Insider: Khans Standard

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About a month ago, I wrote about a deck that was revitalized by M15. This deck, Mono-Green Devotion, had previously been a deck but not an impactful one in the metagame. With the tools already available as well as the new powerful M15 cards like Nissa, Worldwaker and Chord of Calling, Mono-Green seemed poised to overcome the black menace in Standard.

In short, that never happened. This synergistic deck did top-eight and top-sixteen multiple Star City Opens but it never gathered the attention nor following that I feel it deserves.

Due to my own busy schedule, I haven’t been able to travel much this summer so I haven’t gotten the opportunity to battle with this powerful deck. That’s quite a shame because I feel this deck can win every matchup. No deck can claim great numbers against Mono-Black Devotion, but this is one of the more favorable matchups against it. Every other deck is beatable unless they can put together their most powerful draw.

The most important aspect about this deck is that it isn’t rotating. There are a total of six cards, all in the main deck, that are rotating out of the format. The rest of the deck stays intact post-rotation. No matter your thoughts on the deck, any deck that stays around after rotation is bound to be powerful because the new decks to the format are less honed and will undoubtedly be sacrificing some power by having to play less than ideal cards. Decks that exist at the beginning of a format are much less powerful due to the limited amount of cards in the card pool.

Nothing is certain and it’s possible that the new format will be hostile to this strategy, but as for now, this is my front runner going into the new format. Take a look at the current list.

As you can see, the only two cards we lose are Garruk, Caller of Beasts and Burning-Tree Emissary. While these cards are powerful tools, we can find other cards to replace them with.

In fact, I’ve been toying with Garruk, Apex Predator in this deck but the main issue was not being able to have both versions in play at once. Adding the newest Garruk to the deck means playing black mana and that may prove more difficult now that Overgrown Tomb will be leaving the format also. Between Sylvan Caryatid and Genesis Hydra, that may be enough to play one or two but the times when he’s stranded in your hand may make it not worth playing. In fact, splashing any second color without the help of the shock lands may be too much for this deck. I doubt that a second color is a necessity, but it’s always nice to have options.

If we are to replace our card drawing engine, I think changing gears by adding Eidolon of Blossoms may be the direction to go. The only other enchantments in the deck are Courser of Kruphix and the one-of Nylea, God of the Hunt, but we could add support for Eidolon. One card I’m considering tentatively to replace Burning-Tree Emissary with is Leafcrown Dryad. Certainly this is not an ideal swap, but it would help out the enchantment theme as well as be good in the early and mid-game.

As of now, our other options are limited. We still have the option of adding the fourth Nissa, Worldwaker because she is so powerful, but I’ve been liking the consistency with three so far. Voyaging Satyr is always an option as additional mana for a very mana-intensive deck, but we already have eight mana creatures so it wouldn’t be as impactful. On a strictly devotion basis, Swordwise Centaur seems like it might be a good addition. Not only is it an aggressive body but the double devotion is important as well.

[cardimage cardname='Nissa, Worldwaker'][cardimage cardname='Genesis Hydra']

I’m sure that Khans of Tarkir will provide us with more options for this deck, but as of writing this, no viable options have been spoiled. We most likely need to stick to mono green so we’ll have to see what cool new toys Khans provides us with for this deck.

If this deck does take the metagame by storm, Nissa could be our next $50 Standard card. Genesis Hydra is still undervalued as well, so I’d recommend picking those up while they are still under three dollars. Chord of Calling has come down a bit since it’s printing as well and that card is begging to be broken in the new format. If this deck takes off, all of the staples should see an increase in value, so be prepared.


Next up, we have a deck forgotten by the community. Before M15, earlier in the season, there was a potent deck that was hard to answer. The rise of Mono-Black Devotion splashing green for Abrupt Decay drove it out of the metagame, but it will largely survive intact post-rotation.

This deck, G/B Dredge as we all called it, was one of my favorite decks of the year and not only is it viable, it’s getting some sweet new tools to make it better. Here’s the old list that I posted back in April and then the update from May. I wrote about it in April and May, so check out those two articles for more details.

If you notice, we are losing quite a few pieces to this deck. There are some important cards that are going to rotate out, but what’s important here is that the core of the deck stays together.

The fact that we will still have Commune with the Gods, Satyr Wayfinder and Nyx Weaver to enable this Nighthowler strategy is a perfect starting point for this deck to continue into the new format.

This is just a rough sketch of what this deck might look like. There are only three new cards in this deck so far because they are the only two spoiled that might fit this strategy. They all seem strong but we don’t know what other options we will have to consider.

For example, Delve might be a great mechanic to include in this deck. Commune with the Gods is dumping a total of five cards in your grave yard and Satyr Wayfinder is putting three, so if there are good delve cards, that would synergize well with this strategy.

Another important part of the deck that is in flux is the manabase. Many writers have spent time digging into what players' mana might look like in the new metagame and this is my first attempt. The mana is going to be complex in the new format so be careful how you build yours.

It’s possible that this deck wants some number of temples but I couldn’t fit all of the lands I wanted to run into this deck. Finally, this could be a great Chord of Calling deck but I’m not sure it’s the right place for it. First of all, there are a number of must-include enablers to get your strategy going. If you add in Chord of Calling, there will be many draws where your spell-heavy hand doesn’t accomplish much. Still, Chord of Calling is so powerful it’s always worth considering as an addition in your green deck.

In case you have not seen the new cards yet, here’s what they do.

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is the perfect new card to give this deck direction. Not only does she help mill yourself for cards like Nighthowler, but she also builds you a zombie army just for playing your deck! Many players might consider her a Commander-only card, and she does look insanely fun to play in that format, but all of her qualities combine into a powerful way to attack the Standard format as well.

I hope that Sultai provides us with more synergistic cards like Sidisi, but if not, she may be just what the self mill doctor ordered. A preorder price of $6 is something to keep your eye on with a powerful mythic enabler like this as well.

Some in the financial community have suggested this card will go down upon release, but I think that if she jumps right into this deck and sees play in the new format, that she will bump up in price. Double digits is not out of the question. Should she not find a home in Standard and does drop in price, I would wait for her to bottom out but still pick up lots of copies, especially in foil for the Commander crowd.

Sultai Charm may be the only charm spoiled so far, but it’s a great one and it fits right into this deck! Not only does it give you versatile options of killing one of their creatures, artifacts or enchantments, but it also can help dig you to the card you’re looking for while helping fill your graveyard all at the same time.

This spell seems great in Standard and should see a lot of play despite being three different colors of mana. I’m so glad they continued this cycle that started way back in Shards of Alara block. I hope they continue this trend with other cycles as well like the ultimatums.

If the set continues developing like the spoiler seems to indicate, there will be lots of viable strategies in the new format. Midrange green decks like that of the Block Pro Tour seem like they will be a part of the metagame, but not so oppressive as that event made them seem. Khans of Tarkir is looking great from all competitive and financial perspectives. I can’t wait to start brewing and playing with the new set. It can’t come soon enough for me.

Do you think either of these two decks will impact Khans Standard? What decks other decks do you think will show up? Let me know in the comments.

Until Next Time,

Get ready to, Unleash the Khans Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

7 thoughts on “Insider: Khans Standard

  1. The drdge deck looks fun but flimsy. I really do like it but Back to Nature just hoses so many decks. The Soltari (whatever) commander looks less appealing to me. The charm is nice. I like seeing more charms. But didnt they start the charms back in Visions? Multi color charms were Planeshift. Anything Sunforger wants Sunforger gets. And Sunforger loves charms…

    1. the dredge deck is more resilient than you’d think. I crushed lots of events with it when born of the gods came out. Try it out, I think you’ll like it if you give it a shot.

  2. You don’t think See the Unwritten could fit into green devotion? I guess I’d rather search for a dude I need than bin stuff in the graveyard unecessarily, unless I could reliably hit 2 dudes with it.

    Also, seems like it wouldn’t be too hard to splash a 2nd color, just replace 4 Forests with Temples and add a few Mana Confluences if needed. You have 4 Caryatids, after all.

    My main problem with green devotion is that your removal is limited, so I prefer to splash a color like black for additional removal options. Black gives you Garruk and Pharika, should you go the Eidolon of Blossoms route, while red gives you Xenagos PW, Xenagod, Generator Servant, Chandra Pyromaster, and/or Soul of Shandalar. Either of them could add Scuttling Doom Engine or Soul of New Phyrexia if needed.

    1. Splashing a color is easy, you’re right, but I think you don’t want to so that Nissa is as good as she can be. Untapping 4 forests is busted so by lowering the count of forests, your NIssa would become less powerful.

      When I wrote this, See the Unwritten wasn’t spoiled. I think it could replace Garruk for the Six mana awesome spot, but I don’t like that you can’t put it in play with Genesis Hydra. Also I think the new green titan should make his way back into this deck.

      1. How often are you untapping forests with her ability though? Keep in mind that you’d probably be cutting the Darksteel Citadels if you’re splashing a color, so technically you’d only be losing a net of 1 Forest (based on your list).

        Regarding Genesis Hydra, you can’t put Chord of Calling into play with it either, and neither Chord nor See can put Genesis Hydra into play (unless you want it to instantly die). My main concern is feel bads when you See the Unwritten for 8 cards and have to bin 1 or more Genesis Hydra instead of shuffling it back into your deck. Though it should be noted that Nissa does turn on Ferocious for it.

        Agree with you on the green titan, especially if you are splashing red and/or running Voyaging Satyr, since it gives you something to do with your spare mana every turn.

        1. Cutting the citadels makes sense for adding a color but they are so hard to deal with I don’t know if it’s a good plan. What cards would you like to add in this second color (presumably black)? I untap lands all the time with Nissa because it helps clear the board with Polukranos or Chord for more, etc.

          The point with See the Unwritten is that you don’t want too many spells. This card specifically might be good enough that it needs included though. I want to test it for sure.

          If you work on a two color version, I’d love to see it at some point. If you have time please post it.

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