March 13, 2018

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Standard Hatebears

This week I’m bringing you guys a classic archetype, Hatebears.

Hatebears has been on the fringe of Standard for a while, and after a bit of testing I think now is the best time to try out this deck.

The deck is based around disrupting your opponent with creatures, and then getting in beats through evasion and other incentives to not block.

Our disruption package opens up with a full set of Tocatli Honor Guard. If you look at this best creatures in the format, a lot of them are there because they gain instant value through an ETB trigger  By stopping that trigger most of these creatures become just bad. Just imagine Jadelight Ranger without Explore. But not only do we get to cut off ETB triggers, the Guard also allows us to run some really powerful creatures early on the curve.

We have playsets of both Old-Growth Dryads and Channeler Initiate. The Dryad is a 3/3 for one. We have multiple ways to deny our opponent the land, including the Guard, but don’t be afraid to just get aggressive. The initiate fulfils multiple purposes. It can either accelerate us toward an explosion of creatures, or just be a two mana 3/4. There is never a situation where this card is bad draw.

At three mana we have a lot of flying. Kinjalli’s Sunwing slows down our opponent and is a surprisingly potent threat while Aven Mindcensor hurts land based decks and is part of a synergy engine. The combination of these two can give so many decks a headache through their wings, getting in for six damage each with ease in many situations.

These three are our grind package. Standard manabases are surprisingly greedy, running colourless lands instead of basics. Thanks to this, we can easily get an opponent down to one or maybe two lands with ease. Ramunap Excavator allows us to loop our Field of Ruin while Aven Mindcensor denies our opponent that all important search. Excavator can also be used to get back a Shefet Dunes for a lethal swing, which is nice.

The top of our curve holds the big boy Dino, Ripjaw Raptor. This will always provide at least a two for one. It’s hard to play against and provides a quick clock, doing everything we need to do.

We have four Ixalan’s Binding and two Settle the Wreckage in our removal suite. Binding is far better than Cast Out for us, since we value our opponent being unable to play the same threat again, giving us virtual card advantage. Meanwhile, Settle is a one sided wrath when we need it. At worst it’s a Path to Exile, and at best it’s a Motorway to Exile, removing an entire board.

Treasure Map provides both virtual and real card advantage. I toyed with a lot of options for this slot, but the map at two mana and one to activate fills it perfectly. I would never even attempt this deck without the map.

Playing this deck is surprising hard, there are a lot of game changing decisions involved. From what to remove, to whether or not to play an Old-Growth Dryad, there's a lot to consider. With a good pilot this deck can take on anything in the format, but be ready to make mistakes when learning the deck.

As far as gameplay is concerned, play the opposite game to your opponent. If they're getting aggressive, disrupt them. If they're going long, play like an aggro deck. If you can find the right gameplan, you will win.


As usual thanks for reading.  ’m sorry this one was a little shorter than usual, but if you enjoyed it be sure to check out my Facebook ( Don’t hesitate to ask any questions, and I’ll see you guys next time.