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Latest Innovations in Standard

The last time I spoke about competitive Magic, I said that even though the end of the current Standard is near, there is still a lot of room to grow. I was excited to see this prediction in action at the World Magic Cup. Two different decks stood out to me from this event and I want to talk about both of them today.

The first deck on my list is Mono-Green Infect. I know you might be saying that this deck is nothing new, but when M13 first came out most players dismissed it as a competitor. Now a lot of players are jumping on board so you should take it more seriously. Infect is capable of some blazingly fast kills and despite its low number of creatures is actually quite resilient.

There are three newer cards that really make this deck a pillar of the format: Cathedral of War, Rancor, and Wild Defiance.

I have spoken at great length about how amazing Rancor is. I know there will be a lot of Rancor action in my deck lists over the next year. With a low curve and a monocolored mana base, Cathedral of War also seems like an obvious inclusion.

Wild Defiance is hard card to nail down in terms of powerful level. The effect it provides is obviously powerful, but it does require you to have other instants and sorceries in hand to do anything. While the deck can win without Wild Defiance, the enchantment reminds me of Tempered Steel in that winning is much easier when you have it. That being said, there is some discussion about whether the deck actually needs it or not.

Take a look at two different versions of the deck.

Mono-Green Infect
by Grgur Petric-Maretic
5th Place at World Magic Cup 2012

Mono-Green Infect
suggested by Todd Anderson

As you can see, there are not many differences between these two decks. The main difference is which pump effects the deck runs and in what numbers. I would imagine that each player has a slightly different list depending on their play style.

Even Melira, Sylvok Outcast is often not enough to stop this deck because they can just kill you with damage. Wild Defiance pumps your creature up quickly on top of the pump spell you cast in order to trigger the enchantment.

One of the best ways to disrupt this deck is by using your instant speed removal on your own turn. This seems counter-intuitive, but it’s really just playing smart. If you use your Gut Shot on your turn, it turns their Mutagenic Growth into just a Counterspell instead of a Counterspell plus pump spell. By making this change, you force your opponent to decide how important their creature is. Do they waste a pump spell on your turn, or do they let their creature die? It is a tough situation to be in.

The second deck I wanted to mention is my favorite deck of recent memory. The deck plays like Mono Black Zombies but it also has Birthing Pod. It’s more of a midrange deck but there are still some aggressive draws as well. Some other players have tried to include Birthing Pod in Zombies before but this list streamlines the two ideas and makes them flow well together.

With Blood Artist, Geralf’s Messenger, and Birthing Pod, this deck feels more like a combo deck sometimes. Often you kill your opponent from ten or more life just by sacrificing a bunch of your creatures. Take a look.

Zombie Pod
by Tamás Glied
4th Place at World Magic Cup 2012

My favorite inclusion here is Skaab Ruinator. I have been telling people for quite a while how good he is in Birthing Pod decks. I know it takes a lot to cast, but the reward is worth the investment. You are already sacrificing creatures left and right so your graveyard should be stocked.

One thing I don’t like about this deck is the lack of Ravenous Rats. I think the reprinting of Rats was a lot more important than players are giving it credit for. It is a good card, especially for a Birthing Pod deck. I will be working on this deck in the next couple of weeks and my first change will be to add a few Rats.

Standard is still evolving. Is there a deck you have built recently that no one is talking about? If so, post what you’re working on below and maybe it will make it into my next article. Have fun with Standard while you can because it’s all about to change soon with Return to Ravnica.

Until Next Time,

Unleash the Force on Standard!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter
Jedicouncilman23@gmail.com

Post categories: Free, Strategy


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Mike Lanigan

Mike Lanigan

Mike Lanigan is high school math teacher by day and a shop owner by night. His tournament grinding may have slowed a little, but his love of the game has not. Mike's goal is to bring you a mix of perspectives from shop-owner insights to finance tips to metagame shifts and everything in between.

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2 thoughts on “Latest Innovations in Standard

  1. Don't forget about Black Cat, it is a Zombie and would have more synergy with Gravecrawler. The discard is when it leaves play instead of when it enters play and is random instead of they get to choose.

    1. Black Cat actually has proven to be not good enough. It seems like it would be good and even better than ravenous rats. Unfortunately this is just not true in practice. It is much better for your opponent to discard immediately rather than waiting until the cat dies. Anyway, good thought though.

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