Pack Alpha allows werewolf's who enter to transform automatically. I'm not personally a fan of Lambholt Pacifist, but a 3/3 faux defender for 2 mana is pretty decent. The flip is just a 4/4, so nothing magnificent from Lambholt Butcher.

The non-transformation creatures in this deck include Cult of the Waxing Moon, which really is a foundation for this kind of deck regardless of which werewolves are chosen in it. Every time a permanent transforms into a non-Human creature, you get to put a 2/2 Wolf token into play. Seeing as so many creatures require this or that to transform, having this caveat provides a huge advantage. Similarly, Silverfur Partisan is the insurance policy so that if any Wolf or Werewolf is the target of an instant or a sorcery, you get to put a 2/2 Wolf token into play.

Howlpack Resurgence is the only enchantment and it is a unique one in that it not only has flash but gives each Wolf and Werewolf +1/+1 and trample. Waxing the Moon is an instant version of Vildin-Pack Alpha in that it allows a target Wolf or Werewolf to transform at will. Moonlight Hunt is an interesting card which will allow you to take out an opponent's creature that is large and not easy to handle. Built to Smash pumps a creature to be pretty strong as does Blossoming Defense.

Cinder Glade and Game Trail are the dual color lands and Evolving Wilds will go fetch whatever basic land you may be in need of.

Creature (20)
4 Breakneck Rider
2 Cult of the Waxing Moon
4 Duskwatch Recruiter
2 Geier Reach Bandit
4 Lambholt Pacifist
4 Silverfur Partisan

Enchantment (3)
3 Howlpack Resurgence

Planeswalker (3)
3 Arlinn Kord

Land (22)
4 Cinder Glade
4 Evolving Wilds
5 Forest
4 Game Trail
5 Mountain

Instant (12)
2 Waxing Moon
4 Built to Smash
2 Moonlight Hunt
4 Blossoming Defense

Sideboard (15)
2 Waxing Moon
2 Spirit of the Hunt
1 Harnessed Lightning
2 Moonlight Hunt
4 Natural State
2 Burn from Within
2 Zada, Hedron Grinder

Key Cards of R/G Werewolves

Mono-White Humans

When I was facing the opponent who was driving this mono-white deck, I made the mistake of asking if it was a White Weenie deck. He laughed and took subtle offense because there is, in fact, a difference between White Weenie and Mono-White Humans. The whole point of this deck is to unleash a volley of small creatures and literally destroy your opponent with power in numbers rather than any fancy combinations or specialty, obnoxiously expensive power cards.

Expedition Envoy is a simple 2/1 for one mana, that's it. Stern Constable is an even more simply 1/1 for one mana who can tap a creature with a discard. Thalia is a Heretic Cathar, and I can only imagine that the average person has no idea what that means. In a very brief nutshell, it means that Thalia is a rebel against the Church partly due to her having contrasting beliefs against said Church. Magic: the Gathering has always had a history of having fabricated names and positions to satisfy the fantastical planes in which they reside, however ever now and again a historical obscurity graces the essence of a card; this is a prime example of one of those. She also happens to be an outstanding third round drop in that she's a strong first striker who forces creatures and nonbasic lands your opponent plays to enter play tapped. Thalia's Lieutenant is a particularly powerful card because for just two mana you can place a +1/+1 counter on every other Human as well as getting a +1/+1 every time a new Human enters play. Thraben Inspector is a cheap 1/2 for one mana but comes into play with a Clue token that can be cracked. Toolcraft Exemplar gets a bump when Artifacts are in play. I don't particularly like Toolcraft Exemplar in this case, and I really think that Hanweir Militia Captain would be a far more suitable addition. Town Gossipmonger is another one that I'm not super fond of, but if you can manage to transform him quickly, his flip is well worth it.

Always Watching was the bane of my match when I faced it, the opponent dropped one of these each turn for three straight turns, providing a +1/+1 each time a new one came into play. That turns these little critters into considerable adversaries. Declaration is one of the only real removal spells in the entire white library. For a mere 2 mana, you can exile target creature and take down any other creature that shares a name and is also in play. Smuggler's Copter once again makes an appearance if for no other reason, then it is awesome.

Why in Kaladesh is there a Concealed Courtyard in a mono-white deck? Because if you look at the sideboard, you'll understand why. That and to help transform Shambling Vent into yet one more creature.

4 Expedition Envoy
4 Stern Constable
2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
4 Thalia's Lieutenant
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Toolcraft Exemplar
4 Town Gossipmonger

4 Always Watching
4 Smuggler's Copter
4 Declaration in Stone

4 Concealed Courtyard
10 Plains
4 Shambling Vent

3 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar1 Lupine Prototype4 Selfless Spirit2 Stasis Snare2 Swamp3 Transgress the Mind
1 Lupine Prototype4 Selfless Spirit2 Stasis Snare2 Swamp3 Transgress the Mind
4 Selfless Spirit2 Stasis Snare2 Swamp3 Transgress the Mind
2 Stasis Snare2 Swamp3 Transgress the Mind
2 Swamp3 Transgress the Mind
3 Transgress the Mind

Key Cards of Mono-White Humans

Mono-Blue Metallurgic

The version of this deck that I played against was a Blue-Green Metallurgic and another popular version is Temur (Blue-Green-Red) Metallurgic. Some people also call this type of deck simply Summonings, I like calling it Metallurgic because it sounds fancier. By its nature, this is a control deck and the second a Metallurgic Summonings hit play, you had better hope you have are close to defeating your opponent because your demise will be coming very soon on very swift wings.

Jace makes an appearance because it's a blue deck, so naturally, he would be here. Select for Inspection is a cheap removal of a tapped creature spell. Engulf the Shore is another great removal assuming you have enough Islands in play to make it worth it. One more removal is Crush of Tentacles which is especially awesome if you can capitalize on the Surge cost because it will not only return all nonland permanents to the owners' hand but will also drop an 8/8 token creature. Anticipate will fetch something from the top three cards of your library, as will Pieces of the Puzzle. Grip of the Roil will tap a creature, then not allow it to untap during the next untap phase, and also lets you draw a card. Countering spells are present from Negate and Scatter to the Winds.

Rise from the Tides produces a 2/2 zombie token for every instant and sorcery card in your graveyard; a very nice creature generator for any point during the match. Scour the Laboratory is a card drawer which benefits from delirium, but not one of my favorites in general. The card that my opponent used to maximum efficiency was Part the Waterveil... three times in a row. Yes, he cast this three consecutive times which not only banked him multiple turns in a row but also dropped a 6/6 creature which is still a land as well as a 6/6 token thanks to Metallurgic Summonings. So by the fourth turn, he had six 6/6 creatures knocking at my door.

Metallurgic Summonings is the basis for this deck and each of its variants. Simply put, whenever you cast an instant or sorcery you place an X/X creature token in play where X is the converted mana cost of that instant or sorcery. Needless to say, this can have very devastating effects.

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

Spells (29)
2 Select for Inspection
3 Anticipate
3 Negate
3 Grip of the Roil
4 Pieces of the Puzzle
2 Scatter to the Winds
4 Engulf the Shore
1 Crush of Tentacles
4 Part the Waterveil
1 Rise from the Tides
2 Scour the Laboratory

Enchantments (4)
4 Metallurgic Summonings

Lands (25)
25 Island

Sideboard (15)
1 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Invasive Surgery
2 Revolutionary Rebuff
3 Thing in the Ice
3 Filigree Familiar
2 Summary Dismissal
1 Crush of Tentacles
1 Torrential Gearhulk

Be sure to get out to your local game store and participate in events like Friday Night Magic and the limited time Saturday Standard Showdown. Even if you don't have a top notch deck, you can still play, have fun, meet new people and check out what kinds of decks other people are using. You never know, you just get see something and have a brilliant idea at a deck that would be perfect for you.

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