Strong-Arming Standard – RNA Release Day Ideas

This week I’m going to go over some simple interactions with some cards from Ravnica Allegiance that can be brewed around for week 1 of standard, and a few for modern.

Standard:

Dovin, Grand Arbiter + White Weenie Decks

With the large number of 1 drops in the deck it isn’t uncommon to have 3 one-drops by turn 2. This allows you to play Dovin on turn 3, plus him, and instantly get to 7 loyalty to ultimate the next turn.

Biogenic Ooze + Quasiduplicate

Having multiple copies of the main ooze lets them get more +1/+1 counters each end step and can quickly create an army of Oozes that will require a board wipe to beat.

Wilderness Reclamation + Nexus of Fate

We saw how powerful untapping lands on the end step was with Nexus of Fate just by the interaction with Teferi, and that only untapped 2 lands. This untaps all of your lands, creating absurd amounts of mana very early in the game. The old taking turns deck struggled with being able to draw enough cards to find more Nexus of Fates while also having mana to cast the Nexus of Fate. With this card you will always have your lands untapped on the end step, allowing you to tap out for draw spells on your main phase without much risk.

Wilderness Reclamation + Addendum Cards (Azorius Mechanic)

The Addendum mechanic wants you to tap out on your turn for instant speed cards, which usually would be bad in a control deck that wants to hold up mana for interaction ,but in this case it doesn’t matter. Wilderness Reclamation actually makes it more efficient to use your mana on your turn, effectively doubling your mana.

Teysa Karlov + Judith, the Scourge Diva

Teysa allows Judith (or Midnight Reaper) to trigger multiple times per death and they all work well with tokens, even if Judith doesn’t trigger on tokens death (because she still pumps them). Teysa also doubles the tokens you get from the Orzhov Afterlife Mechanic. This combination makes this one of the few aggro decks you really don’t want to play board wipes against (unless it’s Settle the Wreckage).

Prime Speaker Vannifar + ETB Abilities or Death Triggers

Explore creatures, District Guide, Reclamation Sage, Exclusion Mage, and Frilled Mystic come to mind first without the need for a splash, but a splash can add a lot—especially with the great mana bases we have right now. A black splash was my first thought. Black provides cards like Golgari Findbroker, Hostage Taker and Ravenous Chupacabra, which can create a lot of value. It’s possible a deck like this may even go up to Muldrotha, the Gravetide or Izoni, Thousand-Eyed. A white splash could involve Deputy of Detention, Knight of Autumn, Militia Bugler, Conclave Cavalier, Angel of Grace, and/or Trostani Discordant. Any Afterlife effects that are in just black or white could be good here as well by giving more fodder for Vannifar to sacrifice while getting additional value. The main issue I see here is that Tocatli Honor Guard completely shuts down a deck like this, making the splash almost a necessity to have answers. Black gives you options to beat Tocatli Honor Guard like Cast Down, Vraska’s Contempt and Assassin’s Trophy, while white gives you Conclave Tribunal.

Modern:

Electrodominance + Living End, Restore Balance, or Ancestral Vision

Similar to As Foretold, this card can let you “cheat” on suspend costs. You can live the dream of looting into Kiki/Deceiver Exarch and then casting a turn 2 Living End for the kill—or you can play a more balanced controlling game, like the mono blue Living End deck did, and just splash this card as another way to cast your Living Ends at instant speed.

Prime Speaker Vannifar + Old Pod Combos

Prime Speaker is better than Birthing Pod if it survives for you to untap. Cards like Scryb Ranger and Deceiver Exarch allow for you to use it multiple times per turn thanks to not having a mana cost. There will likely be a lot of people trying to make this work in the early weeks of the format. The main issue I find with Vannifar is that if it is good, it’s not hard to answer, meaning that it can easily be adjusted to in a big format like Modern.

What did I miss, what combos are you excited to brew with for week 1 Standard? Let me know!

~ Sean Armstrong