Spoiler Season is one of my favorite times of the year and we get it four time every year now! It is so exciting looking to see what new cards are spoiled each day, almost like a mini Christmas present. What was my present a couple days ago? Confirmation that Voltron will still be a deck post rotation via the following card.
That's right, not only do we have the engine of Puresteel Paladin but now we have Mentor of the Meek! Any time you are building a combo deck the goal is to try to have eight copies of the same card. This ensures that you should statistically draw one of the eight copies over the course of each game. It is for this reason that Splinter Twin in Modern is a much better deck than in Standard. They are basically the same accept that in Modern you can run Kiki-Jiki the Mirror Breaker as well as Splinter Twin and Pestermite as well as Deciever Exarch. Most builds do not run the full sixteen cards for the combo but only because they also run a bunch of cards like Preordain and Ponder.
For us though, Mentor of the Meek is amazing! With him costing three mana though, most likely we will just have to tap out for him on turn three and try to make sure he survives until we can play some guys and draw some cards the turn after.
What cards do we actually lose from this deck? Not very many. The most important card we lose is Basilisk Collar. What it does for the deck is simply amazing.
Combining the two equipment is a combo that some decks just can't beat. I am sad to see the collar go from the deck. My only hope here is that maybe Innistrad will give us something comparable. We also lose Preordain, but Aerial Responder can just fit in that spot at least for testing this new version. Yes Squadron Hawk is finally gone from the format but at least for us we have Mentor of the Meek to put in that spot. Other than that, we do lose Celestial Colonnade but that's it. The rest of the deck is in tact if we want it to be. The deck will need to be adjusted according to the metagame and how good it will be will be determined by the other decks in the format.
New Voltron might look like the following:
Innistrad Standard Voltron
There are some things we need to take into consideration. First, the whole set is not spoiled yet so we may get some new card to run. Second, just because this deck is viable right now does not mean that will continue to be viable in a new metagame. With the power of our two card drawing engines and all the swords, this deck could be very good but we will have to see.
Sweet new Innistrad cards!
There are a few new cards that perk my interest more than the others so far but every time I start thinking about new Standard the first thing that comes to mind is Garruk Primal Hunter. The amount of love I have for him is unreal. The card is so amazing and if there is a way to make him work in the new environment, trust me when I say I will be working to find it. His power level is significantly high enough that he is worth developing a deck for.
What about actual Innistrad cards though? Sure my first thought is about new awesome Garruk but the second thought is about his buddy Liliana of the Veil.
I think the two of them might not just go together in the storyline but also in deck construction. Thinking about playing the two of them in a deck together is like players who love old school Rock decks finally realizing their dreams of playing that deck again. Many of the pieces are going to be available for that deck. Despise, Birds of Paradise, Dismember, Titans, and then the two planeswalkers. What level planeswalker are you by the way? That is a subject for another day but Garruk and Liliana might make the core of a solid Rock deck. I think in order for Liliana of the Veil to be truly playable we need to see a Zombify or Dread Return reprint. My call is one of those two cards in this set. I suppose we could have a functional reprint but there seems no point to that in my opinion. I want to play with my cool textless Zombifys or use the flashback mechanic that is already present in the block from Dread Return. What could we reanimate? There are many options but Grave Titan is an obvious one because he is certainly castable in the deck but having him on turn three would be amazing. (Birds of Paradise, Liliana of the Veil, then Zombify would get us turn three)
There are certainly other ways Liliana of the Veil could be used. Take a look at this new card.
This flying zombie monster is like a Vengevine Tombstalker hybrid but not as good as either. I think that the drawback on this card is too much. There might be a way to make it work with some of the new cards we don't know about but three creatures is a lot. I would say on average if you are milling yourself three creatures amounts to about seven cards from your library. If you are discarding them from your hand, why? That doesn't seem productive to me. I think the best use of this card is not discarding to Liliana of the Veil but playing him in a Birthing Pod deck. With Birthing Pod you want to be sacrificing a bunch of creatures so it is feasible that you would want Skaab Ruinator in a deck like that if you have blue mana. I am sure we will find more ways to use both Liliana of the Veil and Skaab Ruinator as we see more of the set. Both are high power level and both do things not often found on magic cards.
The final card I want to talk about today is the most aggressive creature in the set so far. Red Deck Wins has been on my mind due to the similarities between this card and Slith Firewalker from original Mirroden Block. Haste is different than costing less mana but they do the same thing and the first time they can attack is the same turn. Slith Firewalker is still better but his power level was very high for the time. If RDW has a chance of working, I think it is with this guy in the list somewhere. You can even play Volt Charge if you really want to in order to remove a blocker and make him bigger.
The format is changing. Tempered Steel is basically in tact but all the other aggro decks are going to have to find new life. There is certainly room for innovation in the aggro department, as well as basically every other deck type as well. Once Innistrad is legal we will have a whole new format to explore. Most decks will simply not be viable and we will have room to create new decks.
So until next time, get ready to Unleash the Force on new Standard!