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Standard Shadows over Innistrad Decklist Analysis - Part 1

This will be a two part post, with myself taking the lead of Part 1 and tok taking Part 2. Before the SCG Open Baltimore we both wrote up three decklists we might think on playing for this rotation of Standard and will analyze our thoughts on them and how we would change them based on the result of the Open. So each of us came up with 3 decks, bounced ideas off each others before the tournament, and did so again after the tournament. So to start, here are my three decklists.






[d title="Pre-SCG Open WU Humans"]
Lands
13 Plains
4 Port Town
4 Prairie Stream

Creatures
4 Dragon Hunter
2 Kytheon, Hero of Akros
4 Thraben Inspector
2 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
4 Knight of the White Orchid
4 Thalia's Lieutenant
3 Bygone Bishop
4 Reflector Mage

Enchantment
4 Always Watching
2 Stasis Snare

Sorcery
3 Declaration in Stone

Instant
3 Ojutai's Command
[/d]

This is the sort of list I am most likely to play, getting my inner Craig Wescoe on. Pretty standard White Weenies decklist.

At the one-drop slot, I like [mtg_card]Thraben Inspector[/mtg_card] over [mtg_card]Expedition Envoy[/mtg_card]. The investigate should prove useful in the later game where it becomes a 1/2 + draw a card for 3 mana. Totally fair in this case. [mtg_card]Dragon Hunter[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Kytheon, Hero of Akros[/mtg_card] are your best one-drops in general. Multiples of Kytheon is awkward, but I'd rather run 2x instead of just 1x. Feel like you aren't leveraging the power of the card if you don't. Certainly wouldn't play 3x or 4x; that would prove for too many awkward draws. [mtg_card]Thalia's Lieutenant[/mtg_card] is the best reason to play this deck. By playing [mtg_card]Ojutai's Command[/mtg_card] you can get it back to buff all your humans at instant speed and still use another mode of Ojutai's Command.

[mtg_card]Bygone Bishop[/mtg_card] is the card I imagine invokes the most question in the deck. So, is it worth it? I think so. In the midgame, when your hand starts running out of gas, you can start using it as a engine to keep the threats dropping. Eventually, with [mtg_card]Always Watching[/mtg_card] powering up you army, you can overwhelm them with a massive board presence.

Removal suite of 2x [mtg_card]Stasis Snare[/mtg_card] and 3x [mtg_card]Declaration in Stone[/mtg_card] make sense to me. Most people probably run 4x Declaration in Stone. That's probably fine, but I wanted some instant speed removal which Stasis Snare provides.

[d title="Post SCG Open WU Humans"]
Lands
2 Meandering River
10 Plains
4 Port Town
4 Prairie Stream
1 Westvale Abbey

Creatures
4 Dragon Hunter
2 Kytheon, Hero of Akros
4 Thraben Inspector
2 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
4 Knight of the White Orchid
4 Thalia's Lieutenant
3 Bygone Bishop
4 Reflector Mage

Enchantment
4 Always Watching
2 Stasis Snare

Sorcery
3 Declaration in Stone

Instant
3 Ojutai's Command

Sideboard
2 Felidar Cub
3 Lantern Scout
1 Archangel Avacyn
3 Dragonlord Ojutai
1 Silkwrap
1 Dispel
3 Negate
1 Surge of Righteousness
1 Eerie Interlude
[/d]

WU was easily the most represented deck at the tournament. Two of the top 8 played it, and two others played similar WG Humans and Mono-White Humans decks in the top 8. People came to Baltimore with a plan to play lots of [mtg_card]Thalia’s Lieutenant[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Reflector Mage[/mtg_card]. My version is pretty close to what was played all round. The most significance difference was that most decks curved higher than mine on creatures. They often played a full set of [mtg_card]Archangel of Tithes[/mtg_card] and a few copies of [mtg_card]Archangel Avacyn[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/mtg_card].

In the top 8, neither WU Humans deck played [mtg_card]Ojutai’s Command[/mtg_card]. I thought that card would be the decks best option in the later stages of the game to keep big creatures off the board while adding to my power in reanimating a Thalia’s Lieutenant.

The removal suite had a slight difference of playing 4x [mtg_card]Declaration in Stone[/mtg_card] and just riding that. I have never been a fan of riding a single removal card at 4x and expecting it to work in every situation. In this case, Declaration in Stone is a sorcery, while [mtg_card]Stasis Snare[/mtg_card] can work at instant speed. It just feels better to play both, with more weight to the easier to cast Declaration in Stone.

[mtg_card]Bygone Bishop[/mtg_card] I expected some difference. I saw my version of the deck as being able to mash the board with multiple cheap threats drawn off clues instead of dropping a few bigger threats. Which is why I kept the 4x of [mtg_card]Always Watching[/mtg_card] instead of dropping down to 3x. I think this could build to a great sideboard plan. Right now, the main deck goes wide. Postgame against control, they will put in sweepers from the sideboard. I can use that by keeping bigger threats like Dragonlord Ojutai and Archangel Avacyn in the sideboard. I'll play cards that with a single Always Watching, dodge dying to [mtg_card]Languish[/mtg_card]. On Archangel of Tithes, I think I won’t need it in the maindeck with as wide as I think I go. I may even want to double up on this idea and put in more [mtg_card]Expedition Envoy[/mtg_card]s. I should probably fit a [mtg_card]Westvale Abbey[/mtg_card] too. If I plan on going wide on 1-drop and 2-drop it makes sense if I get blocked out by bigger creatures.




[d title="Pre-SCG Open RG Midrange"]
Lands
4 Cinder Glade
7 Forest
4 Game Trail
6 Mountain
3 Warped Landscape

Planeswalkers
3 Arlinn Kord

Creatures
1 Dragonmaster Outcast
4 Duskwatch Recruiter
4 Sylvan Advocate
4 Silverfur Partisan
4 Tireless Tracker
1 Mina and Denn
4 Thunderbreak Regent

Sorcery
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald
1 Avacyn's Judgment
1 Roast

Instant
2 Fiery Impulse
3 Lightning Axe
[/d]

When I first saw [mtg_card]Arlinn Kord[/mtg_card], I was all in. I thought she was a great card. Or maybe I was upset I never played [mtg_card]Huntmaster of the Fells[/mtg_card] when Innistrad was first around. Either way, I wanted to make a deck with her as a threat. I wasn't thrilled with the list of werewolves in the set. I didn't feel like there was enough there to support either a midrange or aggro deck. So instead, I looked to another old deck for inspiration, RG Monsters.

[d title="RG Monsters - Huang Hao-Shan"]
Lands
2 Mutavault
8 Forest
5 Mountain
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple of Abandon

Planeswalkers
4 Domri Rade
2 Xenagos, the Reveler

Creatures
4 Elvish Mystic
1 Scavenging Ooze
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Xenagos, God of Revels

Sorcery
3 Mizzium Mortars
1 Flesh // Blood

Sideboard
4 Mistcutter Hydra
1 Arbor Colossus
1 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
1 Bow of Nylea
1 Mizzium Mortars
2 Shock
2 Destructive Revelry
2 Plummet
[/d]

The idea of the deck was to hit hard on turn 3 or 4 with [mtg_card]Polukranos, World Eater[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Stormbreath Dragon[/mtg_card]. It flooded the board with cards aggro had a tough time running past in [mtg_card]Sylvan Caryatid[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Courser of Kruphix[/mtg_card]. That along with [mtg_card]Elvish Mystic[/mtg_card], double up to ensure your mana is good enough to support this curve. The ramp isn't as good as it was in Theros block, but I can play a lower curve of difficult to deal with cards like [mtg_card]Thunderbreak Regent[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Silverfur Partisan[/mtg_card]. Combine this with the power house and engine that is [mtg_card]Tireless Tracker[/mtg_card], and I have some punch that I can work with. [mtg_card]Duskwatch Recruiter[/mtg_card] somewhat takes the place of ramp of Sylvan Caryatid and the engine that Domri Rade provided. [mtg_card]Sylvan Advocate[/mtg_card] is mostly a filler card that is dreadfully needed at the two drop slot. I didn't want to play it because it lacked synergies with the rest of the deck. At the same time, it is big enough to block most aggro card while putting on some early pressure and still being valuable late game.

[mtg_card]Traverse the Ulvenwald[/mtg_card] where I expect to lose people. I originally had [mtg_card]Corrupted Grafstone[/mtg_card] in this deck for ramp, which is why I had Traverse the Ulvenwald. I needed a one drop instant/sorcery that could be played turn one to activate Corrupted Grafstone with a colored card in my graveyard. I realized this was probably bad and inconsistent, but kept the Traverse the Ulvenwald in after taking out Corrupted Grafstone. So what did I want this card to do? Early it could fix. Or for three mana I can grab and play a land, put a +1/+1 counter on Tireless Tracker, and draw a card. Sounds totally fine to me. Or if I can hit delirium, I can use it as a tutor for a Thunderbreak Regent or [mtg_card]Dragonmaster Outcast[/mtg_card]. I just though thought card wasn't going to be a dead draw all that often, except in the early midgame where I didn't have a Tireless Tracker. I'll give it a try.

[d title="Post-SCG Open Naya Midrange"]
Lands
2 Canopy Vista
3 Cinder Glade
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Forest
1 Fortified Village
3 Game Trail
3 Mountain
3 Needle Spires
1 Plains
1 Westvale Abbey

Planeswalkers
3 Arlinn Kord

Creatures
1 Dragonmaster Outcast
4 Duskwatch Recruiter
4 Sylvan Advocate
1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
4 Silverfur Partisan
4 Tireless Tracker
1 Mina and Denn
4 Thunderbreak Regent
1 Sigarda, Heron's Grace

Sorcery
1 Avacyn's Judgment
2 Roast

Instant
2 Fiery Impulse
3 Dromoka's Command

Sideboard
2 Lantern Scout
1 Dragonlord Dromoka
1 Avacyn's Judgement
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Radiant Flames
2 Rending Volley
2 Clip Wings
3 Hallowed Moonlight
[/d]

So, not much play in these colors at the SCG Open Baltimore. At all. One deck in the top 32 played [mtg_card]Arlinn Kord[/mtg_card] in a Jund Midrange deck (Interestingly, she showed up in a top 8 deck for Legacy and a top 32 deck for Modern deck at the SCG Classic events held in Baltimore). This deck was a The Gitrog Monster deck and was piloted by Darryl Donaldson. FYI, played the guy a lot in the local Maryland IQ scene back when I was heavy into competitive MTG. While I like the deck, it wasn’t what I was after in my design. So I had to dig a bit deeper to find a deck for comparison.

There were 4 local SCG IQs and SCG Super IQs over the weekend. Really only one deck looked close to my style. It was piloted by a Chris Allan and took a solid 3rd place in SCG IQ at Newington.

[d title="RG Midrange - Chris Allan"]
Lands
4 Cinder Glade
3 Evolving Wilds
6 Forest
4 Game Trail
6 Mountain
2 Westvale Abbey

Planeswalkers
3 Arlinn Kord

Creatures
1 Dragonmaster Outcast
2 Den Protector
3 Duskwatch Recruiter
4 Sylvan Advocate
2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
3 Tireless Tracker
4 Thunderbreak Regent
2 Goblin Dark-Dwellers

Sorcery
2 Roast

Instant
3 Fiery Impulse
2 Atarka's Command
4 Draconic Roar

Sideboard
1 Zurgo Bellstriker
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
1 Arlinn Kord
3 Exquisite Firecraft
3 Radiant Flames
4 Rending Volley
2 Atarka's Command
[/d]

Our creature sets are very similar. We both played [mtg_card]Dragonmaster Outcast[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Duskwatch Recruiter[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Sylvan Advocate[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Tireless Tracker[/mtg_card], and [mtg_card]Thunderbreak Regent[/mtg_card]. He also played [mtg_card]Den Protector[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Goblin Dark-Dwellers[/mtg_card], and [mtg_card]Nissa, Vastwood Seer[/mtg_card]. I played [mtg_card]Silverfur Partisan[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Mina and Denn[/mtg_card]. I can get behind playing Den Protector and should have played Nissa, Vastwood Seer in the first place. I would think that seeing how Tireless Tracker preformed, he could understand the singleton Mina and Denn I had in my list.

But where we varied greatly was our removal and utility cards. I like his suite quite a bit more than mine. I really don’t want to play [mtg_card]Lightning Axe[/mtg_card]. I'm not doing anything with it in terms of madness. However, I’m 50/50 on [mtg_card]Draconic Roar[/mtg_card]. I feel 4 damage may be really important for killing the big flyers of this Standard format in [mtg_card]Archangel Avacyn[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/mtg_card]. Which is important, because [mtg_card]Roast[/mtg_card] cannot target them. In which case, [mtg_card]Exquisite Firecraft[/mtg_card] may be better in the maindeck. I’d probably make a split to fit some of both if I had stuck with GR. There are also plenty of flyer hate cards in [mtg_card]Clip Wings[/mtg_card] that can fit into the sideboard.

Only thing I don’t like is [mtg_card]Atarka’s Command[/mtg_card]. I don’t think Atarka’s Command has the modes that this deck can take advantage of. Yes, it helps you go wide. But outside the +1/+1 mode, there is very little you are doing here. In my version, I should find something to abuse Silverfur Partisan. [mtg_card]Avacyn’s Judgment[/mtg_card] might be a decent idea, self-target to get 2x wolves off it. Splashing white for [mtg_card]Dromoka’s Command[/mtg_card] is probably the best I can physically do; getting a trade with a 2/2 wolf token, a +1/+1 counter on Partisan (Who has trample), and getting 2 more wolf tokens. Pure value. To do this, I had to totally revamp my manabase, likely with [mtg_card]Evolving Wilds[/mtg_card] and should play some [mtg_card]Needle Spires[/mtg_card] to get some advantage from Sylvan Advocate. I originally used [mtg_card]Warped Landscape[/mtg_card] so I could keep my curve, but if I move to Naya then Evolving Wilds makes much more sense for mana stability. Adding white also allows me to keep some [mtg_card]Declaration in Stone[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Dragonlord Dromoka[/mtg_card] in the sideboard, while sneaking in [mtg_card]Sigarda, Heron's Grace[/mtg_card] in the maindeck. And to add on top of that, I might as well play [mtg_card]Westvale Abbey[/mtg_card]. Typical hidsnake deck construction right here. Bunch of random cards that have some synergy to them.




[d title="Pre-SCG Open UR Madness"]
Lands
7 Island
8 Mountain
4 Highland Lake
4 Shivan Reef
4 Wandering Fumarole

Planeswalkers
2 Chandra, Flamecaller

Creatures
4 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

Enchantment
1 Oath of Chandra
3 Oath of Jace
4 Sphinx's Tutelage

Sorcery
4 Magmatic Insight
1 Avacyn's Judgement
4 Tormenting Voice
2 Pore Over the Pages

Instant
2 Lightning Axe
3 Just the Wind
3 Fiery Temper

Sideboard
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
2 Encase in Ice
1 Orbs of Warding
2 Roast
2 Dispel
2 Fiery Impulse
3 Negate
2 Tears of Valakut
[/d]

This deck is mostly a direct take from a deck Michael Majors ran in an SCG Versus video. I was very impressed with the deck in the videos enough that I thought it deserved a once over. The games he played do much more justice to the power of this deck than anything I could say. [mtg_card]Pore Over the Pages[/mtg_card] might be the most powerful card in this deck after [mtg_card]Jace, Vryn's Prodigy[/mtg_card]. Still needed some tweaking in my opinion, but wasn't too sure where.

In the end, I wanted a few [mtg_card]Lightning Axe[/mtg_card]s to deal with bigger threats more permanently than [mtg_card]Just the Wind[/mtg_card] provided. I also thought a singleton [mtg_card]Avacyn's Judgment[/mtg_card] would be useful as a two for one against 1 toughness creatures, kill a single 2 toughness creature (typically Jace, Vryn's Prodigy), or just burn out my opponent or blow their board off a madness trigger.

[d title="Post-SCG Open UR Control"]
Lands
4 Drownyard Temple
3 Highland Lake
3 Island
7 Mountain
4 Shivan Reef
4 Wandering Fumarole
1 Yavimaya Coast

Creatures
4 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
4 Thing in the Ice
2 Jori En, Ruin Diver

Planeswalkers
1 Chandra, Flamecaller

Artifacts
3 Pyromancer's Goggles

Sorcery
3 Magmatic Insight
1 Avacyn's Judgement
4 Tormenting Voice
1 Pore Over the Pages

Instant
2 Fall of the Titans
3 Lightning Axe
4 Fiery Temper
2 Kozilek's Return

Sideboard
4 Eldrazi Obligator
2 Chandra, Flamecaller
4 Fevered Visions
3 Negate
2 Scatter to the Winds
[/d]

Thank you based Todd Anderson. I was seriously worried going in SCG Open Baltimore I would have nothing to work with. His deck is almost perfect.

[d title="UR Control - Todd Anderson"]
Lands
4 Drownyard Temple
3 Highland Lake
3 Island
7 Mountain
4 Shivan Reef
4 Wandering Fumarole
1 Yavimaya Coast

Creatures
4 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
4 Thing in the Ice
2 Jori En, Ruin Diver

Planeswalkers
2 Chandra, Flamecaller

Artifacts
3 Pyromancer's Goggles

Sorcery
3 Magmatic Insight
4 Tormenting Voice

Instant
2 Fall of the Titans
4 Lightning Axe
1 Anticipate
4 Fiery Temper
1 Kozilek's Return

Sideboard
4 Eldrazi Obligator
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
4 Fevered Visions
3 Negate
1 Kozilek's Return
2 Void Shatter
[/d]

His sideboard could use some help, but it’s such a well-designed deck. I’m not sure I’d really change anything in the maindeck. Trying to fit in [mtg_card]Avacyn’s Judgment[/mtg_card] as a singleton and finding a better sweeper than [mtg_card]Kozilek’s Return[/mtg_card] seems appropriate. I’d also try to fit some [mtg_card]Pore Over the Pages[/mtg_card]. The card is invaluable card draw for a deck that plays madness.




Looking over the three decks, I really want to grind out the Naya Midrange deck. While my old bread and butter is low to the grond aggro deck, I am so impressed with [mtg_card]Arlinn Kord[/mtg_card], that I feel like I have to play that deck and get some reps for it. My guess is that my manabase is terrible. I'll play some test games against tok and get back you.

-hidsnake out

Part One Part Two

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