War of the Spark is a really difficult set to try to evaluate. Standard has been really fun to play, with the top decks rotating every couple of weeks, and I really don’t know how War of the Spark will shake things up. It seems like there are a lot of powerful cards, and introducing 36 planeswalkers all in one set is a lot. I imagine that this influx of power is going to shake up Standard quite a bit, and introduce many new decks to the format. There are a handful of cards that I’ve been thinking about, and I’ve thrown together some rough drafts to talk about these cards and how they might be used.
Enter the God-Eternals
At first glance, this card passed under my radar. Sure, killing a creature and making a 4/4 are potentially powerful, but the other two abilities didn’t excite me all that much. Then, after some of the gods had been revealed, I realized how important milling might be. I heard someone offhand compare this card to Glorybringer, and I actually kind of agree. For five mana you get to destroy most creatures at four mana or less, gain four life to stabilize against aggro decks, get 4/4 worth of stats (sometimes with haste!), and potentially get to remove a god from the top of your opponent’s deck. That’s a lot of stuff for just five mana! This could push either blue/black midrange or control back into the limelight!
First, I’ve got a midrange list to share, combining Enter the God-Eternals with Soul Diviner and Dreadhorde Invasion. Since this base wants to explore a bit of a counters theme, I added Karn, Scion of Urza and Treasure Map, which is a combination that I have been impressed with, but hasn’t really had a home yet. Throw in some removal and disruption, and this is what I came up with:
Plaguecrafter can turn leftover 1/1 army tokens into removal spells, while Gleaming Overseer and Commence the Endgame also play well with and contribute to all of the Amass we already have. Gleaming Overseer may look like a draft only card, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it plays similar to Whirler Virtuoso – 2/5 worth of stats over two bodies is nothing to scoff at. Blast Zone is a land that this deck definitely wants, as Soul Diviner can eat the counter to draw you a card, but it also provides much needed insurance against enchantments, a card type that blue/black generally has trouble dealing with. At its heart, this is a midrange deck that efficiently answers opponents threats while chipping away and slowly accruing value until the game is won.
Here’s an example of a more controlling deck of the same colors:
I based the deck’s numbers on the last successful blue black control deck, which featured all stars like Torrential Gearhulk and The Scarab God. Now I don’t want to suggest that this deck will be as good as that one, but I do think that we have some sweet things going on here. God-Eternal Kefnet is my favorite of the new gods. He lets you double up removal, he’s a big flyer, and he lets you relive his entrance again and again. Notice that Enter the God-Eternals costs 2UUB, which is the perfect amount to be combined with God-Eternal Kefnet. Tyrant’s Scorn is a sweet removal spell that I’m excited to try, and of course Vraska’s Contempt and Thought Erasure have become the main draws to this color combination. Commence the Endgame refills our hand and adds to the board, and is another sweet spell to set up with God-Eternal Kefnet. Opt and Thought Erasure also have sweet synergy with the God Eternal.
Feather, the Redeemed
Two Standard seasons ago I was a huge proponent of Boros Angels. The decks best draws were unstoppable, and having access to Tocatli Honor Guard swung the Golgari matchup into your favor. The deck dropped off a little bit last season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Feather, the Redeemed is just what the deck needed to regain its position as a top deck. When I was playing the deck, its main issue was consistency and card advantage. If your top ten or twelve cards weren’t exactly what you needed, then you often lost the game because you had no way to dig deeper or regain any card advantage. Now Feather, the Redeemed obviously doesn’t help you dig deeper, but I’m hoping that the card advantage that she can provide will be enough to help the archetype. Here’s the list I’m starting with:
I know that many decks choose to ignore Tajic, Legion’s Edge, but I think he makes the cut here for a couple of reasons. First, he combines nicely with some of the cards we are playing because of Feather, the Redeemed. Integrity // Intervention is a card that we can use early in tandem with Tajic or Feather, and later as a removal or burn spell. Reckless Rage is cute, and acts as a repeatable removal spell once Feather is online while Tajic prevents the damage dealt to any of your creatures. Defiant Strike doesn’t look like much, but repeatable cycling in white doesn’t come up often, and it works well with Tajic’s mentor ability. All of these spells also enhance Tenth District Legionnaire and Dreadhorde Butcher. Pumping the legionnaire with Reckless Rage while removing a blocker sounds awesome, and then doing it again next turn while adding a 1/3 in Dreadhorde Butcher is a sweet line that I’m hoping is as powerful as it looks.
And this is where I’m at right now – I’m excited to see what other lists and interactions that people come up with as we explore this new Standard format.