April 17, 2018

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Best in Class: Rivals Of Ixalan

This week I'll be constructing a deck of the most iconic cards from this past Standard, and seeing what comes out the other end. 


When building this deck, we're going to start at the bottom of the curve and work our way up.


For me, the most iconic one drop has been Bomat Courier. This card brought Ramunap Red to the front of the pack a couple of seasons ago and has kept it there ever since. Bomat Courier can generate a quick clock and later on card advantage. There's simply not much else that can stand up to this.


At two drop we obviously play the full four Glint-Sleeve Siphoners. This card can dominate a game, as has been shown by various UBx decks over the last few months. It's a card draw engine for Control and Midrange alike, and has become somewhat of a must answer.

Our other two drop is Search for Azcanta. Once again, a powerhouse for UBx decks this card has seen play across the board. It has proved to be more than useful in slower God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks, making sure that the pieces you need in your Graveyard are put there, and filtering you towards Refurbish and friends. Search for Azcanta has also pushed some brews a little further than they should have gone. For example, a Controlling UW Embalm deck that's been doing well recently simply wouldn't have been possible without this card.


Moving into three drops we have the obvious copies of Whirler Virtuoso. There hasn't been an energy deck that hasn't tried to run this card. If you build a deck you need to be able to fight through a Virtuoso.

Backing up the Virtuoso we have Champion of Wits and Jadelight Ranger. Both of these saw play in the final days of Temur Energy and have found other homes since. The Champion is a staple in all variants of God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks and many other value orientated builds. The same midrange decks often run Jadelight Ranger. This has also become a must include in Winding Constrictor decks. Really pushing them over the top by smoothing out those drops.


Moving on up the Curve we will end things off with the two cards that really dominated this format.

Hazoret the Fervent has dominated many decks and will continue to do so for the next few months. This one card will take over a game. There isn't a Standard player who doesn't know what it is, making it oh so iconic.

Finally, to top off the deck we have The Scarab God. This card has kept many, many Standard players awake overnight. There's not a deck in Standard that wouldn't find this God useful. It can top off a go wide deck, be a Midrange curve topper, or even a Control finisher. This card does everything and it gets my vote for best card in this past Standard.


The removal suite is filled with the cards that have made players fear control all season long. We open up with two Fatal Push. This has been a good card since the moment it was spoiled and it always will be. There isn’t a format where Push isn’t played, making it very much Iconic. This is followed up by Abrade and Vraska’s Contempt. Both of these see play in multiple decks from control to Aggro, making it simply impossible to not include them in whatever this is becoming.

Finally, Settle the Wreckage makes an appearance. When an Approach deck hold up four mana you have to expect this card. It’s become one of the most feared cards for Aggro and Midrange alike and there isn’t a Standard player who doesn’t know what this card does.


The most Iconic lands in Standard are still by far and away the Fast Lands. These lands are the only Enemy Guild Lands currently in Standard so they’ve had a lot of work to do. And they’ve done it oh so well. Aether Hub also makes an appearance as it is the most played Non-Basic Land in Standard right now.

You’ll also notice the guest appearance from Evolving Wilds. This is here because we are playing all five colours. But this land has proved to be more than useful for budget players and as a result is in a lot of FNM Brews.


So here it is, the Rivals of Ixalan Iconic Deck

So just as a quick note, here are the percentages each set fills in this list.
(The Basic Lands and Evolving Wilds were not included as any set.)

Kaladesh: 38%

Aether Revolt: 10%

Amonkhet: 7%

Hour of Devastation: 17%

Ixalan: 10%

Rivals of Ixalan: 3%

At first you might think that this shows Kaladesh dominance in Standard, but a large amount of this percentage is due to the Lands. Kaladesh is far less dominant when you look at exclusively Non-Land cards (22%, and the others dramatically increase).


The Sideboard

This week I wanted to talk about Prerelease. Prerelease is an event one week before a set release where you get to open six packs of that set and build a 40 card deck before competing in a Swiss tournament. Now, while we say compete it’s really just a lot of fun. It’s an event for both Pros and Beginners alike. If you can only afford to go to one event each season, this is what I’d recommend. If you’ve not already registered get down to your LGS and do so, it’ll make your week.

Thank you guys for reading and I hope you enjoyed the deck! As usual don’t forget to share this with your friends (or maybe even your LGS), and if you want to see more content like this and get updates on all things standard be sure to check me out on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll see you guys next week.